Review: Night of the Slashers by Rafael Chandler
Rafael Chandler is one metal motherfucker. He's written some really awesome OSR material. I love Obscene Serpent Religion enough that I created my own in Beloch Shrike's game On A Red World Alone. He's also well-known for the Teratic Tome and Lusus Naturae, which may be my single favorite bestiary in the OSR. He's a death metal and gore type of dude, so I put on Cannibal Corpse's The Wretched Spawn while writing this review. I was playing it on vinyl because I'm a hipster fuck, but you can click the pic to listen to the album. Check out Severed Head Stoning (track 1) and Decency Defied (track 3) in particular, they're my favorites. Yhe image below is linked to the album.
Night of the Slashers is a compact supplement that gives rules for creating an 80s-style teenagers vs maniac showdown. In just a few pages it outlines how to create an Athlete, Loner, Prep, or Rebel, and of course how to create a Slasher. There's a handy die-drop table for generating items, traps, and encounters that the teens will find throughout the game, and rules for setting traps to catch the Slasher in gory Scooby Doo style.Night of the Slashers is a compact supplement that gives rules for creating an 80s-style teenagers vs maniac showdown. In just a few pages it outlines how to create an Athlete, Loner, Prep, or Rebel, and of course how to create a Slasher. There's a handy die-drop table for generating items, traps, and encounters that the teens will find throughout the game, and rules for setting traps to catch the Slasher in gory Scooby Doo style.
The teens (classes): Only 4 classes, but a pretty good cross-section of what one would find in a slasher flick. Roll 3d6 twelve times, keep the 3 highest and 3 lowest, and assign the highest and lowest according to class type, with the other 4 going in the stat of the player's choice. This rule works really well to make an archetypal teen that's good at a few things but otherwise dumb as a bag of flensed organs. Starting equipment is listed, so creation is about as quick and easy as possible, with only stat generation really being necessary.
The slasher: Also quick. In only 9 rolls of a d4, you'll have the slasher's backstory, stats, and weakness. You could even roll up a band of them if you wanted to go more The Hills Have Eyes than Friday the 13th. Obviously d4 tables are going to be limited, but will certainly provide enough variety for a single session, with the potential for more later. And this being the OSR, if you want to, go ahead and make as many additions to the table as you fuckin' feel like.
The traps: In just one page, Rafael lays out a system for players to set traps and determine if they work. They use Strength or Dex to build, so require a bit more from the Athlete and Rebel than other characters, and test the Slasher's Intelligence to determine success.
I could see myself using this for other things, so way to go, Rafael, it's pretty awesome.
The die-drop table: Simple to use, clear art, with a variety of results that mean you can place an item, encounter, or trap with equal ease, and get their stats as well with only the drop of two measly d4's. This is my favorite part of the whole shebang, and it's one of the better tables of its type that I've seen. It's certainly themed with the 80s and modern equipment, at least visually, but could certainly be used for medieval games or early modern ones such as mine with minimal effort on the Ref's part.
What do I think?This project is awesome. In its few pages it basically creates a whole system which could be played as a one-shot, over and over, or dropped into an existing campaign as well. I'm inspired to do so with my own game as a Halloween episode. I'm deciding whether to give my players alternate characters (not teens, as it wouldn't fit the flavor, but using the classes within) and linking them to the regular party Thulian Echoes style, or just dropping the players into it with their current characters and probably killing half of them.
Overall, I'm impressed. It's short, versatile, and even has great art, which is always unexpected and appreciated in a free project. I highly recommend it, and while you're at it check out some of his other shit as well.
600 / 666
I'm gonna make my best effort to include something gameable in every post like this, because who the fuck cares about reviews, it's Rafael Chandler so everyone should already have known it was gonna be fucking good. If I'm gonna add anything to the equation it's gonna be useful.
This time, I was inspired by the body count of slasher films, and how a slasher often seems to fetishize or mutilate the body of the deceased. Why shouldn't a party of adventurers or murderhobos do something similar? So here goes:
PCs die all the time, if the Ref is doing it right. Roll a new character, and get back in the game. But whatcha gonna do with the old one, aside from take their shit and maybe give a soliloquy?
Bury them, avenge them, or use their soul for a ritual.
Burying: Normally when a PC dies, the player creates a new one either at level one, the same level, or with some pre-determined percentage of the old character's XP before death. In the case of my game, it's 25% of their XP.
If a player recovers the body, shows respect to the deceased, and buries them, they can add an additional 5-10% of that character's XP to their new one, based on the roleplaying of the process at the Ref's discretion. The burial also gives the opportunity for a wake, which allows the party to Carouse for XP.
Avenging: If the player/the party avenge the death of their fallen comrade, they gain 50 XP each per level of the deceased and a +1 morale boost for their hirelings and henchmen who are heartened by their respect for their fellow adventurers, effective for the next month.
Performing a Ritual: If the party are a dark buncha bastards, they can use their "friend"'s death for their own gain. Using the deceased's body or soul as part of a ritual has great benefits, providing one of several effects:
- Casting a Cleric spell of up to the deceased's level which takes effect immediately
- Casting a Summon spell with a bonus to the Thaumaturgic Circle equal to 1/2 the deceased's level
- Adding 100 sp of value per level of the deceased to a magical laboratory, which dissipates after the next use of the laboratory for research or a ritual.
Using the body for a ritual negates any bonuses from burial and avenging.