Ever watch those ghost hunting shows on TV? Now, I'm not a huge fan, but the idea of a Ghost Hunter RPG is certainly interesting, and that's precisely what Creepy Doll Studios have created here.
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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The PDF of Dude, Run! runs about 60 pages and retails for $5. It is a self-contained, standalone game about playing a group of paranormal investigators, investigating Hotspots and trying to prove the existence of the supernatural. One person plays the "Skeptic", but they are essentially the GM. They set up the creepy encounters and the PCs attempt to use their expertise to prove that the creepy encounters are all real, supernatural occurrences while trying not to lose their cool and run screaming from the Hotspot. Each Investigator has four Techniques, ranked 1 through 4 (with a 1, 2, 3 and array assigned to them). The four Techniques are Sensitive, Tech, Analysis and Research, and they describe the methods that the Investigators can use in order to prove something is supernatural. Investigators also have Belief and Ego, which can fluctuate over the course of gameplay as they try to put themselves ahead of the team and prove that they are the only one qualified to be the Lead Investigator.
The Skeptic sets the amount of evidence that must be found (via die roll) and the Investigators have about 2 hours, generally, to accumulate as much information as possible. Essentially, the Skeptic gives them their hook ("I think my house was built on an Indian Burial Ground!"), builds the Hotspot (the lower the rating, the more frequent the supernatural activity) and then starts dropping events to investigate ("A short in the wiring causes all the power in the living room to go out when the TV is on"). The Investigators use a Technique to explain why something is paranormal, adding their Belief and - if they choose - points of Ego. If anyone rolls triples (because Trouble Comes in Threes), they overdid it and maybe bought into their own story, running off in fear. The remaining Investigators add up all of their dice that came up even as successes, and if they got higher than the Hotspot rating, they can score points or Ego or Evidence. Whoever came up highest gets bonus Evidence points. If they end the episode with more Evidence than the threshold set by the Skeptic, they've "proven" the existence of the supernatural! Simple, right?
The book is filled with a number of hauntings and paranormal experiences, like demons, greys, big foot, and even Men in Black.
A sample Haunting is included to get you started, complete with descriptions and ratings for the house, and a random events table.
Character sheets are also provided, as well as a blank Case Log for tracking the team's investigations.
WHAT WORKS: A fun, light RPG-ish game that could well appeal to non gamers who are open to a little roleplaying. Price point isn't bad and the game knows it's not a deep RPG, avoiding complicated subsystems and instead settling for a quick competitive/cooperative experience. I am utterly in love with that cover.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The game is built with the assumption of an ongoing campaign in mind, but I can't imagine ever really using it more than once or twice a year.
CONCLUSION: Dude, Run! seems like it would be a good deal of fun in the right setting. I could see busting it out annually around Halloween as a much lighter alternative to other horror games like Slasher Film, especially if you have a curious non-gamer or two willing to sit in.