Fate Pickup Game – Save the Ghostbusters

So this weekend I was the best man for my friend Eric’s wedding. At the rehearsal dinner, Sean Patrick Fannon was lamenting that he never gets to play (he always GMs) and that he has never played Fate. So I decided to run an ad hoc FAE game because I love improv games.

During dinner we debating genres and ended up with “The Ghostbusters are missing and everyone is an 80s hero who is stepping up to find them”. The roster ended up thusly:

  • Randy (me): GM
  • Eric: Swamp Thing (From the comic)
  • Sean: Jack Burton (Big Trouble in Little China)
  • Carinn: Velma (Scooby Doo)
  • Daryl: Ferris Bueller

The aspects for the PCs are listed at the end of the article.

The Game

Assembly Montage

The following is being written from memory several jam-packed days later. Noted only in case my players correct me.

“It has been ten years since the stuff that went down in Ghostbusters 2 happened. Ghostbusters has grown into a large and thriving business, with many shops around the world. They have a fleet of Ectos.”

“Recently the original Ghostbusters have gone missing and you are being asked to step up and help find them, as well as replace them as Ghostbusters.”

Each PC had an intro scene. Ferris was found on a college campus high-fiving everyone. He made sure to set up a tape recorder Rube Goldberg device so that he wasn’t caught missing classes.

Then Velma was found at the tail end of solving a murder case, where the big swamp monster wasn’t the murderer but was in fact Swamp Thing!

And lastly, Jack Burton was at a truck stop surrounded by lightning throwing villains who he defeated just as everyone else arrived.

Glowing Manhole in Time Square

The PCs are sent to the last known location of the Ghostbusters, Times Square. There is a manhole cover in the middle of the street that has the PKE meter going crazy.

So Ferris starts a montage where he redirects traffic with a lot of high fives. Jack Burton and Velma head straight to the manhole, while Swamp Thing catches a balloon for a little girl to show that he isn’t all monster.

Ferris gets a compel on his aspect It’s my lucky day and rides off with a bunch of hot girls. This causes the heartless NYC drivers to barrel straight to the group, forcing them to all make Quickly rolls to dodge traffic with the option to go into the now glowing sewer hole or get to the sidewalk. Both Jack Burton and Velma jump into the hole. Swamp Thing decides to Forcefully stop oncoming traffic. Swamp Thing fails the die roll but decides to succeed at a cost and gets plastered all over a double-decker bus forcing it to stop.


It turns out that the glowing sewer hole is a portal to Manhellton!

I have to note that I pulled Manhellton—the hell version of Manhattan—straight from an old proposed script for Ghostbusters 3.

Since Swamp Thing was the last to cross, I ran the next scene from his perspective. As he comes out there are devils everywhere and some demonic centaur cops have Jack Burton—who has been running his mouth—handcuffed to a pole. (For this, I slid the player a Fate point for compelling his aspect Befuddling Patter.

While Swamp Thing and Ferris work on talking the cops into letting Jack go, Velma tunes the PKE to follow the trail of the only other humans—the missing Ghostbusters and walks away.

I figured that there was going to be a fight scene with the devil cops but the players made a lot of Create Advantages and roleplayed things to the hilt, freeing Jack.

Mixing in some other 80s stuff

At this point, the A-Team van pulls up and the door slides open to reveal the Golden Girls. They are the human underground and tell the players where the Ghostbusters are, a large, well-guarded skyscraper covered in gargoyles.

To get to the top floor the PCs need to talk a drunk helicopter pilot into taking them there. As they convince him to help they discover that the helicopter is Air Wolf!

Ziggurat on top of the skyscraper

Can I mention again that it was late at night and I was tired?

The PCs are dropped off at a penthouse that has an infinity pool. As the players are getting the lay of the land one of them asks “I wonder who is in charge around here…”, where I promptly say, “Charles is in Charge” and he comes walking out onto the patio.

At this point, Ferris and Charles get into an alpha dog argument. The others try to get into the penthouse but they are blocked by a hulked-out devilish Buddy.

Velma sneaks past Buddy while Ferris creates advantages and Jack uses the proton pack to blast him. With everything seemingly under control, Swamp Thing works his way through the pool’s filter and into the kitchen via the sink. Looking around the inside Swampy finds plans to use the Ghostbusters proton packs to blow a hole from hell into our world. This gave the group the aspect We know their plans with a free invoke.

Soon Charles is taken out and Buddy is thrown from the roof by Jack Burton, who himself falls but arrests his fall by catching a gargoyle. (This was a success at a cost moment.)

Velma and Swamp Thing are on the roof with the ziggurat and find that the Ghostbusters are unconscious next to the proton packs that are going to blow up. Velma unties them while Swamp Thing uses his aspect Moist to cause the bomb to fail.

It still exploded a little bit, because that is a thing that happens.

Everyone had a blast

By the end of the game, I had converted Sean and Carinn into Fate fans. I enjoyed running it!

The PCs

Ferris Bueller

  • Sauve Manipulator
  • Kind of a Greedy Douche
  • The World is my Oyster
  • It’s my Lucky Day


  • Clever and Observant Young Detective
  • Accident Prone
  • Piercing Specs
  • Easily Ignored
  • Skeptical

Jack Burton

  • Overconfident Trucker who Finds Trouble
  • Benevolently Chauvinistic
  • It’s All in the Reflexes
  • Befuddling Patter
  • I Can Take It

Swamp Thing

  • Defender of the Natural Order
  • Inhuman Marsh-Mellow Man
  • Supernatural Senses
  • Spinach Body
  • Moist


I love to hear what folks think. Send me a message on Twitter at @amazingrando

Also, Sean mentions the game on his The Big Irish Vlog. He starts talking about it in full at the 5:30 mark.

Scroll to Top