“Fist of the North” Dungeonpunx do Hellboy

Creating a basic RPG player character (PC) is something that people find pretty simple…..the problem comes when you try and elevate the PC from a list of stats and skills on a piece of paper into a living breathing actual “character”. In this series we are going to look at the process we went through to get characters for our newest campaign from the stats into real life.

If you have been listening the dungeonpunx podcast over the past few episodes you will be aware of our change from our normal DnD game Nathan was running to a game based in the “Hellboy” universe created by Mike Mignola back in 1993. Ager has been running a campaign using ”Hellboy Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game” a system published by Steve Jackson Games…..(no not that Steve Jackson…..the other Steve Jackson) which is powered by GURPS 3rd edition.

you know you talk so hip man….call the cops!

The beautifully illustrated graphic novel sized 208 page rule book was released in 2002 and is long out of print but you can normally pick one up for about 20 quids on ebay (or get a text only pdf right here although it doesn’t have the great artwork and is a bit difficult to use due to formatting issues of a text only part of a visually amazing rule book). The great thing about the Hellboy RPG book  is that it is “pick up and play” with the all basic GURPS rules you need to run the game contained is published in this single book. Yeah you can go crazy and buy a proper copy of GURPS and a million of the expansions that have been published but you have everything you need here to run some one shots using Hellboy and his squad of misfit Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence (B.P.R.D) agents or, like we have been doing, a campaign of your own creation with your own unique team of B.P.R.D Agents.

Hey rainmaker, come away from that man

You know he’s gonna take away your promised land










If you know the Hellboy universe you will know that the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence  are an alternate earths first and best defence against Occult threats. Using the Mignola universe as a backdrop Ager has created a lush campaign setting based in Great Britain where the Player Characters are seasoned B.P.R.D agents who have been brought together as Team Alabama to investigate the strange  esoteric goings on in a small Yorkshire village called Buckden (a real village located in the amazingly beautiful Yorkshire Dales). From the outset Ager put emphasis on the roleplaying element of the game to let the player character make progress through the campaign as opposed to dice rolling to resolve situations. In reaction to this us, the players, took this idea and ran with it to create lavish back stories for our characters. Using these back stories as a template we then utilised the splendidly detailed GURPS  character creation system to bring the player characters to life. I think we all found this a refreshing change to the normal process of rolling up character according to a specific class as in D and D for example.

Gonna stamp out your fire, he can change your desire

Knowing that Ager had planned a campaign based more around role playing and the interaction between the players and the NPC’s and less about the combat aspect that can grind down some RPGs, we split Team Alabama in half and had two investigators and two point men. Paulo and myself took the role of investigators, specializing in the research and knowledge skills that would be required to investigate the unusual occurrences and mysteries we would need to solve. I play Anathama Shufflebotham, a lady from French Africa in her mid 60’s who father was a Masonic Wizard and mother was a tribal Voodoo Priestess! She has inherited powers which enable her to read minds, auras and psychic residue.  Paulo’s character is the quintessential upper class english gent with a hidden dark past. He uses his extensive knowledge of the occult to guide the team but exists with a large dark shadow looming over him.

Connor and Tom both took on the role of Pointmen, BPRD’s special operators and door kickers. They provide the muscle and firepower required to deal with the things that really go bump in the night!  Connor plays an ex CIA scientist who became a bio terrorist before being seized by BPRD. Using his hi tech knowledge he provides Team Alabama’s firepower. Tom brings the muscle with an Irish amateur boxer turned Catholic Bishop exorcist kicked out of the Vatican for exposing a pedophile ring. Turning away from his faith and the church that turned its back on him he travelled to Japan and honed his combat skills.

Over the next few weeks the lads will go through their characters and the process they went through to develop them from their fluff to “real life” around the table.

In the meantime here is an extract from the world of BPRD Agent Anathama Shufflebotham:

The extraordinary and slightly buffedeling life of Anathama Shufflebotham
……as her dark, wrinkled hands slowly and subconsciously slipped into the brightly coloured clutch bag, Anathama could feel the hum of power throbbing through the fibre of her soul…..the smartly dressed and very wealthy older gentleman who sat in front of her had come to speak to his wife and had, as was the tradition of all people with her ability, he had crossed her damp garlicy palm with tribute. The curtains of the council flat in Neasdon were drawn tight with a single, dripping candle the only illumination.
”so my dear….”Anathama spoke low and deliberate, her French inflections drawing the words out in an almost sexual tone as she drew the shawl over her freshly cropped head and lowered her eyes to the assortment of items spread over the table top “…..you want to converse with you love lost? Let me see…..are you with us Hilary? Are you there Hilary?”
A dramatic pause.
“yes…yeeeeesssss……” she dipped her head forward and then back as if in the grip of some sudden stroke, her hands grasping at the doily table cloth making the candle splutter sending shadow dancing across the aertex.
She changed her body shape subtly as she sat bolt upright, emanating the wealth and snobbish confidence she had seen the women display on the mans home videos. Her vocal chords tightened and she crackled the words out “Clifford…..huuuuuuhhhhh….Clifford…..is that you…..its misty…..i cant see….Clifford…..”
She heard the man gasp and the chair scrape “H….H….Hilary….is that really you?”
She stole a glance at her caller…..seeing him edge forward in his chair, his hands splayed on the fake pitted mahogany surface and she knew she that had him.