With the Slayers Kickstarter still nearly 3 weeks away from being finished, I've decided to take up some solo RPG fun to keep me occupied and to give the refresh button a break.
A few months ago, the Wretched Jam began, based on the solo journaling RPG The Wretched by Chris Bissette. After falling in love with the game, I put together my entry, Rigged, submitted it, and then watched as dozens of other creators started submitting their own takes on the system.
I've been meaning to go through and play some of them. I'm in a perfect situation to start:
I definitely need a distraction from my Kickstarter
Go Alone, also by Chris just arrived in the mail
My plan is to play one Wretched & Alone game every week until the campaign ends, which means three games. That timing is based on the assumption I would play these games in pieces.
That was not the case today.
I opened up Go Alone, and was immediately immersed into my story as a sentient weapon, desperate to convince my new bearer to retire, and put a stop to the endless cycle of violence that had been my existence. Taking on the role of a sentient weapon was certainly a new experience, and also one I look forward to trying again in Nevyn Holmes' GUN&SLINGER (enjoy your plug Nevyn).
Go Alone immediately had its hooks in me, and what unfolded was a story of a weapon that had been shaped and changed with its life. I jumped from the present to the past, reflecting on my journey, while also desperately looking for some hope in the future. What makes it better is the game does an excellent job of making me feel "alone", even though I am being wielded by a bearer. My pleas for them to stop, to change, fall on deaf ears, and I know it's only a matter of time before one of us falls. I cannot recommend this game enough.
Some W&A stats that might be interesting to those familiar with the system
The tower falling ended my game
I drew 2 Kings
I drew the Ace of Hearts early! I managed to get two tokens off before succumbing to my fate
I'm going to post the written record I created for my play through of the game. If you intend on playing yourself I would recommend not reading it, to avoid spoiling any prompts.
One day since this new bearer plucked me from the dark. How long has it been since I was last left there? I don’t remember. But it feels good to be held again, to feel the warmth of mortal flesh around my hilt. Soon I will be put to work again, made to rip and tear as I was built to do. Part of me thirst for it, longs to feel the bite of meat again, but the rest of me feels nothing but disgust and fatigue. I have served for so long, been discarded so many times. Surely it’s time I was allowed to rest for good?
Two days since the new bearer picked me up. Perhaps I have been in the dark too long, my mind is addled by the light, and the fury my bearer feels. I cannot help but recall the day when my previous bearer, or was it the bearer before…?, No matter. When they wielded me in anger, and regret. They had used me so long to hunt and kill, I thought nothing of it as we stalked what I thought was deserving prey. When we got to the house...well I try to remember the dark instead. I was in that dark today, feeling this new bearer’s fury as they learned my power. Unfortunate for us both, I am still gaining my senses, and I caused them to become injured while fighting some foul beast. I can only hope my bearer thinks it a matter of learning the feel of me, rather than sabotage done on my part. The bearer recovers for the day, and so shall I.
Three days since the new bearer picked me up. I woke to arguing, a dispute between my bearer and the owner of the land we camped on. Do they not realize who we are? Despite my insistence on being drawn, to my surprise the bearer kept their head, and settled with coin instead of steel. I was not awake for the exchange, for I dreamed of when my bearer claimed me. So dark, they hefted me and brought me to bear against the man who kept the cave. To call them a man is perhaps not true, but they resemble one, though they have a beast's eyes, and beast’s blood, which I tasted when my bearer slayed it. I think of that creature often, and I think my bearer does as well, as he looks upon a scar on his hand from the exchange, without even realizing he’s doing it. When we made it to town, the bearer met up with a “friend”, who will be joining us on this journey. He is an alchemist, and wishes to gather ingredients in the dangerous places we travel. Alchemy is a lie, which sounds strange coming from a talking sword. It’s a fool's errand, and I hope this fool isn’t dangerous. I know I should be trying to tame my bearer, but later that day I urged him to cut down a foe that attempted to flee from us, having surrendered their goods already. I don’t know if my bearer realizes my influence yet. I test it, perhaps they are more malleable than the last one. This one is different. They are emotional, more so than the others. The others sought my wisdom, but ultimately were not open to my words. Perhaps this one is open only in that they allow their emotions to lead them. Time will tell.
Four days since the new bearer picked me up. A beast, skin and scales of stone, approached us mid morning. The bearer was confident, and wielded me with such ferocity. The beast was in tatters in moments, however a lethal blow almost struck my overconfident bearer down, had I not intervened. My core feels shaken, and I think the bearer’s will is as well. We rested the rest of the day after that. That fool alchemist has proved useful though, and helped tend to the wound my bearer took on when we first met. I had time to contemplate my own existence, as the bearer and alchemist swapped stories. My mind, granted to me by someone like that charlatan, but someone with true power. I barely remember the day, just a scream…
Five days since the new bearer picked me up. In our morning practice, the bearer’s mind was distracted. I saw flashes, glimpses of a town in flame. The bearer is distracted, but also may sense our connection now. They sheathed me, and wrapped me in cloth for a moment, as if to bury their thoughts with me. The bearer’s shame reminds me of my own. Many generations ago, I was used by a “hero.” They upheld the law, or so they believed. They killed an innocent man. It was early in my life, and so I lacked the power and will to persuade the bearer otherwise. Their face stays with me. I see it occasionally in the others I’m used against. Something changed tonight though. My bearer took me out of my sheath, and truly looked at me. A window, an opportunity. I showed him an image of a previous bearer, retired in good health, living alone in a home of their own making. It is peaceful, a life worked for and earned. I think my current bearer appreciates it. For the first time ever, I experience hope.
Six days since the new bearer picked me up. My bearer is simple, they want material goods. They see me as a tool, one that can bring them riches if used correctly. They are correct, of course, but it is a dangerous path, and uninspired. I’ve seen dozens try, and I have a dent in my blade for when each of them failed. I need to change this one’s mind before I get another. This will be made more difficult by the fact that my bearer learned a bit of my power today. I cut through armor like a knife through air today, the man inside didn’t even realize it was happening until it was too late. I do this not of my own will, but through the will of my bearer. Using power costs power, and in that case it comes at the price of my mind. I lose words when this happens. My conversations with myself have changed over the years to adapt to my shrinking lexicon. A shame...I once had a name, and that was the first taken from. No matter, today was a day of firsts for me as well. A creature, clad in clothing like a human, but with plumes jutting from their coat assaulted us today. It wasn’t until I pierced its flesh and tasted its blood did I realize it was a beast we fought, not man. Or maybe it was once a man, there is a subtlety to the flavor that I am having a hard time nailing down. I wonder if my bearer appreciates these facets of my personage? I use that word with purpose, because I think of myself as a person. I have thoughts, goals, ambitions. I can taste! But my bearers have always seen me as a tool, not a companion.
Seven days since the new bearer picked me up. One week. Travel eats up our time, and gives opportunity for idle thoughts. I am reminded of when my true power was first used. Used to kill a thing which didn’t even have shape or form, but an idea. Oh I was young then, and in our moment of triumph I went to congratulate myself, only to realize my name was gone. Perhaps that kill cursed me? To kill an idea, I kill my name, and my words. Words. Some words stay with me though. Like when I was taken from my bearer, and used to cut them down. A cruel act, but necessary, as my bearer had gone quite mad at that point. All they could manage was a feral snarl as I ripped and tore their flesh. Have you ever tasted justice? I have. I worry I will be used for a similar purpose with my current bearer. They aren’t a good person, but they aren’t bad either. But I have found that those that use me shift towards the latter, driven by their greed. Time will tell. It’s been a long day, I should rest.
Eight days since the new bearer picked me up. A dark day, as I wasn’t drawn at all. Where is my bearer taking me? I had a similar experience, when brought out of the void and into existence. Lost, confused, aimless. Just the will of a bearer, imbuing me with a purpose I couldn’t fight. I’ve long since forgotten their name and face. Again, the scream. I would very much like to see the sun soon.
Nine days since the new bearer picked me up. Yesterday must have been the calm before the storm, because when my bearer grabbed me today, I was tasting blood in seconds. The whirlwind of battle was so intense, I could not make out who we were fighting, just that they needed to be killed. Between bites of flesh and bone, I tasted fine silk, shredded at my touch. These people...they were just travelers, merchants perhaps. They say you see red when you’re angry, but my bearer saw green today, envious of the belongings of others. I fear they are becoming too difficult to influence, more beast than man every time I am drawn from my scabbard. I am tired, and nearing my end, I can feel it. I want to hold on, but maybe it would be easier to let myself shatter next time.
Ten days since the new bearer picked me up. I crave my time in the dark right now. I know I shouldn’t, but yesterday was horrible. My slumbers are lonely, but they give me moments to reflect. One of my longest times at rest was at the bottom of a rushing river. My previous bearer had lost me when they were drowned by ambushing brigands. Long I waited, only until the river bed eroded enough for me to wash downstream. I floated then, feeling the warmth of the sun, and then the warmer embrace of a new bearer. A simpler fisher, out working their trade. Their life was never the same after meeting me. So different from the first time I was taken up. The first to bear me didn’t create me. I was created, and then stolen, only to be used to kill my own creator. Would you consider that patricide? I suppose that depends on if you think I’m like you. These moments of reflection are possible only because my bearer spends the days sorting their new ill-gotten goods. I look at the clothes they cast aside and wonder what I would look like in them. What colors would suit me, what material would feel best against my skin. Skin. I’ve tasted it so many times. What that I could keep it, wear it...Hmm, this line of thinking, it does not suit me. I should rest.
Eleven days since the new bearer picked me up. My bearer took a day off, to heal himself with the alchemist’s help. I overheard them talking, about the many scars beginning to pile up across my bearer’s body. If only they realized how much worse they would be had I not intervened. How easy it would have been to let them fall, in hopes that another more worthy would wield me. But a part of me cannot allow that. I am also noticing that my bearer seems hesitant to “adventure” again so soon, realizing they have plenty of riches already. Perhaps I can still convince them to retire, with me in hand rather than shattered and forgotten.
However, I hear shouting in the distance. I am being wielded again. These people, they want justice for those that were killed. I cannot allow this to happen again. When next my bearer swings me, I will break.
Alone again, though not for long. I hear them arguing over who will take me. It seems the cycle begins anew.
My name is...well, I’ve lost that, but these words record my hope, which like me lies shattered and bloodied on the ground. May my next bearer be kind, but I know that is too much to ask.