Thursday, December 9, 2021

We're Having A Special On Proton Charging

Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night?
Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic?
Have you or your family ever seen a spook, spectre, or ghost?

If the answer is "yes" then don't wait another minute.
Pick up the phone and call the professionals...

Alternate Poster Design
By Yvan Quinet

Franchise Dice

It's time to get down to the nitty-gritty. What are Franchise Dice exactly and how do they work?

A Franchise is given a number of dice to define the particulars of the business. When the Ghostbusters first establish themselves in the 1984 film they are most likely working with only 6-8 Franchise Dice. In the continuity of our Home Office campaign, the team had started with 12 and eventually got to 18. Ghostbusters, NJ had 8 when it ended, having started with only 6. I recommend starting with 8-9 unless the players are up for more of a challenge.

The total Franchise Dice are broken up into three categories: Information, Equipment, and Capital

Information defines a Franchise's current store of knowledge as well as its access to outside knowledge. This can include but isn't limited to an office computer with internet access, a library/collection of books, colleagues in various fields of expertise, and/or physical maps of the local town, city, state, etc.

You make an Information Roll to see if you have some source of desired knowledge that you might logically have on hand or which you could easily obtain. You may also add your Information Dice to an Academics Roll when doing an investigation or research.

Example: Dr. Ezeriah H. Croftman of Ghostbusters Hoboken [NJ] wants to see if the cult currently attempting to summon the Devil of Leeds Point, aka 'The Jersey Devil', is mentioned in The Roylance Guide to Secret Societies and Sects. First they have that book at the HQ or must he hunt down a copy of the obscure tome?         

Croftman's player rolls the Franchise's Information Dice of 2 (much to the former Librarian's chagrin their on-site collection of books is small). He gets a 6 and 2. One Success! They have a copy though its stained and in pretty poor condition.

Luckily, Croftman has a knack of pulling the right book for the right occasion (Specialty: Always Find the Right Book). He adds the Information Dice of 2 to his Academics of 5, Signature Skill of Research +3, and his Specialty of +1 for a total roll of 11 Action Dice! No normal Human being reads a book like Dr. Croftman. 

Symmetrical Book Stacking.
Just like the Philadelphia Mass Turbulence of 1947.   

Equipment covers the gear and technology used by the Ghostbusters. It goes beyond the Proton Packs and Particle Throwers, PKE Meters, and other paraphernalia that quite literally come with the franchise rights. The idea is that as a franchise, you are provided with the Ghostbusters proprietary technology that enables the company to do what it does. Equipment Dice are therefore useful in obtaining or constructing additional devices in the continuing battle against the supernatural. Things like hand held fire extinguishers, a parabolic microphone, hand sanitizer, components for a custom Neutrona Wand variant, and first aid kits.
The key thing about Equipment is that these are items considered to be on-hand, stored somewhere in either the Headquarters or the main vehicle. These can also be components or parts of an item used to modify or construct new gear. Large items such as a replacement Containment Unit or a brand new vehicle require Capital. 

Example: The Home Office is about to face off with a Ghost Ship and its Paranormal Pirate Crew and they're pressed for time! Former Marine David Nelson and Science/Tech Specialist Prof. Gabriel Zimmerman want to build a Particle Thrower cannon that fires a wide angle beam or a cone instead of a stream. That way they can hit multiple targets at once or maybe even blast the broadside of the ship and 'sink' it. Unfortunately, that's a difficult thing to do and they're in a hurry. 

The GM says it will take three Successes. The Home Office Franchise has 6 Equipment Dice. Nelson's player rolls 3 and Zimmerman's player rolls 3. No Successes! Yikes! In addition, the Stress Level of the situation goes up by 1 as time is running out. Dr. Alexander D. Thorton has an idea. Take one, just one, of the team's Proton Packs and modify only that Neutrona Wand to perform the function. Additionally, he suggests using Nelson's Wand because it already shoots a thicker stream and has a wider opening at the end. All that sounds vaguely rude.

Thorton's player rolls his Technology of 3 and the Equipment Dice of 6 for a total of 9 Dice (plus the current Stress of course) and gets 4 Successes! This Wide-Beam Proton Blast will work four times before the weapon overheats and the circuits fry. 

It just occurred to me that we really haven't had a successful test of this equipment.

Capital, simply put, is the amount of liquid assets and/or funds the Franchise can muster when needed. Capital is used for large purchases, whether they are new expenditures such adding a jacuzzi and sauna to the Headquarters or replacing the groups Containment Unit after a power failure induced breach. 

Capital must be handled carefully so that it functions the way the other Franchise do but also works within the story's narrative. The PCs should never be able to roll their Capital Dice of 2. get too successes and be able to purchase an entire New York City Skyscraper. Likewise, if the Ghostbusters recently completed a big job and got paid handsomely, lower the difficulty of the Capital Dice roll needed to make their next big investment. Make sure it makes sense within the confines of the game. 

The only time Capital is added to a PC's roll is when said PC (whether alone or on behalf of the group) is trying to make a purchase that involves negotiation of some kind. If the Player Character can get a lower price or have a few extras added in by talking to someone they can add the Capital Dice to their Contact Attribute and any appropriate skills. 

Example: The team at Ghostbusters, Hoboken sits down for a staff meeting after a successful case and a decently large payout. Ezeriah Croftman wants to set up a real library of occult books, while Eric Zeddemore (nephew of original Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore) wants to overhall the garage. Carly Carlson, the group's dedicated driver sides with Eric, while Ziva Yesperani is on the same page as Dr. Croftman. Here's how we play it out...

Chose one purchase and make a Capital Roll. The NJ Ghostbusters agree to try for the library first. If there is at least one Success Croftman and Yesperani get their wish. If there are no Successes, Carlson and Zeddemore can try for their garage upgrade. If Yesperani and Croftman get two or more Successes they have a choice - get a really good sized library or get a slightly smaller library and let Zeddemore and Carlson make their roll for the garage upgrade which will also be slightly less decked out then they wanted. 

Knowing my old groups they'd always choose the option(s) that best serves the team as a whole while also giving the individuals what they were hoping for, even if its a little less than they envisioned. This simultaneously gives them a motivation to get more work and upgrade the new or improved areas to their full potential. 

One final note about Capital: Once the money is spent, note what you purchased under 'Resources', located to the right of the Franchise Dice departments. In the above example, Information gets the Resource: Occult Library and Equipment gets the Resource: Garage. When making rolls with the appropriate category of Franchise Dice that would include that Resource you may add +1 additional die. However, the Capital Dice then Drop by 1.

This magnificent feast here represents the last of the petty cash.

I have other thoughts about Franchises and Franchise Dice but I'll leave this here for now. I want to finish the Character Sheet breakdown, discuss some other elements of Ghostbusters gaming I've been thinking about, as well as talking about some other subjects. 

Remember, We're Ready To Believe You!

Barking Alien


  1. Your posts on Ghostbusters are very interesting. They had me watch the first two movies this week-end.
    I watched Zeddmore job interview and it made me think : If they ask him if he believe to 'Full trance Medium' and other things, can't old rituals have an effect on ghost?
    If a franchise were to open in Japan, wouldn't they mix traditions and technology? Having an ofuda weilding shinto priest (or miko) alongside people in grey coveralls lugging unlicenced particle accelerators (and doing a lot of collateral damage with said particle accelerators)...
    I think I opened quite a can of worms...

    As for the absence of ghosts betweens movies, well after the big crises, the twinkie returns to its usual size. Wich can be too small for a franchise to be profitable . How many ghost do you have to catch per week to cover the expenses.

    Other crossovers are also possibles, a strange cult from new england tries to bring back an entity/god that is sleeping underwater in a dead city?

  2. Oh. My. Gozer! Alqualonde you beautiful bastard!

    I have had this idea in my head the past few days...not even fully formed...and I haven't been able to lock it down enough to talk about it. Now here you come with exactly the right words.

    "How many ghost do you have to catch per week to cover the expenses."

    This is going to be a post. I honestly, truly have been thinking about this and how to answer that very question without definitively having to answer that question.

    Thank you so much for your interest, your comment, and this inspiring sentence.

  3. At your service. In case of doubt always ask the down-to-earth guy who reads too much hard-science.
    As for the number of ghosts, the best answer would be "as much as the campaign call for".
    Seriously it seems they were doing several catchs per day (they were so overworked they had to hire Zeddmore). Their homebase has improved a little (they went from a plain black & white name on the front to a hanging sign).
    They were doing fine, but not that much. Otherwise they could have hired two more teams (at least) to have 3 shifts. I guess R&D, maintenance and paying off the debt took the lion share...
    And it was with a metaphorical 600pd twinkie...