The votes have been tallied and our latest Patreon poll has a winner. We asked our Quest Givers to decide what new and exciting genres the Heroes would explore this month. As you might have noticed, it was Classic Pulp that carried the day. (Better luck next time, Weird West!)

Shifting genres is all kinds of amusing, and that applies to players, GMs, and comic writers alike. Laurel and I had a blast going through while researching this one. But even more than the outrageous art of a bygone era, it’s the shiny new collection of tropes that makes a genre shift fun.

If you’re into fantasy, then you know how useful the conventions are. Reading through fairy tales and Tolkien, watching Harry Potter movies or Dark Crystal episodes, you can’t help but pick up a few tricks. They’re the Handbook’s stock and trade, and include everything from Quest Givers to Dark Lords; Scheming Nobles to Castle Sieges. They’re the building blocks of genre, and manipulating them at the service of character backstory and campaign setting is part of the fun in games like D&D, Dungeon World, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. 

When you move into something as radically different as pulp, however, you unlock a treasure chest of new devices. When I asked Laurel why she was frowning so hard at her Cintiq last night, she said, “I want to add a Dick Tracy hat too, but I just don’t know how that works when you’ve got a horn….” Some things just feel right in-genre. For pulp, that includes gangsters, trips to China Town, leggy dames entering detective agencies, and hard-boiled action dudes champing cigars and punching goons down at the docks.

Of course, as you might have gathered from Horsepower’s head and Elf Princess’s conspicuously pointy ears, it’s also possible to mix genres. My last pulp game was actually in the Exalted 2e system, and involved a god-blooded black cat named Baby Grand. Dude owned his own own private investigations outfit in Nexus, had a voice like Batman, and yes, wore an adorable tiny fedora.

So how about it, guys? Have you ever taken a dramatic turn from your group’s usual setting? Was it an exciting change of pace, or an unwelcome departure from your preferred set of tropes? Tell us all about your adventures in strange and distant genres down in the comments!


ARE YOU AN IMPATIENT GAMER? If so, you should check out the “Henchman” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. For just one buck a month, you can get each and every Handbook of Heroes comic a day earlier than the rest of your party members. That’s bragging rights right there!