Weird Detective Mystery Adventures is a role-playing game: guidelines for a structured, interactive storytelling social experience. The players assume the role of imaginary characters and determine their actions at key points in a fixed scenario or ongoing plotline. One person assumes the role of judge and determines how the plot changes in reaction to various player choices. Actions in the game are resolved either through the judge’s rulings or by consulting a probability table. A pair of dice are used to define the consequences of various character activities. This is a team game, with the player characters working together to accomplish some set, noble objective. The judge determines the plot and portrays all characters not controlled by the players.
Weird Detective Mystery Adventures is a pulp fiction simulation. This is a broad genre, using the modern world as its primary template. It’s the real world… except that there are monsters or aliens or the occasional flying crimefighter. This brand of fantastic fiction has been promoted in comic books, novels, movies, newspaper tabloids, and television. Our game is a compendium of the various supernatural abilities and plot devices found throughout the spectrum of pulp fiction.
The player needs to think up a character who fits in with the scenario that the judge is running. Players should be able to describe their characters, verbally or in writing. In some cases, players may have characters assigned to them. By referencing the rules, the player should become familiar with the abilities his character is endowed with and how those abilities are defined in game terms.
We are not trying to reinvent the role-playing game. Weird Detective Mystery Adventures plays like most role-playing games: you roll dice to determine if something has happened. If something does happen, you roll dice to determine how much of it occurs. The game is a little heavy on character statistics, but the mechanics are easily mastered.
How would you like to serve your country—and make big tax-free dollars doing it?
We’re looking for champions of the people, those guided by a strict moral code and possessing the highest caliber character. We want the learned, your doctors, engineers, philosophers, draftsmen and poets. We want style: conservative but with panache. We are looking for eloquence—a common touch with a certain verve. Your every waking moment should be a safari for quality, a striving march on the great quest for excellence. Do you measure up to that?
Me neither. Can you throw a car? Dodge bullets? Read minds? Break things? Good enough.
I don’t care who you are and you shouldn’t care who we are. A little bird tells me we are on the same page. What we tell you is what you need to know. Don’t kill people. If you have something to say to us, do it face to face and in this office. This office will be manned at all times. If you find that is not the case, get out of town and keep going.
On paper, our objective is to search, serve, indict, prosecute and convict every miscreant in this town. Revealed through our process will be the blatant tax evasion that fuels every wanton moment of their so conspicuous consumption. Through civil forfeiture, we will make the nanny’s paycheck bounce, pull the furs off their backs, tow away the foreign cars and yank the high-end decks off their foreclosed mansions. Detailed and publicized will be the reciprocating poison web of corruption powering the flow of filth, mayhem, and piracy permeating all compass points of this city, without an iota abate from fear of the rule of law. One by one, we will put these slimes in boxes before a dozen good citizens--with nothing more than a rented friend to defend them from the truth. Explained in context and with paint by numbers intricacy will be the entire canvas of their misdeeds. The cell doors will slam behind them, and we will laugh. Justice will no longer be a myth.
And I want a pony, too.
We’ve diced, sliced, itemized, and priced the paranormal-- so you won’t have to. Pulp fiction is a broad genre, and we cover most of it. Our goal is simulating the characters and events as they appear in fiction. Your characters play like heroes from movies, comic books, pulp magazines, and novels--right from the start.
There’s a midpoint between creating a proprietary gaming universe with troves of customized minutia--and declaring a system generic, spending countless pages defining skills, elemental forces, the dynamics of miniatures, and every core verb in game terms. We didn’t invent pulp fiction. We reflect it in all of its gaudy glory. Weird Detective Mystery Adventures is specific to Earth-bound contemporary setting fantastic action fiction. Our rules are based on a census of archetypes common to the detective, horror, urban fantasy, costumed crime fighter and modern adventure spectrum. We are inclusive of the spy genre and its trappings as well as those found in most action movies. To the extent that these branches of fiction are extremely similar in elements and trappings, our game is generic. The game is comprehensive within its areas and is benchmarked to simulating the fiction. It is entirely escapist and not bound to the dynamics of miniature rules nor realistic plausibility.
Weird Detective Mystery Adventures cleaves to the idiom of the continuing fantastic adventure fiction hero. The same team of heroes will be pitted against gangsters one day and the next day fend off ghosts, creatures out to eat Tokyo, modern pirates, the agents of dictators, mad scientists, or UFOs.
Weird Detective Mystery Adventures is concise, comprehensive, and rationally organized. Our aim is to make the judge’s task as enjoyable as it can be.
While no sane person reads game rules for enjoyment, Weird Detective Mystery Adventures is written in an approachable style. Moreover, you can get the game started after reading the game mechanics unit and then looking up how some of the abilities are defined. Our focus is on being of service to the judge. Suddenly need a tank for the scenario? We have a tank, predefined and ready to go. Need a bad guy? We’ve given you a bunch, with scenarios attached. Need a UFO? Got it, ready to plug and play. Need a plotline for a bad guy you already have? We have a whole section on that topic. Once you are fluent with the rules, churning out your own NPCs is no more onerous than any other game.
While we would love to sell you more stuff, everything you need is included one manual. Our other materials are additive Game Judge Time Savers—NPCs and scenarios.
Get some conventional dice, a few pals, a pocket calculator, snacks, pens, a pad of paper, and you are ready to go. The player character dynamics are scaled to accommodate running up to nine players. (Nine players who are saints. Seven players who are mostly saints. Five players of variable comportment.) It is possible to simulate any fantastic fiction historical character using our system, however the continuing campaign player characters are channeled towards a niche where there is the most opportunity for a variety of challenges. Other than this, the only game-imposed fiction is that all player characters are of equal proficiency. This keeps the players happy.
MODERN PULP GENRE SUPER ARSENAL. It’s a big candy store. Whether the idiom is comic heroes, action movie characters, psychics, spies, or urban delvers of the arcane, there’s something here for you. Chances are we have an exact fit for whatever your player dreams up. Players can also mix and match aspects from several archetypes as few abilities have bummer prerequisites. The game even has a fast character set up section for players who aren’t particularly into the whole pulp fiction thing.
Heroes aligned with the fiction, player expectations, and continued game utility. It’s a point buy system, without much in the way of fuzzy accounting. There are no classes, progressive killer builds, oddball disabilities, nor plotline hijacking back-stories involved. No one starts as a hobo with a stick and then winds up as Zeus. The player character development phase has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A starting player character is a good approximation of the average hero from his/her branch of pulp fiction and then develops into a distinct or specialized version. Player characters function the way continuing fiction heroes typically do, without ever outgrowing the scenery.
Bunny Hill Learning Curve: Anyone who has run a role-playing game before will have little problem mastering Weird Detective Mystery Adventures. Experienced wargamers will feel at home playing. Novices of normal contextual awareness should be able to pick up on the nuances of play within hours.
Is this the part where Hype-Man tells us that the 500-page manual, defining over 200 supernatural abilities and whatnot is so simple to use that even a monkey can do it? No, not with a straight face. All role-playing games are insipid exercises in overthinking things. And if they are not, then they dispense with distinctions in characters. Using rock/paper/scissors as a method of resolution works only in a gaming universe where everything is of equal quality. When dealing with characters who have distinctions between them, and forces of differing magnitudes, as Weird Detective Mystery Adventures does, it is necessary to cover the most common contingencies.
Our game mechanics are distinct, without being mysterious or baffling. We are not a part of the D20 universe nor any open-source system. That said, we stand on Uncle Gary’s shoulders like everyone else in this racket. Our game makes use of common role-playing game terminology for defining the character’s core attributes. These reference points are for ease of understanding (as well as aids in raiding the text for use in other systems.) We are not Chart Master. Most events in our game are resolved using one chart--and the other methods are explained, thoroughly, in the first two pages of the game. The game uses a closed-end rating system. It is a weighted equal chance, turn-based game. The order of actions may fluctuate, but each player gets a chance to do something every turn. There are no exploding dice, no fanciful distinctions made in mayhem inflicted by different frequencies of force, no spinners, no cards, no offset rules for chase scenes, no accounting for the specifics of your aorta contusion… None of that rot. Keeping the mechanics appropriate keeps the focus on the judge’s plotline and presentation, where it belongs.
Thanks to all of the people who visited the HIL-GLE MondoBooth at Codcon, Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, DIECON and Planet Funk!
One million thanks to those thirty-plus people who attended our four demo games at this past GENCON. I had a great time and hope you did, too. If you enjoyed the game, please tell your friends about it. If something was not quite to your liking, please drop us a line. We will be holding other demos in the future.
We will have a table at PRINTER'S ROW LIT FEST this year! Come and see us September 10 and 11.
We will be at the Southside Comic Book Show September 17 at the Alan B. Shepard High School Gymnasium 13049 South Ridgeland Ave Palos Heights IL 60463
We will be posting short scenarios and NPC work-ups of public domain characters on these pages as time progresses. We will also post errata, answers to frequently asked questions, retractions, clarifications, admissions of moral turpitude, and additive core materials should those dreadful needs arise. Weird Detective Mystery Adventures has been in continual development since 1987. We have beaten the subject to death, nerfed out the rough edges and placed all of the bad mojo on the top shelf where only the judge can get at it. But you just never say never.
WARLORDS OF WONDERWORLD
WORLDS OF FEAR
PARANOID REPUBLICAN FANTASY
VORTEX OF CUTE
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