The Monster We Don't Know

Rules and mechanics

Rules and mechanics

This is the non-negotiable word of the Elder devs and you shall obey

Post has published by Vera Schneider

1) Eligibility
All participants must register under their own legal name, even if they choose to use aliases on web platforms. All participants must be at least 16 years old, or older if local laws apply.

2) Local laws and regulations
Since this is a global game, the game runners can’t be expected to be aware of all laws and regulations that may apply locally. It’s the responsibility of each individual player to only perform actions for TMWDK that are permitted in their area by law and don’t violate restrictions set due to the pandemic. Actions performed for the game have to be safe to perform for everyone included.

3) Zero tolerance to harassment and bullying
No one is allowed to physically, mentally, psychologically or in any other way hurt, berate or attack anyone else. We do not accept harassment of any kind. We have no qualms about kicking out people who break this rule. Don’t try us. 

4) Opting out
Inter-character actions that might present as one of the above must always have mutual consent, and the same goes to any physical action or sexual themes. If someone feels uncomfortable in an inter-character relationship or scene, they don’t need to give any explanation to back out of it. Don’t ask, they will tell you if they want.

5) Don’t play chicken
No one is allowed to push any form of play further than the other parties are comfortable with. No one is allowed to push or trick anyone to bend any health restrictions or laws. Doing something like that turns you into an assbutt. Assbutts don’t have a long shelf life.

6) I shall not spook the muggles
While playing live-action scenes or shooting footage for the game in public spaces, don’t spook any people who might not know that you are larping / staging something. While playing, always wear a visible ribbon or scarf around your right arm. Any prop weapons have to have bright tape or similar around them on visible places to clearly mark them as fakes. And also those shouldn’t be wielded in public areas. If you plan on staging something that requires fake violence or effects, contact the local authorities first and don’t do anything stupid.

7) I am responsible for me
Everyone participating in TMWDK is aware that this isn’t a player experience where everyone is guided by their hands. This is one where everyone is responsible for communicating clearly and enough, and taking initiative when possible. Doing that is the only way the game becomes enjoyable. The game runners are not responsible for anything other than giving their best with what they have, and unless they have something from you that they can work with, you really can’t expect a lot back.

And while we’re on the subject: the game runners are not customer service and the participants are not customers. It’s more like a collegial relationship. We help each other out, but we’re not here to do anyone’s job for them.

8) That thing about respect
The game runners are responsible for being respectful and wonderful towards all participants. All participants are responsible for being respectful and wonderful to each other and the game runners. Showing mutual respect is awesome. Showing disrespect towards others or things others do is not awesome, and a bad attitude will gain you nothing. Except perhaps a special mention in the book of “all the assbutts” that probably most people keep in the back of their minds.

Reporting an incident

If you have experienced or witnessed harassment, bullying or any situations that have made you or others feel uncomfortable, unsafe or attacked, please report the incident to us.

You can contact:

  • One of the game runners you have had contact with (Discord DM’s)
  • The Elder dev’s through the game’s official email (
  • Or if these feel unsafe, the head of the project, Vera (Seraph). You can contact her either via Discord / website DM’s or Facebook.

Your concerns are utterly confidential, and any steps that will have to be taken to address them will be discussed with you. We take this thing very seriously, so we won’t even make light of the subject here. We will hear out all of your concerns, so please don’t feel like they are too small to be heard by us.


These mechanics apply for playing live-action scenes. Use them wherever you play.

Tap out – To opt out of playing an exchange, tap the shoulder of your co-player three times, or if there’s no close contact, tap your own shoulder in a very visible and obvious way. Tap out signals that you don’t want to push the game into this direction any further, but you don’t feel the need to interrupt the game to discuss it.

Break – Saying “break” during the game is another opt out mechanism. People involved in the scene have to stop immediately, playing is halted and the situation resolved through discussion. Note: no one needs to give an explanation to why they opt out, but it might be necessary to recalibrate what happens in order to continue playing. This is when you say “break”. Everyone else not involved in this keeps playing during a break.

CUT – If someone says “CUT” during the game, everyone must stop playing immediately and help in resolving the situation if they can. “CUT” is for physical or psychological emergencies demanding immediate response. The game can continue after the situation has resolved.

Stop the game! – “Stop the game!” is the safe word for real-life threats, crisis and/or danger. If the safe word is yelled everyone has to repeat it and the game is interrupted. The runner responsible for the scene needs to be told about the situation if they aren’t there at the scene. The game can continue only after the situation has been resolved and reported. 

Off-game – Raising a closed fist on your forehead is a signal that you are momentarily not part of the game. This is for situations when you might have to move in the vicinity of other playing people to take care of some non-game related matter, or you might be recalibrating an exchange amidst the game. You don’t need to say anything out loud while using the signal. Actually everyone prefers it if you just pretend you’re not there.

Game on – Saying / yelling “game on” continues an interrupted game. 

Traffic lights – When playing emotionally or physically escalating scenes the intensity can be calibrated with the traffic lights mechanic. This goes for both in-game violence and intimacy, verbal and physical.  “Green” is code for “I’m ready for more intensity”. “Yellow” is code for “This is as far as I’d like this to go”. “Red” is code for “Too far, dial back now.” Instead of red an opting out mechanism can also be used.

Physical violence – Fighting or inflicting any physical damage is simulated by acting it in slow-motion, slow enough that no movements can surprise the other party. Remember to always prepare the other person for what you are about to do by escalating through words first, giving them the possibility to opt out before any physical escalation is initiated.

Intimacy, physical closeness- Physical intimacy and close contact playing in live-scene is discouraged if it increases the risks of spreading the COVID-19 virus. Individual situations and local health restrictions will always have to be considered first before playing intimate scenes with anyone. The possibility of having close contact in live-scenes has to be discussed before entering the scene in character. 

Sex – If someone’s game would indeed go this way in live-scenes, simulate this in a way that you have agreed on before entering the scene in character. We recommend role-playing such sequences by talking rather than through bodily actions, but simulated movements, shoulder rubs or ars amandi are acceptable if this is your personal choice.

Please consider: Sexual relationships between characters can just as well be role-played in text form. Avoid unnecessary physical contact. 

Don’t play on any sexual themes if your contact is played by a minor and you are not their age.

An image of dried herbs

Online scenes

Discord in-game channels are always for only in-game messages. If anything needs to be said that is not said by characters, use the following mechanics.

Off-game remark – You can make an off-game note amidst the scene by using double parentheses: ((This is my off-game remark)) The game can continue regardless of this remark.

Opting out – You can use the double parentheses to opt out of a scene. This is a way to signal others that you are not comfortable continuing, but don’t feel that others need to pause playing.
((I’m opting out of this scene.)) Opting out like this is for situations where your character is involved with what’s going on, but you need to stop playing. This way you won’t need to play your character out of the situation, you can just stop.

Traffic lights – Using the double parentheses, use the codes green, yellow and red to prompt more escalation, keep the current level or ask to dial back.

Pausing the game – If there’s a situation where play can’t continue for whatever reason (either game running related or other), or the content of the game makes someone feel uncomfortable enough to ask for an intervention or discussion, the game has to be paused. This can be done using double slashes like so:


Anything posted between these lines is off-game and should only have to do with resolving and discussing the situation at hand. This is similar to the “CUT” mechanic for live-scenes. A game runner can be asked to resolve the situation, if it’s difficult to do between players.


Chat logging – Game runners don’t read through let alone memorize everything that goes on in the game. Chat game events can be logged through two channels: by reporting a synopsis and/or snippets to a co-runner, or by adding the same information to your personal character profile.

Text RPGs – You can link to text RPGs as Drive files on your own character profile. With every link,  add a synopsis of what that RPG is about, when and where it took place in the game and what characters are involved. This way game runners know how to navigate your events.


Using magic

These are for playing live-action scenes, but the same logic can be adapted to playing online RPG’s.

Using magic: passive and reactive – Sigils, warding and other magic based on symbols and magic can affect how some characters are able to move or act during the scene. When such magic affects you or someone else in the scene, point it out when engaging in the situation.
“You have now entered a room with angel warding.” “There is a devil’s trap where you stand.” “I have an anti-possession amulet around my wrist.”

Using magic: projected and active – Sigils that are activated to target someone in specific, as well as other spells and hex bags, require giving clear instructions to the affected party. This can happen mid-play if the effect is only slightly limiting to the other person’s play. Otherwise it’s recommended that the effects are discussed off-game using the break mechanic.

“I have activated the binding sigil. You are now unable to move.” “Break: I’m slipping a hex bag in your pocket. It will make you fall in love with your hunting partner.”

Using magic: choosing the spell – Only use magic which A) you can find in the Archives OR have validation for from the game runners and B) you are certain your character could wield. Don’t come up with random shit, we won’t love you for it.

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