Villain’s Toolbox – a list of deadly methods for murder

Started updating my Pulp RPG blog again

PULP GAMER

How does a fiendish master criminal eliminate his enemies? Guns? Bombs? Too pedestrian. Here’s a list of fictional methods of assassination taken from actual pulp novels. Add any of these to your pulp villain’s arsenal.

Note: I’ve identified the source of most of these, so there may be spoilers for some books that went out-of-print well before you were born.


Two darts made of frozen snake venom, that will kill nearly instantly. Fired from a blowgun disguised as a common cigarette. Leaves two small wounds on the victim, which to the non-expert appears to be a snake bite.

from The Three Just Men (1925) by Edgar Wallace


An ordinary-looking vinyl record, with a recorded message from a criminal mastermind. The surface of the record has been treated with both a deadly poison and a protective coating. The record is harmless until it is played. When the needle of the record…

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Flowstone – an underground city for the Black Hack, or any OSR game

Flowstone is a city for my own Undergloom setting (previous post here), though it could most likely be plugged in to any Underdark-style world. I use it for the occasional Black Hack game, but it should work with any OSR-style system. Flowstone lies in the center of a vast cavern that serves as a junction … Continue reading Flowstone – an underground city for the Black Hack, or any OSR game

The Bone Age: Mini-Review and custom character sheet for a science fantasy OSR game

I've been playing around with the Bone Age by Bill Edmunds. It's an interesting little science fantasy OSR setting and system. Players are stone age humans, struggling to survive on an strange world where alien races war for dominance.. The System The system itself is pretty simple. Characters have six stats - Agility, Constitution, Instinct, … Continue reading The Bone Age: Mini-Review and custom character sheet for a science fantasy OSR game

Nexus: The Infinite City – some pregens for a long-dead RPG

I recently ran a one-shot of the mostly forgotten science fantasy RPG - Nexus, the Infinite City. Nexus was published by Daedalus Games in 1994. It apparently wasn't particularly successful, and only spawned one supplement. Daedalus Games went bankrupt in 1997, but not before publishing the much more successful Feng Shui, by Robin Laws. (Laws … Continue reading Nexus: The Infinite City – some pregens for a long-dead RPG

Dancers in the Dreaming City: A character sheet for an Elric-inspired one page RPG

Later this week, I'll be running a one-shot of Dancers in the Dreaming City, a one-page weird fantasy RPG from Micah Anderson. It's designed to replicate the Elric tales of Michael Moorcock. The rules are based on the game Whats So Cool About outer Space by Jared Sinclair. The system is simple. Each player has … Continue reading Dancers in the Dreaming City: A character sheet for an Elric-inspired one page RPG

OneDice Pulp: Mini-Review and Custom Character Sheet for a pulp adventure RPG.

There's a fun little use universal RPG system by Cakebread & Walton called the OneDice system. The OneDice system The basic mechanic is simple - you roll a single six-sided die (hence the name), and add the appropriate ability score (Strong, Clever, or Quick), plus any skill levels. The result must beat a particular Target … Continue reading OneDice Pulp: Mini-Review and Custom Character Sheet for a pulp adventure RPG.

Vaults of Vaarn Pregens

In the previous post, I discussed the setting I generated for Vaults of Vaarn, the science fantasy RPG. I thought it might be helpful to also post the pregen characters I provided for my players as well. These were made with the custom Vault of Vaarn charcter sheet I posted previously. vov_pregensDownload