UPDATE: Fixed the misplaced text for Batshit Crazy's "Conspiracy Theorist" cinematic action. Also, updated the page numbers in the artist credits and fixed various typos.

Straight to VHS gets a huge update today (download the game for free HERE). There's a lot to unpack, so for sanity's sake I'm gonna be brief with some of the big points

  • I'm calling this a "Playtest" update because I haven't had time to thoroughly test out a number of changes that have been made in this update. That said, I expect only very minor changes may be needed.

  • We've completely rebuilt the document in Scribus, resulting in a much better looking PDF. That said, features like bookmarks and self-linking didn't make it in time for this update. Expect them soon though!

  • Similarly, I haven't built a new character sheet for this new PDF. For now, I've included links on the site, and in the PDF itself, which will take you to a character sheet PDF (AS OF 5/24, THIS SHEET IS NOW OUT OF DATE WITH THE CURRENT VERSION).

  • Expect updates soon that will build upon the excellent new foundation of the version 0.4 playtest. 

  • This update brings some really great changes to the game, for real!

Alright, time to dig into the change log.

  • Look at how pretty...

  • Significant reordering of the book. Critical information about how the game is played is given first, then character creation, and then in-depth teaching of game rules.

  • "Epic dice tokens" have now been renamed to "tokens". This small change makes the rulebook a bit more pleasant to read.

    • Changed the criteria for earning tokens directly from the director. The new criteria move away from "who can make me laugh the most?" and are more about making cool decisions.

  • Cover, Hiding and Pulling It Together are now all clearly covered in the How to Play section.

  • "Days" have been retooled and renamed to "Acts" because "days" was hugely inaccurate and dumb and bad. Mea culpa.

  • Showing weakness through your lowest stat has been changed. Now ANY consequential roll with your lowest stat will work, however you'll be taking an automatic 2. It's simpler, more interesting and more narratively satisfying

  • Stat Tweaks are gone. In their place is more robust stat boosts from Tropes. This streamlines character creation nicely. Due to this change, I do fully expect to need balancing tweaks in upcoming updates.

  • Bad Edits now cost a token. Bad Edits don't always get remembered and furthermore aren't always needed. But they'd been available every scene and for free. This created a sense that to play the game "efficiently" you need to get in the habit of utilizing your Bad Edit as often as possible, turning the ability into something that needs to be "tracked". By making it cost a token, Bad Edits are more about noticing the right opportunity, not just utilizing your arsenal.

  • Changes to being knocked prone: There's no longer a weird persnickety rule about not being able to move if you have a "very close" move distance and are knocked prone. However, everyone now gets a blooper die to DEF rolls while knocked prone.

  • Expanded on the importance on integrating the heroes into the story in the partially new "Integrating the Heroes" section.

  • Refined the explanation of Dramatic Effects and Pulling it Together.

  • Created a single method/philosophy for ruling all variety of combat actions, nullifying the need to memorize or keep around a list of various combat actions and how to rule them. An optional list is retained solely for the purpose of providing examples for unsure and new Directors.

  • The "Assist" action on that list has been simplified to granting an epic die rather than a numerical bonus with a dependency.

  • The "Grab" action on that list (and on relevant Bad Guy entries) has been simplified to uniformly reduce the move distance of the grabber and grabbed.

  • Added text throughout the Bad Guys section, elaborating on individual baddies and abilities and sometimes just offering advice on directing action sequences.

  • Removed armor from the Other Items list.

  • Added clothing sytles to the Other Items list.

  • Fixed a number of typos and formatting errors. Some were meaningful, such as the Speed of Plot perk lacking underlined text.

  • The "Bad-Movie Mindset" page has been removed. Various other text had rendered it redundant.

  • The "Optional Rules" section has been removed. My reasoning here is that the game remains unfinished and that I need to get the core game in tip-top shape before worrying about this sort of stuff.

  • New and improved text throughout! More information is bullet-pointed or otherwise presented in a clearer fashion.


  • First of all, as stated above, all tropes have had their stat bonuses and penalties turned up in the wake of "Stat Tweaks" being cut out of the game. These stat changes will doubtlessly be getting tweaked as time goes on.

  • Gumshoe: The blooper has been changed from "Friends and Family" to "Emotions."

  • Jack Burtonesque: Can no longer show weakness anytime you roll with a forte. Instead a new cinematic action allows you to show weakness by expressing your confusion. Additionally, the cinematic action "The Check Is In the Mail" has been removed and the trope's DEF bonus has been raised all the way to +6.

  • Ninja: This has had a weird blooper of "Computers" for a while which was only half-fitting and threw a pail of water on Techno Ninjas (which sound awesome!). So now, Ninja gives you the option of choosing either Technology or Emotions as your blooper.

  • Road Rash: The "Get to tha Choppa!" cinematic action now requires you to turn in a token rather than spend 1 AP. Got rid of the clunky "4-wheeled vehicles" blooper.

  • Though Art From the Past and Though Art From the Future have been reconstituted as the new and much more flexible Otherworldly trope.

  • Removed the "Haunted" trope. Mechanically complex, and.... just not all that tropey. I'm open to bringing it back in another form, but for now it's not something I would want in the final game.



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