Weaving the Narrative

Dear Insane Children, 

I’m working with Alex to push the Asylum Narrative towards the next stage of completion. This has involved fleshing out backstory and motivation for the cast of characters surrounding Alice (in Wonderland and London – past and present). Radcliffe, The Queen (of Hearts), and Shadow Alice have all had the spotlight shined on them. And we’re also working through the areas beyond those explored in the previous Narrative Document that you saw. 

Once we have a few more bits tied together, we’ll share another draft with you for comments, feedback, and Crowd Design. 

But first, a quick peek into what’s going on these days (and some Crowd Design)… 

1. Depression Realm – Vale of Tears / Alice Retrieves the Brain / Frozen in Time Show Alice Collecting the Brain from the Vale of Tears.
How is it protected? Perhaps trapped in a prison of falling water? Or Rocks, that are impassable unless time is restored and they fall aside? How can this be shown visually? Discuss.
Brain in an Alice Statue? Confirm.

AM: With “Eyes,” we found Dormouse and Hare were using this Piece because they had no eyes of their own. And they were using The Eye to thwart the functioning of the mining colony (Shadow Alice thrives on viewing terrible scenes from the past). The Brain will be used similarly… and it links into the fact that everything in this area is frozen. Frozen as a result of overthinking. “Your mind (overthinking things) is your own worst enemy” – that sort of thing. That raises the question: Who is using the Brain to freeze the Vale of Tears?

Aside: There’s a scientifically proven connection between crying and the release of brain chemicals useful in alleviating the effects of trauma. Crying is a form of healing. Also… “As they pass through the valley of tears (Hebrew: ????? ?????????), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools” – biblical. Meaning that you must first pass through tribulations before ascending to heaven (eternal peace).

Who doesn’t want us to cry? Who doesn’t want us to pass our tribulations? Shadow Alice. Who does she position to control The Brain so that it stops crying in The Vale of Tears? Who makes it so Alice cannot pass through?

This is an example of a back-and-forth between myself and Alex. He’s posed some questions about “The Brain” (one of the Pieces of The Champion). And I’ve gone in and outlined some of the thinking about this area and that particular Piece. 

Right now, we’re mainly focused on the area beyond Vale of Tears. A section tentatively called “Abyssal Station” where we’ll find March Hare and Dormouse up to some nefarious business. But we need to fill in this bit about The Vale before going too far forward.

The description and gameplay for the area beyond the Vale of Tears begins… 


We’re all scared (blind) here.

Alice steps from the Hall of Doors into Abyssal Station. Before her eyes is… darkness in all directions. There are specks of light flickering in the distance. Fires? Eyes? Faint voices whispering something about The Man in The Moon.

Like an explosion, The Infernal Train screams past Alice lighting the scene around her – a morbid Subway Station made from bits of dollhouses and decorated with a collection of broken doll parts and toys. The station windows look out on… dirt. Arms and legs and heads of dolls buried in layers behind the glass.

The sign overhead reads: Lookingglass Railway: Abyssal Station

“Welcome to the Abyss, Alice! So glad to seeee you. We’re so glad you’ve not forgotten us… yet.” Behind one of the windows sits March Hare, screaming into a microphone, waving excitedly at Alice. His eyes are crudely stitched shut. March Hare and Dormouse are the foremen/workers in charge of this area. They throw a series of obstacles at Alice to thwart her progress and block her escape.

We PLAY as Alice navigates the scene heading towards the direction indicated by her Inner Compass. There are several exits from the station all leading through roughly cut holes in the walls of the station. These become dirt passages descending into a vertical cave-like structure.

Alice enters a Termite Mining Colony buried beneath the Memory Tree of Alice’s mind.

Alcoves and chambers, filled with fungi and mushrooms, dug out of the rotting material of Alice’s memories. Giant Termite Drones fly through the air overhead carrying bundles of dirt to and fro. Mechanical conveyor belts and rusted hulks of mining machinery whir and grind throughout the scene. Here, fragments of Alice’s past are half-revealed in a vertical catacomb of detritus. This is where memories go to be recycled into the fertilizer that feeds imagination.

We’re working along a theme of the Five Pieces being used to block Alice’s ability to integrate her trauma, reconnect with the Inner Child, and transform into her future self. 


And here’s a chance for YOU to join in the narrative fun! 

What wonderland character do you think would fit into the role I’ve outlined for The Vale of Tears and the “Keeper of The Brain?” 

As stated in the task comments above… 

Who is using the Brain to freeze the Vale of Tears?

A couple of prompts for this exercise: Aside from Hatter, who comes to mind when you think “Wonderland’s Biggest Brain?” Or what character would be the last one to cry in an emotional situation? Who in Wonderland is the most emotionally “stopped up?” 

We might also want to think about character motivation… What Wonderland character would have reason to overthink everything to the point of getting stuck? Or would WANT to see everyone stuck? In this case, we might have to invent that motivation out of thin air (but hopefully with some reference to the previous games). 

Well, if you can make sense of all of that… let us know in the comments below your thoughts on The Brain in the Vale of Tears. 

From Shanghai with Lots of Thread, 


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