Rappy’S RPG Reviews: Blood and Spooks

01 May

Hello folks! Long time no see. Today’s review will be a look into the book Blood and Spooks byRPGObjects…quiet, Scotsperson. If you didn’t guess, this book is dedicated to incorporeal undead and those who combat or contact them. I know it’s later than what I originally stated, but I had a bit of a hectic week so far.

Chapter 1

We pull into our first chapter with the classic character-related stuff. The first is on allegiances, which increases the scope on just what an allegiance can be. There are two extroverted allegiances (Humanity and Science) and three introverted allegiances (Fame, Sex, and Wealth), as well as the suggestion that some allegiances should provide +2 synergy bonuses when dealing with members of specific groups that mesh with them (like those with a Wealth allegiance dealing with bankers). I like the idea of these synergy bonuses, and it made me think about the classic allegiances in this light. After that, we get the standard new occupations section: some for any person that fits (Antiques Dealer, Circus Performer, Escape Artist, Fortune Teller, Journalist, reprints of the Mystic and Psychic from Urban Arcana, Psychic Investigator, and Stage Magician) as well as occupations for various positions in a ghost hunter organization (Ghost Hunter Driver, Ghost Hunter President, Ghost Hunter Secretary, Ghost Hunter Tactical Leader, Ghost Hunter Technician, Ghost Hunter Treasurer, and Ghost Hunter Vice President). They’re average examples of occupations, not too good or too bad.

Some interesting ideas are presented here as well, such as the concept of certain events in your history providing synergy bonuses to skill checks and ordinaries as “victim classes”, but again they don’t really stand out as more than something that is a necessity that might as well have been core. And what could possibly follow that up? If you said advanced classes, you’d be right!

Arcanist: The Occultist advanced class tweaked to focus specifically on the undead.

Clairvoyant: This advanced class is a psionics-user that has focused on sight-related powers. In addition to gaining psionics, she gains a bonus to Sense Motive and Spot checks equal to her Clairvoyant level as well as a bonus to seeing through illusions. It’s a solid class for those who want have a character who focuses on mindsight.

Exorcist: An Acolyte with the serial numbers filed off.

Geomancer: A psionicist focusing on chi-related psionic powers. Geomancers also has a bonus (again equal to his levels in Geomancer, like the Clairvoyant’s skills) to Craft (Structural) and Navigate checks and a bonus to saves against conjuration. It’s…a bit more on the average side. I’m not sure why, but this class just doesn’t stick out at me as much as the Clairvoyant did.

Ghost Hunter: Go watch the movie Ghostbusters. That’s pretty much everything about this class.

Medium: The Medium is the most unique psion class in this book. The Medium can craft power-storing crystal balls, summon and bind ghosts to aid her, and has contacts on the Ethereal Plane. This one gets the thumb’s up for me for being quite unique in its presentation and useful in any campaign involving the undead.

Parapsychologist: The Field Scientist advanced class with the serial numbers filed off.

Skeptic: This is…a weird advanced class. These Skeptics are so skeptical that they gain spell and psionic resistance and damage reduction against supernatural creatures. This is an interesting idea, but it could have had better fluff backing it up. If I use the class, I’d be tempted to rename it the ‘Magic Ward’ or something.

All that’s left in this chapter is some rules on pseudo-science type technology, so moving on…

Chapters 2 and 3

The first thing we get in the second chapter is an equipment guide. Anyone familiar with Ghostbusters will know that all the equipment here comes from said movie, but with the file numbers serialed off (for instance, the proton pack is called the electron pack in Blood and Spooks to avoid copyright assault). I personally would have liked some some more mystical items such as dreamcatchers for spirits or things like that, but that’s just me. Now, what makes this chapter really special is not this, but its set of new rules. For instance, there are a set of rules for contracts, employers, and business money in it, which I like in its flexibility and ability to be placed for other groups beyond ghost hunters. The one that really draws me in, though, are the mystical area rules presented. Rules for magical places (areas where any spell cast automatically gets a boost of some sort of metamagic) and interdimensional triangles (strange places where anything from unnatural fog to ghosts can appear) are presented…and obviously, I love them both and will refer to them for my own use. The psionics chapter, chapter 3, is mostly reflavoring of spells into psionic form or chi spells, so we’re just skipping that and moving right into chapter 4.

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 is our big deal-maker or deal-breaker for me…the Ghost Hunter’s Guide itself. The first thing you’ll notice is the grand return of the Ethereal Plane to d20 Modern, as well as another, completely new plane: the Ether-Containment Unit. This is essentially the big containment thing that the Ghostbusters movies have, just in planar form. The other big draw here is the ghost template changers. We all know the ghost template from the Monster Manual, right? Well, this book adds variants of the template for orbs, mists, vortexes, and shadows. All are unique ghosts that have their own ability changes, special qualities, and quirks that make them unique. There is also a new advanced class, the Spirit, that lets a ghost tap into its own unique powers even stronger, as well as gain psionic abilities. All in all, it’s a decent chapter, although I wouldn’t have minded more actual monsters as well.

Final Thoughts

Is this title worth the $14 its print version costs? Well…kinda. It’s a great book if you want to replicate Ghostbusters or just want to have a more spook-related game on your hands. There are problems despite my praise on it, however. One would be the advanced classes that skirt along those already made yet try to stand on their own two feet. It would have been better to make these more condensed by having them as alternative class features for said classes. Another would be to have added more full-fledged monsters like Urban Arcana‘s spirits rather than just have the ghost template alterations. All in all, I’ll give Blood and Spooks a decent grade. 7/10.

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Posted by on May 1, 2009 in RPG Reviews


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