Fifty years ago. The 22nd of November. A warm, sunny Friday in Dallas. A beautiful woman in a pink wool Chanel suit—dressed for the chillier day that had been forecast — sits to the left of her husband. They flash movie-star smiles at the crowd that surrounds their motorcade.
This is Camelot. This is the nation’s first post-war President, neither the man who dropped the bomb, nor the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe. This President will lead us into a New Frontier. He will send men to the moon.
And then there were shots. A pink suit covered with blood and brain. Red lips and white teeth are now screaming.
As we approach that anniversary, fifty years later, people still write books and make films and create websites suggesting who, what, and how anyone — anything — but Lee Harvey Oswald killed the nation’s shining Prince.
How to Play It?
It was a visceral moment in American history and one which fueled conspiracy theories and alternate histories for decades.
Play It “Straight”
There are over a dozen conspiracy theories listed on Wikipedia. Playing any of these, “straight,” in some form of realistic RPG would give you a lot to work with. Throw your characters into the situation. Are they trying to find out the truth? Bring people to justice? Are they Time Watch Agents attempting to prevent the Federal Reserve from killing the President? Do your hard-hitting d20modern players need to take down the mob who’ve killed the man who they expected would leave them alone?
Move It Into Fantasy
This was, after all, Camelot. The prince, the new king, the duke who’s been shaking everything up, who’s offering the common people hope, has been assassinated. His advisers have quickly found and executed the “perpetrator.” But he hired you before he died to help implement one of his plans—or his grieving widow asks you to help uncover the truth and avenge him—or one of his aides whispers his suspicions to you in a back hallway of the keep.
Instead of the Cuban refugee plot, perhaps you have the Dark Elf refugee plot. Or perhaps his court wizard and bodyguards were in on it, instead of the Secret Service.
Play It Occult
Or you can add occult touches. Was JFK sacrificed to some dark power? Did it protect our nation’s future or will a portal open in Dallas to summon something horrifying from another plane?
Is LBJ, perhaps, the avatar of Nyarlathotep or one of his cultists? Perhaps he sacrificed the Prince of Camelot and hope to a future of chaos and war.
Wrapping It Up
There is so much out there on the subject of Kennedy. People have already written this fiction for you. All you have to do is go out and find it.
Fun JFK tidbits to add to your gaming:
- Did Lee Harvey Oswald have a double?
- A senator seems unsure about the official reports on the JFK assassination.
Photo credit: Mike Jahn