This is how we keep "Pirate Legends" alive

(c) Soulcalibur 6 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Ghost pirates in video games:

The history of piracy dates back to about 14th century B.C.E., as boat-borne attacks were taking place in the time of Rib-Hadda (King of Byblos), and author of at least sixty letters to other nations of the era.

In the modern world, it's easy to associate the term "piracy" with illegal distribution of copyright material through the internet. For example, playing illegal copies of popular video games such as Star Fox. However, acts of physical and ocean-based piracy continue to take place in the twenty-first century.

With respect to notable pirates, of course there are names such as Blackbeard, and Captain William Kidd. Aside from those two, there's also the legend of the phantom ship the Flying Dutchman. Although that's not necessarily what I want to discuss today, that particular article will come in time.

Credit: Heritage Images/ Getty Images. William Kidd (c. 1654–May 23, 1701) was a Scottish ship’s captain, privateer, and pirate. He started out on a voyage in 1696 as a pirate hunter and privateer, but he soon switched sides and had a brief but moderately successful career as a pirate. After he turned pirate, his wealthy backers back in England abandoned him. He was later convicted and hanged in England after a sensational trial. (

In today's blog post, I'm going to discuss the issue of ghost pirates featured in video games. I must confess, I have promoted an article based on real-world legends of ghost pirates in recent weeks- but it's just not ready. In the mean time, I have a large amount of content planned going forward.

Here's what inspired me to follow this path:

Growing up I loved reading books (I still do), and found myself fascinated by television shows with aspects of reality. For instance, when I was in grade six (2007-2008), my friends and I watched the Discovery and History channels almost everyday. There's nothing more rewarding than educational programs, or reading a book. Much like this television advertisement states, the world is just awesome.

(c) Discovery Canada

Once a week our class would have a session at our school library. Admittedly, this was the best thing about elementary school. We learned so much, whether it was about dinosaurs, tragedy, or even reading the Bone comic book series from Jeff Smith- nothing could compare to this learning process. Interestingly, I was captivated by folklore before I even knew what folklore was.

So, why have I been obsessed with ghosts since 2008? Well, I was a big fan of the Canadian television series Ghost Trackers, which aired from 2005 to 2008. This show was hosted by Cape Breton native Joe Macleod, and featured reality competition aspects while the host shared vernacular legends with the audience.

(c) Discovery Canada

Ghosts in video games:

There's a reason I'm not the only person producing content for #themodernistson, as I could talk all day. So, let's get to the point of today's blog post. Stories of ghost pirates and privateers (those under contract with government; often the British) have existed for centuries.

Considering the stories of pirates have always been popular (think of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, published in 1883), it's not surprising that piracy and the supernatural have made appearances in popular video games. In order for legends to stay relevant in a modern society, they need this type of exposure through popular mediums such as video games.

All aboard, let's head to Bloodstone:

(c) Fable 2 (2008)

What's that?

You just escaped the Shattered Spire after being a pawn in Lord Lucian's plan for domination, of course.

Yes, I'm referring to the always beautiful, vacation resort of Bloodstone (Fable 2). This Albion town is permanently covered by darkness, and here-anything goes. Prostitution has the highest rate in all of Albion, and you might have the pleasure of being murdered in the street.

(c) Fable 2

Fable 2 players are immediately informed of a "pirate ghost" as they reach Bloodstone, as this becomes an important factor for progressing in the game. Here's what players learn about Captain Dread, and he sounds like a fun guy:

"Captain Dread was the most feared and most vicious pirate in Albion around one hundred or two hundred years prior to Fable 2. He operated from his feared flag vessel the Marianne."(Fable Fandom).

On a side note, it's quite possible the name "Marianne" is a reference to Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge. However, Lionshead have not confirmed this to be true.

Credit: Joel / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Flickr. The Queen Anne's Revenge was a massive pirate ship commanded by Edward "Blackbeard" Teach in 1717-18. Originally a French slaving vessel that Blackbeard captured and modified, it was one of the most formidable pirate ships ever, carrying 40 cannons and enough room for plenty of men and loot. The Queen Anne's Revenge was capable of fighting off nearly any Navy warship afloat at the time. It sank in 1718, and many believe that Blackbeard scuttled it on purpose. The wreck has been found and has turned up a treasure trove of pirate artifacts. (

So, Captain Dread's story becomes pretty interesting. He was once a man of anger and violence, but left his emotions behind him when he met the love of his life. Following his marriage to this unnamed woman, the man became a healer to all and truly changed his lifestyle.

However, this new-found lifestyle didn't last long. While the man was away from his home healing a nearby village, the crew led by the original Captain Dread robbed his home of its valuable items, and killed his wife in the process. As a result, the man tracks the pirate crew and kills Captain Dread- taking the title for himself.

For anyone that reads my work or even knows me personally, they know I love the Fable video game franchise. In Fable 2, players are introduced to Reaver and he is a complicated man to say the least. By the time of Fable 2, Reaver has aligned himself with good. However, this changes by the time of Fable 3 (fifty years later).

(c) Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (2020). I started playing this game recently, and it's a lot like Fable.

Reaver is the mayor of Bloodstone, despite their being no existing laws in the town. Ultimately, Reaver kills Captain Dread by outsmarting him. Reaver shoots a lantern next to where Dread is standing, causing the Pirate King to burn to death.

In terms of Fable 2, the player has not yet encountered Reaver when they are informed of Captain Dread's ghost. With respect to the issue of story-telling, an older man (and former pirate) named Salty Jack begs the Hero of Bowerstone to locate and defeat the ghost of Captain Dread. In order to do this, the ultimate goal is to convince the people of Bloodstone Jack is not sharing this story as a means of gaining attention from other residents of the town.

Not surprisingly, Jack's story turns out to be true. Following the acceptance of this side-quest, the player must enter the cave system known as The Sinkhole, and will soon be challenged by the ghost of Captain Dread. Although this is a relatively easy boss battle, it's important not to dismiss the homage to existing pirate legends. Following Dread's defeat, the player will travel to Lion's Head Isle and collect their treasure.

(c) Family Guy (1999-)

What are your thoughts?

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Thank you and stay safe,


The Modernist Son, 2020-

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