IF Comp ’13 – Hanon Ondricek’s Final Girl!

October 23, 2013

Everyone is dead. You are still alive. The Skull Lake Stalker might have a trick or two left up his sleeve. Will you survive the last reel of the movie?

Requires a free StoryNexus account (Fallen London).

I’m a bit shirty about having to register a StoryNexus account, but the process was not difficult, so fuck it.  Let’s see how we fare against the Skull Lake Stalker.  (My best guess:  terribly.)

[spoilers begin here]

I’ve never heard the Final Girl specifically called this before, but it’s a classic horror trope:  when you’ve got a bunch of teenagers getting laid and killed (mostly in that order), the girl who remains a virgin is allowed to survive through to the very end.  (Remember how sex is death?  I think that might be the hidden theme of this year’s IF Comp.)

It’ll be interesting playing a StoryNexus game; I haven’t touched one since Echo Bazaar was Echo Bazaar.  The way I remember it working is you have a restricted number of points to spend on actions of your choice, which (depending on die rolls?) change the state of the world in a real variable-centric kind of way.  Right now, Bailey is alive, I don’t know whether Max is or not, I have a 2 in Exertion: Blood-Pounding and a 1 each in Squick and Terror.  Sounds about right.

Huh.  I’m not really understanding the correlation between being told I have succeeded/failed in these challenges and actually succeeding/failing at what I’m trying to do in the game.  Are these actual rolls or just there to heighten the drama?  I suspect the latter, which is kind of disappointing, although I guess it’s better than a totally chance-derived outcome.  (I have not yet been asked to make an actual choice.)

Ah, okay, I think I have the choice to continue sitting on the hood of the police cruiser or get in the back of the squad car.  I am highly suspicious of the sheriff and his deputy, because if everything were actually all right, the story would be over.

Okay, now we’re getting into the meat of the thing.  Oh, man, most of my friends’ fates are currently unknown!
Who cares where Vanessa is?
Oh snap.

Huh.  It just got… I had to pick a mystery card and play it without really understanding what it did.  I’m still not sure!

ohshit ohshit the body is gone
This is getting pretty suspenseful!

Fuck yeah I got a tree branch!  I could maybe smack a killer in the face with this!  Or piss off a bear!

It just takes some MacGyvering (who knows what that means, but Steve and Scott say it all the time when they have a plan).
Ack!  Kids these days!

Don’t mess with Girl Scouts, bitches.
Fuckin’ A you don’t.  I personally have badges in… friendship?  Macrame?  Okay, I’m not positive I learned a damn thing in Girl Scouts, but I’m kind of a fuckup.

Oh no, I died!  But it’s okay, because it was all a movie!

Ha!  If I restart (which I totally do, because this game is replayable as all get-out), I am given the option to run for the bathroom early so I don’t miss anything important happening in the movie.  This skips the introductory part with no choices in it.  Freaking nice, both that that option is included and that it is so well narratively justified.

ohshit ohshit he’s putting staples in my face

Hmm.  I need to find the pliers.  SHIT YES I FOUND THE PLIERS!  Self-actualization HOOOOOOOO!  (Sometimes self-actualization is Thundercats.)

Aw hell yeah gas-powered chainsaw!  I hope it’s like that gas-powered stick, in that it never runs out of gas.

As the mechanism operates, various cables are systematically pulled and released, causing the corpses on the bed to perform a slow, spasmodic clockwork marionette parody of lovemaking.

Ha ha ha no way am I getting into this nice scented bath with the rose petals all over it.  No.  Way.  (I am pretty curious about it though.)

I am leveling up my pliers skill like whoa.

You now have 1 – 1 x BadAssery

What do you mean, equip a canoe paddle and draw from the deck to row around the lake?  Oh, I guess it’ll bring up the card draw screen now.  I am still not entirely sure how this game works on a mechanical level.

What the hell? The Stalker is driving a speedboat, and it’s headed right for you! Where the hell did he get a freaking speedboat?

Aw man, I was doing really well that time, too.  At least I know where they keep the pliers.
That was probably the most fun I’ve had with a comp game so far.  Don’t know if I’m invested enough to try to beat it, but it was definitely absorbing.

Note from the future:  Several other people complained about the frequent drawn-out fights with the killer, and I’m inclined to agree that something could have been done differently.  Having to keep your distance from the killer was a good mechanic; it created real apprehension and contributed to the feeling of being in a horror movie, but the actual encounters with the killer got pretty tedious.  Having to succeed at two consecutive die rolls with bad odds slowed the pace down a bunch, as did the killer’s Stormtrooper-like staple gun abilities.

If I were the queen of the world and in charge of this game, cats would have helicopter blades coming out of their backs, and also the killer encounters would start from a bit further back.   By which I mean you’d sense the killer before they arrived and have to hide, maybe even choose a hiding place from a context-sensitive list, then roll to see if the killer went looking for you, then roll to see if they found you, then start the combat business and increase the killer’s chance-to-hit.  Just a thought.

Helicopter cats.  Man.  That’d be the best.


  1. Thank you thank you! You and Emily Short both have provided the most constructive ideas to improve the game. You are a goddess JP 🙂

    • Rest assured that I am not, because cats still walk boringly around on their little cat legs instead of propelling themselves noisily through the air wearing little helmets.

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