GreenTongue
 member, 1034 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 8 Nov 2021
at 15:21
What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
It is a time period that people have somewhat of a feel for.
Kinda like a European fantasy setting. Familiar and yet vague for most.
Is it because it is "historical" and has a "fixed timeline"?

Are people sensitive to the politics and culture of the times?

Do they feel they have to be accurate to the "Real World" and can't include SCIENCE! and the
Occult?

"Call of Cthulhu" seems to be a viable game in the same timeline. Why are there not more non-horror games in this period?
Is it that horror is popular and even the 30's is OK as long as it is horror?

I've always thought a Tramp Steamer based game would be fun and flexible yet I don't find any.
Not even much interest in such.
Always wondered Why?
Jobe00
 member, 328 posts
 Role-Playing
 Game Mechanic
Mon 8 Nov 2021
at 16:04
What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
Deadlands Noir is set in the 1930s of that setting though with the retcon of Deadlands: The Weird West, some details of the world have changed.
GreenTongue
 member, 1035 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 8 Nov 2021
at 16:07
What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
In reply to Jobe00 (msg # 2):

Do you feel that it has been successful? I know that Deadlands has a following but Noir?

What about hard bitten detective or gangster? Is this a viable theme from your experience?
Jobe00
 member, 329 posts
 Role-Playing
 Game Mechanic
Mon 8 Nov 2021
at 16:10
What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
Deadlands is successful. There have been requests by the fandom to update DLN to the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition rules.

Mobsters from the era are still influential. See the mobsters in Batman: The Animated Series. The entire aesthetic was noir influenced.

Hard boiled private eyes are still a thing. See Picard's Dixon Hill holodeck program from Star Trek: TNG.
Cygnia
 member, 308 posts
 Amoral Paladin
Mon 8 Nov 2021
at 16:17
Re: What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
Jobe00:
Deadlands Noir is set in the 1930s of that setting though with the retcon of Deadlands: The Weird West, some details of the world have changed.


Deadlands Noir was awesome.  I remember a LARP that was set in it a few years ago at Origins based on Huey Long's funeral...
deadtotheworld22
 member, 166 posts
Mon 8 Nov 2021
at 16:27
What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
I think it depends a bit on specifically where you're placing it and what you're looking to get from it, but in short, it's a liminal period in time and setting - it's the gateway between the modern(ish) period of WW2 and afterwards, but still with elements which belong to a much older age.

In that juncture, that flexibility gives both advantages and disadvantages - you can include modern sensibilities alongside the legacy of the Victorian and Edwardian eras and it still fits - there's enough romanticism and myth still alive to have a supernatural game but enough modernism that you can have a slice of life setting which is relatively accessable to people who don't know the period.

I think part of the reason it's perhaps not given as much love on its own is that it's a bit of a problem decade compared to the 20s and 40s - it's the decade of the Depression, the dustbowl, the slow emergence from the Crash, and the rise of fascism and anti-semitism, and the spectre of WW2 lurks heavily in the air above it.

In terms of the 20s, you've got a combination of post war optimism and social change, combined with the rise of gangsterism and increasing concerns about equality etc - it's also evocative in terms of Gatsby, Capone etc - it's a good setting for social games or action ones in the crime genre, and that's why most pulp tends to be set here rather than in the 30s, where everything is a bit more subdued.

In terms of the 40s, you've got the war, and everything that comes with it, so everything from early Hellboy to Band of Brothers, and again space for social games behind the lines in a kind of Foyle's War setting. After that, you can play around with alternative histories, or simply indulge in a pre-Cold War paranoia.

Comparatively, there's not a lot of really evocative material from the 30s which is exactly good for roleplaying - you've got Steinbeck and Hemingway, but most of that is quite depressing, no one's really having a nice time and it's very gritty and hyper-realistic. In terms of actual events, most of it is bubbling away waiting to erupt in the 40s.
GreenTongue
 member, 1036 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 8 Nov 2021
at 18:47
What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
In reply to deadtotheworld22 (msg # 6):

That's part of why I would think "down on their luck" characters would fit as a good starting point.
The Tramp Steamer motif seemed like a great foundation but I don't see it being done.
People from all over the world going to places all over the world. Lots of potential for adventure and personal growth.
Cygnia
 member, 309 posts
 Amoral Paladin
Mon 8 Nov 2021
at 19:01
What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
There's a video game called "Where the Water Tastes Like Wine" that has a similar feel to what you're looking for then.
GreenTongue
 member, 1037 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 8 Nov 2021
at 19:29
What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
In reply to Cygnia (msg # 8):

That _is_ interesting. Not sure about a video game but can't count it out.

It does give me the idea that if I ever get to play that a tarot card-style might be a useful prompt for adventure ideas.
Piestar
 member, 994 posts
 once upon a time...
 ...there was a little pie
Tue 9 Nov 2021
at 00:15
What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
In reply to Cygnia (msg # 8):

I have that game. Played it a bit, the music was awesome, but somehow it didn't draw me in. Still, what I did see was very well done.

As the the thirties, that really could mean a lot of different things, depending on where you are and your social status. As someone mentioned above, the era of Steinbeck, much of which I really enjoy.

Hard to do without touching on issues of race, class, poverty and hardship though. I think you would need a very mature group of players for that.
Zag24
 supporter, 713 posts
Tue 9 Nov 2021
at 03:06
What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
Spirit of the Century is set in the 20's, which is pretty close and has much of the feel you are talking about.

I personally think that 1922 is a fantastic year for an RPG.
* Prohibition was well underway but the thick corruption hadn't set in, yet.
* Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered.
* There was a meteor strike in Virginia that had a blast radius of over 100 miles.  (You can still see its outlines in Google maps, if you know where to look.)
* The worst effects of the Great War and the Spanish Flu were behind us (at least in the U.S.; Europe was still reeling).
* Airplanes were not common, but not ridiculously rare, either.
* The most common car on the road was still the Ford Model T, but that was changing.  This was the genesis of the iconic bank robbery gangs -- the gangs had the Oldsmobiles and better, that topped out at 60 mph, while the police forces all had Model T's, still, with a top speed of 25 mph.

This message was last edited by the user at 03:07, Tue 09 Nov.

GreenTongue
 member, 1038 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Tue 9 Nov 2021
at 11:59
Re: What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
Zag24:
Spirit of the Century is set in the 20's, which is pretty close and has much of the feel you are talking about.

I personally think that 1922 is a fantastic year for an RPG.

Would it support a Tramp Steamer based game? At least in some parts of the world?
Something where there was still profit in the backwater ports for those willing to take the risk. Where a tramp steamer could even exist. Yeah I haven't research the period that well but then it is unlikely any players will either.

Another of the challenges might be having the players know what to do besides follow the rails.  Not the preferred option but certainly something to get them moving.

As you said about Tutankhamen's tomb, and most know of Indiana Jones, there are places to loot as well as barely legal cargo to transport.
Gaffer
 member, 1710 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Tue 9 Nov 2021
at 16:05
Re: What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
Cygnia:
Deadlands Noir was awesome.  I remember a LARP that was set in it a few years ago at Origins based on Huey Long's funeral...

That sounds terrific! I make it to Origins most years (except the past three) and I'm always looking for LARPs like that. Sorry I misse it. Do you remember who ran it?

I ran a Deadlands Noir campaign here a few years ago. It ran about four episodes until RL chased all my players away, one by one, before we got to the big climax.

This message was last edited by the user at 16:07, Tue 09 Nov.

Gaffer
 member, 1711 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Tue 9 Nov 2021
at 16:09
Re: What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
In reply to GreenTongue (msg # 12):

I ran a Savage Worlds game here a few years ago based on a schooner in the South Seas, circa 1037. There were treasure hunters and weird mercreatures and a secret Japanese base. Lots of fun.
Cygnia
 member, 310 posts
 Amoral Paladin
Tue 9 Nov 2021
at 16:10
Re: What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
Gaffer:
That sounds terrific! I make it to Origins most years (except the past three) and I'm always looking for LARPs like that. Sorry I misse it. Do you remember who ran it?


Kettle of Fish Productions.  I've been in a few of their LARPs now of various games/genres and I definitely recommend them!
Gaffer
 member, 1712 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Tue 9 Nov 2021
at 16:16
Re: What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
In reply to Cygnia (msg # 15):

I've played with them a time or two. They do some really nice stuff.

In the past, My daughter and I have spent most of our time at Origins running/playing with Rogue Cthulhu.
GreenTongue
 member, 1039 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Tue 9 Nov 2021
at 17:37
Re: What Is It About the 30's Pulp Genre?
In reply to Gaffer (msg # 14):

Sounds kinda like the "Voyage of the Scarlet Queen" radio drama. Only different time period.
Also sounds fun.