Alas! Alack! Hellboy Week is over…
…or is it?
I mean, sure, traditionally speaking, weeks run for seven days, but here in the shadow of the Ogdru Jahad, where the loss of sanity is probably the best you can hope for, who can say for certain?
Ahem. Sorry, my point is: today’s a bonus Hellboy Week blog, hooray! (As if it’s not enough that you got a bonus sort-of Hellboy Week blog last night…) Today, you lucky people, we’re talking about budgeting.
Wait, come back! It’s interesting, honest!
One of the benefits of the B.P.R.D. being a well-funded shadowy government organisation is that the gang are rarely short on resources – the flipside, of course, is that you have to stay within parameters. This is represented by the Mission Budget, which the players can spend before the Case. This budget scales depending on the number of agents, and is one of the ways in which the game scales for different player counts.
But what can you spend your budget on?
The agents generally start with an equipment card or two (things like Hellboy’s Pistol and Abe’s Harpoon), but true to the comics, you’ve got the chance to take all manner of additional equipment by buying Requisition Cards. Think you might be facing something big and scary? Stock up on grenades and bigger guns. Got a player who always rolls dreadful dice? Hang a Warding Charm off them.
Requisition cards are a great way to fill the gaps in your skill set, especially if you’re not running with a full team of four. For example, if you’ve just got Liz and Hellboy present, an Investigative Toolkit or B.P.R.D. Comms Set can help you out when it comes to advancing the Information Gathered tracker; similarly, if it’s Abe and Johann, a Protective Undersuit or set of Field Dressings can help you keep fighting when the going gets tough.
Alternatively, you might want to use Requisition cards to push your specialisations even further. Give that Undersuit to Hellboy, and he’s going to be near-impossible to take down. Give Johann the Investigative Tools and there won’t be many clues he can’t decipher!
Just as no man is an island, no B.P.R.D. field team works alone. Backup Agents represent other agents working on the periphery of the case, checking out other leads nearby. Sure, they’re the B-team, but they definitely come in handy.
Backup agents are taken by a specific agent just like requisition cards – this is their Contact, the agent responsible for keeping in touch with them. At the start of the Case their card is on its “remote support” side, showing a particular colour of dice. Whenever the group Takes Time, each Contact rolls that die and advances the Information Gathered track by that much, representing the backup agent reporting in with what they’ve found nearby.
Instead of doing this, the Contact can call in the Backup Agent. Their card is flipped to their “on location” side and they’re added to the board as another Agent (represented by a counter – after all, they’re only side characters!). Backup agents who are giving direct support in this way have a simplified set of rules and a single Action Cube each round, meaning they never take centre stage but they can still help even the odds. Each Backup Agent also has a special rule which makes them unique – they might give automatic upgrades to certain tests, for example, or might grant special abilities.
Most importantly, this is a great chance to bring more characters from the Mignolaverse to life on the tabletop. There are loads of supporting B.P.R.D. characters, and Backup Agents let you bring them to the table while still playing as one of the big, awesome heroes.
So there you have it. That, as far as I’m aware, is the last Hellboy Week blog post. I really hope you’ve enjoyed this extended look at the game’s mechanics, and that you’ll join us in two days to launch the Kickstarter with a bang.
I genuinely can’t wait!