So I’ve been putting a great deal of thought and work into my Ghostbusters campaign, which may or may not have a new player in the form of QuillyPen (who is tentatively interested but suffers from Schedule Conflict Syndrome at the moment). I was pondering what sort of character he might bring; not knowing his playstyle, it’s anybody’s guess really. But I also noticed that our current group has a pretty close type-to-type mapping of the Boys In Gray from the movies:
- Lola, Laurie’s Creepy Goth Chick and the boss of the franchise, has Charisma and talky skills and is the one the rest turn to for direction– i.e., she’s the Venkman.
- Ivan, Josh’s twitchy Russian mad scientist is easy: he’s the Egon.
- Charley, Jamie’s parapsychology-oriented grad student, mixes supernatural and occult knowledge with youthful enthusiasm and a distinct lack of self-preservation skills. In other words, he’s Ray.
- Bruno, Lee’s brawny goon, is just there to blast ghosts and collect a check, making him obviously Winston.
Their personalities aren’t the same as the movie characters (well, except Charley), but storywise they fill the same roles. I could take an episode of The Real Ghostbusters or an issue from the (excellent) IDW comic, and plug in our team with a minimum of fuss. (Actually, I already have stolen bits from Ghostbusters: The Video Game thanks to this ease-of-mapping.) The neatest thing is that this wasn’t planned at all (and in fact, Laurie said, “Really? I’m Venkman?”), it just grew organically out of the game.
On the other hand, this leads to the question of “Well, what’s missing?” I rather doubt anyone wants to play Slimer. Janine does occasionally strap on a proton pack and bust spooks (at least in the spinoff media), and this campaign does have a framework in place for the receptionist (who is the “temp of the week” in the game) to make an interesting guest star. But is there some compelling long-term role that could be played on this team that we just don’t have yet?
There’s a weird thing I’ve noticed about running Ghostbusters: usually when I create a campaign, I immediately have an idea for a character I’d really like to play in such a game. “Star Wars? Neat, I’ve always wanted to play X!” “Tolkienesque High Fantasy? Oh awesome, I’d love to play Y!” “Call of Cthulhu? Awww, yeah, I can bring out character Z!” Ghostbusters is just about the only game I can think of where this isn’t true. What character would I play in a Ghostbusters game? Uh… me, I guess. With a proton pack.
(Of course, this isn’t without some precedent: I took Parapsychology in college. Got an A as I recall.)
Ghostbusters is a uniquely contemporary, down-to-earth, everyman sort of a framework. Look at Winston: “He’s here about the job…” “Beautiful, you’re hired.” Anybody can be a Ghostbuster, in a way that’s not really true of most “hero” roles, assuming you can get into the jumpsuit. That’s a very cool thing!
Speaking of very cool things involving me and Ghostbusters, @SeiferA on Twitter did this for me!