So it's not something we talk about a whole heck of a lot, but one of our favorite pastime entertainments here on the Dork Forty is role-playing games. No, we don't put on French Maid costumes for each other -- well, not as part of the official Dork Forty funtimes, anyway. What consentin' nerd wranglers do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is up to them. What I'm talkin' about here is the good ol' dorky table-top RPG. You know... Dungeons & Dragons and the like.
Now, most RPGs aren't particularly Halloweenie. Sure, there's that (non-sparkly) Vampire game and all the stuff that goes with it. And of course there's the ever-popular Call of Cthulhu. But beyond those, horror roleplayin' has never been all that prominent. It's usually more about killin' stuff in a heroic manner, rather than... you know... serial killer style. (Though there's a game in there somewheres, I just know it...) Part of the reason for this disconnect between RPGs and horror is, I think, the reliance on numbers and dice. Things are just a lot less scary when they've got hit points. There are ways around that if you're creative, but most RPGers just aren't creative in that way. So horror gaming tends not to work so well.
But I was pointed toward an easy (and free!) RPG recently that I thought had a lotta Halloweenie potential: Everyone is John. The premise is fiendishly simple: John is a crazy person, and everybody plays one of the voices in his head. Each player tries to get John to do what they want, in competition with everybody else. You get points for achieving your goals, and roll dice to maintain control. At the end of the evening, the player that's gotten the highest score wins.
Now, there are scores and dice and all that involved in Everyone is John, and I'll give you a link to the full text of the rules (which take up a single page) at the end of this post. But they don't get in the way of play, or in the way of any SANITY-BLASTING HORROR you might want to inject. And the potential for said horror seems pretty high to me. Get a group of like-minded individuals together, and this game could be one of the better exercises in horror roleplaying I've seen. We'll be playin' a around of this game while we wait in the punkin patch tonight, and I personally can't wait. I've had the opportunity to play a voice in someone's head before, and I've been looking for a way to get back to it ever since.
If you wanna give it a shot yourself... Just go here: Everyone is John. And if you want more free weird-ass RPGs, check out the parent page: Sandor at the Zoo.