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MU Podcast 021 – Pulp Up the Volume


PulpGraphic1In Episode 21, we bring you an entire show dedicated to the world of “pulp!” — books, movies, old-time radio — and as a style of horror role playing.

Campus Crier News

• What? Another Lovecraftian Kickstarter, you say? Yes, indeed! Achtung! Cthulhu, the beloved WWII Lovecraftian game source book, has come out with a standalone rule system based on the storytelling engine “Three Kings – PDQ.” It’s wartime role playing — with Tentacles!

• Also, vote for what kind of Kickstarter rewards you would like for their upcoming fundraiser in January 2013!

• And, announcing the MUP “Build an Elder God” contest.

We have a digital print-and-play copy of a new card game called Building an Elder God to give away. Not only the game, but Ben Mund, artist for Signal Fire Studios has agreed to include a personalized Elder God head for the game to the winner.

When this was a Kickstarter, the custom picture was granted for a $100 and $150 level pledge. Check out the awesome example Ben made up for us using Keeper Dan’s shaggy face!

(Dan, we are all well impressed with the facial hair.)

To enter the MUP contest, write up your vision of a new Elder God, Great Old One, or Outer God. Stats aren’t what we’re looking at so much as a creative description, history, location, and ways Investigators might come in contact with it or its spawn, minions or cultists.

You can submit the entries to contest@mu-podcast.com. The due date for entries is January 15. The entries will be posted, and the MUP community will be able to vote to determine the winner.

The voting will be open until January 22, 2013.

More information about the game can be found at Signal Fire Studios web site.

7th Edition

In this week’s 7E segment, we finally get to talk about the proposed Push mechanic that we’ve referenced several times. Due to the non-disclosure agreement, we can’t spell out the details here, so check it out in the podcast!

MU History Department Lecture

Then, we take a trip north to the snowy woods of Maine, for a “Field Trip” from Dr. Gerard — on the “The Dyer Book of Lisbon, Maine.”

Monterey Jack’s Adventuring Outpost

We also unleash another new segment! Hear a seminar from one of Miskatonic U’s most popular Archaeology Department instructors — the infamous Monterey Jack! In this inaugural installment, ‘ole Jack tells us how to make our own “popper,” a delicious-sounding device for getting out of those tight spots in the back country.

Pulp Combat

Then, in a special discussion segment of the show this week, we talk about some specific ways to make your combat two-fisted and cinematic.

Here’s a few of them:

• Double PCs hit points.
• For a critical success in combat, roll for normal damage and add the maximum instead of doubling the damage as usual. (2d6 = a 2d6 roll +12)
• Allow Dodge rolls against bullets.
• Fill your combat environment full of potential improvised weapons and movement tools (like chandeliers and cranes).
• Set interesting traps and hazards for the heroes.
• Give villains the same amount of advantages that PCs have, to make them more durable in the story.
• Don’t count ammo.
• Lower hit points for “mooks” and Nerf their armor.
• Increase number of mooks for drama.
• Make durable villains, so they can recur in the story arc.
• Create a good lieutenant to do the bidding of the villain.
Allow heroes to use armor.
• Use Luck points (under the possible 7E rule) to soak damage points.
• Use Luck points as “bennies.”

Main Topic: Pulp Style

The rest of the show continues our discussion of the pulp flavor, including lots of recommendations for pulp books, movies, radio shows and other media to help you get into the proper mood for your game.

By the way, the foundation music for the pulpy “Main Topic” bumper this week is from YSDC’s Gracehoper, who has put together five hours of free ambient Egyptian-themed music.

Links for the North African music are here, here, here, here and here. There’s an automatic popup ad on these links, but hang in there, because it’s worth the minor hassle. Did I mention they’re free?

Gracehoper also has a couple of Southern Gothic audioscapes here and here.

Examples of dark pulp:

Solomon Kane

Solomon Kane (2009 movie)

Robert E. Howard’s Horror Stories (book)

Robert E. Howard’s Horror Stories (audio book)

The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (book)
The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (audio book)

The Shadow
In a short diversion, we also wander into some examples of Body Horror, including Dee Snider’s “twisted” flick Strangeland.

Dan mentions the Stainless Steel Rat Series, and suggests that an elevator pitch for the pulp style of Call of Cthulhu, to entice unfamiliar players, is to describe it as a combination of The Untouchables, Ghostbusters and Hellboy.

We also mention:

Mall of Cthulhu

The Rocketeer

Princess Bride

Flash Gordon

Buck Rogers

Phantom Empire

Hopalong Cassidy

Undersea Kingdom

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar

Lights Out

Suspense

The Phantom (and the The Phantom cargo cult in Papua New Guinea)

Masks

Grendel

Tales from the Crypt from Seeing Ear Theater

Creepshow

Tales from the Darkside

Night Gallery — Pickman’s Model

The Midnight Hour

For a list of pulp media we just didn’t have time to mention on the show, please check out our list on the forum, where you can add your own recommendations.

We would also love to hear your ideas for topics for us to talk about. Send us a note directly, or go to the Campus forum with your ideas!

Here is the discussion thread on the Campus forum, and this is the discussion thread for this podcast posted on the Yog-Sothoth forums.

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