Quick Rules

Success Tree

+8 Legendary
+7 Epic
+6 Fantastic
+5 Superb
+4 Great
+3 Good
+2 Fair
+1 Average
0 Mediocre
-1 Poor
-2 Terrible

Skill Pyramid

1 skill at Superb(+5) 0
2 skills at Great(+4) 00
3 skills at Good(+3) 000
4 skills at Fair(+2) 0000
5 skills at Average(+1) 00000


page 84 has a clear example of how a skill and aspects are used, if interested.
Athletics, Endurance, Resolve, and Alertness are highly recommended unless they do not fit your character.


(Put whatever skill you want information on in "skillname" to link to that section)

Skill Category Quick Details
Academics Knowledge Research, Discover information, Know Languages
Alertness Perception Perception and initiative
Art Craft/Knowledge Create art or Perform, know artist and styles, make forgeries
Athletics Physical Dodge, jump, sprint, climb, fall, gymnastics
Burglary Subterfuge Thieving skills, casing, safe-cracking
Contacting Social Know people, gather information, rumours
Deceit Social Lie, bluff
Drive Mundane Chases, speeding, stunts
Empathy Social/Perception Read people, detect lies
Endurance Physical (skill/2, round up) added to health, withstand physical strain
Engineering Craft Create, repair, and break devices
Fists Combat Fight with brawling, kung-fu
Gambling Mundane Gamble, find games, win
Guns Combat shoot guns, rifles, bows, etc.
Intimidation Social Scare or pressure people, interrogate
Investigation Perception look for clues, analyze
Leadership Social Administration, bureaucracy, command
Might Physical Pure Brawn, wrestling, break or lift things
Mysteries Knowledge Arcane lore, sixth sense, mesmerism, artificing
Pilot Mundane Flying, chases, stunts, dogfights
Rapport Social casual talking, first impressions
Resolve Social (skill/2, round up) added to composure, mental fortitude
Resources Mundane Wealth, lifestyle, spending power, workspaces
Science Knowledge Research, discover information, medical applications
Sleight of Hand Subterfuge Manual dexterity, pick-pocketing, street magic
Stealth Subterfuge Hiding, stalking, ambushing
Survival Mundane Animal handling, riding, scavenging
Weapons Combat Using various melee weapons


Character Ideas

While players have the leeway to explore any ideas that interest them, it’s
worth remembering that the pulps have a handful of easily recognizable
character types. While you are far from obliged to fit characters into these
neat little “boxes”, we encourage you to create Centurions that match the
overall flavor. Beyond that, you’re free to fill in details as you like. A pulp
setting can support characters of almost every stripe, but there are a few
common themes worth taking a look at.


The academic lives somewhere between the scientist and the explorer. The
academic is compelled by his interest in his field, which is usually something
like history, linguistics, anthropology or (most famously) archaeology. The
academic knows that lost, hidden, and forgotten knowledge exists all over
the world. Ancient ruins, obscure libraries, mysterious artifacts – all these
can offer answers to questions that have not even been asked yet.
What are you doing: You are answering questions, finding what was lost,
and trying to expand the breadth of human knowledge.


Though much of the map of the world is filled in, much of it remains blank
or is simply wrong. The explorer thrives on discovering who and what
is in those unknown places. The khaki-clad, pith-helmeted image of the
explorer is perhaps the most compelling, but the same spirit can beat in the
hearts of ship captains, spelunkers, or even ambassadors.
What are you doing: You’re discovering the world, opening new doors
and seeking lost secrets and treasures.

Gadget Guy

The gadget guy is the recipient of the wonders of science. He is the keeper
of a unique piece of technology, usually at the behest of its creator. The
creator may or may not still be alive and serving as a patron for him (and
in some cases, the creator and the gadget guy are the same person!). The
device in question is usually quite potent, and serves as a signature for the
character – something interesting and immediately recognizable, like a jet
pack, a super car, or an exotic weapon.
What are you doing: With great technology comes great responsibility.
Your gadget has made you more capable of taking action (whatever action
you pursue), so you have embraced it.

Gentleman Criminal

Crime is usually a brutish thing, fueled by necessity, but for some it is the
only true challenge available. Usually possessed of copious talents, enough
that they have already found success elsewhere, gentleman criminals pursue
a life of crime because of its excitement. Such characters enjoy the good life
and civilization, so the adventures of exploration hold no appeal to them,
especially when compared to the thrill of the chase, outwitting investigators,
and similar brushes with danger.
Often, these criminals turn into sociopathic masterminds as they turn more
and more to crime. But others maintain a certain basic, albeit twisted,
honesty that informs their crimes. A burglar may have a strong code to
harm no one, or may rob from the rich to give to the poor. An assassin may
only accept contracts on those he feels society is better off without. Most
such ethical criminals can be convinced to leave their past behind them
and use their talents to more challenging, world-bettering ends, but true
retirement is not often in their nature.
What are you doing: You’re trying to find something worth doing. When
you find it, you seize upon it with gusto.

Jungle Lord

When we speak of the jungle lord, we’re speaking of characters like Tarzan
or Mowgli, a man raised by animals, possessed of great strength and ability
to communicate with or command animals.
Usually awkward in the face of civilization, these heroes act with a simpler
understanding of things like justice, but with time, they can become
bridges between two worlds.
What are you doing: You’re protecting your home and your pack, and
attempting to understand the world outside.

Man of Mystery

There is no magic, only things science does not yet understand – and there
are a lot of those. The man of mystery has delved into these secrets, be they
the true workings of the mind, the “kung fu” of the eastern warriors, or
perhaps a handful of syllables of the true name of God.
Whatever this knowledge is, it separates him from his fellow man, often
so much that the hero adopts a persona to allow separation between his
heroic personality and his normal life.
There’s a proximity to madness which mystery invites that can mean these
heroes are of a darker, more disturbing character than the norm.
What are you doing: You’ve seen the darkness, and you’re on a mission
to strike it down. You’re punishing those who think they’re above punishment.


The Operator is an agent, perhaps for a government agency that can’t be
acknowledged, perhaps for a secret organization. He may not know, himself.
But it means he’s connected (well connected), and is privy to secrets
that others just don’t know about.
His job? Whatever the agency says it is. Thankfully, that is usually exactly
what the Operator would be interested in doing in the first place. When
conflict eventually arises between the operator and the agency, it usually
goes very badly indeed for one of them or the other.
What are you doing: You’re serving a greater cause – perhaps for your
government, or perhaps a higher or more secret authority than that.

Plucky Reporter

One of the things that makes the world so much smaller is the news. A few
decades back, if something happened a few states away, or anywhere else in
the world, it would take time to trickle into the awareness of the average
Now, with the telegraph and radio, people know what’s going on almost as
soon as it’s happened. The demand for regular news is fierce and competitive,
and in this day and age, “The Scoop” means a substantial advantage
for newspapers – if you’ve got the story, there’s no alternative, so people
buy papers.
With this in mind, newspapers are always looking for news of the exotic and
interesting, and they’re willing to tolerate a lot of foibles from a reporter
who can bring in the big story.
What are you doing: You are finding out everything you can so you can
share it with the world.


Usually of a people that some explorer has ‘discovered’, the primitive is an
outsider in the world that other heroes operate in. The subject of condescension
and curiosity, he is also the keeper of knowledge that has been
lost, or not yet discovered, by the white man in his tall cities.
Perhaps this knowledge is some form of “magic” or something more recognizable
as science, like a knowledge of botany far beyond what “modern”
man has discovered. One way or another, the primitive is usually quite
sophisticated, albeit in a way that most people don’t recognize.
What are you doing: You are representing your people, looking for
knowledge to take back to them, or perhaps trying to carve out a new life
in exile.

Science Hero

The science hero is the best way to summarize a character like Lester Dent’s
classic pulp hero Doc Savage: brilliant, tough, strong, basically better than
you at everything, and made that way by science!
Thankfully, most science heroes are slightly less obvious examples of the
superman incarnate. A science hero may be very much like a gadget hero,
someone who has benefited from extreme science in some way – perhaps
making them a little stronger, tougher or faster than they would have been.
Such characters tend to be well rounded (though rarely to the somewhat
silly level of a Doc Savage himself ) but their specific interests are frequently
tied to their origin.
What are you doing: You do a bit of everything, taking all comers.


In pulp, everyone is a scientist. Science is the door to the future, and every
educated man has an interest in it. Despite that, it is easy to spot the committed
scientist, master of one or more fields, dedicating his time and effort
to the pursuit of science. Whereas other heroes seek adventure and appreciate
science, the scientist seeks science and appreciates adventure.
While the scientist may have richly appointed labs or shops, there is still
too much to be found, too many theories to be tested, too much to do, to
simply stay cooped up. Scientists can have one or more fields of interest,
which will generally be reflected by their equipment. A chemist or botanist
may have a steady supply of bizarre and unique concoctions, while an
engineer might have exotic gadgets or weapons.
What are you doing: You’re challenging assumptions and testing theories,
bringing science out into the field with the intention of proving a theory
that can solve a problem or create something new and beneficial to mankind.

Two-Fisted Pilot

The world is getting smaller as we watch, and aviation lies at the heart of
it. Every year, the utility of planes is growing, and their range and power
increases in kind. The pilot shares much of his spirit with the explorer,
and in many ways is the next step in the chain of discovery. The explorer
may find an exotic locale, but it is the pilot who ties it in to the rest of the
The Great War made pilots into dashing, romantic figures, and the commercial
realities of the post-war era are making them more and more
What are you doing: You’re connecting the world to itself. Your passion is
in seeing all there is to see, going to strange and exotic locales and bringing
the outside world along for the ride, and taking a piece with you when you

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