Fright Night: Defeating the Monster

So Fright Night is almost done: I wrapped up the art several days ago (or maybe it's been over a week...hard to tell with all the art commissions I've been saddled with), all the text is laid out, and we've handed the pdf off to others for proofreading and to see if we've missed anything.

Barring any major rewrites and/or additions it could be out this weekend. It's pretty exciting for us, not just because it's our first standalone role-playing game, but also because it's not a hack from another system: we built it from the ground up to do exactly what we wanted.

Even better, people that have both read and (better yet) played it have expressed interest in us taking the system and using it with other genres, like X-Files or Fringe, superheroes, and I can even see it delivering a punishing rogue-like, dungeon crawl experience.

That said there's one thing we're still debating, and that's how we explain how the Main Characters kill, escape from, or otherwise defeat the Monster.

The current model treats the Monster as a kind of prolonged task that requires 3 successful Stat Checks per Main Character to overcome. So if you've got two Main Characters, you gotta rack up six Successes, and if you have three you'll need a whopping nine.

This is my personal preference, because unlike giving the monster a pool of points—Hit Points, Wounds, Stress, or whatever you want to call them—it doesn't imply killing the Monster as a default, which depending on your Movie and Monster may not even be possible (because the Monster could be something like Jason Voorhees, a horde of zombies, or a vengeful spirit like Samara/Sadako).

Here are the (kind of) two alternatives that have been pitched:

Alternative 1: Stat Points
The Monster effectively has 3 Stat Points per Main Character, essentially making it a reverse of the current model: instead of making Stat Checks to gain Successes, you make Stat Checks to reduce the Monster's pool of points, and once it's out you've defeated it.

The upside is that it has both the Main Characters and Monsters using the same "health" system, but the downside is that I think it implies beating it to death as the norm.

Alternative 2: Hit Points
This is basically Stat Points by another name. In addition to having both the Main Characters and Monsters effectively have the same health system, Hit Points is a pretty common term in role-playing games that people might grasp more quickly.

The downside, again, is that it carries the same implications of Stat Points and stabbing the Monster to death.

So what are your thoughts? Which model/terminology seems most appropriate to you, keeping in mind that killing the Monster isn't always assumed or even possible (in fact, in playtest games we've had to flee from the Monster).

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