Advanced Search

Die Screaming Player's Guide
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

Die Screaming Player's Guide

Watermarked PDF

Welcome to the Post-Apocalypse sale! From now through June 13th, this digital title has been marked down by up to 40%! For more values, visit our Post-Apocalypse sale page.


Newly revised with a major update in July 2020

This update streamlines the game, offers new options for players, and updates older options. All previous expansion content has been built into the core books and revised. Any future updates to the game will be built into the core books on the same month they release. This change ensures that if you own the full game, you have both an authoritative resource as well as an idea of what new content has been added through newer expansions.

Some things are worse than death. Maybe you’ll live long enough to become one of them.

“Every species can smell its own extinction. The last ones left won't have a pretty time with it. In ten years, maybe less, the human race will just be a bedtime story for their children. A myth, nothing more.”

-       In the Mouth of Madness

Die Screaming is a toolkit for apocalyptic survival horror roleplaying in the d20 system, emphasizing tactics, cinematic and grisly combat, dark humor, and even darker evil in a contemporary setting. As the game continues, the survivors slowly lose their minds and become corrupted by their own mortal frailty and the growing evil around them. In the end, to fight the monsters invading the Earth, each survivor becomes something even worse.

The 300+ page Die Screaming Player's Guide contains everything you need to create and play a character, while the Director’s Guide contains the information and resources on how to run the game.

Streamlined and simplified post-apocalyptic d20

“You think you've seen everything? There's a whole world you've never dreamed of. Thomas saw it, and it destroyed him.”

“I've seen a lot, but nothing would ever make me cut out my tongue.”

“Wait a few days."

-       End of Days

Enjoy a smoother d20 experience.

  • Just four ability scores, along with streamlined mechanics; add your level and ability score to attacks, damage, saves, and skills.
  • 10 character levels, with dramatic differences between each, rather than 20, 30, or 40.
  • Stop counting coppers and experience points instead of playing. Level when it is narratively appropriate. Use simple bartering and crafting systems.

Dynamic combat

“It ate him. . . Bit off his head. . . Like a gingerbread man!”

-       From Beyond

  • Random events triggered by player choices mean that no two fights are alike.
  • As characters take sanity damage, they suffer short-term psychotic episodes and long-term insanities that affect the outcome of the battle and their characters.
  • Player spellcasters can accidentally or intentionally cause supernatural anomalies that randomly affect the battlefield for good or ill.

Together these mechanics represent hundreds of random events.

Play as classic horror tropes

“We've all become God's madmen, all of us.”

-       Dracula

Every player is a character in a movie, choosing from one of 48 classic tropes. Your trope serves as both your core character concept and your mechanical role in the party.

  • Play as a commando, geek, redshirt, secret agent, or even a dog.
  • Every trope description includes 3-4 unique abilities that support different play styles and party roles.
  • As characters in a movie, players use stunts to affect die rolls and activate special abilities unique to their trope, gaining more ways to use stunts as they progress in level.

The right tools for the job

“Winchester, 30.06, Mossberg pump, and the Lee Harvey Oswald rifle... Why we have that, I do not know.”

-       Eight-Legged Freaks

Wield dozens of melee weapons, firearms, grenades, and other weapons needed for battle against dark horrors. Scavenge random equipment from the battlefield, making do with what limited weaponry and ammo you find, and craft or trade for better items as the game progresses.

Achieve a dark destiny

“I was born to murder the world.”

-       Lord of Illusions

At level 3, the scope of the game widens as characters choose a destiny, attaining supernatural powers and becoming elite warriors of the end times. Choices include:

  • Alien Assassin
  • Champion
  • Cyborg
  • Demigod
  • Mad Scientist
  • Mechapilot
  • Mutant
  • Necromancer
  • Singularity
  • Sorcerer
  • Villain
  • Warlock
  • Warlord
  • Waster
  • Werewolf
  • Wizard
  • Zealot

The downward spiral

“Horror has a face… You must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends.”

-       Apocalypse Now

At level 6, characters choose from one of 42 downward spirals. Your downward spiral completes your transformation from a sane human into a monster just as terrible as those you face.

  • Play a cannibal, cultist, fallen angel, or wormfolk. Join the ranks of the hybrid roach people, or become doomed to wander the Earth, cursed to never truly die.
  • With each new level, your downward spiral becomes more powerful and you become more twisted.
  • Combine your trope, destiny, and downward spiral to engage with a multitude of options and surprising combinations.

Die Screaming Product Catalogue


 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (0)
Discussions (9)
Customer avatar
Neil S May 28, 2021 4:21 am UTC
Customer avatar
Bryan R November 21, 2020 10:00 pm UTC
Keep up with the game's development here:
Customer avatar
Janice M November 07, 2020 11:01 am UTC
Yet another question, what is the point of the two mutilator weapons after the crafting rework?

If I remember right one used to be a grab weapon and the other had a buffed critical with the drawback of the crit fail mechanic; but after the rework they seem to just be worse chainsaws that require a higher crafting level to access.
Customer avatar
Bryan R November 07, 2020 11:10 am UTC
I'll take a look at it later today. They're items my play groups rarely bother with before they start using relics, so they probably need a re-work.
Customer avatar
Bryan R November 08, 2020 8:40 am UTC

Took a look at this issue and went ahead and simply deleted the mutilators. If for some reason one of your players built a mutilator, just turn it into a chainsaw.
Customer avatar
Bryan R November 11, 2020 8:23 am UTC
This month's changelog:
Customer avatar
Janice M November 15, 2020 10:02 am UTC
No but one of my players was complaining about it to me. Finally done with our radiance campaign so I can inflict some comic horror on my gaggle of idiots.

Customer avatar
Janice M November 17, 2020 2:16 pm UTC
You may want to add a clarification to the Dark Wizard downward spiral as to what happens if you don't have the Blood Magic class feature, which you wont if you took Wizard or Sorcerer.
Customer avatar
Bryan R November 18, 2020 5:48 am UTC

At first I thought this would be an easy fix, but then I kept finding things I wanted to address. Ultimately I did a light re-design of Dark Wizard to favor Necromancer characters slightly and carve out some space for Wizard.

- Re-ordered some abilities in the Dark Wizard tree.
- Separated out Blood Magic and Death Magic in the Necromancer abilities section.
- Explained that you get the Blood Magic feature, or better Blood Magic if you are already a Necromancer.
- At level 7 you get the Necromancer Death Magic feature, or better Death Magic if you are already a Necromancer.
- Carved out an exception at level 7 for Wizards so that as Dark Wizards they can always do necrotic damage by paying a stunt, and their Spirit Walker ability works on anything.

This should resolve issues with Wizard/Dark Wizard combos.
Customer avatar
David C October 13, 2020 6:12 pm UTC
I really enjoy this series. Is an indexed version of this document in the works by any chance?
Customer avatar
Bryan R October 13, 2020 6:20 pm UTC
Thanks David!

Now that the game is far nearer "complete" (and not spread across multiple expansions) I should really do something about that and perhaps give people using this on a tablet in particular an easier time searching (PDF search on mobile is horrible).
Customer avatar
Janice M July 16, 2020 7:57 pm UTC
I have asked this before but, the text seems to have been changed back

How exactly does Primeval's legendary weapon work
Is the intent that you use the natural weapon from cat or dog then add wrath damage on top of that?

Or do you just take the higher for all weapon stats

If the second one do you carry over cats crit range and dogs enhanced grapple?
Customer avatar
Bryan R July 16, 2020 8:09 pm UTC
Hi Blakelee,

Sorry for the confusion. I'm going to guess what happened is that I was working on the update while you asked your question in May and it didn't get carried over from the original text.

You replace your natural weapon's statistics with the legendary weapon statistics if they are better (so, d6 damage becomes d12, but if you have a 19-20 crit on the old weapon, that stays like it is).

If your original weapon has special qualities (dog bonus grab and so on), these carry over.

I'll also make sure that the Longbow Master issue remains ironed out when I make a brief update tonight to the text.

Thanks again for the attention to detail.
Customer avatar
Janice M July 17, 2020 12:03 am UTC
So everything except crit rate is carried over, I'm guessing that is different due to crit synergy possibly unbalancing demigod?

And yes, longbow master was reverted
Customer avatar
Bryan R July 17, 2020 5:20 am UTC
So, to be perfectly clear on what the text in the (updated) PDF now says:

"King of the Jungle: Your natural attack counts as your legendary weapon. Replace your natural attack’s statistics with those of a legendary weapon where they are better, and keep your old statistics wherever they would be better."

I will examine this problem in greater detail in an update, as there are several tropes who gain unique weapons that may potentially be rendered obsolete later by destines or downward spirals, but wanted to address this particular issue now with something definitive. I am currently thinking trope weapons may be given an additional quality that states that their special qualities (like bonus grabs and so on) carry over when you gain destiny or downward spiral weapons later, but their statistics (like damage dice and crit range) *do not*, as a matter of balance. I am not 100% sure what will make the most sense at this point and it will take some time to make the edits properly,...See more
Customer avatar
Janice M July 19, 2020 5:57 am UTC
A general rule for class feature inheritance would probably be a good idea, one of my players is an alpha munchkin and ive gotten pretty good at predicting rules arguments at this point (he wanted to play a primeval cat and was trying to argue the crit rate should carry over which would probably work with cataclysm a bit too well).

One other question. how does plus damage from agility work with pepper spray?
is it added to the amount of ongoing damage or is it just added as a bit of damage on the initial hit?
Customer avatar
Bryan R July 19, 2020 6:48 am UTC
...See more
Customer avatar
Janice M July 19, 2020 8:52 am UTC
I ran the pregen last Halloween as a one shot and my group seemed to enjoy it, they kind of cheesed the boss in the church with a lucky flamethrower drop though.

Haven't played enough to give any balance feedback sadly but my last campaign just ended so was going to try and run this next.
Customer avatar
Janice M July 19, 2020 12:33 pm UTC
A few more inconsistencies,

Pepper spray lists it's crafting cost as 3 normal + 1 normal and

The chart that lists deployment manuvers and the ones listed under the skill description of stealth and insight are different
Customer avatar
Bryan R July 21, 2020 7:45 am UTC
- Fixed the deployment maneuver issue

- Fixed the pepper spray issue

- Changed most uses of "junk" to "components" as this was the original word used and there was some confusion being generated by multiple uses of junk as verb and noun

- Unarmed attacks now have the Unarmed quality. "Unarmed: This is an unarmed attack. If you gain other unarmed attacks later, those attacks inherit this weapon’s special qualities, such as Light."

- Demigod weapons now have the "Inherited" quality. "Inherited: If your trope or downward spiral grants you a weapon, you may use that weapon as your legendary weapon. This increases your weapon’s damage and critical damage if either of the above statistics are better, but not critical threat range."

- Legendary weapons under demigod descriptions now more clearly specify that energy damage from your legendary weapon is *bonus* damage, not the only type the weapon deals...See more
Customer avatar
Lee S July 13, 2020 4:26 pm UTC
Hey Bryan, thanks for the update. What happened to the other books?
Customer avatar
Bryan R July 13, 2020 4:43 pm UTC
Hi Lee,

I have them closed for sale at the moment because:

(A) All of that content is in the PHB/DG books now

(B) The content moved to the PHB/DG was *also* updated a lot, so it is not the same anymore. For example pretty much every destiny is at least slightly different, and some things moved between tropes/destinies/downward spirals.

(C) Updated the expansion content didn't seem like a good use of energy, since part of the purpose was to consolidate and make it less difficult to figure out what book you needed to open up.

I am working on a couple of new releases and when those go live they will also be moved into the books.
Customer avatar
Lee S July 13, 2020 10:50 pm UTC
Copy that. I was thinking, I would love to see you do an "Iron Age" supers supplement for DS. Perhaps an alternate Earth in a Dark Realm universe.
Customer avatar
Bryan R July 14, 2020 12:09 am UTC
Yeah I can see where you would pick up on that idea, this game is sort of torn between the modern and the historical, as well as in a balancing act between comedic and dark/gritty, and a further balancing act between film and literature influences. It's something I've considered but shelved at times because I didn't want to write a "competing" rules set that couldn't be integrated efficiently. It may be time, as I don't know how much more space there is to fill out in subgenre exploration.
Customer avatar
Lee S October 28, 2019 4:22 am UTC
Love the new updates! Awesome work and a great world! When will 'Plutonian Shores' be released?

Customer avatar
Bryan R October 28, 2019 6:43 am UTC
Thanks Lee! Shooting for a December 1 release date with accompanying sale.

Plutonian Shores will have, among other things, content designed to help directors take games to other dimensions.
Customer avatar
Lee S October 28, 2019 8:10 pm UTC
OTHER DIMENSIONS!? That's cool as hell!
Customer avatar
Bryan R October 28, 2019 8:36 pm UTC
Yes! The Director's Guide has some broad stroke information but I wanted to greatly expand on this, add more content, get some mechanics in there for directors to work with, some kind of extra reward system for the added danger, a thematic downward spiral for it, and add some more monsters.

Everything is always work-in-progress when you're a one-man publisher, but generally you will get rules for combat in various underworlds, dimensions, alien planets, and accursed sites (like interstellar ghost ships and Lemuria). I am looking to add about 20 examples of places to go with combat/sanity modifiers for each, rules for special treasure, and some more monsters. So someone who wanted to create their own realm would know what to do.

The idea is as always that it's very modular, so you should be able to take campaigns to different realms very easily as a director without doing too much overhead work, especially when a lot of the core monsters are already from these weird and terrible places....See more
Customer avatar
Bryan R November 26, 2019 7:12 am UTC
Based on progress and the holidays, I would expect an expansion release closer to January.
Customer avatar
Lee S December 21, 2019 4:25 am UTC
Looking forward to New Years then...
Customer avatar
Bryan R December 31, 2019 6:16 pm UTC
Hi! Currently shooting for February 1. That's the bad news.

The good news is it's taking that long because there is a lot of content (likely 100+ pages before I'm done, making it the longest expansion by far).
Customer avatar
Lee S December 31, 2019 8:58 pm UTC
No Problem!!!!! It's better to wait for a superior product then settle for a mediocre one. Thanks for the excellent work BTW! Have a GREAT New Years!!!!!!!!!!!
Customer avatar
Bryan R January 17, 2020 10:41 am UTC
Can definitely now 100% announce that the product will release on February 1. Thanks for your enthusiasm Lee!
Customer avatar
Lee S January 18, 2020 2:20 am UTC
NB! Two weeks it is then...
Customer avatar
Vitold H February 07, 2019 5:44 pm UTC
I've read the rulebooks to prepare GMing, but I can't find the leveling up rules anywhere. How and when exactly does a character level up? Please help.
Customer avatar
Bryan R February 08, 2019 7:03 pm UTC
Hi Vitold,

Progression is meant to be narrative-based; that is to say, you decide when leveling happens as a GM. XP is not tracked.

I will be very interested to hear how your game goes.
Customer avatar
David C June 26, 2018 11:50 pm UTC
I'm liking it so far, but some navigation bookmarks for the PDF would make reading it easier.
Customer avatar
Bryan R June 28, 2018 8:42 am UTC
This should be added in now.
Customer avatar
David C June 28, 2018 11:59 am UTC
Oh, awesome. Thank you. This will make a world of difference!
Customer avatar
June 28, 2018 7:45 pm UTC
Thanks for the linked bookmarks!
Narrow Results
Post-Apocalypse Sale
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!
 Recent History

Product Information
Electrum seller
Rule System(s)
File Size:
5.89 MB
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Information
Watermarked PDF
Watermarked PDF

These PDF files are digitally watermarked to signify that you are the owner. A small message is added to the bottom of each page of the PDF containing your name and the order number of your purchase.

Warning: If any files bearing your information are found being distributed illegally, then your account will be suspended and legal action may be taken against you.

Here is a sample of a page from a watermarked title:

File Last Updated:
May 31, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on January 15, 2018.
Bryan Rantala
Publisher Average Rating