D is for Dreaming;
You do it no more.
Yet whence comes this shade
Lurking at your front door?
When the clock strikes 13 and the Nightmares come out to hunt, the Mad City seals itself away from Sleeper and Awakened alike. In the sleeping world of reality, the moment passes in an instant of fugue or melancholy, and the clock ticks over as normal... but in the City, escape becomes impossible and for an hour the promise of home and safety becomes so distant as to seem a dream.
It's the hour of the wolf, the time when everything goes to hell and you can hear the feral bitch panting on the other side of the door. Sometimes it feels like it lasts a lot longer, and those times have been coming a lot more often. Last time, you heard the wolf whelp her pups while you waited, and she suckled them at her teats until the hour passed. This time, she's teaching them your scent, how to hunt and track you. Next time...
Well, let's just hope there isn't a next time. Let's hope that you're smart enough to get out of the damn City when 13 o'clock strikes, from now on. But just in case, make sure that dresser is nearby. Pushing it in front of the door won't help you any, but there's a good bottle of vodka inside. Just make sure you have enough glasses to serve all your guests, including a shot glass for each of the pups. Have to be a good host, after all.
Okay, so. I'm going to dive in head-first and attempt to run a game of Don't Rest Your Head. DRYH is an RPG from Evil Hat (the makers/publishers of other such delightful games as Spirit of the Century, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, and the upcoming Dresden Files game), about insomnia and madness. Specifically, you are one of the Awake, people who have been fighting sleep so long that you've won -- for now -- and can see the secret world hiding behind the veil of dreams that keeps most of the rest of humanity asleep.
And on the other side of that veil? The Mad City, where Nightmares walk the streets and hunt those foolish or unfortunate enough to fall into their domain. They want to eat you alive, make you one of them, sending whatever fragments of your once-healthy mind spiraling into an endless dark. Death would be more merciful.
But you're not helpless. The Nightmares often have fantastic powers, but so do you. As one of the Awake, you can do things better than any Sleeper can -- and some things that are patently impossible. You can be the greatest gunman in the world, able to put a bullet through someone's brain without even looking, but even that pales in the face of the torrent of destruction you unleash when you open your mouth and sing a fragment of the song that will someday unmake the world. Or when you point and the cobblestones and brick around rise up on spidery legs to swarm upon and dash themselves against your chosen target. Or when you pull your eyes out to let loose the all-consuming shadows hiding in your broken mind.
A couple caveats: this'll be the first time I'll
have played DRYH, if the game carries off. People who are more experienced are certainly welcome to play and call me on any of my errors; it's the only way I'll get better. As well, I've not run an online game before beyond one or two sessions, so I'm also painfully inexperienced in any of the little oddities of this medium as well. Same deal as before; if you've got suggestions on where I'm slipping up, please make them.
I don't have a firm plot as of yet, just some themes I want to play around with. That said, any DRYH plot is supposed to be at least as much about playing with the PCs backstories as anything the GM creates, and I do have some ideas, so I'm eager to see how this stuff meshes.
As it stands, I'll be able to pull off most nights and evenings other than Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Unless we look at playing at ridiculous o'clock (aka, after midnight, Eastern time), then those three nights are more open.
Anyway. More after I do rest my head, including an intro to character creation stuff. Most of it is fluff, with only a bare handful of hard stats.
The official page can be found here
, with some useful resources like character sheets, a sample character, the wiki, and so on. The game itself can be found on IPR or DriveThru, and there's a supplemental book called Don't Lose Your Mind which focuses more on the Madness powers -- the outright impossible things that you can learn to do, which might be as utilitarian as flight or teleportation, or absurd as being able to call on endless legions of ninjas to do your bidding (they are individually frail, but there's always more of them). DLYM also started the use of the little rhymes, like I opened the post with, to describe powers or otherwise add to the nightmarish fairy-tale feel the game is meant to carry.
"You ask me what makes man great? That he re-created nature? That he has harnessed cosmic forces? That in a brief time he conquered the planet and opened a window on the universe? No! That, despite all this, he has survived and intends to survive in the future."
Roadside Picnic, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky