Adventure had a name...and it was Indiana Jones. So why were there never enough roleplaying games based on the "pulp" era of the early 1900's? It was a fascinating time, with the advent of flight it became possible to travel around the world faster than ever before and hunt for relics of the past. Plus, two world wars advanced technology at a record pace while industrialization made the production of massive amounts of goods and services possible. Discoveries were occuring more rapidly than ever before and our understanding of the world was advancing just as fast.
Enter the modern-day adventurer who set out to unearth the mysteries of the past, and conspirators who set out to topple governments. Spies, mobsters, treasure hunters and glory seekers all entered into this incredible mix and our early pulp authors wrote wildly about them. The setting is perfect for a roleplaying game, with endless scenarios around the globe. But there were almost no rpg's of this type, so I made one. HPA hearkens back to my love of the IJ (and later the Mummy) movies, as well as those glorious pulp stories penned by Howard, Doyle, Burroughs and others. Characters like the Phantom, the Shadow and Zorro were just plain fun and there needed to be an rpg to play out those archtypes.
Obviously it needed to have fast-paced action and maybe a little feeling of "I'm-awesome-and-can't-ever-REALLY-die". Let's face it: most pulp heroes were practically superhuman and took an awful beating beyond the ability of any normal folk to withstand. Personality was also a big part of a pulp heroe's charm, so I felt that should be a built-in part of the character in the form of Outlooks. Backstory is always important, so I added these in a similar fashion to Advantages, Disadvantages, Perks, Flaws, etc., while trying to give them more story-based effects. The Incantations are there for flavor and may not be to everyone's taste. We are all used to flinging spells left and right in fantasy game and these are not meant to be used as such. Those that may wish to run a more historical game may eliminate them entirely. But there were enough black magics, ancient curses and voodoo around in these milieus that I had to include them. Mixing and combining the stats seemed to fit too, since not everyone approaches a task in the same manner. One person may use their mind to achieve success while another may get by on their good looks.
I have always been a history buff and a fan of the pulp adventure stories and so getting a chance to play them out is a real treat for me. Hope it is for you too!