Quickstart Guide to The Monarch Papers

Below is an ever-updated, easy-to-reference collection of reader-chosen Links and Tips to quickly get you up to speed and fully immersed in the world of Ackerly Green, The Lost Collection and the Guide to MAGIQ!


This Youtube channel has quick puzzle recaps (currently being created by my awesome readers.) 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. Those will also be delivered to you every week via email, and posted on the Basecamp blog.

There’s 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 usually receive one email a week, which is Eaves’ Weekly Recap.

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 the following email addresses to your contacts or address book:

eaves(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)basecamp33.com
cj(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)cjbernstein.com
thebook(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)bookofbriars.com


When you get an email from any of the above addresses, respond to them. Just send them a quick reply and that 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 all the emails instead of marking them as SPAM. I’d really appreciate it.


This isn’t a typical ARG. I don’t hide binary cryptograms in site source code. This is a magical literary experience. The puzzles we’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. If you do find something, PLEASE send a message to “Meta” which is our 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 discreetly 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!


The Monarch Papers – Out-of-World Email

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?

Breaking Down The Cagliostro’s Final Performance: LIVE 2/28/17 @ 3PM

Next week’s vlog will be a livestream Hangout with me and Simon Arrowsmith, audio/music guru, storyteller and all around awesome guy. We’re going to break down how we (mostly he) created The Cagliostro’s final performance! Learn how it was conceived, created, and who voiced what…

Join us here to watch (or ask questions live on Youtube) at 3pm Eastern Time on February 28th and be the first to receive an extra special AGP reward from Simon!

If you can’t watch live, comment below with questions before Tuesday and we’ll be sure to answer them.


The Big Wiki Talk

Hey Mounties,

So let’s have a big ol’ talk about wikis.

TOP SECRET INFO: Ackerly Green has an internal wiki that uses Tettra/Slack to manage all the information we sling at you. Tetra is working on a public version but it turns out that after speaking with their team it’s not going to work out for us. It wouldn’t be fully open for you guys to create/edit and I feel like a MAGIQ wiki will live and die by your accessibility to it.

So I’m thinking about other options and I’d like your opinion.

There are two current paths we can take:

Choice One: I work with a developer to help create a plugin for this forum that will mold a category to work like a wiki with things like:

  1. Automatic wiki-mode setting of new pages/topics.
  2. Default hiding of replies (just hiding them by default would be sufficient I think).
  3. Automatic page creation.
  4. Easy page linking.
  5. Sensible URLs
  6. Automatic table of contents.


Choice Two: We take the wiki public to a place like Fandom and begin building an accessible wiki, like this, using their already existing infrastructure.


The pro of Choice One is that we keep it in-house on a site you guys are already familiar with.

My perceived con of Choice One is that since this wiki will look at the MAGIQ-verse from an “out-of-world” perspective, I fear we will really start scratching at the immersion of the forum, which I was reticent to do even with my own hidden category. Immersion is a top priority for me.


My perceived pro of Choose Two is that the infrastructure is already there and I won’t have to funnel AGP resources into bending/breaking this forum to work like a wiki. Also, the wiki being public might attract more of “you,” the REALLY specific and awesome people who are into what we’re doing here. ALSO, it’s ready now. Developing a plugin for the forum could take months.

My perceived con of Choice Two is that we’re adding another site to all of this and it will go unused because it isn’t part of the established “flow” of The Monarch Papers. Also, because I obsess over immersion it wouldn’t be obviously linkable from the in-world sites. I would never plaster an out-of-world link on the forum. Do you see that I am crazy?

Regardless, a wiki would be crazy useful for you, for me, for the future, and since I know where this is going over the next DECADE, starting it sooner than later is probably a really good idea.

I know this is super nuts-and-bolts and not crazy interesting to a lot of you, but I welcome your thoughts.

This is for you, and I go where you go.

P.S. Anybody have experience with fandom? Anybody like designing plugins?

An Update Post Ackerly Green Summit

I haven’t posted a new video because A) I’m catching up on a lot of work and B) I have a cold and no one wants to see/hear me right now. I spent last week upstate with Simon and Jonny, planning the coming weeks/months/next five years of Ackerly Green Publishing. It was fun, productive and completely exhausting. I will most likely record an update later in the week.

Week of July 4th To Do List

Week of July 4th To Do List

  • Start my Spring ’18 book, project name “Red House.” Should end the week with three solid chapters.
    • Let Zero Draft of Summer ’17 book rest for a month. DO NOT TOUCH.
  • Finishing touches on the new cjbernstein.com site.
  • Draft of my “Conquer The Zero Draft” post.
  • Edit photos for Stony Creek post.
  • Finish “Social Share Presence” graphics.
  • Two In-World sites in the can for August Interactive Novel debut.
  • Set up analytics for all sites.
  • Source postcard printer for SCBWI Conference “business cards.”
    • Narrow down content for back of card.