This Script is Toast!

Okay, time for Chapter Numbah Four of 'How to Handle Complications,' the conclusion of the movie Ghostbusters. We've all been waiting for it and here it is. (Do you realize this is always improv for me? I don't plan these things ahead or go back and change them; as I type these words, I have little idea how this will turn out.)

What Complications have developed so far?

  1. Pete's Dis/Advantage: Failing Womanizer
  2. Ghosts Abound (right out of the 'ghostbusting' Genre Expectations)
  3. Start Your Own Business (based on Pete's Dis/Advantage: Slacker)
  4. Money Troubles (evolved from 'Start Your Own Business')
  5. Ray's Dis/Advantage: Exuberance (which quickly fuses with 'Money Troubles')
  6. Dana's Dis/Advantage: Louis Tully
  7. Zuul (based on Dana's Sine Qua Non: 'The Victim')
  8. The Janine/Egon Romance (a parody on Egon's Dis/Advantage: Stiff/Inhuman, it sets the stage for 'The Dana/Peter Romance' and yet is abandoned)
  9. The Dana/Peter Romance (based on both Dana's Dis/Advantage: Louis Tully and Pete's Dis/Advantage: Failing Womanizer joined)
  10. Let's Bust Some Heads, in a Spiritual Sense (also right out of the Genre Expectations and a one shot)
  11. Hotel Manager's Ire (based upon Pete's Dis/Advantage: Slacker and abandoned)
  12. Fame (evolved from 'Money Troubles' because of 'Bust Some Heads' and causes 'Ray's Exuberance' to be abandoned or demoted to personal Running Gag)
  13. Government Regulation (spawned by 'Fame' and quickly escalated by 'Pete's Slacker')
  14. PKE Surge (an escalation of 'Ghosts Abound' fueled by the Genre Expectations of climax)
  15. The Gatekeeper (fuses 'The Dana/Pete Romance' with 'Zuul' and 'Louis Tully')
Notice how the Complications are beginning to fuse together more than they're being generated? That's how the mid-point in the tension spiral is noted. Immediately prior to the climax, I'd expect as many of them as possible will fuse together (any remainder will be expected to be dealt with during the denouement). Right at this moment, we have only four left (the last ones).

And now we return you to the story in progress....

Scene Ten - Are You the Keymaster?

Pete arrives at the building and is treated to a vista of Louis' destructive transformation cycle; he proceeds to Dana's apartment and Sigourney treats everyone to a surprise transformation of her own. In personifying the 'Gatekeeper' Complication, she turns the tables on the 'Womanizer' Dis/Advantage.

In a 'meanwhile' split, Louis is brought to the firehouse and involves everyone else in the 'Gatekeeper' Complication (a little fame goes a long way towards attracting this stuff). One quick phone call gathers the cast and closes the Scene.

Cut Scene - Talk About Depressing!

Just to account for everyone, Ray and Winston get a chance to discuss the potential causes behind the 'Out of the Frying Pan...' Complication; quite fruitful and short, it goes from being a potential Scene (perhaps with a 'free repeater') to a cut Scene because everyone wants to see what happens with the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper.

Scene Eleven - Dropping a Bomb on the City

In a bit of a delaying tactic the gamemaster begins the Scene with the Keymaster, fooling the group into thinking it would be more of the 'Gatekeeper' Complication. What he quickly does is switch to 'Peck,' finally picking up on the 'Fame' Complication (turning the fame part into a Running Gag). By blowing up the firehouse, he turns the Complication of 'Peck' over to the Gatekeeper/Zuul/PKE Surge Complication.

That's right boys, only one Complication is left. Time for the climax.

Scene Twelve - Do Not Pass 'Go'

Actually, at the request of the players, they get a chance to regroup. Where? In Jail, this isn't a problem because 'being in jail' isn't the Complication, 'The End of the World' is. Harold gets a chance to spout some cool sounding pseudo-science (garnering much needed Complication Dice), they work out what's going to happen (as far as they can tell) and what they need.

This leads to a Scene with the Mayor (possible Complication with the establishment, but 'Peck' puts in his final 'Complicating' appearance). Everything is ready, now on to...

Scene Thirteen - All the Streams Cross

As this Scene opens, the gamemaster transforms all the combined Complications into a single extra-dimensional foe. Casting around for ideas to tie things off neatly, I imagine the gamemaster poses the 'choose the form' idea by having the players write down three possible forms and like a secret ballot he chooses one. What was a struggling Scene now turns into classic action and Egon (who's fault it all is) brings home the 'fault of technology' by suggesting crossing the streams (bringing the major Complication full circle and probably earning the Complication Dice necessary for this Dues Ex Machina to work).

That's what I love about the Complication Dice idea in a 'bound' Genre Expectation; you can use them to produce something like a surprise twist or ending.


To finish things off satisfactorily, the players use there Personae to go through a virtual list of all the parts they were fond of. Bill scores a few Keepers and some Gimmes which he uses to 'resurrect' Dana (and Louis). Dan uses a few to show Peck having an enormous amount of melted marshmallow dropped on him. And the game ends.


One of the most crucial things to realize is that Scattershot Scenes are not the same as the scenes of a movie. Sometimes a movie will use a number of small scenes in a row to deal with a single Complication; in Scattershot these are all considered one Scene.

I'd like to go into a few more of the things I've learned, but I wanna save something for tomorrow. (it's late; I gotta get some sleep.) I expect with all of that, I'll include my lists of 'What Can Be Done with Complications.' I'll see you then.

Fang Langford


Posted by: Fang Langford on Apr 25, 03 | 11:41 pm | Profile


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