Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ghostbusters International RPG - GB Roller

So, just a little over a month ago, I started a new Ghostbusters International campaign*.  Things are going great so far, we're only three sessions in and the players seem to be really enjoying themselves, when I'm not scaring them witless.  Actually, things are going great with two exceptions.

The first is that I'm suffering from a lack of players; two of my players have been exceptionally reliable.  But since the game is open to a rotating cast (it's episodic, so ideal for characters to just drop in for a session) it's proving a bit of challenge to get enough people with Proton Packs to effectively deal with the horrific threats from beyond that I'm throwing at the players.  This post isn't here to complain about that, though**.

The second is that I've only got one Ghost Die, and it's getting old.  Anyone familiar with West End's Ghostbusters RPG, or the follow-up Ghostbusters International (the one I'm choosing to run) will know that the system uses D6s, one of which has the 6 replaced by a Ghostbusters symbol (referred to as "rolling a ghost" in the rules) and when that shows up, it means something bad will happen to the players.  Those same people will also probably know that these Ghost Dice were notoriously poorly made, with the faces rubbing off over time, sometimes with very little use.

As a GM, I've often turned to my computer for dice-rolling solutions, so I thought I'd throw together a little application for myself and other Ghostmasters (yes, they actually use that term in the game) to have handy so I'm not always snatching the precious Ghost Die from my players every time I want to make a roll.  And since it's going to be there on my laptop screen anyway, I figured I might as well throw a few other features in there.

Click that lower image for an explanation of the elements.

The result and the UHM (Universal How Much, from GBI) result are the main focal point, but I included the actual dice rolled (the small numbers) just in case there's any question as to which dice resulted in what, and because sometimes you can roll, say, 3 dice and end up with, for example, 9 as a result, and this can happen twice in a row.  Without the dice there, it's not even obvious that you've re-rolled, so they act as a form of visual reassurance.

The mini soundboard can be configured to play 3 WAV files; mine's set to Proton Pack heating up, being fired, and powering down.  Yours could easily be Ecto-1's sirens, a ghost growling and a door creaking though, if you wanted, just change it in the options (the little tool symbol, top right).

The switch button might take some explanation.  If, like me, you have a few things open on your screen and it can all get a bit lost, this will shortcut to an open window you commonly use.  The default is set to "Untitled - Notepad" (you can find this in the options), but there's good sense in setting it to a PDF you often use (just type in the exact title of the Window you want to switch to, e.g. "Ghostbusters International RPG.pdf - SumatraPDF") or, in my case, a TightVNC client running the music on a different laptop***.

While we're on the subject of that options screen, you can set the opacity of the main window there (minimum 10%).  Useful for seeing through to underlying windows, especially since GB Roller defaults to Always On Top.  Hmmm, must remember to add that option in later in case people don't want it.

The link to download is:


Update: Link now points to version, and isn't hosted on FileFactory.


* Huh?  Was that why I haven't been posting much here lately?  Uh, yeah, sure.
** But it's my party blog and I'll cry vent in a manly fashion if I want to.
*** As a GM, I use quite a few technical solutions.  My best so far was a bank of computers (one showing only static) for the Paranoia confession booth in a side room.  The individual screens had a picture of the Computer's eye, with scrolling text messages and warnings as might be seen throughout Alpha Complex.