Sunday, October 23, 2022

Spirits Unleashed

BOO! Ha! Scared you didn't I?

Seasons Creepings Everyone! While I haven't gotten any comments here lately, my previous post received a lot of positive feedback on Facebook from both friends and fellow members of RPG groups I'm part of, with the number one suggestion/request being 'Do More!'.

I always aim to give the people want they want (unless they want D&D, then they can go scr...I mean, I would defer you to the many other quality outlets for that), so without further adieu, here are more ectoplasmic antagonists for your Ghostbusters (or similar) games. 

Beware! Some of the backstories for these ghosts are a bit more 'mature' so viewer discretion is advised. 

Alrighty then...PKE Meter out, Ecto Goggles on, Proton Packing charging...

The Awe Shuck



AKA: The Dog of Smoke and Bone, Aw Shucks, The Ghost Hound of British Columbia
CDI: Predictive Non-Terminal Triggered Phantasm or a Class VI Full Roaming Vapor

A little known or understood supernatural entity haunting the woodlands of British Columbia, Canada is the Awe Shuck; a gruesome, vaguely canine creature that roams the regions frequented by lumberjacks and others involved in commercial forestry.

The Awe Shuck appears only rarely these days but sightings of this being date back to long before European settlers occupied the lands of what is Western Canada today. Indigenous people of the region have a long oral tradition that includes 'The Dog of Smoke and Bone'. The creature's presence is considered a terrible omen and foretells of ecological dangers, warning observers that someone or something is threatening the environment. It is most likely to be seen prior to a devastating forest fire but has also warned of a virus that caused significant damage to the trees of a particular area. The illness was accidently brought into the vicinity by careless workers carrying if from another location. 

The Awe Shuck, while extremely disquieting in appearance, is actually something of a boon and many of the locals living and working in the sections of forest it patrols are quite happy it's there. This is where it gets the more endearing spelling and pronunciation of its name as 'Aw Shucks' instead of The Awe Shuck. Ghostbusters Vancouver has been reluctant to trap it, often sighting the benefits of having it around to clients who want it gone. Given the lives, time, and money that can be saved by heeding its warnings, who would want to get rid of it?

Well, the entity does have its darker aspects. It will sometimes appear in the presence of the culprit or culprits of the coming catastrophe and glare at the person/persons/anyone in visual range creating a Terrifying Visage (see The Fall Bearer in the previous post). If said individual does not make amends or flee the area the Awe Shuck will 'hound them' day and night, suddenly showing up in oddest of places. There are reports of it appearing next to a guilty party by stepping out from behind a thin tree truck, out of the shadows underneath a vehicle, in the vehicles front cab, or in one instance inside an outhouse.

It has been known to chase people (Hounding Chase) with the target experiencing fear, disorientation, exhaustion, and an unusually high degree of clumsiness (they are prone to falling). While the Awe Shuck have near attacked directly, there are reports of pursued individuals falling into ditches, down ravines, and other similar situations. Mechanics wise, for each Success the Awe Shuck gets rolling Hounding Chase it can decide to either add Stress Dice to the chased person's next roll or make their next roll while in the creatures presence more difficult. For example, if a PC or NPC were trying to outrun or outmaneuver the entity they would need to get 1 Success plus any number of Successes the Awe Shuck invoked to impede the character's escape. 

Like most Vaporous Phantasms, the Awe Shuck can pass through solids, Slime, and disappear and re-appear at will. It will not disappear if being viewed straight on. It will likewise not reappear out of thin air but always seems to emerge from a hiding place. Its Ectoplasm is a smoky, heavy white/clear and smells like burnt or rotten wood.

 


At this time the Vancouver GB office is looking into alternate approaches to dealing with this supernatural beast. Suggestions from other offices are welcome. 

Lady Blues



AKA: The Phantom of Fats' House of Jazz, Dominque, Miss Morel
CDI: Anchored, Possibly Terminal, Repeating Phantom or a Class IV Fixed Stable Fog

First encountered in the early 1990s with the renovation of 'Fats' House of Jazz', the New Orleans Ghostbusters were called in by Malcolm Champagne, club owner and grandson of Blues legend  Marcel 'Fats' Champagne. One of his grandpa's ol' friends and favorite acts was back for a return engagement. 

Ghostbusters NO's research revealed that the ghost in question was likely the spirit of Dominque Morel, a Blues singer who was a popular reoccurring act at Fats House of Jazz in the late 30s and early 1940s. While she never gained the fame and recognition of contemporaries like Blanche Calloway, 'Ma' Rainey, and Bessie Smith, Morel was a beloved regular at Champagne's club.  

Perhaps a bit too beloved...

Dominque was murdered on the night of August 15th, 1942 after a long and especially good show. She was on stage all alone and getting ready to leave when she was attacked from behind. The list of possible suspects was extensive. Miss Morel had a great many suitors, several of which were jealous men of questionable integrity. Her killer was never found and this may be one possible reason for the haunting. It has also been suggested that Dominque never reciprocated with any of her admirers because she secret harbored feelings for another - possibly Marcel Champagne and possibly his girlfriend and later wife Evelyn 'Eve' Baloney, a hostess at the jazz club who went on to not only marry Fats but also run the business. 

The Phantom got her commonly used name 'Lady Blues' from a member of Ghostbusters New Orleans who nonchalantly said, "So what are we gonna do able 'Lady Sings the Blues' over there?", and the nickname just stuck. Generally, those who encounter her try to call her Dominique or Miss Morel as it seems to keep the ghost focused and less combative. 

Lady Blues...sorry...Dominique is an Anchored Ghost, fixed to the location of the stage at Fats House of Jazz. She can move anywhere in the room and into any open area connected to it that does not require passing through a doorway. She can go into the audience, up to and behind the bar, and even as far as the new Coat Check area but no where else. Her main focus is the stage of course and she often appears in the quite, dark lulls between music sets. 

Miss Morel's MO is to fade in just before a new set and start singing, quietly at first, and then building up volume and intensity as she catches people's attention. The house band is excellent and will often switch from their planned number on the fly and play whatever song Morel is crooning in her sultry, smoky, somewhat deep voice. Her voice has the effect of causing people to forget whatever they were doing, stare, and listen. This has caused numerous accidents, with bartenders mindless pouring an entire bottle of Bourbon out when they meant to fill a shot glass or patrons walking into each other, walking straight but looking at Lady Blues on the stage. This bewildering, dumbfounding effect lasts a good 30-45 minutes after she stops singing, with viewers unable to recall that period at all later on.

Dominque's Siren's Blues is rolled and victims, including PCs, must make an Academics Roll - adding any Skill Dice appropriate to having great Willpower or being able to Concentrate - and must get more Successes than she did in order to resist it. For every Success she beats them by, the affected individual is mesmerized and can not take an action for one round. They will respond truthfully to questions as long as the answers do not harm them, close friends, or loved ones. 

Lady Blues can Slime, pass through solids, disappear, and reappear though she seems to move through musical instruments at a much slower rate than other materials. 

It has been discovered that Morel uses this time to look about the place or ask people questions, searching for information on her murderer and/or find out what became of Fats and Eve. Unfortunately for her she is limited as to how far she can travel to look for answers. This has led to Ghostbusters New Orleans identifying Lady Blues as a Terminal ghost, one that could possibly be assisted in moving on from her tortured existence and on to the next. If the Ghostbusters can address her concerns and/or solve her murder, perhaps she could rest in peace.




The Violet Night



AKA: No other commonly used aliases.
CDI: Unfocused Repeating Meta-Spectre or Class VII Free Roaming Mass

Fret was one of many publishers that came and went during the Golden Age of Comic Books. From 1940 to 1946 Fret Comics put out a dozen or so titles, most of which did poor to middling sales. One such title was The Violet Night; the tale of a Paranormal Detective and Vigilante who donned a purple cloak and cowl to fight Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, and other supernatural evils. 


A Near Mint condition copy of The Violet Night #1
From the personal collection of Doctor Ray Stantz


Created by two young friends from Kansas City, writer Dennis Kay (21) and artist Daniel Klein (19), the first issue was released in February of 1941. The comic series didn't do especially well, though there were readers intrigued by the character's concept. The book only lasted three issues before being cancelled, though a handful of back-up stories were featured in other Fret titles. Eventually, Klein enlisted in the army to help in the fight against the Axis powers, while Kay didn't, claiming a medical reason. Research did not find any specific condition on record. 

Klein did fairly well for himself as a commercial artist but sadly passed away in the early-1970s of an undisclosed illness. After many years of struggling with drugs, alcohol, and a failed career as a novelist, Kay was killed in an altercation with organized crime in Las Vegas in 1968. The comic's Inker and Editor were both killed in WW2. In an interview in 1983, former Fret Comics Editor-In-Chief Fred Morton referred to the The Violet Night as 'cursed'. "No one involved with it ended well", Morton remarked. 

Following the Manhattan Interdimensional Crossrip of 1984, reports of a spectral entity 'over 40 ft. tall and wearing a purple robe' began to trickle in from rural areas outside of Kansas City. A few months later an identical being was spotted floating over Midtown Manhattan in New York City late one night. Over the next two decades this ghost would appear again and again in different parts of the US, always in the vicinity of other paranormal activity. As such, it has been encountered several times by a number of different Ghostbusters franchise offices. 

After its sixth manifestation, it was discovered that a group of cultists calling themselves 'The Violet Night Watchmen' were summoning the creature to deal with other supernatural dangers in certain US population areas. They claimed that the Violet Night of the comic book was not created by D. Kay and D. Klein but rather discovered by them in the pages of an Occult book. The cult believed the entity to be a 'Spirit of Justice' that is called upon to hunt down and punish paranormal beings bent on harming Humanity. At present, no original source for this backstory has been found, no such Occult book has been located, and the tale remains unverified. 

The Violet Night is to be considered extremely dangerous. The true threat of it isn't its raw power but rather its nature, attacking its enemies with wanton disregard for the safety of civilian life and property. It strikes recklessly and relentlessly with the fervor of a berserker. Innocents can easily get caught in the crossfire when the Violet Night is on the scene. At the same time, it has been suggested that since its goal is to destroy monsters that pose a hazard to Humanity, perhaps there is so way to reason with it and show it there's a better way to go about things. 

The Violet Night ghost's powers are similar to those its comic book counterpart, although considerably scaled up. In the comic The Violet Night was a tall, muscular fellow while the Class VII entity is approximately forty to fifty feet tall. Its Supernatural Strength and Speed are likewise considerably more pronounced, with the Meta-Spectre capable of tearing off the roof of a house or throwing a truck the length of an American Football field. The being will sometimes go into a Vengeful Fury, rushing toward its target and sending anything and everything it passes over flying off in all directions (like a hurricane force wind) until it delivers a devastating blow to its chosen opponent. This target receives a 10D6 roll against it and is hurled away from The Violet Night 25 ft for every Success. This Ability costs 1 PKE and 1 Ectoplasm to activate/use and these points do not return until the entity disappears and reforms. 

An interesting condition of this spirit is that while it is Free-Roaming and can travel anyway, it only manifests - initially forms - in a select group of places. These 'spawn' locations are Kansas City (hometown of the comic book character's creators), St. Louis (where Fret Comics was based), New York City (where Fret Comics' distributor was located), and Las Vegas (where Dennis Kay met his end). If The Violet Night travels from Las Vegas to Los Angeles chasing a Vampire, then disappears to avoid the LA Ghostbusters and the Vampire teaming up to thwart it (it could happen), it can only reappear in one of the aforementioned places. It can not simply reappear in LA moments later. 

The entity also has a Terrifying Aura, its very presence is unnerving to all that look upon him. Similar to Terrifying Visage but more subtle and less sudden, this adds +1 Stress for each Success to all you see this being but they not not make an immediate Panic Roll. 

Violet Night does not Slime people or things and doesn't pass through solid matter, though it can with the expenditure of 1 PKE. 

The Violet Night is still at large. Approach with the utmost of caution. 




The three spooks in this post are clearly less variable in their abilities then the previous group but will hopefully be seen as more story driven. The focus with these is more on the mystery of them and ways of potentially stopping them that don't require a Proton Pack or Ghost Trap. 

Next up, a lil' reminiscing about a Halloween one-shot game of yore. 

The season of the witch continues,

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Barking Alien

All art made with Midjourney AI and then further modified in Photostudio by me. 





 


Sunday, October 16, 2022

Spooks, Spectres, and Ghosts

In the spirit of Halloween and the 'Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed' Video Game (Out Today!), I thought I would scare up some uninvited ghasts to haunt your humorous horror campaigns. While these creepy characters were unearthed for my own Ghostbusters RPG (a real Frankenstein's Monster you could say), they can also fit frightfully easily into games like Chill, Stalking The Night Fantastic, and others of a similar shade.

For explanations of the various statistics, mechanics, and rules regarding supernatural scoundrels in my Ghostbusters games, see the prior posts Tobin's Spirit Guide, Spates Catalog, Spook Central, and Where You From? Originally as well as others under the tag Ghostbusters

Enjoy! Muhuwahaha! 

[ Most of the ectoplasmic entities here do not have clean and simple Classifications, Descriptions, and/or Intensities. I purposely chose Ghosts that push against the rules I've already established or - more accurately - expand on them and what a Ghost can be and do. 

The world's greatest paranormal investigation and elimination company is constantly studying, learning, categorizing, and recategorizing the supernatural. Even a die-hard believer like Ray Stantz or a certified genius like Egon Spengler don't know all there is to know about Ghosts and wouldn't claim to. The field of parapsychology is always expanding. Don't be afraid to disagree with the CDI classifications below and to provide different or even new classifications of your own.]

Sparky



AKA: Sparks, The Woods Point Power Plant Ghost
CDI : Focused, Non-Terminal, Repeating Phantasm or Class V Full Roaming Vapor

The Ghost of the electrical power plant at Woods Point in North Western Pennsylvania was first encountered by the Ghostbusters Inc. franchise in Philadelphia when the group was called in to investigate unexplained power grid malfunctions affecting several nearby townships. Following cascading black-outs attributed to this entity, GB Philly was able to capture and contain it. Unfortunately, an unrelated, power failure a year later disrupted the Philadelphia team's Containment Unit allowing several Ghosts to escape, including 'Sparky'.

Sparky is dedicated to absorbing electricity from the Power Plant's turbines again and again. With the energy he absorbs, ol' Sparks zips around the facilities, fires off bolts of electricity, and shorts out technology and equipment across the site of the plant. Sparky usually avoids damaging the machinery that generates the power in the first place but he is not particularly careful or precise. He seems happy when charged up and melancholy when 'out of power'. 

The Woods Point Ghost's abilities are keyed to its power of Absorbing Electricity. For every Success it gets with an Absorb Electricity roll, it may add 1D to its starting PKE of 9 or its starting Ectoplasm of 3. Sparky's PKE may not exceed 12 and Ectoplasm maxes at 9. Each time Sparks Discharges Electricity or Short Circuits something, its PKE or Ectoplasm drops by 1 until it goes back to its starter numbers. Its Slime Shock doesn't drain a charge the same way. 

When Sparky passes through objects and people it delivers a Shock as well as Sliming them. Check out the Sliming rules from I Feel So Funky, with the additional effect of an electric Shock causing an additional -1D directly toward Athletics. Remember that a Ghost's Sliming roll is based on its Ectoplasm. As the Phantasm's Absorb Electricity can increase its Ectoplasm, it has the side effects of bumping up the Shock Slime ability. While the Slimed condition lessens one dice with each Round that follows, the -1D from Shock Slime lasts but a single round. 




Sparky may seem pretty powerful (at least potentially) for a Class V and in some ways it is but it also has a number of weaknesses and limitations. Anything that would ground or insulate an object or person from electric shock will take only Half Damage or Half Effect from Sparky's abilities. Dosing Sparky with Water (using a hose, caught in the rain, etc.) will cause it to lose its charge, dropping 1 Die from PKE with each Success on a Technology, Athletics, or other situation appropriate roll depending on the method used to get Sparky wet. If Sparks is at his starting numbers, getting wet causes him Ectoplasm damage as noted in the Combat rules for Ghosts (again see I Feel So Funky). 

Wacky Jack



AKA: The Wackyland Carnival Phantom, Wacky the Clown
CDI: Unfocused, Non-Terminal, Re-Repeating Phantom or a Class V Free Roaming Fog

Known for its disconcerting laugh and engulfing people in Cotton Candy, the Wackyland Carnival Phantom is quite the problematic poltergeist. A unique form of Free Repeater dubbed a 'Re-Repeater', the Wackland Carnival Company has been out of business for over 70 years and this ghost still pops up again and again. Wacky Jack has been defeated and captured more than a few times. Hopefully its next appearance will be its last.

When the Wackyland Carnival Company went out of business in the early 1950s, its assets, financial and physical, were auctioned off. Now, various bits and pieces of the Wackyland Carnival are scattered across the USA; some are in the possession of state fairs, some circuses, others are in museums, private collectors had a couple, and one was with a movie studio prop department in LA. Anywhere one of these items is located is a potential spawning point for the entity called 'Wacky Jack'.

For reasons unknown at this time, each of these items is saturated with enough negative PKE energy to allow Wacky Jack to form under the right conditions. The exact conditions are unclear but seemingly related to unsavory business practices; embezzlement, unsafe rides and attractions, connections to organized crime, etc. When these are present in the same place as a Wackyland artifact, it is very likely that Wacky Jack will appear. 

Once it appears, it proceeds to grow in size and power slowly as it's Ectoplasmic form terrorizes people nearby. In addition to looking hideous and eerie, it uses its Disembodied Laughter to further frighten and confuse its victims. Those within hearing range add 1 to their current Stress for each of the Ghost's Successes when Wacky Jack's horrible cackle rings through the fairgrounds. Another ability of this Phantom is that it can merge its ectoplasm with taffy, cotton candy, cake frosting, and other sugary substances enabling it to envelope and suffocate people in the material. Drowning in buttercream does not look good on a death certificate, so be warned!

Finally, Wacky Jack can summon forth Class III Vapors to serve as minions who generally treat Wacky as the head clown of a troupe. While usually white in color, they can appear in different hues based on incorporated cotton candy, taffy, other sweets, clowns, and the vibrant costumes of trapeze artists. 




The Fall Bearer



AKA: The Ghost of Rottinghume Manor, Mr. Carver, Rupert
CDI: Unfocused, Non-Terminal, Conditional Spectre or a Class IV, Full-Torso, Full Roaming, Flexible Mass.

The Fall Bearer is a frightening looking though benign paranormal presence haunting Rottinghume Manor and the surrounding estate in the Hudson River Valley of New York State, not far from Tarrytown and the famous Sleep Hollow. Rupert, as his close associates call him, has aided the Ghostbusters Home Office on more than one occasion, providing information and insight into other, far more hostile and dangerous supernatural beings. Ray Stantz refers to him as a 'Spectral Informant', while Peter Venkman has called him a 'Supernatural Snitch'. 

The Fall Bearer begins to appear every year on the first day of Autumn, is physically substantial by Halloween, and fades once more by the end of Fall and onset of Winter. The Ghost moves about the mansion and grounds freely, though he can not leave them. While he usually avoids the gaze of curious onlookers, Rupert will gladly step out of the shadows to greet children or any member of Ghostbusters Inc. For these folk he is more than happy to put on tea (its origins questionable), scrounge up some biscuits (likewise) and share stories or even help solve a mystery. He is personable, with a warm, light hearted nature, though often enjoys morbid puns and gallows humor. 

The Ghost of Rupert Seedles Rottinghume (Born Sept. 1887 - Died November 1987), a wealthy philanthropist and entrepreneur of the 1920s, he lost much (but not all) of his considerable fortune in the stock market crash that lead to The Great Depression. Rupert dedicated his life afterward to charitable endeavors, including throwing a lavish annual 'Autumn Harvest Festival' at his estate every Halloween and inviting locale families and children from nearby orphanages to participate free of charge, much to the dismay of his family who felt he was squandering their already depleted inheritance. Rottinghume ignored them, finding happiness and purpose in his endeavors until his death of natural causes at the age of 100. 

Rupert generally prefers to avoid conflict by simply disappearing when threatened. He can and will act to protect the Manor, kids, and those who have in turn treated him well and/or tried to defend him. His primary abilities involve Animating or Possessing things associated with 'Autumn'. Examples include piles of fallen leaves, scarecrows, a well cooked Thanksgiving turkey, or pumpkins (carved or otherwise). Rupert can also disappear and reappear anywhere on the estate or within the mansion instantly. Finally, he can take on a far more Terrifying Visage, frightening away targets rather than having to engage them.  

The most remarkable thing about Rupert is his knowledge of the paranormal and his willingness to share what he's learned with the Ghostbusters. Beyond the extensive collection of Occult literature in the Manor's library, much of the Rottinghume Ghost's knowledge seems to stem from personal conversations with other supernatural beings. Intelligent, personable, and well versed in proper etiquette, it seems Rupert's most impressive ability is making pleasant small-talk with the beings of the great beyond. 




I had originally intended on doing about 5-7 Ghosts but just these 3 took me almost five days. I am just so tired from work lately I can't dedicate sufficient time and energy to my blog and its driving me crazy. *Sigh*

I hope you liked these and if you did please let me know if you'd be interested in seeing more stuff like this in the future. Until then...don't be afraid of no ghosts!

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Barking Alien

All art made with Midjourney AI and then further modified in Photostudio by me. 

Special thanks to my friends Joseph Cangelosi, Paul Ferris, Tom Reed, and Esmeralda Vazquez who helped name The Fall Bearer/Rupert Seedles Rottinghume/Mr. Carver.





Sunday, October 9, 2022

The Busy Season

Autumn has arrived! With it, what is often the busy season for me as a professional Dogwalker. You know who else is really busy during the month of October? 

Yep, it's the Ghostbusters.


Image made with Midjourney AI Art Generator 
and modified by me in Photoshop


For a guy who isn't into Horror and doesn't believe in the Supernatural, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about Ghosts. Contemplating these wayward and often ornery spirits inevitably leads to thinking about Ghostbusters and of course running a GB one-shot or campaign. I mean, what better time to do so than the month that leads up  Halloween? 

Insert Maniacal and Spooky Laugh!

This month I'll be easing myself back into blogging with some thoughts and artwork related to things that go bump in the night and what to do about them. 

I hope you'll join me. 


Image made with Midjourney AI Art Generator 
and modified by me in Photoshop


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Barking Alien