Ghost ships are a terror sailors whisper of on fog-bound nights when nothing can be seen. Always appearing out of a fog, a ghost ship appears as a battered hulk with torn and tattered sails, her crew nowhere to be seen. Some ghost ships, however, might appear but newly abandoned, or even completely normal save for a few small details only a sharp eye might catch. In fact the crew are all dead, and their restless spirits possess and animate the ship itself, filling it with their misery and anger. Deranged, these spirits want nothing but to have others join them in death.
A ghost ship may tempt sailors to board her, then kill them off by causing accidents – ropes suddenly loop into nooses, doors may close by themselves to lock characters into flooding bulkheads, etc. etc. Or the ship may simply inspire everyone with terror, and drive the PCs’ ship toward rocky shoals. A ghost warship may attempt to ram. A funeral rite successfully performed aboard the ghost ship will send its spirits onward to their rest, and end the haunting; but once this is done, the ghost ship will sink, possibly dragging down anyone left on board.
A ghost ship may also serve as a plot device, introducing a new quest or clue to the PCs – if they’re brave enough to investigate. Finding out the ship’s name, its history, and why it became a ghost ship could reward the player characters with useful information or items.