Mask of the Plague Doctor - WIP [now in Beta!]

I’ll add: whenever you send me the next draft, I’ll be opening the beta.


This is one of those games that’s so GOOD and well written that I’m too dumb to play it. I’m not very good at picking out the right paths, ahaha! I wish I had saves, I’d certainly be abusing those. Regardless, this is a fantastic game and one of the most promising WIPs I’ve come across. I’ll be following this very closely for new updates, and in the meantime I’ll be replaying this quite a few times to figure out some new paths.


I’m sure you’re not being dumb! The stats are going through some revisions too - at one point I found RandomTest showing about 60-70% of 1,000 simulated play-throughs going to ‘not-so-great’ endings. That’s … quite a bit tougher than I intended.

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Huh! Well, I commend you on creating a truly difficult game. Regardless, I look forward to having the time to replay this game a few times.

Stand by for beta, ~next week~


Great news @PParrish – I’m really looking forward to your release.

I have a question; do you consider your magical systems a “hard” or a “soft” design?

There is a discussion on hard and soft magic design occurring here

So I am interested in what you designed for Mask of the Plague Doctor and why you decided to take the approach you have.

The call for beta testers is now up!

@Eiwynn That’s an interesting thread, and a neat question. I’ve been thinking about it while I was finishing off the beta draft.

I think the magic aspects in MotPD fall somewhere between hard and soft (what’s a material that you can bend easily, but it retains its shape afterwards?) From the early planning stages, I knew that I wanted to include a path through the game that was in contrast to the more studious, material, research/investigation one of a ‘normal’ physician.

The mystics in the game (mostly just the PC, really, though others are mentioned) believe they are able to receive aid from the deities. I don’t outright define many hard ‘rules’ for this, so much as imply the limitations through usage. A player with a high Mysticism stat can (variously) hear voices that help with treatment, ‘sense’ or ‘see’ some sort of upcoming threat, and sometimes learn things about a person’s past that they should not be able to know. But they can’t just immediately sit down and ask “hey, deities, what’s the cure for the plague?” Also, performing this ability requires concentration and relative quiet (though I do bend that rule somewhat), or some ritualistic aspect.

I think it helps that 99% of the game takes place in a contained space, Thornback Hollow, where the ‘wider world’ implications of people having mystic abilities don’t have to be fully addressed. Your colleagues react to you doing these things with “oh right, you’re one of those mystic types” (communicating that it’s a known practice among doctors), while most of the NPCs just tend to ask what you’re doing (but aren’t scared or anything).

What I really tried to do was write the game in such a way that somebody who is ignoring the mysticism stuff will be able to regard all the Dweller/deity stuff as nonsense (if they so choose). Even if you engage with a little bit of mysticism, it should be possible to view or explain it as “well, the person is meditating on a problem, and the voices they hear are just their inner monologue guiding a solution.” The ‘sensing’ could just be you staying quiet and listening for things. Knowing about a person’s past is harder to brush off, but, at a stretch, you could say you’re just really good at cold reading. The visions you see are due to massive stress and your relative lack of sleep, and so on.

It only takes a turn for the truly inexplicable if you dive right into the Dweller in Thorns pathway. At that point… yeah, magic and deities are real, no getting around it :wink:


This isn’t really on topic but I just had to comment on that gorgeous artwork. Incredible!


I agree; the cover art shown in the official beta thread is quite striking. Is the artist one that we know, or is it a new talent to enter the scene?

Thank you for answering – I always think of “sculpted” as being the type of system which you can mold as if you were using modeling clay or fondant icing that is used by bakers.

I’ll continue the discussion “soon”; today being rather busy for me.

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You and your company / team, are wonderful at what you do, keep at it! These games are very interesting and I love everything about you and the way you dedicate time to the stories, Thank you.

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Saw the beta email and got quite excited! I’m absolutely thrilled this game is moving forward, and I can’t wait to get the full experience. Best of luck to everyone working on the game behind the scenes!

The cover artist is Catherine Joo. I don’t believe she has illustrated any prior games. When browsing potential portfolios I saw that she had included a lot of masks in her other work, so that seemed a pretty ideal fit.

I’m very, very pleased with how it turned out!


Minor bump to draw attention to the fact that MotPD now has a Steam page! And an April release date.

If you have Steam, please consider adding it to your wishlist on there. Even if you intend to buy it (or not) through a different platform. The evidence is pretty anecdotal, but “how many wishlists is this game on?” does appear to be one metric Valve/Steam uses when deciding how much exposure a game should get.

And hey, if nothing else, you want that cool artwork on your wishlist, right?


Time for a little more Mask of the Plague Doctor ephemera.

While cleaning my desk today, I found the (suitably rubbish!) concept sketch I’d done for the game’s cover art. This was never sent to the editorial team or artist, it was just me trying to work out what sort of thing I might want (I sent over a text description instead). For those who saw my poorly drawn map higher up the thread, this is of a similar standard!

Ignore the crossed out list at the bottom, that’s from an unrelated game of Tortuga 1667.