Sights to Sea
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A writing prompt game based on Alone Among the Stars

You will need:

  • 1 six-sided dice
  • A deck of traditional playing cards

You are a sailor on the Sea of Words. You have sailed for as long as you can remember.

Look around. You are at a port, your ship docked at the pier in front of you. The ship is:

  1. An old rowboat, suited more for freshwater than the open ocean. You know the name of every scratch and speak to the barnacles intimately.
  2. A scow originally from Oceania, adept at navigating shallow coasts. She carries the faint scent of an angry childhood memory.
  3. A xebec, light and airy, once used for trading corrupted souls. A few haunting screams still linger in shadowy corners, but a good play of the fiddle keeps them quiet.
  4. A militarized naval frigate of immense size. It was certainly not acquired legally- but now that you’re on the Seas, no government can stop you.
  5. A colorful ferry who retired from tourism. The branding’s been scrubbed off well, but the mascot still refuses to leave.
  6. A beautifully decorated junk that got lost from home. When left alone for long enough, she’ll sail away in search of the islands of immortality.

Roll the dice to decide a ship above, or design your own.

Today, you set sail just to explore. You have finished all your duties, settled every score, and now all that is left is to get lost in the infinite blue. The only thing you bring with you is a journal to record everything you see.

When you’re ready to start, roll a six-sided dice and place that number of cards face-down. Each card represents a discovery you make in a week.

When you flip over a card, roll the six-sided dice again:

  • On a 1, it is difficult to reach, as if the ocean itself didn’t want you to see.
  • On a 2, you discover it suddenly, and you swear you didn’t see it before.
  • On a 3, a strong wind pushes you towards it.
  • On a 4, you went there purposefully, guided by a map or prophetic vision.
  • On a 5, you were asleep when your boat bumped against it.
  • On a 6, you spot it while resting.

The suit and rank determine the discovery. In your journal, write a couple sentences describing what it is and your reaction, or draw the same. Each time you complete a week, give it a title, and continue on to the next week.

Play until you’re ready to go back to shore. If you want to share your discoveries, save the journal. If you believe they are best left forgotten, destroy it.

♣ Clubs

Clubs are lifeforms: human-shaped fish, flowing strands of sea kelp, glowing albatross, flying koi, etc. The animals in these waters tend to be wiser than they appear, subsisting off the convoluted writings of long-dead philosophers.

♦ Diamonds

Diamonds are people and their vessels: pirates and pirate ships, lost-at-sea and salvage, hermits and arks, eccentric rich aliens and UFOs, etc. You may find a surprising diversity of people deep in the sea, but all are alike in their reverence for the water.

♥ Hearts

Hearts are ruins: sunken ships, oceanic temples, rusted obelisks stretching into the rafters, the scattered pages of a ruined book, etc. Who built them, and what story do they tell?

♠ Spades

Spades are natural (and magical) phenomena: massive coral sculptures, a whirlpool of misspelled words, crystal geodes, magma plumes, clouds shaped like gods. The Sea of Words is always wild, never tamed, and she wears it proudly.

A: in a vibrant coral reef.

2: glistening in the light of several moons.

3: in a bed of sea grass.

4: by the sandy shores of the coast.

5: frozen inside an iceberg.

6: swimming below a strange sun.

7: hanging from the Rafters above.

8: floating limply on the waves.

9: deep within a trench below.

10: bobbing in a swift current.

J: on a volcanic island.

Q: attached to your own ship.

K: floating in the air.

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