The Mariner By Nick Wheeler

Instruments: Block Tower, French Deck, 1d6

Game Description 

A game loosely inspired by the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. You are the captain of a ship who shot an albatross out of the sky and now you are cursed to wander the seas forever. Please note, the game does not ask you to write in verse.

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: 1,916     Played: Nov 7, 2021

Day 1

Roll: 2

9 of Hearts      

You realize you ate a maggot Pull from the tower.

King of Spades       King of Spades You hear singing in the distant fog

Again at sea, the waves surround,

There is no end in sight,

We’re all alone with land not found, 

Against this dreadful blight

That cursed bird hangs ‘round my neck

And rots against my flesh

My crew, my foes and all on deck

Would kill for water fresh

The food’s grown thin and bellies growl

We’re down to last meals soon

My biscuit tasted something foul

And there were maggots strewn

The taste was thick; I’d ne’re forget

But worse was crewmen’s eyes

Their knuckles cracked in honest threat

And I don’t dare chastise 

Then came a sound so distant sweet

We knew it not be true

Their fingers point and wide eyes meet

It was me alone that knew

The call, the voice, the sirens sing

I know they come for me

The crew all still like cracked bell’s ring 

Took hold for hours three

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 1/4

Day 2

Roll: 2

8 of Clubs       You joke with the crew, maybe they are humoring you?
6 of Hearts       The crew is repairing the ship, how do you occupy this time?

A moment’s peace and friendly face,

To young crew lasses converse,

Though still unease in hostile place,

The ills I sought to disperse 

With heartfelt joke and lively tale,

They laughed and seemed to smile

But through my age I pierced the veil, 

And knew their blood was bile

I left them then to tend the ship

And returned to my own bed

They needn’t me to crack the whip

To rest mine and fowl’s head 

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 1/4

Day 3

Roll: 6

9 of Diamonds       It is all your fault, Pull from the tower.
Ace of Spades       Could the winds be changing?
3 of Hearts       Your water has gone bad, do you still drink it? Pull from the tower.
2 of Hearts       A crewman has located some booze
10 of Clubs       There is a card game and you aren’t invited
9 of Clubs       Three crewmen are found dead, their throats slit, Pull from the tower.

Below the deck a crewman found,

A hidden stash of grog,

Both spirits grown and passed around,

Avoiding swallowing fog 

In merry joice the winds returned,

And filled our sails to go,

A sign we thought! Our luck has turned!

As the devil laughed below

I came across a game of cards

A group that I once knew

They glared at me, their trust in shards

They barely were my crew 

I backed away and didn’t press

No point to make things worse

For the night I chose egress

To my cabin I reverse 

In the night the bad winds came

I woke to crewman’s cry

The ones who’d shunned me from the game

Their lives had gone awry

Before me lay their bodies bare

Their throats had opened wide

The rusty knives were laid in pair

 Because of me they died

I sank to knees and shook my head 

And had their bodies shroud 

But more were lost the crewman said

His sneer was almost proud

To water chest he led me down

To see what else was lost 

He opened crate and with a frown

Exposed the water’s moss 

The thick film grew upon the top

And coated side to side

I took my hand and tasted drop

And decided I should lie

I said it’s fine and good to drink

But he believed me not

He shook his head and stopped to think 

But all else had fell to rot

When he had left I stood below 

And sunk down to a knee

The burdens’ mine, for this I know

But why my crew with me?

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 1/4

Day 4

Roll: 1

Jack of clubs       An accident below deck and the the surgeon is forced to amputate an arm. Did they survive? Pull from the tower.

Another day another pain,

This time it was a lad,

Sent up high to ship maintain,

On deck he landed bad

No thing remains of mangled limb,

The rest to be cut free,

The surgeon said his chance was grim,

His life no guarantee, 

I heard his screams from down beneath,

Then suddenly cut short,

The doctor spoke with postured grief,

His death he had report

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 1/4

Day 5

Roll: 3

Queen of Hearts       The ship has sprung a leak Pull from the tower.
8 of Diamonds       You make a sketch at your desk to pass the time, what do you draw
10 of Diamonds       Why did you take up life as a sailor?

The clock is still as ocean tide

I find myself at rest

I think back to my lovely bride

And to our home back west 

I sketch her face, though poorly drawn

And chuckle to myself

What would she think? Her spouse now gone 

A portrait on a shelf 

She is the reason I am at sea,

She was a captain too,

I followed her to nth degree,

In a poor attempt to woo,

But health had taken her from fame,

And to retirement,

A humble woman she became,

Without my same lament

But from below, as most things are,

A snap and scream of wood,

Then pounding at my chamber’s bar,

I knew that things weren’t good

The fourth first mate, a gnarled soul, 

Gnashed teeth and spat at me,

The ship it seems had grown a hole, 

And Xe wanted me too see 

So down I went to see the flood,

And watched as crewmen worked,

The salty water iced my blood,

And saw as shadows lurked

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 1/4

Day 6

Roll: 4

4 of Spades       As night falls you see something in the water. Are you able to identify it?
9 of Spades       You catch a ghost ship with a hooded figure. Pull form the tower
5 of Hearts       More maggots!! Pull from the tower.
2 of Diamonds       You find a reminder of home in your cabin. What is it?

Another day another pain,

This time it was the food,

The maggots crept inside again,

Our hunger not subdued,

We had no choice to feed the waves,

And threw it overboard,

Would it or hunger be our graves?

And rest our last reward

Long I slumbered in my prison, 

Dreaming of my love,

Soon I found myself arrisen,

By clambers from above,

The crew had gathered at the railing,

Pointing at the deep,

From the waters came a wailing, 

The shadows here to seek

Their long and darkened forms enchoaching,

Distracting sailor’s mind,

But from syruped fog approaching, 

A ship’s form undefined

Cloaked form in robes and ambiance,

Long finger pointed out,

I found my mind and soul ensconced

And knew without a doubt

I wouldn’t live to see my home,

This all would be for naught,

My body laid beneath sea foam,

For this is what I wrought

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 1/4

Day 7

Roll: 4

7 of Spades       A crewman ascends to do some rigging and doesn’t return Pull from the tower.
Queen of Spades       you see a body in the water, you don’t know where it came from Pull from the tower.
6 of Spades       The air is dry and unpleasant you don’t have enough water, Pull from the tower.
2 of Clubs       The crew spontaneously burst into song, do you join them?

From the depths a body rose, 

One we didn’t know,

The corpse was stripped of all its clothes, 

And features long ago

We did not know if it was ours,

But still we mourned the loss,

We shrouded it in cloth from flours,

And ropes in tight criss-cross

The crew it seemed was more affect,

Than I’d e’re seen before,

They burst in mourning song select,

Learned from far-flung shore

But still I sang with my own crew,

Lest they raise their fist,

The mourning song to me, quite new

But through harmony assist

Our lips were coarse since water rare,

For none drank moss ‘cept me,

And even I was well aware,

What grew inside of me 

The hot air beat and wind was dry, 

And rigging needed care,

The smallest lass ascended high, 

Then lost among the air

We waited long for her return,

At least a day or so,

But she was gone we would soon learn

And the rigging we’d forgo

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 1/4

Day 8

Roll: 6

4 of Diamonds       You take a moment to contemplate your situation
4 of Hearts       A crewman hauls up a fish
King of Diamonds       You just start fucking screaming
Queen of Diamonds       ]You think you see an albatross hit the deck, but it’s not real! Pull from the tower.
Ace of Diamonds       You think you know where you are! Next time you need to pull from the tower, you can choose not to
7 of Diamonds       Someone is sobbing, who is it? Pull from the tower. (ace of diamonds)

The map, the compass, pin at last! 

I think I know our spot

I push pin deep, it held on fast 

A place I’d ne’re forgot 

Then from above, as most things are, 

I heard a cry and cheer,

A fisherman had caught a gar, 

A true blessing most clear

Then from above a bird did shriek,

And dove into the deck,

An albatross with mighty beak,

As the one around my neck

The bones all shattered ‘cross the floor,

In spurts and sprays of blood,

It looked at me into my core,

And eyes began to flood,

The wings all broke and body writhed 

I felt myself to scream

And on the floor in sorrow’s tithe

I broke to tears supreme

My voice cried out and fingers point

To nothing on the deck

The albatross in all disjoint 

Vanished without a speck

I saw their eyes and angry squint

And knew they could not see

I took this as a forthright hint

For how long they’d follow me

Tokens: 10/10

Kings: 2/4

Day 9

Roll: 5

King of Clubs       Mutiny! Someone stabs you!
6 of Clubs       Someone hands you a hand-carved icon, what is it?
King of Diamonds       You just start fucking screaming
Queen of Clubs       A crewman finally snaps and is violent
King of Hearts       The food is gone They drown you!

Kings: 4/4 Gameover

Another day another pain,

But this would be the last,

The doctor’s come and to explain 

The crew has broke it’s fast

Three members sick from food gone rot

And now they lay in bed

Another sailor five men’s shot 

And then himself--his head

They want me now upon the deck

The doc won’t meet my gaze 

He leads me by my bird drawn neck

Unto my final days

And there uptop they bind my hands

And tie my legs and feet

to idol weight in hand-carved bands

For gods that I’ll soon meet 

And one by one they bare their knives 

And pierce me to atone

A sacrifice to save their lives

And sent to seabed’s throne

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