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Five Nights at Freddy’s inspired this horror RPG about an eldritch radio show that comes with its own soundtrack

DJ Mike going off the air, for good.

Artwork for The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio.
Image credit: Game and a Curry

A new horror tabletop roleplaying game that takes inspiration from the likes of Five Nights at Freddy’s features its own soundtrack.

The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio is an upcoming roleplaying game that sees players chronicling their experiences of witnessing a radio show host becoming a terrifying, otherworldly being.

Taking inspiration from horror movies such as In the Mouth of Madness (1994), Pontypool (2008), Color Out of Space (2019) and Altered States (1980), as well as the popular video game series Five Nights at Freddy’s and other tabletop RPGs like Ribbon Drive by Avery Adler, The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio plays on the retro aesthetics of radio broadcasting and radio plays to create a horror TRPG that forces players to imagine seeing what they’re hearing.

Set within Akron, Ohio, players become one of three different characters, each of whom has decided to listen to this particular radio program for one reason or another. Players can choose from a clinical lab technician who is communicating with their colleagues through a logbook, a gas station attendant who keeps a private journal and a security guard who logs activity via a notebook.

Whilst working the late-night shift - similarly to the player character from several entries in the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise - the player listens to The Brink, a radio show hosted by DJ Mike on 106.6. As they continue listening, the player character begins witnessing a terrible event in which DJ Mike undergoes a transformation from human into something, not so human.

In a similar fashion to a radio play, which is a drama that’s entirely told through audio, The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio features a soundtrack that players will need to listen to whilst playing the horror RPG. The soundtrack - which is available for free on YouTube - will immerse players in the role of a listener of this radio broadcast using music, spoken dialogue and sound effects. Throughout the soundtrack’s playtime, the audio will provide players with prompts for them to answer as their chosen character.

Watch on YouTube

The tabletop roleplaying game comes with rules players can use to guide their journaling. As a solo RPG, The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio differs from a traditional TRPG in that players don’t rely on a game master to narrate the story or other player characters to interact with, instead players will be immersing themselves within the role of their character alone, using their journal to interact with the game and using the soundtrack to guide them.

The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio was created by Banana Chan, a game designer who has previously created horror roleplaying games such as Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall - a game about running a haunted chinese restaurant in the US during the 1920s - and Suburban Consumption of the Monstrous alongside Sadia Bies. The editors behind the game are Yeonsoo Julian Kim and Karen Twelves, with the voices in the soundtrack for The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio being portrayed by Aaron Catano-Saez, Jasmine Bhullar, Danny Quach, Austin Taylor and Gavin Stenhouse, with music from Mabel Harper, Omar Star and David Jones-Krause. The RPG will be released by Chan’s publishing studio Game and a Curry.

The crowdfunding campaign for The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio is live on Kickstarter until June 6th, with backers able to get a physical copy of the RPG for a pledge of $30 (£24) to be delivered in March 2025. Alternatively, a digital PDF version of the game is available at a pledge of $15 (£12) to be provided in October 2024.

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