Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Worldwatch Wednesday: Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense

The Bureau of Paranormal of Research & Defense is a organization that was founded in 1944 by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm to combat various occult threats uncovered in operations against Nazi Germany.

By 1948, the Bureau was based in a facility in Fairfield, Connecticut, retaining links to various branches of the United States Armed Forces that it had built up during the war.

A private organization that receives funding from several major governments, it had numerous human agents, in addition to some unusually talented or noteworthy agent. Of course, the B.P.R.D. also has had paranormal agents such as Liz Sherman, Abraham Sapien, Johann Krauss, Ben Daimio, and -- of course -- their most famous agent: Hellboy.

Campaign Use

The B.P.R.D. (or something very much like it) is a useful organization in a campaign because it has several attributes that help flesh out the setting and perform some useful game functions:
  • We've been around since the War. -- As an organization with a relatively long history has many secrets, many past employees and agents, and many past cases (and possibly artifacts) and ongoing experiments and files;
  • Those don't grow on trees, you know -- Government funding isn't always (surprise!) extravagant, or predictable. Some pet projects get the money, while others end up shelved and some things wind up pushed back or short of resources. Until it's an emergency, of course.
  • Dark corners of the world -- Adventures for the B.P.R.D. agents take them all around the world, into all the dark places that they must walk.
  • The Abyss also gazes -- While some agents' lives are short, others transition through many phases across many major and minor (traumatic?) cases, and developments in their own lives due to exposure to the occult or the use of their own powers. Seldom for the better.
  • We've lost track of it -- Part of the reason that the B.P.R.D. tries to keep tabs on personalities and artifacts of interest is that there's always someone (or something) that has an agenda for the world.
  • Beyond the Bureau -- Another aspect of the B.P.R.D. is that each agent has ties, alliances, and enemies beyond the Bureau. And sometimes those lead into stories and adventures beyond the current agency mission list.