What did we do?
A few years ago I convinced several of my non-gaming friends to come over to my apartment for food, role-playing, and a movie. Readers of my blog know I enjoy horror movies, so it likely comes as little surprise that I selected “Night of the Creeps”. Made in the vintage year 1986, it’s a cheesy movie in which evil slug-like aliens invade human bodies in an attempt to take over the world. For those of you with better taste than mine and who haven’t seen it, it’s a gory zombie flick. My theme, therefore, was gore, slugs, humor, and a Lovecraft-like otherworldly creepiness.
What did we eat?
The monsters are a slimy and purple fast-moving slug-like creatures that crawl in through a victims’ mouth (let’s hope that’s the only orifice that offers a route to their destination), so I created a variation on the Jello shot. I made purple Jello with vodka on a flat baking sheet and cut them out in the shape of a creeper. I then made a purple hooter shot and plopped the “slug” in the shot glass. It was a combination shot/Jello-shot of considerable proof (and likely reason for the enjoyment my friends had that night). Other eats and beverages were similarly slug-like, but less exciting. The menu included thick Japanese Udon noodles with red and purple food coloring and body part Halloween candy I had been saving.
What did we play?
Because my visiting friends were not familiar with role-playing games at all, I pre-generated characters loosely based on the movie and created a rules-light generic system with a somewhat Call of Cthulhu-esque sanity attribute and correlating table. Unfortunately, I didn’t save any of my notes or mechanics, so I can’t share them here. I vaguely remember it being a stat-based check system in which players had to roll under their few attributes as I haphazardly applied modifiers. All the players did was state their intentions and roll a few dice. I would sometimes say, “That’s going to be hard” or something along those lines, but, for the most part, even that wasn’t necessary.
The setting was a sleepy little college town, not unlike the very one in which my apartment was situated at the time (Oxford, Ohio). I established a college professor as the primary antagonist. As a professor of astronomy, he was working on a recently landed meteorite when he accidently released tens of creepers and became infected himself. This was only a slight variation on the movie’s creeper delivery in which the creepers arrive from an accidently jettisoned space container. The professor/creeper quickly exposed the local campus police who were nearly all converted into police/creepers. The party of characters, mostly composed of college students, had their normal lives interrupted as they got caught up in investigating and ultimately destroying the source of creeper evil.
I made sure to include plenty of typical b-movie sequences in the game such as unexpected attacks, gratuitous nudity, stereotypical character archetypes, and over-acting (that came naturally). Surprisingly, two of my friends, Drew and Craig, really took to the idea of role-playing. On their own, they came up with a great idea and implemented it well. They decided to both play the same schizophrenic character who had escaped from the local college psychotherapy building. Every five minutes, they would roll a die. If the result was odd, Drew would play the character how he wanted. If the result was even, Craig would take over as the operating personality. The dynamic worked well with the party and created hilarious results, especially during action sequences. It was interesting to note that when one person was “playing” and the other wasn’t, the non-player didn’t tune out, because he knew he had to pay attention to what was going on to be ready when and if he jumped into play.
Ultimately it was a fantastic night, though I remember some of the girls being a bit turned off by the movie’s gore and nudity (really?). I’ve been a college graduate for twelve years now and live in a suburb rather than an apartment complex, but still love cheesy horror flicks, and still love to game, and am still surrounded by non-gamers. Weird, huh? Maybe it’s time to grab some of my neighbors who typically come over for UFC fight nights and start a new eating/gaming/movie tradition. Have any of you ever successfully done something similar to this?
No. Enc.: 2d6
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: 2 (bite, invade)
Damage: 1d4, 0
Hoard Class: None
Slippery, fast-moving, and resembling twelve inch black slugs, creepers enter a host’s mouth and assume motor control of the body. Once a Creeper has invaded a host body, the character dies and the body begins to decay. Every two hours of host occupation, the Creeper can generate one additional creeper. An animated host is not undead.