Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Golden Skull: A Pulp Alley game report

In order to get more practice with the Pulp Alley rules, I played one of the proposed scenarios included in the rules, "The lost keys". Unfortunately I skimmed the deployment rules and terribly misunderstood them, which is unfortunate, because it’s the most fun part of the scenario, but still spent a very interesting time confronting two leagues trying to seize a mythical and fabulous artifact.

Our story begins in Mwali, a small island located in the Indian Ocean. Hide in the dense forest lies the ruins of an old settlement that belonged to the Sultanate of Shirazi who ruled in the mid-fifteenth century the archipelago now knows as Comores. An old legend says that within the ruins of the abandoned place is hidden a bizarre and valued gem, the skull of an ancient Vizier turned to gold and with two beautiful topaz set into the eyes sockets.

Coming from Malaysia there were Lady Guillermina Havelock, sidekick of Warlord Chen Tao, who rules as Mastermind of the Hai San secret society. Guillermina comes with her bodyguard, Hassan and two Moors “Juramentados”, Malik and Maluk. The remaining escort consists of several Baluchis, hired for the occasion as cannon fodder.

 In an attempt to avoid the sinister plans of the Hai San, the British governor of the Kenya Colony has called Calico Joe, a famous adventurer with the mission to foil the plans of Mrs. Havelock. Together with our hero we find Marion Crown, an erudite archaeologist; and Bubú, a French smuggler of Arab origin. The governor has given to Calico a small detachment of soldiers as escort.

 Both leagues deployed, (badly) on opposite edges of a board representing a dense jungle which the ruins in the centre.

 Guillermina Havelock and his allies took the initiative, and a pre-game event benefits Malik, one of the Juramentados, to start the adventure being hidden. The rest quickly moved toward the secondary plots points, needed to get clues that allow discovering the exact location of the skull, (major Plot point).

On the other side of the forest, Calico and Marion strives to cross through the swamp followed by Dudu and the soldiers escort.

Soon the wild and untamed swamp takes its first victim when one of the soldiers is killed by a Chelydra Serpentina ... (a Peril card played by the wily adversary).

 Meanwhile, the Baluchis led by the faithful Hassan headed quickly to guard the path by which their enemies will emerge...

One of the soldiers went through the thick bush to get close to one of the secondary plot point. A few feet away was the clue that could indicate the entrance to the ruins and nothing seemed to prevent the skull were soon held by Calico Joe.

 Unfortunately the plot point was guarded by a trap and the limited intellect of the soldier (Finesse) or his physical strength (Might) were unable to overcome the peril and a bag of poison gas ended his life in horrible rattle.  

Calico Joe tries to compensate the balance and shoot down one of the Baluchis.

 But the stalker Hassan spring his ambush and hit Calico,  injuring him.

Dudú fortunately repels the aggression.

However, the Hassan's attack had given a timeframe for his allies to find the clue that they need to find the ruins entrance, Soon Guillermina can penetrate through the ruins. She shuddered with the sight of the precious artefact. Yet had to overcome the dangers that awaited inside, (a 3 dice Peril card played against her!) and solved the puzzle who allows the release of the precious artefact. (a 3 dice Challege!) Havelock was triumphant of them all!


Marion urged Dudú to start the chase while she herself confront Maluk, the “Juramentado”.

Dudú attempt to shorten distance through the vegetation when a terrible Gabon Viper appeared before him. His dodge attempt (Might or Finesse) were failed and fell to the ground writhing in pain from the bite. (another Peril card...)

Maluk is a hard opponent and Marion called for help in the fight against the mighty Moro. But it was too late to prevent the escape of Guillermina Havelock.

All in all, a fun game with a ruleset that has captivated me for its originality and fun.
And remember..."The jungle is neutral"...or not?


  1. A great AAR! Love the figures and scenery. I think the jungle can best be described as 'hostile to all!' ;)

  2. Excellent game and some lovely terrain, thanks for sharing.

  3. What a great report, truly atmospherical :).

  4. Excellent game and AAR. This ruleset is really interesting.

  5. What a lovely report and great interpretation of the perils.