The time has come. Yes, in today’s installment of “Designing the Ghost Punchers Roleplaying Game with Your Host Darrell,” it’s time to actually start writing up some new game mechanics. “About time!” you may say, and start rolling up your metaphorical shirt sleeves and preparing to get your metaphorical hands dirty. But where to start?
In our previous entry, we looked at what rules the game needs that Savage Worlds doesn’t automatically provide. The two most important of these key mechanics are Seeing Ghosts and Punching Ghosts, so let’s start there.
In Savage Worlds, characters can’t have powers unless they have what’s called an Arcane Background. In the core RPG, Arcane Backgrounds include things like “Magic” and “Psionics” and “Weird Science.” Our first task, then, is to create a new Arcane Background for our friendly neighborhood ghost punchers.
Arcane Background (Spirit Medium)
Arcane Skill: Spirit Medium (Spirit)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 2
Available Powers: Spirit Sight, Enchanted Fist
Yes, I called it “Spirit Medium” instead of “Ghost Puncher.” It’s just a label, but naming it thus makes it feel like it can be used for characters who have these abilities, but haven’t dedicated themselves to violence against the unquiet dead. In other words, it encourages character diversity, which I hear is a good thing to have in an RPG.
Next, let’s look at these two new powers:
Power Points: 1
Duration: 1 hour (1/hour)
On a success, the hero can see into the spirit world. He can see auras around the living and the horrific shapes of the ghostly dead. Seeing a particularly ghastly ghost when or where he isn’t expecting it may require the hero to make a Fear check.
This is your basic “see ghosts” power. As I expect players to use it all the time, it’s about as cheap as a power can be, at a cost of only one power point and the ability to maintain the power (without a roll) for the cost of one point per hour after that. The line about making a Fear check isn’t technically rules (“here’s how this works”) so much as it is a hook (“here’s something that can happen”), since I thought it might be fun for the GM to startle an unsuspecting character.
Power Points: 2
Duration: 3 (1/hour)
On a success, the hero can harm ethereal entities (like, say, ghosts) with her bare hands as if the entity were not ethereal. On a raise, the hero does +1 damage to any ethereal targets she hits during the duration of the power.
And here’s the baseline “punch ghosts” power. I based the cost on the Savage Worlds power “Smite,” (which costs 2 to give +2 damage for the duration), figuring that it isn’t doing extra damage (usually) but does let the hero hurt a range of enemies she normally can’t touch… which seems about even. We’ll see how it tests out.
The last key mechanic on our list is “being attacked by ghosts.” That’s going to be interesting, and probably pretty complicated. So meet me back here next week and we’ll dive right into it.