Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ectomobiles

This is post number 5 in the series “31 Days of Ghostbusters,” a celebration of the franchise’s return to the big screen.

The classic Ectomobile is a thing of beauty. It’s a "1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo-style endloader combination car (ambulance conversion)," according to Wikipedia. Judging from the trailer for this year’s Ghostbusters movie, the latest Ectomobile is a repurposed hearse. For your game, sure, you COULD use one of those ideas for your franchise’s Ectomobile, but if you want to try out something different, read on for a few ideas.

(Note that, thanks to the Ghostbusters RPG being so light on the rules, I don’t even have to make up stats for these things! Have I mentioned how much I love the Ghostbusters RPG?)

Humvee

By Lance Cpl. Brian Marion [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Armored. Tough. Formidable. Your Ghostbusters would love to have one as their Ectomobile. Should you let them?

Consider this: will it be funny? Forget about whether it would be practical or realistic or actually useful. In a game of Ghostbusters, we want funny. Luckily, even something outwardly tough and cool can be an opportunity for comic relief. It’s big, for example—that might make parking at a job tough, as well as add difficulty to turning in a hurry and squeezing down a narrow street. Also, it’s a thirsty machine; how much of the team’s budget are they willing to spend on gas?

SUV

By OSX (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A more humble SUV might be a good middle ground between the testosterone-overloaded Humvee and the soccer-mom-stereotyped minivan. Like the minivan, it screams “Suburban Ghostbusters!” But it’s also an icon of the early 2000s, and will help set a Ghostbusters game firmly in the present. (This is the vehicle my players chose in my most recent campaign.)

Minivan

By OSX (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The main advantage to using a minivan as an Ectomobile is the sliding door on the side that allows a Ghostbuster team to disembark in a hurry when they reach the scene of a haunting. (And then pick up the kids on the way back from the job.) Know what’s another advantage? The Ghostbusters will look like total dorks hopping out of a minivan.

Full-Size Van

By The Conmunity - Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA
(Long Beach Comic Expo 2012 - A-Team van) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to being less lame than a minivan, the regular van has an established pedigree in both action and comedy adventures. If it’s good enough for Mr. T and Scooby Doo, it’s good enough for your players! The trick will be to differentiate the Ghostbusters’ van from those famous fictional vans. (The logo and siren will help.) Or, maybe your players will enjoy riding in a symbol that’s reminiscent of other franchises. A lot of players like mashups like that, and would be thrilled to see such a plan come together.

Hybrid Car

Property of Mrs. Adventuresofkeithgarrett

Going in the other direction, a Ghostbusters franchise might take a more EPA-friendly route and opt for a more “green” Ectomobile, like a hybrid car. It may not be as stylish as an ambulance or a hearse or an SUV, but think of the comedy value! The more ridiculous your Ghostbusting players’ characters look, the better, I say. (Other opportunities to make your PCs look dorky include sticking them with a Volkswagen Beetle, a Mini Cooper, or a clown car.)

Bus

By Bill McChesney (Flickr: 32166 Albemarle County School
Bus Road-e-o) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Adam E. Moreira (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Alf van Beem (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

A full-sized bus, like a school bus or even a city bus, would hold a LOT of Ghostbusters. Plus their equipment. Plus a few passengers, if the team needs some extra money. For a smaller, hipper, more…smoky experience, try the classic Volkswagen Bus. A word of warning, though: don’t bother trying to shoot any pink elephants you see.

RV

By Claygate at en.wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you like the bus idea but want to go even more extreme, plop your PCs down in a recreational vehicle. In addition to serving as transportation, the Ghostbusters could borrow an idea from Walter White and set up a mobile lab. The Ecto-RV might even pack a mobile containment grid for dropping off spooks on the go. (Of course, the PCs will want to be careful where they dump it.)

Station Wagon

Josephew at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons 

All the style of the ambulance/hearse Ectomobiles without the convenient storage racks! Still, a wood-paneled station wagon would do nicely for a game set in the 70s (time travel?), or a franchise that’s low on cash, or a GM who really loves The Brady Bunch.

Pickup Truck

By High Contrast (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a must for Southern Ghostbusters. Though the truck can’t hold a full team of ‘Busters, it DOES boast a lot of storage capacity. A two-person Ghostbuster team could operate out of the truck for an extra-long shift without needing to return to HQ to swap out traps or proton packs. (Proton pack gun rack sold separately.)

Motorcycle Fleet

By The original uploader was Naru-W at Japanese Wikipedia
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Why does your franchise need to limit itself to a single vehicle that all the Ghostbusters have to fit inside? They might enjoy motorcycles instead, letting the team split up whenever they want. (As we know, they can do more damage that way.) Sure, a Ghostbuster would have difficulty firing a proton pack while riding a motorcycle (safely, anyway), but from the GM’s point of view, crashes are fun to describe!

Did I forget any entertaining options? If so, let me know below!