Danse Macabre

Memento Mori. Remember that you must die.

This Latin reminder, which rose to prominence during medieval outbreaks of the Black Death and which has served as a motif for artists and writers throughout history, remains universally true. There is no need to make exceptions or equivocate. We must die.

An old, weathered skull, flanked by vases, books, or other common household objects is one of the most widespread depictions of the Memento Mori. The image of a universal symbol of death in the center of the bits and pieces of mundane everyday life presents a clear message: don’t be complacent or falsely confident, death is always present and always possible.

This is the same message presented by the Danse Macabre, the dance of death, a motif used in painting, sculptures, engravings and other art, particularly during the Middle Ages. The Danse Macabre depicts men and women of all ages and social classes dancing among skeletons and corpses, reminding viewers that even during life’s most joyous and frivolous moments, death is nearby. All of life’s hectic, rhythmic  steps must end in a full stop.

Danse Macabre is a role-playing game about death. It uses content, scenes and mechanics based on the Memento Mori and the Danse Macabre to allow players to engage with death and mortality. In Danse Macrabre, the lives of characters are short and, often, incomplete. One player character dies during each cycle of scenes, and players will actively take on the role of a personified Death. The game uses music and a mechanic loosely based on musical chairs to simulate the dance.  Ultimately, Danse Macabre culminates in a series of direct confrontations (and conversations) with Death where the characters and, eventually, Death itself must answer difficult questions about how and why we die.


2 Responses to “Danse Macabre”

  1. Misterecho Says:

    William has provided another version with better formatting and made some corrections.

  2. The Ronnies RPG writing contest « Blog of a new RPGer Says:

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