This work provides a good overview of ghost-hunting for pleasure or profit, presented in the main as if narrated by Jackson Green - a recurrent ghost-hunter NPC used by 12 to Midnight. He offers an interesting throwaway line that GMs who enjoy conspiracies as well as the supernatural might like to exploit: that the book is aimed at 'real' would-be ghost-hunters but dressed up as an RPG supplement to avoid the attentions of certain government agencies...
The first section deals with the 'tools of the trade' - all the equipment that the well-prepared ghost-hunter might wish to have along with him. There's a wide range of stuff, from the practical to exotic electronics, and the necessity of a container to carry it all in is not forgotten. The only flaw is that there's no price list for those groups who don't like the D20 Modern 'Resource' system, but as most of the items exist in the real world it shouldn't be too difficult to knock up a price list.
Next comes a good introduction to the art and craft of ghost-hunting... how to go about it, precautions to take and even a few tips on how to avoid getting arrested! Much of this is of equal value to player or GM, although some GMs may prefer that their players don't read the GM-specific bits. It's unlikely to cause too many problems if they do, however.
The next section looks at Ghosts, with details of the different sorts that may be encountered including their statistics in monster terms. Only a very knowledgeable ghost-hunter would have much of this information at his fingertips, so players might do well to avoid this section until they have at least met a few ghosts in game.
Next comes three adventure outlines. Unless you like to improvise, you may wish to develop them a bit further before use, although the main details you'd need are provided. While intended to be run in Pinebox, 12 to Midnight's campaign setting (a fictional Texas township), they'd transplant readily to any other location that you prefer.
The final part is a glossary of 'supernatural' terms, which is liberally provided with one-paragraph adventure seeds based on many of the terms mentioned. There's a lot of good stuff there, which can be sprinkled into any modern campaign where the supernatural happens, or used as extra adventures in a ghost-hunting oriented campaign if that's the way you've chosen to go. Naturally, you'll need to work out a lot of the details for yourself, but the starting points are there to get you thinking.
Presentation is excellent, although it does look as if someone was careless with his coffee cup! There are some photos - including supernatural events and the sort of pictures that ghost-hunters present as evidence of the existence of ghosts. Oh, and there are links to some real ghost-hunting websites for those looking for further realism to add to their game, or to research a few more ghost stories to present to their players.
If you intend to run a campaign in which the supernatural is even possible, let alone an actuality, this book is well worth reading (even if D20 Modern isn't your chosen game system). It could even provide a good basis for a bunch of ghost-hunting NPCs who pop up and pester characters doing something quite different in a contemporary setting... the thought of some turning up someplace where a bunch of spies are conducting espionage activities, for example, has possibilities...
Return to Green's Guide to Ghosts page.
Reviewed: 25 March 2005