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Pulp Call of Cthulhu Part 2: The Villains

Doctor Mabuse

If you’ve been following us for awhile, you might remember me mentioning I’ve been working on a Call of Cthulhu game where the Player Characters will play as Tarzan, Doc Savage, the Shadow, and other pulp style heroes and characters. (Flash Gordon? Karamenah? The Bride of Frankenstein?)

Lately, I’ve been considering the villains. Reading the latest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Nemo: The Roses of Berlin, I’ve been inspired by the idea of using the villains of German Expressionist cinema to go against the somewhat more straightforward American heroes.

Think of it: Rotwang, Dr Caligari, Doctor Mabuse. Now, I’m not exactly opposed to throwing in Fu Manchu, Adolph Hitler, and John Sunlight, but I really like the Weirdness of the German contingent – we are still ostensibly dealing with the Cthulhu Mythos here. These are exactly the types to be reading from forbidden tomes.

What do you think? Who are your favorite thirties era villains?

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Creating Pulp Call of Cthulhu Characters

Pulp Call of Cthulhu


I’m creating a Pulp Call of Cthulhu campaign, and I’m looking to literally populate it with Pulp action heroes, in the same mode as this. I figured I’d translate a handful of characters to the Call of Cthulhu rules and then present them to my players and let them choose. I’m looking to avoid “superheroes” but pretty much any character is fair game.

I’ve started with the “big three.”

Doc Savage

The hardest to translate to the game: he has no flaws. He’s an exceptional combatant and also knows virtually everything. I decided to make him good at everything but make the others even better at some things.

The Shadow

Former World War One Flying Ace turned vigilante, exceptional driving, flying and shooting skills – also possesses some measure of quasi-mystical stealth and possibly the ability to see the darkness in men’s hearts. Depends on which version exactly you’re consulting. He’s going to have some kind of innate magic, for sure, I haven’t decided how powerful exactly to make him.


Burroughs describes the Apeman as an intelligent, handsome giant. The easiest to make, I think, enormous, physically perfect and quick witted, but with the disadvantage of not knowing much about stuff in general. Good at climbing, and of course, can talk to some jungle animals.

Pulp Call of Cthulhu

The Rest

I’m still thinking about any additional characters, as I’ve said, basically any fictional character “active” in the thirties is fair game. (Perhaps I’ll include Derleth’s Solar Pons as Sherlock Holmes is out, or perhaps someone can play both Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe). The big challenge is definitely going to be FEMALE characters. There is at least one player in my group who seems to favor them. I’d like to include a strong female character.

My knowledge of the genre is practical but limited… help me out! Leave a comment and some suggestions.