The Monster We Don't Know
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The game structure

Post has published by Vera Schneider

Piecing it together

The Monster We Don’t Know is in part a huge scavenger hunt and puzzle, in part an organic role-playing game that is responsive to player actions. The scale, depth and amount of plots can be increased and decreased around the main plot according to player activity.

Episodic structure

The game has a core narrative which is broken down into episodes. An episode is broken down into plots that define what events need to be included into the scenes that the players play.

Scenes

Scenes are story bits. They can be a single mission or call, a longer lasting process or a big event involving multiple factions and play styles. A scene always has a starting point and needs to create an outcome. It can involve one or more character groups, or even just one player. Scenes can contain prepared game content and information necessary to move the plot forwards.

Scenes can be played in Discord, on video calls, on the phone or any other agreed upon platform so long as it’s accessible for all involved players. Some scenes are also live-action, usually based on exploration, scavenger hunts and puzzle type content. They are designed to be played either solo, or with only a few co-players according to local safety regulations.

Live-action scenes require the most preparation from the runners, which means they are pre-scheduled as far ahead as possible when each episode begins. Availability depends on the amount of active co-runners to help make it happen. Signing up for pre-scheduled scenes is done on the website’s member forums.

Some scenes don’t require any time specific involvement, but players are free to interact with the content on their own accord, and the scene will be ended by the runners once it reaches a conclusion that moves the story forward. 

All scenes are opt-in activity, which the game runners aim to facilitate for everyone as equally as possible. Schedules and signing up for scenes is an ongoing process, which runs on the website. Participants are free to keep playing between their scenes, and some solving and playing needs to happen between actual set up scenes. 

Game runners can’t necessarily keep feeding game content and carry the plots indefinitely, and the scene structure also won’t allow it. This can limit the activity to playing character driven drama at times, or coming up with side quests that don’t directly involve the main plot.

 

Adding plots and scenes

While the Elder devs most definitely have a lot of story and plot to run this game, they don’t claim that they’ve explored every possibility of what could happen in them. Or around them. They expect the unexpected, unless it’s the Spanish inquisition. In this game that is to be expected.

The unexpected is where the players inevitably wander, and that’s why it’s completely okay for players and game runners to craft new plots and side stories. There’s only one thing that needs to happen, if those are supposed to actually have anything to do with The Monster We Don’t Know, and that is confirming them with Elder devs first.

This way Elder devs can make sure the plans aren’t about to cause a major FUBAR and spontaneously combust parts of the game. On confirmation the Elder devs are also able to give more meaning to those plots by tying them to others. 

We’ll let you in on a little secret: we’re like 99% making this game just to see what crazy stuff your characters get up to, so don’t disappoint us, okay?

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