Sunday, September 5, 2021

Paranormal Activity

Of the many pet projects I'm currently working on, the one that is furthest along is my [ongoing] update of the system I use for running Ghostbusters games.

Ghostbusters 'No Ghosts' Logo Variant
By Justin Gammon

For some years now I've been using a rules set I put together combining the original West End Games Ghostbusters RPG and Memento Mori's InSpectres. Honestly, the system I use is primarily InSpectres but since that game owes a lot to the Ghostbusters game I feel the latter is worth mentioning. It's DNA is clearly visible in the final product. 

I've decided to add something new to the mix with the Stress Dice/Panic Chart mechanic from Free League Publishing's ALIEN RPG. To this end, I had Nice Dice Customs (who I highly recommend!) produce a dozen 'Ghost Dice' with the No Ghost emblem in place of the 1.

The idea is that you would roll one or more of these Ghost Dice as you would the Stress Dice from ALIEN, along with your appropriate Action Dice for the Tasks Attribute and Skill combination. 

A 6 on any of the dice, Action Dice or Stress/Ghost Dice, indicates a Success. Ghost Dice would be added to the mix in stressful, frightening, or obviously dangerous situations. The more stressful, the more Ghost Dice you would add to the roll. A player may also request the addition of one Ghost Die to their roll as a gamble to increase ones chance of Success. 

If the No Ghost symbol comes up, that is considered Panic. The player than makes a Panic Roll. Take a count of the number of Ghost Dice/Stress you rolled, add the number of dice that came up Ghosts and add the total to a single standard/Action Die roll. That final Panic number is checked against the chart below (still a work in progress). 


A particularly perturbing Poltergeist presents a problem for veteran Ghostbusters Ray Stantz and Winston Zeddemore.

The duo tries to surround their formidable fortean foe in the atrium of an abandoned building. Ray is on the North East side of the area while Winston is on the South West. Ray fires off a stream from his Proton Pack hoping to ensure the ghost while Winston tosses a trap underneath it. 

Ray rolls his Action Dice; adding his Technology Attribute (say 3 Dice) and his Neutrino Wand Talent (Adding +1 Dice) for a total of 4 Dice. In addition, the GM (Ghostmaster like in the ol' West End version?) declares that this is a 2 Ghost Die situation (more on how I see this working in a future post).

Ray is therefore rolling four Action Dice and two Ghost Dice for a total of six (6) Dice. His results are: 6, 6, 4, 3, and two Ghost symbols. Uh-oh.

Now according to the original system by Free League, I believe that rolling Panic negates the action the PC is attempting to take. I could be wrong here. My house rule is that you do accomplish what you were attempting to do if indeed the roll includes Successes. The effect of the Panic Roll also happens.

Based on the situation, as well as GM and player input, the Panic Effect may occur during or immediately after the Success result. If the Success and Panic are incompatible for any reason, the Panic supersedes and the Action fails regardless of Successes rolled. 

Optionally, if you roll more Successes than you need you may spend one to prevent your Action from being negated. I kind of like that. What do you all think? 

Where was I? Oh yes, the Panic Roll. With 2 Ghost Dice rolled and 2 Ghost symbols popping up, Ray rolls 1D6 and adds+4 (2+2). He gets a 6; which along with the +4 is a 10. The GM then consults the Panic Chart. 

Apparently the piercing green eyes and transparent rib-cage thing is too much for Ray once he takes a good look at it and he freezes in place (It's Right Here. It's Looking at Me.).

Winston wasn't really looking at the ghost so much as waiting for Ray's que to drop the Muon Trap he was prepping. He suddenly realizes Ray isn't moving and starts to get nervous himself (tacking on +1 to his Stress Dice as noted). 

Obviously still a work in progress and this is one of many notes I need to go through but what do you all think so far? I'm really liking it. 

Barking Alien


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Rob! I really hope it works for my players.

      I know my personal preference in TRPG subject matter isn't everyone's cup of tea but I've had great success with Ghostbusters over the years and I'm always looking to make it even better.