All the Tunnels & Trolls activity in recent years has also rekindled interest in T&T’s Pulp fiction spin-off rpg, Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes. Based on the T&T system, this rpg in the contemporary setting of the 20th century covered everything from the Victorian Era to the near future. MSPE (as it came to be known) gave players the means to use a wide variety of guns and other modern era devices and have adventures on the streets of cities like London, New York and Istanbul.
Written by best selling author Michael Stackpole and released in 1983, MSPE was well-received by reviewers who liked its Talent based skill system, which allowed players to customize their characters with sophisticated skills like Electrician, Mathematics or Nuclear Physics. (The talent idea was eventually adapted and used in later editions of Tunnels & Trolls.)
Since the end of the dT&T Kickstarter in 2015, fans have been asking for new MSPE products or to at least make the game and its adventures available on Drive Thru. So last month we finally got the 110 pg MSPE rulebook on Drive Thru and the response was tremendous. If you’re interested you can see its listing here.
This month we decided to release what could be MSPE’s most interesting adventure, Mugshots 1: The Case of the Pacific Clipper, written by none other than the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, Dave Arenson. Dave had become good friends with Flying Buffalo owner Rick Loomis. Both of them were targets of Gary Gygax’s ire, and socially joined forces. Dave was a huge fan of pulp era adventures and when Rick asked if he’d like to write a short solo adventure for Mugshots, Dave gladly accepted and in fact ended up writing a 330 paragraph magnum opus. He also added notes and sketched up some maps so that you can run the solo as a GM adventure.
Mugshots 1: The Case of the Pacific Clipper is a pulp era adventure that takes place in 1937. It starts in the San Francisco office of a hard-boiled detective and ends up on a secret island base of a would-be world conqueror. This book has a great solitaire adventure and GM material for the adventure in the back of the book along with 20 NPC characters that you use in the adventure as well. The book was illustrated by Steven S Crompton and the use of his stippling style matched the 1930’s era adventure quite well. For the Drive-thru version Steven has redone the cover and enhanced a bunch of the art in the book including some of the maps. (If you own the hard copy, you can go through and compare it to the PDF version.) He also added a special blank MSPE Character sheet.
Adventure of the Jade Jaguar, a solo adventure in the steamy jungles of South America by Michael Stackpole is also available on Drive thru.
There are also rumors of some new MSPE books in the works, but more about that in a future blog post. Meanwhile, let us know your thoughts on Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes or Dave Arneson’s adventure.