Death may Die

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the ability of the human mind to overcome its inadequacies. We dwell on a tepid island of ignorance amidst the grand seas of infinity and all too many would prefer we not voyage far. The sciences, each straining in their own directions, have hitherto aided us little. But someday, the piecing together of disassociated knowledge shall open up such magnificent vistas of reality, and our our own triumphant places within it, that we shall either embrace the revelation or flee from the sacred light into the fear and ignorance of a new dark age.”
-Leelavathi Seran, Professor of Arcane Sciences at the University of Texas, member of Transhumanity

Death may Die is a free tabletop RPG here online, presently and principally for Magenta, by Sanguine Games. It is a transhumanist science fiction cosmic horror game, inspired by William Hope Hodgson, Robert Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and others.

The World in Brief

In 2034, Exedyne unveils a new realm of academic discovery, the so-called existential field theory. The theory gains no traction in the scientific community, but by the same token traditional scientists and engineers are unable to explain the results. Eventually, the field of arcane sciences become the newest platform for academic and technological growth. In 2036, Macroware comes up with ArCAD, a method for drafting the arcane procedures that existential field theory initially proposed. This doesn’t make everyday people capable of the process (anymore than someone with AutoCAD can build a house), but it does give skilled practitioners easier access to the principles of arcane sciences. The technologies developed, including the arcane engineering pioneered by Hewitt Industries, leads to great leaps in technology, including greater and more prolific exploration of the solar system.

These developments also lead to unfortunate consequences. An ancient nonhuman civilization that has remained deep under the sea, away from human eyes now sees an opportunity and begins a war with the surface in order to claim it. SFS, a species resident in our solar system, become active and fight their own reactionary war with us for no clear reason. Cult activities, always a moderate problem on Earth, accelerate as an educated cult leader now has tools to become a true miracle worker. Ancient beacons long thought to be dreams turn into nightmares. Transhumanist factions face backlash for “becoming the monsters that plague humanity.”

And outside of everything, in places that have no relation to this or any other place within our reach, alien intelligences wait for an opportunity that will cause untold destruction here on Earth. And all it takes is the one, lone, intelligent nutjob with arcane drafting software and sufficient skill to set in motion the chain of events that will break the chain of events entirely.

The System

This game uses Magenta by Sanguine Games. New rules will occur to deal with situations not expected in those original rules, and simply to expand options or make them more relevant to the setting.

As a note, despite using Magenta, Death may Die is not entirely military-centered. This means that rank and military order may not be a principle element, and it also means several rules systems (RQI and Rank in particular) require changes. The optional rule for Initiative is in play, since it isn’t assumed all characters have a rank.

Open Game License

No content in this work is open game content unless designated such specifically. In other words, it’s all product identity (or it may be product identity or that phantom third category that may exist under the OGL but never got a name) unless stated otherwise. If you’d like something to be put into open content, please contact me and ask. I’m only keeping things generally closed because I don’t want to make the default position “open content,” and I don’t want to think about it while I’m setting all this crap up.

Open Game License information at this link.

Statement of Purpose

Okay, so, you’re probably asking why I’m doing this. I mean, there’s always CthulhuTech and Void, right? Well, the fact is that CthulhuTech basically cut me off at the pass. I had an idea for a transhumanist cosmic horror setting, and then comes CthulhuTech. My immediate reaction was to grit my teeth and screech to myself that somebody had beaten me to the punch.

Still, my idea is different from theirs. The only problem is, my idea isn’t different enough from theirs that putting both of them on the market won’t hurt both. So this one is coming out for free. This prevents true market competition. Anybody who chooses Death may Die over CthulhuTech had likely already chosen not to play CthulhuTech anyway, and anybody who chooses both isn’t generating competition between the two games anyway.

I chose Magenta because the publication of Magenta immediately made me think of my old transhumanist cosmic horror setting. It seemed a natural fit. (We’ll see about that.) Plus, it’s an open source, pay-what-you-want game. Thus, Magenta gets some early development, and I get a system for my game. Win-win.

To the Freeloaders

For many of you, Magenta being pay-what-you-want means that it’s free. Fortunately for you, Sanguine Games will allow this, although if you do end up using it you really should throw some money at them for it. I have, although I know I haven’t thrown that much.

On the other hand, for many of you the situation would be the same if I were talking about Anima or Savage Worlds. I know that many of you will gladly not pay a dime for a game that is being sold for money, probably under the stupid notion that PDFs cost nothing. This, in turn, means that outside of jackasses like me who are willing to do this for free, nothing’s coming out unless it’s charged very highly, because many of the people who should be paying for it don’t. This edges many good products out of the market for want of backing capital, and for the high probability that a product won’t succeed if it’s charged appropriately to the market environment you’ve helped to create.

Hopefully, there will not come a time when the market collapses and the only new games put out are cheap developments sold at expensive prices. However, a big, wet, sloppy fuck you to every IP thief out there for bringing us one step closer to that reality. Just because you lack any form of creativity doesn’t mean you should steal from the creative. Be happy that Sanguine Games is giving their stuff away for free, but don’t take that lesson too far into the rest of the market.

Probable Future

This is almost certainly going to remain incomplete. I’ll keep working at it for as long as I feel like it, but don’t expect completion, don’t expect your favorite idea to be developed – expect nothing. This is a hobby I do to keep sane. It’s for my own amusement, and not for yours. You’re getting this for free because I feel like it.

Death may Die

Pneumonica