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RA2 Ship of Horror (2e)
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RA2 Ship of Horror (2e)

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Horrible hauntings, cruel curses, dark secrets...this is no pleasure cruise!

The mists of Ravenloft know no boundaries and observe no rules. One way or another, they always get what they want - this time with some help from a cursed captain and his ship. Player characters boarding an innocent-looking ship will soon find themselves aboard a haunted vessel, destined for an island inhabited by a new form of undead creatures. But that's not the end of the horror - an evil necromancer lies at the root of the evil on the island. The battle isn't over until he's been defeated!

Ship of Horror is an adventure set in Ravenloft with two beginnings: one for PCs already in Ravenloft, and one for DMs looking for a way to push his PCs into Ravenloft from other worlds. The adventure includes three new monsters, new spells, and several handouts ready for distribution to players.

Ship of Horror is an adventure for four to six players of levels 8-10 looking for grisly chills and thrills!

Product History

RA2: "Ship of Horror" (1991), by Anne Brown, is the second of the "RA" Ravenloft Adventures. It was published in February 1991.

Continuing the Ravenloft Adventures. About eight months after the release of Ravenloft: Realm of Terror (1990), in February 1991, the second supplement appeared for the line: another adventure, "Ship of Horror" (1991). Like RA1: "Feast of Goblyns" (1990) before it, "Ship of Horror" helped to lay the foundation for what roleplaying in Ravenloft was all about.

Plotting Along. "Ship of Horror" was also the second book in the six-part Grand Conjunction campaign. Sort of. The idea behind the campaign didn't appear in print until RA3: "Touch of Death" (1991), which brought the previous two publications into the metaplot by making actions that occurred in them part of a prophecy. The section of that vision related to "Ship of Horror" says:

The lifeless child of stern mother found
heralds a time, a night of evil unbound,

"Touch of Death" claims that these lines relate to the ghost child "Charlotte Stern" and her mother. Unfortunately the ghost child in "Ship of Horror" is actually named "Charlotte Reisland". The confusion arises from a "Madeline Stern" also being in the story. To make the prophecy work, a GM will need to either rename Charlotte to Stern or else invent a relationship with Charlotte and Madeline despite their different names.

Adventuring Tropes. Like "Feast of Goblyns", "Ship of Horror" could also act as an introduction to Ravenloft. And, it's a very nice one: the players being tricked onto a ship that ferries them to Ravenloft is an integral part of the plot.

The rest of the scenario does a good job of introducing what sort of adventures might be appropriate in Ravenloft — something that was very important for these first few Ravenloft adventures. It starts out as a simple macguffin quest, but with a dark twist: the purpose of the quest is to break the curse laid upon a dead man. Then, the nature of the quest becomes even more twisted when the players make some horrific discoveries about certain bodies aboard their ship. This adventure keeps traditional D&D tropes — such as hunting for stuff and killing evil-doers — but that's all nicely subverted by the darker themes of Ravenloft.

Expanding Ravenloft. "Ship of Horror" offered the first extensive look at the Sea of Sorrows, including Graben Island and Todstein island. Together these lands form the domain of Nebligtode, ruled over by the necromancer Meredoth. It was a new domain that hadn't been detailed in Realm of Terror.

Following this adventure, the domain of Nebligtode was never heard from again — at least not by that name. Meredoth and his islands nonetheless appear in Domains of Dread (1997). However, by that time Graben and Todstein have moved to the Nocturnal Sea, a new part of Ravenloft that was introduced after the Grand Conjunction.

Monsters of Note. Having focused on vampires and werewolves in past adventures, Ravenloft now presented a new sort of horrific adversary: a necromancer (and his undead minions).

NPCs of Note. Upon his return in Domains of Dread, Meredoth would be revealed as an expatriate of the Mystaran country of Alphatia, creating the first major connection between Ravenloft and D&D's Known World. By that time, Mystara was making the transition from Basic D&D to AD&D, which is probably why it was then linked to Ravneloft.

About the Creators. Brown was an editor at TSR who also dabbled in writing supplements. "Ship of Horror" was her first solo effort, following her coauthorship of the "Falcon" trilogy for Greyhawk (1990).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Reviews (1)
Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Rick S May 19, 2017 5:47 am UTC
The core villain of this 8-10 level module is a 20th level necromancer who as written should be able to readily destroy any 10th level party.

There's the built-in expectation that the party will attack an estate with a dozen buildings and hundreds of undead, yet none of that is detailed beyond instructions for the DM to create it. The expectation is the party will also loot the (completely non-existent) estate, which has no real treasure listed.

The nearby village includes a list of inhabitants, but no details of the village maps.

It has a great plot which on the surface looks ok, but to fully detail this module to be able to play it as written will entail a huge amount of work for any prospective DM.
Customer avatar
Andrew P January 22, 2016 7:44 pm UTC
I had the adventure from yeaaars ago. While it's atmospheric, it really needed more work. For example, part of the adventure takes place in manor. It's not a side-quest, it's part of the quest. And yet, there is no map and no information about it in the adventure. The DM is actually told in the adventure to make the manor and fill it with enemies by himself. Sure it wasn't too hard to do, but it was quite unprofessional. And it wasn't the only problem.


Does anyone know if this release fixed any problems or it's the exact same thing I have?
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Product Information
Silver seller
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Pages
70
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1.0
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TSR 9321
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