Everyone Is John
Everyone Is John is one of the quickest, simplest RPG's out there, created by Michael B. Sullivan The main concept is that every player but one plays a voice in "John's" head. All of these voices are trying to get John to do something that they like. The funniest thing about this game is your voice can make him want to do ANYTHING. (I mean ANYTHING) The remaining player plays as John. It is advised that this player is the usual GM/ST or at least the best at telling a story.
- 4-6 Players
- One Notepad for each player
- At least one D6
- Some kind of marker in abundance (Poker Chips work well)
First, you pick a name for your voice. Everyone playing as a voice chooses what they will try to make John do. This is called their Obsession. When they successfully make John do these things they earn points. These are divided into three categories, Leveled from one to three.
- Level One: Simple, one-step things like eating candy, yelling in public, basically anything that only requires one roll.
- Level Two: Slightly more complicated or dangerous tasks, things like collecting and throwing baseballs, running a mile in a new/stolen pair of shoes, or masturbating onto people in public (Someone seriously chose this) These typically require slight planning, or at least 2 rolls.
- Level Three: Okay, now we are getting serious. This is reserved for horribly diabolical/disgusting actions. (all of these examples following have been in sessions I have been in) blowing up buildings, swimming in excrement, dressing up as a transvestite and selling your body, suicide, organ harvesting, and raping children (Yes, I know.)
You keep your Obsession hidden from your opponents for more shock value.
Now you choose your two specialties. John is an overall very unskilled person; never been really good at anything, unless a voice tells him to do it. Any roll you are not specialized in requires a 6 on a D6 die. Actions you have a specialty for only require a 3+. You can choose 2 Specialties, or 3 with a penalty for the game. These skills should be at least slightly specific, things like "Everything forever" are not acceptable. Example skills would be:
- Talking to adults
- Talking to children
- Eating in Excess
- Assembling/Detonating Bombs
- Lock picking
- Performing (Dance, Singing, Instrument)
Then, you show your Name, Obsession, and Specialties to "John"
Everyone then receives 10 Willpower tokens (7 If you took 3 specialties)
"John" sets the opening scene by telling the players where they are, this can be anywhere. A hardware store, a zoo, a school, an airplane over the pacific ocean. Players now "Ante up" some of their tokens, whoever offers the most loses the tokens offered (Other players keep their tokens), then gets control of John until they either earn points or fail a roll. Now you get out there and earn points, everyone gets back one willpower token when control is about to switch. Keep in mind that even while you are not in control, you can talk to John to achieve truly epic LULZ. Willpower can also be used to improve your rolls, each willpower spent increases the roll by one. so a normally 3+ roll becomes a 2+ with 1 token. It IS possible to make a roll automatically succeed this way. Again, everyone receives a token when control switches, up to their starting number.
The game ends when John dies or all Voices run out of willpower.
For your sake I will provide an example of a session I played with 3 friends. (Internal voices names are italicized)
Narrator (John out of character): You wake up in the middle of a hardware store, wearing the stores' employee uniform. What do?
John: Man, I can't believe I actually got this job. I'm so glad that medication the doctor prescribed me is working so well! I'm sure missing one dose won't have any horrible implications.
[Players Bid for control, James wins with 7]
James (Slightly raspy voice): Hey there John...
John: Wha? Who's there?
James: You shouldn't talk to yourself John, People will think you're CRAZY.
John: Oh god... Please, no... Not again...
James: It's okay John, call me James, I just need you to do something for me...
Narrator: John's old friend, Billy walks into the relatively empty hardware store.
Billy: Hey John! You doing OK buddy? You look a little pale?
James: John! Look at that lonely nailgun sitting all alone on the ground over there, you should pick that up...
John: Okay, Makes sense...
John Picks up the nail gun
James: Now walk over to Billy like normal, John.
John does this, Billy looks slightly nervous as he does
James: Now john, STICK IT IN HIS GUT AND PULL THE TRIGGER.
[Specialized skill check, James rolls a 4, Success!]
Billy: What are you... AARGH!
John pulls the trigger repeatedly, until Billy drops to the ground, dead.
[Bid for control, Hamza wins with 6]
Hamza (Thick Arab accent): John! What have you done!?!
John: I don't know, James sounded so convincing... Please help me...
Hamza: It's OK John, my name's Hamza, I know what to do.
John: Oh thank you... Thank you...
Hamza: Now, go get a propane tank, we're gonna have a barbecue, like when you were a boy...
John quickly finds a propane tank
Hamza: Now go across the street to Starbucks.
John: Why? there's nothing there, but I'll go, I don't want to see Billy anymore...
John leaves after dropping the nail gun, his clothes drenched in blood
John makes it into Starbucks, receives some puzzled looks
Hamza: You need to get washed up, John. Go to the bathroom.
John gets in and turns on the sink
Hamza: I just realized, we don't know if the tank is empty. You should open the valve way up so we can tell!
John begins turning the nozzle
Hamza: This is too slow! Bust it over the sink!
[Specialized Skill check, Hamza Rolls a 4, Success!]
Propane gas now floods the small bathroom
John: Oh god! I'm getting dizzy...
Hamza: Now bust a light bulb to get something to plug the hole.
[Skill check, Hamza rolls a 2, Failed!]
John: I can't do it, it would hurt so much!
[Bid for control, Matt wins with 5]
Matt: Get out of that gas John, you will get sick!
John does this, and runs outside the store, only to hear a woman scream
Woman: OH MY GOD HE IS DEAD! CALL THE POLICE!
John: Oh god, they found Billy! What do I do?!?
Matt: Run, John! To the school! They will never find you there!
[Specialized Skill check, Matt rolls a 2, Failed!]
John: It's too far, I'll never make it...
[Bid for control, James wins with 5]
James: You need to defend yourself, John! Run to Sports Authority!
John does this, looking rather crazy covered in blood, crying, still off balance from the gas
John heads to the back with the guns
James: Buy a shotgun and ammunition.
[Specialized skill check, James rolls a 3, Success!]
James: Don't you feel safe now?
John: Well, Yeah.
James: You should sneak out back and head to the bookstore. Nobody has guns there, those people need to feel safe too!
John: Yeah! I'll be a hero!
John gets to the bookstore, everyone freaks out and drops to the ground
John: No! It's OK!
[Narrator rolls a die, it comes up a 5]
A loud explosion comes from the Coffee shop down the road!
James: That man on the left looks like a cop, KILL HIM!
James: IT'S HIM OR YOU!
[Specialized skill check, James rolls a 5, success!]
The man's head EXPLODES, sending chunks in all directions.
[Bid for control, Matt wins with 6]
Matt: See that little girl?
Matt: RAPE HER!
John: Oh my GOD!!!
[Specialized Skill check, Matt rolled a 2, Failed! And dozens of people reading this are disappointed!]
John: NONONONONO, I WON'T!
[Bid for control, Hamza wins with 6}
Hamza: JOHN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?
John: I DON'T KNOW ANYMORE!
Hamza: Go back to sports authority! Maybe you can sell the gun back so they don't find it!
John: Okay, okay, just leave me alone...
John gets in the door to Sports Authority
Hamza: Wait, go to the camping section, you may need to hide out for a while!
John: Okay, makes sense.
Hamza: See that line of propane tanks?
John: Yeah... Why?
Hamza: Check if they are full, tap it with your gun...
John does so, a deep twang sounds out
Hamza: Did you hear that? It's a little girl trapped inside one of them!
Hamza: Open all the valves to see if you can hear her! Hurry, John! You will be a hero!
[Specialized skill check, Hamza Rolls a 4, Success!]
John opens all of the valves, the gas quickly flows out, filling the air around him
Hamza: Can't you hear her? She's lost in the smoke! Fire your gun to lead her to you!
[Skill check, Hamza spent 3 Willpower, Hamza rolled a 6, Success!]
A huge explosion rolls through the store, destroying it and killing John in the process. GAME OVER
James: Obsession: shooting people, LVL 2 Times completed: 2 4 Points
Matt: Obsession: Raping children, LVL 3 Times completed: 0 0 Points
Hamza: Obsession: Terrorist bombings, LVL 3 Times completed: 2 6 Points
- http://wso.williams.edu/~msulliva/campaigns/john/ - Michael B. Sullivan