Society for Interactive Literature West

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... to Secrets of the Necronomicon. We thank you for joining us. Step inside and we'll try to explain a little about what's going on.

Secrets is a roleplaying game drawing elements from many other game forms. The idea is to create a roleplaying environment in real time and space by overlaying a somewhat fantastic interpretation on the real world. Within the game scenario, the Westin Hotel has been transformed into scenic and myth-haunted Miskatonic University situated in picturesque Arkham, Massachusetts, and you and fifty-nine other people are not quite what you appear to be.

As in any roleplaying game, you will take on the role of a fictional character. Each character is unique, with its own background, knowledge, objectives, and abilities. Some characters will have goals related to yours, providing grounds for cooperation. Some characters may have goals contrary to yours, which will bring you into conflict. Other characters, perhaps, have goals unrelated to yours, but possess knowledge or items you can use. What can you offer them in return? Perhaps you have a common enemy, or you know someone who can help their friends. Use your imagination.

By playing your role, you'll do two things. First, you'll play an intricate and exciting game, meet new friends, enter a fictional world inhabited by people of all descriptions, and have lots of fun. At the same time, you'll create a part of that world for the other players. Together, you will bring to life a scenario more dynamic and interactive than the designers of Dream Park ever imagined -- without needing a single computer, actor, or piece of scenery.

Your character's goals, stated or implied in your character sheet, are only a starting point. You may find yourself involved in events of great importance, and it is up to you to decide how to respond to each character or situation. As time goes on and you learn more, you may need to rethink your motivations and loyalties. You may achieve what you set out to do, only to find that there is something far more important yet to be done. Discovering enough about the scenario to choose your best course of action is every character's main objective.

Secrets of the Necronomicon is a game of cooperation, conflict, humor, and intrigue. It is not a game of "assassin." The means exist to injure or kill other characters (while leaving the players playing them completely unscathed). You may even have sufficient motivation to do so. But be aware that assault and murder are very serious acts with very serious consequences, even if you aren't caught -- just like in the real world. It is quite possible to kill or permanently alienate the only characters with items, information, or abilities that you will later desperately need.

Secrets is not a competition. There are no winners or losers, only people who have fun and people who don't. We've found that most players enjoy "losing" in grand style over "winning" poorly. Play your character, do your best, and drop all those silly ideas about proving that other people aren't as good as you. The name of the game is to have fun.

Finally, Secrets is not a play -- there is no script. We have a few things planned out, but actions you take might change them. The game is not "stacked" against or in favor of any characters or groups. We aren't going to direct the outcome. It is you, the players, who will decide the future of the world.

In short, this game is different from any other kind of game you've ever played. Sure, there's a set of rules. We need a few simple mechanisms to simulate things you can't do for real. But most of what you do in the game is real. You won't play a system; you'll survive in a world of real people, friends and enemies. You'll really negotiate with other characters, you'll really have to decide whom to trust, you'll really have to watch your back, and you'll really make decisions that will change the world. Your character's success isn't contingent on a set of requisites, or on handling huge tables of numbers. You'll use your own real-world abilities and instincts. Some people claim that this isn't really a game at all. Some describe it as a theatrical performance without a script. Others compare it to the crisis-training games the Government plays. We call it Interactive Literature.

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