Splattermancer is a horror role playing game that pits unsuspecting everymen and -women against horrifying, murderous adversaries. It is a lust-letter to the pulpy, unabashed sclock-fests of yesteryear, epitomized by the body count films of the 1980s—films such as Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Re-Animator, The Blob, Return of the Living Dead, Child’s Play, Slumber Party Massacre, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space.
None of this is to say that the game is set exclusively in the 1980s. The slasher sub-genre began in the 70s with films like Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and had a strong resurgence in the 90s with Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the like. But those are just a handful of helpful examples to jump-start the imagination. Tales of bloody, gooey, sexy, trashy horror can be set anywhere from the Wild West to Colonial America to Ancient Rome to the distant future.
Instead of long a campaign, a Splattermancer scenario is a one-shot; a single, fateful encounter with a terrifying enemy. No legendary heroes here—characters will be ill-prepared for their run-in with the avatars of pure evil. It’s entirely possible that some or all of them won’t make it out alive.
A defining characteristic of those classic slasher and splatter flicks is a perceived sense of moral judgment. Naughty people tended to die early and horribly, whereas the goodie-goodies tended to live at least a little bit longer, and the purest of the lot would stick around for the final showdown. In keeping with this questionable tradition, Splattermancer puts special focus on characters’ behavior. The outcome of events will largely be impacted by the moral choices of the players.
In the unlikely event that this is your first RPG (and if so, awesome—you’ll never do better!) players control the actions of a single character (player characters, or PCs) while a designated Game Master (GM) presents the setting, the events, and the non-player characters (NPCs), including any and all murderous mutations and knife-wielding abominations. Crucial actions are decided by a roll of the die. It is a living a horror movie in miniature.
And so, in the words of the immortal Freddy Krueger: Welcome to prime time, bitch!