Monday, August 11, 2014

Pulp Notion

This project started as an attempt to write up a whole slew of pulp style locations for any game that you wanted.  The problem was you never got a map with all the mysteries labeled and all the islands charted in a pulp game. There was always an uncharted rock nearby or a tribe cut off from the world. I made this map using Greg Christopher's Fantasy World Map Kit (available on RPGNow from Chubby Funster Games.)

So I redid it without most of the labels, just a few suggestions and odd features for you to zoom in on and embellish. I included a torn/burnt/missing chunk for any really strange stuff you want to make upThen I did charts of stuff to roll up for whatever unexplored/uncharted island you wanted and ... A few other things.

As I did this I realized that in many ways Traveller lends itself to pulp (especially CT.) The characters are essentially static. The settings are different all the time. The trappings of space opera are extremely light in the core books. In CT you are limited to a little ship universe. Though planetary societies all have features in common (starport extra-legalitiy, Travellers' Aid, the military branches) there's no mention of any humongous government until Adventure 1: The Kinunir (even then the ship was only about a thousand tons!)

As many have said Traveller works quite well for low tech adventures. Most of the weapons are available at TL 5-6, and laser weapons make dandy death rays!

Anyway enjoy!

d6 2d6 Plot Element
1 2-3 Treasure
2 4-5 Landmark
3 6-7 Tribe
4 8 Recluse
5 9-10 Ecosystem
6 11-12 Anomaly

d6 2d6 Treasure
1 2-3 Gold and jewels (curse optional)
2 4-5 Pearls, semi-precious stones, silver
3 6-7 Commodity- liquor, tobacco, weapons, fuel etc.
4 8 Important documents
5 9-10 Currency (counterfeits optional)
6 11-12 Antique- gold jewel encrusted cross etc.

d6 2d6 Landmark
1 2-3 Place shaped like a skull!
2 4-5 Plateau
3 6-7 Hidden cove
4 8 Dangerous shoals
5 9-10 Volcano
6 11-12 Caves or tunnels (route to center of the earth optional)

d6 2d6 Tribe
1 2-3 Friendly tribe living an idyllic existence until you show up
2 4-5 Friendly tribe (but no one’s fools)
3 6-7 Neutral to strangers 
4 8 Hostile tribe obsessed with blonde women (pretty captive(s) optional)
5 9-10 Hostile tribe guarding a treasure (gangsters dressed as natives optional)
6 11-12 Hostile tribe living in ruins of an earlier culture

d6 2d6 Recluse
1 2-3 Teacher of esoteric knowledge or martial arts
2 4-5 Deposed dictator or political exile
3 6-7 Wealthy recluse
4 8 Scientist (sanity optional)
5 9-10 Historical person who shouldn’t be there (Tesla?)
6 11-12 Historical person long thought dead

d6 2d6 Ecosystem
1 2-3 Dinosaurs (giant mammals optional)
2 4-5 Animals thought extinct in recent times (dodos etc.)
3 6-7 Local species of common animals with a twist (small elephants, giant birds etc.)
4 8 Dangerous plant like (man-eating trees, hallucinogenic pollen, poison thorns)
5 9-10 Unusual primates (apes with tails, semi-sentient apes who use fire etc)
6 11-12 Giant octopus or other sea monster (wrecked ships optional)

d6 2d6 Anomaly
1 2-3 Time or space warp
2 4-5 Maelstrom
3 6-7 Sudden fog
4 8 Elmo’s fire interfering with compass and radio
5 9-10 Waterspouts (rain of sharks and other sea life optional)
6 11-12 Island forming or sinking

d6 2d6 Agent Causing Plot Element
1 2-3 Ancient alien astronauts
2 4-5 Deranged PhD. (sanity not an option)
3 6-7 Fascist wannabes testing something they 'acquired'
4 8 Mysterious cult
5 9-10 Warlock
6 11-12 Elder god

d6 2d6 Pirates
1 2-3 Retro pirates in a sailing ship (chart to time portal optional)
2 4-5 Submarine pirates
3 6-7 Tramp freighter 
4 8 Airship pirates!
5 9-10 Pirates pretending to be ghosts or monsters (pull off the mask!)
6 11-12 RIPirates are ghosts or other undead (put the mask BACK ON!)

d6 2d6 Who’s In the Tiki Bar?
1 2-3 Wonder animal (monkey, dog, parrot etc.) and possibly owner
2 4-5 Smuggler (roll under Pirate table for method of operations)
3 6-7 Brash seaplane pilot
4 8 Nosy Reporter (roll under Bad Guys for who they're investigating)
5 9-10 Wanted criminal (optionally criminal NO ONE wants)
6 11-12 Explorer (truthfulness optional)

d6 2d6 Guys and Dolls (musical numbers not supplied!)
1 2-3 Ship captain
2 4-5 On the run from family
3 6-7 Missing person’s daughter seeking help
4 8 Entertainer or ‘hostess’
5 9-10 Aviatrix
6 11-12 Mercenary

d6 2d6 Bad Guys (Traitorous Attractive Offspring Optional)
1 2-3 Actual Europeans (Nazi, fascist, commie or plain despot)
2 4-5 Foreign fascist who staged a coup locally
3 6-7 Local fascist imitators 
4 8 Criminal empire
5 9-10 Evil cult (may be in denial about the success of their rites)
6 11-12 Mad scientist (may just be disgruntled)

d6 2d6 Secret Project
1 2-3 Genetic engineering 
2 4-5 Giant robot
3 6-7 Missile
4 8 New and dangerous energy source
5 9-10 Weather control (optionally earthquake generator)
6 11-12 Revivification

d6 2d6 What Does the Collateral Damage Hit? 
1 2-3 Orphanage (optoonally orphans all at work in sweatshop at the time
2 4-5 Den of iniquity (brothel, bar, opium den, politician’s office etc.)
3 6-7 Small business (grocery, laundry etc.)
4 8 Restaurant (hash house 
5 9-10 Something explosive (fuel dump, ammo dump, airship station
6 11-12 Someone who deserves it (near miss optional, pissing them off!)

Roll a d6 for evenly distributed weirdness, or 2d6 if you want weirdness distributed on a bell curve. Note that some charts may suggest elements on other charts. For example rolling up dinosaurs might make you want to add a deranged PhD. or time warp to the setting. Similarly that dame on the run from her family might have relatives who run a criminal empire. Roll as often as you like and adapt to your setting as you please. Enjoy!