Masque of the Red Death

Parent page: Convention Games

MasqueOfTheRedDeath Masque of the Red Death


Upcoming Games of Masque of the Red Death
Event Time Location
GenCon LRP18132531 Friday Aug 3 12:00 am (Midnight on Thursday) Hyatt: Network
GenCon LRP18132532 Saturday Aug 4 12:00 am (Midnight on Friday) Hyatt: Network
GenCon LRP18132533 Sunday Aug 5 12:00 am (Midnight on Saturday) Hyatt: Network


Want to host Masque of the Red Death at your local con? Please email me to coordinate and I will send you a physical set of the cards. Or join our FaceBook Group!

Introduction: Masque of the Red Death is a live action game of social deduction, manipulation and strategy for groups of 12-42 players. It is based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story of the same name and often ran at conventions. All the materials needed to run the game can be downloaded on this page. A general overview of the game and its rules are on this page, but the full set of rules must be downloaded below.

Download the Full Rules

Story: A terrible plague called the Red Death has swept over the land, leaving death and disease in its wake. Fortunately for you, Prince Prospero has created a refuge in a walled castellated abbey where he and his wealthy nobleman are waiting out the plague. Indifferent to the suffering outside the abbey, the nobleman spend their days feasting, imbibing fine wine and holding lavish parties. Tonight, the prince is holding a lavish masquerade ball where the attendees disguise their identities behind masks. Little does the prince know that the Red Death and those who serve it have infiltrated the masquerade, intent on showing the rich noblemen that death comes for everyone.

Game Premise::
teampartyicon Masque of the Red DeathTeam Party: Most of you will be on Team Party. Your goal is to find and cast the Red Death card out of the party. At the beginning of the game, the card starts with a role called ‘The Stranger’ but it may pass to others. If, at the end of a trial, the card is found to be outside the party, then Team Party wins.

teamdeathicon Masque of the Red DeathTeam Death: About one-fourth of the players will be on Team Death. Your goal is to eliminate as many players as possible, either by killing the or getting them cast out of the party (or both). If, at the end of trial, the number of living players inside the party has been reduced to a quarter or less, Team Death wins.

Starting Team: The team you are on is determined by a Team Card. For most Roles, they can potentially be on any Team. But some Roles are always on one team or the other.
Role Cards determine a player’s faction and starting ability card. There are up to 42 Roles currently available for the game.

Role Cards 1
Role Cards 2
Role Cards 3
Role Cards 4
Role Cards 5
Role Cards Back

Role Faction Starting Ability Card
The Bandit Thieve’s Guild Mug
The Bard Thieve’s Guild Seducing Song
The Thief Thieve’s Guild Pickpocket
Grave Robber Thieve’s Guild Loot
The Conman Thieve’s Guild Tax
Prince Prospero Royalty Influence
The Duke Royalty Influence
The Duchess Royalty Influence
The Marquis Royalty Influence
The Baron Royalty Influence
The Cleric Clergy Turn Undead
The Bishop Clergy Scroll of Healing
The Inquisitor Clergy Objection
The Abbot Clergy Wand of Silencing
The Friar Clergy Mental Fortification
The Medium Scholars Seance
The Detective Scholars Magnifying Glass
The Barrister Scholars Interrogation
The Fortune Teller Scholars Tarot Cards
The Philosopher Scholars Crystal Ball
The Knight Guards Sword
The Captain Guards Spear
The Templar Guards Holy Crozier
The Executioner Guards Executioner’s Ax
The Archer Guards Arrow
The Jester Rebellion, Knows Royalty Irresistible Offer
The Beloved Rebellion, Knows Scholars Blackmail
The Assassin Rebellion, Knows Thieve’s Guild Poison
The Spy Rebellion, Knows Clergy Subterfuge
Bodyguard Rebellion, Knows Guards Shield
The Necromancer No Faction, Team Pagan Necronomicon
The King in Yellow No Faction, Team Cult Indoctrinate
The Mad Scientist No Faction, Team Pagan Experimental Potion
The Judge No Faction Contempt of Court
The Plague Doctor No Faction Medical Kit
The Stranger No Faction, Team Pagan Red Death
The Barbarian No Faction Mace
The Groundskeeper No Faction Body Disposal
The Gatekeeper No Faction Portcullis
The Worshipper No Faction, Team Cult Soul Probe
The Count No Faction, Team Pagan Mist Form
The Merchant No Faction Bag of Gold

Ability Cards
are various powers you players can use during the game. One side of the card explains the requirements for using the card while the other side (and the color of the card) indicate the card’s effect on the target player. Cards are used by showing another player the effect side of the card (the Requirement side cannot be shown). All players start with one pre-determined Ability Card that is decided by their Role and another Ability card at Random.

Factions In addition to teams, players may belong to a Faction specified on their Role Card (or No Faction at all). Factions provide information that can be used to help Team Party coordinate against Team Death or also help Team Death plot against Team Party. In any Faction (except the Rebellion Faction), 0 to 1 members will be on Team Death.

royaltyfactionicon Masque of the Red DeathRoyalty Faction – The wealthy elite invited by Prince Prospero himself to wait out the masquerade. Royalty all start with a White ‘Trial Motion’ card. This means that they will have at least two Trial Motion cards since all players start with one. 0 to 1 of the royalty will be on Team Death while the rest are on Team Party.
guardfactionicon Masque of the Red DeathGuard Faction – Powerful soldiers hired to protect the Prince and his noblemen at the masquerade. Guards all start with a Red ‘Kill’ Card. 0 to 1 of the guards will be on Team Death while the rest are on Team Party.
scholarsfactionicon Masque of the Red DeathScholars Faction – Highly educated academics who use their intellects to reveal secrets. Scholars all start with a Green ‘Say Your Colors’ Card. 0 to 1 of the scholars will be on Team Death while the rest are on Team Party.
thievesguildfactionicon Masque of the Red DeathThieves Guild Faction – Greedy crooks, bandits and conmen who have infiltrated the masquerade to steal from the wealthy elite. Thieves Guild members start with a Violet ‘You are Robbed’ card. 0 to 1 of the Thieves Guild will be on Team Death while the rest are on Team Party.
clergyfactionicon Masque of the Red DeathClergy Faction – Holy men of the cloth who battle evil through faith. Clergy start with a Pink ‘Cancel’ card. 0 to 1 of the Clergy will be on Team Death while the rest are on Team Party.
rebellionfactionicon Masque of the Red DeathRebellion Faction – A secret society that has infiltrated the party with the intent on overthrowing the ruling class. Each member of the Rebellion is also a member of another Faction that they have infiltrated. But their starting Ability Card is not the same color as the Faction they have infiltrated. For example, a Rebel who has infiltrated the Scholars Faction does not have a Green ‘Say Your Colors” Card as a starting card (although they may have been dealt one as their Random Card). None of the Rebellion are on Team Death, all of them are on Team Party.
nofactionicon Masque of the Red DeathNo Faction – Other attendees of the party may belong to no Faction. This means, depending on their Role, their Starting Card may be any color – including Orange ‘Change Areas’ or Blue ‘Zombify’. At least 2 players who have No Faction are on Team Death.

The best way to play is to effectively use information, manipulation, and abilities to meet your personal and team goal. Sharing information may be necessary to find out who is your ally, but it may also reveal yourself to possible enemies. Lying and deception is encouraged as long as it does not conflict with any of the rules.

RedSmall Masque of the Red Death Red “You Are Dead” Cards kill you. If someone shows you this card, it means they have killed you. Wait 2-3 seconds and then die. You are now “dead” and your body will be taken to the Morgue at the end of the Round. The ‘Red Death’ card that Team Party is trying to cast out is one of these cards.

Red Cards 1
Red Cards 2
Red Effect Side
WhiteSmall Masque of the Red Death White “Trial Motion” Cards are used for trial purposes and are the only cards that must be used openly. Every player will have at least one Trial Motion card all players start the game with at least one. A Trial Motion card can be used to nominate someone for trial (which starts the trial phase of the game) or to vote on a nominee to be cast out during a trial.

Starting Influence / Team Cards
White Cards 1
White Cards 2
White Effect Side
GreenSmall Masque of the Red Death Green “Say Your Cards” Cards are investigation cards the compel another player to say which colors of cards they are currently holding.

Green Cards 1
Green Effect Side
VioletSmall Masque of the Red Death Violet “You Are Robbed” Cards are used to steal one random card of a specified color from another player. You must give one random card of that color to the person robbing you. If you do not have any cards of that color, the Violet Card is used to no effect.

Violet Cards 1
Violet Cards 2
Violet Effect Side
OrangeSmall Masque of the Red Death Orange “Leave or Return to the Party” Cards force another player to switch areas. If the target player is currently in the party, they are being forcibly cast out. If they are currently outcast, the target player is brought back into the party.

Orange Cards 1
Orange Cards 2
Orange Effect Side
BlueSmall Masque of the Red Death Blue “You Are Zombified” Cards turn other players into zombies (usually dead players). Dead players who find themselves zombified may stand and begin their status as a zombie. Alive players who are zombified, must “temporarily” die and wait until the next Round before they can rise as a zombie. Dead or zombified players immediately join Team Death and want to eliminate as many players as possible, regardless of what team they were on while alive.. But a zombified cannot speak coherently or move at more than one step per second. All players start with a blue ability card called ‘Zombie Bite’ which will be useful if they are ever Zombified.

Blue Cards 1
Blue Cards 2
Blue Effect Side
PinkSmall Masque of the Red Death Pink “Your Card is Canceled” Cards can be used to cancel the effect of another card that is used on you or a nearby player. Pink cancel cards can only cancel certain colors as specified on the requirements side of the card. A Pink Cancel card must be used with a reasonable window of a few seconds after the first card is played that you wish to cancel. A card that is canceled is considered spent and cannot be used again this Round.

Pink Cards 1
Pink Cards 2
Pink Effect Side
YellowSmall Masque of the Red Death Yellow “Join Our Cult” Cards immediately switch you to Team Cult. As a member of Team Cult your goal is to for most of the living players to be on Team Cult by the end of the game. If you are already on Team Cult, the card is used to no effect.

Yellow Cards 1
Yellow Effect Side
  1. Trevor says:

    Thank you so much for creating and running this game at GENCON. I attended two out of the three nights, and absolutely loved it! I can’t wait to play it again!!!

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