Fantastical Islands from a Roman Novel

Lucian of Samosata was a second-century author writing in Roman Turkey. His best-known work is A True History, a satire of ancient historians who breathlessly repeated whatever half-baked tall tales they’d been told about foreign lands. Much as it pains me to see my beloved Herodotus so ill-treated, A True History is both funny and […]

The Wreck of the Convict Ship ‘George III’

In 1835, the British convict ship George III struck an unmapped rock off Tasmania and sank. 134 people died, most of them prisoners being transported to Tasmania to serve their sentences at hard labor. The story has some interesting wrinkles that make this a very gameable template for a sea voyage at your table, and […]

Patrocles’ Caspian Exploration Fraud

The Hellenistic Greek geographer, government official, and military officer Patrocles conducted two voyages of exploration in the Caspian Sea. His account of what he saw had a major influence on European geographers into the Middle Ages. The only problem is that most of the important stuff he reported was flat-out wrong. How he got to […]

The Pirate Mutiny that Made the ‘Fancy’

In 1694, a mutiny occurred aboard a British ship moored in a Spanish harbor. A group of sailors, led by the first mate, overpowered the captain and those loyal to him. The mutineers set their enemies adrift and, with the rest of the crew apparently behind them, set off to become pirates! Their ship, rechristened […]

Shanty Hunters: Sailors

Shanty Hunters, my upcoming RPG about collecting magical sea shanties in 1880, goes live on Kickstarter on November 2nd. This week on the blog, I’d like to offer a sneak peek: an excerpt about who sailors are as people and another historical shanty from the shanty songbook. Last month, we peeked at an excerpt about […]

Shanty Hunters: The Sea

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Introduction to Shanty Hunters

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The South Sea Scam Colony

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The Bizarre Court-Martial of Francesco Caracciolo

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Ching Shih

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Liberating the Edward A. Horton and Blog News!

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The Alecton Encounter

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Bob Bartlett

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PCs on the Battlefield- Caesar’s Wars (Part 3)

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The Secret Basque Fishing Grounds

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