Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Would you prefer sex or soulless science?

For something that was supposed to be a "game," Dungeons and Dragons was pretty damned complicated.

In 1986, West End games tossed the rules out the window when they released a role playing game based on the original Ghostbusters movie. Technically the game still had “rules,” though it really depends on your definition of the word. By D&D standards, though, it was absolute chaos.

A Ghostbusters character had only four rated characteristics: brains, muscles, moves and cool. In order to accomplish a feat you can roll one six-sided die for each point you have for your trait. If the Ghost Master determines that lifting a 50 pound weight is a difficulty level of 15, all you have to do is roll the dice for your “muscle” trait and beat that number. The higher your trait level, the easier it is.
To make things even less complicated, every time you accomplish your character’s special goal (such as "serving humanity," "soulless science" or "sex") you receive brownie points. For each brownie point you spend, you can roll an extra die. Save up enough points and, theoretically, there’s nothing your character can’t do.
Unless you piss off the Ghost Master, who runs the game. There’s really nothing stopping the GM from dropping a piano on your head at any given point of the game.

The instruction manual  compared the tone of the game to the Batman TV show from the 1960s, and also encouraged the players to create their own characters, start a new Ghostbusters franchise and use maps of your hometown as the setting for your games.
Ultimately, Ghostbusters was just an excuse to sit around and bullshit with your friends. Which is what games are all about.

The Ghostbusters RPG stayed around long enough to generate a few modules and source books, such as Tobin’s Spirit Guide (which had stats for Gozer, if I remember correctly.) Because the thin gaming system existed entirely on paper (and not very much paper, at that) just about every aspect of the Ghostbusters RPG has found its way online in the form of JPEGs and PDF files.

The website Ghostbusters International has the rules, equipment and character cards available for download.

1 comment:

  1. Good tip, thanks. I go back and forth on rules-light and rules-heavy RPGs (but I don't ever like them devolving into a miniatures game).

    I've been thinking about setting up a Spycraft game for my gaming pals. I'd love to, but since we only meet up like once every two months, it'd take about six months before the players really grasped the rules, which is pretty much a requirement for that system, good though it is.

    This looks like is might make a good aternative...either that, or Paranoia.


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