Friday, July 28, 2017

Weird Revisited: Nautical Fantasy Inspirations

The original version of this post appeared on July 15, 2011. Since then, there have been some fantasy stuff usuable with a nautical campaign--including an upcoming project from Richard Guy:

Taking a look at Driftwood Verses or planning a visit to Swordfish Island? This might help. What follows is pretty much off the top of my head and it sticks to nautical or sea- themed fantasy (so no Horatio Hornblower or Treasure Island here), but I figure it's a backbone to start with.

Classical Literature:
The Odyssey
One Thousand and One Nights. Particularly the Sinbad stories, of course.

Modern Literature:
Alan Cole and Chris Bunch. The Anteros series.
Leigh Brackett. The Sword of Rhiannon, “The Enchantress of Venus,” and “The Moon that Vanished.” These last two are on (or under) the strange gaseous seas of Venus, but I think that only adds to their exotic inspiration value.
Robert E. Howard. Conan stories: “Pool of the Black One,” “Queen of the Black Coast,” and “The Black Stranger.”
William Hope Hodgson. The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" and other nautical horror stories. "The Derelict" and "The Voice in the Night" are probably my favorites.
Ursula K. LeGuin. A Wizard of Earthsea.
Fritz Leiber. From the tales of Fafhrd and Gray Mouser: “Their Mistress, the Sea,” “When the Sea-King’s Away,” “Trapped in the Sea of Stars,” and “The Frost Mostreme.”
C.S. Lewis. The Voyage of the Dawn-Treader.
Abraham Merritt. The Ship of Ishtar.
China Mieville. The Scar.
Tim Powers. On Stranger Tides.
Cherie Priest. Fathom.
Karl Edward Wagner. “In the Wake of Night.” Okay, only a fragment of this exists, but the idea of the story is great.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). The original novel might be inspirational, too, but its this films visuals that really capture the imagination.
Jason and the Argonauts (1963).
King Kong (the 1933 and 2005).
The Lost Continent (1968).
Pirates of the Caribbean series.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977).

Pirates of Dark Water (1991).
One Piece. Which is also a manga.


SF said...

Red Seas Under Red Skies, Scott Lynch.

Gotta say that, while it's not fantasy, Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin series was hugely influential on my RPGing in the early 2000s. At one point there my two major on-going PCs were inspired on Aubrey (Amber campaign, one-eyed ship captain with a sideline in "Celtic voodoo") and Maturin (Star Wars campaign, 3m tall fox-like humanoid Force User/Jedi with a major focus on healing). Both very very fun to play.

Tim Knight said...

Your timing with this post couldn't have been more fortuitous!

Brett Slocum said...

I need to watch me some Sinbad and Caroline Munro. Luckily a bought the entire Harryhausen line of fantasy films last year.

trollsmyth said...

Brett Slocum: You'll get some bonus Tom "Dr. Who" Baker in there as well.