10 April 2021

Random Ghost Die Result Generator

According to the rules of Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game, something bad should always happen whenever a Ghost is rolled on the Ghost Die. The nature of this bad thing is left to the Ghostmaster's diabolical devices, and this is usually not difficult to do when it's the antagonist who rolls the Ghost. The Ghostmaster merely increases the effectiveness of whatever the antagonist was attempting or tosses another complication into the situation. But what happens when a Ghostbuster rolls a Ghost and the Ghostmaster can't be bothered to come up with another critical goof-up on the fly? I'm glad you asked, because there are two tables for just such an eventuality — one for successful rolls and one for failed rolls. And here they are!

If You Succeed and You Roll a Ghost...

Roll 1D6

1. You do the thing, but then you take a pratfall.
2. You do the thing, but then you drop something you need.
3. You do the thing, but then you forget what you were doing for one round.
4. You do the thing, but then make too big a deal about it, reducing your Cool to 1 until you succeed at something without rolling a Ghost.
5. You do the thing, but then you break it, jam it, weaken it, or otherwise render it useless.
6. You do the thing, but must immediately make another roll to make the success stick.

If You Fail and You Roll a Ghost...

Roll 1D6

1. You also slip and fall. Spectacularly.
2. You also somehow manage to drop everything you are carrying.
3. You wander aimlessly, talking to yourself, until someone or something snaps you out of it.
4. You apologize excessively, reducing everyone's Cool by 1 until you succeed at something without rolling a Ghost.
5. You also render it (whatever "it" is) useless. Try something else next time.
6. You very loudly curse your failure, which attracts everyone's (and everything's) attention, blowing your cover completely. Everyone in your group is stunned by this display for 1 round.

Another method of addressing the pickle that is narrating the result of the Ghost Die is described in The Discretionary Ghost Die. Use with discretion.

28 March 2021

Zorro: The Roleplaying Game via Esoteric Podcast

Until I have time to read and run a session of Zorro: The Roleplaying Game (and I'll probably post something pre- and post-game), I have been listening to episodes of The Esoteric Order of Roleplayers podcast on the subject. The links below take you on an introductory tour of the game by a GM and two players who are experiencing the game for the first time.

[This article is cross-posted in Theoretical Swashbuckling.]

21 February 2021

Coming Cross-Post Attractions

After much deliberation and second-guessing owing to the scarcity of reviews on the subject, I ordered Zorro: The Roleplaying Game yesterday. Published by Gallant Knight Games, it uses the D6 System (of West End Games fame) with some new innovations that look promising. It's a swashbuckling game, so I will be cross-posting anything I write about it on Theoretical Swashbuckling. Stay tuned.

10 January 2021

Coming Attractions

As I mentioned recently, I have been running the Ghostbusters role-playing game in an ongoing Toledo Ghostbusters campaign, and I would like to squeeze in some Teenagers from Outer Space and Star Wars D6. Well, I just received my copy of Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD (more on that later this month) and I ordered Paranoia: Red Clearance Starter Set (more on that as soon as I receive the physical portion of it). Both of these shall be played this year, especially since I'm paying for a Zoom subscription and I want to get my money's worth out of it. I'll be reporting back hopefully sooner rather than later. Be seeing you...

31 December 2020

Roll or Die

In 2020, I finally got my Ghostbusters campaign (the Toledo Ghostbusters) restarted, and I look forward to running many more sessions in 2021 with even more players. With any luck, I might even get to run Teenagers from Outer Space! (And, dare I hope, Star Wars D6...)

Keep those six-siders rolling, friends.

22 November 2020

Ghostbusters Go Zoom

Thanks to Zoom and the interest of a surprisingly large number of players, I have run two sessions of Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game in the last two weeks (Saturday, November the 14th, and Saturday, November the 21st). At the moment, three members of the Toledo Ghostbusters have busted ghosts in 1980-something northwest Ohio:

  • Carroll "Carl" Düsseldorf (played by Sarah),
  • Ray Stantz, PhD [helping out while staying with relatives] (played by Mary Lou), and
  • Thalia Wainwright (played by Emily).

Two other members (played by Zippy and Joe) will be joining upcoming sessions.

I won't do a session report, but I will share a few facts:

  • The Toledo Ghostbusters HQ, like the original in New York City, is a former fire station.
  • The primary vehicle of the Toledo Ghostbusters is a black hearse with purple and orange lights and flags bearing the Ghostbusters logo.
  • The Ghostbusters acquired two mascots (Norwegian forest cats formerly "employed" at Perspective, a premier avant-garde boutique that inexplicably acquires rare occult books).
  • Carroll Düsseldorf has recently starred in a workplace instructional video highlighting peaceful methods of dealing with ghosts.

Ghostbusters is a moderately prop-dependent role-playing game, so how well does it adapt to Zoom, my virtual role-playing medium of choice? Surprisingly well. The Ghost Die, of course, can be replaced with any ordinary six-sided die of a different color or size than the rest of the dice. I trust my players to roll their own actual dice, so no dice-rolling app is necessary. Equipment cards are great for in-person games, but players can discuss with the group what they want to carry and just record it on their character sheets. Character sheets fit on an index card and characters can be generated in as little as five minutes. Name, four Traits (Brains, Muscles, Moves, and Cool), four Talents, and a Personal Goal are all you really need to start playing.

Zoom has opened some great gaming opportunities to me, and I'm glad to be running Ghostbusters (and other games) again. Who knows? Maybe I'll be able to introduce players to some of my other favorite role-playing games...

14 October 2020

Wholly Dice

I am predisposed to look favorably upon d6-centric games that use dice pools, but I have a strong preference for those that limit themselves to "whole dice," by which I mean, for instance, modifiers of +1D (+1d6) rather than +1. The Ghostbusters role-playing game is a perfect example of this. All of the Traits and Talents are whole dice. The D6 System games that followed would promptly change this by introducing fractional dice in Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, and this would become the norm for the RPGs of West End Games. Most fans of the system probably don't care one way or another, but rules mechanics resolved with whole dice appeal to my sense of RPG aesthetics. It's clean. It's simple. It feels natural. If I can comfortably convert any D6 RPG to whole dice, I will gladly do so, and I will be much likelier to play or run such a game.

Occasionally, I wonder if Tunnels & Trolls could similarly be improved. It might be too radical an undertaking to convert the attributes, but perhaps the combat Adds could be transformed to whole dice. It's just a thought for now, but one I might revisit in the future.

If whole dice were to become a game design trend of epic proportions, I would welcome it wholeheartedly.

30 September 2020

Risusiverse at Your Service

This is just a friendly reminder to fans of Risus: The Anything RPG and fellow members of the I.O.R. that Risusiverse is a pleasant, interesting, and informative resource for your Risus role-playing needs.* Take a peek!

* I.O.R.: International Order of Risus

31 August 2020

If I Were a Dice Artisan

This is just an idle thought scarcely worth mentioning, but since I'm close to my monthly deadline, I'll mention it. I wish I had the means to make my own specialty dice. If I did have the means, I would make 12 mm binary dice, hit location dice (to my own specifications for both d6 and d12), Ghost Dice that have five blank sides and a Ghost, and Wild Dice that have four blank sides and two special icon sides. 'Tis a pipe dream, but at least I've beaten my self-imposed deadline.

31 July 2020

Random Trait Value Generator for Ghostbusters

Sometimes you, as a Ghostmaster (and I'm assuming you're a Ghostmaster, but if you're not, let's just pretend), need to create a non-character player on the spot to interact with your players' characters. Perhaps you mentioned a bystander in passing or the player characters suddenly want to consult someone, and you had not considered generating the statistics for every living person on the planet. You fool!

Well, fear not. With one handy little table and three six-sided dice, you can easily generate the Traits of any non-player character in mere seconds. In fact, with slight modification this table could also be used by players who prefer the random generation of Traits to the standard point allocation method, so a second table is provided for starting player characters.

N.B. These tables are for use with the first edition Ghostbusters role-playing game. The author assumes no responsibility for their use in any other game, dimension, or plane of existence.

NPC Random Trait Value Generator
3d6Trait Value

PC Random Trait Value Generator
3d6Trait Value