indie game development by J. Walton
So here’s how you make Afraid handle Scream and similar takes on the teen slasher genre.
1. There is no GM.
2. Everyone makes a character like this:
3. Anything sexy (trait, relationship, object) gets an extra d4.
4. Avoid NPCs, but use new Dogs NPC rules if you must:
5. Any NPC dice that are not d6s must be named before they are rolled, for example, before rolling a C-style NPC, you would say: “This 3d4 is for being Overzealous.”
1. Each player picks 3 possible Conditions for their PC.
2. Additionally, every PC gets Dead and Pursued.
3. The playtest Conditions are as follows:
4. PCs start with no Conditions active.
5. A PCs number of Conditions never decreases.
6. On your turn, you can change which Conditions are active.
7. If you Take The Blow, activate an additional Condition.
1. In a conflict, roll all relevant traits.
2. Highest two dice wins stakes, unless…
3. PCs/NPCs can Take The Blow and keep struggling.
4. Roll more traits, next highest two dice wins.
5. This can continue as long as both sides have dice remaining and are still alive.
Scene Framing & Locations
1. Choose how many locations you want in the game.
2. Have index cards equal to the number of locations.
3. Split up 10d4, 14d6, 6d8 among the location cards.
4. On your turn, you will frame a scene.
5. Scene framing starts by picking a location & characters.
6. If you pick a new location, write it on an unlabeled card.
7. When you are out of cards, there are no new locations.
8. You cannot frame a scene that includes your own PC.
9. Framing must include each character’s active Conditions.
10. Place pawns on cards to show where the characters are.
11. The slasher has no pawn and can be anywhere.
12. The group decides when any given scene ends.
13. Generally, each scene happens in a single location, but…
14. Characters can switch locations in the middle of a Chasing/Fleeing conflict. Any characters currently in the new location are now in the scene and may join the conflict.
15. Characters can move between locations based on whatever logic the group decides makes sense. If a fair bit of time passes (“Okay, so it’s the next morning…”), allow everyone to move their pawns around before play continues. When framing a scene, take into account previous locations, but don’t feel bound by them. If you really need characters to be in the attic instead of the basement, talk with your group and then figure out how to make it work.
Acquiring, Moving, and Using Objects
1. The dice on a card are objects in that location.
2. Label the dice as they are identified (“Chainsaw 2d6″).
3. The framer can veto unlikely objects (sword in the bathroom).
4. Movable objects can added to a character’s sheet.
5. If a character takes an object, erase it from the card.
6. If a character drops an object, mark the location card.
7. Unmovable objects are only usable in their location.
8. Remember the extra d4 for sexy objects.
“It’s You!”: Identifying the Slasher
Until the slasher is identified, the current scene framer is responsible for playing them. Unidentified slashers have the following traits:
None of the slasher’s trait or relationship dice are labeled when play begins. Instead, each time the slasher appears in a conflict, the current scene framer can choose to label one or two of the slasher’s trait or relationship dice and then roll them in the conflict. The scene framer can also choose to roll any of the slasher’s previously labeled trait or relationship dice, assuming they are appropriate.
Once all the slasher’s trait and relationship dice have been labeled, the slasher can be identified. The slasher is almost always one of the PCs, determined by the consensus of the group (or some other method I’ve yet to determine). If the group decides they want an NPC to be the slasher, the player whose character was the first to die should play the identified slasher.
When a PC/NPC is identified as the slasher, they gain all the unidentified slasher’s Traits, Relationships, & Possessions. The slasher’s Stat dice are added to theirs. If multiple PCs/NPCs are revealed to be slashers, they divy up the unidentified slasher’s Traits, Relationships, Possessions, and Stat dice. Identified slashers can choose whether they want to engage in Social conflicts or not (don’t have to).
It is the responsibility of the identified slasher to try to kill every character they encounter, most especially the Protagonist, once they have been identified.
“It’s Just You And Me Now!”: Identifying the Protagonist
Once all the other PCs are dead, the last living PC becomes the Protagonist. It is the responsibility of the Protagonist to kill the slasher and, subsequently, they roll an additional +4d10 in all conflicts.