Monday, August 1, 2011

The Fez of the Pharoh, Part 1

After the usual technical difficulties and scheduling mix ups, we got everyone skyped in and ready to begin our very first Ghostbusters International Game, tentatively called,

"We are on the threshold of establishing the indispensable defense science of the next decade: professional paranormal investigations and eliminations. The franchise rights alone will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams." Dr. Peter Venkman

The year is 1985. Crippled and cash-strapped by lawsuits and insurance claims, the Ghostbusters have placed an ad in the back of Rolling Stone magazine looking for potential investors interested in opening Ghostbusters International (GBI) franchises. One particularly depressing New Year's party in Ottawa Canada, in a small apartment with a haunted carpet, a group of friends decide to respond.

It was suppose to be a joke…

The night began with character creation and signing the mountain of paperwork supplied on behalf of the GBI by Louis Tully CPA. On hand were:

-Dr. Dirk Mantooth Paranormal investigator
-Dr. Elias Spectre / Astrophysicist and ladies man
-Amanda Jones / Archeology student and owner of the possessed carpet
-Hammer Jones / Her well meaning, if somewhat dim witted brother
-Melly Winston /Paramedic and resident skeptic

After the drive to New York city in their white, GMC van (soon to be named Ecto-A), they receive some preliminary training, sign a lot of releases and insurance forms and are about to head back to Ottawa when one night when the other Ghostbusters are out, there is a phonecall from a reporter by the name of Elaine Jackson, asking for the Ghostbusters' help. If they are the only ones around, they will have to do.

The next evening, the team heads out in plainclothes to the reporter's hotel room only to find it locked and no one answering. After first ascertaining that the hallway carpet is not haunted, the team breaks into an adjacent room. In the alley below, they see a K-Car with two black men and one white, speeding away. The window to the reporter's room is wide open and easily accessible by the fire escape. Mantooth climbs across to the open window while Spectre and Hammer go down to the alley and Amanda and Melly keep watch.

In the alley, Spectre discovered a crushed, black fez next to a garbage can. In the room above, Mantooth is sickened by the scene of horror that greets him. A woman, presumed to be Ms. Jackson, has been brutally mutilated. Her entrails have been pulled out and blood covered the walls. The look of horror on her face suggests she was alive and awake when it occurred. Calling for Melly, the seasoned paramedic discovers a rune carved into her forehead. PKE readings are faint, but definitely present.

After a cursory investigation the police seem uninterested, stating that they had a dozen or so of these murders over the past few years and that, suspecting cult activity, they had turned the matter over to a professor at NYU. They also let the team take a folder of newspaper clipping written containing articles by Ms. Jackson since they are from a tabloid called 'Lurid Tales' and could not possibly contain anything important.

Returning to the firehall, the team pours over their clues. Ms.Jackson had extensively covered, 'The Carter Expedition', a mysterious trip organized by rich, gadabout Richard Carter to deepest, darkest Africa. No one really knows why they went, or what they were looking for, but the story got interesting with the entire expedition, containing six wealthy British and American explorers and scholars, disappeared. Bodies were soon discovered in the jungles of Kenya and shortly thereafter, some local bandits were hanged. To most that seemed the end of it, but Ms. Kennedy's hand scrawled notes in the margins seemed to indicate that it was not the whole story.

Further research discovered a link between the black fez and the symbol carved onto Ms. Kennedy's forehead. Both linked to something called, 'The Bloody Tongue', a gruesome death cult that originated in Africa.

The next day, they went to the university where they spoke to Professor Mel Lemmings, a specialist on tribal cults. She confirmed the Team's findings and said that she suspected the cult has been operating in the city for a number of years now. She also said that she believed that the cult was much more widespread than most, existing in different forms in China, Africa and Australia, though as yet she had no concrete proof. Then she pointed them to a store in Harlem called, 'The JuJu Boutique', which she tough was the headquarters of the Bloody Tongue in NYC.

Returning to the firehouse to suit up and grab their proton packs, the team headed out to Harlem where they found a narrow alleyway that opened up into a filth covered courtyard. The only doorway leads into the JuJu Boutique.

Hammer notices what he first assumes to be a homeless person pulls himself out of a pile of refuse. The hobo shuffles towards Melly and grabs her by the shirt. At this point, more hobos emerge and the team quickly realizes that they weren't homeless, but the walking dead.

The battle was my first experience running the rules-lite d6 version and I had to improve pretty quickly, but it turned out to be a fun and gruesome affair with lots of missed shots hitting piles of rotting garbage, and the zombies exploding in a rain of guts and goo when had taken enough proton hits. Hammer actually engaged one in fisticuffs and knocked its head clear off, which continued to bite at his ankles until he booted it into a nearby dumpster.

Their first official battle as Ghostbusters ending in gorey victory, they girdled their loins and walked towards the door to the JuJu Boutique… but not before scooping up the zombie head from the dumpster

They are gonna call him Harry the Head.

Careful readers may have noticed what adventure I'm running here. If you slightly lower the seriousness of a Chuthulu Adventure and slightly raise the seriousness of a Ghostbusters adventure, (which isn't hard in either case) they meet pretty easily. I find the GBI game as written plays more like the cartoons anyway and it was always my intention to aim for the slightly grittier feel of the first movie.

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