“Wrote for Luck” Connor on creating Damus Nostre

I had a chat with my lad Connor about his BPRD pointman character “Damus Nostre” and taking him from a loose concept to a fully formed RPG character….

One of the things I enjoy most about roleplaying games is converting my ideas for a character onto my uncontaminated sheet of A4 paper and, with this being a BRPD game, the only limits the player has when creating their character is their imagination….although this is apparently somewhat limited in my case!

In my mind one of the things that makes the Hellboy universe fun is the concoction of the occult and the links to the real world, and I really wanted my character to embody that heady mix of influences. Like The Happy Mondays I wanted to blend lad rock (the investigation aspect of BPRD) with house music (those esoteric tendril MM has running through his world). As the rest of the party had somewhat normal human looking characters I took the opportunity to be the dick head of the group by combining influences from 16th century Europe and modern day doomsday cults and conspiracy theories.

I wrote for luck, they sent me you

Damus Nostre is a biochemical engineer, a plague doctor and a zombie all rolled into one festering air tight package. Nostre is an outcast of black book CIA experimentation during the late 60’s. An incident occurred while Nostre was attempting to recreate the bubonic plague at the behest of his clandestine employer for use against communist guerillas lodged in the highlands of Vietnam. Nostre was creating the virus to assist the indigenous Montagnards in their fight against the Viet Cong. In a catastrophic turn of events he somewhat successfully rebirthed the black plague however simultaneously it leaked into his laboratory and it bonded with him on a cellular level, possibly due a cross contamination with a source of super napalm he had been developing. This ripple effect caused Damus to constantly exude his form of the bubonic plague through his pores while burning each layer of dermis from what’s left of his ever-rotting frame. He was shipped off the isolated island of Hon Sao of the south coast of Vietnam which housed a secret R and D testing facility. Watched, studied and tested at every possible opportunity Nostre survived years and years of mind-numbing agony with death still alluded him he was driven insane. When the end of the war came, it came fast. Nostre was left to rot on the jungle island, no one even sparing a thought for him enough to put him out of his misery.

And I sent for juice, you give me poison

Later he was found by Russian “military observers” who had heard rumor of the island of the green fire phantom from local fisherman. Rescued by the Russian extreme weapons division “Свете утра” (Light of the morning) he was shipped to Siberia to begin rehabilitation and to create destructive devices for his new masters. While being flown out to a testing sight in the Artic Ocean Damus’ escorts were intercepted by MI6 who captured and contained Nostre, but had no clue what the fuck to do with him and handed him over to BPRD, where he was granted protection from the Russians and the CIA and gave him a new task in his new “life”.

In game terms creating character like Damus Nostre can be tricky. Luckily GURPS has a great system of advantages and disadvantages you can use to bring out some of the more “flavorful” elements. When married with the basic stats and a list of skills only limited by the ideas of the player, it can be good fun to put meat of the bones…..oh the irony.

To portray his ever-rotting frame, I gave Damus a low strength rating along with the “disturbing voice” disadvantage to mimic the ghoulish rotting vocal chords he possesses. I also gave him the “disease immune” advantage, to show that his body had managed to come to some symbiotic agreement with his woeful existence.
Nostre acts as a “pointman” within his BPRD team but having such a frail form he must use his intelligence to make up for it. This meant that when putting pen to paper most of his character creation points (350 in total) went into his IQ stat. I also gave Damus the advantage of “high tech” which means can he create and use technology that exceeds that of 1996, therefore he is able to create weapons and armor to help protect his fellow agents. It also gives him access to equipment that other agents wouldn’t be able to use. Damus must protect his workmates somehow, so the “high tech” advantage meant I could tailor his gear, armor and weapons to both allow him to operate within the normal world whilst offsetting his merge strength stat with an arsenal of ingenious and vile offensive capabilities.

His suit, which he calls Tempus Fugit, resembles that of a medieval plague doctor and is made of layers of lightweight Kevlar which makes it extremely durable to weapons but also resistant to everyday tears and rips! To make sure his rot does not escape the suit is pressure sealed, it is adorned by BPRD symbols and a winged hourglass on the chest, commemorating the staffs that black death doctors carried.

Damus also wears an enclosed face mask modeled on the one worn by  Doctor Schnabel, a plague doctor in seventeenth-century Rome. Like his medieval counterparts his suit exudes the smell of juniper berrys, ambergris,mint and cloves in a sickly sweet heady miasma.

I hold the line, you form the queue

What better way to stop that charging Barghest bearing down on your frail investigators than with a sawed off double barreled shotgun called Contagion and a cut down M79 Thumper called Miasma. As well as use of conventional rounds and grenades Damus harnesses the deathly ability of his rot and uses it to create shells and grenades using his “high tech” advantage. This special ammunition has a chemical tag in game and the effects of its damage can last multiple combat rounds.

Having a high IQ boasts more benefits in game as well, allowing Nostre to pick up multiple IQ skills at creation at such low costs he can use computers proficiently and has a high chemistry stat, allowing him to use portable chemistry equipment allowing him team Alabama to identify an objects makeup without refereeing back to HQ.”

1 thought on ““Wrote for Luck” Connor on creating Damus Nostre

  1. Quality read mate, nice get some more depth on your character, I didn’t know a lot of that background and I’ve been shooting dogs and killing villagers with you for months.

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