The Monster We Don't Know
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Characters and playing

Post has published by Vera Schneider

In the story of Supernatural, hunters are individuals that dedicate their life to hunt down and kill monsters. Men of Letters in an international organization dedicated to research, document and, if needed, battle the phenomena and lore not generally understood by man.

The game is about hunters and Men of Letters operatives who deal with the mysterious and ugly things all the time.

For hunters it’s a routine job to face danger with little back up. The Men of Letters are directed by their British office, with factions created from groups of learned people around the world. They work further away from the trenches, but are also capable of getting their hands dirty.

Things are organized a little differently around the world, but usually there is a working relationship between hunters and the local Men of Letters operatives.

Character groups

The character groups define the background of the character. Most characters are either hunters or operatives, but there will be some smaller groups and individuals introduced that are neither. These characters can be witches, celestials, demons or monsters. 

Factions

The character’s location defines what faction they are part of. Factions are defined by the Men of Letters international factions, which may be split into sub-factions if there are a lot of active locations.

For example:

  • Hunter, Faction Alpha, Helsinki / Finland -> Finland has multiple active areas. This player is active in Helsinki.
  • Operative, Faction Zeta, Greece -> Greece has only one active group of players.
  • Witch, Faction Epsilon -> Player is for example from Spain. No active location, character is played online.

Creating a character

Character creation starts when you receive your invitation to join (after sign up). In the onboarding process each player fills out a character questionnaire, which helps define the values, morals and objectives of the character, as well as faction, groups and preferred ways of playing and interacting (these are guidelines, not limiting decisions).

The basic character sheet is provided next as a collaborative file shared with the game runners and the individual player. It contains basic, pre-written background (not a lot) and faction plot points based on the answers to the questionnaire, and the template to complete optional and more in-depth writing for the character.

This collaborative character sheet is used throughout the game. Players can use it to develop the character’s background, add character contacts and document the most personal events and thoughts that might not be visible in more public channels.

All of this information helps the runners in bringing the best, most impactful plots and play your way. 

To play TMWDK is to…

  1. Create your own character with help from the runners
  2. Sign up for live-action scenes in your area
  3. Hunt, solve puzzles and create character drama
  4. Document your actions and share them with others
  5. Play online RPG in scenes or in emergent play
  6. Co-create a chronicled story on an online platform
  7. Decide yourself when, where and how you want to play
  8. Become a part of an inclusive, international family
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Aspects of a character

Useful things to think about while creating a character are…

  • How did they end up in the world of supernatural beings?
  • Where have they ended up? As hunters, operatives or something other?
  • Why are they in their current position?
  • Where do they want to go?
  • Is the difference between monster and human black and white?
  • Have they done horrible things for the right reasons?
  • What would they consider the right reasons?
  • How scarred is your character, both physically and emotionally?
  • What kind of play do you want?
  • Is character drama an important aspect to your game?
  • What themes interest you?

Stuff that doesn’t affect a character’s position in this game…

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexuality

If you want your character to represent any of the above in a way that is different from your real life identity, we require you to be extremely considerate about how you do it. We do not accept blackface or other such ways to represent a character.

This game, even if it’s able to make fun of itself, isn’t about creating parodies of real-life human beings, minorities, their experiences or any other phenomena.

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Requirements

You will need internet access, a Google account, Discord and a little time. And you need to communicate well. That’s pretty much it. Anything above this is up to you. We do encourage documentation through pictures and videos, but understand that it’s not equally possible for everyone. 

The game doesn’t have a minimum requirement in terms of gear, time or other resources. The only requirement in this regard is that you don’t doze off on plots, but finish the scenes you’ve signed up for and hand over plots before going MIA.

 

Creating the experience

The game can be anything from a single plot, mission or scene every now and again, to playing active drama and plotting with players and NPCs. 

The Monster We Don’t Know is designed to fit changing circumstances. It also means that all participants carry responsibility about their own experience in the game. The game is meant to be enjoyed with even small amounts of participation by making the plots and scenes as meaningful and impactful as possible.

To be able to do this, the participants need to communicate openly about their wishes and possibilities to the game runners.

The game becomes what the players make it, but the runners carry the responsibility to keep it inclusive and accessible, and not favor the most active players above the ones with less possibilities to participate.

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Communication channels

Website and forums
The website functions as the main hub for the game, but most communication is off-game. Everyone creates profiles here. Players can manage their sign ups to scenes as well as use other community tools available. The webpage also has members only game content, accessible only by following the website’s feeds.

Discord
TMWDK Discord is used by both players and runners for playing and off-game discussions. It uses locked channels for different purposes, for example in-game faction channels, comms channels for missions, developers-only channels for game runners etc.

Google Drive
Google Drive is used for the character sheets, storing files and logging process.

Social media
Game content is partly uploaded to social media channels, but these are always accessible without signing up and being linked to on the website. Social media channels are mainly used to communicate about the game to outside audiences.
Facebook groups are voluntary for factions, and they are not for playing.

Other channels
Players can use practically any channel they like for playing, as long as it doesn’t affect the accessibility of the game. If everyone involved in a scene or a group of characters agrees to play something over the phone, in a conference all etc, they are free to do so. Just remember to document and log progress.

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