Ghostbusters Actual Play: 30th and Lexington

Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!
- Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer

With some attendance issues over the past few games we've been doing some gaming experimentation of late in our gaming group. I was able to play in a Monster of the Week one-shot and last session three of us did a game of Ghostbusters (I GM-ed this one).

I'm not sure if it was a matter of the session, the game, the mood we were in, or alignment of the planets, but the Ghostbusters game was a ton of fun (so was Monster of the Week for that matter). I knew we were going to to Ghostbusters in advance so I had some chance to prepare getting a Roll20 environment ready for the game, including making use of the equipment cards the old game made use of.


So the basic premise... It is summer of 1984 and Ethan Sharp and Mike Slade have pooled their money together, mortgaged their parents' houses, agreed to an indecent proposal from Robert Redford, and maxed out their credit cards to pay for a Ghostbusters franchise. One problem. None of the Ghostbusters are available to train them. In the aftermath of saving the city from Gozer, the Ghostbusters are enjoying some well-deserved time off. As the days accumulate, Louis Tully suggests they fill in for the regular Ghostbusters.

Sure enough a call comes in, with Janine letting them answer their own damn phone calls. Lieutenant Kromsky of the NYPD calling to report a haunting at 30th and Lexington and she needs them there stat, with traffic rapidly backing up.

Far too modern map of NYC for 1984...
The first problem was the ECTO-1 - where were the keys? Fortunately (and with a coolness check), Sharp found them behind the visor. Slade plotted the most perfect route to get there, but construction undid all of his hard work. As did a taxi cap circling a lamp post with a terrified Turkish man clinging to it. Sure enough, no one was driving the taxi, but it did deign to bark at them...

Officer Kromsky flagged them down. With her was Mr. Durnham of the eternally half-finished cigar and Brooklyn Dodgers cap. In a thick Brooklyn accent, peppered with many "you know what I'm saying" he explained how the Turkish man flagged him down on Canal. He was worried the man was a boozer with his paper bag, but the real problem was when the cab got possessed, buckled, and spat them both out. It went after his passenger. And here we are.

PKE meter readings revealed the obvious. As they approached the car with an attempt to get in a giant ectoplasmic doggie came out to scare the poop out of them. Slade ran like hell but Sharp stood his ground and fired his proton pack at it sending it back into the vehicle (the two were not pleased with the ergonomics of their design, requiring someone else to power you up). When Slade returned he flipped through the usual occult references, finding it to likely be Grrrauauff, a Hittite dog god (god dog?). Perhaps the paper bag might have something related to it?

Kromsky was not impressed by all this valiant effort, questioning whether they were frauds. "Look lady, we don't tell you how to do your job, so you let us do ours."

They tried to get in, ending up playing chicken with the car as it charged at them. Sharp tried to set a trap with the alpine gear he'd brought along, just in case, but 1 ghost on the ghost die snagged the grapples to the passenger and allowed the cab to grab the other end in its mouth/hood. They looped it around a parking meter, slowing it down until it yanked it out, pulling the passenger down. However, they were able to jump into the windows. The cab buckled violently, sending Slade flying. Sharp was able to find the bag with the exiting Slade's help, spilling the dog idol within into the street - and ending the possession of the cab, once contact was lost with the cab. However, the ghost again manifested and proton backs and a ghost trap made short work of it.

An unappreciative Kromsky gave them the needed billing paperwork.


The original Ghostbusters game plays really, really well. Lacking anything more than a rudimentary action system, everything went smoothly and enjoyably. I'd always heard (and bought into) Ghostbusters International being superior with its real action sequence, wounds, etc. but to be honest, I'm not certain we really missed any of that. I'd always questioned whether brownie points working both as "hero points" and "hit points" would work, but it was a definite case of "just relax and play". 

I'm not certain I could imagine doing a 472-part epic Ghostbusters campaign, but there's a definite desire for some more Ghostbusting in NYC. I liked our invention of the original Ghostbusters being almost permanently unavailable. 

I was leaning towards playing some Star Wars this fall, but I'm giving some serious thought to something not so serious. Doctor Who maybe.  "Excuse me, can you help me? I'm a spy."

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