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Tabletop Game / Die Laughing

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Die Laughing (not to be confused with the trope, but hopefully it's everyone's reaction) is a short-session, GM-less Horror Comedy Tabletop RPG by Craig Campbell, published in 2019 by NerdBurger Games.

Each player plays a character typical of a horror movie. One player takes on the role of the director who rolls to determine exactly what's going to happen in the scene, and the player next to them is the main character of the scene, with these roles rotating around the table from scene to scene. Each player outlines what they want to do in the scene, and rolls a number of dice known as their "Life Pool" against a target number (TN) determined by the scene's rules. Each dice result equal to or higher than the TN is considered a "hit", and if the number of hits exceeds the stat being tested on the player's character sheet, they succeed the check. If they fail the check, the character fails whatever they were attempting in the scene (which doesn't necessarily mean they die, depending on what's happening).

If a player's Life Pool is reduced to 1, the character is considered "wrapped", and is killed, with additional rules taking effect depending on which monster is being used during the session. The player in question then becomes a producer, able to influence the story in various ways.

The game can be purchased here.

Die Laughing contains examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The "A.I. With Unlimited Drones", which according to the "Basics" section, started out when, "Some smart person made a computer that can do more than beat Russians at chess".
  • Attack Drone: The "A.I. With Unlimited Drones" has a whole army of drones of varying sizes, having taken over automatic manufacturing plants in whichever setting it shows up in.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The "Giant Irradiated Insect", at least from the sheet image showing it to be towering over a single car.
  • Blob Monster: The "Re-Animated Melty Bug Blob Thing", to a gorier extent because of how it adds dead bodies to itself, at least as written.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: One of the scenes has the lead character do this by directly addressing the non-existent audience or demonstrate a common horror movie trope.
  • Buffy Speak: The book isn't too serious to avoid delving into this, such as "Re-Animated Melty Bug Blob Thing".
  • Captain Obvious: Characters wrapped by the "Giant Irradiated Insect" take on the role of a news reporter who occasionally chimes in with obvious facts about the giant insect.
  • Cat Scare: "The Fake-Out Scare" scene. The director can subvert this trope by setting off a monster attack after the fake-out scare.
  • Chest Burster: Characters wrapped by the "Bloodthirsty Bunnies" are killed this way, prompting a Spirit Check from a chosen character in the scene.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The monster sheet for "That Fucking Clown!!!" is laden with F-bombs, particularly with one per setting option. The wrap rule is even called "That Fucking Face!"
  • Creepy Child: The "Cute Possessed Girl", of the more Eastern-inspired variety.
  • Creepy Doll: "Dolly". Anyone wrapped by it has to speak in a creepy doll voice whenever they spend a Producer Point and stare vacantly at whoever they're targeting.
  • Crossover: An alternate rule known as "Monster Showdown" allows for this, with the showdown between the two monsters being set up over the first two acts.
  • Cruel Cheerleader: One of the character options is this, with options for making them either psychic or a Jerkass. And a "Switchblade" stuff option.
  • Cyborg: Characters wrapped by the "A.I. With Unlimited Drones" end up like this, serving the whims of the AI.
  • Dumb Jock: Implied with the 4 Brains stat for "The Jock".
  • Eat Brain for Memories: The entire motivation of the "Erudite Zombies". Played for Laughs with the book saying that they grow more and more British in demeanour and voice the more they consume.
  • Executive Meddling: Invoked with the Producer Point mechanic, where wrapped players can spend a point for various alterations like forcing a player to use a different trait, forcing characters to enter or exit the scene, or revise a description so that something costly-looking looks much cheaper.
  • Fan Boy: The "Rabid Werewolf", so called not because of rabies, but because they're a rabid fan of something determined by the youngest player. Characters wrapped by this monster have to work a reference to that something into their description whenever they spend a Producer Point.
  • Genre Savvy: Any character with the "Horror Movie Buff" quirk, which includes the "Trope Master" ability that gives them additional dice to roll during a Trait Check if the player describes a horror movie trope that fits the scene.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: One of the options for a post-credits scene has all the players describe this.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: The "Crazy-Ass Hillbillies". Their reason for killing is determined during gameplay.
  • Horror Comedy: Leaning more towards the "comedy" side thanks to the writing tone and the joyous celebration of genre tropes and movie references.
  • Jerkass: A character that takes the "Jerk" quirk can insult another character to automatically succeed a trait check if that character fails, or redirect a Producer Point used against them.
  • Jump Scare: Anyone wrapped by the "No Effects Budget Ghost" can try to do this to a player involved in the scene by shouting "BOO!" at them. If they flinch, their Life Pool is reduced by 1.
  • Killer Rabbit: A literal example with the "Bloodthirsty Bunnies".
  • The Klutz: Any character with the "Klutzy" quirk, with the "Sometimes Lucky" ability allowing for a chance for a Life Pool reduction to be avoided at the cost of a chance of being reduced by 2 instead of 1.
  • Losing Horns: The "Klutzy" quirk has the ability "Sad Trombone", where a Trait Check automatically succeeds if the player describes their ineptitude in the scene.
  • Mad Scientist: One of the character options lets a player take this role, with additional options to re-roll dice after a Trait Check as a result of them being a Cloud Cuckoolander, or be able to build contraptions out of whatever stuff they happen to be carrying.
  • Medium Awareness: The entire point of "The Person Who Knows They're In A Movie" character sheet, particularly with the "Horror Movie Buff" quirk.
  • Monster Clown: "That Fucking Clown!!!", the exact nature of which, outside of its tendency to drop puns, is determined by the players.
  • Pungeon Master: "That Fucking Clown!!!", among its other adjectives, is said to love cracking bad jokes.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: The "Erudite Zombies" as written gradually become this as they eat more brains.
  • Replicant Snatching: The whole mechanic of the "Pods!!!". A wrapped player can inject their pod-person replicant into a Scene once before the end of the story to steal a Producer Point from another producer.
  • Sequel Hook: The "Sequel Teaser" post credits scene, described by the first player whose character was wrapped.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The "Bloodthirsty Bunnies", at least in the context of horror movies, can be seen as a reference to Night of the Lepus. Their wrap rule, meanwhile, is a reference to Alien.
    • The "Creepy Demon Pain Guy" is very obviously a Cenobite
    • The "Cute Possessed Girl" is meant to be Sadako. The book even suggests, "Make sure to give her a weirdly detailed, but ultimately confusing backstory".
    • The "Killer Robots From Mars" are a less-fantastical, more-murderous take on Transformers
    • Set up for a subversion in the description for the "Mad Slasher With Weird Weapons" — according to the book, "The killer's name cannot be Jason, Freddy or Michael". Not that it stops one of the settings from being a summer camp.
    • The "Pods!!!" are a reference to Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
    • The "Re-Animated Melty Bug Blob Thing" is a reference to The Blob (1958), right down to its "Basics" box saying that it came from space.
    • "That Fucking Clown!!!" is meant to be Pennywise, and his image even mimics the goofy dance he does in one of the film adaptations.
  • Special Effects Failure: Invoked with the "No Effects Budget Ghost", a monster that's never seen on screen. Even its image is blank.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: The Wrap box for "Fire-Breathing Aliens" says that a wrapped character bursts into flames, "regardless of how they were actually killed".
  • Stepford Smiler: Players whose characters have been wrapped by "That Fucking Clown!!!" have to keep a huge smile on their face until the end of the story. Another player whose character has been wrapped can call out if a wrapped player has stopped smiling, and can take one of their producer points for themselves.
  • The Stinger: Worked into the gameplay by having the director roll two dice after the ending. If it comes up as doubles, a post-credits scene of some kind occurs, depending on which number came up.
  • The Stoner: Shows up as one of the character options, with an emphasis on talking their way out of situations and a Stuff option for "Pipe, weed, and lighter". And a separate option for "More weed".
  • Summer Campy: One of the settings for the "Mad Slasher With Weird Weapons" is a summer camp.
  • Symbolic Mutilation: Played for Laughs with the wrap method for the "Creepy Demon Pain Guy". The book requires the victim's player to describe how he mutilates their character's body into, "something horrific and comical".
  • Transforming Mecha: The "Killer Robots From Mars", who disguise themselves as ordinary objects from household appliances to cars.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: The "Sexy Vampire", obviously (aside from one un-sexy flaw determined by whichever player most recently watched a vampire movie). The sexiness even seems to be as contagious as the vampirism, since any player wrapped by this monster becomes a sexy vampire themselves.
  • White Collar Worker: The "Office Drone" character option. Can be made either The Klutz or a sidekick depending on which quirk is chosen.