Weaving a story out of a legend.

Looks quite homely now but back in November 1974… Let me tell you.

It wasn’t an easy ride working the real world Richard Bingham in to a character for an RPG but given the scope allowed within the GURPS system and the (almost) anything goes vibe of the Hellboy universe, I managed to get him to look and feel how I wanted with a bit of help from Boardie and Agers giant metallic bats. Couldn’t have done it without them.

So first up, how does he look? Well, pretty much like he did when he dissapeared on 7th November 1974, sharp suit, strong moustache game, expensive shoes, you see, in this game Binghams immortal, another throw back to Dexter Ward or even Dorian Grey. So how?

Well, I needed Bingham to have a really strong occult vibe, no special abilities or anything out of the norm, just 50 something gent, who doesn’t age. The plot device for this, a book. A book he escaped with on that fateful night bound in skin that still crawls with life, you cant have a proper grimoire that isn’t bound in skin can you? I had in mind the Book of Magnus with regards this aspect, so his knowledge isn’t limited to the pages that are in it, the pages show him what he needs when he needs them.

The book of Bingham.

The book itself gives Bingham his knowledge of the occult so lets him stay looking young whilst its in his possession, he’s still susceptible to anything that would kill a normal human, he just doesn’t age. So, with this the character began to take shape in the direction I had planned, sharp looking, upper class, huge occult knowledge and a grimoire. I’d spent a lot of points on the book already for the occult stat with sits at 17 if you have any bearing in GURPS, thats pretty high apparently so the Magnus angle worked out well.

He was also a huge gambler, risk taker and race car driver in real life, a man who pushed his earthly pleasures as far as he could before plummeting into experimenting with unearthly ones, so I spent a large chunk on charisma and luck too, he gets to re-roll his dice 3 times an hour when undertaking daring feats, i.e. staring down the barrel of a gun at a shuck intent on bringing about the teams imminent death.

Imagine this but about 4 times bigger covered in occult scarring.

All these were fitting nicely in to how I wanted Bingham to play, but there are a lot of weaknesses within the Hellboy and GURPS systems to add even more flavour. Boardie went to town on his, but as this was my first proper RPG campaign I left it more easy to manage but still added some more flavour.

Obviously he fucking HATES the British government, so he has vendetta against the entire British empire, which may cause the team a lot of issues down the road but seemed fitting. This will hamper him in absolutely anything that involves those treacherous snakes.

The final thing was a gun, originally, as he’s a gambler, I wanted him to have one of Wild Bills Colt Navy Revolvers, won in a poker game. Bill Hickok was one cool motherfucker and I sort of modelled Binghams demeanour on him, he has his fair share of daemons, although in Binghams case, they’re actual daemons.

It was this.

However,  as we worked out the character, Bordie came up with the idea of swapping out the Colt with  the gun that killed Franz Ferdinand and began WW1. This FN M1910 has the blood of millions on it, and so is going to be something that weighs heavily even for someone like Bingham. I think as the story moves on the gun might well have more impact on how Bingham plays in the same way the Laer blade affects Fulgrim.

Now it is this.

Despite being wanted the world over, hunted by black ops as an occult fugitive, Bingham was never one to pass up the chance to gamble, esepcially for high stakes with the glitterati. 

Not so many years after his flighty from the British Isles, Bingham finds himself in Graz, Austria with his friend and fellow gambler Helmut Marko. The pair were deep in to a nihilistic weekend in Innsbruck where Bingham participated in an alpine ski championship under the alias of Michael Edwards.
Whilst the skiing event was an interesting side note for Bingham and a smug excuse to have one over on the hated British government, the main event was a card game in one of the chalets afterwards, invite only, high security, complete anonymity between participants for all intents and purposes this game never took place. 
After several intense hours, deep in to the dead of night, the sole remaining players were of course Michael Edwards, Binghams alias, and bizarrely, a young priest. Smoke permeated in the air, and the crowd hung just outside the golden circle lit by the slowly burning candles whilst the snow fell inexorably outside, covering humanities stamp across the alps in a soft, crisp blanket.
Bingham wasn’t playing for the money, he was playing for the sheer thrill, and glanced momentarily down at the millions of unmarked bills, bankers drafts, gems, gold coins and assorted trinkets which littered the table, glinting in the guttering candle light. The priest was beginning to sweat, small beads running down his emaciated features, an odd look in his eye. A strange mix of trepidation and sadness present in the sunken pools of his eyes, whilst Bingham couldn’t be sure, he almost seemed to be smiling.
As the wagers piled up, the priest slowly nodded, reached down to his satchel and pulled out an object wrapped in a blood stained shirt. Slowly unwrapping the crimson splattered white under shirt, the priest revealed a pristine pre war automatic pistol.
“I was on my way to give this shirt and pistol to the museum of war in Vienna. I am not long of this world and its has weighed me down long enough. My name is Anton Puntigam and with this wager I place down the soul of all Austria.”
He set the object down with a resounding metallic thud. Looking Bingham in the eye he said quietly “Raise”
Bingham eyed the weapon, to the normal eye it was just a gun, solid, well made, hardly worth the materials it was cast from, but to Binghams highly tunes senses it resonated in the outer worlds, a weapon that existed across the spheres, this weapon was certainly more than it seemed.
With a grin, Bingham muttered “call” and laid down the winning hand, the hand that William Hickok had held all those years ago, the Dead Mans Hand. “Looks like I win old chap” 
With a tear in his eye the priest locked Binghams gaze with his own,  “I saw this weapon slay my best friend, his wife and the child in her belly. I saw the destruction of nations begun by a boy not aware of the power directing his hand. The hope of a new century plunged into 40 years of turmoil and war by two gun shots fired from this weapon. Benefit only to the devil himself and the lodge that honours him”
He let out an exhausted gasp “They have chased me for years knowing that I carried this cursed thing, that was given to me as I stood over my friends administering their last rights…..I didn’t understand it at the time but this weapon is doused with the blood of millions, of the evil humanity hides within its soul, and of the hands that feed it for their own gain, and the creatures and fiends that feed upon it. May your custodianship of it treat your soul better than it has mine.”
And with that, the priest put on his cloak, fastened it tightly around his withered form and left the building, a look of honest relief upon his face. The crowd was silent, the air pregnant with unformed questions, as a slow, dark smile crawled across Binghams features. 

As far as playing him goes, in my head he’s working under duress, he’s not evil, but he’s not good, he’s seen what exists outside our sphere of knowledge, communed with the Old Ones, and so has a borderline disdainful view of the world, as inconsequential as it is. This doesn’t mean he isn’t clinging on to his extended life tooth and claw however, he just doesn’t baulk at doing things some of the other members might take issue with, and this has left an indelible stain on whats left of his soul. It was this attitude that almost ended up with him shooting one of the other characters in the first game.

Cthulhu mate, its Richard, I need a favour…

So thats it, the pro’s and cons of playing as Richard Bingham, he’s come out as a really well rounded character, a lot of background lore thats hopefully as interesting to others as it is to me, a captivating persona and ridiculously good fun to play.

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