Frightening February Day 28: Survivor.

How to potentially get away from that guy with the mask and his sharp object. This is ALL fictional, but practical solutions to problems often posed by slasher flicks.

This seems a fitting end to a month of horror-themed plot hooks, yes?

There’s always that one person that seems to survive all the major slasher flicks. She’s usually the main protagonist. Often times, they don’t even hide until the killing of everyone around them stops.

None of the cars will start. No one has cell phone reception. Let’s do something a little different today. Let’s look at some ways a character can survive when Freddy, Jason, or Michael are coming for you. It works for horror fiction and TTRPGs alike.

Photo by lil artsy on
  1. Turn ALL of the lights on. Why does everyone try to operate in the dark?
  2. Lights not working? Go down in the basement as a pair- WITH flashlights!
  3. Never wander off alone. I mean, how often does that lead to trouble?
  4. Arm yourselves. Armed would-be victims are often survivors.
  5. Don’t just knock them down. If you get the psycho on the ground- Finish them! Or at least pin them down, tie them up, or drop something big on them.
  6. RUN AWAY! If you manage to escape, run like Hell all the way to the police station or wherever is safe. Don’t stop running. Trust me, most of the bad guys aren’t that fast. Stay on the road or street, preferably in plain sight. Someone will see you eventually. Scream and yell in populated areas to wake everyone up.
  7. Run toward or into places where you can arm yourself better. Is anyone in their right mind going to chase someone through a kitchen, a hardware store, or into a tool shed? Find the nearest hospital.
  8. Fire is your friend. If ya know no one else is gonna get hurt? Burn things and blow stuff up. Remember, it’s only wanton pyromania if it doesn’t serve a purpose in a horror movie situation. This also should get the attention of police and fire departments.
  9. Trap, detain, or delay your slasher as much as possible. It may not hold til the cops arrive, but it will buy time to run the heck away!
  10. Turn down the advances of your fellow cast members. More characters die in horror movies after they get lucky. It’s just a rule of the trope, fans.
  11. Scream for help. Keep turning lights on and run toward areas with high density populations. Set off car alarms, home security, run by ring cams, anything to draw a crowd of looky-loos. The more, the better. The slasher seriously can’t get them all, right?
  12. Realize that no matter what you do, the darn slasher is probably going to come back for a sequel or several. Don’t let your character rest on their laurels. Stay prepared at all times. Learn MMA. Sleep with a large knife within easy reach. Purchase crossbows, break action shotguns or revolvers. (They aren’t prone to jams.) Stock up on dynamite and flashlight batteries for the D cell flashlight. Keep one in every room. Take up jogging if possible.

Bonus: If the slasher has a mask, hat, or other apparel- tear it off of them. Burn it, chuck it in the lake, throw it in a shredder, or find some other way to destroy it. It will annoy the slasher who obviously wanted to cover that part of themselves. It’s annoying and may buy your character time to run away.

Keepers, DMs, GMs, Judges, and friends- above is a d12 table of horror tropes you can use for bad guys. If the characters are going to try any of the above, then pick one of these to use against them. Get creative with it.

PCs, Investigators, Pushers-and-Shovers, and friends, remember these things. They may very well save your character’s life. While we all understand the gamer mentality of bash the monster and grab the loot, it doesn’t always work in horror TTRPGs. Do things that would make sense to regular people.

There is no real alignment in most horror TTRPGs. This means, you don’t have to play by good guy rules. If it seems like an unfair thing to do to the slasher (IN game, not meta,) then do it. Bury them alive in a sand pit. Run them over with a semi. Keel haul them behind a speedboat. Tie them up with whatever is handy and run like heck toward populated areas.

Theoretically, if one were being chased by a masked psycho killer with a machete, all the rules of society have broken down and it’s okay to break into buildings, turn all the lights on, set off the alarm if there is one, and stand in the middle of an open area with a fire ax in hand. Yes, drop the weapon if the nice officer tells you to… That’s just good advice all around.

Thanks for coming along on this month’s crazy ride through #FrighteningFebruary. See you in March.

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

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