Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Tech Deck

A Game of Joy and Madness!

Everyone is John title
Everyone is John title

While looking for a good road trip game I discovered what is one of the most interesting games I have heard of in years. Everyone is John, is less a traditional RPG and more of a game. Designed with simple rules, this game can be completed in a single game session. This game is great for people who just want to do ridiculous things and like to roleplay. The rules for the game are here.

John is central to the story. He is a troubled man who has difficulty functioning in society. Schizophrenia, narcolepsy, and Dissociative Identity Disorder are just some of the mental problems that ail poor John. Each player is a voice in John’s head and they constantly fight for control of his body. Each player has two or three skills, 10 or seven willpower tokens and one obsession. The player who fulfills their obsession the most, wins. More difficult to accomplish obsessions are worth more points. Keep your obsession a secret; if someone else does your obsession you still get the points. If John falls asleep (which he does when bored), gets hurt, or the person in control does their obsession then everyone fights for control of John.

To gain control of John each player bets points of willpower. The player who bid the highest wins and they pay their bid to the DM. In case of a tie they dice off and only the winner pays.

Whenever John does something that can fail, have the controlling player roll 1d6 (one six-sided die). If the player has a skill relating to the thing they are doing they need a 4+ otherwise they need to roll a 6. Players may also spend their willpower to improve their dice rolls. For every point they spend they add one to their roll. Ie they need a 6, roll a 3, so it will take 3 willpower for the player to succeed.

This game is perfect for a new group. It is hilarious, teaches roleplaying, dice rolling, DM vs player roles, it’s free, the rules are simple, and games are short. As a DM this also will show you the crazy things your players will come up with and how well you can improvise. All you need is 1d6, but if you can give one to each player that is best. Additionally, you will want to find 7-10 tokens per player to represent willpower. I use the little translucent rock things for fish bowls as tokens in all my gaming. They have different colors and are relatively cheap. Amazon link here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I look forward to any feedback or your own stories of getting started into roleplaying. Below is another starting place for an Everyone is John adventure. Next time we move on from game suggestions and look into getting a gaming group together.

Dressed in a clown suit you find yourself standing in waiting room of a hospital. You see security is turning the corner and walking towards you hastily. What do you do?

Andrew Smith is one of The Spokesman-Review's IT gurus and resident dungeon master.