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Headscratchers / Return of the Obra Dinn

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  • Shouldn't the First Mate object to Brennan killing the Fourth Mate without hearing him out or attempting to to subdue him first? Especially considering that a common sailor like Brennan struck an officer. Seems strange that they would go together to force open the captain's cabin after an incident like that.
    • One can only assume that the murder of another crew mate automatically strips an officer of privilege, so Brennan wouldn't be punished for the (accidental?) murder. It's why Nichols tried to bribe his way back on, despite getting multiple people killed, including one directly on deck.
  • So the end of chapter IX clearly takes place shortly before the beginning of X. Yet for some reason the Captain is suddenly topless when he wore his jacket and a shirt underneath earlier. The First Mate also seems to be shirtless underneath his jacket in the first part of X, even though he was fully dressed in IX. What caused him to lose his shirt?
    • Some duellists at the time would remove clothing before a fight because a wound could turn septic if a weapon pushed pieces of cloth into it. It's possible that both men were anticipating a fight (the Captain expecting the mutiny, the First Mate expecting resistance) and took some preparations to prevent any injuries they took from getting any worse.
  • The ship returned to Falmouth in 1807, two years after a stagecoach took 38 hours to deliver the message about victory in the battle of Trafalgar from Falmouth to London, where the Inspector is based. This means that it should take at least three days between the ship drifting into Falmouth and the Inspector boarding the vessel, during which it was left adrift. Why did nobody tow it to the docks in the meantime?
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    • The boat puller says 'nobody eager for that job', implying that more than the Inspector were unwilling to board the ship. All it would take is all the captains of the available tug vessels being superstitious and/or unwilling enough to tie a line to the Obra Dinn for it to go unattended. Assuming that it's the mermaid keeping the ship in place, this is also a ship that's maintaining its position on the sea unaided by anchor and unmoved by weather, increasing the chance that superstitious rumors and theories would develop about it.
  • How did Henry Evans know that the ship would return to Falmouth in time to ship the items to the inspector before they went to the ship? Considering the shipping times from Morocco to Britain in 1807, he must have sent it weeks or months in advance, yet the inspector apparently didn't even look at it before reaching the ship.
    • The people pulling out the mermaid who heard third mate's deal to return the ship. Presumably, the mermaids informed them when the ship would be returned (obviously not immediately, after the chaos had been done).
  • Why didn't Dr. Henry Evans use the Memento Mortem to find out who killed Nunzio Pasqua, thus preventing Edward Nichols from taking the shells and dooming the ship? The logical explanation is that if he did the game would not exist, but what would be the in-game explanation? One explanation is that Dr. Evans simply could not examine the body, or if he did, he couldn't convince the captain that one of his mates is a murderer, thief, and mutineer. It's not known how common, in the universe of the game, is the Memento Mortem. It's existence is probably an oddity and is not admissible as evidence. But even if that is the case Dr. Evans could have just given the watch to Captain Witterel so he could see for himself.
    • The fact that the Inspector's report was accepted and the insurance presumably paid out suggests the experiences provided by the watch are admissible as evidence in-universe.
      • Alternately, the Inspector may have had such a high reputation that their accounting of the fates was taken at face value, without any enquiry into how they were able to obtain the recorded information.
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    • He probably saw little meaning for it at the time. After all, to him, it was a high ranking white crew member who caught an Oriental murderer, who apparently confessed to the deed as told by one of the Chinese crew. Evans probably didn't begin to doubt Nichols until after his treachery failed and he tried to bargain his way back with the shells and unconscious mermaids.
    • Does Dr. Evans even have the clock on him while in the ship?
      • The watch's carrying case is visible in 'A Bitter Cold'. Additionally, Evans's shooting of his pet monkey makes no sense unless he already knew about the watch's power and used the monkey's paw to eventually provide a window into the past.
  • Why doesn't the book include the fates of the crew members Evans knew about before he left the ship? There is no sensible (in-game) reason to leave everything to the inspector.
    • In his preface, Evans explicitly says that "failing health" prevented him from writing any more than the bare outline. In addition, it was set up for the Inspector, the inheritor of the Momento Mortem, to discover ALL the crew's fates.
  • Why is it that Miss Jane Bird, a passenger and therefore not part of the crew, is held held accountable for "abandonment of crew and vessel". Why would a mere passenger be expected to act as a crewmember would in times of crisis? Shouldn't a mere passenger be free to abandon ship whenever they please without consequence?
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    • She was still an English citizen under the Crown, and was part of a party which had a murderess and several abandoning crewmembers on board; the fact that she chose to remain in Morocco instead of returning to England probably didn't endear her either.
    • Also, considering how the accidental manslaughter and self-defense are still fined as "murder of crewmate," it's likely that the Inspector's report omit any context of the fates. Therefore, it's possible that Miss Jane Bird was only reported as "alive in Africa," along with several others, which includes one crewmate and one "murderer", and the Crown saw it as her facilitating abandonment, fining her for it.
  • The midsection of the gun deck is a mess as a result of the ship rocking violently from side to side during the kraken attack. Yet everywhere else on the ship, including in the cargo hold where there are crates of bottles, everything is neatly stacked and unbroken.
    • Cargo would have been secured in one manner or another to prevent it shifting like that. The kraken specifically attacked the cannons, resulting in the mess we see.
  • Thomas Lanke takes advantage of Leonid Volkov screaming outside to shout mutiny, at which point Olus Wiater starts chasing him to stab him, as heard in Wiater's scene. However, one scene earlier, two seconds after said scream, Wiater is already out of the officers' mess and chasing Lanke down.
  • The placement of physical remains seems very peculiar. For some reason, the bones of the ones killed in chapter X are still in place even though they should have been moved by the rocking of the ship. Their clothes are intact even though they are probably made of wool or other natural fibers and should have rotted away. Thomas Lanke was left in the midshipmen cabin, but the Bosun, Gunner's Mate and Fourth Mate are nowhere to be found, implying that the First Mate, Brennan and Walker took the time to throw them overboard before confronting the Captain. Nobody needed to use the head after the Kraken attacked, so the body of Edward Spratt remained undiscovered. Timothy Butement was left dangling from a rope right outside the First Mate's cabin even though Lewis Walker was shown to climb down there. Nobody dealt with the Ship's Steward's body even though there was a blood trail. Also, while the Third Mate's Steward's body being left could be called justified as it was underneath a cannon, Abraham Akbar's body was also underneath a cannon yet it is gone.
  • In The Calling, part 5, Edward Nichols is seen pulling an unconscious mermaid onto his lifeboat, while the other lifeboat already has two mermaids on it and his three stabbed co-conspirators (Galligan, Hong, and O'Hagan) are nowhere to be found. The previous memory (The Calling, part 4) showed that all three mermaids were in the water when the magic beams hit them and the three dead men were still on the boats... so we conclude that A) Nichols dumped his co-conspirators' bodies into the water, but B) did not dump the Formosans' bodies, then C) retrieved all three stunned mermaids from the water, and D) was so determined to accomplish those tasks that he jumped in and out of the water multiple times in order to complete them. That's a radical departure from the helpless coward that Nichols had been just a few minutes prior. What motivated that extreme change in behavior? Why did he choose to keep the two dead Formosans on the lifeboats?
    • In the same part, we also heard him saying that he has treasures, so perhaps he's trying to buy his way back to the ship with some "exotic creatures"? He didn't know that the mermaids were simply knocked out and not dead yet.
    • Along the same line, he probably also dumped the bodies to make room for the mermaids, and the bodies of Formosan royalty would have been more valuable than the bodies of common crew members, so those were the ones he kept.
    • Another possibility is that he was planning to spin the situation to his advantage; something along the lines of 'the beasts killed the others, but I was able to rescue the bodies of the royals'. Only three other crewmembers are shown knowing Nichols' involvement - Dalton, Milroy and Linde - and if Nichols claimed that one of the others was the mastermind and he was also a hostage, who would the Captain believe first? He might have thought he'd be rewarded for his supposed actions, rescuing the passengers and capturing strange beasts to boot.
  • Throughout the investigation, the Inspector comes across dialog in Russian, Hindi, Chinese, Swedish, and Danish. We, the players, get to see those lines in their original language and their English translation. Is the Inspector fluent in all those languages, or is the Memento Mortem bestowing some sort of supernatural linguistic ability on its user?
    • It's ambiguous, but the inspector is clearly very learned based on the personal library in their study, and it's reasonable that the reason they would be sent for a job like this is because they're familiar with a variety of cultures in a way that would let them more accurately determine what happened.
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