31 Days of Ghostbusters

I’ve written about Ghostbusters here a few times before, but I’m about to escalate that. The new Ghostbusters movie comes out on July 15, and to celebrate the return of the franchise to the big screen, I’m going to write a Ghostbusters-related post for every day of the month of July. That’s right, it’ll be 31 days of Ghostbusters!

I’ll aim to focus as many as possible on the roleplaying side of Ghostbusters—the original Ghostbusters roleplaying game, other similar games, resources for playing a ghostly RPG, and my own creations—but other posts will simply be about Ghostbusters. (Making this clear up front will keep me from feeling I have to end every non-gaming post with “Say, remember roleplaying games? I like roleplaying games.”)

As a sneak preview, here are a few things I expect to talk about during this series:

– The sadly-out-of-print Ghostbusters RPG from West End Games
– Ghostly music
– The new movie (duh)
– How to modernize the ghostbusting business for the 21st Century
– Setting a Ghostbusters game in your town
– Busting ghosts using other game systems

Don’t worry, I’ve got at least 25 more ideas, so I won’t run out. I just don’t want to spoil them all this early! (Having said that, I do welcome article ideas from you folks. Tell me what you’d like to see here.)

See you on July 1!

Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast

In case you hadn’t heard, the first official Star Trek podcast launched last week. I’ve listened to the first episode, and though it’s not very Star-Trek-content-heavy, that’s OK with me because the guest is Weird Al Yankovic! I loved the discussion with Al, and learned a few new things about him.

I’m hoping this podcast will be a good way to learn things about the upcoming Star Trek series, and of course future movies.

Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast

Free RPG Day 2016

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Free RPG Day, and somehow it’s the first time I took part in the event. I guess the main reason is that, where I live, there’s not a lot of publicity for the event. Okay, that’s an understatement. You’d have to specifically ask someone who knows about it, because I never did see any signs put up in a game store or notices posted online.

Anyway, my friend Jeff told me about this year’s event at Mid-South Hobbies and Games, so I eagerly attended. The event at this store was run by a local gaming group called FORGE, and they recruited GMs for two time slots that day. Each 4-hour slot offered several games, and I picked Mutant Crawl Classics and Night’s Black Agents.

Mutant Crawl Classics

Jeff’s son Parker ran The Museum at the End of Time, a Mutant Crawl Classics adventure by Jim Wampler. I’m excited about this game—it’s the forthcoming far-future post-apocalypse game from Goodman Games, a companion game to Dungeon Crawl Classics. In this preview adventure, we played 0-level tribespeople who discover the titular museum and encounter its guardians, artifacts, and mysteries.

I love any opportunity to use lots of dice. Except Shadowrun.

Though it was Parker’s first time running a DCC-related game, he did a good job. We had about a 50% death rate, which isn’t bad for a game like this, though most of our deaths came from trying to understand artifacts we found. (You’d think we’d learn our lesson after a while, but our main objective was to identify artifacts and bring them back to our village.)

My favorite thing was our weird character types. Besides pure humans, we had mutants, manimals (including one buffalo-man and a frog lady), and plantients. Judging from the layout of our character sheets, I suspect that characters in this game will be able to acquire more mutations after character creation. I hope so. Mutations are fun.

Night’s Black Agents

For our other session, Jeff ran The Van Helsing Letter, a Night’s Black Agents adventure by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan. This was my first exposure to the Gumshoe system in play. (I’d read Trail of Cthulhu, but hadn’t played or run a game using the system.) The players took the roles of modern-day espionage agents trying to track down something valuable left behind by Van Helsing—something that might help in a struggle against a strange kind of vampire.

I was the driver. Definitely good driver.

You know, sometimes you get a great group of players who really work well as a team, make smart decisions, and get the mission done without a lot of arguing, missing clues, and wasting time on unimportant activities.

Anyway, this adventure had an interesting story. I learned later that GRH designed it in a totally open-ended way, providing sections on the characters, locations, and situation, but without providing scenes or encounters, intending that the GM and players drive what happens where, and leaving it up to the GM to decide which elements were true and which were red herrings. (Mmm, red herring. That’s what we had.)

Other Business

In addition to the gaming, I won raffles for a Free RPG Day 6-sider and a set of cool green dice! I’m proud of the 6-sider, because the first time I rolled it, it gave me enough damage to kill a sentry robot. Sweet!

They also gave out cleverly-themed pencils…

Did you attend a Free RPG Day event? Have you even heard of it before? Lemme know in the comments.

Rippers Resurrected Has Arrived

Okay, I promise I won’t brag about EVERY gaming purchase here, but this one is such a stunning package I just have to.

Rippers Resurrected (by Pinnacle Entertainment Group) is out, and it’s beautiful. This is the product of a Kickstarter project from earlier this year. Though I never played the original Rippers, the subject matter is compelling (monster-hunters in Victorian England using the monsters’ own abilities against them) and the project details all looked great, so I bit. And did I bite! I opted for all three books (player’s guide, GM’s guide, and an expanded location book), plus the GM’s screen, plus the thematically matching dice, cards, and tokens. (I drank the Kool-aid.)

And, since most Kickstarter projects I’ve backed spread their resulting products out over a period of months or even years, I didn’t expect it all to arrive at once!

For some reason, my favorite thing about the game so far is the idea of lodges, which are hideouts that the players can create and develop as they advance. As it happens, my wife and I are planning a trip to England, and one of the country’s points of interest gave me an idea for a new Ripper lodge of my own.

Rippers Lodge: The Bath House

Rank: 4
Location: Bath, Somerset, England
Modifier: +1
Facilities: Meeting & Dining Room, Sleeping Quarters (sleeps 16). Library, Ripper Lab
Edges: Chapel, Hidden, Medical Center, Mystical Location

Designed as a sanctuary for resting and recuperating, the lodge in Bath is hidden away in the ruins of an ancient Roman temple. Rippers must enter the lodge via underground labyrinth because the whole thing is both underground and underwater. Fortunately, many visitors find the sound of dripping water soothing, and soaking in it proves to be even better.