May 08 2012

The Savage World of Ghostbusters?

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So in happier thoughts, I’ve been contemplating what I want to do with my Ghostbusters campaign. Not so much plot-wise, I’ve got that worked out for now, but just in terms of game mechanics. The old WEG Ghostbusters Universal How-Much (UHM) system (which later evolved into the d6 System they used for Star Wars et al.) is certainly fast and light, but I dunno, it just feels lacking somehow. I mean, it would be serious overkill to use something as gamey as d20 for a comedy-horror campaign, but I often find myself wishing for something with just a little more structure than the “Throw ALL the Brownie Points at it!” UHM system.

So I’m looking at three basic options, and tossing them out here for interested parties to throw in their own $0.02 if they so desire. Input welcome and desired!

BRP/5 — a.k.a. “Call of Cthulhu on a d20”

I’ve tinkered around before with a homebrew version of BRP (i.e., the system used for Call of Cthulhu), which runs off a d20 rather than d% just to keep the math simpler. So for example, if your CoC character has 55% in a skill, the BRP/5 version would have “+11” with that skill, with the idea being that you roll and try to beat a 20.

The advantage of BRP is that it’s fairly fast and flexible, but still is a granular enough system to feel like it has some meat to it. The disadvantage in this particular case is that I’d have to do all the system converting, which is something I enjoy tinkering around with but will definitely take some time.

Savage Worlds

One strong contender that I’m looking at is Savage Worlds. Billed as “Fast! Furious! and Fun!” Savage Worlds has a lot of fans among people who like generic systems but don’t like the mathiness of GURPS or HERO. I’ve never actually played it before, but I do own a copy of the “Explorer’s Edition” and have poked around with it a little. The basic rule seems to be that you have Stats/Skills represented by a d4, d6, d8, d10, or d12, and you need to beat a 4 to succeed. Combat is a “Fighting” or “Shooting” skill check, followed by rolling damage and comparing it to a target’s toughness– beat it and they take a wound, fail and nothing happens. It also has a built-in “Wild Die” mechanic that could easily be remapped to the Ghost Die, which is one of my favorite mechanics of the UHM system.

Seems pretty straightforward; the hard part would be getting used to all the nomenclature (“raises” for “criticals,” “aces” for “rolling the max,” etc.) and system quirks (drawing playing cards for initiative, for instance). The most complex part of the system appears to be the actual character creation rules, which are a point-based system that changes the cost of things based on prerequisites and such. Doing it on paper would probably give me a headache, but it’s easy enough to do with Hero Labs.

Savage Worlds has the advantage of already having been written and there being resources for it out there, while still being a fast-moving rules-lite system (at least, once we get used to it) that’s still a bit more robust than the UHM system. The disadvantage, of course, is that it’s a new system we’ve never played before and have no idea what it’ll actually be like in play. Of course, we could always just try it for a few sessions and see what we think.

Option Three: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

Of course, the UHM system does work well enough and there’s little compelling reason we couldn’t just stick with it other than my never-ending desire to tinker with things. Not knowing my players’ opinions on the subject, it’s hard to say (hence this post). If they are attached to the UHM system (or just loathe to learn a new one), it’s certainly still an option on the boards.

Any thoughts on the subject?

-The Gneech

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