The Black Tide


The Black Tide is a carrack style ship that has become an urban legend in modern times. The stories tell of prince Heinrik Leonelis and his fall from grace. He was the eldest son of King Abraham Leonelis and as such, he was to take the throne upon his father's death. His cousin Kaiser had other plans though and wanted that power for himself. He challenged Heinrik to a duel, knowing his cousin was too proud to turn it down. He risked everything to put Kaiser in his place and instead, he lost the duel and his future as the king of Al-Nien.   Kaiser allowed him to keep his status as a royal, but only in title, effectively stripping any remaining power from Heinrik's hands. Any attempts to offer aid to help further his cousin's rule was ignored or laughed off, only adding to Heinrik's growing bitterness. Angered by his lack of power, he began a campaign to undermine Kaiser's efforts during the war between Al-Nien's military and a mysterious group of pirates from the sea.   Heinrik gathered a crew of men who still swore loyalty to the Leonelis bloodline and stole a navy ship. They set out onto the surrounding ocean, spending many months waging war against their own people to avenge Heinrik's honor. The crew of The Black Tide had pillaged and sunk many military vessels, allowing the pirates to gain the advantage. This led to several brutal raids on the mainland and when Kaiser learned that his failure was due to Heinrik's anger, he put together a special team of bounty hunters, soldiers, and tacticians to put an end to his cousin.   The Black Tide was cornered and ran aground on the Coast of Shipwrecks, which became its final resting place. The ensuing stand-off between its crew and the hunters Kaiser hired was brutal and bloody. It lasted several days as Heinrik and his men believed they could use the dangerous landscape to their advantage. Unfortunately for them, the territory was as unfamiliar to them as it was to the enemies. Heinrik was captured and brought back to his ship where he was decapitated. His body was then tied to one of the masts and the ship was set ablaze.   His crew had either perished from the elements or were executed by the bounty hunters as they pushed inland. None of the crew of The Black Tide survived and all of them were denied a proper burial. Their bodies, or what was left of them, were tossed to the sea and forgotten. Their spirits were bound to the bloodied coast like a curse and on the next full moon, The Black Tide had emerged from the waves, decrepit and waterlogged. At its helm was Heinrik Leonelis, a headless being of undeath with his crew reborn as brine zombies and skeletons.   Heinrik was a draug, a vengeful spirit that sailed the seas with a crew of ghostly wanderers who had suffered an awful end. Travelers have stories of being chased by an old, rusted ship in the dead of night, its inhabitants crying out for the blood of the living. While most people are skeptical of the existence of a ship of undeath, many are still wary to be caught by the Coast of Shipwrecks after sunset.


The ANN Black Tide was originally manufactured to serve as a military vessel for the Al-Nien Navy. It was a support ship, designated to carry supplies and maintenance equipment for the combat ships. There were three decks and six main rooms; the captain's quarters, the officers cabin, and a lounge on the top deck. The lower decks had two barracks for the crew and a kitchen. The kitchen has been repurposed into a brig, though the undead crew isn't keen on leaving prisoners alive for long. The lounge is now a trap, luring curious sailors in with the sounds of a soft piano accompanied by the haunting voice of a maiden lost at sea.

The purpose of the Black Tide as of present day is to imprison living creatures to feed the crew or capture mortals with the intention of forcing them to join Heinrik's legion of undead. The lower deck that once secured ammunition and rations for a trained military is now home to rotting meat and the bones of prisoners who thought they could hide and flee when the ship came ashore. Unfortunately for them, the Black Tide is cursed to remain at sea, its crew to never see landfall ever again.


The ship is propelled by the wind and ocean currents, controlled by a steering wheel and three, large masts to hold the tattered sails. On the night of a full moon, the ship is able to travel much more quickly when it remains within the reflection of the moonlight on the surface of the sea.

Weapons & Armament

It has twelve springals in banks of six on the starboard and port sides of the ship. These weapons are only able to fire from where they're positioned and cannot be swiveled to fire on targets that are towards the forward or aft sides. In addition to the springals, there's a pair of firedrake cannons on the top deck. These weapons are on wheels, allowing them to be swiveled and moved to target an enemy in any direction. The cannons are capable of firing an alchemist's concoctions, though the Black Tide uses them to fire plague bundles and bombs.   On the forecastle is a large catapult, though it seldom sees use. It's a last resort for the crew and in dire circumstances, they turn the tide of the battle by launching infected bodies or pieces of them onto the rival ship. While the effects of being around those corpses isn't immediate, the intimidation factor is, allowing the Black Tide to disappear beneath the waves once more.

Armor and defense

Made mainly of a hardwood that is strip-built with a layer of strip planking beneath the veneers for added protection. Over time, iron plates were added to the ship's exterior. This armor is haphazard at best, contributing to its weathered appearance. Iron plating arranged on the forward side of the hull is adorned with rusted spikes, giving the ship's ramming capabilities a better chance of causing serious damage to its targets.   The undead crew is always armed if they aren't tasked with manning the cannons or springals. It's not wise for anyone to step aboard the Black Tide as even the rats that call it home are rotting away and carry the plague. Once one is on the ship, they're unlikely to leave alive.
The Yxechtiao Ghost Ship
"Death to all that carry the air within their lungs."
35 ft
100 ft
Current: 180 ft per round
Muscle: 60 ft per round
Complement / Crew
20 (minimum, half speed)
45 (standard)
90 (capacity)
Cargo & Passenger Capacity
60 passengers
150 tons
by Frankie V. (Inkarnate)
(Upper Deck and Upper Cabins)
by Frankie V. (Inkarnate)
(Crew Deck and Lower Deck)

Cover image: by Kal V, derivative work created with the Canva Content License


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21 Sep, 2021 17:08

While it is implied in a game such as pathfinder that speed is in feet per round it may be good to put a unit of time on the speed in the article (even if it is just adding /round). Other than that awesome ghost ship, i hope it sees much use in campaigns to come.

As always, it would be appreciated if you would stop by my challenge article The Storm Giant Empire and leave some feedback.   If you are looking for things to read from summer camp there is also my Summer Camp 2022 Reading Challenge.. Happy worldbuilding.
Frankie Valentine
22 Sep, 2021 02:19

Thank you! I don't know a whole lot about ships, so I've been learning as I go.