The Barclay disappeared in 1847 while whaling in the South Pacific. No official conclusion has ever been reached regards the vessel’s ultimate fate. It is widely thought, however, to have been lost with all hands sometime in the summer of that year.
Corroborating that assumption, the unsigned, fragmentary diary account of an alleged survivor of the Barclay surfaced some decades later. The papers were among those seized by federal agents raiding shadow-cloaked Innsmouth almost a century later in 1928.
The account speaks of four days of unspeakable horror aboard the Barclay during which several of the crew went mad and at least three singular and troublesome murders took place. The diary speaks of mutiny, fighting among the crew and several of the men being clapped in irons. The account—this part written in a curiously feeble, almost hesitant hand—culminates in the sinking of the Barclay when it hit a partially submerged reef. These entries seem strangely reticent in describing the reef or noting its location.
The writings end with the three survivors—Valentine Thomas, Herman Sheppard and Joseph Wright—being picked up by Obed Marsh’s Columbia after several days drifting in a whaling boat pressed into service as lifeboat. If this part of the account is true, it explains how the diary fragment—and presumably the three survivors—ended up in decayed Innsmouth.
Full Fathom Five is a Call of Cthulhu adventure by Paul Fricker. It's a great, but somewhat atypical, adventure and I highly recommend it. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.
The adventure text could have done with another development pass in my opinion (hence the four instead of five star rating) and it requires extra preperation to run smoothly (I think). For sheer fun, though, I would unhesitatingly give this adventure five stars.
We played the adventure as a quasi-Christmas party that was somewhat laced with rum. Normally, I don't allow drinking at the table, but it seemed rather appropriate for this adventure. (Only one of my players got into "difficulties" as a result.) The session was hands down my favourite of the year. I highly recommend this adventure.