Dice are the artifacts around which the plot revolves. They are supernatural or super technological devices that X distributes according to the completion of Quests by users, who are called Dicers. They can grant their owners enhancement of physical and intellectual traits, and even supernatural skills.
Dice, or at least the first batch of them, fell to the Earth, more precisely in a South Korean slum at a certain time in the past, in shooting-star fashion, implying that they come from outer space or from a parallel universe. The first person to reach the impact site was a little boy who would become X. How he was granted control and possession of Dice was by wishing on a star. Currently X controls all Dice and their distribution from an unknown location, and seems to be able to produce more Dice using a Dicer's desires as "fuel".
General Properties and UsageEdit
Dice are divided into a few classes:
- Ordinary Dice
- A-Rank Dice
- S-Rank Die
- Soul Die
- Battle Dice
- Enchant Die
Each of these have their own properties but all or most seem to have one thing in common: they can serve as analytical engines that can apprehend their surroundings in depth and relay the data in real time to X, who can thus use them to locate Dicers and oversee Quests. Except for Battle Dice, all others are indestructible.
These are the most abundant Dice and the ones X gives first. They are originally blue and they are the only ones that grant their user Dicership, which is irreversible: once one becomes a Dicer, there is no way to go back to being a normal human. One of the implications is that a Dicer is much like a game character and their health and general attributes are become quantified as stats (e.g. Health Points and skill levels).
To become a Dicer, and to use ordinary Dice in general, one has to drop or roll them, purposely or by accident, onto a flat, inanimate surface. If another person catches a tossed Die, or if one simply lays it on a surface without dropping, they remain inactivated and their ownership can be transferred as that of any other thing.
Once they are activated, they become red in color and the number they show is registered by X's control system as the number of Dice awarded to the caster. If the caster is only a regular person, at that moment they become a Dicer and receive a congratulations message from X. From that point on, and outside the PVP stage, ownership of the Dice awarded cannot be transferred: the Die has been activated, but not yet synchronized.
Synchronization is the process whereby a Dicer instructs X to use Dice on themselves. Ordinary Dice can change human attributes until they far exceed natural ranges, namely:
- Physical appearance: Everything, from height and weight to hair, eye and skin color, can be changed at will. Synchronization of Dice can grow hair, remove freckles, grow muscle, change the shape of facial features and the metabolic rate, to the point that the person may be completely unrecognizable relative to their previous looks, as in the case of Taebin.
- Health: Dice synchronization has been used to correct vision defects, heal injuries caused by overexertion and remove fatigue. Taebin, Mio and Dongtae are examples.
- Physical performance: People can become stronger, faster, more agile, less susceptible to injury and increase their stamina. These attributes can be pushed far beyond human limits, but in the case of Agility and Strength, there are physiological constraints and Dicers who break the security thresholds (X always forewarns them when they are about to do so) can suffer significant, painful, even disabling damage in their bodies. These effects - enhancement of skill and damage - are more pronounced when Dicers select specific parts of their bodies to be enhanced: this effect is called amplification and is a way to increase power more quickly with fewer Dice, as the smaller the part of the body, the greater the enhancement from the same amount of Dice. Examples of that are Bowl-hair and, in tragic fashion, Byungchul.
- Intellectual performance: Dicers can use Dice to improve their intelligence, memory and analytical power. Almost all students have done it to improve their academic performance, and Samsusaeng provides a dramatic example.
- Others: although there are no examples so far, it has been mentioned that less tangible attributes like charisma and luck can be enhanced by Dice.
Synchronized Dice become white and are just like regular playing dice. It's not known whether they can still serve the purpose of sensing their surroundings for X, or whether they are still indestructible.
These are provided much more sparingly than ordinary Dice and the Quests that award them are much more difficult. They are gold-coloured and have a question mark on each face when awarded; when cast, they become crimson red and the face that ends up shows the skill symbol. From that point on, their ownership cannot be transferred outside of the PVP stage.
A-Rank Dice confer superhuman skills to their owners, who become A-Rankers and thus can compete for the S-Rank Die (see below). There are six skills, one for each face on a Die, namely:
- Clairvoyance: This skill allows the user to read the properties of inanimate objects and the basic physical and interest profiles of people. It is the only thing that can distinguish a Dicer from a non-Dicer, and it also reveals Dicers' skills to the user. All of this can be done passively and at no cost of Dice, but more details can be retrieved if the user decides to use Dice on the skill. It can also detect hidden Dice in the area, and even see through opaque objects. It cannot reveal information X wants to conceal, like team membership in the War Quest, though. Mio is a current user, but Taebin's friend, Jihae, was a former user who pushed the skill to the limit.
- Cloaking: It makes the user transparent, rendering them invisible to others. This skill lasts five minutes per Die and applies to things the user is holding at the moment of activation (including, of course, one's own clothes), as well as to things ingested afterwards. It transcends the laws of nature and thus blindness is not a problem. When it is lifted, though, the user must wait a while before activating it again. Daewoong and Eunju are current users while Oh-Hyun and Miju possessed the skill prior to dying.
- Levitation: Adjusts gravity on oneself, allowing the user to levitate and fly through the air. Weight and height don't seem to be issues: the cost of the skill is measured in time of flight, at one Die per minute. Dawn and Eunju are current users while Sungchul and Teacher Kim possessed the skill prior to dying.
- Psychokinesis: A kinetic power that allows the user to move objects at will, solids and liquids at least. Its cost in Dice has not been specified. Eunju and Mooyoung are current users and Gilma and Gibaek possessed the skill prior to death.
- Teleportation: This skill enables the user to move instantly to a specified location, at a cost of one Die per ten metres travelled. Current users are Dawn, Taebin and Mooyoung with Seyoon and Samsusaeng possessing the skill prior to death and recently Dongtae.
- Time Pause: Widely considered the strongest skill, it can stop time of everything within an unspecified, large radius, except for the caster, at a cost of one Die per ten seconds. The user can release paused people and objects by touching them, which can also be used to exclude someone from its effects if done while Time Pause is activated. People released by the user can release other people and objects. Other Time Pausers, even those who are only temporarily so from using Store items (see below) are also immune to its effects. Its current users are Mooyoung, Dongtae and Suksoon Jung.
This Die hasn't been shown yet. It corresponds to the last level of Dicership and its user can change the world at their will. To qualify to obtain it, an A-Ranker must win the PVP Stage by collecting all A-Rank skills, which allows them to challenge X directly, who is presumably its current owner.
This Die is blue and has strange patterns on its surface. Its inside is visible and glows orange. Its only known property is that it glows and grows slightly each time an A-Ranker comes into being. However, Taebin says it also carries the "soul" of the A-Ranker and it is dropped when said A-Ranker dies. Currently, Dongtae is in possession of one.
Battle DiceEditThese are store items shaped as Dice and have defensive or offensive properties. They have no fixed ownership and don't need to be rolled so much as thrown. So far, Dice Bombs, Air Bombs and Stun Bombs have been shown. Their properties bend laws of Physics: Dice Bombs, for example, don't harm their casters even if they are in the range of explosion.
This Die increases one's chances of successfully strengthening one's A-Rank skill (see below) to the percentage obtained by rolling it. One was obtained by Che-Hyun through the random machine which he then gave to Dongtae which he has yet to use.
Ancient Dice Edit
The ancient dice are a selection of dice of generally unknown shape or size. The only currently known ancient die is the coin that was given to Dongtae after rolling the high tier random machine. After an unknown process the die has grown to 4 sides each having a different effect. The affects known are the 1st side ability which skips time by 1-10 seconds for the user and the 4th side ability which turns back a period of time for the given user and those around them.
Dicer evolution runs through the stages of B-Ranker, A-Ranker and S-Ranker, in that order. The existence of "lower than B-Rank" was suggested on Byungchul's notes, but most likely he only meant low-level Dicers that can just as well be described as B-Rankers.
The S-Ranker is the Dicer that has conquered the last Die and can change the world at will. Since nothing is known about that Die yet, this discussion will skirt the issue for now.
The distinction between A and B-Rankers is straightforward: an A-Ranker has acquired one or more supernatural skills. However, in the course of the story, a difference in average evolution becomes evident.
The average B-Ranker has collected a low number of Dice, maybe in the dozens. B-Rankers who are more evolved than that usually are superhuman and on the verge of receiving their A-Rank Quest depending on tenacity and ambition: Daewoong was able to withstand a hit by a car unharmed while still a B-Ranker, and Dongtae could climb walls while running. Dicers who choose to specialise and benefit from amplification can hold their ground even against A-Rankers - one of the Three Fire Foxes could crack the ground open with a punch and Bowl-hair's kicks could cause a football to bend metal. Conversely, Dicers, even A-Rankers, who invest too much in their looks, like Mio, can be vulnerable to attacks from lower-ranked ones.
In general, however, A-Rankers are widely feared and respected by B-Rankers. The mere arrival of Samsusaeng to a room full of B-Rankers during the War Quest caused them to flee. An A-Ranker generally has accumulated more than a hundred Dice. Mio, for example, became an A-Ranker when she had collected 125 ordinary Dice. A-Rankers have privileged access to Store items, receive special quests and are the only ones to whom Strengthening is allowed.
Exceptions are possible, though, especially during the PVP stage (see below), during which ownership of A-Rank Dice can change in unexpected ways. This has led to the appearance of Teacher Kim, who is an A-Ranker but has only three or four ordinary Dice and is thus much weaker than average B-Rankers.
Quests are the main mechanism through which Dice are distributed. X says that the main, but by no means the only ingredient in the issuing of a Quest is a Dicer's desire. X can read the personalities of Dicers uncannily well, to the point of accurately using desires they themselves don't acknowledge to generate quests from.
However, the actual demands of quests, while in principle conducive to the fulfilment of said desires, are also designed in order to give X enjoyment in watching their pursuit. This in turn means that most of them are imbued with malice, be it in the form of nearly harmless practical jokes issued to Dongtae, or outright vicious like quests that involve directly harming other people. X is also careful to word them in a way that offers excuses to Dicers, who slowly loosen their moral standards and accept progressively more wicked quests that lead to their ethical degeneration. Dicers who can resist that moral decay are rare and seem to include so far only Dongtae, Taebin, Mio and perhaps Che-Hyun.
In keeping with that, the award in Dice is proportional to the difficulty of the quest, and/or to how much it bends a Dicer's character. This serves as enticement to descend further, and again few are able to resist the allure. A-Rank Quests are usually those that are extremely difficult mental or physically, often causing Dicers to go against their caution and better judgement.
This system ensures that one's evolution as a Dicer reflects the intensity of one's desires and the tenacity with which they pursue them. Conversely, people who are satisfied and become contented stop receiving quests and may have trouble improving themselves further. At a certain point, and given Dicers' reticent to spread Dice further, a community of Dicers can stall at a state of equilibrium, which irks X and normally causes him to start the PVP Stage (see below).
Because Dicership is a closed loop - one has to be a Dicer to receive quests, and Dice are only awarded on completion of quests - for there to be new Dicers an accident must occur, such as in the case of Eunju, who was simply present the moment Dice materialised when Dongtae and Taebin completed a quest; or X must orchestrate events so that Dice will have a high likelihood of being found by normal people, which is what happened to Dongtae. In rare cases, a Dicer will give a normal person a Die, as in the case of Mooyoung and Taebin or Dongtae and Byungchul. This often involves ulterior motives on the part of the giver.
Quests vary in nature. They are mostly individual, but X sometimes gives the same quest to multiple people. X can give quest details while it is being fulfilled, and he can give quests to just one type of Dicer (e.g. A-Rankers). While a Dicer can refuse most quests, X can give compulsory ones like the War Quests.
The PVP StageEdit
PVP stands for "player versus player" and is a special period determined by X during which normal quests stop being issued and the rules of the game change so that the only way to obtain Dice is by extracting them from another Dicer through physical violence.
As said before, outside of the PVP stage, Dice that have been activated or synchronised cannot change ownership: even if the owner gives a red Die to another person, the recipient cannot use the Dice on themselves.
However, during the PVP Stage this changes: if a Dicer engages another in battle and delivers sufficient harm to their opponent, from a certain point the Dice the opponent has accumulated begin to fall off their bodies, emerging red but reverting back to blue and becoming free for the picking. Accordingly, the enhancements that the victim achieved are undone in the process, in reverse order as they were gained.
A-Rank Dice behave a little differently. While they can be harvested via a PVP battle, they always come out last before the Soul Die and they don't deactivate: if the person who picks them up is already a Dicer, they cannot roll it again and obtain a different skill; rather, they automatically receive the skill the original owner had; this happened to Mooyoung on harvesting Gilma's Die. If the person is normal, merely picking them doesn't turn them into a Dicer; this is Eunju's current status. If a non-Dicer rolls them along with ordinary Dice as in Teacher Kim's case, by becoming a Dicer they automatically receive the skill.
During the PVP Stage, losing all of one's Dice is lethal: when the Soul Die falls, the person expires. If the person is an A-Ranker, it is possible to beat them within an inch of dying and harvest the A-Rank Die without actually killing them, although this is rare and the only known survivor of an A-Rank Die harvest is Dawn.
The decision to initiate the PVP Stage is X's and seems arbitrary. In the previous iteration of the game whereby Taebin became a Dicer, X only waited for six A-Rankers to appear from among the seven existing ones to do it; but in Dongtae's iteration, X waited for there to be 16 A-Rankers, one for each piece of a chess army.
The PVP Stage ends when a Dicer collects all six skills and earns the right to challenge X. If they are defeated, as in Mooyoung's previous attempt, they lose all skills except their original one and normal quests start being issued again.
This, as the name implies, is a combat mode within the PVP Stage. It is an array of items and derivative skills that enable Dicers to increase their fighting capabilities. There are two forms of Battle Mode: Shop and Strengthen.
There is a store in the Dice system. In Taebin's iteration of the game, it was open even before the PVP Stage, but in Dongtae's it was opened afterwards.
The store, as the name implies, is an application of the Dice system which one can operate via a smartphone to purchase, using Dice (and sometimes inactivated Dice, so it seems) as currency, items that are useful in combat and defence. Some items can be added and removed by X under special circumstances like the War Quest, and they can be made specific of a subset of Dicers, like the different teams of said quest.
The current items from the store are known:
- Potions can be used to recover health however neither potion can recover lethal damage.
- Regular potion: Costs one Die and recovers 30 Health Points.
- Luxury potion: Costs three Dice and recovers half of one's total health points.
- Buffs are used to temporarily enhance a user's physical and/or mental abilities. They can also be used to enhance skill effects: the Physical Buff allowed Dongtae to overclock his Agility to become lightning-fast, and Jihae used the Mental Buff to investigate X.
- Physical buff: Costs two Dice and temporarily increases physical strength.
- Mental buff: Costs two Dice and temporarily increases mental power.
- Peace: Costs four Dice and temporarily designates an area as a PVP-free zone.
- Defence barrier: Costs four Dice and temporarily creates a barrier surrounding an area to insulate it from outside forces. The barrier manifests as a pink translucent cube surrounding the target area. Sound can penetrate but not leave it. It is impervious to physical forces and is quite long-lived. It doesn't cover the ground.
- A-Ranker roulette: Costs five Dice and allows one temporarily to use a random A-Ranker skill.
- Stalking: Allows one to find a Dicer's location at a given time within a certain radius. Cost unknown. It's unclear whether this includes Cloakers.
- Resurrection: Restores a Dicer from a disabled state (e.g. unconscious). Cost unknown.
- Dice bomb: Attack-exclusive item during the War Quest. It costs two Dice and, in a radius of five metres from the caster, it deals radial, explosive damage that spares the caster alone.
- Air bomb: Similar to Dice bomb, but explodes in contact with a given air pressure.
- Stun bomb: A combination of a stun grenade and flare bomb, causes no damage but emits a bright light and an intense sound on explosion.
- Random machine: Costs four dice, it is like a capsule toy game as it gives the user a random special item. It is the only known way to obtain an Enchant die and is located at the bottom of the shop.
The other Battle Mode form is exclusive to A-Rankers. It consists of a mechanism whereby Dice can be spent - the more, the higher the chances of success are - to generate a derivative of one's A-Rank Skill.
According to X's explanation, when an A-Ranker tries to Strengthen, X activates a pseudo-random algorithm that combines the amount of Dice spent, the A-Rank Skill and a third factor to try to generate a novel skill that is unique to that Dicer. The chances of success per round of Strengthening are intrinsically low and many attempts may end in failure, i.e. nothing happens. The odds can be improved, although not to the point of becoming 100%, by using the Enchant Die. Using more Dice can result in a superior skill being generated.
The third factor is described as the A-Ranker's "nature", which seems to correspond to their classification in X's chess (for example, Dongtae is a Pawn and Taebin, a Bishop). The influence of that nature is not described in detail.
Strengthening is equivalent to expanding a skill tree in a game. Derivative skills are implied to have several levels, although so far only level two skills have been shown.Derivative skills normally consume more Dice than the root skills to be used. Known skills obtained from Strengthening are:
- Auto-Dodge: Taebin's level two skill, which costs one Die per round, is the only known skill that is somewhat effective against Time Pausers. It negates Time Pause effects when the opponent comes within 2.5 metres of Taebin. He then automatically teleports to a safe, advantageous spot within two metres of the original spot. It is a level-two derivative of Teleportation.
- Unlimited Consecutive Teleportation: Samsusaeng's level two skill. It costs 20 Dice per round but enables one to teleport randomly in very short intervals while moving in a general direction. Due to afterimages, the user appears to have multiplied. It is a level-two derivative of Teleportation.
- Air Gravity: Dawn's level two skill. Its exact properties haven't been explained yet, but it seems to enable the caster to deflect physical attacks and create shockwaves. It is a level-two derivative of Levitation.
- Gravity Press: Dawn's level-three derivative of Levitation. It enables the user to greatly increase the gravity within a 3 metre radius of themselves. Despite being free from the skill's effects, the user is rendered immobile.
Taebin is also implied to have level three skills.