From the Deck of a Sandship: Encounters within the Mhalmet Expanse

From the Deck of a Sandship: Encounters within the Mhalmet Expanse

Nemet and her sandship crew can add some lively possibilities to any campaign or one-time gaming session. Here is a list of encounters to add to any casual Southlands game. You can also string the encounters together to create an arc, incorporating Nemet and her crew into your campaign.

Encounter: The One with Those Left Behind

Everything had gone especially well during the last caravan raid for Nemet and her crew. The crew took no wounds and captured a wagon rich with treasure. While her crew enjoyed the spoils, Nemet heard a sound and discovered that two small human children—Kumii, 10, and Dansa, 8—had hidden in the back of the wagon. What was she to do? Pirating was no life for kids. She also definitely did not want to kill them as a few of her crew suggested. Nemet decided to make some inquiries and see if someone would be interested in taking them back to Mhalmet or perhaps to the Shrine of Isis. 

The PCs hear about two missing children somewhere along Mhalmet Road or perhaps even in Mhalmet itself. The parents promise a small reward and provide what details they can. Eventually they learn that the children are at the Shrine of Isis. This becomes a retrieval mission. Nemet soon learns that the PCs are on their way to pick up the children, and she then might send her crew to shadow the PCs to make sure the children make it safely home.

Additionally, further investigation might complicate the situation if the children turn out to be scions of a fallen house or wards awaiting majority before they gain a small fortune. The person waiting for their return may not be all they seem, looking to exploit the youths for their wealth. If the characters discover this after returning the children, what had been a rescue could become a “kidnapping” all over again.

Encounter: The One with the Exiles

Gisilcar of Nemet’s crew has family belonging to a small group of minotaurs dedicated to Isis. The Black Table banned them from Mhalmet and told them to “never come back.” After much discussion, Gisilcar suggests all the banished families make a trip to the Shrine of Isis and seek guidance there. When the families arrive, the priestess explains that the group can pray at the shrine and camp outside for a short while, but she cannot offer long-term accommodations. 

The PCs might become involved at various places along this pilgrimage. They can join while the group is in Mhalmet and act as guards for the journey. They can also join along the Mhalmet Road, perhaps saving the pilgrims from an encounter with thieves or monsters. When the PCs arrive at the shrine, the minotaur pilgrims will ask them to help find a series of caves that they could live in.

However, one of the members stole a palm seed of the ever-present oasis before leaving Mhalmet and told no one of their deed, thinking it would be essential to a new settlement. The previous owner sends agents to recover the item and send a message. The PCs must stop this assassin and either complete a task to assuage the Mhalmet elite’s loss or to eliminate the individual’s anger one way or another.

Encounter: The One with the Kidnapping

It should not have been possible, but then it was. Nemet was careless, just once, taken in by a handsome face, a charming smile, and roguish attitude. The gnoll pirate Dunehowler, using a hired human agent, has captured and taken Nemet to some place in the caves off the Mhalmet Road. Of course, her sister Fatima finds out and is determined to move heaven and earth to locate her before Nurian agents arrive to claim her. Fatima wants to come and wreak havoc on Dunehowler and his crew but cannot just now, and she thinks some locals might stand a better chance.

To rectify the problem, Fatima Al-Graghn gets word to the PCs. She will pay a handsome ransom for the return of her sister Nemet. Fatima would like Dunehowler and his crew brought to some sort of justice. The PCs can begin by making queries at the God’s Mirror Oasis and at the Shrine of Isis for where Dunehowler last attacked. Nemet’s crew is willing to work with the PCs as well but through Ta-hemi at Isis’s shrine.

Encounter: The One with the Plot

The legend of Nemet the Pirate Queen, Scourge of Mhalmet Road, has grown much over the years. Her blitz-and-snatch technique has been very successful, and most caravans have had to boost the number of guards they bring along to protect merchandise. Her victories haven’t escaped the notice of several members of the Black Table. Galma “Sparrow” Lencho, a thoroughly despicable pirate, has taken particular notice and decided to send out a group of his enforcers to extract some “taxes” from Nemet. Sparrow puts together a varied collection of pirates and thieves, and sends them along the Mhalmet Road to find Nemet and her crew.

The PCs, who may have joined Nemet and her crew on previous encounters, can hear about this opportunity in Mhalmet or somewhere along the road. The PCs can either warn Nemet or possibly join her in sending a message to Sparrow, or they can side with Sparrow. If the PCs successfully help Nemet, she will most likely give them a suitable reward. If the PCs go the other direction, then they will become one of Nemet’s most hated enemies, and she will actively hunt them down.

Either way, this draws Nemet into the wider political circles of the Black Table, and she can either find a way to join the criminal establishment or continue operating outside it. The characters have the chance to influence her choice.

Encounter: The One with the Long Hunt

One evening in Mhalmet, Nemet stands on a table in the Black Spot Tavern and announces, “This man beside me, Daga of Mhalmet, seeks the creature that sank his sandship and killed his crew. He’s hunted it across years and miles, and now it is here near Mhalmet. Tomorrow, he will board the Roadrunner with any brave enough or greedy enough to follow and we shall find and have his vengeance!” Daga has convinced Nemet to take the Roadrunner into the deep dunes and hunt the legendary sand kraken. The creature’s lair is in the depths of the sands, but Daga believes the Roadrunner can breach the cavern and destroy the monster.

The PCs can be present at the tavern or hear the news that spreads like wildfire through Mhalmet that evening. They may seek the reward that Daga offers, seek a portion of the monster’s hoard, or simply want to do battle with a sand-dwelling, tentacled beast of legend.

Palm Seed of the Ever-present Oasis

Wondrous item, very rare

When buried at least a foot deep in sand, this hand-sized palm seed sprouts overnight into a 12-foot-tall palm tree and causes a spring to erupt next to it. The spring creates either a 20-foot pool that’s 2 feet deep; a 15-foot pool that’s 3-1/2 feet deep; or a 10-foot pool that’s 8 feet deep, full of cool clean water that refills to its depth every other day. The tree grows normally, and if it is ever cut down and the palm seed pulled out of its roots, the oasis dries up until the seed is planted again.

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