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Community Article: Indie Insights - Return of the Obra Din

Written by John Edwards

The Obra Dinn was reported missing four years ago. It has turned up with all hands dead or missing. As our chief inspector, it's your job to determine what happened on board so that we can accurately evaluate the insurance claim made against the vessel.

We have given you a journal which contains a manifest of the people known to have been on the ship and their various roles. There's a layout of the ship to help you navigate around the various decks and establish a detailed timeline of the events that led to it's mysterious disappearance. You will also find a pocket watch which I'm sure you will find invaluable in your investigations - Henry Evans, The Honourable East India Company.

Mr Evans, I took on this job, as I have undertaken many such investigations, under the assumption it would be a simple matter of piracy or mutiny that resulted in the tragic events. However, I confess I was not prepared for the results of using your infernal pocketwatch! 

What kind of Faustian pact have you signed? The damned thing shook as I approached the remains of a poor soul on the main deck, shortly after boarding the Obra Dinn. Pressing the button, I suddenly found myself hearing the final sounds of this unfortunate wretch's life. Then the darkness cleared and I saw the moment of his death clearly in front of me. The man and his attacker were frozen in time while I could move around freely, inspecting from all angles. I returned through a door in nothingness and found myself back by the corpse, where I had been stood before pressing the button.

What magic is this? What sort of peril have you placed my soul in? - Chief Inspector

While I appreciate your concerns, I can reassure you that there's nothing to fear from the pocket watch. It may be an unusual design, but I feel you will find it quite invaluable in your investigations.

With correct use of the watch you will be able to piece together the events of the Obra Dinn's tragedy that would not be possible through normal means. While it cannot directly identify the individuals you encounter, I am certain you will be able to use your wits, deductive reasoning and the available evidence to cross reference what you see and hear with the information you have in the book. I have every faith in you - Henry Evans

Your reassurances are somewhat lacking. Even the ledger you have given me seems possessed of its own mind. It fills in details around what the watch showed me but lets me determine the name and cause of death or the individual. What's even more peculiar, when I'd determined the fates and identities of three of the crew the book somehow confirmed my accuracy! Am I being judged by this tome? Is it acting in a supervisory capacity over me?

The pocket watch continues to lead me deeper in to the ship. One death leads to another, a trail of misfortune and blood. Even within the peculiar frozen scenes I find new events which in turn appear in the real world as shades. I feel deeply uncomfortable and my disquiet grows with each disturbing revelation. - Chief Inspector 

You sound like you are making excellent progress. I appreciate there may be difficulties in determining the identities of some of the lost souls that travelled on this ill fated voyage, the book will actually help you in this regard. It will show their image in greater clarity when you have sufficient information to identify them and even indicate the difficulty you may have in making this determination.

You can use the book to review the moments of death for those you are trying to identify and perhaps make it easier to piece together the events. Just be sure to get the full picture of what happened for our records - Henry Evans


I have seen man turn on man before, I have seen greed and anger boil over and reveal the worst among men, but the events on the Obra Dinn are beyond what could be considered sane. I fear investigating further with the watch. I don't know if I will encounter a tragic accident or something beyond my imagination. But I feel compelled to continue, I could leave this task partially complete, a few deaths out of many accounted for, you may even allow me out of my contract with many unresolved questions. However, I am fascinated with what befell the crew, what horrors they brought upon themselves and what the full story is. I am as entangled in the Obra Dinn as the tentacles that now haunt my dreams - Chief Inspector

I am relieved that you will continue. Truth be told, I have some information about those aboard that I cannot reveal to you until you have sufficient information for me. It may be hard to solve what happened to everyone on that ship, but with perseverance and a clear mind I am certain you will overcome the challenges. Unlock the secrets the Obra Dinn holds and reveal what happened on that unfortunate voyage - Henry Evans.