Hey, I’ve been playing around with the system a bit, and there’s something odd I encountered in my very first game. I understood conceptually that Load 0 items meant a character would reliably have them on hand, but I hadn’t really paid it much heed until all of a sudden I had brought in a few ghosts to mess with my players, and they all whipped out their Spiritbane charms like it was nothing. It just felt a little less impactful if everyone is always going to have a Spiritbane charm.
Am I doing something incorrectly here? If not, have you all felt this in your games? How have you handled it?
Load 0 means that they’re inconspicuous or not noteworthy to outside viewers, suggesting that spiritbane charms are commonplace, but given the fact that ghosts are still an issue, they don’t necessarily do much. I think of it like vampire stories where the vampires hate crosses, so it makes sense for the heroes to be wearing crucifix necklaces, but the necklace alone isn’t going to stop a determined vampire.
Spiritbane charms are one of the many things in the game that don’t have explicit mechanical properties, letting you figure them out at the table, based on the situation at hand.
Do they protect someone completely? Maybe they do against some ghosts, but not others?
Do they give an additional die to a resistance roll against possession?
Do they make the wearer more confident and able to shrug off terror of the supernatural (+1d to resist fear, or just let them resist like it was some kind of special armor)?
Do they change position or effect when attuning to fend off a ghost or battling one with a lightning hook?
These are a few possibilities, but you can figure your own out at the table. I like the idea that the answer changes based on the situation and the players’ goals/input.
Ghosts “prefer to avoid” a spiritbane charm. The book doesn’t say that they automatically repel every spirit no matter what.
The normal systems of action and consequences still apply. What’s the situation? Are the scoundrels suddenly set upon by an angry ghost? Sounds like a Risky position (at best) to fumble out your charm before the creature overwhelms you.
If you manage it, then what? The horrible spectre stops short, moaning and shrieking in frustration, forcing itself ever closer, testing the edge of your charm’s effect, building up its resolve to attack you anyway…
Thanks a bunch! Your suggestions are really useful. I’m still a novice GM, so all of this is really helpful.
I’m curious about which playbooks your crew has. Most everyone has a Spiritbane charm, except two: the Whisper and Leech.
The Whisper instead has a “Demonbane” charm, which implies that it is in some way stronger than the Spirtbane charm. Maybe the former is especially dangerous to ghost, while a real demon wouldn’t even flinch at the latter.
The Leech probably doesn’t have a charm since they can whip out a potion or gadget to do something similar. But in their case it will eat up some of their load to do this.
In my games, I’ve been letting a PC brandish a spiritbane charm and Command a ghost to stay back or go away, with limited effect. Players have also used spiritbane charms to provide the fictional justification for an “assist.” Any time one player is taking action while threatened by a ghost, another player might take 1 stress and give +1d by swinging the charm around to “cover” them.
I’ve also seen people use a spiritbane charm with Finesse for setup moves, based on distracting or irritating the ghost with it to create an opportunity.
When my player characters have busted out spiritbane (or demonbane) charms, I’ve given them improved position on confrontations with the supernatural. In practice, this has the effect of reducing harm without eliminating the danger altogether.