The Empire Club

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(From the Champions Pulp Hero supplement) The Pulp era is an age of adventurers and heroes — so it’s no surprise that these bold men and women, though they come from diverse backgrounds and places, sometimes wish to congregate with others of like inclination to share experiences, provide one another advice and assistance, and enjoy the camaraderie of a very small and special group of people.

The place they’re most likely to do that is the Empire Club, an exclusive organization for explorers, adventurers, and heroes of every stripe. Though it resembles a typical “gentleman’s club” (and in fact most of the members are men), it has no qualms about admitting women as members, provided they meet the requirements. It also has no policy barring members of the non-white races from joining — its members know that heroism, like villainy, is a universal quality of humanity, not something limited to Westerners.

To join the Empire Club, a person must have undertaken a journey of exploration, been involved in some adventure, or otherwise attracted the attention of the Club for his derring-do and amazing exploits. But membership isn’t automatic even for people who meet that criterion. A prospective member must be sponsored by an existing member, and must pay dues of $100 US per year. Members who commit some impropriety or become involved in a scandal that might taint the Club can have their membership revoked or suspended.

Members of the Empire Club enjoy several privileges. First, they may enter the Club’s private facilities in New York City, London, Hudson City, Cairo, Hong Kong, Delhi, and San Francisco. Each facility features an elegant restaurant, a bar, a smoking room, billiards and similar forms of recreation, a library, and a few rooms where adventurers can stay for short periods for a small rent. Some of the clubs have other features, such as a shooting gallery or a nearby golf course.

The most important resource the Club provides is access to other adventurers and explorers. A character in search of information about the mysterious tribes of the Tibetan interior, the headhunters of the South Seas, the perils one might encounter while sailing up the Amazon, or the ins and outs of New York’s Chinatown can turn to his fellow “Empireans” for advice, information, and perhaps even a helping hand.

The Empire Club was founded in 1908 by Darius Stoner, son of the famed Victorian-era explorers Professor Odysseus and Vivian Stoner. Stoner remains the president of the organization to this day. A wealthy man, he sometimes supports the expeditions of his members, but certainly isn’t in the habit of bankrolling every scheme an Empirean comes up with.

The Empire Club

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