From the introduction:
In a game of The Shackled Self you, the players, collectively tell the story of a great Prince, or Princess, who left a sheltered life amongst all of earthly delights and went to the Mountain, undertaking a regime of asceticism so that he, or she, may become a Saint. The Prince made this choice out of necessity, after understanding there is no other way for the world itself to be saved from impending doom. But Temptation lurks: the charms of the flesh – of love, even – hailing from the past impede the route to ascetic sainthood and may condemn the Prince to tragic defeat. Or maybe not? Maybe it is success which would be the most tragic, while so-called Temptation actually speaks for a little sanity through the inhumane harshness of the Mountain?
There are three distinct roles in the game: the Prince, the Temptation and the Mountain. Each player plays one and only one such role throughout the game.