[InSpectres] Converting D20 players one Franchise at a time ...

Started by PolarisX, July 12, 2009, 08:01:16 PM

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I guess I should probably start with the fact that my gaming group consists of hardcore D20 players who have for the most part never played anything but a D20 system. Unfortunately I am the black sheep of the group in that I find many D6 systems quite entertaining. But short of finding a new group with whom I connect with enough to have the same level of fun, the likeliness of me playing any of these games is somewhere between nil and none.

I happened upon the InSpectres game while doing some looking around the Wiki of the new Ghostbusters video game, having beaten it rather quickly I was looking to see about the existence of further fun in the Ghostbusters world, and one of the links revealed another site with a link to InSpectres. I looked over the free version and my interest was piqued but I couldn't exactly approach my group with this limited version so I managed to track down the PDF version and bought it and the full version was something that got me very excited. At this point I was sure that this was the first non D20 system that my friends would play, but I couldn't just come out and say "Tonight we're playing this game" I would have died being repeatedly bludgeoned with copies of the 4th edition.

It took some extreme finagling to get on the topic of InSpectres but once they heard the premise of the game, surprisingly enough they were interested. It was worked out that I would GM leaving our normal DM's free to put their vivid imaginations to the game itself. We had 4 players in total:

  • Ian
  • Tristan
  • Jackie
  • Steph

We all got together and I read the manual out for everyone to hear as we progressed through the creation process.

Ian's character ended up being a Rodeo Clown who upon experiencing an attack by a spectral bull decided that he was better suited to that of a paranormal investigator. His character was a tank and for the rest of the game would prove very beneficial when strength was needed. His gear consisted of a sawed-off shotgun that shot a mixture of silver and rock salt. And an aluminum baseball bat that stunned everyone it hit, it was not clarified whether or not the reason it caused unconsciousness was magical or the fact that it was filled with concrete.

Tristan's character was the party's "Weird Agent" he was a wizard based primarily on Harry Dresden of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. He left his history unknown. He was an all purpose wizard with a good mix of points in each skill, with the exception of technology where he had a 0, this was meant to be based on Harry Dresden's incompatibility with anything technological. In fact it's a very thing to play with it's a lot harder to investigate places when you have to avoid things like elevators, machinery, etc. The only equipment this character carried was his staff, leather duster, and bowler hat.

Jackie's character was a normal girl whose mother had been a hoodoo witch, and had subsequently been trained in the art. I know the rules limit one "Weird Agent" and the rest are supposed to be "normal" but hoodoo is considered folk-magic and I decided to allow this as it's practiced by normal people. Her equipment of choice: dual pistols that shot silver shells with holy water centers.

Steph's character was the tech of the group, Now that I think about it I don't think we even talked about her past, her equipment of choice: The Complete Ghost hunting setup - Laptop, USB infrared camera setup, USB EMF reader, USB EVP recorder. Aside from that her character was a noncom.

Since the group was on the edge of acceptance I didn't want to make the game overly hard, So I urged the players to select a franchise run by a large corporation. they liked that idea, well funded agents are always more fun. They decided against being the executives of said company thinking that it would be more fun to play the low level grunts.  Being used to each other and having run their characters by each other during the creation process we decided to skip the interview process and jump right into the action.

The office had just been overrun with press from the company's previous case and the team were relaxing and enjoying their downtime, when one of the agents notices a suspicious character lurking on the other side of the road. It's at this point that things . . . took a turn for the worse. The girls decided that the best way to attract this possible customer would be to use their feminine wiles. Which succeeded with a 6 and the adventure began.

Their customer was the local city's Historical Society. They had just fought a court battle with a local developer over a long abandoned hotel in the downtown area. The developer wanted to demolish the building in lieu of a new skyscraper. Built in the early 1900's by an eccentric millionaire the hotel was the very epitome of high class living. It was a building locked in time; it had been open only for a brief period around the 1920's but closed soon after. The building itself remained dormant until the death of said eccentric millionaire in the 60's at which point a power struggle occurred between his remaining children, this cleared itself up in the early 2000's by some fairly unexplained deaths and the remaining son sold the hotel to the city.

The historical society had planned to refurbish and open the hotel as an active hotel, giving guests a peak back into history. Unfortunately every contracting company hired to do the work on the hotel quit after a few short days. No reasons given, no explanation , they just got out of there as fast as possible.

Now the agents found out about this through a number of interviews with their client, and in the end requested some historical documents and the city's blueprints of the building.

The agents decided they had better wait until nightfall to access the hotel as most of the paranormal activity had happened during the night. They all piled into their own respective vehicles and went to the scene of the investigation. It was decided that each agent would provide their own transportation, the company had originally provided a company car to the agents but these vehicles being of a certain technological advancement had oddly caught fire and exploded numerous times. The R&D department of the company had concluded that Tristan's character being primarily anti-technology was probably not the best passenger to have in such a high tech vehicle. His aging VW Beetle however managed to stay in one piece.

They arrived at the hotel which was surrounded by construction walls to keep the general public out where they met the security guard. Steph decided to use her high contact skill to try and get some information out of him and while her check went through the guard was too scared to provide much information. He did let slip some tidbits about a floor of the hotel that didn't exist but anything more substantial was lost in gibberish.

Upon entering the hotel they found the most luxurious grand entrance way, marble pillars lined the hall and dark wood paneling covered the walls. At the far end stood the massive registration desk, to their right the concierge desk and off to the left the elevators. To the right were the dining room and the bar.

They decided that the security guards information wasn't as crazy as he sounded and Tristan spending a Cool point and rolling an Academics check proceeded to perform a tracking spell which sent a fiery blue line off into the distance. Tristan informed the party that this would lead them to this mysterious floor they had heard of.

It was around this point that I realized that the GM is truly inconsequential to this game. Unless the player rolls a 3 or less then you have no control on the story. And I had planned this adventure quite extensively, unfortunately only at 2 times during the course of the entire game did anyone roll under a 4. Even throwing in Stress (Cool) checks nobody got under a 3. So I essentially sat around and smiled and attempted to prod the players into continuing the plot.

The rest of the game took about 2 hours with the investigators finding the 13th floor of the hotel (this of course being an old hotel the floors go from 12 to 14) they find the 13th floor is actually an astral plane and doesn't encompass an entire floor merely 4 rooms. One room was a pit which Tristan decided to drop a rock into the room only to find minutes later that the room was circular, as that same rock went flying by again. Across the hall they found a room that contained an entire park and apparently a moving truck full of vases ..... to which Ian's character unloaded and dropped into the pit for "shits & giggles", unfortunately for me for the next 20 minutes they dropped various hotel items into the pit with various degrees of hilarity. At one point Steph used her video camera equipment to record the insanity and caught sight of an astral figure floating in the middle of the room but not much further was done.

They continued on to the next room and a failed check allowed me to take control and had the room take the form of an 1800's graveyard with a mausoleum in the distance with McCormack written on it (McCormack being the last name of the eccentric millionaire) again at this point game play fell apart when the agents upon finding grass decided an impromptu game of tackle the wizard was in order.  A couple of spent Cool points and a lot of bruising later the agents continued on to the mausoleum, at one point a failed check let me drop an agent into an open grave and to disappear, but quick thinking on the agents part and a lot of 6's brought her back.

On the mausoleum itself they found signs of Masonic symbols and upon entering find a Masonic Hall complete with echo's of members in their seats and in the seats at the end of the hall are apparently 3 lich, one being the Worshipful master and probably 2 deacons.

Action ensues with everyone drawing guns and shooting everything in the room, the lich are unaffected but all that salt, silver, and holy water destroy the echoes, seeing that the lich were relatively unharmed and most angered by the attempts on their life they realize that talking might be a better option than dying.  Steph having the highest contact skill rolls the 800th 6 of the game and strikes up a conversation with the worshipful master.  As it was getting late Steph decided to end it with her Character asking the worshipful master if he wouldn't mind stopping the whole haunting the hotel thing and the lich agreed. Causing the astral plane upon which they stood to fade away leaving them in one of the hotel rooms on the 12th floor thus ending the mission.

It was weird seeing such hardcore gamers lose all self control and just have fun.  And by the end they were completely hooked with our groups normal GM's talking about building modules for the game. Next time we play they plan on making a Discworld module.

We had a blast playing this game, I would've had more fun had I actually been able to hose any of the players but they had the BEST luck I have ever seen.

Next time we play I want to go for more of a series kind of franchise, and make it so it's a bit more challenging. Also the players didn't really use the confessionals in a way that would help their party, they did apply characteristics to other players but said other players downright refused to play along. It was when they first entered the graveyard that both Ian & Jackie went into a confessional together and said that Tristan was terrified of graveyards. And when they went back into character proceeded to tackle Tristan dragging him back into the hallway asking if he was too terrified to speak, and they were checking his pulse and other various funny things.

I'm hoping that next time we play that they take a more serious tone and they roll a little poorer, so I can introduce a lot more plot. They were awesome at creating their own adventure but they were honestly more interested in dropping things into the pit than finding out what the cause of the pit was.

I'm hoping to play again next week so I'll tell you all how it goes.


That's awesome! Sounds like win and Inspectres is built of the stuff.

Just a note, I've played Inspectres three times and have never seen a serious tone. The game is built for hilarity and the GM does not get to throw in a lot of plot. The GM's roll is generally to frame scenes and throw stress at the players.
James R.