Game Day: Launching into the Weird

The year is 1936 and there are strange happenings afoot in the world. Corners of the map that remain unexplored. Creatures from out of legend that hunger for human blood. Artifacts of great power that could change the shape of the world. There are those who would exploit these strange things to rule over the world of man … and there are those who would stop them. The National Exploration Society is comprised of the latter. Working in cooperation with the Gotham Museum of Art and Antiquity in New York City, New York, they travel the world seeking the weird, the odd and the priceless … and to stop those who might use such finds for evil.

This is the setup for my gaming group’s new Pulp Weird campaign. It’s being powered by the Savage Worlds Explorers Edition rules (read the review or buy it from Amazon), which is a slim tome that nonetheless manages to pack in almost all the rules and information we need to run this particular game. The campaign’s being run once a month through the summer, and will likely run 5-6 sessions depending on interest and time. I’m co-GMing the campaign with my friend Erilar, who’ll be kicking things off with tonight’s first session

After having spent the last two weeks working on my adventure (detailed in last week’s Game Day column) I was pleased to find that the core book got me 90% of what I needed to run what I have in mind. The only place I came up short was in equipment: the core book provides examples of technology ranging from medieval to far future, but there’s only a smattering for any given era. Specifically, I found myself coming up short with regards to aircraft; there are no zeppelins or biplanes in the core rulebook, and both will come into play in my adventure. Fortunately, there’s the Pulp Gear Toolkit, a supplemental PDF that looks to include pretty much everything I need. It seems a bit pricey compared to the core rulebook — $12.95 for a PDF via $10 for the print rulebook — but at 64 pages it’ll likely to be robust enough to get us through the entire campaign.

Other tools we’ll be bringing to tonight’s gaming table include the Savage Worlds Game Masters Screen (complete with pulp-inspired mummy) and a deck of oversized, Savage Worlds-themed playing cards (Amazon). I first saw the playing cards at GenCon 2007, and I was impressed by how much the over-sized cards added to the game. Playing cards are used to determine who goes first in Savage Worlds, and as the game master (and as players) the larger-than-normal cards make figuring out who goes next very easy — there’s no squinting to try and tell the difference between a club and spade. The Game Master’s screen should be helpful as a rules guide, but in my opinion, if you’re running Savage Worlds, you need these cards.

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