[BPRD] Info on the BPRD

edited September 2012 in Out-Of-Game

Over the decades of its existence (the Bureau has its roots in the British Paranormal Society formed in 1877, it became an official organization in 1945), the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) has grown somewhat, and remains the foremost agency of its kind in the world. It currently employs between 300 and 350 people, including contractors. Most of them are researchers and scientists, and most of them are “normal” humans.

The Bureau is a private organization, international in scope, funded primarily by the United States with some money coming from the United Kingdom and other nations. In return, the Bureau handles their paranormal problems. Several of the nations have considered setting up government agencies to replace the BPRD, but the Bureau already has the knowledge, the resources and (perhaps most important) the people. A new agency would essentially have to hire away all the BPRD's experts in order to compete. It's more cost-effective simply to fund the Bureau (and it also provides plausible deniability, when Bureau agents mess up). Nations that do not fund the Bureau still tend to cooperate if the Bureau wishes to perform an investigation in their territory – this even extends to nations on unfriendly terms with the United States. In general, this is because the Bureau is very good about sharing information on a completed operation; it also has a history of stamping out problems before theu get truly serious.

The international cooperation depends on the Bureau's public image. That puts the Bureau in the fragile position of being a low-profile organization, with a secret headquarters, that nevertheless is always in the market for good publicity. It also trades very heavily on the prestige of Hellboy and other “famous oddities” on its staff.


  • edited September 2012
    BPRD Headquarters

    The BPRD's headquarters is located in Fairfield, Connecticut, a half-hour from New York. It occupies a building whose design combined Art Deco and Asian elements, on carefully landscaped grounds. It is, by intent, isolated from the city; the building is not visible from the road. There are no signs indicating its purpose, and visitors who don't belong there are politely escorted off the premises by security. Despite the beauty of the surroundings, the site has a definite tinge of the unearthly, the effect of decades of research into the supernatural.

    Inside, the building gives the impression of an awkward collision between a business office, a small hotel, and a museum. Most horizontal surfaces are covered with papers, books, and off archaeological artifacts. Only higher-ranking administrators have private offices; most of the employees work in large open-plan seas of desks and computers.

    The building also includes a number of labs and workshops. Equipment necessary for research into archeology, chemistry, botany, forensics, genetics, geology, and metallurgy is all available. If more exotic facilities are required, the Bureau has a solid relationship with Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other research centers. In the fields of history and the occult, the Bureau's library is one of the best in the nation. The workshops are used for the development and maintenance of agent's field equipment, including jetpacks and Hellboy's customized guns.

    Bureau agents know all too well that careless research into magic and paranormal powers leads to disaster, so there is little day-to-day experimentation in those areas (or related fields like alchemy). Nevertheless, when necessary, some of the world's greatest experts in these disciplines work for the Bureau, and there are facilities in the building and on the grounds that can be used as sacred space for rituals, for alchemical work, or for training people in the use of their psychic powers.

    While most employees live in Fairfield or the surrounding towns, some live on the premises. There are a dozen private suites in the main building, and private cottages elsewhere on the grounds. These quarters are normally used by the Bureau's unique members, those who are not accepted by the public. However, some are used by employees who simply wouldn't feel comfortable in the world at large, even if they appear human. While not lavish, each suite or cottage includes a bedroom, sitting room, bathroom, and a small kitchenette. Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Roger, and Johann Kraus have suites, while Liz Sherman occupies one of the cottages. The rest are occupied by other employees or are empty. Whenever a unique agent quits, the Bureau quietly keeps their room clean and ready until they return.

    Other features of the headquarters include a chlorine-free swimming pool, health facilities, a cafeteria, a shooting range, a fast (and very secure) wired Internet connection, a helicopter pad, and hiking trails. There are medical facilities (including a surgery room, usually used for forensics), and several doctors on the staff, but anyone seriously injured is taken to St. Vincent's Hospital in Fairfield, if possible. The Bureau has an extremely good relationship with local law enforcement, due in part to the Bureau's rapid and intense, yet measured, response to local oddities. The Fairfield police never have to deal with ghosts and monsters themselves, and they're grateful.
  • Organizational Structure

    The administrative head is called the Director of the Bureau. This position was held by Professor Bruttenholm (pronounced “Broom”) for the first 15 years of its existence. After that, it was held be a series of bureaucrats until 2002, when Dr. Thomas Manning moved up into the job. This position has little to do with daily operations. Instead, the Bureau Director spends most of his time flying from one national capital to another, justifying the Bureau's budget requests. Most time spent in Fairfield is devoted to paperwork.

    As a result of the Bureau Director's frequent absence, the effective head of the BPRD is usually the Director of Field Operations. This was especially true during Dr. Manning's 20-year tenure in that post. The new Field Director, Professor Kate Corrigan, assumed that role in early 2002. Early in her tenure,Dr. Manning was more involved in daily affairs than most Bureau Directors, but he gradually placed more responsibility on her shoulders.

    The Field Director determines what events around the world require investigation, assigns teams, and coordinates the logistics necessary to get them there. Since the perception of the BPRD is based on what its agents do outside Fairfield, the Director of Field Operations is also responsible for the Bureau's public image, above merely sending agents into life-or-death situations.

    Technically equal in rank to the Field Director is the Director of Research. This position's duties are much less stressful, and the job is usually held by an administrator who is also skilled in gathering, winnowing, and synthesizing information. The current Research Director is Dr. Spencer Stillman.

    There are several departments under the Director of Research, including the Library Department, the Historical Department, the Current Affairs Department, and the Psychics Department. The last is currently headed by Dr. Izar Hoffman, and is where those psychics unsuited to field operations end up. Some monitor the worldwide ether for disturbances, others serve on “cleanup” teams after the field agents have neutralized a threat, and still others examine evidence as it comes in.

    Finally, there is the Director of Internal Affairs. This position oversees security, building maintenance, the motor pool, and the Personnel Department. (The Bureau has refused to adopt the modern term “Human Resources” for obvious reasons.) The present Internal Affairs Director is Mrs. Ignacia Quevedo. The most important position under her is the Head of Security, usually held by ex-military personnel. Currently, the job is filled by Mr. (formerly Captain) Anton Duchatel. Security personnel have the job of protecting Headquarters, and do not go on field operations unless absolutely necessary. If the Bureau needs more armed men for an operation, Dr. Manning much prefers to work with the locals, or the U.S. Or U.K. Armed forces.
  • edited October 2012
    Relations With Other Agencies

    In the United States, the BPRD has a good working relationship with the armed forces dating back to the mid-1940s, when it was closely associated with the Army Air Force and has sveral military officers on its staff. Currently, there are no active military personnel who are also members of the Bureau. However, soldiers occasionally end up helping the Bureau with particularly dangerous threats. Those who do sometimes find themselves curious to learn more about the paranormal, or wanted to help defend people from unambiguous evil, and join the Bureau after their service. Their connections back to the military are invaluable. The Bureau works most closely with the various intelligence and investigation services. The Bureau's relationship with the United Kingdom military is similar, though slightly cooler.

    Other agencies that work well with the BPRD include the Centers for Disease Control, the National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, all of whom occasionally stumble across something weird and are more than happy to call in experts. The Bureau rarely interacts with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Homeland Security or the Drug Enforcement Agency; when it does, they tend to have similar priorities (e.g. “drugs that enhance psychic powers are dangerous”, or “campires should not be allowed to immigrate”).

    The Bureau's relationship with the FBI is similar to its interaction with most law-enforcement agencies. The FBI is very territorial about its cases, but it also recognizes the expertise the Bureau can provide. In most situations where both the FBI and the BPRD are on the scene, the FBI will take charge, and then allow the Bureau's agents a great deal of latitude, as long as they share data. State and local authorities behave much the same way, though there are always exceptions. (In a few instances, police offices have had the impression that the BPRD was a federal agency, and Bureau agents are not above taking advantage of the misconception when necessary.)

    The one U.S. Government agency that actively dislikes the BPRD is the CIA, which believes the BPRD tends to bumble into international incidents and start blowing things up. Fortunately, the CIA is rarely interested in the same things as the Bureau.
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