[19:33] <+RayM> I am the apparently innocuous, pervasively infamous Ray Machuga and my game is Slasher the RPG (or Slasher (Revised) if you go by the title on DriveThruRPG.com.) or simply “Slasher.” It’s an homage to the best slasher movies such as Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream and, my personal favorite, Halloween.
[19:34] <+Blackwell> ooh, thematic
[19:34] <+RayM> Thanks, Blackwell. I agree! Our release date of October 1st was no accident.
[19:36] <+RayM> The game is a lot like any other tabletop RPG, but it adds an element of PvP. one of the players will be the feared Killer. The masked villain whose sole purpose is to stalk and kill the Survivor characters.
[19:36] <+RayM> (done)
[19:37] <~Dan> Thanks, RayM! The floor is open to questions!
[19:37] <~Dan> How do you handle the PvP aspect?
[19:38] <+Blackwell> Stole the words right from my finger tips Dan
[19:39] <+RayM> That is a big question, so feel free to chime in if I haven’t answered to your satisfaction. First and foremost, the book itself explains the social contract and basic rules for how to engage with PvP at the table, when to take breaks and how to have fun even when your character is about to die, or is already painting the walls red. There is a large section –
[19:39] <~Dan> (Howdy, MK!)
[19:41] <+RayM> of the book dedicated to handling PvP in order to assist the Director (what we call the GM in Slasher) in facilitating a fun and friendly game that involves some very dark concepts. The game also includes some options for helping players that got killed a little early to still participate in the game as well as how to “make death count”. In general, the
[19:42] <+RayM> Killer’s player and the Director work closely together, almost as if there are two GMs. The system itself (a tweak of Fate Core) rewards dramatic scenes, as well as building tension before a kill, allowing the session to build to a climax before it sprawls into an all-out brawl. Not that a big brawl is outside the realm of possibility. I’ve seen a few slasher
[19:43] <+RayM> flicks where the Survivors ganged up on the Killer, working together to kill or at least immobilize it. It tends to fail, but hey.. points or trying, right?
[19:43] <+RayM> (done)
[19:44] <~Dan> (Howdy, drewcifer!)
[19:44] <+Blackwell> So what drove the decision to have the killer be played by a player rather than the Director?
[19:44] <+drewcifer> (hey!)
[19:46] <+RayM> First, there is an option for the Director to take control of the Killer. There are many reasons for this to occur – whether it’s too few players, or just an overall discomfort in playing one. To answer your question, in short, the honest answer is that I thought it would be fun as H-E-Double Hockey Stick to be able to play the Killer. –
[19:46] <~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, SavageViking!)
[19:46] <+RayM> In fact, every playtest I have run with it, almost everyone wants to play the Killer role at least once. To boot, players always tend to be much more creative when it comes to planning and ways to use the scene and situation to their advantage. There is no greater enemy than another player, after all.
[19:46] <+RayM> (Done)
[19:46] <+drewcifer> Awesome!
[19:47] <+RayM> Well, no more DANGEROUS enemy, I should say.
[19:47] <+RayM> (Done.)
[19:47] <~Dan> So how does the Killer PC coordinate with the GM? And how do you keep the Killer’s activities a secret, when the player is sitting right there?
[19:47] <+drewcifer> Are there any mechanics in place against PVP metagaming?
[19:47] <+Blackwell> That sounds pretty interesting actually. And I have noticed whenever a player gets given free reign to try and kill the others, they suddenly get very imaginative
[19:50] <+RayM> The thing you have to keep in mind is that the game is designed with the assumption that the game will play out just like any other game. I tried to keep it simple, and the Director’s Toolbox section kind of emphasises this. There are a number of methods for the Killer to coordinate, and many of the ideas I give have come from situations in other games where
[19:51] <+RayM> the party split and the GM had to deal with each separate party separately. It starts with a clear vision of who the Killer is and what the Killer wants to do (Signified by the Killer’s traits), and proceeds forward through notes, subtle nods or outright declaration. There is an emphasis on fear, as well. My intention for Slasher was to give players the same
[19:52] <+RayM> kind of rush they would get from WATCHING a slasher movie. They might know a little bit about what the Killer is doing, but only the Killer knows for sure. I emphasise communication in the “How to play a Killer” and “Director’s Toolbox” chapters to facilitate coordination.
[19:54] <~Dan> (wb, drewcifer)
[19:54] <+RayM> Metagaming is definitely a consideration. It is an unfortunate consequence of playing, sometimes. There are a few suggestions as to how the table might handle these kinds of instances, but in general, metagaming is briefly explained in the book and given stern discouragement. In the end, the Director still has the last word on what the characters know and
[19:54] <+RayM> what they can do in response to what they do or do not know. It’s a part of the social contract.
[19:55] <~Dan> I’m still fuzzy on how, for example, the Survivor players keep from knowing where the Killer is at all times. How does the Killer player communicate his character’s movements?
[19:55] <~Dan> (Howdy, Dlb_chuck!)
[19:56] <+Dlb_chuck> Howdy
[19:56] <+RayM> Yes, Drucifer, that has been my experience! The Director sets the scene, places the aspects and controls the Black Blood, which is an (optional) entity that corrupts the Killers shadow and creates Killers in the Slasher setting. Players are dangerous!
[19:57] <+drewcifer> ballerrrr
[19:58] <+RayM> The Killer has something called “Off Screen Teleportation”, which helps the Killer be where it needs to be in order to accomplish its goals. In general, I’ve noticed little problem with the Killer communicating where she is. A trusted table, where the players know that metagaming is bad and does not take OOC information into IC, the players get a thrill when
[19:58] <~Dan> (RayM, have you met horror RPG author Dlb_chuck?)
[19:59] <+Dlb_chuck> Howdy RayM
[19:59] <+RayM> the Killer is brazen with his intentions. There was a game I watched where the Killer had no problem stating his actions openly at the table. It scared the crap out of the Survivor players, but there was little anyone could do about it because the Killer would beat their rolls. This allowed the Director to prevent the Survivors from acting until they had the
[20:00] <+RayM> required information in character. Its very similar to watching a horror movie. You know Michael Myers is in that car, stalking Laurie Strode. But SHE doesn’t know that.
[20:00] <+RayM> (Done)
[20:00] <~Dan> Hmm. Interesting approach.
[20:00] <+Dlb_chuck> What’s the game?
[20:00] <~Dan> Dlb_chuck: (Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/252999/Slasher-RPG-Revised?fbclid=IwAR3Zzc9gwXozPUv-kkSNy8zreWanoinWGMaF-23i5JfbpcyESv-L6n8oUhc)https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/252999/Slasher-RPG-Revised?fbclid=IwAR3Zzc9gwXozPUv-kkSNy8zreWanoinWGMaF-23i5JfbpcyESv-L6n8oUhc
[20:01] <~Dan> With (presumably) the lone antagonist in the hands of a player, how do you keep things interesting for the Director?
[20:02] <+drewcifer> That’s awesome
[20:02] <+RayM> Dan: I agree. The way I go about that in the book, and the game itself takes trust. When designing the game I assumed that in order to play a game like this, there would have to be a certain level of maturity to the players taking part. You build up the idea that “Hey. Your character WILL die. It’s going to happen. So play it fun. be scared. Make it count.”
[20:02] <+RayM> It hasn’t failed me yet. And players haven’t reported any issues yet.
[20:02] <+drewcifer> exciting!!
[20:04] <+RayM> The Director still gets to set the scene. Fate Core has a great view of character and game creation where everyone gets to help decide what’s going on while the game is being created and the setting is etched out. The Director still gets to set the scene, play the NPCs and even control the magnanimous and mysterious Black Blood – an unknowable entity somehow
[20:04] <+RayM> linked to the Killers themselves.
[20:04] <~Dan> What does the Black Blood do?
[20:08] <+RayM> The Black Blood has its own chapter, but the intention isnt for it to be an antagonist in and of itself. It acts kind of like Jason Voorhees’ mother’s whispers (after she had died), urging him to KILL THE TEENAGERS. It’s the inbred derrangements in the Hills Have Eyes. The force that wakes up the monster in Jeepers Creepers. It has a few ways it can.. affect
[20:09] <+drewcifer> I love rules that are also characters. Always makes for interesting designs and play
[20:09] <+RayM> the game, however, and they’re all absolutely terrifying. It corrupts everything it touches. It can create Killers, and does so in order to feed itself. It can manipulate areas stained by the Killer. Those places are are called Shadowlands (Shadow being the Jungian term, not some sort of Exalted reference).
[20:10] <+RayM> An example of a Shadowland might be Crystal Lake, the Boiler Room in Nightmare On Elm Street and the workshop in Jeepers Creepers.
[20:10] <~Dan> How can the Black Blood manipulate these environments?
[20:10] <+RayM> Thanks, drecifer. The Black Blood is certainly more a mechanic than a character – although in a lot of respects it acts as both. That’s why I love the Fate Fractal in game design.
[20:12] <+RayM> Typically, the Black Blood plays on the Shadow aspects and fears of the Survivors and compel them. It can also give Boosts and benefits to the Killer. It can also confusethe Survivors to help prevent their escape.
[20:12] <+RayM> (done)
[20:12] <~Dan> How so? With “haunted house” effects?
[20:14] <+RayM> That is a fair example. Though ghost stories will be more relegated to another installment of Tabletop Cinema (Which is the series that Slasher belongs to. Halloween games offerings from Higher Grounds). It can definitely have similar effects, though. A door that you could swear use to be there but isn’t, anymore. Think about the way that survivors in slasher
[20:15] <+RayM> movies had their minds play tricks on them. That, in Slasher the RPG, would be the Black Blood’s influence. It is important to note, however, that while the rulebook explains The Blood in great detail (it has a chapter of its own), it is not meant to take a lead role in the game. It supports the game and the setting.
[20:15] <+RayM> (done)
[20:16] <~Dan> Are the Killers supernatural powered by default?
[20:18] <+RayM> Killers do not have to be supernaturally powered. There are plenty of options to go either way with it. You can completely obviate The Blood and use its information as a contextual clue and have the Killer be completely mundane, you can also go full bore and have
[20:20] <+RayM> the Killer have obvious supernatural qualities. My personal favorite is when the Killer’s nature is ambiguous. When it forces the players to ask themselves if they REALLY shot him dead, or if they just thought they killed him. Whether or not they think a fall from the second story of that building onto concrete was just not hard enough to cause death or was
[20:20] <+RayM> it something more sinister? To answer your question, character generation for the Killer allows you to build the Killer however you like.
[20:20] <+RayM> (done)
[20:21] <~Dan> What sorts of powers can the Killer have other than insane resilience? Freddy is a bit of an outlier, being all about the supernatural powers… Can you do that?
[20:24] <+RayM> Other than the fact that they are really, really, REALLY hard to kill, a Killer gets to choose from a suite of “Perks”. These are various powers or just things that they’re really good at. They act kind of like Stunts, but they’re souped up. Some perks hinder or “debuff” Survivors, such as Devour Hope which allows you to gain a Fate Point when a Survivor
[20:26] <+drewcifer> i am about this – the devouring of the hopes
[20:26] <+RayM> recovers stress or heals consequences (which act as damage in Fate Core) or Warden which makes it harder for the Survivors to leave the zone you’re in. Others give you advantages to dice rolls such as Meticulous Stalker which gives bonuses to Notice and Investigate rolls. Perks were also designed to help build a sense of “style” for the Killer as well, such
[20:27] <+RayM> as Ritual Killing, which allows the Killer to gain bonuses or take special actions if they kill a Survivor in a specific, pre-decided way.
[20:27] <+RayM> And yes, Survivors get their own suite of perks as well.
[20:27] <+RayM> (done)
[20:28] <+RayM> Drewcifer: High Five! Devour Hope is one of my favorites when playing a Killer as well.
[20:28] <+drewcifer> yeeeeet
[20:30] <~Dan> Can you give us an idea of how hard Killers are to kill?
[20:30] <+RayM> Oh! And yes, you could feasibly build Freddy Krueger. I designed this game so that you could make a completely unique scenario, Killer and set of Survivors, or you could step into the shoes of your favorite slasher movies as well. It’s all-purpose in that way.
[20:32] <+RayM> How hard are Killers to kill? On a scale of 1 to 10, we would have to crank it to 11, Spinal Tap style. First and foremost, all Killers have a “Deathless” ability that prevents them from being truly killed until the Final Scene – the climax of the movie/game. Typically, only the Final Girl can permanently off the Killer. Deathless, in essence, brings the
[20:34] <+RayM> Killer back after a randomized period of time. It’s designed to give players a sense of security, but also to increase tension. Putting a Killer down is akin to taking down Jason Voorhees. They can typically take a hail of bullets, being set on fire or run over with a truck and keep on killing.
[20:34] <+RayM> (done)
[20:36] <~Dan> I’ve often thought that Killers are protected in part by audience credulity… Certain attacks will never put down a Killer, like piercing attacks, while something that causes massive damage, like explosives or decapitation, will. Any thoughts?
[20:36] <+RayM> When I made the Deathless mechanic, I was inspired by scenes when they think the Killer is dead and you’re watching the morgue technician jamming with his headphones on with his back turned to the Killer after talking some smack to him or saying something offensive, and the Killer sits straight up. That’s what Deathless does.
[20:38] <+RayM> That is certainly an interesting way to look at it. They always seem to have a zombie-esque method of destruction: Remove the head or destroy the brain. A shotgun to the skull might do it. But you’re absolutely right! Stab Freddy in the back and he’ll mess with you and act like he’s hurt, then he’ll start laughing just to scare the crap out of you!
[20:39] <+RayM> When I was designing the game, I watched a video that had a title to the tune of “The Many Deaths of Jason Voorhees” and showed how they killed him each time. They were always brutal. Never as simple as a stabbing, or gunshot wound. They were always something over-the-top. This is cinematically correct, and certainly speaks to how Slasher RPG works.
[20:39] <~Dan> Yeah, Killers never get shot with shotguns to the head, because that would do more damage than the audience would buy them bouncing back from.
[20:40] <~Dan> Shotgun to the chest? Just a bunch of little holes. No problem.
[20:41] <+RayM> That is taken care of, in a certain sense, in Slasher. If you somehow manage to plug enough holes into the Killer to seemingly kill it, you might explain it as a shotgun blowing his head clean off. But you do the kind of damage that would kill a Survivor but not enough for a Killer? Bunch of holes and a PO’d Killer.
[20:42] <+RayM> You might inflict a Consequence (a more permanent sort of damage in Fate), which will certainly slow the Killer down and allow you to make a hasty escape, but it takes a lot to put one down. For sure.
[20:43] <+RayM> These are key aspects of any good slasher movie, and I tried to keep Slasher true to that.
[20:44] <+RayM> (done)
[20:45] <~Dan> Do you see this as the start of a game line?
[20:46] <+RayM> Absolutely. This started as a little supplement for Fate Core around Halloween 2017, and I noticed that people were taking to it really well and seemed to really like the idea of playing in a slasher movie. That’s how the bigger, expanded, stand-alone book came to be. I wanted to provide something that could stand alone, so that the good folks supporting me
[20:48] <+RayM> could just pick up one book and go to their game and play. As I mentioned previously, Slasher is the flagship member of a series I’ve come to call “Tabletop Cinema”. It’s exactly as it sounds, you get to step inside your very own movie settings and play. it is absolutely my newest Halloween tradition!
[20:48] <~Dan> What other genres do you have in mind for the series?
[20:48] <+RayM> As for Slasher itself, slasher will see a few supplements come out. Written adventures, player’s guides and the like. For sure.
[20:48] <+RayM> (done)
[20:52] <~Dan> (Did you see my last question?)
[20:52] <+RayM> (I do now!)
[20:54] <+RayM> Tabletop Cinema will certainly revolve around horror! Obviously, it wouldn’t be a horror series if I didn’t include zombies. The second in line (in no particular release order) is likely to be haunting stories. Ghosts and demons such as Haunting of Hill House, Paranormal Activity and the like.
[20:55] <~Dan> All using Fate?
[20:56] <+RayM> I really think Fate is perfect for games of this sort. It has a focus on cinematics and drama, and emphasises the story above mechanics which fits the idea of Tabletop Cinema quite well. So, as far as I can tell, yes it will likely remain in the realm of Fate rules.
[20:56] * ~Dan nods
[20:57] <~Dan> Does the game include the full rules, or do you need a Fate rulebook to play?
[20:58] <+RayM> Slasher (Revised) contains everything you need to play. Full rules, character generation, character sheets and everything. It is standalone. Bring the book to the game and you won’t need anything else. You don’t need any other books to play Slasher.
[20:59] <~Dan> Cool.
[21:00] <~Dan> Hmm… For those unfamiliar with Fate, could you give a high-level view of the basic mechanic?
[21:02] <+RayM> Absolutely! It’s actually really simply. You have Fudge Dice, and the pool is always the same. 4 dice. Each die has a +, – or blank side. + is +1, – is -1. You tally together the roll, apply that to any relevant skill and that’s your result. You roll against a difficulty, or against active resistance. The mechanics emphasise dramatics and role-playing. You
[21:02] <+RayM> use character aspects, which are little soundbites that describe your character, to affect rolls (for better or worse). And that’s really all there is to the mechanic! 4 dice and skill against a difficulty.
[21:03] <+RayM> There is a bit more to it sometimes, but the system really favors simplicity and cinematics, which is why I chose it for this kind of game.
[21:04] <~Dan> Sure.
[21:05] <~Dan> Oh… So will the other games in the line include PvP aspects?
[21:06] <+RayM> If it is thematically appropriate, sure! I think it depends on the style of game, though. I don’t know that it would be uch fun for players to play as a shambling zombie, but I think it might be a lot of fun to play a ghost haunting a house, for sure!
[21:06] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:07] <+RayM> I’m all about empowering the players to be able to play the characters that they might not normally get to play. The antagonists. The ones in power. It’s super fun to be able to do that kind of thing. Imagine being able to say, “I want to make the walls bleed”, and it happens!
[21:07] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[21:09] <~Dan> I’m about tapped out on questions… Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:10] <+RayM> The paperback is beautiful and designed to look like a worn VHS case. Make sure to visit the Higher Grounds community at (Link: http://www.highergroundsgames.com/forum)www.highergroundsgames.com/forum
[21:11] <+RayM> Thanks for having me, Dan! I appreciate the chance to come in and talk about what this game. I really hope the players like it and have a lot of fun with it. “Because everyone is entitled to one good scare!”
[21:12] <~Dan> Thanks, RayM!
[21:12] <+RayM> Thanks, Dan!
[21:13] <~Dan> As a reminder to folks, gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[21:13] <~Dan> Now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!
[21:14] <+RayM> No problem at all!
[21:14] <+RayM> Thank you so much for this opportunity!