"Why would anyone want to do that? Sequels suck!

" - Randy, "Scream 2"

Oops, I did it again. Another insipid RPG by Jared A. Sorensen Additional material by Rebecca F. Richkus (transferred to .pdf by filthysuperman@hotmail.com )

Rules of a trilogy: Chapter one sets the rules. Chapter two bends the rules. But in the finale...forget the rules. Scream 3 marketing bullshit

Right around April Fool's Day, 2000 I decided to give myself a little challenge: write a game in under an hour. The result was an incredibly stupid RPG called SQUEAM. It was a shameless ripoff of the Scream films, right down to the logo that uses the same font as the movie. What a geek, I know. So naturally, a bad sequel was soon to follow. A good number of people pretty much thought it sucked ass. So, once again I pulled out the butcher's apron and the black rubber gloves to give this tired idea one more go. And once again I ask the question: did you honestly except anything less? SQUEAM 3 is a simple role-playing game for up to eight players. One person runs the game (here he or she is called the Camp Counselor...or you can just used the old stand-by of GM) and the other players portray characters who – -- but you know all this stuff already, right? If not, go play some Dungeons & Dragons and get back to me. To play SQUEAM 3 you'll need at least one 10-sided die, some paper and pencils and (optional) some bowls of disgusting, sticky and/or squishy stuff (for Squeam challenges, described in the Challenges section). The "object" of the game is to have fun...but it's also to take part in a collaborative story (in this case, a slasher flick) and try to get through it alive. Don't worry...even though some characters will get killed, it doesn't mean you lost. Everyone is a winner so long as you have fun (and help others to have fun as well!). Okay, enough group hugging...let's get to the good stuff.

T&A: Theme & Atmosphere
SQUEAM 3 is primarily a Narrative RPG. That is to say that the goal of the game is to tell a story in a dramatic and entertaining matter -- no small surprise as the game is based upon the conceits and cliches of bad horror films. Although there is a fair share of dice-rolling, the dice-rolling is not

really a resolution mechanic...the dice don't determine if you succeed or fail, rather they determine what course of action you will take. Resolution is done dramatically -- "What makes sense in terms of the story?" -- and characters are assumed to be competent enough in normal conditions to accomplish any task that the character is capable off doing. So logging onto the campus computer system is a breeze for the geeky UNIX nerd. It might be more of a challenge for the nubile young cheerleader and all but impossible for the dim-witted school custodian. SQUEAM 3 also incorporates what are called "metagame mechanics." That is, special rules which don't have any basis in reality but can be used by the players to change the outcome of events. In this game, that can range from SCREAMING REALLY LOUD to prevent your character's demise to playing a kind of "Truth or Dare" with the Camp Counselor (or even the other players) in order to get what you want. As the author of this game, I must firmly discourage the use of sexual favors in order to influence the Camp Counselor. Lastly, as homage to the mercifully short running time of the average gore flick, SQUEAM 3 games are limited to 90 minutes or less. Any joke, no matter how amusing, gets old after awhile.

The classic 80's/90's horror movie role is without a doubt that of the Dead Teenager. Why? Well, teenagers are notoriously stupid -- a fact which is made even more obvious by the glut of Dead Teenager movies, despite the fact that they're (pretty much) all terrible, low-budget, amateur hack jobs with lots of gratuitous gore and nudity. And for some reason, people love to watch members of their own peer group get carved up by masked killers with chainsaws -especially when the victims are "the popular kids" and the average horror film nut is a pimplyfaced, socially disaffected teenage boy. Ironically, this is the audience that RPG manufacturers are aiming for. If the Dead Teenager thing doesn't do it for ya, feel free to play a demon-slaying college student, a sexy FBI agent, an occult investigator or a one-handed housewares clerk with a penchant for bad vacation plans and quotable one-liners.

• The Nerd (-1 Squeam, +1 Curiosity) The Nerd is a social misfit, usually male. He's the kinda guy that would play this game in a heartbeat. Nerds have a pretty high survivability rate due to a) their knowledge of horror cliches, b) the fact that they never have sex and therefore never fall prey to the Law of the Promiscuous Victim. A side note, Nerds who spy on girls who are taking a shower or bathing WILL die, according to the Law of the Promiscuous Victim. The Freak (+1 Curiosity but roll d10...0-5 gain +3 Fate Points, 6-9 gain freaky psychic powers) Usually female. Usually the "new kid." Almost always has scars from an attempted suicide or some other prior trauma. Freaks are really spooky, get blamed for everything and often have ginchy psychic abilities that invariably help to track and kill the nasty thing that's killing everyone. The Jock (-1 Curiosity but probably has some issues with his father and/or sexuality, -1 Fate) Big, dumb, wears a varsity jacket. Jocks are annoying as hell and will almost always die, usually at the hands of someone wielding some kind of sporting equipment (how ironic!).

Note that the Nerd is usually suspected (some kind of revenge fantasy here) but exonerated when he winds up with impaled on his Snap-Tite X-Wing model. • The Bimbo (+1 Naivete but has a really nice pair of hooters, -1 Fate) The yin to the Jock's yang (or should that be...wang?), the Bimbo is the popular cheerleader who will (for whatever reason) decide that being pursued by a bloodthirsty psycho is the perfect time to take a shower. Dead. The Cosmic Cleavage Law states that the bigger the boobs, the quicker the death. This slightly conflicts with the fact that the girls with the enormous hooters never actually show them. The Prep (-2 Fate) The Prep is on the Dean's List, is active in the community, has a great car, a great family and never does anything wrong. It's for this reason that he's almost always killed off by the halfway point. Death is funny like that. The Punk (- 1 to everything but loses 1 Fate Point whenever his girlfriend uses one) The Punk is in a band, drives a ridiculous muscle car and wears either a Black Leather Jacket or a Blue Denim Jacket. He carries a switchblade, smokes pot and is DEAD DEAD DEAD! The Slut (+1 Fright, -1 Naivete, -1 Fate) The Punk's girlfriend. She's a slut, she dies (according to the Law of the Promiscuous Victim). Usually wears a lot of makeup and has sex at least once, usually right before the electric hair dryer gets dropped in the bathtub (with her in it). The Princess (+1 Fate) The Princess almost always lives, despite the fact that she's the one that everyone wants to die. Life is like that. Interesting factoid: the Freak and the Princess usually end up becoming friends…I guess because there's nobody left alive.

Of course, no horror movie is complete without some authority figures to mock and/or dismember. These characters are usually there to a) get killed or b) make the teenagers lives that much more difficult. The slimy high school janitor, the redneck sheriff, the new-age teacher and crazy old Mr. Jenkins are all examples of these kind of characters.

• Cop Most horror movie Cops are either addle-brained morons or corrupt evil tyrants. All Cops have beat-up cruisers, revolvers or shotguns and a penchant for using the word "boy" (as in, "Yer inna heap o' shit there, boy!"). Caretaker Caretakers are good in the fact that they usually have stashes of alcohol and easy access to weapons such as pitchforks, lawn mowers and hedge-clipping shears. They're bad in the fact that they're usually crazy fuckers who like to spy on showering co-eds. The Caretaker always gets blamed for the murders until he winds up dead or vindicated. Old Coot Old Coots are usually nice, albeit a tad eccentric. Some, like Mr. Hallorann (from The Shining), have cool psychic abilities. Of course, some are just a bit senile. Supportive Adult More rare than a virgin at the school prom, the Supportive Adult is doomed to a grisly death just to show that the screenwriter means business. Look for guidance counselors,

friendly neighbors, teachers and parents to fill this oft-neglected role. Supportive Adults are most often just used to provide color and detail or a convenient deus ex machina (look it up). Hell, there are tons more characters but I don't have the time or desire to write them all up. Besides, all's you need for a decent game is half-a-dozen teenagers and a possessed wood chipper. ATTRIBUTES All SQUEAM 3 characters have four attributes which define their capabilities in the game. In most role playing games, the Attributes represent your characters positive aspects - strength, intelligence, agility. In this game, they represent your character's negative aspects. All ratings run the gamut from 0 to 9 (the numbers on your typical 10-sided die). Characters have 20 points to spend on these four attributes. All twenty points must be spent and no attribute can be higher than nine. Characters with ratings of 0 are like Ash or Buffy. Characters with ratings of 9 are dog-meat. Fright Whenever chased by some rampaging lunatic or thing from beyond the grave, the character will suddenly lose it. Every action will result in fumbling, flailing and falling down. Ankles will be twisted, bullets will be dropped and every exposed root becomes a potential tripping hazard. Campers should roll their Fright whenever they: • are surprised by something (like a cat jumping out of a cupboard or a sudden gunshot) • need to run or drive away from someone or something • attempt to directly attack a bad guy or a monster (with or without a weapon) • try to quickly perform any feat of manual dexterity (first aid, loading bullets into a gun) • need to do something quickly (defusing a bomb, get across a bridge before it collapses) The scale for Fright works like this: • 0 - Fearless • 2 - Calm • 4 - Stressed-out • 6 - Easily spooked • 8 - A complete basket-case Squeam Short for "squeamishness," the character is very sensitive to little things like severed heads, pools of blood and decaying corpses. Squeamish characters tend to pass out or turn green around the gills whenever faced with gross stuff. Campers should roll their Squeam whenever they encounter: • Blood n' gore • Needles (specifically, needles jabbing into themselves or other people) • Horror flicks • Dead bodies or body parts • Icky, slimy monsters • Creepy crawlies (insects, rats, spiders) The scale for Squeamishness works like this: • 0 - Gorehound • 2 - Strong stomach • 4 - Faint-at-heart

• •

6 - Squeamish 8 - Lunchblower

Curiosity There will always be those people who will investigate haunted houses, read passages from occult tomes and wander through dark forests all alone. They usually die within the first reel. Campers should roll their Curiosity whenever they confront: • Ancient tomes or other scholarly material of dubious origin • Anything that can be opened (trunks, boxes, closets, refrigerators) • Locations (attics, basements, graveyards, deserted factories) • Strange, gooey substances that you really shouldn't touch or (ick!) taste) The scale for Curiosity works like this: • 0 - Apathetic • 2 - Uninterested • 4 - Curious • 6 - Nosy • 8 - Obsessed Naivete The character is gullible to a fault. He or she is prone to falling for the "playing possum" trick that a "dead" killer will try to pull or the popular "but I'm really your dead sister/mother/other relative" that demonic entities seem to love. The character will also invariably utter the phrase, "But it's just a cat…" at least once in his short, pathetic life. Campers should roll their Naivete whenever: • they spot a hitchhiker on the side of the road • the killer is playing possum • their friends or pets are possessed by demons • monsters masquerade as long-dead grandmothers • anything really weird happens that would cause a smart person to get the hell out of town The scale for Naivete works like this: • 0 - Cynical • 2 - Streetwise • 4 - Gullible • 6 - Fresh off the farm • 8 - Dumb as a post

Whenever the Camp Counselor feels like a character's attributes will come into play, the Camper must roll a ten-sided die (0 being counted as "zero," not "ten"). If the result is greater than their character's attribute, then nothing bad happens. CAMP COUNSELOR: The demonic force chases after you, moaning in a deep low rumbling voice. Camper: I get inside the car, put it in gear and get the hell out of there! CAMP COUNSELOR: You fumble for your keys…roll Fright. Camper: (the player has a Fright of 3 and rolls a 5) Made it! CAMP COUNSELOR: You quickly get in the car, rev the engine and drive off as fast as you can… If the die roll is less than or equal to the character's attribute, then the character will succumb to the effects of that attribute.

CAMP COUNSELOR: The room is dark, cold and deathly quiet. An old chest lies against the wall, covered in dust…Roll Curiosity, please. Camper: Ack! (the player has a Curiosity of 6 and rolls a 2) Uh, I walk over to the chest and open it? CAMP COUNSELOR: Hehehehe…roll your Squeam, please… The only exception is with ratings of 0 and 9. A character with a rating of 0 will never succumb to the effects of that attribute. A character with a rating of 9 will always succumb. As an added wrinkle to make life that much more interesting... If you roll a 0, roll again. Rolling another 0 will lower that ability by one point (minimum 0). If you roll a 9, roll again. Rolling another 9 will raise that ability by one point (maximum of 9). If your ability is already 0 or 9, just roll once to see if your attribute is affected. Having an attribute increase or decrease this way will not affect the outcome of the original roll.

If you roll your attribute score exactly, you have a choice - fail the roll as normal or accept a challenge. Accepting/succeeding a challenge will allow the player to not fail the roll. Some of these challenges could result in injury (of course, if your behavior is infantile enough to actually hurt yourself or someone else, you're probably the type of person to be rushed to the ER because you got a die lodged in your nose). Other challenges might be potentially embarrassing, causing you to end up in therapy for years to come. You have been warned. There are four challenges in all, one for each kind of attribute roll: Fright: The Fright challenge involves an old day camp standard…the Trust game. The player must choose another player (or the Camp Counselor), close his or her eyes, crosses their arms and fall backward into the arms of the chosen player. Naturally, if the trustee lets the player fall, the Camp Counselor should have the trustee's character killed in a messy and embarrassing way, then have them kicked out of the game and (if you're the litigious sort), served with a lawsuit. Squeam: This challenge requires some prep time for the Camp Counselor. Accepting a Squeam challenge means that the player must close their eyes and dunk their hand in a bowl of stuff prepared beforehand by the Camp Counselor. Suggested items include: peeled grapes (eyes), cooked cauliflower (mmm…brains), cooked spaghetti noodles (intestines), Jell-O (liver?), red food coloring mixed with Karo corn syrup (blood!). Strawberry jam, hardboiled eggs, peanut butter and other gooey stuff is also suitable. Be imaginative but be safe - nothing hazardous (hot liquids, dry ice, poisonous or otherwise dangerous material) should be used. And make sure none of your players is allergic to whatever items you might be using. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. Curiosity: A Curiosity challenge resembles a game of Let's Make a Deal (that moronic game show starring Monty Haul that featured intellectually-stunted Mid-westerners dressed as chickens, clowns and Texans vying for whatever the hell was behind Door #2…most often this turned out to be a herd of llamas). The Camp Counselor should have a bunch of sealed envelopes prepared before the game - half should contain "good stuff" and the other half should contain "bad stuff" (it's totally fine for the Camp Counselor to know which envelope is which). For the challenge, the player must decide whether to accept the failure or go for one of the envelopes. "Good Stuff" could include a re-roll, an extra Fate Point, a cool prize or a reduced attribute. "Bad Stuff" might include a straight failure, an extra point in an attribute, a lost Fate Point, instant Death or a herd of llamas.

Naivete: Naivete challenges are easy for players familiar with the Dead Teenager movie genre. If the character's exact Naivete attribute is rolled, that player has about five seconds for his character to spout some cliched horror movie dialog or the character will fail the roll. Sample lines might be: • "It's just a cat." • "I'll be right back…" • "Is anyone out there?" • "Let's split up…" • "This'll be a piece of cake." • "The same thing happened in <insert movie reference here>." • …ad nauseum. If the player can't think of a quote (or is too clueless to realize that he has a chance to save his ass), then he automatically fails the roll. The player may not recycle a line that's already been used during the game (even if that line wasn't said during a challenge!). However… Players who fail can still get a chance to succeed if they do something potentially embarrassing (but not potentially dangerous) suggested by the Camp Counselor or the other players. Yup, it's Truth or Dare time. The author suggests that the player show some skin. Of course, given that the audience of this game are primarily gamers, this could be quite traumatic. That's basically it. Assume the character will be able to accomplish any task that seems appropriate for that character (unless the character is scared shitless or otherwise incapacitated).

Those are the two of the three states that most SQUEAM 3 characters will find themselves in: Been Injured and Being Dead. If you're pretty much okay, then you're Okay. If you've been kinda hurt then you've Been Injured and you'll kind a -1 on all Fright Attribute rolls and a +1 on all Squeamishness rolls. If your head cuts chopped off by a helicopter blade, then you'll spend the rest of the game Being Dead.

Fate gives the players a definite chance of survival...at least for the time being. The Camp Counselor rolls a d10 (secretly!!!), halves that number (round down, natch) and writes down that number next to the character's name (secretly!!! Really, I mean it!). He (like a chick will ever wanna run this game?) should do this for each player in the game. If the character has a Fate Point penalty or bonus, subtract or add that modifier at this time. Now this secret number represents the character's Fate - the number of times you can "cheat death" (kinda like karmic Hit Points, y'know?). When a Fate Point is expended, Fate intervenes on behalf of the character. A failed die roll will turn into a success and/or the character's death will be averted. Unfortunately, the Hand of Fate is capricious…the player will never know how many Fate points he has until it's too late. Another trick: in order to use their Fate points, the player has to scream REALLY loud. If said character runs out of Fate, assume that their screaming represents the character's agonizing death throes. :)

You're on your own, pal. C'mon, you've seen all the movies…you know what they expect. Have fun killing them! Here are a bevy of sample Bad Guys to get you started: Deformed Psycho with an Axe The guys are psychos and they have axes. Motivation: Kill Teenagers Special Abilities: Despite the fact that they move slowly, they always seem to catch up to their

victim (even if said victim drives to Wisconsin, the Psycho will be waiting for them at the state line). Demonic Nasty Some kind of evil spirit, awakened by whatever. Motivation: Kill Teenagers and One-handed Retail Chain Store Employees Special Abilities: Neat-o possession and shape-changing powers. Plain Old Vanilla Late-Night Movie Monster A monster. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, grotesque fishy things. Motivation: Kill Teenagers and Devout Christians Special Abilities: Duh. Don't you own any Stephen King books? Possessed Farm Equipment A malevolent grain elevator, an evil combine or some other spooky piece of self-aware machinery (like a laundry press, a car or an elevator…all real life horror movie examples!). Motivation: Kill Teenagers and Garage Mechanics. Special Abilities: Cool electrical stuff, the ability to lock doors, jam seat-belts and work without being plugged in. Mutant Critter Giant vampire bats, killer bees, super-intelligent rats, flying piranha, grizzly bears that shoot laserbeams from their eyes...you know, monsters from sucky role-playing games. Motivation: Secure status as dominant form of life on Earth (and to Kill Teenagers when that's done). Special Abilities: Fly/swim/burrow, cut electric power lines, open doors without benefit of opposable thumbs, the whole "shooting laser-beams from their eyes" thing. Alien Monstrosity Huge, ancient, predatory beings of cosmic origin and mind-numbing horror. Motivation: Unknowable, presumably to Kill Teenagers Special Abilities: The Power to Warp Space and Time, lots of active cult worshippers... Pleasantly Bland Serial Killer Charming sociopaths with nice hair and a penchant for gourmet food, fine wine and fast cars. Motivation: Kill Teenagers when the mood strikes, or in months with an "r" in them Special Abilities: Devilishly clever and disarmingly handsome (until they whip out the meat cleaver). Creepy Kid/Evil Doll In vitro-spawned Aryan youth with cherubic faces and murderous intentions (or, err...some kind of evil doll that gives you the heebie jeebies even when it's still in the box). Motivation: Kill Teenagers, giggle, watch cartoons Special Abilities: Real strong (for their size), telekinesis, heebie-jeebies

I've already spent way too much time working on this. Now it's your turn. If you get stuck for ideas, just breeze through some schlocky horror paperbacks or crap horror films (I recommend anything beginning with "The" and/or ending with "-ing"). Replace the main characters with those that the characters create. Change the setting a little bit -- Evil Dead II set in an deep-sea research base, Hellraiser set in space (er, actually that's been done)...okay, Friday the 13th set in space (damn, that one's been done as well)...err...well, if all else fails, just hose down your players with fake blood and take your shirt off. Hey, it worked for Wes Craven, right?