Dante's Abyss 2024 Rules


Dante’s Abyss is the premier event in survival.

Across the major Worlds, stories have spread of ‘the coming of the Comet’—supposedly an annual event in the Crossroads. Inquire a little further, and you’ll discover that they speak of something called ‘Dante’s Comet’ which is the personal domain of Karl Jak.

Across the Worlds of the Crossroads, there are lavish tents being set up within (or adjacent to) the major hubs of settlement... and even some of the smaller ones. The men, women, and everything in betweens that staff these facilities introduce themselves as workers at Syntech and offer anyone who is willing the chance to travel to the comet (no Kool-Aid necessary) and participate in ‘the great game’ of Dante’s Abyss.

What is Dante’s Abyss? Well, you’ll have to travel to Dante’s Comet to discover that for yourself… or watch the live stream (coward).

The staging area is a lavish and modern facility comprised of the following landmarks/areas: (Will add hyperlinks once threads are live)

  • The ‘Lobby’ – A grand hallway where the arrivals filter in from the 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. Contestants do not receive their bags until being transported to the island.

Once the field of contestants has been selected, there will be one final hour of rest and relaxation before all contestants will be teleported to random locations on the island. They will arrive with their survival bags and the mantra of the game – ‘Find each other. Kill each other.’

Over the course of the next few days, contestants must survive on the island. There is no set strategy. Characters may seek out allies and forge strong friendships in the midst of the Abyss. Another player may find fleeting friends to guard their back before stabbing them in back. You may be the hunter—seeking prey with the hopes of accumulating weapons and fame. Or you may be the person who hides out, skirting around danger zones as you hope to outlast the more violent competitors.

Either way, the game ends when there is only one person left alive on the island. That one person becomes the Grand Champion of the Abyss and will receive an exorbitant amount of fame for their accomplishment… as well as Coin, Essence, and the Belt of the Grand Champion.

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The Collar (Ability Rules)

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

  • Concealment
  • Communication
  • Flight
  • Healing (see note below)
  • Sense
  • Fusion

The following are severely limited due to collars:

  • Teleportation is reduced to within five feet of your position, regardless of level
  • Speed only operates in combat situations
  • Growth and Shrinking are limited to Rank 1
  • Damage- and Protection-Effects that are user-generated (weaponized limbs, fire breathing, etc) function but actual guns and swords must be left behind. Don’t feel pressured to put a flamethrower in your mouth, as it won’t give you an actual advantage (unless you write awesome scenes in the wild with flamethrower mouth).
  • 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 during Face to Faces.


Consumables of all shapes and sizes are not permitted to be brought onto Dante's Comet (trust me, you don't need to have them). 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. Also, Relics and Trinkets may be accepted, with conditions, given these are often rewards and thus I view them a little differently than Coin-bought things (restrictions and other rules may apply).

“Super Moves” (Focus)

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.

Super Important Thing to Read -- All contestants in DA24 will have 5 points of Focus, unless their Character Profile says otherwise (so if you’re a tracking person, you can check NPC profiles). Summons have 0 Focus (in case that’s a question) and cannot use their ‘summoners’ Focus (in case that’s another question).

In the interest of creating YET MORE VARIABLES, each entrant must design a “Super Move” that can be used at the cost of 1 application of Focus. These are to be submitted along with the Join Form, so they’ll be public. You don’t need to structure this like an Ability as long as it’s clear to me what’s going on and that it is actually a part of your character’s skill set. Super Moves can be offensive or defensive but not both. A defensive Super Focus can be a self-Heal but not an others-Heal.

Cooldowns - You must wait 12 OOC hours to use a Super Move again

Sidebar: While I’m adding some rules and extra stuff here, Focus as a ‘behind the scenes mechanic’ for players won’t be much different than it was in previous Dante’s Abyss events (although, yes, all the NPCs will likely have hyper unique ‘supers’

Example Super Moves
Kamehameha (Super Attack) – My dude cups his palms and shoots a big ole laser beam from his hands.
Big Shield (Super Defense) – Summons a biggo shield and blocks an attack!
Biggo Heal (Super Defense) – I heal myself, because flip you.
Goin’ Postal (Super Attack) – My guy goes into a rage and beats the crap out of this dude.

“Using Focus” – You must tell me ahead of time when you want to use a Super Move in a Face to Face. My advice is to send this information when you’re moving for the phase. “I want to queue up my Super Move if I stumble into a fight.” Spending Focus will give you a slight edge and can help compensate for a trash Weapon, 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 Focus because you stumbled upon someone that scares you.

Note – I reserve the right to have your character use their Super Move 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.

Note when designing your Super Move – 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.

“But I have more than 5 points of Focus normally … why must I suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune?”

Listen Jade. Relax, you’re probably not even joining this event as Arthur, okay. But yea, anyone who has more than 5 points of Focus is gifted a reduced cooldown. Each point about 5 Focus will reduce your cooldown by 3 hours. I’ll make notes of this on my character tracker, but it’s something you should also jot down in your records, too!

Note - Affinities weren't a system during the first iteration of "Death Island". Extra Focus impacts your cooldown, but I'm not giving reduced damage to Immortal players (your reward is you don't need to suffer revival costs or questing like most contestants)

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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. Call it desperation. Call it tenacity. Their Weapon will count as a tier stronger than it is. If they have no Weapon, they will be treated as if they had a ‘Decent’ weapon. 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 wind up against something absurd like 3 or 4 extra people.

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.

Notice on "pre-queuing" - If you're in a time zone that is radically different from mine, I don't mind if you'd like to send me your movements ahead of time for the next cycle. Please be clear and concise with what might be 'movement for after the new phase' vs current movements. Please note that 'being a late sleeper' is not an excuse to try and get me to delay your movements or to try and queue up movements :p

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.

In the event that your weapon 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.

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 6 OOC hours where they will be safe from a Face to Face if someone else enters their square. This is to prevent people from being piled up on for any reason. This cooldown is cancelled if you exit the square. This cooldown can be waived if you are actively searching out more enemies. The cooldown does not apply for PvE, after Easter Eggs (because you move to and from them willingly), or NPC 'F2F' partnerships.

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, Weapons, and My Opinion.

  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. 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. Remember that it's Weapons that impact results here. Your character Abilities don't give you any edge (otherwise people would be min-maxing and I'd go insane) outside of flavor.
  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’ events.

The only way to heal damage is if you have a Weapon/Support Item whose stated purpose is to heal damage. 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 how many points they deduct 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.

Insurance - Please do your best to pre-purchase the Revival consumable. If you forget to do so (or are bringing a new character or NPC with 0 Coin), I'm usually okay with just deducting the cost from your character's final Coin prize.

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Non-Player Entrants

This year's edition of Dante's Abyss will feature a number of NPCs in the form of past champions. These NPCs will be competing in Dante’s Abyss much like PCs. They will be subject to the same restrictions as any other character in the competition (with one famous exception). They will also receive a random weapon.

Unlike player characters, the NPCs all travel at a set interval every 12 OOC hours. Near the end of each thread, I will try and post an ‘NPC Update’ that will include what the NPC has done for the last half-day.

In the event that a player enters the same square as an NPC, a Face to Face will occur just as if they had encountered another PC. Despite the fact that an NPC is involved, the F2F will follow the same rules, and I will be making the same considerations. As NPCs won’t be writing, I can’t really judge the writing/story of the character as I would with a PC. Due to this, each NPC will have a pre-set ‘Handicap’ (from 1 to 5) that I will consider when they are fighting with a PC. A higher handicap indicates a character that will be harder to kill.

Due to the random nature of weapons, do not expect NPCs to be pushovers. If you have a spork and are fighting an NPC with a high handicap who also happens to have the rocket launcher, you should expect bad things to happen.

NPCs, along with their handicap, will be included in the Profile forum.

Grouping and Personality: When traveling by yourself, there is a chance that landing on an NPC may not ‘proc’ a Face-to-Face but instead they may join you as your partner. I’ll do this if I think the two characters would be entertaining together or my initial thought was that they have compatible enough personalities or outlooks. You may stick with the NPC as long as you desire. You can betray them if you want, and also be aware, they might betray you too. All is fair in love and war.

Note – When half of the contestants are dead, any surviving NPCs will start to roam (I will seriously just throw a dark at a printout of the island).

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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.

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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. Do not send your movements or updates through anything else. I’ll kindly redirect you once and then just ignore you.

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.

By default, all your messages should be copied into your ‘Sent Folder.’ Make sure this is set so you can retain the messages you receive from me, at least for the day that they are relevant. Why? I have a large inbox, but I will be deleting things as I receive them, because my space isn’t infinite and I also just hate clutter in general. As a result, I may accidentally delete a message that I shouldn’t have.

If that happens, the burden is then on you to provide me with proof. I’m a nice guy (ask my students), but for this contest, I won’t be giving you the benefit of the doubt. Send me a screenshot or a screen capture, and I’ll gladly reverse the decision.

Also be aware that a message will be in your Outbox Folder until it is read by the recipient. This way, you can know whether or not I read your private message yet, so there should be no confusion.

Lastly, I will not 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.

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 Roster.
  • Super Focus Application - Describe your character’s super Focus application, as per the Rules.
  • 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.

  • Published
    Jan 20, 2024
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