Who you gonna call?
The Ghostbusters RPG was published by West End Games in the mid-80’s, part of their establishment as a company to go to for light and humourous games that were supported by an appropriate (and usually pretty well written) rules set. It was also one of the first games I ever played that gave the players some level of narrative control through the expenditure of Brownie Points to avoid certain, immediate and even painful death.
It is also credited as being the additive first die pool game on the market, which can be traced on to a later WEG release, the Star Wars RPG.
The game itself has an incredibly light rules set, making it easy to pick up and play not only for new players, but for new Game Masters.
My sample character for Ghostbusters is going to be someone at least a bit like Egon. Not quite the egg-head that Egon is, but someone with a heavy interest in the occult and vampires and ghosts and so on. He hides his incredible obsession over these supernatural creatures by writing them into games where he can combine his research with material he’s made up himself and other material that he has adapted from other sources, fictional and real. He conducts his research out of Georgia, keeping tabs on the undead and supernatural nightlife that has sprung up in the Caucasus region in recent years, although he used to work out of the US where he also worked on television shows and other games in addition to his books on the supernatural. We’ll call him Mark.
Ghostbusters characters have four traits (Brains, Muscle, Moves, Cool) rated from 1 to 5 and 12 points to spend amongst them. Since Mark is primarily focused on reasearch, his Brains will be his highest trait, and because he likes to perform his research “hands on” in the nightlife of Tbilisi, he’s also going to need a pretty good Cool stat. In the end I settle with Brains and Cool of 4, and Muscle and Moves of 2. I don’t want him to have any traits at 1, and while brainy, he’s not going to be a super-genius.
Each character also gets one Talent for each trait – something they can do in that trait where they get 3 extra dice to do it. For Mark, we’ll go with Occult (Brains), Intimidate (Muscle), See (Moves), and Charm (Cool). As a new character he starts with 20 Brownie Points which he can spend to gain additional dice on his rolls. Brownie Points are also used as Experience Points – if you have 30 of them you can convert them into a point in one of your traits.
Now we have to select a goal from a pretty short list. Mark gains extra Brownie Points when he achieves this goal. The list is Sex, Soulless Science, Fame, Serving Humanity or Money. Mark’s goal is fame – he’s had a taste of it in the past with successful books and games and even a TV series (although calling it successful would be pushing it… quite a bit). Now that he’s working in the field with a team of Ghostbusters, the urge for Fame is back and nothing in Tbilisi, Georgia is going to hold him back!
Mark Rein·Hagen, Paranormal Researcher
Brains: 4 (Occult)
Muscle: 2 (Intimidate)
Moves: 2 (See)
Cool: 4 (Charm)
Brownie Points: 20