Ebb Tide By Stephen Kohler

Instruments: Block Tower, 1d6, Deck of Cards, 7 Tokens

Game Description 

Ebb Tide is a W&A game about waking up on a cruise ship to find everyone, including the crew, is dead. Weird symbols are painted on the walls, strange noises come from all around, and you know something down here is with you.

Game Content Warnings 

These are content warnings that are from the game prompts and are present in all playthroughs.

Click to Expand
    • Isolation
    • Despair
    • Violence/Murder
    • Ritualistic Suicide
    • Suicide by Hanging
    • Desecration of Bodies
    • Blood/Gore/Body Parts
    • Insanity/Mental Instability/Hallucinations
    • ""Sanity"" Stat (tower)
    • Death
    • Syringes/Needles

Playthrough Content Warnings 

These are content warnings specific to this playthrough only.

Game Playthrough

Word Count: 2,917     Played: Nov 16, 2022

Entry 1

Inital Roll: 3

Copied From Game

My name is Lamont Bulgarella. 

A week ago, I stepped onto the deck of the Eibonis to sail across the Pacific Ocean. The other passengers and I had won passage unexpectedly, and for the past week we enjoyed fine dining and luxurious accommodations. Last night I fell ill after dinner, and took to my bunk early.

 I awoke to find - horrible things. Everyone else on the ship, passenger and crew alike, is dead. There are symbols painted in ink and blood on the walls, thick scents of horrible incense in the air. And all about, I feel some horrible presence, as if something long asleep is stirring nearby. 

I am trapped on board the ship and the engines appear damaged. There is no real chance I will make it back. All I can do now is try to figure out what’s happening here, and see if I can find a way to stop it.

Entry 2

Roll: 3

5 of Diamonds       There is a strange noise, atonal, but logical that hurts your mind Pull from the tower 
7 of Spades       You find a series of abstract paintings in a cabin. You are reluctant to turn your back on them.  Pull from the Tower 
10 of Diamonds       The lights begin to fail, you feel a shiver on your spine.

I somehow made it back to my cabin. I … I bolted the doors and I’m afraid to go anywhere. The lights have begun to fail. The lights, haha even the emergency lights are starting to go down. 

I can still hear it though. I can hear it clawing at my mind and tingling like my brain is going numb. Have.. have you ever lay down and rested your head against something hard and the back of your skull goes numb? Imagine that but all throughout your brain and it’s got its hooks inside of you. IN side of me and the worst part is that it… it's starting to feel good. It's starting to make sense. 

It started when I saw those paintings in Carlena’s room. I was in there before and they were not there. I don’t remember them… I… I just don’t remember them. 

They were abstract and horrid. I’ve seen Escher paintings before but these were nothing like that. It was almost as if the paints stuck out of the painting or delved deep inside it and twisted into … I can’t think. I can’t think.

There’s something watching me and I can feel it. I'm afraid to write more about those things, if they were even paintings. I can feel the breath on my back. I’m so scared. 

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 0/3

Entry 3

Roll: 2

6 of Hearts       You find suspicious liquid and syringes under the first mate’s bunk
8 of Clubs       You find a body in a cabinet where they bled to death
6 of Diamonds       hrough a porthole you see something moving, but don’t see it when you look out  a window above
King of Hearts       You find the captain’s log that has his reasons for masterminding all of it 
10 of Spades       You find a dead passenger surrounded by crew members. Why did they fight so much?
10 of Hearts       You find a crew member stabbed in the back, how do you believe they died? 

An eventful day. An eventful week. I… there was a lot today. There was so much blood today. I’ve never seen so many bodies before now. I… 

First I went up to the crew member’s quarters. I managed to find the keys off of another body. 

It was Harold, the knife collector. I found his body today surrounded by other dead crew members. He had stabbed and fought all of them. I guess he wasn’t a part of the plan. I guess the knives he snuck aboard did come in handy. 

I went through the pockets of the crew and managed to collect enough of the keys to form a makeshift key ring to open all the locks. It jingles so much when I walk despite the fact that I hold them so tight. I feel cursed. 

I went to the first mate’s room first since… I saw a trail of blood leading out of the hallway. It looked fresh, and I, I don’t know why I wanted her to be alive. She was a part of the crew but I was hoping maybe she… I don’t know! 

I found her stuffed in a cupboard. She had several knife wounds on her back and I could see the veins all throughout her skin, stretching like spider webs across her arm and her face. Something had stained her body, but I think the knife is what did her in. 

I first thought that Harold had killed her. Maybe he had been lucky. But now I know it was the crew. (I’ll get back to that)

I searched her room for anything, like I was some sort of detective looking for clues. I don’t know what I was looking to find but I saw what caused the spider stain. 

It was 3 thick glass vials filled with a dark liquid that looked like it had worms squirming around in it. The labels were all too worn to read but there were syringes in the box so I guessed she had been injected. 

I went to the captain’s quarters next. I’ll summarize what is most readable first: 

  1. The crew was a part of a cult
  2. The First Mate had planned on sabotaging them
  3. She had injected herself with some sort of poison to kill whatever they were summoning, and it would kill it when it ate her. 
  4. The crew found out and killed her before they could feed her to the thing

I have the squirming vials with me now. The rest of the notes were almost incomprehensible. They were scratchings and ravings and there was talk of the old ones and the new ones and birthing a new being from the deaths of many. And the phrase “Out of many: One” over and over again. 

I wouldn’t have believed it but then I saw, through a porthole in the room: some dark shape, skittering across the surface of the boat on the underside. 

I fled up top--into the open air away from that horrible place but I could see nothing from the surface. I fear it’s clinging to the underside. I fear it's waiting. 

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 1/3

Entry 4

Roll: 5

8 of Diamonds       You see movement in the thick shape of the fog that surrounds the ship
7 of Diamonds       You hear chittering but you haven’t seen any rats Pull from the tower 
2 of Diamonds       The silence is unbearable. How do you fill it?
7 of Hearts       You find two crew locked in a lover’s embrace, both stabbing each other. One had flirted with you, Pull from the tower 
2 of Clubs       You look for the lifeboats, they are missing

The silence is what’s killing me. I know they are here. I know they are here. I know IT IS HERE. I heard it but now it’s gone. The chittering, the static, the same noise that rattles around my brain in the darkness. I can hear it. I can hear it in the silence. 

I can’t make any sound, maybe it will leave me alone. I don’t want to be alone.  

I’m pretending it’s rats. Rats scurrying around in my brain worms. Maybe I’ll catch one if I run out of food. There’s still plenty in the galley. 

And. I… I guess I should start moving bodies into the freezer. To save them. I saw two in there already. It was Percy and another woman named Rosalee. They were in on it. They had to be. 

They were embraced together, lips touching and knives through each other’s backs. Percy was the one who flirted with me. If he hadn’t been a crew member, I think… Would I be in that freezer with him instead? Would that have been better? 

I went up top today to search to see if there were any lifeboats. I know… I know that I’m safer on the main boat where there is food and water. But… but if there was land in sight I could row. (There isn’t any land in sight…)

They were all gone anyway. Someone the crew must have cut them free. I couldn’t see out into the waters anyway there’s a fog around today and I swear I could see the same shadows skittering in them. 

Almost like they were skating on the water or climbing the mists, or using something that I couldn’t see. Something that I can’t understand. Something not in my reality. 

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 1/3

Entry 5

Roll: 3

3 of Hearts       you find an icon you cannot look at directly, being in the room makes you queasy Pull from the Tower
3 of Spades       You find a pyramid of heads after seeing dozens of headless bodies Pull from the Tower 
8 of Hearts       You found a suitcase you were told was lost, you find one of your things painting in odd symbols

Someone else is alive. Someone else HAS to be alive. I’ve double backed around this place and the bodies were missing heads. WHY. It has to MEAN SOMETHING. 

Will something happen if they aren’t headless? I don’t know. But I found the heads too. 

They were… outside of one of the lower cargo areas. Stacked in a pyramid. The scratching in my brain got louder and louder as I got closer. And I felt it clawing deeper and deeper into me. 

Is this why they don’t have heads? Will it come from my head? Is it in my head? 

But beyond the pyramid. There was a small room. One that I hadn’t been in before. And it HURT. It HURT TO BE IN THAT ROOM MY HEAD MY HEAD IT WAS POUNDING AND SCRATCHING AND IT WANTED TO BURST. 

My lungs filled with acid and each and every one of my toes wanted to crawl away from my bones and all my hair turned to needles on my flesh which became cracked and seared. And I couldn’t even look upon the shrine that was to the one that came from many and it seared itself into my mind and i knew the anguish of being separated and it wanted to be whole it wanted to be one and i saw and i knew and i saw and i forgot and it’s in my mind and it’s in my brain and it’s in my skin and my eyes and my flesh and everything was pain and i was cold and i was hot and I am and ai am am an di am alone and i am alone and out of many one out of many one out of many one out of many one……………………………………

And in that room were mine and other people’s luggage, in a grotesque fashion, printed upon the sides and inside and everything were the symbols. It seared itself into my eyes and I couldn’t see. I can’t see. I wanted to scratch them into my skin so they would burn away myself.  

I don't know how much longer I can be myself. 

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 1/3

Entry 6

Roll: 2

4 of Hearts       In a crew member’s wallet you find id that is about 50 years out of date, but it matches their appearance exactly 
9 of Spades       You see cabins and you find a record. The music makes you see visions of a doomed city on the shore of a pale lake Pull from the Tower 

I went through the pockets of some of the bodies today. I guess I’m just trying to keep myself busy. This one still had a head. I don’t know if the Head-Hunter has perished or if they have given up or did all they need to do. 

I can still hear the scratching in my mind and I wonder if they are looking for me. 

I found a wallet that still had all the ids and everything in it. One of them was issued about 50 years ago. Kinda strange, but I’ve held onto ids in the past too. 

But it looked just like them. Not a day had passed. They still even had the same haircut. And the ID wasn’t faded either. Nothing about it seemed old. 

It… must have been a prop. A fake. Some kind of retro joke. A gimmick. Something. Something. I can’t think of why any of this. 

That wasn’t the strangest thing today. I found an old record, a vinyl record. Why would someone bring it onto the ship? 

I played it on the record player, an old phonograph. I’m guessing it was for aesthetic reasons. They wanted the place to feel old. That’s why the ID looked the way it was. 

But the scratching in my brain resounded with the scratching of the record and the music and I was. Some place else. 

It was cold and darkened place low in a valley between two mountains. The clouds rushed in like waves on the shore and the twin suns hid themselves each behind the peaks. 

The shadows feasted and fattened and darkness consumed the city. The dark stars rose in the pale sky like flicks of ink spilled upon a page and the city grew cold and still. 

No lights shone. No noises came. But the waters of the pale orange lake rose and with it the tide and the fish. 

All in 

    Lost Eimora 

Entry 7

Roll: 4

5 of Clubs       You find bones that are human, and bones that are not Pull from the Tower 
King of Clubs       You see cabins and you find a record. The music makes you see visions of a doomed city on the shore of a pale lake Pull from the Tower 
Queen of Spades       You cannot find anyone else alive. Why did you alone survive? Pull from the Tower 
Ace of Diamonds       You feel inoculated from the more banal horrors. The next time you are told to pull from the tower, Don’t. Also, don’t pull for the Ace of Heart

The world is becoming mundane. All seem so dull now. The scritching in my head. The pulsing behind my eyes. Nothing is as horrible. Nothing is as wretched. 

I found the bones of people amongst the garbage. Amongst the trash. I couldn’t bear to touch them. They are mixed with the bones of other meat. Chicken, t-bone, perhaps even other beasts. 

We are all just meat in the end, I suppose. Did I too partake in human flesh without knowing? I have moved more bodies into the freezer. I suppose I will in time. How much longer is there? Are they waiting for me to feast upon my kin? To fatten myself with flesh before consuming me too? 

Or is this random chance that I alone survived? If there was a loving god then why would I be spared to feel this torment? 

… The scritching never stops. 

I found a crack along the sides of the hull. I am not a shipmaker. I am not a welder, or a worker. I do not know how to fix it. It was but a hairline crack, and it oozes like a scratch. 

Like my skin after that altar. The large crack along my back, weeping, festering. I went through all the cabins and found what I could. I looked for anything. There was some epoxy, mixed it like the ingredients and smeared it on top of the crack. It seemed to stop for now. 

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 2/3

Entry 8

Roll: 4

Ace of Hearts       You find the cultists tome. It might save you. At the end of each day you can roll 1d6, on a 6 -1 Token 
6 of Spades       You find a crew member dead, neck broken and a swinging noose 
King of Spades       King of Spades  Everyone has a reason they were brought here. What was yours? 

If this is your final King, you know that it’s the end and you are hopeless 

Kings 3/3 Game Over 

I found the tome. The Book of Rites. The Searing Song. Its words burned into my flesh and cracked my skin wide in their sigils. 

Everyone was here for a reason. All of the passengers, all of the crew. Everyone, everything down to the last detail. 

All of us played our parts. The captain, the betrayer, the lovers, the meat, every last person is listed with a title and a role and .. and I have even found myself. 

The Repository, one who knows too much. 

I had fled my previous life. I had no plans of going back. I knew too much. I know too much. I snitched and I fled and now I know too much again. 

When I’m eaten, when I’m consumed, it will know what I know. 

I don’t.. I don’t want to be alive when that happens. I can hear them scratching in my mind. I can hear them scratching on the walls and the leaking in the ship and the leaking on my back and everything is cyclical and….

There was another member of the crew who also didn’t want to be alive when they were consumed. 

They left the rope for me to use and I have injected myself with what is left of the squirming vile. I hope it will do something.

Out of many: One. 

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