Spirit of the Century: Origins

Greetings, adventurers!

Spirit of the Century is a pulp pick-up roleplaying game.  The year is 1922.  Out of the shadow of the Great War, a new century unfolds.  New discoveries abound; intrepid explorers illuminate the darkest corners of the globe, while science advances boldly into a new and hopeful future.  Yet the world also faces new and strange threats.  In the skies over Europe, Doctor Methuselah’s fleet of time-zeppelins assemble to rip open a path to a future that never should be . The deadly Gorilla Khan stalks darkest Africa from his throne in conquered Atlantis, pledging the destruction of the human race . All over the globe, dark shadows grasp towards the hearts of the brave.

One organization stands in their way: the Century Club.  Characters in Spirit of the Century are the secret inner circle of this storied group, known as Centurions.  Extraordinary men and women with but two common links:  all were sponsored for membership by an older Centurion, and all share a birthday– the first day of the new century– January 1st, 1901.

The hardest part of getting a roleplaying group together is scheduling.  The idea behind a pick-up game is to start with a large pool of potential players, and to run episodic adventures for the portion of them that can make a particular date and time.  For example, if only three people are available on Thursday nights, their characters might face down The Horror of Garbage Ape Island.  If one of these players’ schedule changes, their hotshot ace pilot could team up with another group on Saturday afternoons to battle Dr. Pitt and his Avocado Men.  People can dip in and out, and no GM has to commit to running a long and involved campaign.  In the style of the pulps, characters can adventure together all the time, or meet up in the odd, intriguing crossover event.

I will be running a short (two or three sessions) adventure myself, hopefully in a few weeks.  Malice Aforethought is toying with running another adventure sometime after that exciting conclusion.  If our schedules don’t mesh with yours, don’t worry!  Someone else can run a pick-up game on another night.  But first, we need to create some characters.  So, what will you need?

To start with, you’ll need the Spirit of the Century rulebook.  In addition to less savory methods, the ebook is available for download for a pay-what-you-want ($5 suggested) price at DriveThruRPG.  I’ll be running my session from Roll20, with Discord for voice chat, but of course it’ll be GM’s choice when/if other sessions get off the ground.  After you come up with a character concept, I suggest that you post the “pulp novel” phase of creation on this thread.  This is essentially a summary of your character’s first adventure, in the style of a summary that might appear on the back of a paperback.  Malice has kindly donated an example in the form of her character:  Johnny Miskatonic: Boy Adventurer:


Name: Johnny Miskatonic

Debut Adventure: Johnny Miskatonic and the Treasure Out of Space

Paperback Summary:
It’s 1914 and JOHNNY MISKATONIC, boy adventurer, wishes more than anything to run off and be a soldier in the GREAT WAR, but living in Massachusetts under the watchful eye of his mother means he has little chance of joining the cause against the ravenous German war machine, and plenty of time to scrub dishes.

That all changes when he saves the life of the mysterious PROFESSOR POSTLIMINARY, who asks Johnny to help him with his work. The boy adventurer fiddles with the wrong thing in the lab, only to find himself thrust into the bizarre world of the 1920s! Lost thousands of miles from home, in Cairo, JOHNNY MISKATONIC must stop the evil COUNT NYARLATHOTEP from obtaining the ancient TREASURE OUT OF SPACE. Excitement and horror collide when our boy adventurer struggles to save the world from a fate worse than death! Will he ever make his way back home? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!


The phase after this will involve some of the other characters becoming “guest stars” in your character’s first adventure.  When we’ve got a good crop I’ll randomly match people, if that’s agreeable.  The goal for the present is to recruit a roster of potential players, not just for my game, but for anyone who gets an idea and wants to throw down.