Ghostbusters International

Ghostbusters International was the second edition of the Ghostbusters RPG.

The original was very light, about 70 pages in all, and didn’t include much by way of skill resolution or GM guidance.

International was nearly twice the page count and has a much more developed ‘universal’ resolution system.

Comedy RPGs are the single hardest genre to solo. Horror RPGs are pretty easy. The goal of the RPG is to scare the character, and scaring the player is a secondary goal, and nice when it happens. If you set your environment, dark night, alone in the house, and using rich media, you can scare yourself playing a good solo horror RPG. Not necessarily while you are playing, but after you have put the game away and you are alone in the house, and the ideas from your game are playing around in your head.

Comedy is different. The goal is to make the player laugh. You are often doing horrible things to the characters, they are not having fun, but you are doing horrible things to the character in a funny way. Making yourself laugh is harder when you are doing all the work.

I also find the traditional extreme-yes, yes, no, and extreme-no is not very funny, or fun inducing. This doesn’t only apply to Ghostbusters, but also to games like Paranoia and Toon.

There is an improv. technique called fortunately/unfortunately that is a better fit for comedic oracles. It pretty much replaces the yes/no oracle. The difference is that yes and no is replaced with manipulating the characters fortunes and where a flat yes or no can create an abrupt end, fortunately/unfortunately always invites an explanation.

You can still use odds to shift the likelihood one way or the other, but you only have the two possible outcomes.

If you think of the typical movie, they follow this up and down pattern. There is a scene in True Lies (I think), where Helen [Jamie Lee Curtis] tries to fire a submachine gun, unfortunately, the recoil makes the gun fly out of her hands, fortunately, it hits a step firing and killing a terrorist, on it way down it bounces off the steps, firing each time, killing more people until it hits the floor and comes to a rest, unfortunately the gun is now empty.

That is the sort of thing that fortunately/unfortunately encourages, that yes/no probably wouldn’t suggest.

Ghostbusters has other unique features, their universal resolution mechanic is neat, and very narrative, but they have something called routines, which are subsystems for specific situations which are terrible! I am never a fan of any rule where the GM rolls a d6 and on a bad roll, that is it, you lose. There is a sample of part of a routine attached.

A car chase can be a great scene to play, reducing it down to three d6 rolls and a skill check is a way of bypassing the fun.

Anyway, I am starting the writing up of my draft rules. If I have a good weekend, this may be ready for Monday, if not, it will be early next week.


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