Their roles vary throughout the games and they are sometimes replaced by other things. They're mostly sought after to beat the games and Slender Man often gets stronger or more relentless.
The page's first and most significant appearance was in Slender: The Eight Pages. As the title suggests, there are eight pages scattered in locations throughout the map. If the player takes too long (5 minutes) to collect a page, the Slender Man will automatically spawn/become more aggressive. When all of them are collected, the player can continue to escape, but the Slender Man will seemingly take them.
Their intent in the game is unconfirmed, though it's quite near obvious that the Slender Man doesn't want the player to find them all, as he becomes even more relentless as more are collected. Also, as of an update, when the Slender Man seemingly takes the player, the player then wakes up seemingly alive in the day (night if playing daytime mode) and can walk around a few seconds until the credits start.
The pages appear to be written on lined paper, and have crude drawings warning the player, begging for help, and begging Slender Man to go away.
The pages do not indicate having any special powers whatsoever, however due to fan correlation of Kate surviving and the pages being collected, some have assumed they have magical power.
Pages reappear in Slender Rising and Slender Rising 2 and are referred to as signs, unlike Slender. There are seven signs scattered throughout the map, and the player can actually escape when all are collected. In Slender Rising 1, the player will escape straight away when the seventh sign is collected. In it's sequel, after the seventh sign is collected, the player must get to the portal whilst still avoiding the Slender Man.
In Slender Rising 1 and 2, the signs are drawn on old brown paper on wood, and often appear to be written in blood. They seem to have more threatening sentences than Slender's pages, such as "You are the sacrifice" and "No one leaves alive". Also, the letter O is often replaced by The Operator Symbol. When the player finds the last sign, it will show words of disappointment, such as "Why won't you just die?" and "You really made it?".
The way to tell when the player is close to a sign is when they hear ghostly whispering, and the whispering becomes louder the closer the player is to one.
They are often found on the sides of walls or buildings, though they can also appear on vehicles, trees, inside cabins, or even on gravestones and log piles.
One of the biggest misunderstandings of the pages comes from their interpretation in Slender: The Eight Pages.
In Slender: The Eight Pages, should the player fail to collect all of the pages, they will be killed by Slender Man, prematurely ending their adventure, and granting the player a game over. Despite this, however, the actual power of the pages is highly debatable. Since Kate is taken over as a proxy in Slender: The Arrival, which also shows both Kate and Lauren surviving multiple encounters with Slender Man during the game even in situations without pages, it's very likely the pages are entirely unrelated to stopping Slender Man and are merely present to give the player a goal beyond wandering aimlessly through a forest with no way to "win the game".
Additionally, due to Slender Man being primarily silent, it makes it nearly impossible to deliver dialogue and do any form of narrative when the main antagonist of the story is incapable of talking. To make up for this, the pages set an atmosphere for the player, ultimately allowing the player to understand the danger of Slender Man without him ever having to utter a single word.
Additionally many Slender Man based games require collecting 8 objects that are typically pages, sometimes more. As a result, it's likely the prevalence of the pages was not due to actually being related to Slender Man's power in any way, but being a convenient tool to keep the player moving that had already proven effective in the original works: Slender: The 8 Pages. As such, the pages themselves are set pieces with no actual power beyond being a piece of paper with meaningless words written on them to instill panic in the player and continually make the game harder while forcing the player to move in order to succeed.
Despite this, some works do depict the pages as having power. The aforementioned Slender: Rising games (which are not canon to Slender: The 8 Pages or Slender: The Arrival), insinuate that the pages have the ability to create portals or allow the player to effectively escape him. In these scenario's the pages act similar to a dampening effect, weakening Slender Man as more are collected, but requiring all of them to be effective. Once all are collected, Slender Man becomes incapable of outright killing his target, and can, at best, incapacitate them for a brief period.
Other theories assume a variety of possibilities. If one were to assume Slender Man was a demon, then it is entirely possible that the pages act as religious wards to fend off Slender Man. If one were to assume Slender Man were an alien, it's possible the pages are some kind of foreign homing device that Slender Man needs set up in order to continue whatever goal he has. If one were to assume Slender Man was a fairy, then the number of pages and what is written on them likely form some kind of spell that affects him the more they are collected after being scattered. Still, the likely explanation is that they're there for the player, and aren't supposed to be taken seriously by character in the story.
In a classical surgist point of view, pages are not a thing, and having pages would be as effective as having any other piece of paper against an inhumanly strong, tentacle-limbed, teleporting, supernatural entity. For surgists, pages are, at best, an attempt by insane victims to leave some kind of warning or memorial for themselves so others in their situation know they aren't alone or that they didn't make it. Beyond that, surgists tend to believe that pages were a byproduct of the unfortunate result of Slender Man hitting temporary mainstream culture, and are an entirely unnecessary part of the mythos.
- The pages make a cameo appearance in the game Valley, a game created by Blue Isle Studios (the creators of Slender: The Arrival), they can be found across the map although their design is randomly generated.
- They are identified as "unintelligible sketchings" in-game.
- Finding all eight pages throughout the world earns the player an achievement respectively titled "The Eight Pages".