Saturday, September 11, 2021

Play Report: Dredge

Erin Vest

The discovery that my kindle can read pdfs just fine without messy conversion (late to the party, as I ever am) has made solo games much more convenient, so I should probably get around to writing play reports of them.

Dredge by scyllallycs puts you in the boots of a boat captain on a journey wandering around a creepy freshwater lake called the Wringwaste. No memories or backstory to worry about. Big Sunless Sea vibes. You gather treasure, have encounters, and are chased by a monster, you win if you reach safe harbor with at least 5 treasures or the entire map revealed. It's played on a 4 x 6) field of playing cards (and so my notations are Row - Column)

The Voyage of the No. 7

D-1 (Ace of Spades) - I leave harbor, setting off across the Wringwaste. It is swiftly consumed by the mist. I press onward.

D-2 (2 Hearts) - Dark, boiling water and choking fumes make navigation impossible and forces me to flee to clearer waters. Whatever is there certainly isn't worth it.

C-2 (King of Spades) - A light in the water, in the mist, like someone holding a ship's lantern aloft. A song, a shadow. The hunter is here, and it has my trail.

C-3 (Queen of Diamonds) - I happen across an abandoned vessel - huge, rusted. Oily handprints on the hull climbing from keel to deck. It's not safe to stick around for too long, but there's salvage. Item dredged - crate of Omega Mart foodstuffs. Why was this aboard?

D-4 (7 Diamonds) - I cry through the night and fall into a deep sleep. But there is some kind of catharsis, and I make good pace the next day, my thoughts untroubled. (Hunter -1)

D-5 (Queen of Hearts)
- The calm surface is covered in pink flower petals. No trees out here, I feel like it was some kind of ceremony. A wedding? A visitation of higher powers? Item dredged - ancient heirloom sword with a rose pommel

D-6 (10 Spades)
- A glass bottle and a scrap of parchment. DIG, it says. Item dredged - sealed amphora, frozen to the touch.

C-6 (5 Spades) - A cricket? Some chirping through the entire night, though I search the ship top to bottom for the source. Hours of it, and then nothing. (Hunter +1)

B-6 (6 Clubs) - Something catches my sea anchor, tows me for miles at great speed

A-5 (9 Clubs) - A castle on the water, rising, folding, fading to nothing. An illusion?

A-4 (8 Clubs) - Blood in the water. No blood, no wreckage. Just blood. (Hunter +1)

A-3 (2 Spades) - A wave that scrapes the bottoms of the clouds. No way around, have to ride it. (Hunter -1)

A-2 (Ace of Hearts) - The water's shallow here and a stone arch, grey and salt stained rises up above the waves. I know better than to go underneath things like that. item dredged - Coral sailors, embracing. Fear, not love.

A-1 (4 Spades) - A tremor rocks the boat. Did I hit something? The water's deep here. Did something hit me?

B-1 (Jack of Diamonds) - The waters are tumultuous here; crashing, foaming waves. I still manage to drop net in the storm. Item dredged - war-period flare gun.

C-1 (Jack of Clubs) - The flotsam up ahead bobs in a purple wine stain: crates and cups and shattered bottles. Item dredged - bottle of dark wine, nearly black. The label just reads SIN.

D-2 - Nothing. I have been in these waters before.

D-3 (3 Spades) - Memories of a shanty come to my mind. First the tune, then the words, then singing it aloud. It's been twenty years since I was aboard that ship, why is it coming back to me now? Most of them are dead by now, I wager, or retired if they're lucky.

C-4 (9 diamonds) - Vomiting all through the day. Hardly any progress (Hunter +1)

B-5 (10 diamonds) - Crows on the stern. more and more through the day. They wait for me to drop my net, and take off in a flock as I do. Item dredged - Stained glass egg.

A-6 (King of Diamonds) - Docks. I've reached the docks. Something waits for me here...

Cargo Manifest

  • Omega Mart food crate
  • Ancient rose-pommel sword
  • Sealed amphora
  • Embracing coral sailors
  • War-period flare gun
  • Bottle of SIN
  • Stained glass egg

Since the hunter never caught up to me, I never had to sacrifice a treasure. Lucky me.

End Thoughts

As far as journalling games go, I'm fond of this one - while I don't know how much it has for replay value if you don't change things yourself, it has prompts that establish mood and tone in such a way to get some good inspiration going - there's no set items from the prompts, just descriptors, everything I dredged up was my own. It's good for a one-afternoon shot.