The Sword Coast is famed for brutal battles between rival navies, pirates and merchants, sailors and the monsters of the deeps seeking to drag them down - and dragons pouncing from the skies, seeking to smash or slay. Such strife never ceases.
Over the centuries, thousands of vessels have been lost at sea and not all of them lie quietly beneath the waves. Wherever sailors in taverns talk of the sea, they mention Those Who Sail Forever, then duck their heads and make warding circles with their thumbs to keep the undead from hearing and coming for them.
While some pirates and slavers use the cloaks of night, fog and bobbing skull masks to pose as "ghost ships", true ghost ships sail the waters off Faerûn. Spells on the hull or tainted and corrupted magical energies used on the cargo keep some such afloat. They sail empty, or with skeletons or zombies as crew. They may ride the waves with or without sails rigged or wallow along waterlogged, with decks awash yet refusing to sink. Others are true phantoms: wraithlike clouds that are the images of their former selves.
It is said that the evil sea deity Umberlee uses ghost ships to bring long-drowned magic items back into the hands of those who will take them ashore, or bear treasure tales into port to draw the greedy out into her clutches.
Famous ghost ships include Red Prow of Calimport, a slave ship that sank under the weight of the gold and gems it carried. It now houses wraiths and "weirder things" that ride folk like steeds. Perhaps most feared is Ravager of the pirate Gonchklas, a wallowing wreck of a caravel with tattered sails and a zombie and skeleton crew who storm and board every vessel they encounter.