An important aspect of playing Pulp Alley in a normal adventure style setting, is that a character’s Health represents their overall condition, including their mental state and morale. As such, in normal game play, when a character is injured, goes down, or is ko’d, this can be attributed to psychological trauma just as easily as physical trauma. Normally we do not differentiate between the two, because the end result is exactly the same.
However, some players may enjoy using the optional Pulp Alley Horror Deck for a little more detail and entertainment. As always, you are free to use or ignore these optional rules.
The Horror Deck is normally made up of 48 cards, which includes 16 different effects. The Horror Deck is used in addition to the Fortune Deck and is kept separated. As such, shuffle the Horror Deck before each scenario place it beside the Fortune Deck (or Solo Deck).
Over the course of a scenario, as Horror cards are drawn, these cards remain in play and attached to the appropriate character card, so the effect can be easily read by all players. Once a Horror card effect ends and it is no longer in play (see Recovery), place the card face up in the Horror discard pile next to the Horror Deck.
If the Horror Deck is exhausted during a scenario, simply shuffle the discard pile and start a fresh deck.
In Pulp Alley, we use the term horrific to identify a character or situation that is capable of inflicting significant psychological trauma. If the setting is not already defined by the campaign/scenario, then players are encouraged to agree on a specific type of setting that fits their own style of play and/or the specific scenario. Fours different Horror Settings are listed below:
> Setting: Terrific Horror — A Terror with the Horror ability counts as horrific instead of the normal rules for the Horror ability. No other characters are horrific.
> Setting: Shocking Horror — All characters with the Shock ability count as horrific instead of the normal rules for the Shock ability. No other characters are horrific.
> Setting: Monster Horror — All monsters (see Pulp Leagues) count as horrific in addition to all other rules relating to monsters. No other characters are horrific.
> Setting: Custom Horror — Players may clearly define exactly which characters are horrific. No other characters are horrific. For example, we use this style for our Tomb of the Serpent campaign.
In addition to characters, a plot point, peril, or some other challenge may also be horrific. These are intended to represent situations, events, and encounters that have the potential to inflict psychological trauma. A few examples include reading a passage from the Necronomicon, searching a pile of rotting corpses, identifying a portal to another dimension, questioning a fish-eyed priest of Dagon, and so on.
If a challenge is horrific, it will be identified in the scenario description. Otherwise, players and gamemasters are free to add their own horrific challenges to their scenarios and campaigns.
When to roll a Horror check?
1. When you activate or move within 12” of one or more horrific enemies of equal or higher level. You are not required to roll more than one Horror check during your own activation for activating/moving within 12” of a horrific enemy.
2. When a horrific enemy of equal or higher level moves into contact with your character.
3. When you move into contact with a horrific challenge (peril, plot point, and so on). However, you are not required to roll a Horror check when you activate in contact with a horrific challenge.
For example — On his activation, Mak O’Reilly activates within 12” of two hideous fish-eyed monsters (level 3 horrific), so he must immediately roll a Horror check. He rolls a 1d8 and passes the check by rolling a 4.
He then moves within 12” of a shambling Shoggoth (level 4 horrific), but he is not required to roll another Horror check due to horrific enemies in the same activation.
As he continues his activation, he ends his movement in contact with a grotesque Mythos Totem (plot point), so he must roll another Horror check. This time he rolls a 3 and fails the Horror check...
What dice to roll for a Horror check?
When you are required to roll a Horror check, roll 1 die equal to your current Health die-type. It is important to note that this roll is not a “Health check”. As such, this check is not affected by rules, abilities, cards, and so on that apply to a character’s Health checks.
What happens when a Horror check is failed?
When you fail a Horror check, draw the top card of the Horror Deck and apply the effect to your character. Attach the card to your character. This card remains in play and is not placed into the discard pile until the effect ends. Otherwise, if you pass the check (4+), there is no other effect.
For example — Continuing Mak’s activation, he just failed a Horror check and must draw a Horror card. Drawing from the top of the deck, he gets SHAKEN. This card is attached to Mak for as long as the effect lasts.
Note that his failure and this card do not automatically end Mak’s activation. He still has the option to attempt the peril/plot point — albeit with a bit more trepidation and looking furtively over his shoulder...
How long does a Horror effect last?
At the end of each turn, you may roll a 1d6 Recovery check for each of your characters with one or more Horror effects. If you roll a 4+, then you may remove one effect/card of your choice from that character and place it in the discard pile. Otherwise, the effects remain in play. Rolling a Horror Recovery check is optional and it is acceptable to choose to not roll.
This Recovery check is in addition to any checks rolled for your injured characters. As such, this check is affected by rules, abilities, cards, and so on that may apply to a character’s Recovery checks. For example, if a character is injured and has a Horror effect, they will get two Recovery checks. As normal, you must clearly declare what you are rolling for prior to rolling your dice.
For example — Continuing Mak’s activation, assuming he failed the peril at the sinister Mythos Totem and became injured.
At the end of the turn, in addition to rolling a 1d6 Recovery check for his physical injury, Mak may also roll a 1d6 Recovery for his Horror effect.
If Mak had more than one Horror effect then he could pick which one to remove if he passed the Recovery check for his Horror effects.
Please let us know if you have questions or suggestions.......