We’re back, and after a few episodes about Call of Cthulhu, we’re talking about Dead of Night, a horror RPG that is largely tentacle-free. That’s not to say that you that you can’t do Lovecraftian horror with Dead of Night, which is a set of mechanics for emulating horror films, but the tentacles are purely optional. If you can think of a monster, murderer or supernatural menace that would render the protagonists of a horror film into red, meaty paste, Dead of Night can bring it to life.
Described as “the roleplaying game of campfire tales, slasher movies and b-movie horror”, Dead of Night is a light, simple system designed for one-shots, and can easily be explained to new players on the fly. You can create a player character in a couple of minutes, which is a good thing, given that they’re known in the game text as “victims”. We’ve found that it works well for anything from manic comedy-horror to dark, serious games that drip with atmosphere and blood.
Dead of Night is the brainchild of good friend of the Good Friends Andrew Kenrick, and came out of the burst of British RPG self-publishing known as the Collective Endeavour, that gave us such games as Hot War, 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars, Contenders, Duty & Honour and Umläut: Game of Metal. I was recently asked in an interview whether I thought self-publishing was a worthwhile pursuit for RPG designers, and these games were the reason I answered with an enthusiastic yes.
All the pictures in these notes come from the second edition of Dead of Night, which was laid-out and illustrated by the incredibly talented Paul Bourne. This edition features some of Paul’s best work, especially in the form of the many fake horror film posters he spread throughout the book like the viscera of so many victims. We’ve raved about Paul’s work before, back when we discussed Hot War, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so again. Paul now works full-time for Cubicle 7, and you will notice his distinctive handiwork in the layout of many of their books.