What RPG would fit this one-shot idea?

Lackofname

Explorer
I had a fun idea for a one-shot but am not sure exactly what system would be best.

The base premise is a reverse horror game. All the PCs are ghosts haunting a site, and some living people have come into their place--either moved into a house, urban explorers, a movie crew doing a shoot, etc. From that, there's two approaches it could take:

EDIT: To Combat future confusions, I am not looking for a system for playing ghosts, but one that snowballs successes towards a climax. 'Everyone are ghosts' is just flavor.

Approach 1: The ghosts have a shared goal: scare or kill all the living people who just showed up.

Approach 2: Each PC has their own goal. Possess a host and live in their body, uncover/reveal their own murder, get the living people to destroy the evil keeping all the ghosts there, kill a specific type of person (or everyone), be set free, prevent another ghost from accomplishing their goal, etc.

Regardless of approach, the way the PCs achieve the goal is through scaring the living people. At first all they can do is little visual tricks. Then as the fear and tension rises in the living people, the ghosts have more options, can do more, which builds more fear. Until the climax where they go for their final move. The way I imagine this working is that each scare is a roll of a die, and they are stacking successes. After so many successes, they can do more (which I don't know, might add modifiers? Or more dice to the pool? Or...?) Then at the end they have enough to...do the final thing?

A twist to the "ghosts with different agendas" is that each character is collectively contributing to the pot. So a ghost that wants their murder revealed is still scaring people, which is helping the others move closer to their own goals. Not everyone can achieve what they want, since some goals are mutually exclusive, but it means that everyone is driving towards an eventual winner.

Are there any systems that could do the above?
 
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hawkeyefan

Legend
Maybe Wicked Ones? It doesn’t seem to be a perfect match, but it’s along the lines of what you’re describing. If you’re playing a one shot, you could likely adjust as needed without a lot of effort.

Wicked Ones
 

Lackofname

Explorer
Maybe Wicked Ones? It doesn’t seem to be a perfect match, but it’s along the lines of what you’re describing. If you’re playing a one shot, you could likely adjust as needed without a lot of effort.
I mean, it doesn't have to be a system that lets you play monsters. It's more the snowball mechanic of building towards hitting a critical mass.

For instance, while I've never played it, I understand the Leverage game system works by players are doing their things for the end goal of making an NPC fail a single very important die roll. I think it works by shrinking the NPC's dice pool, or the size of their dice, etc. Which would make sense if it was a single target. Or a single die-roll to determine the outcome. But I don't think that works for differing goals, since some are mutually exclusive and others aren't, and determining who ultimately gets what they want isn't as clear.

DREAD is another example. It uses a JENGA tower as its sole mechanic. Each player pulls from the Jenga block in order to succeed at a task. When the tower falls, the PC just dies. The trouble with this is that the Tower Falling would be the win condition, and you can't let people who want the tower to fall over to be the ones pulling the blocks out, they'll just intentionally knock it over. Also it serves the same problem of "how do you handle multiple goals"? In Dread, you keep going after a PC dies, but here you generally want there to be one ending; a goal to be met early doesn't make as much sense.
 


hawkeyefan

Legend
I mean, it doesn't have to be a system that lets you play monsters. It's more the snowball mechanic of building towards hitting a critical mass.

Gotcha. There are mechanics in the system that Wicked Ones uses that function along that ratcheting tension….clocks and stress use and the like….but I don’t know if it would be quite a perfect fit.

The PCs as monsters angle was certainly a big part of my suggestion, but not the only thing.
 

aramis erak

Legend
If the monsters element were the primary thing, there are a bunch of games that would work.

Ghosts specifically? harder ask. Wraith (either version, oWoD or nWoD) is specifically about those post death pre-eternal destination folk. It's a fairly traditional simulation game, tho'.

Angel can do it (still available in PDF from Eden Studios on DTRPG). Again, still fairly traditional simultation.

Fate Core or Cortex Prime can do it fairly easily, but really, those are construction kits.

Monsters! Monsters! (Tunnels and Trolls system alt corebook) is all about the monsters, but only the corporeal ones.
 

Lackofname

Explorer
If the monsters element were the primary thing, there are a bunch of games that would work.
See my first reply. The fact the PCs are monsters is merely the reflavoring of the system.

Fate is a poor choice for this. Creating Advantages to put aspects on the scene/the targets would work great for scares/the overall success. However, PCs generate fate points by having their aspects compelled, which makes their situation more complicated. I can't see that working in the narrative here.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
You don't need an RPG for this. You need a subsystem:
  • PCs earn progress points by achieving their goals, or parts of their goals.
  • Progress points can be earned in static or random (dice) amounts.
  • PCs pool their progress points until they reach a GM-determined amount, which triggers the final...showdown?
  • For tension, give the opposition a progress pool too (where the progress points accumulate).
Or you could just grant another character level to each PC with a "success," and use the sum of the character levels as your progress pool.
 

Lackofname

Explorer
You don't need an RPG for this. You need a subsystem:
  • PCs earn progress points by achieving their goals, or parts of their goals.
  • Progress points can be earned in static or random (dice) amounts.
  • PCs pool their progress points until they reach a GM-determined amount, which triggers the final...showdown?
  • For tension, give the opposition a progress pool too (where the progress points accumulate).
Or you could just grant another character level to each PC with a "success," and use the sum of the character levels as your pro
That sounds like an RPG to me.

But whatever you want to call it, I don't have the head for writing the mechanics myself. I don't know what works, what's balanced, what numbers to use. So I'm open to anything that does the above.
 
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hopeless

Adventurer
Wraith the Oblivion I think it was called a White Wolf Publishing game using the same system as Vampire the Masquerade and the others they do.
That was my first reaction to the opening premise.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I've heard really good things about Ghosts of Albion, and I own it, but I've only breezed through it. It's a Cinematic Unisystem, and it has a bunch of cool widgets for running ghost PCs. The PDf is on sale on DTRPG for 10 bucks too, so there's that.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I've heard really good things about Ghosts of Albion, and I own it, but I've only breezed through it. It's a Cinematic Unisystem, and it has a bunch of cool widgets for running ghost PCs. The PDf is on sale on DTRPG for 10 bucks too, so there's that.
It lacks the needed bits for doing Ghosts as PCs; Angel is 99.9% compatible, but covers PC "monsters."
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
That sounds like an RPG to me.

But whatever you want to call it, I don't have the head for writing the mechanics myself. I don't know what works, what's balanced, what numbers to use. So I'm open to anything that does the above.
It's from an RPG, but you can use the four rules I mentioned (or three and a suggestion) without a specific RPG, and without writing any "mechanics." It would work like this:

Three PCs have three goals: possess a person to write a message, scare someone away, and lead the living to the secret room (where the final problem lies) - all determined by GM or PC. You would also want some landmarks to subdivide the goals (for example, scaring someone away requires three successes, because that NPC is able to regain his courage twice). When a PC achieves a landmark, like scaring someone's pants off (figuratively), the PC rolls a d8 and adds it to the total amount achieved by all PCs (the progress pool). If 3 PCs need 3 landmark successes each, you could set the maximum progress (the goal amount) at 36 (3 x 3 x half a d8), and let PCs see the total as they progress. (I would prefer, for tracking progress, to stack little monster dolls until they are able to " see" out the top of a bowl, but to each his own). After 36 progress, the door (revealed by the secret room goal) opens, and PCs get to use all their newfound ghost powers to fight the demon behind it all!
 

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