Another sort of Pulp campaign – the cases of Doc Turner

PULP GAMER

When most people think of pulp heroes, they imagine a few various archetypes: a masked hero lurking in the darkness, a famous super-scientist, perhaps a muscled figure raised by the beasts of some far-off wilderness.

Imagine instead, a elderly, kindly pharmacist who rarely leaves their Lower East Side neighborhood.

Let me offer an alternate kind of pulp hero and pulp RPG campaign, based on the exploits of a very real but very forgotten character from the pulps – Doc Turner.

The Doc Turner stories, all written by Arthur Leo Zagat, appeared in 70 stories that all were published exclusively in the Spider magazine. They ran from 1934 to 1942.

Andrew Turner was a pharmacist, who owned a small shop on “Morris Street”, in a crowded New York immigrant neighborhood. Locals would come to him for help, or strange situations would appear on his doorstep. Turner would investigate, usually have…

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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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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

Viking Death Squad: Pregens

I just ran the introductory adventure for Viking Death Squad using the pregenerated characters provided in the rulebook. I copied the stats from the book into the fillable version of the character sheets I posted previously. I'm posting the pregens from the book here to save time for any prospective VDS GMs. viking_death_squad_redcarsonDownload viking_death_squad_olafDownload viking_death_squad_lokusDownload … Continue reading Viking Death Squad: Pregens

octaNe: mini-review and character sheet for the B-movie post-apocalypse.

Just ran a one-shot of octaNe, from Memento Mori Theatricks. It's a RPG from 2004 described as a "psychotronic game of post-apocalyptic, trash-culture America!" It's set in a pulpy, gonzo version of a post-apocalypse America, clearly inspired by a mixture of Mad Max, Six-String Samurai, and pretty much any B-Movie from the last century. Imagine … Continue reading octaNe: mini-review and character sheet for the B-movie post-apocalypse.

Godstar: A faux-Dune Cepheus Engine setting and my custom character sheet

Godstar is a campaign setting for the Cepheus Engine system from Zozer Games. It's essentially Dune with the serial numbers filed off. The setting is centered around a small desert world called Aurelia. Aureila doesn't have spice, but it has the Godstar. The sun of the Aurelian system (the titular Godstar) seems to be a … Continue reading Godstar: A faux-Dune Cepheus Engine setting and my custom character sheet

In the Light of the Setting Sun: Bonanza Edition – Review and fillable Character Sheet.

Sivad's Sanctum recently released the Wild West RPG - In the Light of the Setting Sun: Bonanza Edition. It's an update of the old Saddlebag edition of their OSR-inspired western RPG. I've always liked the system and was pleased to see a new version. Here's some notes and a fillable version of the official character … Continue reading In the Light of the Setting Sun: Bonanza Edition – Review and fillable Character Sheet.

White Lies: Fillable Character Sheets for the OSR Espionage RPG

Just ran a one-shot of White Lies - the OD&D-based espionage RPG. Currently still free on DriveThru. The rules are pretty light - D20 for attack & saves. 1d6+stat modifiers for everything else. The best part of the book is the random generation tables for enemy organizations, villains, missions, and mission names. Even if you're … Continue reading White Lies: Fillable Character Sheets for the OSR Espionage RPG