Tuesday, September 19, 2017


A Campaign Setting for Grit & Vigor

With Autumn closing in I find myself pondering tabletop RPG campaigns, and as I have a group eager for a game I am delving back into the Pulp Age Universe I designed for the Grit and Vigor RPG by John Stater. For those unaware, Pulp Age is an alternate universe setting in which select stories all of which is taken from pre-existing literary works or mythology are historic fact (though often hidden from the public). Most of these bits of strange history are those that found their way into the pulps and magazines such as Adventure, Argosy, Amazing Stories, Black Mask, Blue Book, Dime Detective, The Novel Magazine, The Popular Magazine, The Sovereign Magazine, Flying Aces, Stories, Planet Stories, Short Stories, Startling Stories, Street & Smith, Unknown, Weird Tales and Western Story Magazine.
So, the world of the Pulp Age will share much of the history of our world, but punctuated with Alien Invasions, Flying Ships, Lost Lands, Dieselpunk Spaceships, Sorcery, and Mad Science. The resulting world has more BIG DREAMS front and center with scientific innovations are bigger and more obvious, and wild, wonderful and dreadful discoveries are in the newspapers every day.
A bit about Pulp Age Science andTechnology.

The campaign setting, I will be using will begin in the Pulp Age version of New York City in 1923. The Roaring Twenties. An age of social, artistic and cultural dynamism. It was a time that saw unprecedented industrial and economic growth, celebrity and music. It was a world of Art Deco design, automobiles, flappers, gangsters, moving pictures and jazz music. In this Post Great War America, everything is UP. Broadway, Ragtime, Jazz and the beginnings of the movie industry are on everyone's minds and the economy, industry, the stock market, and the American Dream is in full swing. However a number of recent historic events and cultural happenings are in everyone’s minds. Some potent ones are as follows:

THE MARTIAN INVASION (1898-1901): The coming of the Invaders and the subsequent warfare was a bitter struggle that is still in the memories and minds of the people of the Western World. The invaders themselves, are a loathsome species now known as the Sarmak that originate in the Nix Olympias in the Nordus Gordii region of Mars. The Sarmak Martians are now believed to be one of
the Elder Races of Mars and due to the ecological changes ravaging the planet, a race in decline at the time of the first human landings. Technologically advanced, the Sarmak made much use of their perverted science to eke out the meagre resources of Mars and launch their failed invasion of Earth. Though mostly defeated by human resistance the Sarmak are still an issue in some regions of the Earth, and remain active on Mars and Venus.
The Invasion, though catastrophic to many, allowed humanity access to advanced technology and materials that allowed the Western Powers to create many marvels and terrors of their own. Anti-Martian weaponry, particularly Aeronef (heavier than air aircraft), Aerostat (Zeppelins), Babbage Engines (computers), Land Ironclads, Tripods, and other marvels were all developed by extensive study of Martian technology. Unfortunately, many of these marvels were used against humans during the Great War.
Mars Colonies: Several Earth colonies now exist on Mars, originally sent to fight against the Sarmak. These colonies are small at-present, but hope to exploit the Red Planets many riches. Of notable interest are the humanoid Martians called the Auroreans, who are believed to be descendants of Atlantis.

LOST WORLDS AND THE HOLLOW EARTH (1863-Present): Despite Professor Lidenbrock's
discovery of an unknown world beneath the Earth's crust in 1863, it was not until the later Peterson and Challenger expeditions, in the 1890's, that scientists began to understand the riches of the unique prehistoric ecosystem beneath their very feet. With access to the interior world being possible from locations in the Mountains of the Moon and Maple White Land, as well as Iceland, and most recently Caprona Island (now a US territory) it soon became apparent that the virgin world held many exploitable riches including deposits of R-Matter and Apergion.
The difficulty of access, as well as the hostile fauna and flora, did initially restrict the ability of the Western Powers to colonize the new lands, but where the prize is big enough, man's avarice knows no bounds and soon the Powers began to carve up the newly discovered territories, domesticating some of the wild pre-historic beasts to use as transportation and conquering the indigenous sub-human races that populated the wild lands below. Many of the locals are human, and eager to learn from the Western colonials, though some have proven hostile. Several representatives of advanced societies have been discovered in recent days, who have access to advanced technology and are clearly hostile to surface people. 
Fort Dinosaur (United States, Caspak): A growing city on the Island of Caprona, this city/port has tamed this region. The island is an entry point into the Hollow World, and is of great value to the U.S., explorers and investors.

LUNA (1900-Present): The Bedford-Cavour expedition in 1900 which uncovered a subterranean race named the Selenites set about a series of powerful discoveries. The insect-like race had created a relatively advanced underground society following an ancient apocalyptic war on the surface of their world. The Selenites soon found themselves at war with subsequent interlopers from Earth as deposits of R-Matter were discovered on the lunar surface. Whilst their military technology is not as advanced as that from Earth, their innovative use of large underground creatures gives them a decided advantage in battles against the colonial powers. The human bases on the Moon (similar in construction to the Undersea Forts on Earth) find themselves under near constant siege and mining convoys on the Moon's surface are regularly ambushed by Selenite forces.

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