Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game an Overview
4th Aug 2020
Yesterday we made the very exciting announcement that – alongside Red Scar Publishing – we’re working on a brand-new Hellboy roleplaying game. Over the coming days we’ll be going into more detail about the game but today we just wanted to give you a quick overview about some of the exciting highlights.
Of course, we’ll be making the quickstart live soon, so you can try the game yourself. The quickstart contains everything you need to play a sample mission, including five pre-generated characters with a range of abilities. We’ve filmed a couple of play throughs and will be sharing those soon. Anyway, let’s crack on with some of the highlights in the upcoming RPG.
LEARNING FROM THE BOARD GAME
While making Hellboy: The Board Game, we learnt a lot about the Hellboy universe and did an immense amount of research – alongside Needy Cat Games – to ensure the look and feel of the Hellboy universe was captured perfectly. Red Scar have taken these foundations and turned it up to 11! The amount of research by the team is staggering and, even if you don’t intend to play the RPG, this is a great reference for Hellboy fans.
After the announcement there were a handful of people worried this was basically Dungeons and Dragons with ‘paladin’ swapped for ‘Hellboy’, for example. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth – from the character creation to the sample campaign, the RPG feels like you are part of the B.P.R.D., not a wizard exploring a spooky castle!
DOOM AND INGENUITY
Some of the most popular mechanics from the board game were the Impending Doom tracker and the investigation element. We didn’t want the board game or the RPG to just descend into a mindless brawl. Instead, we want players to explore their surroundings to look for clues that will potentially help in that all-important final conflict – and this is done through Ingenuity and Doom. Sometimes an ability or effect will tell you to roll for Ingenuity or Doom and these can be used as important narrative elements of the scenario.
Just like the board game, Ingenuity relates to the ancient texts or scrolls you discover while exploring, which could hold the key to something more important. You collect Ingenuity ‘points’ and these can be spent on a range of things – and not just in combat.
On the other hand, players will have to deal with the Doom mechanic. In the board game, the Impending Doom tracker would tick ever closer to the inevitable confrontation. If agents took too long completing the case file, then they would face a stronger boss at the end of the case.
While Ingenuity benefits the players, Doom is used by the GM to spring all sorts of malevolent surprises that add twists and turns to the narrative. Need to surprise the agents with some monsters? DOOM! Want the agents to potentially suffer an equipment failure? DOOM! The GM can spend some of their Doom pool whenever they want to trigger a surprise… it’s the equivalent of Hellboy falling through some old floorboards and into a spooky underground cavern.
There’s even the option to use the custom Hellboy dice from the board game. Instead of using a D10 to generate Doom and Ingenuity, you can use a yellow dice, which can then potentially be upgraded to orange or red – just like the board game. Likewise, if you’re rolling for a critical hit in combat, you can use the blue ‘effect die’ to generate a result. We really want to make sure that people who have only played the board game – and may never have played an RPG – feel like there are familiar elements.
Although you can play as Legendary Agents like Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz, etc. in the role-playing game, the most fun will come from creating your own totally new B.P.R.D. rookie! There are plenty of origins (formerly known as races) to choose from, including Remarkable Human, Cursed – which covers Fae or demon-touched, Psychic – and Ghosts. You can also change up your Remarkable Human by slowly adding in Cursed abilities or even developing psychic powers.
After that, you’ve got six different B.P.R.D. roles (classes) to choose from too, to really help specialise your new character, before giving them feats and supernatural abilities, plus personalities and B.P.R.D. issue equipment. When it comes to equipment, there are plenty of options including B.P.R.D. technology, arcane items and standard equipment.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game will incorporate the idea of back-up agents. In the board game, these are agents that could be called in once a game to help when things where getting tricky. In the RPG, your character can become a back-up agent if you’re not able to make your usual RPG session but still want to be involved. Your character will still play a part in the ongoing story, even when you can’t make it. How cool is that?
You can sample just the tip of the creative iceberg with the pre-generated characters in the quickstart once it drops.