Dante's Abyss 2022 Rules

Your handy-dandy compendium for Dante's Abyss XIII: Dragon Quest.


Dante’s Abyss is the premier event in survival.

The Syntech Corporation will be hosting its latest installment in its long-running drama series, 'Dante's Abyss'. This year's event, "Dante's Abyss XIII" will bear the subtitle of ‘Dragon Quest’ and feature a unique approach to the formula. It is being marketed as a ‘throwback’ (perhaps a throwback-squared). A throwback to what? You’ll just have to take Karl’s word.

This year’s event sends our willing registrants to an island (technically speaking, a ‘fully localized multi-environs, projected micro-planetoid). Make sure to take out your ‘Life Insurance’™ prior to signing on the dotted line.

The objective? Outlive and outlast, with some additional elements to provide that random flair that every competition needs.

Can you collect the Quest Items before the others?

Or will you simply hunt down and eliminate the competition?

The staging area is a lavish and modern facility comprised of the following landmarks/areas:

  • The ‘Lobby’ – A grand hallway where the arrivals filter in from the various Worlds of the Crossroads. The Lobby is connected to four large domes. At the far end of the hallway is an elevator that leads up to the barracks on the top floor.
  • The Library – A massive, multi-floor room containing books, newspapers, and audio recorders from various points in history and various realities.
  • The Recreation Dome – This contains various restaurants and bars serving a plethora of cuisines spread out across a few levels. The top several floors contain a handful of high-tech movie theatres screening blockbusters old, new, and alien.
  • The Park – A large ‘outdoor’ area contained within a dome. The park resembles Central Park and contains a small lodge where they sell picnic goods and rent athletic equipment.
  • The Dojo – This area contains a mixture of gym equipment and physical fitness courses. There are even a few private dojos where people can get in some last minute training in anything ranging from combat to general survival skills.
  • The Barracks – At the highest point of the Dante Preshow Area is the barracks, where the contestants selected for the game will be ushered (via the elevator at the far end of the Lobby) upon their selection. The barracks contains a common area for the contestants to hang out, if they so desire. Each contestant has a very small room to sleep in that contains a bed.

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The Collar (Ability Rules)

As with before, participants are outfitted with a collar that functions to create a slightly more leveled playing field. For some people, the collar is a debilitating weight around their neck (metaphorically, since these things look and weigh virtually nothing), but for others, they won’t find the collar inhibiting much.

“Do I have to?” – In another throwback, Karl has created two alternate options for collar this time around. If you don’t like the metal band, you may opt to wear a metal bracelet around your wrist or ankle. Same rules apply.

Everyone who signs up for Dante’s Abyss and is accepted to the roster is fitted with a collar and stripped off all of their ‘gear’, including access to Abilities that function as items or weapons – guns, blasters, swords, sensors etc.). The collar acts as a suppressor for various Effects. Attempting to remove the collar will result in your immediate in-game death. Essentially, the collar serves to ‘level’ the playing field. The collar also acts to track individual's locations and provide audio/video feeds for the viewing audience.

The following Effects are prohibited due to the collars your characters must wear in the competition:

  • Communication
  • Healing (see note below)
  • Sense + Concealment

The following are severely limited due to collars:

  • Teleportation is reduced to within five feet of your position, regardless of level
  • Speed is limited to Rank 2
  • Flight is limited to Rank 2 and has the Limited: ‘Just Super Jumping’ Modifier, which should be self-explanatory
  • Growth and Shrinking are limited to Rank 1
  • Variable Creation is limited to Rank 3
  • Summoning still works but the same restrictions apply to them – also you consent to me (the Host) being able to kill them at any point. Summons may not be resummoned until after the Event.
  • All Damage and Protect effects are limited to Rank 5 and 3, accordingly. This applies to all contestants. Event NPCs, who may or may not be collared, have different rules.

Consumables, Trinkets, Relics

You can bring Consumables and Trinkets and use them, sure … unless they’re really stupid. I’ll make a case-by-case basis for most. However, if you are a mech pilot or someone else who is dependent on this feature to function in a conflict situation, I can probably make an exception. Let me know.

You can bring Relics (remember Focus rules and Ability rules and adjust their Effects accordingly). Please be aware that Relics drop upon death. Death in this event can come from PvP fights, PvE fights, or even by making terrible decisions when prompted to do so. You consent to potenially losing your Relics and drop-on-death Items if you sign up for this event, even if your death isn’t ‘your fault’.


Focus does not regenerate on its own. “The Scene” = Your entire stay on Dante’s Comet. Once you use it, you lose it; however, there are Support Items out there that can restore Focus. Find them.

“Using Focus” – Focus may be used both within Face to Face encounters (scenes written by me) or outside of them (there may be moments where you write out your own fights). Focus use must be ‘queued up’ prior to a Face to Face being posted so don’t wait until you see that ‘oh shit’ situation to PM/DM me asking for an advantage. Spending Focus will give you a slight edge if the situation is clearly not in your favor, but it doesn’t come back on its own.

You may not send me a PM as I am writing that you want to use all your Focus because you stumbled upon someone that scares you.

Note – I reserve the right to have your character use Focus if that is what will make the difference between said character limping away from a fight or dying on the ground. After all, I don’t think it’s logically for someone not to use all their tricks if they’re faced with certain death.

Double Note – Using Focus can momentarily override the collar. If you want to Focus to self-Heal (you may not Heal others), Teleport, or some other application of a ‘banned’ Effect, let me know. I won’t tell you WHAT they do publicly, but I have ‘on-comet’ applications of these banned Effects.

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The Quest (aka ‘What’s New?’)

’Dragon Quest’ is a version of Dante’s Abyss where co-operative play is not only permitted, but you can also win through the power of friendship (maybe). Like with previous variants of Dante’s Abyss, you must maneuver a map, but this year, you’ll have to do so in the name of locating a number of ‘quest items’.

Quest Items - At this point, we’re not sure what the quest items are, but we know that there will be at least three of them. This number will be adjusted once entrant rosters are finalized. Collecting all 3 quest items and returning them to a central location is the method through which the ‘Grand Champion’ will be crowned this year.

Item Drops - One of the central mechanics this year will be ‘Item drops’. Karl will make announcements of where items have either been physically dropped or ‘detected’. Characters can collect these items or fight others for them. Items that drop might be Consumables, Syntech-Weapons, or Quest Items.

“Tell me more about these ‘drops’, please ?” - Quest items in particular will ‘drop’ onto the map at various intervals (every 18 IC hours but I reserve the right to adjust this as needed for the sake of pacing the event). These locations will be announced ahead of time, allowing interested parties to move to the square and either snatch the item or ‘contest’ the drop. Lesser items will drop more frequently (based on pacing demands). You must be at the square to collect the item or contest the drop. Coordinate partnerships or betrayals ahead of time, please. In any instance where players cannot agree on who will collect the item, a ‘Face to Face’ will ensue. After this Face to Face, all contestants will be on cooldown.

NPCs and Boss Battles

This years Dante’s Abyss will feature extra ‘environmental dangers’ to compensate for the fact that ‘yinz’ don’t have to necessarily kill every living soul to win. Like all previous Syntech events, NPCs will be present as contestants (multi-time winner Arthur Morgan™ will be present, as always, in his fantastic red spandex and dapper assless chaps). These contestants will work akin to PCs controlled by me, as they have in the past. Some NPCs are glorified set decorations while others will be more insidious.

“Wait, bosses?” – These will be optional encounters where players can team up (or not) to defeat an opponent that would otherwise trounce one or a few players. At least one boss battle with take place at the location of Quest Item Drop, but the rest would be optional.

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Time and Movement on the Comet

Every day in-character equals four days out-of-character (1 Day IC = 4 Days OOC). These cycles begin and end at 10 AM CDT.

Each IC day will consist of two threads. At the end of each ‘cycle’ (10 AM CDT), I will lock the thread for less than one hour to post an update that includes an island-wide announcement of deaths, danger zones, and mini-events, while also signaling sunrise or sunset.

Every day OOC, you may move up to 3 times (or three spaces on the grid map). You move by sending me a private message stating what squares you want to move through. This will be important once Danger Zones become more prevalent. You may not move diagonally, but you may move over one square and up one square (be aware that you’d be using two moves).

Movement is NOT optional. Your character must move at least once every 12 IC hours (two days OOC) or you risk dying via collar explosion, regardless of how much roleplaying you may have done in that timespan. You may wait until near the end of the cycle to move if you think you’ll be safe or you want to wait for someone to find you. Remember that moving in or even trying to move through a danger zone means prolonged death. Do not do it.

Remember that Moves do not accumulate or build up over time. Use them or lose them.

Group Handicap/Cornered Tiger Buff – Traveling in a group of 3 causes all your group’s Weapons to downgrade (they remain the same item but their ‘tier’ will drop). This is a ‘group handicap’, along with the movement handicap stated below.

Cornered Tiger Buff – Anytime a single individual winds up in a Face to Face with more than two other individuals, the solo combatant will receive a boost (so a 1v3+). This is a linear scale, so a 2v6+ or 3v9+ (jesus) would also be ‘Cornered Tiger’ situations. Call it desperation. Call it tenacity. A Cornered Tiger with more than one Minor Injury also receives 1 free Focus if attacked by more than two people. This bonus can apply to a pair or even a trio if they are ‘converged’ upon by two separate groups.

If you are moving to someone with the purpose of aligning with them, you must both confirm before you send in the move. Otherwise, I will assume that you are enemies or that one of you is planning to backstab the other.

Group Movement Rules: A group of more than 2 individuals may only move two times per OOC day. When you are in a group, be aware that any member of that group can move everyone so be certain that you’re all communicating well. If I receive multiple moves, I will go with the first one I received.

I will never allow someone to 'take back' a move for any reason.

Super Notice: It is your responsibility to keep an updated map of who is alive and what zones are disabled. I will not track this for you. I provided you with a map, and it is on you to keep it updated. My best advice is to use MS Paint. Put the map as your desktop if you need to. Do whatever it is that will keep you alive.

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The Survival Bag

Your survival bag is a duffel bag (11” Height, 23” Wide, 11” Deep when empty) consisting of the following items:

  • 4 MREs
  • 4 20-ounce Bottled Waters
  • Compass
  • Map
  • Random Weapon or Support Item (Assigned to you on Day 1)

An MRE is a ‘Meal Ready to Eat’ – They are ready-to-eat meals high in nutrients and calories and are very common in the armed forces. Google them if you’re still confused. For some reason, Syntech seems to purposefully make these awful (at least, that’s how people often portray them to the point where it’s a running joke/source of amusement for me, honestly).

In the event that your Weapon/Support Item is too large, it will come in pieces that you have to assemble. Once put together, you have to carry it around with you.

As you explore the island, you may find additional items in buildings or other places. You may also hunt to secure more food. You cannot find additional weapons, but you may find other helpful survival items like torches, rope, or even random luxury items.

I repeat –

You cannot find additional weapons. (at least ones that will make a ‘difference’ in a Face to Face.

All of this is for the sake of story. For instance, you may find items that could be used as weapons (let’s face it... what couldn’t be used to defend yourself?), but this will not give you an advantage or affect the outcome of confrontations or your overall results in any way.

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Competition and Judgement (the F2F)

Anytime that two or more non-allied characters land on the same square at the end of their Movement, a ‘face to face’ will occur. If two people cross paths while moving but ultimately end up on different squares, there will be no confrontation (if that's confusing, I can clarify further with visuals).

A ‘Face to Face’ is a confrontation authored by the Host of Dante’s Abyss. The moment a ‘Face to Face’ occurs, the Host will make a post in the thread that states ‘Face to Face’ and includes the characters involved.

Face to Face
Sigfied Hunin, Piper

Depending on the characters involved and the complexity of judging the confrontation, the Face to Face will be up as soon as 15 minutes or as late as an hour and a half. Likely, I may take longer to write these if they are ‘triggered’ later in the day. My life usually takes me away from the computer during much of the afternoon and evening, but I will post in the thread (through my phone) with a Face to Face.

If you’re in a Face to Face and it’s after 12 PM CST, you can post normally while you wait for the result. When they’re ready, I’ll just delete my original post and put up a new one. Your posts should just be a continuation of what you were doing (not writing anything involving the confrontation – that’s my dooty).

Face to Face ‘Cooldown’ - After a Face to Face, all surviving participants have a ‘cooldown’ period of 12 OOC hours where they will be safe from a Face to Face if someone else enters their square. This cooldown can be waived if you are actively searching out more enemies. Some people toggled this off for the duration of the event. You do you.

The Face to Face is where the action will be. It is where characters will be injured and killed. It is also the one part of the writing that is wholly out of your control. As such, when you join, you consent to having someone else write your character (that someone else being the host). You also consent to your character being hurt and (for most people) ultimately killed in some way that is outside of your direct control.

With that said, I’ll get into the meat and potatoes.

“How do you determine who wins a Face to Face?”

When I sit back and figure this out, I’m considering 3 factors – Prior Injuries, ‘Gear’, and My Opinion.

I use ‘gear’ as a catch-all term of not only the Weapon/Support Items that are from Syntech but also any outside stuff the character may have brought with them to the island.

  1. 1 – A character who already has a lot of injuries will be at a natural disadvantage in a fight. That’s just ‘real’ life. If you have 1 arm and the person trying to kill you has 2, you better have a way to get around your handicap.
  2. 2 – Weapon match ups are also considered, especially when I decide on injuries or deaths. Having a better weapon can mean that you’ll have a high chance of grievously injuring or killing your opponent. On the other side, a powerful weapon can also help you avoid taking excessive damage if you are outmatched by a better character.
  3. 3 – By ‘my opinion,’ I essentially mean just that. I'm the sole judge. That means everything is based off my opinion and mine alone. I'm not biased to an individual but I do hold bias towards how I like to read things. Obviously, I can't control what I do and do not enjoy, but I can be fair and let you in on it.

I don’t grade things as you post them. There are no rubrics or score sheets. I'm going to simply read everything and give a final decision based off my opinion. Just to make this known ahead of time – the number of posts you make will not influence my decisions. Just because you write every day doesn't mean you are going to kick the most ass. Just because you throw out a novel doesn’t mean you’ll kick the most ass. Just because you have a lot of technical skill doesn’t mean you’ll kick the most ass.

There are many writers who may post just once and it will be more effective than 2 or 3 posts from someone else. Find your balance but do not overdo yourself in the hopes of it swinging anything in your favor. You don’t want me to get bored or feel over-saturated by your character.

In terms of post length, I prefer short to medium posts. I don’t want to read novels, and I’ll be honest, I start to get bored and zone out if a post is terribly long and not all that interesting. That is a bad thing for you.

I love emotion and reading a character's thoughts and feelings of the current situation. I don’t care for their past, pre-Crossroads or otherwise, unless it has something to do with the here-and-now.

I love descriptive posts, but on that same note, I abhor purple prose and anything that reads like you went through a thesaurus. Be genuine.

When I’m on the verge of killing someone in a fight, I will ask myself the following questions…

  • Do I want to find out more about this character?
  • Do I feel this character can bring bigger things to him/herself or others?
  • Do I want to continue to root for, or against this character?

Things like that. It's all about the character, not just how much you write or even how great you write. You can be Stephen King, but if you’re character is lame and boring, you won’t go far. However, if you’re terrible with grammar, I’ll zone out and things will go downhill. I got enough of that during the school year.

Bottom Line - I know a lot of people simply can't change how they write. That's fine. Don't. But at least attempt to go over a few of these guidelines I've put in here and incorporate into your own style, rather than completely changing it. Above all, enjoy what you do.

If you have a style that I just can't get into, and refuse to improvise, then that's a problem for both of us. This is, above all, a contest about creating an engaging character arc in the face of great odds and high stakes. Things will frustrate you. Things will blow up in your face. There is no set strategy for victory. There are no guarantees.

That’s why it’s stressful…

That’s also why it’s fun.

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Damage, Injuries, and Death

Damage results from ‘Face of Face’ posts and certain Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Choices.

The only way to heal damage is if you have a Weapon/Support Item whose stated purpose is to heal damage or by ‘burning Focus’ to use Healing. I repeat – you cannot heal damage in any other way. Your character can improvise bandages or splints, but this will not positively impact your damage and the severity of your injuries will remain unchanged.

Injuries – Confrontations will result in injuries. Injuries build up and negatively impact your character’s survivability in future Face to Faces. They should also (honestly) provide you a means to enrich your storytelling on the island! Play them to your advantage.

Injuries and their in-character severity are listed below:

  • Story Injury – These are extremely insignificant injuries, like a small cut or abrasion. They are for roleplay purposes only, although they may be upgraded to a ‘real’ injury after a future Face to Face.
  • Minor Injury – Minor injuries will hinder you, but they are not terribly serious. These are like deep cuts that may take a while to stop bleeding. These also include things like sprains and minor head injuries. They can be healed completely with 1 use of a healing Support Item.
  • Major Injury – These are things like broken limbs, impaired senses (like blindness), serious head injuries, and lacerations that won’t stop bleeding on their own. These can be healed down to Minor Injuries with a healing Support Item but won’t go away completely.
  • Insane Injury – These are injuries you CANNOT heal whatsoever. Things like lost limbs. An insane injury guarantees that you’re not going to enjoy the rest of the game.
  • Mortal Injury – These are very rare, but they can happen. These are insane injuries that will kill you within 12 IC hours unless you are healed. Unlike an Insane Injury, a healed Mortal Injury becomes a Major Injury.

Note – All injuries vanish upon leaving the comet.

Death – At some point, your character will reach the point where they can’t continue. Mortality takes us all in the end. Have an insurance policy.

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Special Events

A special event is any event that will affect everyone on the island. Events and their duration will be broadcast during daily updates. Some special events are less impactful than others.

Weather – Assume that the weather is what you’d expect if you lived in a temperate climate in the late spring. A weather special event can be anything from a cloudy afternoon to a thunderstorm. On a rare occasion a small tornado may strike a random zone or the coast may be buffeted by high winds and waves. Tiles and travel may be affected as well. Characters that stay around in the affected areas may be injured.

‘Easter Egg’ – Every so often, an announcement will be made that an unknown prize will be available at a set location. This prize could be a Weapon of great value or flamboyant trash – it’s up to you to determine if the risk is worth the payoff. If you want your character to try and get the Easter Egg, send me a PM. With the next update, the Face to Face will be posted and the winner(s) will get whatever is in the egg. The prize may or may not be revealed prior to the Face to Face.

After the Face to Face, all characters will return to their original locations. Repeat – You do not need to use your moves to reach the location of the Fight. You just need to PM me your intention. You may not back out after you send me the message.

‘Choose-Your-Own-Adventure’ — From time to time, you might get a public or a private prompt from me, in which you’ll have some type of situation you need to make a snap decision about. These can resolve positively or negatively – it’ll 100% be RNG. When these moments happen, you’ll receive a PM and have six hours to reply (or eight hours if I message you after 10 PM).

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Updates and Messaging

The private messaging system is the official way that updates will be done for Dante’s Abyss. You may ask me general questions through other media, but updates and official correspondence must go through the PM system.

At the start of the event, I’ll send you a PM titled ‘*Your Character’s* Movement and Updates.’ So long as you are solo, that will be the spot for us to communicate. This has worked wonders for me since the move to Xenforo, so it’s what I do now. When groups are formed, you (or me) will make a temporary group PM thread. This ‘PM as Proxy Private Thread’ system cuts down on lost messages and excessive inbox stuff—it really is the best.

Keep some space in your inbox. If I get a message bounced back to me, I will not bother to do so again. This is your warning.

Lastly, I will not always reply to your update messages. If I read it, you can assume that you’re updated.

Templates for Movement Messages (Simple)

Here are some sample messaging templates you can chose to use if you’re confused about how to format certain actions.

Templates for Movement Messages (Complex)

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How to Join

Who Can I Join As?

Hi. You can join as either of your account-bound characters, an NPC you have 'rights' to use, or a custom-made NPC. Please note that if you join as ‘Joe Schmoo NPC’, they get all in-character prizes. See rules on transferring between NPCs and PCs or ask questions for clarity if needed.

How to Join

  1. Step 1 – Write a roleplay in which your character heads to the registration booth. There they will find queues for several identical booths. Once at the front of the line, your character will be asked to provide their name and demonstrate ‘what they bring to the competition’ for the cameras. After this, they will provided with a form and ushered into another line where they’ll wait to enter a teleportation room. They will then be teleported to Dante’s Comet, and they will arrive in the Lobby of the Preshow Complex.
  2. Step 2 – You, the writer, will fill out the below information and send it to the host. These forms will be posted publicly for the host and other contestants. If you are using your account character, this will probably be easy to do by pulling from your roster, but if you're using another character, you may have to do a little more with this form.
  • Appearance – Your character’s appearance (a simple link to an image is perfectly fine)
  • Personality – Your character’s personality
  • Possible Reactions – How may your character respond to certain situations? How may they respond when confronted by certain types of people?
  • Relationships – State any important friendships/rivalries you have with other contestants. Is there someone your character would want to murder? Someone they would protect? Important for people in groups but maybe not so much for loners.
  • ‘Combat’ Style – Now by this I don’t mean a fighting style. I’m looking more at how your character will react if thrown into violent situations. Do they go fists flying? Will they retreat to find a better advantage? Will they be cowardly? Will they defend their allies above all?
  • Eligible Abilities – List these, I will reference this over your Character Profile.
  • Extra – Anything you think I must know to properly write your character.
  • Quotes – List a quote or two your character has said or may say.
  • Threads/Post - Link a FEW threads or specifics posts that you think best capture the mood/spirit/persona of your character.

The point of this is not only to provide a quick run-down of your character but also to serve as an additional aide and point-of-reference for me when I write your character. As always, you should be ready to deal with foreign or alien situations. This is Dante’s Abyss. Anything can happen.