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The Ghost Ship

A ship washes ashore and runs aground without a single person onboard. Can you find the lost crew?

The Situation

Shortly after a lunch, a ship drifts into Farfaria harbor. Despite repeated signals from the harbormaster, it doesn’t slow down, but heads straight towards the beach next to the docks.

As people scramble out of the way, the ship runs aground. An eerie silence falls over the docks.

Inspecting the ship, the harbormaster finds food still on plates, and cabins filled with the crew’s possessions. But there’s not a single person to be found on the vessel.

He does find one clue, though: a map in the captain’s cabin that points to a remote island in the Ocean of Lost Sailors.

The harbormaster has called you to the docks and asked you get the bottom of this mystery. Can you find the lost crew, or at least figure out what happened to them?

Download Maps

Locations, Events & Monsters

The Ship. An old-school wooden ship. Below deck is a kitchen and crews quarters. Below that is the hold. There’s nothing in it to indicate that this is a transport vessel. However, they do find a map indicating where the crew may have gone.
  • Events
    • A storm shows up expectedly
    • A rogue wave flips the ship, trapping the adventurers in the ship upside down
    • Sharks, piranha, and/or a kraken attack
  • Monsters
    • Shark

      7 AD · 10 HP

      Swims. If attack hits, succeed on Strength roll or grappled. Grappled players cannot move unless they pass a Strength check, and suffer 2 AD (slashing) each turn.

    • Piranha

      2 AD · 3 HP

      Attack in swarms. If player is injured, add +2 damage.

    • Kraken

      12 AD · 18 HP

      Swims. If attack hits, succeed on Strength roll or grappled. Grappled players cannot move unless they pass a Strength check, and suffer 2 AD (bludgeoning) each turn.

Turtle Back Island. An island not marked on the map. If the adventurers decide to stop there, they don’t find any animals on the island, but do find an assortment of trees and other plants. They also see evidence that people have been there before.

As the name suggests, the island is actually the back of an ancient, sleeping turtle, though the adventurers won't know that at first.

  • Events
    • Rumbling earthquakes shake the island
    • The island begins to sink as the turtle awakens and returns to the depths
The Lost Isle. This could be a tropical island (with palm trees) or a more temperate one (with pines, oaks, and maples). It’s large enough that it would take an hour or two to explore the whole thing.
  • Locations
    • Shipwreck Cove. The main cove of the island, it’s protected by rocks or a reef. The masts of several ships can be seen sticking up out of the water. A rocky outcropping protrudes along the edge of the water, and appears to have a cave or some tunnels. It’s to high too reach from the water.
    • Quicksand Beach. A beach with unmarked quicksand pits. Adventurers will find animal bones, and evidence that someone lives or has lived there.
    • The Grasslands. Tall island grasses cover this section of the island. The area is bordered by the open ocean on one side, and a forest on the other. Mysterious creatures live inside, hidden in the grass.
    • The Forgotten Forest. Any trails leading into the forest narrow quickly, and eventually disappear all together. There are lots of strange noises. Tall trees blot out the sun.
    • Mount Wanahakaloogi. A mountain or volcano at the center of the island, it’s the tallest visible landmark.
    • The Big Lake. Sits at the base of Mount Wanahakaloogi. The bottom is not visible from the surface. It’s unclear how deep it is or what lives within its depths.
    • The Tunnels. These natural tunnels appear to be formed by water erosion or old lava flows (see next location).
  • Events
    • The adventurers get stuck in a trap
    • Gear starts disappearing from their packs
    • They keep passing the same landmarks, as if lost and walking in circles
  • Monsters
    • Coconut/Pinecone Monster

      1 AD · 3 HP · 1 Armor

      Preferring to attack from afar, they resemble coconuts or pinecones (depending on location) and have a natural armor. Vulnerable: Fire.

    • Carnivorous Plant

      2 AD · 3 HP

      Cannot move. Look like normal plants until they attack. Vulnerable: Slashing

The Tunnels of the Lost Isles These natural tunnels appear to be formed by water erosion or old lava flows.

The tunnels are home to exotic creatures, and a weird, bioluminescent algae or mushrooms (it glows) that create a beautiful blue/green light. They’re winding and asymmetrical. Some tunnels loop back on each other, while others are dead ends. At least one has a slide-like drop that brings players dozens of feet lower into the tunnel system.

  • Events
    • A trapdoor drops them into a slide down to a deeper level
    • A mutant slime that attacks the players and tries to envelop them
    • A tunnel troll attacks and tries to eat them or steal their coins
    • An obstacle like a steep drop or water-filled section of tunnel
  • Monsters
    • Slime/Ooze

      3 AD · 13 HP

      Acidic residue does 1 AD (acid) every turn if it gets on a player's skin. Immune: Acid.

    • Troll

      6 AD · 13 HP

      Great sense of smell. Heals quickly.

    • Spider (Giant)

      4 AD · 8-10 HP

      Can climb walls. Can attack with webs. Can see in the dark.

    • Ship Crew (NPC)

Game Master Tips

  • One fun element you can use to add more mystery to this adventure is a recurring symbol that shows up at every new stop. It may show up on the cover of the captain’s log on the ship, then again on an item found on Turtle Back Island, then again still on a tent the Lost Isle. Perhaps it’s carved into the walls in the tunnels as well.
  • When I run this adventure, I like to have a storm crash the ship onto the Lost Isle, destroying it. In the tunnels, players find an old wooden submarine that they use to escape the island with the sailors (if they find and rescue them).