Introductory note: As Game Master I constantly get ideas for new campaigns. I take notes and file them away on the hopes of one day retaking them. But since I don’t role-play 24/7 I am pretty sure I will never get to play all these campaigns. I’m sure I am not alone on this! Some ideas are just too weird, too strange or simply not a good fit to my group so these end up on the crazy campaign list. But the fact that I’ll not use these campaigns doesn’t mean other might not find them interesting or inspirational. So in that spirit I’ve decided to share one such idea to see if anybody out there might be interested, think it fun or even decides it might be right for them. I hope you like it… or at least laugh about it!
Background: As a child I was fascinated with characters like Tarzan, Flash Gordon or The Phantom. Mind you I did not get to know these characters in the original media where they appeared. Tarzan and Flash Gordon I came to know mainly through movies, animated series and TV shows and The Phantom through comic books in Spanish. I followed the natural progression and then moved on to comics and their four colored heroes. Much later in life I got to read Tarzan of the Apes, as well as read some reprints of The Phantom or Flash Gordon. Along the way I discovered other pulp characters such as The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Spider.
I would not consider myself a hardcore pulp fan, more of a casual aficionado, but some of those iconic characters have captured my imagination. So it’s no wonder that when the animated series Defenders of the Earth came out I was hooked! The mash-up between Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake (who I had not heard of until the series) was one of my favorite series at the time. Mind you I was a teen and I have NOT re-watched it since. After having destroyed my childhood memories by revisiting Robotech and rereading the Dragonlance Chronicles I have a strict “Rose Colored Glasses” policy not to revisit the cartoons and books I loved so much as a child. But I digress!
The idea of mixing these popular figures of fiction, all fond memories of my youth, stuck with me. I began playing not long after Defenders of the Earth came out but the idea for this campaign did not come about until years later. The basic concept is a mash-up of popular pulp heroes, pop culture elements from my youth and some inspiration from the Defenders of the Earth cartoon and comic interpretations of many of these characters. I’ve decided to call it Defenders of the Earth Redux, or A Very Pulpy Future (a decidedly tongue in cheek name) as an alternative.