Friday, July 29, 2016

Rolling a Ghost: Equipment Mishap Tables


This is post number 29 in the series “31 Days of Ghostbusters,” a celebration of the franchise’s return to the big screen.

One of the fun things about a Ghostbusters game is seeing the result when someone rolls a Ghost. This always means something bad for the Ghostbuster(s), which is always good for the Ghostmaster. I was feeling inspired by this warm, evil sentiment, plus the new toys in Ghostbusters 2016, so I whipped up some tables for what might go wrong when a player rolls a Ghost while using these gadgets.

Just pick the table appropriate for whatever item the Ghostbuster was using when the big Ghost came up and roll a d6. If the result you roll doesn’t make sense, move up to a higher-numbered result.

Note that these mishaps will also work as GM Intrusions in Cypher System Ghostbusters. Where appropriate, use “ectopresence” results for Ghostbusters and “health” results for the Cypher System.

Proton Pack Mishap Table (also useful for proton sidearm variants)


  1. Nagging Alarm. You’ve triggered an overeager alarm in your weapon. The device keeps working as normal, but for 1d6 turns an alarm loud enough to wake the dead will tell everyone in the area where you are.
  2. Collateral Damage. You blow up something nearby. Something you’ll probably have to pay for.
  3. Reverse Mode. You fumbled a setting on your pack and got the opposite result from what you were intending. If you were trying to weaken a ghost, you made it stronger (+1 ectopresence or +1d6 health). If you were trying to contain it, you pushed it far away.
  4. Feedback! You hit a power source, resulting in your weapon being temporarily supercharged. On your next turn your proton pack deals extra damage, but the difficulty to hit anything (intentionally) is increased.
  5. Shutdown. You overtaxed your power output, Tex, and your weapon needs to take a breather for a turn.
  6. Meltdown. You REALLY overtaxed your power output. Your weapon suffers a critical meltdown, disabling it for the rest of the scene or until repaired. (A cruel Ghostmaster might declare that the weapon will explode in 1d6 turns. Surely not your Ghostmaster, though. I don’t know why I’m even putting this here. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you.)

Ghost Chipper Mishap Table


  1. Overflow. The ectoplasm ejected from the last ghost you sucked up spews all over your nearest ally, Sliming him or her.
  2. Clogged. When you grind up a ghost the ecto-residue splatters all over YOU instead of being safely ejected behind you. This happens for the rest of the scene or until someone repairs the chipper.
  3. Get Over Here! Instead of sucking your target into the chipper, you only manage to pull it closer, where it gets a free attack on you instead of being pulled inside.
  4. Too Much Juice. Your target is pulled into the chipper and propelled safely out the other side without taking damage.
  5. Hungry Hungry Chipper. Your weapon seems to have a temporary appetite for something non-ghostly; it sucks up a nearby item of equipment or clothing and destroys it.
  6. Poorly Shielded. Ectoplasm has leaked into the chipper's innards, disabling the device for the rest of the scene or until someone repairs it.

Proton Glove Mishap Table


  1. Stuck! You over-extend and end up with your hand stuck in your target.
  2. Ricochet. Your proton burst launches from your glove and bounces all around the area like a bouncy ball. Make an attack roll against each character and entity in the area (chosen in random order) until the burst strikes one of them or misses everyone.
  3. Hook Hand. Your glove has fused to your hand and won’t let go until someone makes a repair roll. Maybe a really tough repair roll, if your Ghostmaster thinks this is funny.
  4. Hand-Off. The glove slips off your hand during your attack. It drops to the ground and you can recover it next turn--assuming there's not a chance the glove could go bouncing off the edge of a building. (This mishap is also called the "Skywalker.")
  5. Paddle-Ball. Due to ambient ectoplasmic buildup, your shot stretches away from you, hangs in midair, then rebounds back. If you don't dodge it, you take full damage.
  6. Hot Potato. Heat starts building up inside the glove. Starting next turn, each round you keep the glove on costs you one point of damage. A successful repair check puts things back to normal.

Proton Grenade Mishap Table


  1. Dud. These are still experimental, so whaddaya expect? No effect.
  2. Collateral Slimeage. The target (or part of it) is blown into ectoplasmic goo--which rains down on the entire area. Anyone failing to dodge is Slimed.
  3. Mirror Mode. This grenade doesn’t destabilize ectoplasmic molecules, it restabilizes them! Restore some of the target’s ghostly substance (1 point of ectopresence or 1d6 points of health).
  4. Zuul, I Choose You! Instead of exploding, the grenade opens and disgorges a new ghost.
  5. Out of Phase. The grenade passes right through the target…and a nearby wall, floor, or ceiling. It’s gone, man.
  6. Miscalibration. Instead of dealing damage, the grenade causes some extra-bizarre effect on its target(s). Maybe it fuses two ghosts together, or gives one new powers, or turns it into several smaller ghosts.