[This is a playtest report for Thrilling Tales of Adventure!, a pulp adventure boardgame that is currently in development. You can peruse previous playtest entries starting here].
The year is 1928. After recovering from the terrible toll of the Great War, human civilization has entered a new golden era. Industry is booming, science is opening up new frontiers, and the world looks forward to a bright future. But beneath the hustle and bustle, evil spreads like poison. The criminal underworld extends its despicable reach; military dictators forge dreams of iron and blood; deranged geniuses distort the boons of science to terrible effect; eldritch forces stir in the bowels of the Earth. Worst of all, some diabolical intelligence seems to be pulling the strings, orchestrating these forces toward some unknown, horrific goal.
But fear not! Rising to face this threat is a breed of rare individuals, heroes the likes of which the world has rarely seen. Intrepid souls, determined to defend the downtrodden, punish the wicked, and untangle the thickening web of corruption and trickery. What adventures await them? What tales will be told of their extraordinary deeds?
Before these tales are told, let's meet the three heroes upon whose shoulders the fate of the world resides, this time around:
Doktor Radium, the brilliant German scientist, starts at his Laboratorium in Berlin. He is accompanied by Gunther, his faithful (if slow-witted) dogsbody.
Of the 4 potential unique Advantages available to him over the course of the game, Doktor Radium chooses to start with German Discipline.
Each Hero also has a unique starting Adventure in play when the game begins, to set them on their way. Doktor Radium's initial Adventure is The Curious Doktor. The entries on this card marked by green and red hourglasses indicate what will happen if this particular Adventure is brought to an heroic or villainous conclusion, respectively. A white entry is always addressed to the active Hero player, and a black entry is always addressed to the Arch Villain player.
Rockwell Jones, former pugilist turned private eye, starts at 114 West 86th St. (his office in Chicago), with his faithful companion, a .45 automatic.
Rockwell chooses Ace Detective as his starting Advantage.
Rockwell's starting Adventure, In Walked a Dame, sets him up in classic gumshoe style. But who knows where this apparently simple case will take him?
Rounding out the trio of do-gooders is Grigor the Great, the mysterious Russian magician. Grigor starts at his Magician's Garret in Petrograd, and has no starting Ally or Equipment.
Choosing from among his 4 prestidigitation-based Advantages, Grigor settles on Sleight of Hand. In addition to the ability explained in the card's text, this Advantage carries the "Lockpick" icon, which he can use in situations that call for that particular piece of incidental equipment.
Grigor's introductory Adventure, Stolen Secrets, pits him against an as-yet-unknown trespasser who has made off with some of his precious repertoire. Will Grigor be able keep his secrets safe?
Opposing these three is the Arch Villain, a shadowy entity whose true form will only become known in the last Act of the game.
The stage is set!
How will the Arch Villain's plots manifest, and what will the Heroes do to thwart those plots? Tune in next time for another chapter of Thrilling Tales of Adventure!