Friday, December 24, 2021

Spates Catalog

Now that we have the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man level fluff for Ghosts, it's time to get into the Nestle Bar crunch.

You've earned it. 

As with the Player Character Record Sheet, I feel that the 'Stat Block' of NPCs and opponents should fit on one page and everything you need to know should be there. There should be little to no need to refer back to the rulebook of a game during play. To accomplish this I needed to create an efficient sheet and a relatively simple system which is what we have here IMHO so we are already ahead of the game (pun not intended but welcome). 

Case: I use this to name the adventure/scenario the PCs are focused on. It could be 'The Liebowitz Case' or 'The Grand Street Haunting'. 

Case Number: I put a number on the first session in an arc that tells me when it was run. For example, Case #: 191804 was run on April 18th, 2019. You could add letters to denote the campaign like 191804HO for The Home Office or 191804NJ for New Jersey. 

Client: Who hired the Ghostbusters for this mission? It could have been a private citizen or a large government or corporate organization. For example: 'Millicent Vogel, Private Contract' or 'New York City Department of Sanitation'. This is important since it indicates who is footing the bill for this case. 

Designation: The name given to the ghost, sometimes by witnesses over the years, sometimes by the client, and sometimes by the Ghostbusters. For example: 'Asphalt Annie', 'Slimer', or 'The Gay Street Phantom'.

AKA (Also Known As): Many ghosts develop nicknames and/or alternate identities over the years. This can result from many situations including (but not limited to) being named by multiple witnesses at different times knowing nothing of its prior manifestations. It can occur because giving things alternative designations in a very Human thing to do. Slimer is sometimes known as 'The Sedgewick Hotel Ghost', 'The Mean Green Ghost', and 'Ugly Little Spud'. Behind the scenes of the original film the production staff called him 'Onionhead' or 'The Onion Head Ghost'.

CDI: As noted in the previous post, this is the system in the Ghostbusters universe used to identify paranormal entities. It is quite common to identify a ghost with the CDI System after encountering it. If there is a lot of research, physical evidence, eye-witness accounts, and the like before the Ghostbusters first meet a given entity, it is possible the being could be temporarily identified to be confirmed later.

Type of Case: This gets a bit meta, though I try to keep it grounded in the game universe. Basically, is this a Haunting, a Possession, a Poltergeist, an Interdimensional Crossrip, etc. While it does inform the PCs of what might be/is going on, it's really a guide for the GM so they can stay focused on what the ghost(s) objectives and actions are. 

Cause of Manifestation: This is something the PCs may not know and indeed a mystery they may have to solve. If they can determine how or why a ghost manifested, it may make it easier to help them move on to the 'next world' or to defeat a supernatural menace. Sample causes include Death Trauma, High PKE Area, Ritual/Summoning, You could also get more specific by going with the reason for a ghost's return to the world of the living like Forlorn, Gluttony, Justice, Revenge, etc. 

Nature of Entity: How does the ghost act and react? What does it do for the most part? Is it Erratic, Mischievous, Timid or Shy? Does it search about its location, largely ignoring the living? This entry helps to narrow down an entity's basic behavior. 

Ectoplasm and PKE

There are two main Dice Pools for Ghosts: Ectoplasm, which is essential the 'Hit Points' of a supernatural being and PKE, which is the level of Psychokinetic Energy it can amass or generate in order to boost its abilities. 

As noted in the CDI System, Class and Intensity are not perfectly analogous to power level but they are not completely unrelated either. A Ghost usually has the following Ectoplasm Dice and PKE Dice by Intensity and Class:

  • Shade/Mist - 1
  • Phantasm/Vapor - 3
  • Phantom/Fog - 5
  • Spectre/Mass - 7-9
  • Undead/Corporeal - 7-9

  • Class I - 1
  • Class II - 3
  • Class III - 5
  • Class IV - 7
  • Class V - 9
  • Class VI - 7
  • Class VII -12

Again, usually. There are numerous documented instances of weaker and stronger Class III, IV, V, and VI entities. Class VII's can definitely go higher than 12 PKE Dice, though those are thankfully rare. 

Let's say a Class IV Full Torso Repeating Spectre - alternatively an Unfocused Terminal Full-Roaming Mass - is proving particularly problematic at a mall. It's Unfocused, so it does everything from zooming up the down escalators to shopping in the clothing stores by tossing jeans all over the place and even playing in the fountain. 

As a Spectre/Mass (the fourth state of supernatural Intensity) it has an Ectoplasm of 7. Being a Class IV entity it likely has a PKE of 7 as well. 

When a ghost is blasted by the Particle Stream from a Neutrona Wand, the Ghostbuster can weaken the entity (causing it 'damage') with a Blast or try to Capture it.

When you use a Blast Stream, roll your to hit with the appropriate Action Dice - adding one Die for a standard Proton Pack. The Ghost rolls its PKE. If the Ghostbuster gets more Successes than the Ghost you subtract 1 Ectoplasm for the first Success over your opponent. With additional Success beyond the first you can opt to cause more Ectoplasm damage or PKE damage. Here's why you might want to weaken the PKE.

PKE is what the Ghost rolls to protect both its Ectoplasm and its PKE. When you fire a Capture Stream, you roll your Proton Pack against the ghost's PKE. If you get more Successes than the ghost in this case, you 'lasso' it and another PC can go for a Blast, another Capture, or even drop a Ghost Trap. PKE is the ghost's power and it must be lowered to make capture possible. As long as the entity has PKE it can be rolled to resist things such as a Capture Stream or a Ghost Trap. 

Ghosts with a 0 (Zero) PKE can much more easily trapped as they have nothing to roll. 

A Ghost with 0 (Zero) Ectoplasm dematerializes but it has not been captured, destroyed, or made to move on. As such, it will reform at some later date. It could be years, months, weeks, or even days from now. 

More on this in an upcoming post expanding on Combat in the game. 

The other use of PKE is - as pointed out already - to boost a paranormal beings abilities. It can lend one of its Supernatural Abilities extra dice from its PKE, though this temporarily drops its PKE total. More about this and how a ghost recovers PKE in the next post. 

In the meantime, from myself, Barkley, and all the artificial intelligences that help run the Barking Alien blog, have a very Happy Holidays!

Barking Alien

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