Tag Archives: Pulp Alley

The Workbench This week, 30 October 2020

No posts for a month? Sorry! The irony is that I’ve been gaming more regularly than ever, as our little COVID-compliant pod of gamers are now meeting every Monday daytime (all three of us are on reduced work hours, again due to COVID…) and on Thursday evenings due to my lovely wife’s heartfelt desire to kick me out of the house every so often.

We have gotten into Gaslands, and been running through the Perilous Island campaign for Pulp Alley with a fantasy flavour to it instead of the classic early 20th C pulp we’ve done in the past.

Gaslands cars in progress. Mostly stock and no weapons for now. Click for larger.
28mm Saproling from Reaper Minatures. Really neat figures, roughly human sized. Click for larger.
Giant weird mushrooms for fantasy scenery. From a recent Kickstarter. I’ll do a review of that KS sometime soon, I promise. Click for larger.

Anyway, I’m going to try to get back to August’s regular blogging schedule, or something like it. I spent September and most of October gaming but hardly doing any painting or scenery building, and have now painted or built more stuff in the past week than in the previous two months!

Back From Trumpeter Salute 2018

It was an excellent weekend.

I was under-prepared for my Pulp Alley games but managed to get enough done to pull them off. The table, at least, looked awesome as I’d been distracted from other prep by the building of many new buildings.

Eight players each running a full ten point League is really too many bodies around the table and too many figures on the table, but it was glorious chaotic fun. The geese won.

Lots of other good games, and of course the meetings with all the folks I usually only see once a year at each successive Trumpeter Salute.

I actually have some great photos; I’ll get them off my phone over the next couple of days and posted here, along with a more coherent narrative!

For now, sleep!

The Dread Thuggee, A Pulp Alley League!

First, on a quick administrative note, the Warbard was offline for part of last week due to an attempted attack on the WordPress installation that runs this site. I was able to work with the my webspace providers and get everything sorted and up and running, I’ve made some behinds-the-scenes changes and tweaks, and hopefully that will be the first and last time I have to worry about crap like that! No content was lost and we’re fully back up and running, at least!

On a happier note, I’ve been very gradually upgrading our pencil-marked handwritten Pulp Alley League sheets to spiffy-looking word processor documents. This also gives me the ability to share them more widely, of course, so here’s the Dread Thuggee stranglers for Pulp Alley (PDF, 80Kb) for everyone’s enjoyment.

Adding Thuggee stranglers to a pulp universe is obvious enough, and was actually something I started thinking about in relation to the pulp-horror game Strange Aeons. There was a thread I started over on Lead Adventure, to which several people contributed excellent links, both to miniatures suitable for India and other related resources. The Thuggee figures are from Pulp Figures. The first of mine appeared way back in LPL5, a more recent batch appeared in LPL7, and I still have a few left to paint to round out the cult and add some variety.

In Pulp Alley, the stranglers re-use and re-brand the useful and flexible Animal skill to show their lack of firepower and dedication to strangling and other brawling skills. The Stealthy Agents perk lets the whole League skulk in the shadows more effectively, but does mean it’s a small League at merely four stranglers. They’re good at what they do, though, and have had a fair bit of success in our games, especially in tight terrain or limited visibility where they can really put their melee skills to use!

Blank League Roster for Pulp Alley

As a followup to last week’s posting of four of our Pulp Alley Leagues, here’s the blank PDF version of the roster I created. Pulp Alley is of course © Pulp Alley; this roster sheet is my own work but anyone can print or modify it for personal use. Enjoy!

There’s a very nice blank roster in the Pulp Alley rulebook, but being able to type one out and print copies as needed is also useful!

We’re probably getting back to some Russian Civil War action this Sunday at gaming; I’ll probably try to get some photos and get a game report of some sort up here to help compensate for the tragic shortage of activity on the Warbard recently…

Four of our Pulp Alley Leagues

Although things have been quiet on this blog (too quiet…) we have been gaming fairly regularly! In fact, this long weekend is the first weekend in quite a while I haven’t gotten a game in. It’s been a Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend filled with museum visits, bike rides and food instead, which is just fine.

Anyway, most of what we’ve been playing has been Pulp Alley, a fast and elegant set of pulp skirmish rules. Teams in PA are called “Leagues”, and we’ve created six or eight that appear regularly. Rather than have one person always playing the same League, we’ve got a “pool” of Leagues that we all take turns playing as the mood strikes us. I created most of the Leagues when I first bought the rules, although most of those early Leagues have been rebuilt and tweaked at least once since then, as our understanding of the rules improved!

I’ve done up a few of our Leagues as proper PDF files thanks to LibreOffice, and I’m putting them up here for inspiration or to use as-is in your own Pulp Alley games. All four of these files are free to print or reproduce for personal use only.

First off, Sir Charles, Aristocratic Investigator (PDF, 81Kb). He may or may not be secretly doing the bidding of His Majesty’s Government in London, but this wealthy, well-connected character, his staff and hangers-on have the habit of turning up in some remarkable places.

Second, Count-General Vladimir Drunkovich and his White Russian Exiles (PDF, 80Kb). Being on the losing side of the Russian Civil War meant exile from Mother Russia and has made these ruthless, dangerous characters even more desperate and daring. No-one is sure anymore if Drunkovich is still fighting for Russia or if he’s gone entirely mercenary… and only a suicidal fool would ask the Count that sort of question directly. If he didn’t kill you himself, the deadly Natalya would skewer you!

Third, the scarred, ruthless and mysterious villain known as “Stahlmaske” or “the Teutonic Schemer” (PDF, 80Kb). A veteran of the brutal trenches of the Great War, Stahlmaske and his flunkies bring ruthless violence wherever they go… but Stahlmaske is nearly as deadly to his followers as his enemies!

Finally (for now…) we have the mysterious, mystical Shadow (PDF, 80Kb). He can cloud men’s minds… and possibly read them! He knows many things, but his opponents know very little about him…

Note that the Shadow is built from the “Weird Abilities” in the first Pulp Alley supplement, Perilous Island; the first three Leagues need only the main Pulp Alley book to use!

Added Peril & Weirdness in Pulp Alley!

Sunday’s five-player Pulp Alley game set a number of “firsts” locally, as our biggest-ever Pulp Alley-powered game with five players and about thirty figures on the table, and as the first appearance of the “Weird League” rules from the new PA supplement, Perilous Island. It was also the first on-table appearance of my newly finished urban buildings from Sarissa Precision.

Sean pulled out his half-painted The Shadow figure and quickly thrashed together a League based around The Shadow, using the “Dark Pact” League Perk to add a number of powerful and creepy Shadow-like abilities, notably the ability to vanish from the gaze of men (and women…), and the ability to seemingly teleport straight through solid walls, among other things.

Neither of us have built Leagues with the new “Weird” abilities, but as far as I know The Shadow & friends are properly constructed and we used the rules correctly. The “Weird” abilities certainly add a very cool flavour and some great new powers to the Pulp Alley game, and I’m looking forward to future outings of The Shadow, and to building new Leagues (or re-building old ones) to incorporate more of the “Weird” abilities.

I’m also pleased to report that Pulp Alley moves along just fine with five players and thirty figures; it’s naturally a bit slower with that much stuff going on and that many people, and the tabletop can be gloriously crowded, but the system works just as well for a big crowd as it does for two players with six or ten figures total!

I took a few photos, but only one of them turned out OK. Here’s the setup right near the beginning of the game; only Dale’s Red Air Pirates are visible on the rooftop they arrived at; the other four Leagues are lurking behind buildings or off the edges of the photo! I like how the buildings look, but they really show how I need to crank out a bunch of alleyways, sidewalks and other urban filler/background scenery bits now…

A Pulp Alley game setup, before the action starts. Click for larger, as usual.

A Pulp Alley Game

We’ve been playing a lot of Pulp Alley recently; this photo is actually from ten days ago, not our most recent game, but it’s better than any of my snapshots from the more recent game!

Russians & others crowd around a Plot Point Marker in a backwoods jungle hamlet! Click to view larger over on Flickr.

I’ve whipped up half a dozen teams (Pulp Alley refers to them as Leagues) that we’re swapping back and forth between actual players as the spirit moves us. Being pulp, we’re well off into stereotypes, I’m afraid! There’s the stiff-upper-lip Sir Charles, who denies being an agent of the British Crown; the Teutonic schemer Stahlmaske, as dangerous to his underlings as he is to his enemies; the sinister but intoxicated General Vodkanovich, White Russian exile; the mercenary Captain B., and various other gangs of pulpish skulkers.

I’ve even brought back crowd favourite Red Lily, International Women of Mystery, although she and her crew haven’t yet appeared in a game.

We’re having a lot of fun with Pulp Alley, as should be obvious. The printed, softcover book has just been published, along with the Fortune/Challenge cards in playing-card style. I’ve got copies of both enroute, and I’ll do a proper review here on the Warbard of both when they arrive!

First Game of Pulp Alley

I picked up a copy of the recently published pulp skirmish rules Pulp Alley sometime last month, and we finally got a game of it in today.

Pulp Alley is published by the father & daughter team of Dave & Mila Phipps; the $10 45-page PDF has all the basic rules for pulp mayhem, designed around teams (“Leagues” in PA) of about 5-8 Heroes, Sidekicks, Allies and Followers. I’ll likely do a full review of PA soon, but the basic rules are well-written and well-edited, with nice pulpy graphic touches throughout.

For this game I copied the sample League provided in the book, hacked together a second League quickly, then assembled two more Leagues by getting players to play mix-and-match between the two existing Leagues. This left a lot of rules and features unexplored, but as a quick-and-dirty method of assembling four not-quite-identical teams it worked OK. We got out my underused tropical buildings and a few bits of jungle terrain and got to it.

Early in the game. Air Pirates in the foreground, Sailors barely visible bottom-right, Russians in a clump top-right. Cultists are off-camera top-left. Click to view on Flickr.

Fairly late in the game. My Air Pirates are mostly down, the Cultists have forted up in the lefthand building, and the Russians and Sailors are brawling in the street to the right. Click to view on Flickr.

I’ll be writing up a proper review of Pulp Alley sometime soon, probably in a few weeks after we have another couple of games. The initiative system is different and interesting, with initiative changing hands based on winning fights or capturing objectives. The Fortune Card deck is a great idea and added quite a lot to the game, especially a few turns into the scenario when we were all a bit more comfortable with the rules. The combat system is elegant, although I can tell I need to stop at my FLGS to get a few more d8s before our next game. Before next weeks game I want to properly build several Leagues to get a better idea of the character and League creation rules; there’s also several questions I’ll need to ask over on the Pulp Alley forums, mostly to do with wounding and recovery from wounding, which we got slightly confused by!

It was great to get back to pulp gaming again, and I’m looking forward to getting more familiar with the Pulp Alley rules.