Awhile back I wrote about obtaining and playing the classic West End Games Ghostbusters RPG. In the ensuing years I’ve managed to get a team of Ghostbusters together a few times and we ended up completing one of the campaigns by West End, ApoKermis Now. If you’re wondering what the Ghostbusters RPG is like, read the rest of this post. I’ve condensed the campaign into little sections to give you a flavor of what’s going on.
Several of the Ghostbusters RPG campaigns I’ve looked through seem a little too silly or just plain dumb. ApoKermis Now and a couple of others seem like a nice blend between the type of stuff you’d see in a Ghostbusters movie and the Real Ghostbusters cartoon.
Warning: If you ever plan on playing the ApoKermis Now stop reading now.
Okay, so basically the whole campaign set up is that there’s this evil spirit that wants to start a party to end the world. What I enjoyed about it is that most of the individual pieces of the campaign stood out really well on their own and they built up to a super powerful enemy. And even better, the players have to piece together what’s happening from a series of seemingly unconnected events.
I’ll break down the parts of the campaign, or as they are known in Ghostbusters RPG, reels:
1. Return to Sender:
This is probably the weakest entry, but it contains valuable clues for the team and is an okay starting point.
Basically the Ghostbusters are awakened by an invasion of little kids like the boy/girl scouts who are messing around with the equipment and causing a general ruckus. While that’s going on, a ghost postal worker shows up to take a package that had been delivered to the Ghostbusters. After defeating the ghost, kicking the kids out, and investigating their mail they find an invitation to a fancy party, some news about a stolen proton pack, and that the package the ghost wanted was already opened.
I paired this one with a short, regular haunting so the team had enough to do for one session without starting another one.
Also after this adventure the team didn’t go in order of the campaign book, so things got a little weird timing wise. It worked out though.
2. Von Horton Heard Who?
At the start of the adventure it’s becoming obvious that there’s a bit more ghost activity than usual. I was able to drop in ghosts here and there at the end of the last adventure and the start of this one that hinted that something big was happening. One of the ghosts that showed up was the ghost of a firehouse dalmatian at their HQ. They adopted him and called him Sparkplug.
Anyway, back to the campaign. The team figured out that since the empty package they got came from the local college that they should head there first. At the college they found a huge monster made of guacamole walking away with the guy they needed to talk to grasped in it’s delicious hand.
The team’s solution came after researching similar monsters. In a guide they found the tale of a salsa monster that was eaten by a town. They got a bunch of college kids together, bought them beer and chips, and had them devour the monster.
Unfortunately, after the monster was defeated the Ghostbusters were fined for running an illegal tavern and not checking the IDs of the students (the hazards of being a Ghostbuster is running afoul of the law). I added that part myself. Even worse was that one of the players said the whole thing was a marketing promotion for a local taco joint, so the kids wouldn’t be scared of the monster. Of course I couldn’t let that one fly by without a consequence, so that taco joint sued the Ghostbusters for slander.
On another note, the team had Sparkplug the ghost dog attack the monster. The monster kicked Sparkplug so he went flying several hundred yards before falling through the ground. The Ghostbusters didn’t know what happened to their ghost dog pal until the next adventure. Keeping them in suspense was awesome. (He was fine. He’s a ghost).
3. Rock N Ruins:
This was the second weakest entry for the campaign. A local museum was showing off the remains of the ancient civilization that the head boss ghost came from. There’s some big clues as to what’s going on at the museum, but overall it’s not a super exciting adventure.
To spice it up a bit I had this sexy lady character that one of the Ghostbusters “wooed” in a past adventure show up and offer to “woo” him again in the bathroom. He declined, which was pretty great for him because the Ghostbusters then met her boyfriend, a local mob boss who is a big, big fan of the Ghostbusters.
I also added an annoying reporter that was suggested in the campaign book. He was one of those hard hitting journalists that ran a rather negative piece on the team called, “Ghostbusters: Heroes or Crooks?” They ended up saving his ass in this adventure, so he turned into a staunch ally.
4. Loone Over Manhattan
The timing on this one was a little odd, because it’s scheduled to go first in the book, so I had to fudge it a bit. This was my favorite mission of the campaign. The players got vehicles like bicycles that could fly sent to them from the Ghostbusters HQ in New York. This was a lucky break, because a weird cloud started floating around their home turf.
It turns out the cloud was actually thousands of ghosts. The team didn’t know what it was exactly or what was inside until they flew through the cloud. It was then that they discovered an airship with a device on it that had opened up a portal to the ghost world.
There were some pirate ghosts that had taken over the airship from a mad professor who had stolen equipment from the New York (aka movie) Ghostbusters. He had used this equipment to create a powerful proton cannon and a reverse containment field that was pulling ghosts into our world. He had wanted to look like a hero by putting all the ghosts back into the containment grid. Of course, this backfired and pirate ghosts took over his ship and held him prisoner.
There was some fancy air battling and then the team dropped onto the bridge of the ship and battled the pirates in close quarters combat. It was really fun action. One great moment was when one of the Ghostbusters got knocked down and Sparkplug the ghost dog moved in to protect him. The ghost dog is the greatest thing ever.
Not only where their evil pirates to fight and tons of ghosts streaming in from the other side, but the stakes were raised by some super powerful elder god on the other side that was about to break through. I had it all planned out that if they failed this thing would have gotten through and it would have been far worse than the boss of the campaign. So, they really saved the day on this one when they shut down the grid in the nick of time.
5. There’s a Party Going On…
6. The Late Great Party, Earth.
The last two reels pretty much blended together. It began with the Ghostbusters finding a section of the city that was turned into a huge party full of ghosts. They had to convince some super powerful gate keepers to let them in. A couple of them managed to be entertaining enough that they got a free pass. The other Ghostbusters that couldn’t make it had to scale the wall. Luckily for them they didn’t battle the gatekeepers, because they were insanely powerful.
Once inside the team explored a bit finding a bunch of ghosts partying it up. The ghosts were fairly friendly to the Ghostbusters. It was like they were convinced that they had already won. In fact, one of the Ghostbusters had sex with a lady ghost. Is that like a cop having sex with a criminal?
One of the fun parts of this adventure that out of all the haunted locations in this section there was one house that was completely normal. An old lady lived there and the team had to convince her that they weren’t ghosts. They were able to relax a bit at the house and plan a bit, though one of the Ghostbusters accidentally sat on her cat. (it lived).
Anyway, the team ran into the mini bosses which were like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse except party themed and riding frogs, because… it’s a silly game. The Four Frog Riders pretty much had the team on the ropes, but then when the team started making a come back, these mini bosses took off. Maybe to return in the future?
At one point the ghosts started freaking out and panicking. They realized that they were trapped at the party. It turned out that the head baddie was actually sucking up their ghost energy to make herself more powerful. In one of my favorite moments of the campaign, the ghosts asked the Ghostbusters to help them.
Being the heroes that they where, they made their way to a house that was the main HQ of the big boss who turned out to be their former secretary that had been possessed. The big bad had a portal open to the other world and she was storing tons of ectopresence (aka ghost juice) to use to make herself more powerful. Her goal was to become a god and destroy the Earth.
It was a huge battle with this super powerful ghost/demi-god. It wasn’t until they had fought her a bit before the team realized that they needed something special to beat her. They figured that they could have used the cannon from the air battle mission, so they went to call the dude (Professor Loone) that had it.
Let’s let the irony of that sink in… the team with the slogan “Who You Gonna Call?” had to make a phone call in order to save the day.
In order to distract the big bad one of the Ghostbusters went super ballsy and bear hugged her and pulled her with him off a balcony. It worked as a distraction and delaying tactic and she was pissed, but he managed to meet back up with the rest of the team outside. Professor Loone showed up with his airship and cannon and they shut down the big bad’s access to ghost juice reserves. Then together they forced the spirit out of their secretary’s body and trapped it.
Fun Loose Ends:
This campaign has some loose ends that I can build on in future adventures.
- The Ghostbusters didn’t really defeat the Four Frogmen, so they could come back.
- The thousands of ghosts that were released during the airship sequence are just loose everywhere.
- The super powerful gate demons are loose.
- The mobster who is going out with the woman that my one player had sex with has met the Ghostbusters and loves them, so he will probably return.
- Where does the head bad guy go? In a trap. Which gets deposited in their containment grid. Draw your own conclusions.