Ghostbusters Role Playing Game
The Ghostbusters role-playing game is set in the same fictional universe as the Ghostbusters films, but in a period sometime after the first film. In the game, the original Ghostbusters have created a corporation known as Ghostbusters International, which sells Ghostbusters franchises to individuals around the world.
Most player characters in the Ghostbusters role-playing game are franchisees who operate in cities outside the film's New York locale. The game does, however, include profiles of the original four Ghostbusters for gamers who wish to role-play the cinematic characters or have them appear as non-player characters.
While the Ghostbusters films limit the Ghostbusters to combating ectoplasmic entities such as ghosts and demons, the Ghostbusters game expands the setting to pit Ghostbusters against numerous other paranormal creatures and incidents. Ghostbusters characters may encounter creatures as diverse as vampires, extraterrestrials, and time-travelers.
Ghostbusters features an intentionally minimalist rules system. The game's main rulebook, the Operations Manual, does not include rules for subjects like movement rates and weapon ranges; it explicitly states that they are unnecessary for play.
Character generation in Ghostbusters begins with a simple character point mechanic for assigning character attributes, which it calls Traits. Each character begins with 12 points, which the character's player assigns to the four Traits: Brains, Muscle, Moves, and Cool, giving each Trait a score between 1 and 5.
Each character must also be assigned four Talents. Talents (skills) are organized into groups based on the which of the four Traits they're most associated with; each character has one Talent from each group. The character's score in each Talent is three points higher than the associated Trait.
Most tasks in Ghostbusters are resolved by determining which Trait or (if appropriate) Talent is most relevant to the task at hand, and rolling a number of six-sided dice equal to that Trait or Talent's score. The results of the dice rolled are added, and the sum compared to a difficulty number assigned to the task by the Ghostmaster (gamemaster). If the player's roll equals or exceeds the difficulty number, the character succeeds at the task.
This basic dice pool mechanic has two additional game mechanics. The first, the Ghost Die, is a special die that represents bad luck, and can cause even successful actions to have negative effects for player characters. It has the Ghostbusters logo instead of a six, and when it comes up causes some unfortunate mishap. When a ghost is rolled for a villain, the mishaps rebound in their favor or temporarily make their powers more effective.
The second mechanic, Brownie Points, represent the character's accumulated "good karma", and can be used to increase the number of dice used in a task resolution roll, or even change the negative effects of a failed roll. Each character begins the game with a pool of 20 Brownie Points, which decreases as they are used in play. In the first edition Brownie Points are also lost when characters are injured. Players earn replacement points for their characters by succeeding in Ghostmaster-appointed tasks, achieving their character's personal goal (for instance, Egon's is advancing the cause of science), and as rewards for good roleplaying.