The Pulp Hack: Mini-review and custom Character Sheet

There’s a simple pulp RPG put out a few years ago by Scott Malthouse (creator of Romance of the Perilous Land) called the Pulp Hack. It’s an adaptation of the OSR Black Hack rule system to run 1930s pulp adventures.

The Rules

The Black Hack system is an OSR-based class and level system. Pulp Hack characters have the traditional STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA stats, and hit points.

Any action a player might take is resolved by selecting a stat and rolling a D20. If the player rolls under the stat, they succeed. For example, a character with a STR of 13 is trying to force open a tomb door. If they roll a 12 or less, they succeed.

Combat rolls are either STR or DEX rolls. GMs don’t roll for enemies. Only players roll to attack and to defend against attacks.

Some rolls can be rolled with advantage or disadvantage depending on the situation.

The Pulp Hack includes the following classes: Adventurer, Private Investigator, Masked Vigilante, Jungle Master, Mystic, Scientist. Each has special abilities, and a specific damage type.

When a character does damage to a foe, the specific weapon doesn’t matter. Each class has a specified damage die for both armed and unarmed attacks.

It’s been my experience that most Black Hack-based systems are quick and easy to run, and the Pulp Hack is no exception. Players usually pick up the system very quickly. However, I’m not 100% sure the whole OSR class/level system is the best fit for a pulp game, at least for longer campaigns. Most traditional pulp heroes don’t actually change or “level up” in the original stories. Doc Savage started and ended his run pretty much exactly the same. It’s still a fun little game, and worth looking at.

The Pulp Hack is short (only 20 pages), but clearly presented. GMs will have to provide all of the pulp setting background on their own. A short list of magic spells and foes is provided.

It’s currently only one dollar over on DriveThru, so it’s worth picking up.

Character Sheet

There’s no official character sheet for the Pulp Hack, so I’ve made my own. It’s pretty much an adaptation of the OneDice Pulp character sheet I recently made.

It’s two pages, fillable and will allow you to import a character image by clicking in the upper right hand corner. I’ve made both A4 and US letter versions.

I’ve added this to my list of custom character sheets over on my other RPG blog.