From Welcome to Lovecraft
We use a modified version of the RPG "Slasher Flick", which is designed for this very type of game on a smaller scale, and have made adjustments to apply it to a MU* setting. The first thing Slasher Flick does that lends itself well to horror gaming is it breaks characters into different types to allow for the possibility of a body count without making players have to start over again and again. The characters you make for yourself here are Primary characters, what we've termed Leading Roles. They start with the most 'points' and are the focus of the game. You may play more than one Leading Role so long as they are not connected in any way.
Secondary characters, or what we call Supporting Roles, are playable NPCs meant to fill in all the side characters and extras in your stories. You can make up to three Supporting Roles directly tied to your character that you may emit yourself or let friends play as you like. They can be older or younger siblings, parents, other kids at school who follow your character's lead, and so on. They get less 'points' and are intended to be buffers for your character, taking some of the risks you wouldn't. They can also benefit your character in several ways we'll explain later. Be warned that they can be easily killed if you aren't careful, and Directors running scenes are under no obligation to go easy on them.
In addition to these player-created/controlled Supporting Roles, we have pre-generated a number of Supporting Roles that anyone can use to add color and depth to their scenes and collected them in what we call Central Casting. Maybe a story you're involved in requires a computer hacker, and no one has made one as a Leading Role so far, or there is one but they aren't on at the times you need them. Not to worry! Central Casting has at least one, and you can use them in your story as needed. This system allows Directors and players to run pretty much any kind of story they like without running into problems when none of the PCs are good at a thing. Got a bunch of nerdy, brainy PCs going into danger? Have them bring along a few bruisers from Central Casting that owe them for doing their homework. Central Casting characters are available to the game at large and not tied directly to a specific PC. If they die, staff just makes a new one. Each Leading Role can bring one Supporting Role from Central Casting along per scene, regardless of whether or not they have their own Supporting Roles dedicated to them.
Many Central Casting characters have special abilities or connections that can come in handy, so be sure to check them out.
We also encourage players to help them game by adding Supporting Roles to Central Casting. Each time you do and it gets approved, your Leading Role PC gets a Genre Point added to their sheet. This will be covered in detail later.
Antagonists, the villains of the story, are called Killers in Slasher Flick, but we refer to them as Monsters because they aren't always necessarily killing machines here. Monsters must be staff created or staff approved before they can be used in game, and this is because they don't get stats in a traditional sense. Monsters generally succeed at whatever they do unless the player characters succeed at Stat Checks. Monsters are also nearly impossible to kill outright. They all have weaknesses that can be learned IC and used against them, often to eventually defeat them, but most encounters with Monsters will be about survival above all else. Whenever a Monster is directly encountered by PCs, it's called a Kill Scene because the PCs (and any Supporting Roles with them) can die. Kill Scenes generally only end in one of two ways: you get away or you die. Once a Monster's weakness is discovered, they may be defeated as an additional option.
Monsters CAN be hurt, perhaps even killed by damage from combat, but it takes a lot and doesn't happen very often. Attempting to attack and kill a Monster outright rarely ends well. You've been warned. It's much more advisable that you find a weakness and exploit it.
All characters have four stats that are used to determine the outcomes of various situations throughout the course of play. They are Brawn, Finesse, Brains, and Spirit. Each is covered briefly below.
- Brawn: Strength, toughness, stamina, raw physical power.
- Finesse: Agility, coordination, reflexes, balance and quickness.
- Brains: Perception, education, awareness, common sense and wisdom.
- Spirit: Charisma, determination, willpower, leadership and luck.
These four stats are rated Poor, Average, or Good. That rating determines the type of dice you roll when making a Stat Check.
You are not rolling to hit a number or pass a target - you're trying to roll pairs, or what Slasher Flick calls Matches. If you manage to get a Match on four dice - say two 5s - then you are successful in your Check. A Stat Check in a stat rated Poor gets rolled with d10 dice. Normal is rolled with d8. Good is rolled with d6. So your rating increases the odds of rolling Matches by making the numbers you can potentially roll fewer. We do not deal with Slasher Flick's use of Toppers and rules regarding 1s for ease of play.
Stat Checks are often modified by other factors. At character creation, players are allowed to choose Qualities to go with their stats. These are treated like specialties, specific things your character excels at. Something like 'Brawler' might be a Quality for Brawn, while 'Eye for Detail' might be used for Brains. If your Stat Check involves one of your Qualities, you add an extra dice (max one per roll). Every character must have one negative Quality, and these subtract a dice if they come into play.
The Director of your scene may decide that a thing you're doing is easier or harder than average, granting or subtracting another dice to your roll.
Other characters can help you out on some Stat Checks, granting an extra dice per helping hand up to 2 (three is a crowd!). If the Stat Check involves a Quality of theirs, that can also grant an extra dice.
After modifiers (if any) are applied, the roll is made and the result determined. Rolling Matches (pairs) means you succeed. Three or more of the same Matches - called Matched Sets (like three 5s) - means you succeed exceptionally, as does multiple Matches (like two 3s and two 6s). Rolling no Matches means you fail. If trying to injure a Monster, a success deals them 1 damage token (Monsters can take LOTS of damage, so don't celebrate yet). On an Exceptional success, they take 2.
Most Stat Checks will have nothing to do with Monsters, and are simply used to determine how well your characters does a task. If your character is trying to do something to another character, it's called a Resisted Stat Check. If your characters are even in stats, it's a simple succeed/fail roll for the person attempting to act on another. If they have a better rating, they get a bonus dice per level higher (so a person with Good Brawn gets +2 dice against someone with Poor Brawn). If they have a lower rating, they lose dice accordingly. Once modifiers are applied (and Qualities, helping hands, etc. can be used if applicable) the roll is made and the outcome determined. If it's a case of one character attacking another, they either win the fight (succeed) or lose the fight (fail). We don't do damage and rounds and such. It's a win/lose system.
Any time a character encounters something really scary or shocking they must make what's called a Freak-Out Check. This is a simple Stat Check involving Spirit. If they succeed, they manage to keep it together. If they fail, they freak out, and their immediate action is determined by the Director. It's usually not helpful, but it cannot kill the character, and in a Kill Scene it doesn't cost them Survival points for failing.
The moment a Monster appears in a scene, it becomes a Kill Scene and the rules change a bit. A character either escapes alive from a Kill Scene by accruing 8 or more Survival points, or they die by going into the negatives in Survival points. Leading Roles always start a Kill Scene with 1 Survival point. Supporting Roles start with 0. The Director decides whether the Monster or players go first based on the situation.
Kill Scenes go by round, with the Monster and players all taking an action. These actions will award or remove Survival points based on the results of Stat Checks.
Let's say that the Monster is a big guy in a hockey mask and carries a machete. He intends to swing that machete at your character. You intend to dive out of the way. Your make a Finesse Stat Check, and are awarded a Survival point for every Match you get. If you roll two Matches (two 2s and two 5s), you get 2 Survival points, for example. If you roll three or more of the same number, a Matched Set, you get 1 Survival point per Matched dice, so three 3s gets you 3 Survival points. A failure on a Stat Check removes 1d3 Survival points. If this puts you into the negatives, the character dies. (Probably. See Healing below.)
Continuing the example with our hockey-masked machete murderer, if you gain Survival points you obviously dodged his attack and start to escape him. If you fail the Stat Check, he hits you, but you don't necessarily die unless he puts you in negative Survival points. The scene continues on until you accrue 8 or more Survival points from evading him and escape, or you go into the negatives and die.
After the Stat Check each round, you and the Director RP out that round's results. Therefore Kill Scenes go Declaring Actions --> Stat Check(s) --> Pose the results, then start again for the next round. Remember that your Secondary characters - Supporting Roles - get actions and Stat Checks, too. Kill Scenes with more than one character end for each character individually most of the time, either with their death or escape. Kill Scenes continue until all the characters involved reach a resolution, or the Monster is defeated.
One advantage Leading Roles have is that they automatically ignore their first Survival point loss - ie., they never die on the first hit or failure. Supporting Roles do not get this benefit.
Characters that are injured (ie., lose Survival points) almost always end up being more superficially injured than first thought - sure, there was a lot of blood, but it was just a flesh wound! They typically recover in a few days.
During a Kill Scene characters can aid each other (ie., help them recover lost Survival points) if (a) the rescuer is not being attacked this round and (b) the victim isn't, either. The rescuer will not gain or lose Survival points regardless of success or failure, but a successful Stat Check (Brains) by the rescuer will restore one (1) lost Survival point for the victim just by coming to their aid.
If the rescuer has any medical-related Qualities in Brains, they can restore up to two (2) lost Survival points on a successful Stat Check. If the medically-inclined rescuer has first aid gear or other medical equipment, they restore an ADDITIONAL one (1) lost Survival point per Match, or per Matched dice in the case of Matched Sets (three or more identical Matches).
At no point can the restored Survival points exceed the total lost in the scene.
A 'dead' character (in the negatives) can be stabilized by a medically-inclined character with medical gear on hand, but it requires healing until all negative points are restored and the character is returned to 0. Furthermore, the saved character is unconscious and must be carried, giving a -2 modifier to the Stat Checks of the person doing the carrying (or -1 if two characters share the load). If the Kill Scene ends before the 'dead' character is stabilized, they die. Characters saved from death require extensive recovery time from severe injuries.
The last element of the Slasher Flick system is Genre points. These are awarded to players when they do something suitably 'in genre', like go into the basement, or something else remarkably dumb or clever. Supporting Roles under your control that do such things earn you, the player, Genre points you can use on your Leading Role (or on a Supporting Role, if you like!), so it need not be your Leading Role that always does the cliche thing in a bad situation. You can use Genre points to re-roll a Stat Check (Try It Again - 3GP), lower a Survival point loss by one once per character per Kill Scene (Temporary Reprieve - 3GP), make a lucky find or other small alteration to a scene (Just What I Needed - 3GP), bring in another character not currently in your Kill Scene for backup (What Are YOU Doing Here - 4GP), or push a Survival point loss onto a Supporting Role in your stead (Wrong Character - 4GP). You must come up with a vaguely plausible reason for some of these at the Director's discretion.