SPOILER ALERT. The chase of Moby Dick unfolds over three days. Each day, another devastating encounter with the whale leaves the Pequod’s crew smaller and smaller, until on the third day, all the boats are lost and the ship itself is stove and sunk.
The inversion of players’ attack rolls during the Final Chase provides the reflective metaphysical space that utter destruction alone can bring. Often on a first time through the game, players are struck by myriad feelings of frustration, impotence, and even, in the best cases, moral outrage. The simple, elemental and existential dynamic that Melville sets up for us here is the solid ground, or better the great mass of living flesh upon which the waves of a player’s anguish are dashed meaninglessly, and ultimately recede, unfelt by the immovable precept of infinite power.
In Melville Mode, after a ‘day’ of hunting, i.e. one time through the entire Whale deck, activated sailors may return to a state of readiness while the Whale deck is reshuffled.
In either mode of play, it is perhaps impossible for a boat to survive to the end of the third day.