DIE is a role-playing game (not to be confused with “the world of Die” where the game is set). Its standard mode of play involves between one and five players (who each play a single individual) and a Gamesmaster (who controls the rest of the world, and acts as a referee). We may shorten “Gamesmaster” to “GM” if we're feeling lazy.
DIE’s main mode is horror-fantasy. How much it leans towards horror and how much it leans towards fantasy will be for you to decide, if only through your perception. One person’s horror is another person’s fantasy.
Specifically, DIE is a role-playing game where a group of people find themselves transported from their mundane lives to a fantasy world. In this fantasy world, they have adventures and try to find their way home – or not. Upon arriving in the world, each comes into possession of one of the six titular dice of the comic and is entirely transformed into a heroic identity.
This is the structure of many pieces of pop entertainment, from the 1980s D&D cartoon to Jumanji. Without the transformational aspect, it’s the structure that underlies The Wizard of Oz and The Lion and The Witch and The Wardrobe. It also underlies the famously brutal 1980s fantasy epic The
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, so don’t assume those references mean that it’s fun.
As such, each player generates two characters. The identity of the person in the mundane world, and the identity of the person in the fantasy world. Clearly, this can be confusing. For clarity, a Persona is the person in the mundane world, and the Character is an individual in the fantasy world. The Player controls the Persona who controls a Character.
It should also be noted that Character rules apply to all people in the world of Die, whether they are controlled by players or the GM. If there’s ever a case where we need to separate player-controlled characters and GM-controlled characters, we use the phrase Avatar to mean player-controlled characters.
DIE RPG STRUCTURE
A game takes the following structure. I suggest running it across 2-4 sessions, though include some guidelines for running it in a single session or extending it.
- Players and Gamesmaster (”GM”) gather and each generate a persona. This is a social group in the real world, complete with rivalries, passions and bitterness. Unlike many role-playing games, the GM also creates a persona.
- You then roleplay the personas sitting around and about to play a role-playing game. Each persona then generates a fantasy roleplaying character.
- The personas are magically transported into the fantasy realm, and (likely) transformed into the characters they generated. They rapidly discover that this has all been part of a scheme by the Gamesmaster’s persona – the Master. The Master has trapped the players there.
- The personas go on an adventure, trying to find their way home. On the way they discover that the only way to go home is for all the personas to agree to go home. And dead personas don’t get a vote. If a decision is not made, everyone will end up dying. Erk.
- The story reaches a conclusion as the personas come to a consensus on whether to go home or not – which includes the Gamemaster's persona. While it is possible that a peaceful consensus will be reached, it's equally as likely that the players will have to fight the Gamemaster's persona to go home. It's possible that at least some of the players' personas will change their opinions, possibly multiple times. Drama! Climax!