Of the Seas, the Stars and the Weird


The Lightless Beacon

This review is part of my list of Maritime TTRPG scenarios. This overview is meant to help players to select the adventures they want to play. It’s spoiler-free up the section for gamemasters. Please keep the comments spoiler-free as well!

April 12th, 1926, 8:15pm. The Beacon Island lighthouse off the shore of Folly Point, Massachusetts, ceased to cast its light over the region’s dangerous rocky waters about 15 minutes ago. As a result, the SS Essex County, a mixed passenger and cargo vessel on which you are all traveling to Rockport, has foundered on the rocks and incurred considerable damage to its hull.
The ship is sinking, and the crew hurries you toward one of the many small rowboats acting as the ship’s lifeboats. As they load you in, they tell you your best bet is to aim for Beacon Island—they doubt you’ll make the mainland as a storm is brewing. You should have just enough time to reach the island before it hits.
Then, without another word, they shove you off into the dark, churning waters. All you have to guide you is the small light shining at the base of the lighthouse’s towering silhouette.

The LightLess Beacon, page 9

Quick Stats

  • System/Ruleset: Call of Cthulhu, 7th Edition
  • Dependencies: Basic Rules only (several options)
  • Authors: Leigh Carr with Lynne Hardy
  • Setting: 1920s, New England, USA
  • Theme: Lighthouse, Smuggling, Mythos
  • Pregens: four, gender-neutral & nameless
  • Players: 2-4 (5+ optional), best with 4
  • Time (as written/as tested): 60/300 mins
  • Source: The Lightless Beacon (Free PDF)
  • Weird Admiral’s Rating: 7/7
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The Forbidden Seas

Ahoy, laddies! This weekend I had a great idea for a TTRPG campaign that basically explores the question: “What if the high seas of your fictional fantasy world were (suddenly) off limits for everyone?” What if the use of the seas were forbidden? No gathering of natural resources, no travel and no trade allowed?

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Ships as Dungeons?

7 things to think about

Ahoy, laddies! I hear some of you like to play these kinds of games where you send people you imagine into castles, caves and other kinds of areas that are full of deadly monsters, traps and treasures – table-top roleplaying games they are called, I think, or sometimes just pen-and-paper. Well, that’s all fine and all. Only when I see ships used in these kinds of scenarios, I am a bit worried, because I am not convinced most of the players actually realize the limitations and possibilities of ships – and especially those from the Age of Sail and earlier.

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