The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=41636.
Dead Teenager RPG is one of those beer and pretzels games that flirts with being something more. This game is based on the horror and slasher films that kept many people reading this review up late at night, because at least one of those films struck a cord, one of those films eviscerated you until it found that one thing that scares you most, and put it up on the screen for the entire world to see. Dead Teenager allows you to recreate those films at the gaming table.
DTRPG is a storytelling game, things like loot and saving the kingdom are really not part of this game, trying to survive the game and having fun however, are. This game involves the use of two decks of cards rather than dice. I prefer dice, but I see the logic in using something common like a few decks of cards. For gamers who are incarcerated, this is actually a big deal as many prison systems will not allow dice, but will allow playing cards. Might not sound like a big deal but for someone who is behind bars it is huge. The other advantage is that you can gather a group of non-gaming friends around a table at most any gathering, ask them to grab a couple of decks of cards, open the rule book, and get to playing pretty quickly.
The layout and art work in this book is top-shelf; the pages have a black background with a red blood splattered pattern on it. Most of the drawings and pictures are creepy, really creepy; each and every one fits with the theme of the book and they really add to the immersion into the horrible world that the gamers are stepping into. The title page headings are in a dripping blood font, and all of the charts are easy to read. The writing is on point while still remain casual and informative.
One thing I found interesting about this game was the self-regulating rating system the creators added into the mechanics. Well saying they are part of the mechanics is kind of flawed, but they were included and this is how they work: as a group you look over the “ratings” chart to determine what elements you do or do not want to have in your game, the ratings go from G to NC-17 just like the standard movie rating system. You don’t have to follow that chart to the letter, but it gives everyone a good idea of what the ratings mean and how much sex, drugs, and rock and roll each game will have. Any player can lower the rating towards G at any time during the game if they are uncomfortable with what is happening in the game, the only way a game may be upgraded say from R to NC-17 is by a unanimous consent from all of the players. I know some readers are saying that is a bunch of political correctness bull crap, well I would argue that games are designed to be fun and while RPGs do allow people to try things in games they wouldn’t ever in the real world, they should always be fun. This rating system lets everyone involved know what to expect and allows people to adjust the level so they can have fun. I don’t think it is a bad thing.