Pulp Review: Adventure
$Revision: 1.1 $

cover img Adventure: Tales of the Aeon Society

Author: Warren Ellis, Greg Stolze (fiction), Andrew Bates, Bruce Baugh and others (rules and setting)
Published in 2001 by White Wolf
272 pages.
ISBN:1-56504-608-0 -
Price: Out of Print


According to what I gathered from Internet discussion, this game was a sort of "limited-scope experiment" for White Wolf. The volume is self- contained, and gives a good structure to build Pulp games, but it is also a sort of "prequel" for the whole Aberrant/Trinity line. White Wolf admitted since day one that they did not intend to produce supplements for the game, even if sales were pretty good.

Even if this may seem a severe limit, consider that the game is based on a slightly customized version of the usual Word Of Darkness rules, so if you really need to insert, for example, a complete magic system, you may track down a copy of Sorcerer or other WOD splatbooks to mine for ideas.
The real problem is that the game is currently out of print, with no official statement about reprints, so even the lonely main book is a difficult find. Adventure seems to have enjoyed a good success, and rumours of a second edition keep cropping up.


As already mentioned, the game engine uses standard WOD mechanics. I'm not very familiar with it, so I cannot provide any insight on how different it plays from the other lines.

Characters are basically normal humans with extra "Knacks" (encompassing everything from "GURPS-like" advantages to effects which just short from full-blown super powers). The Knacks, and most of the strange and wonderful effects on the "official" world come from a specific source, which ties in with the Aberrant/Trinity timeline.

Even if everything is explained in terms of this "source", including Inspiration, (a special characteristic which is used as a sort of currency to buy nifty effects both in terms of character creation than actual play), dropping the metaplot and just using the Knacks as a shopping list will probably work well enough.

The most radical innovation is the concept of Drama Editing, allowing players to supply descriptions of scenes and events in exchange of points from their Inspiration pool.

This is an optional sub-system, and relies heavily on DM discretion, obviously, but it seems to capture the "feel" of over-the-top action well.

Background info

As we have seen in the preceding section, the Adventure game arrives with a very specific backgorund. It is nominally set in the '20s, but on a world where a mysterious energy has created superhumans of various types... where superscience works, and event time may flow in puzzling way.

The world description is not very specific, though, and most of what we discover comes through short fictional pieces, usually in the form of newsclips, or diaries.

Even if I'd discard the world idea, personally, reading these is still pretty stimulating in terms of ideas for the GM.
The background (apart from the main premise) is intentionally sparse, so you can add Nazis, aliens, lemurians, Tong, lost civilizations and dinosaurs. You can probably move the "official" time forward or backward with little ill effects, too...

Being a semi-historical period, we still have timeline, and vague (but sufficient) pointers to equipment costs and so on. I consider this fully adequate for the spirit of this game (where being invaded by Martians could be something your characters have to face during an otherwise pretty ordinary weekend... and having a completely different kind of menace immediately after.)

By carefully vetoing some of the most over-the-top Knacks, though, the game can probably still work if you prefer grittier tones.

Summing up

The game seems to have spurred a lot of wacky but pretty fun campaigns, according to what we may read on RPG.net forums.
It has been customized for Star Wars, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and even sillier free-for-all involving larger than life figures like Cyrano.

The system may probably be a little too grainy, and PCs will porbably need to wield impressive number of dice when using their most developed traits and skills... outcome is also pretty much decided in favour of the players, due to how the system work, especially if you allow Drama Editing.