For a while now, we’ve been running a Pulp Alley campaign at club. It’s a neat little system that really captures the feel of those lovely 30’s B movies and magazines, while at the same time functioning very well as a light skirmish game.
The game is partly card-driven, which makes it unpredictable and keeps you on your toes, and since it’s heavily slanted towards scenarios and campaign play, we’re having great fun developing our leagues (basically warbands) throughout a long series of interconnected sessions – constantly fighting each other while at it, of course.
We’re now in the final phases of the Perilous Island campaign, a thrilling journey through places as diverse as Mesoamerican jungles, Casablanca airports and Indonesian harbors. My clubmate Jocke has been documenting the whole thing from the start and will probably post a detailed AAR of our last game, too, so I’ll just share some snapshots here – and of course provide some factual descriptions of what actually happened!
So here we are on a remote, misty island full of angry natives, zombies, monsters, and damsels in distress. One of the latter is about to be sacrificed, and we need to rescue her in order to gather some information. Then we’ll probably kill her.
Yes, that’s right, we’re not really the Good Guys here. My league is the International Egyptological Society, a.k.a the Cult of Ra – an age-old sect dedicated to the restoration – or rather reanimation – of ancient Egyptian pharaohs. Led by the enigmatic Ike Naton and his trusty sidekick Nefertiti Jones, our strategy mostly involves throwing hordes of cultists and the odd mummy at our opponents.
Our nearest plot point is a crazed witch doctor, who is just about to sacrifice that busty Caucasian girl. We need to convince him that this is a bad idea…
…so we rapidly advance towards the sacrificial pit, while some of our minions rush off to deal with some pesky Nazis who just entered the scene from the east.
Firefights and brawls break out as our brave cultist lads try to overwhelm the Nazis, who turn out to be none other than Die Unabhängige Phrenologen, lead by Herr Doktor Kopfgelände and his horrid sidekick Nurse Sigrid (or is it the other way around?). This will get messy, to be sure!
And just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, another bunch of fascist-looking types show up: the Corpo di Spedizione Santa Sede, a catholic SWAT team sent out by the Vatican to spread the gospel in the harshest possible way. They’ve got crucifixes and a burning zeal, plus shotguns, bombs and an obese nun called Innocenza, who can run faster than Usain Bolt. Enough said, really.
She immediately spots a fourth league arriving from the west part of the island. These guys actually look rather friendly, in a Tintin sort of way. And they should, since they’re Belgians. Led by distinguished pommes frites magnate and philanthropist Roland Castroule, they’re the only Good Guys on the whole island. And since they’ve met the CSSS before, they rapidly place a bomb between themselves and the nun, just in case.
Meanwhile, the cultist-phrenologist relationship is getting pretty nasty. They’ve killed our mummy, Skinny Tut (although he was already dead, of course), and we’ve returned the favor by finishing off one of their gunmen. But Nurse Sigrid still stands, with that trademark Nazi smirk on her face.
As mentioned earlier, Innocenza is insanely fast, despite her body mass. She’s somehow managed to maneuver past the Belgian trap and rush down into the sacrificial pit,”rescuing” the damsel in distress right from under our noses…
…while her colleague teaches the Belgians a lesson in brotherly love, Old Testament-style. Yes, that’s a shotgun blast.
And as if things couldn’t get any worse for the poor potato mongers, something Utterly Unspeakable emerges from the mists – a giant spider with a generic-sounding yet unpronounceable name that I’ve now forgotten. It suddenly enters play and attacks the closest target, which happens to be Dr. Castroule himself.
That’s it as far as the good doctor is concerned; he and his trusty assistant, sledgehammer specialist Ms. Slygge, make a bold attempt at rushing Innocenza, leaving the other Belgians to deal with the monster. But those rocks are sharp, and they get a few nasty cuts as they run through the smoke.
They’re also intercepted by our trusty cultist girl Nefertiti down in the pit. Mr. Naton, who has just dealt with the Witch Doctor, fires a few shots at Castroule…
…but this is a feisty old man! He dodges our attacks and climbs the rock to engage Innocenza in single combat.
Well, not very “single” after all to be honest, since Slygge promptly joins the fray. Her whirlwind sledgehammer attacks are infamously difficult to avoid, and the nun is finding it a bit difficult to hold her ground.
She retreats downhill and joins her boss, Monsignore Cadaverico, who has just uncovered a strangely web-enveloped body (another plot point). In the background, screams can be heard as the spider monster devours Belgians and Catholics alike in a smörgåsbord of carnage.
And then suddenly the beast is upon them, faster even than the speedy nun herself. She and Cadaverico are all that remain of the CSSS by now, and faced with this devil’s spawn they can only resort to praying…
…which turns out to be a bit less effective than shotgun blasts. Perhaps God is busy. Or maybe he just thinks that the spider deserves an extra meal. That nun is rather plump after all… Too bad that the busty damsel – the major plot point we all want to get out hands on – also gets devoured as an hors d’oeuvre.
Meanwhile, another cultist falls to German fire. But no matter, as there are plenty more where he came from. Also, this is the final round and the game ends.
No one really succeeded this time around (except the spider, perhaps), but we had a great time anyway. Which speaks volumes about just how fun Pulp Alley can be – it doesn’t matter if you don’t manage to accomplish anything major, since it’s all about the ride; the crazy and hilarious situations that you invariably find yourself in.
We’ll carry on with the campaign in the near future, so stay tuned for more Pulp action soon!