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A list of ghost pirate ships in RPGs

The adventure genre should probably get the award for best ghost pirate of all time (Monkey Island's LeChuck), but the award for most prolific use of both ghosts and pirates in a genre has to go to RPGs. RPGs were overdoing the pirate thing well before pirates were overdone as a general fad. And any RPG fan knows that it's not a real quest until you've encountered a ghost ship as either a dungeon or a boss. Naturally, these two mainstays overlap from time to time.

To be considered for this illustrious list, each RPG must have:

1) actual ghosts of pirates who reside on a ship which itself may be a ghostly apparition (but not necessarily), or
2) a seafaring vessel that at one point was used by pirates but is now haunted in some fashion, or
3) a seafaring vessel that is currently being used or at the very least being occupied by pirates that is concurrently haunted by ghosts which may or may not be related to the pirates, or
4) an apparitional ship on which earthly pirates reside
5) a ghost ship disguised as a pirate ship or vice versa

To find such ships, one must only go where the fog is, and enter with an open heart.


Chrono Cross


This one starts off looking like a straight run-of-the-mill ghost ship, but turns our world upside with a surprising twist – it's actually a pirate ship.


Above: "Meh, I've seen spookier"

What's great is that it almost seems like the characters know about the "RPGs must always have a ghost ship" mandate, so they act totally nonchalant when they approach the ship thinking it's a ghost ship, and they assume so thoroughly that it's a standard ghost ship that they're all totally blindsided when the pirates reveal themselves.


Above: Ghosts don't say "matey," do they? Something is amiss…


Above: What what whaaaat?

So, these regular pirates have been disguising themselves as a ghost ship to hide out from bad guy Lynx, which maybe is not the best idea considering how easy it seems to be to stumble upon ghost ships in this genre. So, good luck with that, guys.


Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars




Ghost pirate ships generally fall into two categories: cursed or sunken (rarely both, as scientifically speaking the curse is what keeps the ship afloat past its earthly expiration). In Super Mario RPG, Johnny Jones's sunken pirate ship was taken down by a giant squid and seems like the perfect setting for ghost pirates (or is that pirate ghosts?).


Above: Anthropomorphic sharks really do make the best pirates

Greapers are definitely ghostly, but rightly you might be asking yourself if Dry Bones actually counts as a ghost. He's undead to be sure, but we can probably all agree that true ghosts must be incorporeal (except if they like, try hard enough, love someone enough, and/or own a pottery wheel).



Well, the Pure Water item which is used to kill ghosts in the game works on Dry Bones, therefore Dry Bones is a ghost in the world of Super Mario RPG which is all that matters. Case closed.


Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure




Although short for an RPG (you can beat it in 12 hours), Rhapsody still manages to squeeze a more than respectable ghost pirate ship into the narrative. You begin by boarding a regular pirate ship, a newly crafted vessel created in the likeness of a previous ship which sank in a storm.


Above: Best not to question it

Sadly, many crewmates were lost in the catastrophe, including the beloved Libinsky whose special lady was waiting for him back home. All the crew suspect Libinsky's best friend Tarkoff of letting him drown when he could have rescued him, so Libinsky returns as a ghost to set the record straight and clear his friend's name.


Above: In a recent survey of ghosts, "unfinished business" was the #1 answer for why they've returned

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38 comments

  • DizzyDial - June 11, 2010 11:53 p.m.

    @c0n3n3nj0 Yes, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door had an awesome ghost ship, but had even better levels with the arena and the who-done-it mystery.
  • noofer7 - June 11, 2010 7:56 p.m.

    I can't believe you didn't include the sunken ship from Okami! Sure, it doesn't exactly fit the criteria - Okami isn't technically an RPG and the ship wasn't a pirate ship - but it's close enough that I would have though the fact that it's from Okami would be enough for GR to talk about it.
  • HailCaeser - June 11, 2010 7:55 p.m.

    What about the Mary Anne from Fable II?
  • EnragedTortoise1 - June 11, 2010 6:42 p.m.

    Paper Mario TTYd has one. remember cortez?
  • Neuromancer - June 11, 2010 4:59 p.m.

    What about Monkey Island??? How could anyone forget about Ghost pirate LeChuck.
  • Cleanser247 - June 11, 2010 3:29 a.m.

    @Billiam101 Ah, yes... I can't believe I forgot that quest! It was called "The Forlorn Watchman", and a great quest too! Are you excited for The Elder Scrolls 5? I absolutely can't wait until they announce it!
  • soren7550 - June 11, 2010 2:07 a.m.

    The only ones that I'm really aware of are 1.) The Mary-Ann (I believe it was called) in Fable 2 and 2.) The S.S. Aqua (I think it was called) in Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, but I can't remember if it there was any ghost or any pirates there.
  • TheSilentPenguin - June 10, 2010 4:59 p.m.

    OMG gamesradar! how could you forget the Ghost Ship in The Legend of Zela: Wind Waker? You need it to get a piece of the Triforce, and its always somewhere different :)
  • metroid2099400 - June 10, 2010 4 p.m.

    Evil_AppleJuice is right, Okami had an awesome ghost ship. Also, I think we're forgetting a ghost ship so important that it doesn't matter that the game wasn't technically an RPG: The Ghost Pirate LeChuck's Ghost ship from The Secret of Monkey Island!
  • crazychase - June 10, 2010 2:39 p.m.

    @ garnsr yes it did, that was exactly what came to mind when i read the title of the article
  • Metroidhunter32 - June 10, 2010 2:04 p.m.

    Okami. It's ghost ship, there's priceless treasure on it. And, more importantly, It's from Okami, and no article is complete without Okami.
  • DontEatRawHagis - June 10, 2010 1:17 p.m.

    Dragon Warrior 3 has a ghost pirate ship, at least I think its run by pirates. It takes forever to try and find it so it has to be run by pirates.
  • philipshaw - June 10, 2010 11:53 a.m.

    This was a niche but brilliant article, it's what GR does best. It reminded me of top 7 RPG towns that explode
  • PrierAdmirer - June 10, 2010 10:56 a.m.

    What? No Final Fantasy V? That totally should count, although it was more of a Ship Graveyard than an actual ghost ship. It did had skeleton pirates...
  • industriedude - June 10, 2010 7:57 a.m.

    you missed the ghost ship on fable II
  • Cwf2008 - June 10, 2010 7 a.m.

    What about that quest in Oblivion where you investigate a haunted pirate ship in Anvil?
  • jmcgrotty - June 10, 2010 6:44 a.m.

    Wild Arms works on the PS3, yes. Coincidentally I have been playing it the past week. Sadly, that is the only game from this whole article I have ever played. I feel so deprived of the finer things in life.
  • Moondoggie1157 - June 10, 2010 6:27 a.m.

    Ghost ship in Legend of Dragoon takes the cake, hands down, no argument.
  • DarkPaladin - June 10, 2010 5:17 a.m.

    Seiken Densetsu III (what would have been Secret of Mana II had it been released here) had a pirate ship as well if I recall.
  • c03n3nj0 - June 10, 2010 3:45 a.m.

    Okay, I remember fighting a ghost pirate skeleton in Paper Mario: TTYD That should be up there!

Showing 1-20 of 38 comments

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