The Monarch Papers - Out-of-World Email

Originally published at:

Hey Recruits!

So I created a poll on the forum earlier in the week to see whether you guys thought an out-of-world “tips and tricks” email should go to new readers A) When a reader joins the forum or B) After Eaves’ initial email to everyone when they join The Monarch Papers.

You guys voted to send the email to everyone shortly after signing up. So…

What do you think should be in the email? Links, tips for getting started, etc?

So far I’ve included:

  • A link to the future youtube channel where the fragment recap videos will be housed.
  • The magiq wiki.
  • An explanation of the in-worldness of the forum.
  • A link to the forum "Meta" account for keeping the forum free of spoilers and for reporting broken elements.
  • And a link to the Out-of-World Cabinet of Otherworldly Wonders category.
So what else do you think the email should have?

What would’ve made it easier for you to get started?

1 Like

You should include the deeds done blog link as well. (So people can catch up faster)


Does the initial email have info on the weekly recaps? If not, I think that could be useful. (Although perhaps with a warning that reading the summaries might be a bit faster - there’s a lot of information!)


I would say maybe even include a link to the CJ Bernstein category on here as people might not know its here and then they can see the weekly vlog postings, help with the wiki if they want, etc.


I’d also try to give newcomers a definite starting point to fully catch up on story. And maybe make like a linear encompassing recap of all progress up to this point. I’m new and I still have to catch up so I think that would be very helpful.


A direct link to the weekly recaps, perhaps?


How about this? (It’s a rough draft, forgive all spelling/grammar issues.)


Hi new Mountaineer!
Chances are you recently took the MAGIQ Guide Assessment, joined the Mountaineers to help uncover the truth about our world, and got an email from Eaves to help you get started in the fight.

My name is CJ Bernstein. I’m the creator of The Monarch Papers and I just wanted to send you a one-time follow-up email with a list of links and tips to help you get the most out of The Monarch Papers experience.

And don’t worry, you won’t be getting a ton of out-of-world email from me, (though you can subscribe to my weekly vlogcast here if you want.)

I want you to be able to immerse yourself in the world I’m creating with the hundreds of other readers who are experiencing The Monarch Papers and I think getting a ton of emails from the author hurts that immersion. But those same readers voted recently on the forum and said that ONE out-of-world email from me would be helpful in getting new readers started.

So here are a few links/tips to help get you up to speed.


This Youtube channel will be filled with quick puzzle recaps in the next week or so. They’ll only be scratching the surface of everything that’s happened but you’ll be able to get the gist of the story and catch up to current readers in a matter of minutes. Be sure to subscribe so you get alerts when the recaps go up.

This is the reader-created wiki for the game . It’s still being fleshed out but there’s already a lot of information to help get you up to speed, especially videos that walk you through creating a forum account, posting, reporting issues, etc.

Eaves’ Weekly Recaps are currently the best, and most in-depth, way to catch up on what’s happened in the story so far. Those will also be delivered to you every week via email, and posted on the Basecamp blog.

There is also a category for off-topic conversation on the forum called The Cabinet of Otherworldly Wonders.

There’s also a category for chatting with me and commenting on my blog posts, but it’s hidden from the front page since it’s also “out-of-world” (has it settled in yet that I’m OBSESSED with immersion?) You can follow the above link or just click the hamburger menu near the top right of the forum (it vaguely looks like a hamburger) and it will show you all the categories, including the hidden ones.


You’ll normally only receive one email a week, which is Eaves’ Weekly Recap (unless you also opt in to my weekly vlog.) But occasionally The Book of Briars will also send critical messages to Mountaineers. To make sure those super-important messages don’t end up marked as SPAM do one of two things…

  • Add,, and to your contacts/address book. Or—
  • When you get an email from any of the above addresses, just respond to them. Send them a quickly reply and it will “whitelist” those addresses so that they don’t get stuffed into your junk folder.
  • And if you decide you don’t want to read or play The Monarch Papers anymore, no hard feelings, but please click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of any of the emails instead of marking them as SPAM. I’d really appreciate it.

Onto more booky-gamey things…


This isn’t a normal ARG. I don’t hide binary cryptograms in site source code. This is a magical literary experience. The puzzles I’ve created for TMP require logic, teamwork, but most of all they require imagination.

  • Having said that, if you go digging into the story’s sites you might accidentally find a “hidden” page I didn’t hide as well as I thought, or even find the solution to a puzzle earlier than intended. It happens. I’m (mostly) only one guy, and things fall through the cracks sometimes no matter how hard I try to catch everything. If you do find something you think maybe you shouldn’t have, PLEASE send a message to “Meta” which is my out-of-world forum account.

  • You can message Meta by clicking the little horse fish “hippocampus”symbol at the top right corner of the forum, or in the sidebar of the Basecamp blog.

  • The forum is a place for pretend, in-world speculation, and collaborative exploration. Spoilers and spoiled puzzles there are usually met with sighs instead of cheers.

  • But if you submit your find to Meta, you might even be rewarded for discretely reporting rather than exploiting your find. We all want to have fun and build this world together. Your help in keeping the fun alive is key.

I really, really hope you enjoy this experience and get something out of it. From experiencing a living book to helping shape the outcome with your choices, from solving puzzles with other readers to creating new works and imagining new worlds at the forum’s Campfire, there’s tons to do and I can’t wait to build the world of MAGIQ with you!


I think this looks great and covers all of these basics for new players :+1:


Great job CJ!!


That is a very well written introductory email. It’ll be helpful that way people are already informed before coming to the forums. When I first came I asked about the immersion and eventually figured it out on ym own but it would have been helpful to have these notes then.


This is great! keeps all the need to know in a tight and concise package, love it!


Having started playing not very long ago, I think that email would have saved me a lot of time trying to understand what was really going on here :slight_smile: That is awesome.