Saturday, July 28, 2012

S.S. Waratah - Ghost Ship

On July 28, 1909, the SS Waratah disappeared after leaving Durban for Cape Town. There were 211 people on board, and no trace of the passengers, crew, or the ship has ever been discovered.

The Waratah was named for the emblem flower of New South Wales, Australia, and built to serve as a mixed cargo/passenger liner between England and Australia. Not nearly as large or impressive as the Titanic, it still boasted 100 first class cabins, eight state rooms and a salon whose panels depicted its namesake flower, as well as a luxurious 'music lounge' complete with a minstrel's gallery. The cargo area could be converted to carry over 600 steerage passengers.

Before leaving Durban, one passenger disembarked. An engineer and experienced sea traveler, Claude Sawyer, felt the ship was too top heavy.

There are always numerous ways to use a ghost ship in an RPG: The ever popular classic ghost ship encounter, to an even more supernatural, possibly Lovecraftian, situation. The 211 deaths could have been sacrifices to the old ones.

The ship might have been carrying a mystical treasure, possibly an Egyptian artifact?

A Time/Space hole may have swallowed the ship and sent it to the past, the future, another planet, or even into another dimension, say Gamma World, or a lake in the Underdark of D+D.

It could also have been an preliminary move in the years leading up to the Great War.

Thanks to Dr. Grumpy for the topic of today's post.

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