A Letter from CJ: Community, Puzzles and What We’re Doing Here - Please Read

Hey Mounties!
I’m going to try and keep this short and sweet (good luck to me) but I’d appreciate it if you’d all give it a read. Putting on CJB Dad Hat

First off I want to say that building this amazing community has been the highpoint for me among all the cool things we’ve created this year. I’m insanely proud of the team we’ve built, how welcoming you all are, and how game you are to play along and invest your time and energy into this experience.


Recently I’ve noticed a slight tonal shift in the community energy and I want to address it, talk about what I think has caused it, and see if we can do some things about it.

We’ve had a flood of new players come in the past few weeks, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say we’re excited to have you all, but given a couple hiccups that have gone on in the forum and elsewhere with new players I feel now’s a good time to revisit why we’re here and what makes this place, this group, so special.

I am single-mindedly dedicated to immersion and community. If anyone does anything to stray from those two mandates, I feel it’s necessary for me as the author to right that ship.

Snarky banter has its place in this community, but when it is impolitely directed at other readers, or it breaks immersion for the bulk of the community, who are roleplaying the existence of magic and the Mountaineers, I feel like I have to step in. So this letter is that first step.

I have never once used the flagging or banning system in this forum, because I never felt the need to, but I feel strongly about this issue and if I need to address it in that way going forward I will. Brrr Dad threats


Any site affiliated with me, The Monarch Papers, or Ackerly Green is not a place to explicitly discuss sex, drugs, violence, or to debate politics, religion or any other “hot button” issue. There are a million other places to do that online. The world of Ackerly Green isn’t one of them. I love a good debate, and randy discussion, but doing it on these sites is like scrawling in a borrowed library book. This place is for everyone, of all backgrounds and all ages.

And yes, we are a community made up of lots of different-minded people, but this is also my livelihood, my company. If it would be inappropriate to discuss on any other company’s website, chances are it’s innappropriate here. It’s the price we all have to pay to create a world that is open for everyone to play and feel comfortable expressing themselves creatively.

A few Veteran Mountaineers have taken a step back recently, for personal reasons or to give the new recruits a chance to play, to shine, to play along. But because of that we’ve had less of a “guiding hand” presence in the forum. I’d like to invite back any regular readers who would like to be “Leaders” in the community to help me keep this place kind, warm, welcoming, and a safe place to play, or role play. If you’re interested, comment below or message me.


I think some eager readers hopped in without fully reading my Quickstart Guide, and hey, I appreciate the enthusiasm, but I want to say from the start that if you came here expecting a straight-up ARG, this isn’t one. If anything, I’d call this an ARB (Alternate Reality Book.) This is first and foremost a literary experience. The point of this is not solving puzzles, or winning. The puzzles and complications in The Monarch Papers are nothing more than roadblocks standing between the characters (that includes all of you) and the narrative.

I have created some crazy complicated puzzles in the past (the veterans can attest to that) but none of them have ever been as exciting as a tense museum heist, or a magic spell, or a mysterious live feed, or a revelation-filled transcript. Trust me, I’m a way better writer than I am a puzzle maker. I’d rather invest my time where my strengths lie.

I’ve found myself not worrying so much about the puzzles lately. There will be more, some will be simple, some might be hard. But if you came here to solve puzzles, and are disappointed in what’s being offered, it’s because this isn’t an ARG. At least not like a lot of other ones. But I hope you’ll stick around, because there’s a lot going on here, and mysteries will continue to abound.

I think I’ve said enough. And I want to express my concerns and thoughts without anyone feeling attacked or singled-out. But I am fiercely protective of this community and if I have to lift the flag, or the hammer, to keep it safe, I will without hesitation.

CJB Dad hat off

If you have thoughts on all of this, I’d love to hear them, so please feel free to comment below. Love you guys,


Also, don’t be mad, but this is my vlog for the week. So just imagine you can see me saying all of this in a video and it will be a vlog.

Right Camera Two? (For @Robert)


You know I’m always around most hours of the day, more of a lurker on the forums though. I’d be glad to keep this community, that I have fallen in love with, they way it should be. Thank you for what you’re doing for us.


I try to check as periodically as I can. I’d be happy to offer some of my time but if someone who has been on longer than me wants the position I’d rather it be given to them.


I just wanted to throw in my two cents. Please be careful in who you contact regarding this, specifically right now the gogetters and the coincidentally real Theodore Fallon in Pa. Unless you see multiple obvious references to in world stuff on their site, please assume they are a real person with no knowledge of this game.

If you have anything less than 100% confidence that a business or site is in game, ask the @Meta account in a private message.

In full disclosure, I’ll freely admit this kinda makes me a hypocrite, because I called 20 nearly random phone numbers in New York to try to find Brandon’s voice mail for fragment 4. I at least tried to be polite about the wrong numbers, and wrong numbers do happen fairly commonly. Accusing a random business person of kidnapping and coercing information out of kids is a whole other level. Not that anyone has done that yet, but we need to make sure it never gets to that level.


I appreciate you taking the time to address the community and firmly (but gently) steer us in the right direction. It’s important to create a safe, welcoming climate for everyone.

Sometimes, it’s very easy to forget you’re sharing this community with people who don’t think the way you do, or people who are younger, for example.

Absolutely, if you notice someone saying something that goes against the guidelines, you have the right to say something! It’s your company, and this is your baby! I don’t think what you’re asking for is unreasonable.

Thanks, CJ.


I come to the forums every day more than once, I don’t mind at all helping out. Of course, if anyone feels more capable I’ll gladly hand that responsibility over to someone else.


+1 to @Deyavi


Oh! and… if Endri, Eaves, Bash, Itsuki, or Marty attempt to steer you away from a plan or train of thought, listen to them. :slight_smile:


Thanks for the notice, and @Robert the coincidental Theodore Fallon who also happens to be a mental health doctor was a hilarious coincidence. XD


Hilarious and unfortunate. Full disclosure, Teddy Fallon’s last name changed at the last minute for reasons and I only background checked the previous name. I try to be on top of that kind of thing but the one time I let it slip the character had a near-identical real life equivalent. :scream:


true it was very unfortunate, I know I’ll be double checking everything from now on.


Also, feel free to message me here, or on the Cabinet. Might help to have an “Errata” topic in the Cabinet when things like Fallon or Go-Getters come up in the future.




This was very important. It’s difficult for a community to keep its identity when there are so many new people being added to it. New blood adds energy (not a bad thing!), but that energy can go off the rails fast (could be a bad thing).

I love that you as a creator are so invested in this community that you do things like this, to make sure that it’s an awesome place from start to finish for all your readers. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, @CJB; You’re the writer I’ve always wanted to be.


Well, if it wasn’t obvious, I’ve got some Basecamp webpage open prettymuch all day. I’m becoming pretty invested in this place and all you people. So I just don’t want to be part of the problem, and I would rather see us all put back on-track than have this become something CJ didn’t intend.




I’m always here too, I may not post a lot that much anymore but I am always lurking


Thank you CJ for this post! I think reminding everyone of why we’re all here was super important and I really appreciate your guidance on the matter.

I did have one question I wanted to ask - are there ways as players that we can offer more of a guiding hand to some of the newer folks? I definitely want to do as much as I can to make TMP more inclusive and if you have suggestions, that would be awesome.


@Revenir, just keep doing exactly what you’re doing in posts like this because it started people thinking/talking more about lore, implications, and narrative.

It’s a guiding hand to say that yes, there might be some sort of complication (puzzle) within this new bit of information but what’s going on in the broader sense and what does it mean for us and the rest of the characters? Posts like yours and the ones @Robert, @Ryvick, and @Brit made after yours help me tell a much richer story in the book than just “they solved the next puzzle.”