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Basic Information

A slasher is a form of cinematic serial killer - or repeat spree killer, depending on interpretation. They generally fit into the "disorganised" serial killer model, being given to impulsive outbursts of uncontrolled violence without any attempts at concealment - although they are capable of considerable stealth and guile whilst stalking their prey. The slasher also typically exhibits preternatural strength, stealth and injury tolerance and the ability to move through and/or hide in places where they would not logically be able to fit (this last power is somewhere between an accepted convention and a trope based on bad cinematography). Slashers generally in isolated locations and have at least some aspects of "the beast in human form" as they act much like a predatory animal, picking off victims as and when they are alone - whilst the total collection of people targeted may be quite large, a slasher almost never attacks a group of more than two or three at a time and prefers to work one victim at a time.

As the name suggests, slashers tend to prefer melee weapons - whether purpose made or improvised, although some take pleasure in booby trapping.

Some slashers also include the wrinkle of being undead - in sequels, if not always in the first movie - and may alter who they victimise based on this: typically those that they envied, or were themselves victimised by when alive, or, in sequels, those involved in killing them the first time around. Certainly it appears tricky to actually "kill" a slasher - they can often be downed and apparently killed, only for the body to vanish as soon as no-one is watching it. Even if apparently thoroughly disposed of, they often regenerate between sequels - permanently getting rid of one may be as tricky as laying a ghost.

Another sub-set of slashers overlap with cannibals or other human parts collectors.

There is also the concept of the "slasher morality" - perhaps a hangover from the tradition that the powers of evil cannot harm the truly virtuous - specifically that the more "moral" a character, the more likely they are to survive the film, whilst the obnoxious, disrespectful, promiscuous or otherwise "immoral" characters are high on the slashers kill list.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Use the sequel revenant to annoy your PCs - having killed a villain, they discover that he has risen from the dead to take revenge … and not necessarily on them.
  • It's not unusual for a target community to "deserve" a slasher - for example, having victimised them in life and then either killed them or driven them to suicide - but those who actually die are often innocent bystanders on the periphery of the community rather than the actual perpetrators.
    • So PCs may find themselves cleaning up after some community's evil acts and walking the line between what will lay the ghost and seeing justice done.
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