Posted on November 30, 2009 by spikexan
Available at RPGNow.com
Okay, my last few reviews have been pushing the horror envelope rather well. I’m here to today to say that this puppy fits to horror like hockey masks and FOX News. What we have today is a mini-sourcebook for Slasher Flick. This system’s game focuses on slasher horror and its conventions, some of which are archetypical characters, insanely powered mad men (and sometimes women), and mayhem. This mini-sourcebook’s name comes from the special features bundled into DVDs Yep, you’ll require Slasher Flick before you pick this game up because there is precious little to mine from it that isn’t directly useful to the core material. Should you happen upon this first though I think you’ll find that you will want to pick up the source material.
This kind of game is the stuff of pick-up games, convention games, and the fabled one-shot. It’s not to say this won’t work for the long term; however, the genre may have a thing or two to say about that.
The layout plays to its material. Each page appears to be blood soaked and the fonts for pages, headers, and other eye-grabbers are written in a desperate scrawl, the kind you’d find in an asylum or crime scene.
One thing this PDF does that I appreciate is offer two options. The twenty-six page document also comes in a thirteen page form to save chainsawing some trees down (chainsaws have needs elsewhere).
Besides the artwork required in the layout, there is no artwork in the book. I didn’t really notice the lack of it until I was rereading a few bits, so I guess thirteen pages without artwork isn’t a big deal.
The writing is laid out into five sections. We’ll look at each in brief.
Section One is a one-paragraph intro that explains the purpose of the document.
Section Two is a complete list of special abilities from the Slasher Flick rulebook and the Deleted Scenes sourcebook. I can’t speak to what else is in the latter’s material, so I don’t know how much this book negates a need for it. The authors’ idea is to combine all that material to make it easier for game masters. These special features have great names like “Scream Queen” and “Suck It Up.”
Section Three is a random character generator. Some people like these; some hate ‘em. I like control over my characters, so I appreciate a point build system; however, I always geeked out on some of my random creations in Marvel Super Heroes. There is a place for chance and I’d be amiss to not admit it. For this generator to work, players will still need the corebook.
Only a few steps are randomized. Positive and Negative Qualities are one area that chance claims (you get to veto Positive/Negative Qualities that cancel out each other).
Section Four has some additional advice for those running the game. Two subjects–corpse scenes and group templates–are covered. There is advice aplenty about how to handle corpse scenes (the scenes in flicks where soon-to-be-dead co-ed happens upon a barn full of the killer’s earlier works). This advice basically stems from the author jotting down notes from many horror movies so you don’t have to. It’s the same structure for group templates. This comes the concept that the same archetypes are in most horror movies. We have the creepy old guy, the slut, the virgin, and geek (who is wildly informed through his comic books/video games/RPGs on what is going on). The originality to this section’s information won’t blow your mind; nevertheless, it makes for a quick refresher for those who haven’t seen a good horror
movie in awhile.
Section Five turns out to be my favorite. Here we have three pre-made killers for your Slasher Flick game. These three could easily be used in a Delta Green or Hunters game as the authors did not put much game-specific information in their write-ups. These three killers look like old familiar friends, but have some excellent twists (and plot hooks) associated with them.
Pound for pound, this section proves to be the heaviest. Clayton Roth, the spirit of a plantation owner who was very, very bad, is probably the winner of the trio for sheer villainy.
Well, a brief sourcebook calls for a brief review. To clarify things, here are my scores for Special Features:
Layout: Four out of Five Dice (Blood splattered imagery fits perfectly)
Artwork: No artwork
Writing: Three out of Five Dice (good, clear writing . . . just not wowing)
Overall: Four out of Five Dice (I round up because I find myself wanting the corebook for further review)
I wish to thank Spectrum Games for this free reviewer’s copy.
Review by Todd Cash