Here's another post partially inspired by a drawing by Bryan Baugh. This one includes tables for randomly generating an outline for a "ghostbusting" adventure plot, as well as a starting occupation that's equally useful in settings where the paranormal is reality or fantasy.
The player characters become involved with the events because they are either connected to the victim of the haunting, or because they are paranormal investigators/ghostbusters.
THE HAUNTING OF MARY-ANNE SANDERS
For weeks, Mary-Anne felt uneasy in her own home. First, she thought small things were being moved ever so slightly. Then, she kept feeling like someone else present, watching her, even though she knew she was alone. Soon after that, she started seeing movement out of the corner of her eye, but when she turned, no one was there. Two nights ago, she was laying in her bed when something swept through the room and she felt cold hands pawing at her, tearing open her nightgown. Then, invisible iron talons locked around her and she was flung violently from the bed. As she struggled to her feet, she saw an indistinct shape at the head of the bed... indistinct aside from glowing eyes and twitching claws. As it faded away, she began to scream...
OPTIONAL: HOW DO THE PLAYER CHARACTERS GET INVOLVED?
1-2. Mary-Anne calls them for help.
3-4. A mutual friend reaches out to one of the player characters.
5. One of the player characters hears about what's happening to her, and it sounds like a case that's worth investigating.
6. A clue uncovered during another case leads the player characters to Mary-Anne.
WHO IS MARY-ANNE TO THE PLAYER CHARACTERS? (Roll 1d6)
1-2. An old friend or lover to one or more of them, but has been out of touch for years.
3. A one-time associate of a rival or enemy, but she has parted ways with that nefarious figure.
4-5. There is no prior connection.
6. She is (or formerly was) in the same line of work as one or more of the player characters, but is known to them by reputation only. (Roll 1d6: 1-2. Favorable reputation, 3-4. Negative reputation, 5-6. Dangerous reputation.)
WHAT DOES MARY-ANNE DO FOR A LIVING? (Roll 1d6)
1. Widow raising 1d3 children, living off proceeds of a tech company sold years ago.
2. Police detective.
3. Call girl.
4. School teacher.
5. Paranormal Investigator.
6. Social Worker.
WHO IS HAUNTING MARY-ANNE? (Roll 1d6)
1. The ghost of an ex-lover.
2. The ghost of a stalker.
3. The ghost of a former occupant of the home.
4. A spirit bound to a knickknack she recently bought at a thrift shop.
5. An evil spirit summoned by local cultists who want revenge on Mary-Anne. Roll on WHAT IS MARY-ANNE'S SECRET? to learn why.
6. It's a hoax. An 1-3 ex-lover (1-3) rival (4-6); is trying to embarrass her (1-2) drive her insane (3-4) discredit her (5-6). Roll on the table again, ignoring and rerolling results of 5 and 6 (or use a d4).
Roll on the table again. A few days after the hoax is revealed, Mary-Anne's terror begins again. There had been a real haunting that had gone unnoticed due to the hoaxter, and the party still has a ghost to put to rest. If 6 is rolled again, Mary-Anne is now haunting herself; the previous experience drove her insane.
HOW IS THE HAUNTING STOPPED? (Roll 1d6)
1-2. Discovering the ghost's identity and convincing it to move onto the next plane, possibly burying its body in a proper grave.
3-4. Destroying or binding the ghost through usual Ghostbusting methods.
5. Discovering the ghost's identity and bringing a living relative and mutual acquaintance of the ghost and Mary-Anne to speak to it and tell it all is forgiven. Roll on WHAT DOES MARY-ANNE DO FOR A LIVING? to see who this person is.
6. Discovering Mary-Anne's dark secret and revealing it to the public (or, at the very least law enforcement). Roll on WHAT IS MARY-ANNE'S DARK SECRET? Ignore and re-roll results of 6; the result is actually the ghost's dark secret, and it wants Mary-Anne to reveal it, so those it hurt in life can have justice. Mary-Anne has been too frightened to tell anyone what she discovered shortly before the ghost died.
WHAT IS MARY-ANNE'S DARK SECRET? (Roll 1d6)
1. She killed the ghost by accident and covered it up.
2. She's a serial killer.
3. She's a "talent scout" for a slave sex ring.
4. She's the leader of a cult that practices human sacrifice.
5. She's a retired assassin.
6. She doesn't have any serious dark secret; she is the victim she appears to be.
NEW STARTING OCCUPATION
(for OGL Modern and other d20 System Games)
The rest of the text in this post after is released under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms.
Prerequisite: Age 16+, Charisma 12+
Skills: Choose three of the following skills as permanent class skills. If a skill the character selects is already a class skill, he or she receives a +1 competence bonus on checks using that skill. Craft (electronics), Gather Information, Knowledge (arcane lore, behavorial science, history, physical sciences, technology, theology and philosophy), Research, Sense Motive, Search, or Spot.
Bonus Feats: Choose one of the following feats to gain as a bonus feat. All prerequisites must be met before the feat can be selected. Alertness, Ectoplasmic Dominator, Ghost Spotter, Ghost Whisperer.
Wealth Bonus: +1