The Shipwreck Arcana is a real game about a fictional deck of cards. The deck exists in a world which is described only as "sunken" or "drowned." The world's history is unknown -- but it is hinted at by the fictional illustrator of the tarot deck, providing a glimpse of the history that surrounds it.
There are two discernible plots which influence the card illustrations. The first is more mythical in nature: the tale of The Blind Man.
He was once merely an aged inventor. He still had his sight then, and what he saw horrified him: the world breaking and being slowly dragged underwater. What caused this apocalypse? It is not known, and the cards offer no hint. But it was the last thing that The Blind Man saw.
He took his own sight. Some say he tore his eyes out and fixed them in the sky, replacing the sun and moon that were broken. Others hold that the sun never died, and The Blind Man gazed into its fires in search of a celestial blueprint, until his eyes were dry ash and his mind was alight with strange new inventions. The man himself will not say, for he is consumed entirely in his construction of The Engine.
Its workings are unknown, but its goal is simple: to wind back the waves and years, restoring the world and resetting the calamity. It is powered by a beating heart, whose rhythm shakes the earth for miles around. Is it The Blind Man's, lost along with his sight? Or was it carved from the flesh of the sea's silent devil: Leviathan?
One thing is certain: The Engine is nearly complete, but one vital element is missing. The keyhole in its hull does not fit any key made by mortal hands. It is crafted to fit an heirloom of years faded and past, a relic discovered in The Blind Man's studies. The Engine will not start without it. It is The Key.
Finding it will not be easy, for The Key is locked within an iron box that only The Key itself unlocks, cast away into the coldest, blackest, deadest crags of the crushing sea. These unlit lands are a footstep away from the afterlife, and home to things that have not lived for ages, or will not for ages yet. This is The Deep, where cold titans dream.
Who can recover The Key? How will they journey into The Deep and return to the air above? A mystery. Yet the cards reveal that someone must have done so, for The Key now journeys fast across the land, carried to The Blind Man's forge by The Rider on her stolen steed.
Her flight across the map has not been easy. She chases the sunset, pursued by night's long shadows and the agents hidden within. Mortal and immortal laws have been broken by her hand, and their keepers seek justice. The burning brand upon her arm signals to everyone that she is wanted by The Judge.
But she will not rest, she will not tire, she will not cease. The Rider bears The Key, stampeding towards Dawn and The Blind Man's work. If she succeeds, if she escapes her pursuers, she may yet return the missing piece to The Engine that can undo all wrong.
Or she may just be another page in a story.