It occurred to me a few weeks ago that an FAQ pertaining to the myriad games and rituals we’ve talked about here in The Most Dangerous Games might be useful; as such, here’s my attempt to provide one. The questions you’ll find here hail from a variety of places: Some of them were left in the comments for specific games by you, Gentle Readers; others are things I’ve found in my analytics for the site (that is, terms which, when Googled, tend to lead people here); and still others are questions I found floating around the Internet myself. I’m by no means an expert on any of these games or rituals, but I’ve tried my best to dig up a few answers through research, by applying what I know about similar rituals, and so on and so forth.
What follows isn’t an all-encompassing FAQ, but it might be a good place to start. I can always keep adding to it as necessary, so if you’ve got another question you’d like to see answered, leave it in the comments — I’ll see what I can do.
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What if I have to leave my home and I have pets?
Take them with you. The safest thing, though, would probably be to make sure they’re out of the house before you begin the ritual — have them spend the night with a friend or another trusted pet sitter. Besides the fact that you’ll have to gather them up and transport them elsewhere in the event of a red flag occurring, they also might affect the ritual itself. What if your dog starts scratching at the door to your throne room while you’re in the middle of the ritual? What if your cat wanders into the throne room while you’re sleeping? The unpredictability caused by the presence of a pet might cause some undesirable (and possibly dangerous) results.
What actually happens if you stay in the house?
Nothing good, although I think it varies from person to person.
What happens if you look directly at or in the mirrors?
According to FableForge, there’s “some risk of psychological trauma” if you face either of the mirrors directly at any point during the ritual. Weird shit happens when you look into mirrors in the dark; given that a lot of what happens during the Three Kings ritual stems from what’s already going on in your own brain and/or subconscious, you could end up seeing something that seriously fucks with your head (remember Troxler’s Fading and the Caputo Effect?). Wrote FableForge on r/ThreeKings:
“I’ve seen people who saw crazy surreal stuff and were able to forget it after a while, and I’ve also seen people who simply saw themselves but with a certain wrong facial expression, and could never get over it…. I suspect that facing a mirror implies agreeing with its premise, to the point where the anthropomorphized expression takes over and dominates over all other options. It’s not ‘possession’ precisely, since after all it’s just a side of yourself taking over, but it’s still not something I’d like to go through if I could help it.”
Interestingly, though, FableForge also noted that one of the people who helped him/her develop the original set of instructions held that the biggest risk isn’t facing one of the mirrors — it’s turning your back to the other one.
Where should your partner be when you’re in the throne?
Your partner should remain in your home for the duration of the game (until 4:34am) — but they should NOT be in the throne room with you. They can hang out pretty much anywhere else in your home while you’re completing the main event, but you’ll probably want them to stay within shouting distance of the throne room. If you encounter any red flags before starting the main event, make sure your partner (and anyone who might be in the house with you) vacates the premises along with you. It’ll be safe to return at 6am.
How close a connection do I need to have to the person I try to contact?
This question came up in an r/ThreeKings thread; the Redditor who posed it was curious about whether s/he could try to contact someone they’d never met, like a dead author. I’m not sure there’s a definitive answer, although I suspect that you’re more likely to complete the ritual successfully if you’re trying to contact someone you know or knew. First off, there’s no guarantee that someone like Shakespeare would want to call some stranger back via astral telephone; second off, there’s a much higher probability of dialing a wrong number if you lack a firm connection to the person you’re trying to reach. My two cents? Sure, you can try, but consider it for the advanced Shoebox Telephone player only. Beginners should probably stick with someone to whom they are or were close.
Can I lead myself through the ritual? (i.e., can I do it without a partner?)
I wouldn’t recommend it. You’ll have no failsafes if you do it alone — and no one to pull you back to reality if you get lost in there.
What will happen if I burn the paper that has my blood and name on it?
This one first popped up in a Search Terms from the Black Lagoon post, but now seems like a good time to revisit it. As far as I know, burning the paper used to summon the Midnight Man isn’t a step that’s included in any of the versions of the rules out there; as such, I can only answer this one based on speculation. If you burn the paper after the conclusion of the game, it’s possible that it might function as a purification ritual — kind of like the way you’d burn the paper cup at the end of performing the Shoebox Telephone ritual or burn the doll after finishing One-Man Hide and Seek. Again, don’t take this as gospel — I’m definitely extrapolating here from what I know about how fire functions in other rituals — but burning the paper and scattering the ashes afterwards might help keep the Midnight Man at bay (remember, just because you successfully finished the game without getting caught doesn’t mean the Midnight Man is gone for good).
However, if you burn the paper while actively playing the Midnight Game?… Well, let’s just say that I’d avoid putting yourself in this position at all, if I were you. I get the feeling it might just piss the Midnight Man off. You don’t want that. Trust me.
Will a lighter used to light the candle anger the Midnight Man?
Nope. You should be fine.
How do you find an elevator with no one on it or getting on it except for the lady?
That’s up to you. Be resourceful.
What if you want to do it with two or more people?
My guess is it probably won’t work. I don’t know whether anything negative will happen; at best, though, I suspect that the elevator will just function as it normally would (no strange passengers getting on or off, no trips to anywhere else, etc.). It might be interesting to try doing it simultaneously with someone else in a building that has more than one elevator — each of you picks an elevator, you begin at the same time, and hopefully reconvene in the building’s lobby at the end of — but I can’t vouch for the safety of this possible variation.
What happens if you talk to the woman?
I’m not sure anyone has ever done this and been in a position to report back afterwards.
I left my candle in the closet in a shoebox. Should I worry?
Here’s another one from Search Terms from the Black Lagoon. At the time, I’d wondered if maybe it was pertaining to the Shoebox Telephone game; it would seem to make a certain amount of sense if that were the case, given that Shoebox Telephone is the only ritual we’ve covered here that specifically involves a shoebox. No candles are used in any part of the ritual, though, so perhaps I made the wrong assumption about which game to which it might have referred.
Games that involve candles include (but definitely are not limited to) the Midnight Game, the Candles Game, Hyakumonagatari Kaidankai, the Dark Reflection Ritual, and the Staircase Ritual. None of them call for the destruction of the candles used once they’re completed, so you should be fine; however, if it makes you feel better, go ahead and dispose of them.