Everyone is John

A competitive roleplaying game for three or more people.

Author’s Notes

Everyone is John has, quite to my surprise, developed a small but devoted following over the years. I’ve made it available again here principally to advertise the fact that I’ve released it under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which basically allows anyone to copy and alter and remix it. But, appropriately enough, the premiere site for Everyone is John is probably http://www.everyoneisjohn.com. I do not control that site, am not affiliated with that site, and do not endorse everything on that site, but I am pleased that people like my game enough to have broadcast it during the time that my webpage was down.

So, basically, if you want the canonical text, here it is. If you’re looking for Everyone is John resources, got to http://www.everyoneisjohn.com or just Google it, and you’ll find lots of stuff. Thanks!

The Game Itself

Everyone is John is a humorous, competitive roleplaying game about playing the various personalities of John, an insane man from Minneapolis. One participant is the GM, or, in Everyone is John lingo, “Everyone Else.” All of the other players are Voices in John’s head.

Everyone is John uses six-sided dice (you really only need one, but it might be easiest if every participant carries one) for play.


Voices are the Player Characters of Everyone is John. They are defined by a simple character sheet:

If you’re going to seriously compete with the other Voices, you probably should keep your sheet a secret.


John is a totally insane man in Minneapolis. He is controlled by the Voices in his head — one at a time, of course.

John is not terribly competent; he has difficulty with a lot of things that you and I might take for granted. Whenever John attempts anything that an ordinary person might have any chance of failure at, he needs to roll for success.

The Voice who is currently in control of John does the rolling. If that Voice has a skill that covers the challenge, the Voice needs to roll a 3 or higher on the single d6. If it doesn’t have a skill, it needs to roll a 6. However, before the roll, the Voice can spend any number of Willpower points to get a +1 per point spent on the die roll. This can make success automatic.

Becoming the active Voice is a bit of a challenge, though. Whenever John wakes up or gets hurt, a test for control of John happens. Also, whenever the currently active Voice fails a roll or completes its obsession, a test for control of John happens.

When a test for control of John occurs, all of the Voices who are interested simultaneously bid one or more Willpower points (if you’re using tokens for Willpower, it’s easiest for everyone to just hold out the tokens in their closed hands, and then, when everyone’s ready, reveal the number of tokens). Voices don’t have to bid if they don’t want to (and you can hold out zero tokens if you want to fake out the other Voices). The highest number of Willpower becomes the active Voice. If multiple people bid the same highest amount, then they roll off to see who becomes active.

The Voice who becomes active loses the amount of Willpower it bids. All others keep their bids. It’s perfectly acceptible for the previously active Voice to win a bid and remain active.

Whenever John wakes up, the struggle for control of John happens before the GM describes the situation John wakes up into.

John is pretty easily distracted. Whenever nothing exciting is happening for ten minutes or more (such as on a bus ride or the like), the GM should roll a die. On a roll of 4 or higher, John goes to sleep and wakes up whenever (prompting a struggle for control of John). When John naps like this, all of the Voices gain one Willpower.


Play begins with John waking up in the morning (and a test for control of him). The GM then describes the circumstances into which he wakes up. With John, you never can tell. He could be in a gutter somewhere, or he could be in a palatial estate, or anywhere in between. The Voices really have no idea how they ended up here.

At this point, the Voices should start working on fulfilling their obsessions and avoiding getting John killed. Inevitably, their Willpowers will decrease. Once all of the Voices are out of Willpower, John sinks back into sleep, and the game session is over.

At this point, the Voices reveal their obsessions and count up how many times each was filled. Note that it counts for you if someone else is Active and fulfills your obsession.

Now, multiply the number of times you fulfilled your obsession by your obsession’s rank (1, 2, or 3). That’s the number of points you have. Highest number of points wins the game, and, generally speaking, is the GM of the next game of Everyone is John.

Everyone is John is © 2002 by Michael Sullivan.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.