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As mentioned in one of my recent entries, I've just discovered a new rpg called Hollow Earth Expedition and felt that I should write a journal entry about the game. But where to start...?

Something else that I'm a fan of is the Pulps. You know, the action and adventure magazine stories, books, and movies of the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's that had a style all of their own. For that matter, I also have a thing for those time periods, and some of the music from that era, so it's no surprise that I've run and played in some roleplaying games that were set against that time period. The fiction of Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also has a place in my heart that gets mixed in with all this. I mean, who can forget Doyle's _The Lost World_ (the book, not the movies and tv series, although the BBC adaptation was superb), Verne's _Journey to the Center of the Earth_, and Burroughs' Pellucidar and John Carter of Mars novels?

I've run some games based on this stuff as well, but many of the rpgs out there that have done the Pulp genre have thrown in other elements into the genre, such as horror, the supernatural, and science fictional aspects of that time's fiction. I'm not saying this is bad, and I'm not going to mention specific rpgs here, because most of the readers of this entry will be able to figure that out for themselves.

And then in mid-August, I heard about a new Pulp Adventure roleplaying game called Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX for short), published by Exile Game Studio that sounded *perfect* for what I have always wanted to see as a Pulp adventure rpg.

I won't go into any detail on what the Hollow Earth Theory is, other than to refer you to the Wikipedia entry on the subject, but will concentrate on the HEX roleplaying game.

Be warned, as this is somewhat long.

The Hollow Earth Expedition Roleplaying Game is the first creation of Jeff Combos and the folks at Exile Game Studio, and it is a simply marvellous, solid attempt at catching the feel of the 1930's Pulp action adventure style. Inspired by the works of Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others, HEX presents a somewhat more fantastical world of the 1930's in which the Hollow Earth is a reality, and in which the world will never be the same.

The following material is taken directly off the back of the rulebook cover.

First we discovered that the Earth is round.

Then we discovered that it's hollow.

Now we must keep its secrets from falling into the wrong hands.

Explore one of the world's greatest and most dangerous secrets: the Hollow Earth, a savage land filled with dinosaurs, lost civilizations, and ferocious savages! Players take on the roles of two-fisted adventurers, eager academics and intrepid journalists investigating the mysteries of the Hollow Earth. Meanwhile, on the surface, world powers and secret societies vie for control of what may be the most important discovery in all of human history.

Set in the tense and tumultuous 1930's, the action-filled Hollow Earth Expedition is inspired by the literary works of genre giants Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The subterranean action is powered by Ubiquity, an innovative roleplaying system that emphasizes storytelling and cinematic action.

What makes HEX so interesting and such a cool game is that it allows the Gamemaster to run the game on the Surface World, in the Hollow Earth, or both, and that the game simulates the Pulp adventure of the 1930's so well and so satisfactorily. This is the first roleplaying game of its kind that actually concentrates on the Pulp adventure, and doesn't let up. The simplicity of the game mechanics (the Ubiquity system allows one tko use any type of dice, as one merely counts the "evens" to determine success) enhances the Pulp feel of the game, and allows the GM and players to concentrate on the action/adventure element that is so critical to the Pulps. These and other factors combine to make Hollow Earth Expedition a truly special roleplaying game.

I hope that others will come to see this game, and how simple and yet flavour-filled it truly is. The fact that it deal with the Pulp fiction and stories of the 1930's in such a faithful manner adds to the quality of the game, and makes it one worth checking out, even if it is a niche rpg market.

Besides, I'm in the process of running a HEX Play by E-Mail (PBEM) version of the game using Yahoo, so... Perhaps some folks who read the info contained herein might be interested in playing in the PBEM. However, if nothing else, this is a roleplaying game that is well worth checking out.


John Kahane

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