An "ex-crawl" map from DIE Scenarios

Writing Die Scenarios Part 3: The Actual Adventure

Posted on July 4, 2024 in Game Development Resources

Hello again! Welcome back for the final part of Kieron’s advice on writing the best, sharpest, hurtiest, scenarios for the DIE RPG! You can catch up on the first two blogs here and here. – Producer Chant.

In the first part, we did our reading. In the second, we generated excitingly messed-up people. Now we move from the purely ritualistic to something that becomes more mechanical or, at least, more procedural. 

We’re going on an adventure.

Paragon Generation

The first mechanical thing is working out who gets what dice. We do that here, if we haven’t provided pre-generated characters.

While many scenarios tie specific Personas to specific classes via their place in the group dynamic (e.g. the stern parent is the Dictator; the reckless hedonist plays the Fool. – Chant), that’s not 100% necessary. “Distribute classes according to the Personas’ answers” works too. Some scenarios give a set way to distribute the dice, but stress it’s a “if you have no strong preference” guidance rather than a diktat. 

Most don’t, however. Remember I talked before about how making a scenario more specific allows you to write a tighter, more guided adventure? Knowing the skills each Paragon possesses is perhaps the best way of doing that.

The Master’s Motivation

Explain why the Master is dragging their social group into another dimension.

Some adventures leave room for a variable Master’s motivation or alters a Master’s motivation depending on Persona Gen questions, but at the absolute least you should give a fallback basic motivation in case nothing else strikes. (People often underestimate how much The Master’s motivation matters – getting it right, by which I mean making sure it’s something the players understand, sympathise with, and need or want to push against sets up the major conflict of the game. If you get this right, the rest of the adventure will work. – Chant)

I’ll also highlight that the players’ discovery of The Master’s motivation is a great, robust DIE structure (See Bizarre Love Triangles for an elaborate version of this).

Into Die

This is how you generate the adventure once the characters are in there.

This is likely the largest section of your scenario – essentially, what happens for most of the sessions. For a 3,000-word scenario, it’s likely 1,000 words go to Persona Gen and the vast majority of the rest is this. 

In a standard DIE game, it starts with the Personas being present with the dice, the Master grabbing their D20, transforming and teleporting away, and then a short battle against the Fallen to set the tone. “As per DIE Rituals” is fine as an option, but you’ll likely want to work out your own iconic little Fallen battle. (Because how the Fallen look and the rules of engagement set the tone for the rest of the adventure. – Chant) The battle is deliberately very easy to win – it is functionally a mechanics tutorial and a first taste of power fantasy. 

For the rest of the adventure, there’s basically three main approaches…

  1. Provide a setting the group all share experience of, and a method to generate it (e.g. Con Quest, where the Personas are all comic people and they go to a comic con)
  2. Provide a setting which is based around one character – likely The Master – and then give ways to personalise it according to the other Personas so it’s relevant to them too (e.g. Total Party Kill – it’s The Master’s killer dungeon, they hate all the Personas, and it’s full of magical copies of people who hate the Personas too)
  3. Create a place which speaks to each of the group in different ways, likely with a theme which at least makes it relevant to everyone, both Persona and GMs. Essentially, this is merging 1) and 2). You can see an example of this type of design in Bizarre Love Triangles, in DIE Scenarios volume 1)

Mine Persona Gen answers to create encounters, but also remember that Persona Gen never ends. A GM can always ask more questions later in the game – either to establish something entirely new or add details to something you already know. You, as a writer, can leave notes for the GM on questions to ask in specific scenes. 

For example, if you asked a dozen questions in Persona Gen about who a Persona’s Favourite Pop Star was, it’d take a lot of time and give the game away. All you need to do is ask who their fave pop star is in Persona Gen… and when you reach the encounter, ask more questions to flesh out more details. So in Persona Gen the player could answer “Taylor Swift” and in the adventure there’s a whole set piece about trying to get backstage at a Taylor Swift gig. You add details to the encounter via questions in the moment: 

“So – last time Taylor was on tour, you were trying to see her, but couldn’t get tickets. 

  • Where was the gig? (Creates the location for the encounter). 
  • Why couldn’t you get tickets? (Creates the problem to be circumvented). 
  • What’s your fave Taylor Swift song? (Creates some ambience as clearly that’s playing in the background). (You can also pluck lyrics from this song and turn them into imagery or themes for the encounter. Fight Song’s “small boat on the ocean”, or “take-back-my-life”, for example. – Chant)
  • Who mocked you for being a Swiftie? (On no! A Godzilla-version of them is about to attack the gig and eat Taylor!) 

And so on.

The Final Encounter

Notes on the climax.

One of DIE’s quirks is that it has a set ending. The players all get together, and decide whether to stay or not. Finding the Antagonist (usually The Master) is likely an explicit goal in your Into Die adventure, to give the players somewhere to get and a motivation. This doesn’t 100% need to be true… but the set ending is part of the reason DIE reliably works.

We can do anything we want on the adventure, but we are guaranteed a climax as the group gets together to decide whether to go home or not.

At the beginning of the scenario, we pose a question: “Do these people go home or not?” The game provides an answer. Ideally, it also asks “What are these Personas willing to do to get what they want?”

DIE Rituals also puts a timer on it all: the universe is falling apart. This is primarily motivation to come to a final decision in the game’s time frame, rather than spend years in character or hours out of character figuring it out. It’s also not 100% necessary. The more hellish the setting, the less you need a timer. However, if Die is a hell dimension, why would the Personas stay? A common answer is that staying can lead to the hell dimension changing to something better. (The main thing here is that you want to make the choice difficult. And, ideally, you want the Personas to not all choose the same thing – you made a bunch of messy people. Let them mess each other up. As long as that’s within the boundaries of what your players are comfortable with, and agreed in the Magic Circle. – Chant)

I would advise against completely undoing the ending, and look for variations to spice it up if you want. Bizarre Love Triangles slightly tweaks the ending (by having the Personas decide whether they want the events in Die to affect the real world), while still keeping it pretty pure. Adding specific details about the fantasy world, or even what happens when you return home can be fun. 


This section is for anything additional required at the end of the game. A few small details here go a long way – a few specific questions, or a unique twist. However, giving space for players to create their own closure is important. 

This is another place where “As per DIE Rituals” works.


A selection of relevant monsters’ statistics which may be of use in the game.

Honestly, I wouldn’t over-stress statistics. When working with folks on the official scenarios, we encourage them to have a crack, but just writing the rough level of power/danger and the sort of thing they should do is also fine. DIE is deliberately a very mechanically light game, with very small stat blocks.

If you want inspiration, have a nose at the existent scenarios. Total Party Kill scales its stats depending on the size of the group, which is useful for balancing. 

You can get a lot of mileage out of just adding a unique Special to a stat block. A creature which has Special: ignites target gives a very different vibe from the one with Special: instantly teleports away after the attack to a safe location and is worlds away from Special: the target instantly confesses who they most love in the world.

Having a nose through the Bestiary or existing DIE scenarios can give you ideas of what is possible. Having a nose at the Specials in the Godbinder section in the main manual can be especially useful – there are a lot of approaches, from mechanically intricate to narrative-first in there.

In Conclusion

The end.
Go on then – go and get writing! The authors of DIE Scenarios volume 1 and volume 2 (and the upcoming volumes 3 and 4) all used this advice, or variations of it, and they’ve made tiny worlds that made us laugh, cry, shudder, or all of the above. Now that power’s in your hands.


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