Friday, December 5, 2014

Gameplay Update - Ghostbusters Halloween 2014

So I promised that I would write about this session so here it is.

Currently I am playing in a group that meets every Wednesday evening at out FLGS. At the time we were playing Star Wars Edge of the Empire. Because Halloween was coming up and I had been thinking about doing this for years now I suggested that we take the Wednesday closest to the 31st (that being the 27th) to play a one shot of the WEG/Chaosium Ghostbusters RPG. Everyone agreed so I got the process started. I had about a month.

Didn't get a chance to read it

I wanted to make it present day and I wanted to make it local (Winnipeg, Manitoba).
Step one involved printing out a PDF of more contemporary equipment cards that I had downloaded some years earlier. Next I had to come up with a plot and I wanted it to somehow involve local hauntings. That wasn't too hard to research as there are plenty documented. There is a tour that someone organizes that I had wanted to go on previously to research this but I just couldn't make the time. A new book on the subject come out the day before the game day unfortunately allowing me little time to utilize that. What I ended up with was a combination of historic sites and local themes that I rolled into a mass haunting event based in the tone of two Ghostbusters movies. Watching these on Netflix made up my final step before getting down to the writing.

The plot centered around a once in a millennium event that sees the nature spirit Manitou manifest at the convergence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice (Halloween). This time however something is different. The construction of the Manitoba Legislative Building (constructed 1913-1920) about 1200m from where the two rivers meet has drawn Manitou to the occult energies contained in the structure. Manitou is unable to completely materialize, instead the energies of the spirit start to enhance the haunted locals of the area.

Hotel Fort Garry

The Ghostbusters Winnipeg franchise have been called to the Hotel Fort Garry to conduct an inspection for the hotel on behalf of a wealthy Philanthropist - Mrs. Mueller-Spears who wants to make sure her departed husband's ghost won't be appearing. Mueller-Spears has just ridden herself of his haunting spirit a few months ago. His ghost would appear in their home stinking of liquor and rambling on about the annual Halloween fundraising event he would put on every year (his favourite social outing). This is the first time Mrs. Mueller-Spears will be putting on the event without Mr. Spears and  she want's to make sure it goes off without a hitch. 

The Hotel manager Winston MacKenzie is loath to call in the Ghostbusters after he hired them several years ago to remove the ghost in Room 202. The destruction and chaos they caused has left a bad taste in his mouth when it comes to Ghostbusting.

The players selected one of several pre-gens to play, gave them names and selected equipment.  The Hotel, located between where the rivers meet and the Legislative building is currently awash in ectopresence because it is Halloween and Manitou is manifesting tonight.

The player characters, Cherry, Danny, Manny, Cory and Craig start investigating the hotel when they run across the ghost of Mr. Spears and a group of his ghostly buddies who are basically obnoxious drinking and smoking business men. Playing music in the room causes a number of ghostly strippers to appear. Cherry eventually conga lines them into a ghost trap. During the attempt the group manages to explode a proton pack and destroy one of the hotel's ballrooms. Phone calls come in from Edwina Richardson, their secretary regarding reports of paranormal occurrences close to where they are. One is of a spectral horseman and several nineteenth century footmen across the river in St.Boniface and another is of the 5.25 meter tall Golden Boy statue from on top of the Legislative Building coming to life and heading down Broadway toward the hotel. Meanwhile a portal opens up behind the false fireplace in the Hotel's "Gateway Room" where Mr. Spears's Ghost and his buddies emerged. Likely a magical circle hidden in the room from some past occult gathering, the portal is now a rip in spacetime created by the stress of the paranatural displacement caused by the Legislative Building's lightning rod effect on the materialization of Manitou.

Golden Boy (Eternal Youth)

Cherry then has to deal with the lounge waitress Kerri Romanchuck who is an ex-girlfriend. The rest have to deal with the hotel manager and the newly arrived Mercedes Kuntz from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Needless to say they don't want anyone else to see the portal or the destruction the've already caused. 

The game concluded with discovering a possible way to close the portal and send back Manitou for another thousand years. Conversing with Paranormal Presenter and hotel guest Doctor Glau along with Mrs. Meuller-Spears, they find out that the silver dream catcher she used to get rid of her husbands ghost at home is just the thing needed to banish Manitou into the portal and close it. The problem is that the Golden Boy is just outside the Hotel crushing  things and the Horsemen and his footmen - now identified as the ghosts of Lois Riel and a number of Red River Rebels -  have taken over the site of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the site where Mrs. Mueller-Spear's dreamcatcher resides after being donated.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

With a little luck and the assistance of their Eco-Van and Overly Eager Policeman Donald MacConnel, some of the Ghostbusters are able to keep the Golden Boy from advancing any further while the others break past Louis Riel and grab the silver dreamcatcher. 
Firing a proton blast throught the dreamcatcher at the Golden Boy, they are able to trap Manitou's spirit from inside and send it into the portal, closing it. 

There were a lot of laughs at both successes and failures during the game and everyone had a good time playing. I'd like to do something similar next year.

During my research for this I discovered Ghostbusters Resurrection, a podcast of a group playing this game. They also have a page of resources if you want to get into this amazing (out of print) RPG yourself.

Get these while you can.