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Old 10-15-2019, 04:56 PM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Horror/Spirits/Urban Fantasy] Ouija boards in GURPS games

The ouija board, also called a spirit board or talking board, has been pretty common in occultism since the 19th century, to the point that it has a short entry in GURPS Horror for 4e (on p47), probably due to it's use in a number of horror films, books, and TV series (and people who do believe in spooks, many of whom generally recommend avoiding these things entirely, as they 'could invite anything in').

I found myself wondering if anyone has had characters using them in their games; not necessarily the PCs, either: some horror films (and some alleged possession cases in RL) start with a character getting possessed by something that was attracted to a ouija board, and you could potentially do a game where the PCs are spirits who were drawn to a group of teenagers playing with a spirit board in an abandoned house... along with Something Else.

Also sort of wondering if anyone has done house rules for spirit boards.
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Old 10-16-2019, 07:23 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Horror/Spirits/Urban Fantasy] Ouija boards in GURPS games

I've had house rules for similar objects. I forget the details off hand but I recall it being a simple Roll vs 6 with modifiers based on Advantages/Disadvantages to pick up a spirit. Arriving spirit rolls Reaction and the fun begins.
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Horror/Spirits/Urban Fantasy] Ouija boards in GURPS games

I've used non-Ouija spirit boards as a focus in a RPG but mechanically it was just a +1 to skill tool.

I like the concept, since the possession is required for the premise to work perhaps you shouldn't deal with the possession mechanically. You could say the "enchanted" Ouija Board allows the possession without a roll.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Horror/Spirits/Urban Fantasy] Ouija boards in GURPS games

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Also sort of wondering if anyone has done house rules for spirit boards.
I treat ouija boards as any other divination or spirit medium tool as appropriate in the genre I'm running.
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Old 10-16-2019, 02:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Horror/Spirits/Urban Fantasy] Ouija boards in GURPS games

In order for spirit boards to work ghosts have to be able to control the motions of the board or the players. The basic assumption is that spirits have at least a limited ability to move real world objects but it could also be done with limited possession.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Horror/Spirits/Urban Fantasy] Ouija boards in GURPS games

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In order for spirit boards to work ghosts have to be able to control the motions of the board or the players. The basic assumption is that spirits have at least a limited ability to move real world objects but it could also be done with limited possession.
My usual assumption is limited possession requiring some form of consent (along with other limitations), but a couple of plot ideas I had but haven't used yet involved poltergeists (the spirit spells something like DIE or GET OUT, and then throws the planchette hard enough to embed it in something... or someone; doesn't count as a spoiler, because the thought in my head is that this is a pre-game incident being described to the PCs by a witness).
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Old 10-16-2019, 07:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Horror/Spirits/Urban Fantasy] Ouija boards in GURPS games

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In order for spirit boards to work ghosts have to be able to control the motions of the board or the players. The basic assumption is that spirits have at least a limited ability to move real world objects but it could also be done with limited possession.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
My usual assumption is limited possession requiring some form of consent (along with other limitations),
Both these sound like Channeling gets to the same place.
Most expectations of a Seance in fact would be represented by Channeling.
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Horror/Spirits/Urban Fantasy] Ouija boards in GURPS games

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My usual assumption is limited possession requiring some form of consent
Note that it's very much in the spirit of horror genre to make the concept of 'consent' very tricky and much easier to grant than to rescind.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Horror/Spirits/Urban Fantasy] Ouija boards in GURPS games

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I remember there was one interesting experiment about these boards. The task was to prove these spirits real or just a figment of the imagination as mental energy. The result showed that it is possible to make even a spirit that does not exist, fully think through his personality and life, and he will exist.
Sounds like that has shades of the Tulpa about it of course, from what David-Neel had to say about her Tulpa, the next problem is getting rid of it afterwards...

Certainly in any self respecting horror game you must be barking mad to get a Ouija board out. "The thing that wouldn't leave" is definitely your theme one way or another.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Horror/Spirits/Urban Fantasy] Ouija boards in GURPS games

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Both these sound like Channeling gets to the same place.
Most expectations of a Seance in fact would be represented by Channeling.
Yeah, but Channeling is an advantage that someone playing with the ouija board would need to have, and I'm working on the assumption that this is something that a spirit/demon/whatever noticing them would be doing. (EDIT: I could sort of see a spirit having 'Affliction: Channeling,' but it would be pretty weird, and Possession makes more sense, IMHO.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
Note that it's very much in the spirit of horror genre to make the concept of 'consent' very tricky and much easier to grant than to rescind.
Oh, yes, very much so. My usual assumption is that anyone playing with a ouija board is offering an open invitation to whatever is out there, even if they don't believe in spooks. Playing with things like that in a Horror game is dangerous, and it's not that much safer in many other genres related to Fantasy or Urban Fantasy.
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