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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

  • Turbobison - June 9, 2010 11:01 p.m.

    Not my favorite, but the dumb ghost pirates in Legend of the Dragoon. It was very frustrating, and the reason why I haven't played it again. FUCK THAT GAME!
  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - June 9, 2010 11:04 p.m.

    Ratchet & Clank had robot ghost pirates in their minigame for 3. That's what happen when you add random cool words together.
  • Cleanser247 - June 9, 2010 11:39 p.m.

    The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion has a ghost pirate ship in. The quest requires you to clear the ship of the crew members spirits, and retrieve a crystal ball for the only survivor. Anyways, good feature Carolyn!
  • Evil_AppleJuice - June 9, 2010 11:52 p.m.

    Im shocked and appalled that the ghost ship in Okami was not on this list, considering this is GR. Sure there are no pirates, but it was an awesome boss! And technically Okami is not an RPG, but it has many elements of an RPG like upgrading, items, NPCs, individual sets of fights, etc... and its Okami!!!
  • GameManiac - June 10, 2010 12:02 a.m.

    Super Mario RPG has ghost pirate ships? Talk about an uncalled spoiler alert. I figured as much that KHII's Pirates of the Carribean world would be mentioned here, as well as Both Zelda games for the DS (even though I haven't played them...yet).
  • GameManiac - June 10, 2010 12:04 a.m.

    Hey wait! What about the first Golden Sun? That had a ghostly pirate ship.
  • Billiam101 - June 10, 2010 12:09 a.m.

    Where is Fable II's ghost ship! In one quest you have to defeat Captain Dread on his ghost ship.
  • Billiam101 - June 10, 2010 12:13 a.m.

    @Cleanser247 There is also a quest in Oblivion where you go on a broken ghost ship and uncuff a skeleton after fighting the pirate's spirits.
  • Conman93 - June 10, 2010 12:35 a.m.

    @Evil Applejuice. Holy crap. How did gr miss that. Loved the kh2 one. Its great that they even got the music from the movie in it. Hopefully you'll fight the kracken in KH3! Btw, how is Zelda an rpg??
  • kafaninipa - June 10, 2010 12:45 a.m.

    what about the one from fable 2?
  • Cyberninja - June 10, 2010 12:52 a.m.

    wild arms i wonder if i will work on my ps3 i guess i find out in a little bit
  • spectrooper - June 10, 2010 1:30 a.m.

    You forgot the Ghost ship from paper mario.
  • Doctalen - June 10, 2010 1:48 a.m.

    Hey what about Golden Sun? Not only was that a kick ass game but it had a pretty bamf ghost pirate ship. Not only was it a bitch to get to, it's boss dropped the second best armor in the game.
  • bradmillow0 - June 10, 2010 1:50 a.m.

    What about Fable II and Captain Dread's ship. Also Oblivion did too!
  • drunkenfish - June 10, 2010 2:02 a.m.

    DRAGON QUEST 8 CMON!!!!!! my veins are popping out!!!
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 10, 2010 3:02 a.m.

    The captions absolutely killed me. Keep it coming, Carolyn! Also, get on the podcast. It's not as dirty or terrible as you may believe.
  • garnsr - June 10, 2010 3:12 a.m.

    Didn't Rogue Galaxy have a bonus ghost ship after you beat it?
  • evileye - June 10, 2010 3:36 a.m.

    Does Final Fantasy V count?
  • 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!
  • 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.

Showing 1-20 of 38 comments

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