Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A New Game for the New Year

A link on the Twitter #OSR hashtag recently led me to the Spanish-language RPG publisher grapas&mapas, and more particularly to their thus-far only English-translated work, Vieja Escuela Pulp! Translating roughly to "Old School Pulp", it is indeed a lightweight (48 pages, including the adventure) OSR take on early 20th-century adventure fiction, which is what is usually meant by "pulp". Now that the '20s are here again, it's the perfect time to check out some of the examples of this genre.

Like most other games that fall under the OSR banner, Vieja Escuela Pulp! uses the basic six-attribute, class-and-level, d20+ modifier system we're all familiar with, with some tweaks to fit the author's taste and to emulate the genre. Some of the changes that I especially noticed include:

  • A six-item skill list that largely replaces attribute bonuses as modifiers for rolls.
  • A simple mental health/sanity mechanic based on the Wisdom stat.
  • A Pulp! points mechanic to activate class talents as well as mystical and super-science devices alike.
  • A streamlined advancement system that automatically incorporates a degree of multi-classing.
All in all, my impression is that the rules take more than a few cues from more modern designs, but they are so well streamlined that they would be easy to integrate into other games, even ones from more traditional OSR genres.

The adventure, "The Swamp of the Snake God", is a nice, if a little sparse, search for a crashed WWII bomber that turns into a lost-civilization adventure. The final dungeon, in particular, could be easily borrowed from the South Pacific and re-used anywhere a small pyramid might be found.

And the best part of all? Vieja Escuela Pulp! can be found for free at the publisher's website, linked above. Happy New Year, everyone!


  1. Translates exactly to "Old School Pulp," actually, nothing rough about it except the grammar is bad and it should really be "Pulp de la vieja escuela." Love that cover art. Thanks for making me aware of this.

    1. I usually figure I should qualify any interpretation I get from Google Translate. ;-)

      You're welcome - thanks for stopping by!

  2. What I learned–among many things–is these little “gamers” were skilled at the games but were not skilled at online gaming etiquette.


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