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From the Deck of a Sandship: Of Nemet and a Fine Crew of Pirates

From the Deck of a Sandship: Of Nemet and a Fine Crew of Pirates

She captured her little sister a craft, perhaps as much to please her as to get rid of her. But little did Fatima know the scourge she would unleash upon the Dune Seas west of Mhalmet.” (Tales of the Eastern Desert)

Nemet and her crew provide an iconic example of what an efficient sand ship crew looks like. The level and number of pirates scales to meet the needs of your campaign.

Nemet, Captain of the Roadrunner

Nemet Al-Graghn is a Nurian human who wears her long, flowing dark hair up in a ponytail. She is tall with a muscular build and piercing green eyes. Her favorite outfit consists of brown camelhide pants with a ruffled blouse of fine Nurian cotton. She wears an armored leather vest while pirating. Nemet prefers a scimitar, and she wears a bandolier of throwing knives across her chest—several of which have gotten her out of tough situations. Nemet carries an air about her that commands respect. She constantly watches for ways to pay back the debt she owes her sister.

Gisilcar, First Mate

Gisilcar (Ghi-sill-CAR) is a minotaur with jet-black fur all over his body and dark black eyes. Nemet knows Gisilcar is tough but fair and does an excellent job of keeping the crew in top shape. The Tes-lurian favors black leather pants and a chain shirt, which he had professionally made. Gisilcar uses a pair of large battleaxes to fight. He has a large nose ring in his left nostril. An excellent shot with a crossbow, he tries to keep one by his side while on board the Roadrunner. Gisilcar enjoys his time on the sandship and plans to save his loot to purchase his own skiff and start a crew to compete with Nemet.

Timnit, Navigator

The third member of Nemet’s crew is the navigator, Timnit, a Nkosi from Narumbeki who left her people when she fell in love with a Siwali. Timnit is a ranger, standing just under 5 feet, sporting short spiky black hair and a lopsided smile. She likes to wear a long skirt, bearing her clan colors on it. Timnit often wears a red leather corset, and her favorite weapon is a longbow. Timnit’s skill as a navigator comes from her father, who showed her how to read the stars and how to deal with the shifting sands. Her lion form is majestic with tawny colored fur, a darker tail tuft, and a slight kink in her tail from an old injury. Her roar expresses many emotions at once with its modulating vibrato. She and Nemet developed a series of head signals, allowing for coordination in lion form.

Anasch, Scout

Anasch is a Siwali human, a well-traveled ranger. He has short, clipped mahogany hair and an athlete’s body, earned from his traveling the Mhalmet Road since childhood. His black eyes dart around, assessing everything about the immediate area. His quick wit has gotten him out of difficult situations several times. Anasch has been romancing Ta-heni from the Dawn Shrine of Isis, and they regularly attempt to schedule trysts. Anasch loves Ta-heni, but he also uses his visits to hear rumors about possible upcoming caravans his group might want to raid. Anasch wears light leather armor and a stylish bandana to keep the sun and sand off his face, and he wields a pair of scimitars and a short bow.

Lunja, Quartermaster

Lunja is a Tamasheq human serving as the quartermaster for the Roadrunner. She maintains the roster of contacts the crew uses to sell their loot in the cities of the area. Lunja is petite with long, tightly curled hair she has dyed blonde and likes to wear in a bun. Her fierce pale-blue eyes give no hint to her feelings or what she plans to do. When pirating on the Roadrunner, Lunja wears soft green leather pants and takes care to keep them clean of bloodstains. During combat, she wears a special chain vest from the dwarves of Haldaheim (providing an extra +1 protection). When Lunja sells the group’s loot, she dresses to the occasion and has created a set of various identities and disguises for herself, working to ensure no one can trace her back to Nemet. Lunja is quite skilled at both assessing loot and firing a crossbow at enemy skulls.

Aptera, Ship’s Wizard

Aptera is a Nurian human wizard who focuses on the combat aspects of running a pirate ship. He has been friends with Nemet for several years and holds her in high regard. His hair is dark brown, and he wears it in braids that cascade down his back. His gray eyes sparkle when he spots a caravan as he knows both loot and possibly combat are ahead. He carries a twisted birch staff with a ruby mounted on top. Aptera is a skilled carver and works on his hobby whenever he gets a chance, whether in horn, bone, or wood. Always on the lookout for love, he makes straight for the taverns whenever they arrive in a town.

Ketet, Ship’s Doctor

Ketet is the Nurian human healer of the group, and she relies on natural healing from herbs and potions rather than spells. Ketet has gray hair and hazel eyes. She likes to mother the group, and everyone always seems better off for it. During raids, she prepares her tools down in the hold. With the battle done, she tends to everyone’s wounds and provides Nemet with an assessment on the crew’s ability: continue hunting treasure or take a rest. Ketet likes to wear long dresses with interesting patterns, either of Cathayan silk or Nurian cotton.

And the Others

The rest of Nemet’s crew varies depending on the job and the duration that they are going to be on the Roadrunner. Nemet brings along one or two harpoonists: a Nurian tiefling named Tamun or a Magyar elfmarked named Kenia. There are also one or more cabin urchins, hanging around to run errands. Others may take part if Nemet sees a need, but she only brings on new members if they come recommended by her sister or another crewmember.

Aptera, Ship’s Wizard

Medium human, chaotic neutral
Armor Class
16 (mage armor)
Hit Points
65 (10d8 + 20)
30 ft.

9 (−1)16 (+3)14 (+2)18 (+4)12 (+1)12 (+1)

Saving Throws Constitution +4, Intelligence +6, Wisdom +3
Skills Arcana +6, History +6, Investigation+6, Nature +6
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Nurian
Challenge 4 (1,100 xp)

Spellcasting. Aptera is a 9th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). He regains expended spell slots when he finishes a short or long rest. Aptera has the following wizard spells prepared:

  • Cantrips (at will): blade ward, prestidigitation, ray of frost, true strike
  • 1st level (4 slots): mage armor, magic missile, sleep, unseen servant
  • 2nd level (3 slots): invisibility, mirror image, misty step
  • 3rd level (3 slots): counterspell, dispel magic, fireball
  • 4th level (2 slots): black tentacles, fabricate
  • 5th level (1 slot): earth wave*, teleport

* see Deep Magic

Arcane Shipwright (1/Day). As an action, Aptera may transform raw materials or debris, which he uses to repair damage to a vessel. This restores incomplete parts, recreates missing components, or fixes minor damage, including limited mechanical elements. Complex items that are part of the ship, such as navigation or rigging, may be repaired but not cargo items.

Crew Overboard. As a bonus action, Aptera can teleport a willing Small or Medium creature within 90 feet. He can do this again after a long rest or casting a conjuration spell.


Quarterstaff. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage or 5 (1d8 + 1) bludgeoning damage if used with both hands.


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