Hellboy Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game (2002)

There is a Hellboy roleplaying game. It is a thing that exists. I have it on my shelf.

Is it an awesome sourcebook of the Hellboy comics and world? Without a doubt. Is it full of lovely Mike Mignola art? Yep, and on high gloss paper, so it really pops. In fact, even though most of it is clips from the comics, it seems to my eye that we’re seeing the originals, before the text bubbles were pasted in, so it is extra nice. There’s also some Mignola impersonators filling in a few places – it is amazing how easy they are to spot/how disappointing they are in comparison. It is also exhaustive. In fact, until the Hellboy Companion came out in 2008, this was your best Hellboy reference work (and, unlike the Companion, this is in full color all the way through). Steve Jackson Games even printed it in standard trade paperback size so you can put it on the shelf with your Hellboy collections (weirdly, the Hellboy Companion isn’t trade size, but I digress).

As a game, though, I dunno. It is a Powered by GURPS title, which means, in an effort to court new players, everything you need to play is in the book. Considering the amount of time spent covering the Hellboy universe in this 200-page book, there isn’t much room to make a clear explanation of the system (which, you know, has a dedicated 336-page rulebook). That’s not a great way to welcome novice players or satisfy established ones.

So who is the audience for this game? Me. People who like Hellboy and collect RPG books. I think that’s totally fine. You might disagree.

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