Tower of Art By Yanahn

Instruments: Deck of Cards, 1d6, Token

Game Description 

You are an artist, lost within the Tower, a place between places, an ever changing, ever moving, surrealist landscape of Dreams and Art, formed from the Creation of Humanity. Find out why you are here and find out how you can escape.

Game Content Warnings 

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

Playthrough Content Warnings 

These are content warnings specific to this playthrough only.

Game Playthrough

Word Count: 3,256     Played: Nov 24, 2023


Starting Card: Jack of Spades

Exit Card: 8 of Clubs 

The Traveler

You are described as

Roll: 2: Uncanny

You create for

Roll: 6: Creation itself 

You have on hand: 

Roll: 1, A well worn tool, An Awl with a diamond tip 

Jack of Spades - Starting Card

A woodworker’s room, filled with unfinished projects that have sprouted and grown into a forest. 

I awoke and found myself in a room filled and overgrown with branches and twigs, none of which were from still rooted trees. 

Around me were the tools of carpenters and sculptors, some of which I used for my own work to break the glass. But none of these have been given new life by the artists and all sought to reclaim a life they once lived: the blocks sprouted leaves, the twisting spirals of banisters shot roots to a floor they could not reach, and the smooth skin of a doll was regrowing its bark. 

There was nothing but half-created half-dead half-alive pieces for as far as I could see, making a simulacrum of a forest. 

I could not stay in this place, and so I searched endlessly for any exit. I found a half carved door entwined in aerial roots of another half finished sculpture of a man. When I moved it, I could see a room beyond, different in every aspect than the one I stood in, and I climbed my way into it. 

Items: Awl

3 of Hearts 

Left overs of a campfire, like someone was cooking but all is left is a newsprint and a palette knife +1 Curio, Palette knife 

Inside was a single room made entirely of newspaper, including the single campfire that stood in front of me. The newspapers were from all places and all times, some with words I could read and dates that were close, others were from times far in the future, and others in languages I knew were long dead. 

The campfire felt warm, crackled, and smelled as if it were made of flames, but it looked and moved like a stop motion animation made of printed paper.  I tried to touch it but it burned me like a true flame would. 

The only thing not made of the paper were the crumbs and chicken bones left around the fire and a single palette knife. I took it with me and kept it in the same place as the awl. 

Items: Awl, Palette Knife

10 of Spades

A corridor full of hissing pipes that are filled with serpents. Roll: 5, you pass

Through the chalk door there was a long twisting corridor, filled with L turns that never seemed to twist back into one another. 

The walls were filled with long pipes  thick, small, narrow, square, and every shape imaginable. At first I thought the hissing was air, then water or some other liquid, but soon I began to realize that it was more animalistic. 

I knew this sound: snakes. They rattled around in the tubes, banging and twisting, and I could imagine them breaking through at any moment. 

I ran down the long hall, not knowing which way I had come from, which way I was going, and where it would take me next. All around the pipes twisted from ceiling to wall and to floor, tripping me and hitting my face. 

I saw them in my mind writhing and piercing through the sides of their tubes, biting and spitting out the plastics and the metals. 

I ran further and further until I reached the next room. 

Items: Awl, Palette Knife

Queen of Diamonds 

A shower of ink, blotting out everything it touches, you feel heavy

The ink poured openly from the sky like rain and stank heavily of earth and chemicals. It spilled in thick globs onto everything in the area, what was once a park I imagine, but could no longer truly tell. 

It seeped into the sides of things, making it run like liquid, like a watercolor not dry hung on a wall. All the colors were turning black and melting into the ground. 

It did not make me run the same way, but it congealed, piling upon itself and weighing me down. My head and hair stank of the stuff and my neck bore more and more weight the longer I stayed. 

The stain had worn away an entrance, as if the world itself were paper and it had been dissolved to reveal another picture beneath. 

Items: Awl, Palette Knife

8 of Clubs (Exit Card)

A swamp, the reeds play melodies you can only half remember 

The ink had no effect upon this new place. It stiffed and flaked from my head and skin like old mudd and fell into the muddy waters of the swamp around me. 

My feet were completely covered by the murky waters, and I could hear the reeds around me swaying and playing something I couldn’t quite place. 

It was a song I knew, but I didn't know it. And as I looked closer, the reeds were not themselves even reeds, but flutes, oboes, clarinets and other instruments growing organically from the swamp. The entire place was an orchestra composing and recomposing a song that wouldn’t never be finished. 

‘I have to finish it to leave,’ a thought I wasn’t sure was mine entered my mind. I did not have the pieces, so I knew I needed to venture further into this place. 

Items: Awl, Palette Knife

6 of Diamonds 

A bottle of paint with a name you know, shattered. Nothing else is here everything else is erased by clouds of colors +1 Clue

Before me was emptiness. To look into it was to see Nothing, and I felt that it only wanted to fill itself to be Something, to be complete. There were no walls. There were no ceilings, no doors, no floors, only what remains of what had been consumed, turned into smoke and spiraling towards that darkness. 

I heard the familiar crunch of glass at my feet that I had not felt when I stepped on it. There was a small bottle, empty except for the last dredges of paint, and a worn label with the name: GAEA FADE. 

No person I knew, no name I recognized, but I knew the letters. Notes for the song. 

Items: Awl, Palette Knife

Clues: 1/4

5 of Spades

Jerky machine holding cloth cleaning up an overflowing inkpool in the center of the room 

The room was white and splattered with the same ink that rained from the sky. It ate away at the floor, seeping through it down below, and I wondered if this was the room above what was once the park. 

In the center of it all was a large machine, whirling, jerking, pistons firing, belts looping, and the sound was erratic as if it were on the verge of breaking. 

It hesitated, twisting, flailing back and forth as though it had human thought before scraping the ink towards itself over and over again. The cloth it used was soaked and sent splatters around the room which ate it away further and further. 

It could not control the ink and it would soon break. But it continued, scraping and splattering, doing the thing it only knew how to do.

Items: Awl, Palette Knife

Clues: 1/4

8 of Hearts 

An artist studio, covered in canvas, easels sinking into ink. What memories are being dissolved? +Curio Brush of dissolving Ink

This room was a studio, one for an artist, a painter. Every inch of the room was covered in canvas and hung from the ceiling at an impossible height. 

Walking through the rooms was like stepping into one canvas from another, from one style to another with only myself not changing. 

This room too was not safe from the ink. It was splattered and dripping, tearing holes through the canvases, and pooling towards the center of the room. 

There, an easel and a single standard canvas was slowly sinking into the ink. There was a painting of a woman, staring doe-eyed towards the viewer, clasping her hands together and showing off a large diamond engagement ring. 

The painting was affixed to the easel and it was too far into the ink to pull the entire thing out, but resting on the tray was a brush, covered in the same black ink. 

I took it with me when I found the exit to the room. 

Items: Awl, Palette Knife, Dissolving Ink 

Clues: 1/4

5 of Clubs

A violin antelope is caught in a trap and is screaming 

It was another forest, this time made of trees all too tall for me to see the branches. It was suffocating and so quiet that I could almost hear my heart beating in my ears. 

Through the deafening of the trees I heard a sharp twinge. It was hard to find where it was coming from since the forest made everything so quiet, but eventually I found it. 

A large creature, the size and shape of an antelope, but with strings from its horns and a tongue like a violin bow. It flailed around with a rope around its leg, stuck and unable to flee. 

I could get close enough to where the trap was in the earth without hurting the creature and dug in the earth with the palette knife to free it. 

It ran through the forest faster than my eyes could catch. 

Items: Awl, Dissolving Ink 

Clues: 1/4

3 of Clubs

The Consumption - something that devours creative work and leaves only fragments behind 

The only light in the room was from the spotlights highlighting each of the fragments of art. A sketch hung in the air half finished. A sonata ripped to shreds, the notes falling off the page into a pile on the floor, and a statue half finished moving trying to free itself from the rest of the marble were among thousands stretched across for miles in the room.  

These were works that could never be finished, all on display, limping and dying. I could see in the distance the spotlights go out one by one like stars in the night. These pieces would never be finished. They could never be finished. 

Items: Awl, Dissolving Ink 

Clues: 1/4

9 of Clubs

Books, like birds, surround you and eat all the text, the building shifts around you. Draw a new card to replace this one on the grid 

I stood on the pier overlooking a vast ocean. Words swam in the waters like fish in the sea. Each was a single word swimming in a school to make a sentence, or a phrase. Some were nonsense, some only made sense with the words rearranged themselves. Others were in languages I did not know. 

For a moment I thought this place was peaceful until I heard the fluttering of paper, and then the deafening rush of books. They surrounded me and flung themselves into the water, devouring every word and then the ocean themselves, each becoming bloated and waterlogged and growing in size until the largest of them turned on another book.

It devoured it, seizing and rending it apart and consuming the words like it would blood from a beast.

 I couldn’t look and I held my head in my hands. I couldn’t see why or how the world shifted around me but I felt it through my wet shoes. 

Items: Awl, Dissolving Ink 

Clues: 1/4

10 of Clubs 

The walls are carved and painted with eyes of creatures you don’t know. They watch and this feeling is familiar and uneasy. Why?

When I opened my eyes I was in a small room, the size of a coat closet, and walls that brushed against my shoulders. 

All around me they looked and followed my gaze. Thousands of eyes painted, carved, sculpted, etched, calligraphy, and every possible form of art stared at me. Judged me. 

They blinked together all at once, and followed my gaze around the room. They wanted something from me. 

And there I saw it, right in front of my face, the one eye without a pupil, made of glass, waiting for me. They wanted my next piece. What I had completed would never be enough. 

I took out the awl and delicately etched the circle into the glass. It blinked. All of them blinked and then shut their eyes and vanished. 

Items: Dissolving Ink 

Clues: 1/4

2 of Hearts

A bedroom, signs of life,  everything in motion, scrawlings on the wall “I will Transcend” +1 Clue

Someone was in this room with me and I could not see them. They moved too fast, a blur whirling around and moving things, painting, writing, typing, eating and leaving. The door opened more times in a minute than I previously thought possible. 

They went though me and around me like a Pepper’s Ghost. They buzzed about trying every form of art, from music to sculpture to writing. This person was not satisfied with merely one form, or perhaps they were trying transmedia pieces. I could not tell for nothing was ever finished except for one phrase “I will Transcend.” 

It was scrawled over and over upon the walls. Each time they abandoned a piece it was scrawled again. This happened over and over and over until there wasn’t a single inch of the room covered in it. 

I took note of the letters A C E D before I left. 

Items: Dissolving Ink 

Clues: 2/4

Jack of Hearts

Your living room at home. The TV is looping a painful scene over and over. What is it? +1 Clue

I was at home, on my couch, the neighbor’s dog barking outside, and the light from the streetlamp was filtering through the blinds. 

The only light inside was blue light from the tv. On the screen, playing over and over, was the footage from my last showing. 

Over and over again I watched as a child, curious but unable to control their impulses, touched and knocked over one of the pieces. 

I heard it shatter over and over. The glass, already fragile and broken deliberately for the light to shine through it, didn’t stand a single chance of survival.

And I watched, over and over and over, as I screamed, first at the child and then at the parent. I had to be escorted out of my own showing. 

The entire scene played out in perfect tempo and pitch. Quiet Loud Loud Loud quiet. Over and over and over. 

Maybe some things are not meant to last. 

Items: Dissolving Ink 

Clues: 3/4

9 of Hearts 

The interior of a well-kept cafe, mannequins posed like people, like a diorama of a normal day. There is chatter and noise with the music. You recognize a name +1 Clue 

My couch dissolved into the interior of a cafe that was thirty years out of date. The furniture was plush and dark, the walls painted a deep red and brown, and every inch was covered in painting and shelves of knicknacks, and trinkets. The floor boasted a variety of rugs, all with intricate thick patterns. 

Around me, bald faced mannequins were all posed like people. They were completely nude and featureless, but held drinks and food, none of which were real. Plastic food for plastic people. 

Somewhere, through a speaker I could not see, music and chatter, the ambiance of a cafe, was playing. Drink orders were being taken, coffee was being ground, the register dinged and the sound of soft fusion jazz played. 

I heard my name called for a drink I did not order. But it was there, upon the counter when I went up to look. 

It was heavy and plastic with a hole in the top where steam was being produced. I could not remove the lid, but when I turned the cup over, the letters: D E E C.

I had the melody in my head. I knew that this was right. It was time to return to the reeds.

Items: Dissolving Ink 

Clues: 4/4

4 of Spades

A mountain of gears, the only way out is a hatch through the ceiling. 

The sound was deafening when I entered. Every single little thing moved with a precise mechanical click, click click.

Piles upon piles of gears all moved with precision, shifting, screeching, moving, moving, moving.  Not a single thing remained still and all had a singular purpose: move towards the top. 

Any stray part that fell quickly got shuffled along through the belts and teeth up towards the top of the mechanical mountain--towards the one singular hatch in the ceiling. 

I did not have to climb; all I needed was to rest and let it take me higher. I could not look as they carried me towards the peak. I focused on that single hatch as it grew closer and closer and pulled myself up and towards it when it was presented to me. 

Items: Dissolving Ink 

Clues: 4/4

4 of Hearts

Chalk scratchings mark the shape of doors. They can be opened. (Going through the door takes you to a random part of the map)

Chalk scratchings marking the shape of doors on the wallpaper. They look like they can be opened.

I fell onto the floor of this new room and around me I saw wallpaper from all eras. Each was ripped, torn, sliced and pasted upon one another in a haphazard manner. The disharmony was evocative and alienating, as if to say all pieces are connected and disconnected at the same time.

But scrawled upon each was a door drawn in a manner to emulate a child’s perspective in both size and skill. 

I touched the knob of one and it rotated as if I had turned it myself, and the wallpaper peeled itself away, revealing the swamp. 

Items: Dissolving Ink 

Clues: 4/4

The Final Door 

Where in this space do you find the Door? 

It was buried beneath the mud. I dug with my hands and cleared away until I found it, and pulled it from the depths. 

What does it look like to you?

It was the instrument I needed. The one I was to make. 

It was made of several sheets of glass, each one tempered correctly to produce the note I needed when played. 

I took the hammer that was resting beside it, and played, cracking each one at a time to the right notes, to the right tempo. And as the hammer hit the last of the sheets everything around me cracked, like I was looking at a projection through the glass. 

What meaning does it hold for you?

I will transcend beyond simple images. I will find new art, new meaning. 

What happens when you step through it? 

I am in my bathroom. Staring at myself in the mirror, looking at the small crack that’s starting to form around the edges where the screws hold it into the wall, and wondering if it will get worse, or if I should leave it be. I’m tapping it, trying to test if it will get worse.

I realize that I am back. I don’t remember how, or why or even if I was gone. 

What do you find on the other side?

I let the crack stay and I will forever think about that instrument that can only ever be played once. 

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