The King is Dead

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The King is Dead: Thank you, Hellsing.


I started my day by working on fixing formatting for The King is Dead’s dedicated page, then I switched to turning the Word document I was using to compile the text into a PDF, and then I realized I was wasting my time because there’s a lot I want to change in what I’ve written for The King is Dead so far and there really isn’t any point in taking the old stuff and making it pretty, dammit.

Oh well…

I am dropping the Balefire Club from the roster of secret societies.  In play, the Balefire Club is kinda redundant; they don’t really add anything that other societies don’t do better.  If I really want good-guy occultists, then I should just play up that part of the Illuminated and interpolate some of the conspiracy theorist version of the Freemasons.  They’re also more than a little problematic.  The real-life Hellfire Club – unlike the basis for most of the other societies – was neither progressive nor oppressed; they were, bluntly, rich jackasses of the sort the setting is meant to skewer.  I’m not going to delete them from the website, but don’t expect to see them in the book (except possibly as bad guys).

I’m also going to heavily retool the vampires.  The stat blocks for all those powers and weaknesses are just too long for the fast and furious action of Savage Worlds, and giving even low-level vampires all of those abilities makes it really, really hard for normal humans to stand any chance against them.

Hellsing has to be one of my favorite works of vampire fiction in any medium.  There’s just something so uniquely and utterly bonkers about sending a truly monstrous and terrifying Dracula up against an undead army of Neo-Nazis that I just can’t help but laugh with evil glee.  The vampires in it have such bizarre, freaky abilities.  I’d like the vampires of The King is Dead to have some of that unpredictable fluidity and weirdness to their powers, but that makes them way too difficult for the system to handle.

Except, I’m not seeing the forest for the 1,000 year old oaks.  Alucard, Seras Victoria, Schrodinger, and the other Wild Cards (in Savage Worlds terms) have weird-ass crazy powers, but all of those vampire Nazi soldiers only have super-strength, speed, and big teeth.  The vast majority of the Mallean nobility don’t have to have gonzo superpowers, only the elite of the elite.  King Wilhelm might be a protean, nigh-Lovecraftian horror, but the dude who makes life hard for your novice player characters just needs to be better than human.

Don’t you hate it when you realize you’ve been wasting your time?




2 comments:

  1. The worst thing about the original Hellsing anime is that it's only 13 episodes long.

    I have a suggestion on how you could (if you chose) recycle the Balefire Club without dropping them. The BC could be a faux resistance that is secretly led by certain members of the vampire aristocracy. If they control the resistance, it's not a threat to them, right? (In their minds.) The ultimate goal of this vampire cabal is to use their unknowing human pawns in their eventual coup d'etat against the crown. It's an immortal-eat-immortal world man! As far as the real resistance groups know, the Balefire Club is a super-secret society who occasionally reaches out to their leaders. Though it does seem a little suspicious that their leaders sometimes mysteriously vanish afterwards. Anyways, just an idea for you to consider or ignore.

    However you do it, this setting will be awesome. Keep at it!

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    1. Honestly? I was actually considering adding in a table of secret societies' secrets that GMs could roll on with the possibility that any given society might actually be a front for some bad guy, but then I decided that was just too paranoid. Using the Balefire Club specifically as a honeytrap for the rebels might just be the way to go.

      Have you watched Hellsing Ultimate? It's only 10 episodes (of which only 8 are licensed in America) but they're 50 minute episodes and it cleaves much closer to the original manga. Weird, sick stuff.

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