Don’t Rest Your Head

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Also available from Indie Press Revolution,, Your Games Now, and DriveThruRPG/RPGNow!

You can’t sleep. It started like that for all of us, back when we were garden variety insomniacs. Maybe you had nightmares (God knows we all do now), or maybe you just had problems that wouldn’t let you sleep. Hell, maybe you were just over-caffienated. But then something clicked.

That was when you took a long walk down the streets of the Mad City, stopped being a Sleeper, and started being Awake. But that click you heard wasn’t from the secret world snapping into place. It was the sound of the Nightmares flicking off the safety and pointing a gun at your head.

They can smell you. The Paper Boys are closing in, and you’d better pray you don’t become a headline. You’re chum in the water, my friend, and it’s time you got ready for it… before the clock chimes thirteen again. Now that you’re one of us, there’s just one simple rule left that must dominate your life.

Stay Awake. Don’t Rest Your Head.

Don’t Rest Your Head is a sleek, dangerous little game, where your players are all insomniac protagonists with superpowers, fighting — and using — exhaustion and madness to stay alive, and awake for just one more night, in a reality gone way wrong called the Mad City. It features its own system, and is contained entirely within one book.


What People Are Saying

“Makes the Call of Cthulhu sanity death spiral look like a handful of baby asprin.”
“… it plays like Call of Cthulhu on crystal meth… This game is really well done, no matter what your dreams are like. And if, like mine, they come from a rich diet of Grant Morrison and H.P. Lovecraft, then this game will tear open your skull and let the monsters in.”

— Ken Hite, author of Nightmares of Mine
(Read his Out of the Box review and his Livejournal comments)

“A dark contemporary RPG about people who have such bad insomnia that they develop super powers. Wins my ‘brilliant IP concept of the show’ award, hands down.”

Robin Laws, author of the Feng Shui and Dying Earth RPGs, and much more

I think that it’s one of the most mechanically innovative games I’ve seen this year… I’d definitely recommend checking out Don’t Rest Your Head.

— Paul Tevis, of Have Games, Will Travel (See the podcast)

Don’t Rest Your Head is like the mutant love child of Dead Inside, Dogs in the Vineyard, Donjon, Lacuna, and Little Fears. It is utterly fantastic, and once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. I’m really eager to play a game of DRYH sometime soon. Fred has seriously set the bar high with this game; I’m certain it will be talked about for years to come.”

— Chad Underkoffler, author of Dead Inside and Truth and Justice

“The setting is dark, deep weird. It’s Morrison and Dark City and Neverwhere and other things in the shadows lovingly baked into a rich torte. That alone is pretty sweet – it’s nicely evocative nightmarish stuff, but the magic is that the rules are there for the pain. They’re simpler to play than they are to explain, but the key thing to realize is that they have a ratcheting effect, so the real danger is rarely about failing in a given situation and more about how much closer it’s going to bring you to the edge. There is a smooth interaction between the mechanical and narrative meaning of a roll that is almost deceptively simple.”

— Rob Donoghue, author of Fate

“It’s like Lacuna and Dead Inside got in a fistfight for supremacy, and Don’t Rest Your Head emerged.”

— Andy Kitkowski, of the 24-Hour RPG Challenge

“A quick scan through the book tells me I’m gonna like this … a lot. It’s got the Dark City/Neverwhere vibe that I hinted at in vs. Monsters (with The Misters) and I instantly thought of Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol as I was reading (and imagine my lack of shock when Doom Patrol was listed in the inspiration section). … I’m gonna rank this pretty high on the “Must Buy” meter.

— Phil Reed of Ronin Arts

“My favorite thing about Don’t Rest Your Head is that this is Fred’s best game so far. … ‘Head is *laser* focused. Tight rules, tight setting, and great production.”

— Joe Murphy

Dark City smashes into Mirrormask, except Mirrormask was all goodness and light compared to this.”

— Carl Cravens

“A high-octane game, … like a sleepless three A.M. under harsh fluorescent lights after six cups of coffee. You’ve been there. You know the feeling.”

— Zachary Houghton of RPG Blog

“There aren’t many game books I sit down and read cover-to-cover, cooing over all the great ideas, but this was one. Like Dogs and The Mountain Witch, Don’t Rest Your Head takes a lot of hairy game theory and makes it into something very cool and practical. The tight focus of the game, with its integration of premise, background and mechanics, is near perfect.”

Scott Dorward

“The questionnaire-like character sheet is awesome for focusing a group on relevant issues to explore and the section relating these questions to the game is one of the clearest and easily-digestible sections I’ve read – explicitly connecting the questions with flashbacks, opening scene, trajectory, etc. clarifies their use wonderfully and introduces things like kickers in the most unintimidating way I’ve seen. … [Don’t Rest Your Head] has gone straight to the top of my next-game-to-run list.”


Web Resources


Actual Play & Other Discussions