Bone ship

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Bone ship

Source: Bestiary 3, pg(s). 34–35

Bone ships are the cursed undead created by mass death at sea, or, occasionally, occurring from draugr ships that have sown enough death and destruction to grow more powerful.1


Bone ships are vast, multi-masted sailing ships created of the bones of dead sea creatures and sailors alike. Most are at least 100 feet long and rise at least two stories above the waterline. Whale bones, due to their vast size and strength, often serve as the core structural elements, while bones of dead sailors and smaller sea creatures form the other structures and decorations of a ship. Muscles and tendons serve as the ropes and other moving portions of the ship. Draugr-born bone ships often have a patchwork, asymmetrical design due to the incremental nature of their construction.1


Bone ships, being collective entities of the drowned sailors or draugr that originally created them, have a sort of hive mind that protects them from assaults that may work against other intelligent undead. The bone ship can animate the bodies of its component entities as sort of puppets that can attack its prey or defend it from attacks.1 The horrifying wail of its dead crew is often enough to kill a sailor by itself. Bone ships are also able to trap other souls within them, provided that the individual drowned or was killed by the bone ship itself, adding them to the cursed crew.2

Bone ships additionally possess all the normal functions of a large warship, being able to ram their foes, shoot bone shrapnel from their cannons, and overrun smaller vessels.2


While not every disaster at sea produces a bone ship, doomed sailors who invoke the names of certain dark gods can call the attention of these entities to the catastrophe, giving the deity the opportunity to raise the fallen crew as a bone ship. Some deities keep watch for such events in order to stretch their power to the seas of the Material Plane.1

Evil deities will often make use of bone ships on planar seas as well. Charon's forces crew many bone ships that ply their dark trade up and down the River Styx or move his chosen between planes. Urgathoa, patron of the undead, will occasionally send her favored out into the world on bone ships. Kelizandri, elemental lord of water, holding sway over the drowned as he does, also maintains a fleet of the creatures so that the souls may experience the moment of their drowning for all eternity.1

Sufficiently powerful undead, or even normal mortals who are skillful enough to defeat a bone ship without destroying it, can commandeer the ship and sail it to their own purposes.1


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 3, 34. Paizo Inc., 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 3, 35. Paizo Inc., 2021