Building a role-playing game where the PCs are slasher movie victims seems like a loosing cause. Very rarely do you tell players at the beginning of an RPG that all but one or two of their characters will die. With Slasher Flick, Cynthia Celeste Miller and Spectrum Games cut through the challenge and created a simple and gory RPG system that addresses obvious problems.
Slasher Flicks starts off with an introduction to the Slasher Film genre for the uninitiated. It’s a historic journey into the bloody killer movies that made the genre what it is complete with Miller’s personal commentary on each film. After a the intro, it moves into the chunks of the system.
The system starts off with a unique dice rolling system. I certainly have not come across it in my gaming years. Instead of trying to get a unique number by adding stats and rolls, every player instead rolls 4 dice. You score a success for every 2 dice that match. Stats are kept simple, with only 4 trait stats that are either poor, good or normal. This determines which four of what die you will roll. Players also choose qualities that add an extra dice to the roll. The matching system has a higher rate of failure that the traditional meet this benchmark system, which works very well in a horror movie where the players play average folk (or below average) in a dire situation.
Throughout the game, players play both their primary character and secondary characters. This avoids the big problem of a character dying too soon and then watching the rest of the game. Players want to try to avoid death from their primary characters by earning Survival points by avoiding calamitous situations. Even if you are doing bad on the survival end of things, playing up on Genre Tropes can earn you genre points that can alter rolls, create situations or perform special abilities.
The centerpiece of the system is its Kill Scenes, which put the players in situations that they have to describe through storytelling and creativity as they are faced with the killer.
For the Players
If you love the horror genre, this will be a great evening of fun. The system finely weaves climatic story telling with player input.
For the Director
Not having to detail a big bad with tons of numerical stats allows the director to focus more on creating a solid movie outline for the players. It was quite a relief. Instead the killer is made up of character background blocks called components.
The Iron Word
Slash Flick is perfect for a popcorn and pretzels night of gaming. The die rolling system fits the horror genre like a glove and the simplistic stats system makes for more emphasis on role-playing instead of roll playing. It handles keeping all players in the game the best it can for a genre RPG, but it still takes the right type of attitude from the players. Especially if they know that, regardless, at least three quarters through only half the players will still be playing the game.