Lamentations of a Badly Done Hellboy Adaption

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TristramEvans

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Got this notification today

"Mantic Games is excited to announce that it is partnering with Dark Horse Comics and visionary creator Mike Mignola to bring Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game to Kickstarter this summer. Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game will be a whole new way to explore the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. universe while creating your own spectacular one-off stories or action-packed chronicles.

Powered by the world’s most popular RPG ruleset, Fifth Edition, Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game gives you the tools to step into the shoes of a B.P.R.D. agent, ready to face the forces of evil. You can become a field researcher skilled in the study of the occult, a hard-nosed B.P.R.D. security agent, a rookie with hidden supernatural powers, and more…. The choice is yours.

Developed by Red Scar Publishing, Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game is being led by ENnie Award-winning writer and game developer Marc Langworthy, who has worked on Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition Roleplaying Game, Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Roleplaying Game, and the Conan: Adventures in An Age Undreamed Of Roleplaying Game.

Once the Kickstarter launches, you will be able to try the roleplaying game for yourself with a detailed quickstart that features six pre-generated characters, all the rules needed to play, and a unique adventure inspired by the Hellboy graphic novels, written by Red Scar.

“We can’t wait to bring Hellboy back to Kickstarter,” said Ronnie Renton, CEO of Mantic Games. “The roleplaying game is going to be a fantastic new way to experience Hellboy on the tabletop. The team at Red Scar has done an amazing job of capturing the feel of the Hellboy universe. Plus, your miniatures from Hellboy: The Board Game will be compatible with the RPG, which will bring a whole new lease of life to your awesome mini collection.”

Mantic Games launched Hellboy: The Board Game on Kickstarter in 2018 and raised almost two million dollars during the campaign. The board game is a co-operative experience in which players face off against some of the comic’s most famous foes. Up to four people take control of iconic B.R.P.D. members––Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and Johann Kraus––before exploring gothic locations, uncovering ancient artefacts, and battling one of Hellboy’s most notorious foes, Rasputin! After launching at retail last year, the game is now available in multiple languages (French, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian) and is on its fourth reprint after selling out worldwide
."


This is....really depressing, to be honest. I love Hellboy, I've wanted a new RPG for years after the GURPs game.

And I couldn't think of a less suitable system for him than D&D. I don't know how anyone could look at the D&D rules and think they would be good for modelling the world of Hellboy.

And so it feels, I dunno, gimmicky, or like a cash grab :sad:
 

Endless Flight

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I’m wondering if maybe the Year Zero system might be a good fit. I actually think D6 would work too. I find 5e to be sort of bland for other genres. I thought about a modern game using 5e but it doesn’t excite me much.
 

TristramEvans

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I’m wondering if maybe the Year Zero system might be a good fit. I actually think D6 would work too. I find 5e to be sort of bland for other genres. I thought about a modern game using 5e but it doesn’t excite me much.

I can name a hundred systems I would have been just fine with. This is like actively seeking a system that makes no sense
 

Raleel

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I can name a hundred systems I would have been just fine with. This is like actively seeking a system that makes no sense
it absolutely makes sense if you are interested in selling it to a wide audience. most folks just have not been around as many options as we have been and don’t understand the nuances. They just wanna play in the Hellboy universe.
 

TristramEvans

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it absolutely makes sense if you are interested in selling it to a wide audience. most folks just have not been around as many options as we have been and don’t understand the nuances. They just wanna play in the Hellboy universe.
Well, I'm not blaming the audience... I'm blaming the creators
 

Voros

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I've seen on Twitter that they're open to releasing it in other systems. Probably want to see how well it does with the most popular system out there until they make that decision though.
 
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Tommy Brownell

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I've seen on Twitter that they're open to releasimg it in other systems. Probably want to see how well it does with the most popular system out there until they make that decision though.
They implied on Twitter - assuming you saw the same thing I did - that other systems might be stretch goals...that's an even surer sign of a cash grab, about 90% of the time. A few years back it was so common to see Savage Worlds slapped on as a stretch goal to get more people to jump on...and the end result being a slapped together book (and sometimes just a document) from someone who only half understood the system.
 

Raleel

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Well, I'm not blaming the audience... I'm blaming the creators
and you should, but "Powered by the world’s best pulp RPG ruleset, Savage World, Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game gives you the tools to step into the shoes of a B.P.R.D. agent, ready to face the forces of evil. " doesn't give the instant appeal that 5e does. Its' straight up a business decision. Hellboy just doesn't have the mindshare to carry the game on its own. Conan can have 2d20 because it is Conan. Marvel Avengers can have whatever system because movies. Hellboy is an obscure movie with a cult following, for better or worse.

it sort of breaks my heart that there are not more ways recognized for storytelling in games, but it sort of is what it is.
 

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Ultimately, it's a sound business decision. I wouldn't call it a "cash grab", because Mantic showed through the BG that they know how to do the property well. This is more about if you want to make something successful, best to start from an already wildly successful product (or even better, two, as in this case).

And frankly, compared to other "generic" systems mentioned (Savage Worlds, Unisystem, 2d20, etc), D&D 5th is just as good, if not better, and does a great job of letting you play "big damn heroes" IME.

So long as it's not just an in house team slapping a coat of paint on top of D&D - as we saw in the d20 glut - and they actually put a bit of thought into how to do it right (and the designer they've chosen to head it up shows every indication they will), then I'm thinking it has every chance of being a good game, as well as a successful one.
 

TristramEvans

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And frankly, compared to other "generic" systems mentioned (Savage Worlds, Unisystem, 2d20, etc), D&D 5th is just as good, if not better
Not for the task at hand.

A Class and Level system doesn't belong anywhere near the Hellboy comicbook setting. To turn 5e into something that is appropriately suited to the comics, would require altering the system to the point it was no longer recognizeable as 5E

I say it seems like a cash grab, because it's obviously not about making an RPG that does the best job of modelling the comicbook. So either they simply went with a sub-optimal choice because of 5E's popularity OR it's been designed by people with little to no practical knowledge of the bredth and width of RPG game design.

Either way, it's the fans that lose.
 

Séadna

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D&D 5th is just as good, if not better, and does a great job of letting you play "big damn heroes" IME.
5E is a cool system but I'd find it hard to see how levels in particular would work with the comic book setting. Classes perhaps, although I'd still find them a bit of a stretch.

I recently got Carbon 2185 and it's a well done setting but there are places where I find the "class & level" stuff doesn't work with the cyberpunk world. Classes introduce a sort of rigid division of roles that seems less natural for a setting like that and levels don't feel natural to how people improve in such settings. Not that any improvement system in an RPG is "realistic".

But I might be wrong.
 
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Fenris-77

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Yeah, 5E wouldn't have been my pick, but I totally get why that's what they went with. I dont see it as a cash grab either. They're using a wildly popular rules set to do a great property. I think people need to be a little less precious about their personal tastes in RPGs. If I had to pick 10 systems to do that game D&D wouldn't make my list, but that's really not the point. Will I buy it? Nope, but lots of people will, probably far more than if it had been done using any other rules set.
 

gribble

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I freely admit to not being overly familiar with the comics (I've only read a handful), but I see nothing in the movies or other Hellboy material I'm familiar with that would preclude classes and levels.
To the contrary, I see a lot of things that would work fine (the investigators each seem to have their own "niche"/specialty, which is really all a class is anyway).
Besides, there are implementations of 5e with alternate classes (and without classes entirely), though I'm not aware of any without levels.
Anyway, we shall see I guess. Personally, I see nothing inherently wrong with using a D&D 5e based system for running Hellboy.
 

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They could do worse than port over their boardgame system honestly. You don't need more stats: Fists for Hellboy, Investigate for Johann, Shooting for the other guy. Works fine there.
 

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From what little I know of it, and that Atomic Robo was at least partially inspired by it, that's a perfectly good variant of Fate they could have used.

But yes, I suspect this is a commercial decision and nothing more.
 

Bunch

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Random tangent but how many levels do you need to have for it to be a level system and how many/few classes to be a class system?
 

TristramEvans

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I think people need to be a little less precious about their personal tastes in RPGs.
This is not about taste. If they had done a Fate or Powered by the Apocalypse Hellboy game, I might not have been thrilled, but at least it would have made sense from some PoV that involved making a good game vs making money. This is a slap in the face to Hellboy fans, even if those who aren't familiar enough with RPGs don't know it.


If I had to pick 10 systems to do that game D&D wouldn't make my list, but that's really not the point.
That IS my point, and honestly, the only point that I concieve of possibly mattering to anyone who isn't a Suit at Mantic.
 

Fenris-77

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This is not about taste. If they had done a Fate or Powered by the Apocalypse Hellboy game, I might not have been thrilled, but at least it would have made sense from some PoV that involved making a good game vs making money. This is a slap in the face to Hellboy fans, even if those who aren't familiar enough with RPGs know it.
Is it really though? IDK. How many people play 5E and nothing else? I have no idea, but I suspect it's rather a lot. Lots of those people are Hellboy fans too. I'm not saying anyone has to like, or buy it, or even not complain about it, but I don't see the insult some people do. I'd also challenge your last point. It's not a slap in the face to Hellboy fans generally. That implies a level of entitlement that I find a little bit icky. YMMV, naturally.

I'm not fashed enough about it to have an argument though. Suffice to say I don't see the insult, nor naked cash grab, the same way you do. That's fine.
 

TristramEvans

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Is it really though? IDK. How many people play 5E and nothing else? I have no idea, but I suspect it's rather a lot. Lots of those people are Hellboy fans too.
What argument are you even trying to make here? "How many people only wear blue jeans? Why not make all pants blue jeans then? "


I'd also challenge your last point. It's not a slap in the face to Hellboy fans generally.
I stated my reasons for saying that, simply stating a contradiction isn't really challenging that.


That implies a level of entitlement that I find a little bit icky.
What the hell does wanting something to be good have to do with "entitlement"?

Is a Star Wars fan acting "entitled" if they want a good Star Wars film?
Is a Comicbook fan acting "entitled" if they want good art in a comicbook?
Is a person going out to dinner acting "entitled" if they want good ingredients in their food?

I would say an argument based on prioritizing money over quality is the only icky thing that's come up in this thread.
 

Fenris-77

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What argument are you even trying to make here? "How many people only wear blue jeans? Why not make all pants blue jeans then? "
That there's a big slice of the audience for whom the thing you want would be a turn off. Not a complicated idea really.

I stated my reasons for saying that, simply stating a contradiction isn't really challenging that.
It wasn't a reasoned position to begin with. I don't see any screaming need to try and reason you out of being upset, I just don't agree with why you're upset. I stated reasons why I don't share your outrage, so what makes my opinion different than yours?

What the hell does wanting something to be good have to do with "entitlement"?

Is a Star Wars fan acting "entitled" if they want a good Star Wars film?
Is a Comicbook fan acting "entitled" if they want good art in a comicbook?
Is a person going out to dinner acting "entitled" if they want good ingredients in their food?

I would say an argument based on prioritizing money over quality is the only icky thing that's come up in this thread.
Because the key here is that you're trying to make your version of 'good' the only one that matters. You can have an opinion, but that doesn't make you 'right'. My point is a lot of fans aren't going to care a whit for your objections because they don't play other games, don't know about other games, and don't care about other games. They are just excited to see a new Hellboy RPG. I happen to share your disappointment about it being 5E, I just don't share the rest of your reaction. i also don't think there's any call to be snippy with me because I don't share your outrage.
 

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I think a case can be made that if you want Fan of Hellboy "A" to be able to sit down with 2-4 people and play a face to face RPG game of Hellboy they're going to have an easier time finding those 2-4 people if they can find the intersection between people who play D&D 5e and people who would play in the Hellboy universe.
 

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I'm not sure what system that would be a good Hellboy.
Cinematic Unisystem would be the best match IMHO.

Other options might be Vortex, Supers Revised, maybe D6.

I personally don't enjoy Savage Worlds much, but it wouldn't be the worst option. I probably wouldn't buy it.

What about a variant of the New World of Darkness or Vampire 5E system? It wouldn't be my first choice but if they did this I would probably pick it up.

By the way, I want to be able to create my own BPRD characters, not play the ones from the comics or movies!

They could do worse than port over their boardgame system honestly. You don't need more stats: Fists for Hellboy, Investigate for Johann, Shooting for the other guy. Works fine there.
That actually doesn't sound that bad either.
 
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