Monday, 4 March 2013

Who You Gonna Call? (Part Two)

The most ambitious thing I'm trying to do in my Ghostbusters hack is eliminate the Stress tracks. Having run GB previously using Savage Worlds, I feel like comedy games aren't generally well-suited for the traditional RPG rhythm of attack-and-inflict damage. You remember any Ghostbusters being greviously injured or killed in the movies? Me neither.

My initial approach was to narrow it down to two Stress tracks: Clobbered and Scared. But my work on the Franchise portion of the character sheet suggested that this might work a different way that would be more streamlined and appropriate to genre.

Beside the Franchise and Styles portions of the character sheet, there will be a box (actually, it looks like a little splat of slime) labelled Crisis. The idea is, if a Ghostbuster loses a conflict with a ghost, one of their Styles dice (say Brave, if they're scared, or Action, if they've been slimed or clobbered) is marked as in Crisis. That doesn't impose a penalty on the character's existing die in that Style, it means that when they roll it they also have to roll an extra d4 with their pool. Basically, it opens up more ways that Opportunities can be generated and complicate the team's life. If a character is given a Crisis in the same Style twice, they're Stressed Out and removed from the conflict in the most appropriate way.

In theory, this should be easy to track and flavourful in play. Since it's an "involuntary" use of a d4, the player would not get compensated for rolling it (unless they generate an Opportunity, as usual).

Franchise dice also have a Crisis splat. What that means is that, as the GhostMaster, I can pay a die out of my Ghost Pool (this hack's analogue to the Trouble Pool from Smallville or the Doom Pool of Marvel Heroic) to apply that crisis to the whole team's Franchise instead of a character. So if I were to put the Finances die in Crisis, that might represent some kind of massive property damage they're on the hook for. A PR die in Crisis might mean that an embarrassing blunder gets caught on a cell phone camera and posted on YouTube. Or, God forbid, the Wheels die might be in Crisis if something terrible happens to Ecto-1. (Note that Franchise dice can only be hit once, and although player dice are only in Crisis until the end of an encounter -- unless I pay to have them last longer -- if a Franchise die is in Crisis, that lasts until the end of the episode.)

The Ghost Pool probably works much as you expect it to, allowing me to add ghostly Assets and generally create mayhem around the GB team.

Here's a peek at an example character based on Bill Murray.

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