Friday night at Carnage was my moment of truth. This Ghostbusters game was the one in which I invested the most thought and energy over the last six months of con preparation. It’s also the one that most inspired me. Usually I beat my head against the wall in coming up with adventure details, but everything just flowed with this one. I even had the time and opportunity to run a playtest session in September. Even with all that preparation, though, I felt most nervous because I felt like this was the one that could go most badly. In retrospect, it was a lock in every regard except the possibility of players who didn’t get the mood and concept, but that was rather remote.
Arriving in the Waterlot room, I found two players, Frank and Siobhan, friends of mine, already waiting at a table and the remaining four players arrived in short order. Everything went really smoothly the whole night. I incorporated some things I’d improvised or received as suggestions during the run-through, like hamming up the GBI branch manager’s corporate double talk and inserting a ghost in the theater’s ticket booth.
This group took a more investigatory approach to the story. And Daisy’s player, Siobhan, really got into the hook of Daisy believing ghosts are people, too. That led to some hilarious moments, like when Daisy tries to make nice with the ghost that lives in the mezzanine, which Elijah the techie takes as an opportunity to zap ‘n trap the unsuspecting thing. Daisy and Elijah would team up again later in the adventure, with Daisy providing the source of happy thoughts for Elijah’s psychomagnotheric ectoplasm — read “mood slime” — generator, which proved to be the Ghostbusters’ means of neutralizing the Big Bad’s influence over its mortal agent, as well as its current residence on Earth. This was, I assure you, an improvement over the holy water enema they thought would expel whatever had possessed the lead actor of the play — and Frank’s proposed holy water IV drip, which would have required coaxing the medical student spectre inhabiting the catwalks into possessing someone to do the actual insertion of the needle.
I lucked out with this session in that the players made their own resolution. I have a bad habit of not providing much wrap-up or closure, let alone a firm idea of how to “win.” But the players were inventive and came up with a very fitting solution: using the demon’s own techniques against it to resecure its prison and restore the order of things. And they hosed a lot of stuff in mood slime and caused an appropriate amount of collateral damage with stray proton blasts. As you can see in the picture, everyone had a blast and so did I. Ghostbusters was a hit and I’ll definitely be running a new adventure with the same cast of characters next year.