- "I've been waiting for you, for such a long time. I need you, just as you need me. Let us walk together, for as long as we walk together, I shall protect you."
- — Morganna Mode Gone —
Role Play is the first episode of .hack//SIGN.
The episode opens with Tsukasa waking up inside a dungeon, beside a Gott Statue; he is somewhat disoriented. As he stands up, he is approached by a female Heavy Blade, who introduces herself as Mimiru. She is somewhat mystified and impressed at the fact that she's found a lone Wavemaster, but before she can comment further, Tsukasa uses a Sprite Ocarina to leave the dungeon, ignoring her completely. Mimiru is frustrated, but is consoled by the fact that Tsukasa neglected to collect the Statue's treasure.
The scene cuts to Tsukasa sitting in a field, and it soon becomes apparent that he has amnesia. Soon after, he is approached by the Crimson Knights, and prepares to fight them; they declare that they do not wish to harm him. They inform Tsukasa that the Crimson Knights were formed in order to crack down on any illegal activity within The World. He is dismissive, insisting that they have nothing to do with him, and the Knights become agitated, stating that it has to do with everyone who plays The World. Tsukasa is told that he was seen playing with a cat-like PC, and that PCs cannot legally be edited to appear anthropomorphic. The Knights request information, but Tsukasa flees. In response, the Knights decide to monitor Tsukasa.
At the Chaos Gate, Tsukasa encounters Mimiru. The scene changes to the two sitting in Dun Loireag, and Mimiru tries to make conversation with Tsukasa, who continues to ignore her. She mentions seeing him run from the Crimson Knights, and he is irritated. Mimiru tries to give him advice, but he insists that nothing matters once he logs out. Tsukasa gets up to leave, and Mimiru asks what he will do if the Knights; he smirks, and says that it may be fun. Mimiru is frustrated at his careless attitude toward the Knights, and follows him to the Chaos Gate where he tells her that everyone has their own playstyle. He goes to log out, and is shocked to find out that he is unable to. Tsukasa declares that he dislikes Mimiru, and disappears, leaving her furious.
Tsukasa reappears riding a Grunty, and comments on the animal's stupidity before transporting to a Spring of Myst, where he attacks the spirit of the spring. A male Blademaster laughs as he watches Tsukasa, then introduces himself as Bear, commenting that he attacks the spirit when he's feeling down. He offers to help Tsukasa, saying that he enjoys helping newbies, but looks up in time to see Tsukasa teleporting away. Behind Bear, a female Wavemaster named BT, walks up, teasing him about abandoning a fight. Bear offers to heal her, but BT refuses, and is met with a laugh from the Blademaster. She criticizes him gently for his lack of chivalry, and the scene changes.
In Mac Anu, a female Heavy Axeman named Subaru, leader of the Crimson Knights, speaks with Silver Knight about the current situation in The World, mentioning that a man named Orca is also concerned with The World's moral situation. Silver Knight declares that if Orca of the Azure Sea and Balmung of the Azure Sky are working together, then there is nothing to worry about. Subaru continues to worry at their involvement. The two of them spot Tsukasa, and he flees.
Tsukasa encounters Mimiru once again at the Chaos Gate, where he asks if she's able to log out. She realizes he is unable to, and speculates that maybe the Crimson Knights have changed his account to be unable to. Tsukasa tells her that he does not remember, and she replies that he can always turn off his terminal. Tsukasa freaks out and tells Mimiru to leave him alone, and she lectures him on manners before declaring she dislikes him as well. Mimiru slaps Tsukasa, and walks away as he realizes that the slap physically hurt him.
Subaru and Silver Knight investigate some damaged data, and in the process learn about a suspicious character: the cat-like PC that the Crimson Knights mentioned earlier.The scene switches back to Tsukasa as he traverses a dungeon, thinking about his log-out issues, and realizes that he is not in front of a terminal. He sees the treasure chest at the bottom of the dungeon, and remembers opening it before, but does not remember what the chest held. Above the chest, a cat-like character appears, and Tsukasa asks the PC, called Macha, what to do. Macha disappears, and Tsukasa opens the chest, revealing a tablet. He hears a female voice saying that she has been waiting for him and that they need each other, and it offers to protect him. Tsukasa leaves the dungeon, and is confronted by Silver Knight. He attempts to escape, but is prevented from doing so by a barrier that Silver Knight set up. Tsukasa runs and is attacked. Silver Knight offers to let him slide if he tells him about Macha, but Tsukasa insists he knows nothing. As Silver Knight prepares to finish him off, a strange monster appears above Tsukasa, defeating Silver Knight with one attack before rubbing against the Wavemaster; he realizes this is what the tablet meant by protecting him. Tsukasa realizes he does not have to go offline anymore, and the episode ends with a brief flash of the real world: an unconscious girl, a lone FMD on the floor, and sirens whining in the distance.