A Proper Preview of the vs Ghosts Game (with Discussion of the vs. M Engine)

Hello all,

Back on June 30th, I did a blog post talking about the vs. Ghosts game which The Fattest Goblin and I had been working. While I talked about about it and the system that powers it, I didn't give any full or thorough previews of the game --I shall now attempt to 'fix' that.

While you can see the first several pages of the book in the Preview on RPGNow.com, you really start to appreciate it, in my opinion, when you can see more of this pamphlet-sized (print versions, available soon, will be for a 6"x9" booklet) overall.

Starting with the lovely cover, done by His Fatness Himself-Himself, you can get both the fun and the "inspiration" for this book in one quick look.

And then check out the layout and designed used in the book for things like the Core Mechanics of the game (reprinted below for legibility)...

The Core Mechanic

Vs. Ghosts uses a standard deck of playing cards, without the Jokers (unless your Ghostmaster likes to play fast and loose), to resolve actions.  When performing an action, draw a number of cards equal to the appropriate attribute score. Compare the value of the highest card against the target value. If you have a card of equal or higher value than the target value, the action succeeds. If it is lower, you fail.

The Card Deck

At the beginning of the game session, the Ghostmaster shuffles the deck to create the draw pile. Bonus cards in the characters possession (see Character Advancement in the Ghost Mastering section) are from a separate deck and are not placed in the draw pile. As cards are drawn and used, they are placed in a discard pile. When no more cards remain in the draw pile, the Ghostmaster shuffles the discard pile to form a new draw pile. Cards currently in play are not shuffled at this time. Only the Ghostmaster is allowed to shuffle. Players may draw their own cards from the draw pile. The Ghostmaster draws all cards for the other characters in the game, the Extras and the Ghosts alike. Face cards are not equal to 10, as they are in blackjack; Jacks are equivalent to an 11, Queens to 12, Kings to 13, and Aces are normally high and equivalent to a 14, but when dealing damage low cards are better, and Aces can count as a 1.


 Target Values
When attempting an unopposed challenge, the Ghostmaster must assign a target value for the character to draw against. Use the following chart to help determine an appropriate value:
Challenge Value
Easy Four
Average Six
Hard Ten
Very Hard King
Impossible Ace

"Equipment" isn't the same in a vs. M Engine games like it is in many RPGs, so its not as vital but you HAVE to have some stuff...

And part of that "tongue-in-cheek" tone of vs. M Engine games is that NPCs (non-player characters) don't need to be so generically referred to as "NPCs" so that we can tag them as "Extras" and the special Stuff (if you know vs. Monsters game) renamed in vs. Ghosts are "Gimmicks."

But my favorite bit is our excerpts of Dr. Corontze's Spirit Guide.

And then our final plea for help about the future of this whole experiment...

Future Plans for vs. Ghosts and Beyond

In our minds, here at Fat Goblin Games, vs. Ghosts is just the first in a whole field of games using the vs. M Engine.

VsM Engine

The versatility and ease-of-use of the vs. M Engine will allow for a wide range of books, from expansions to the basis of the vs. Ghosts book, to completely new "core" vs. Games. For instance, the basic rules of vs. Ghosts lends itself to a more "classic" version of "demonic-possession" and so a vs. Demons expansion could be planned, with just-the-few-extra-rules-needed plus a codex of demon-spirits and the versatility of your vs. Ghosts game expands drastically without having to worry about getting into the more standard RPG version of "demons" from D&D or the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Or we could release a complete version of Dr. Corontze's Spirit Guide!

 Going 180* from the supernatural thrillers of vs. Ghosts, His Fatness and I have talked about releasing a vs. Crime "core" book, which would focus on playing modern police officers, a genre of RPGs that isn't well covered despite its popularity in television. We could play follow ups to vs. Crime with vs. Evidence (a CSI-inspired expansion), vs. Gangs or vs. Cartels (largely NPC codices with a few added bits and pieces), or vs. Cops (where your PCs take on the role of the criminals). 

Now, we still have grand plans to continue to support our Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, 5th Edition, and even our in-house announced-but-unreleased-systems like Little Goblins and the Bastard System, and keep your eyes on these blogs for more information on "what we have planned."

Speaking of keeping your eyes to find out what's planned, be sure to check out my planned Q&A session with the Hardboiled GMShoe on RPG.net planned for July 28th, 2016 @ 7 pm till 9 pm Central Standard Time!

Lucus Palosaari, Editor & Project Manager at Fat Goblin Games (Like us on Facebook!)

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