Sand Scuttler

Sand Scuttlers are retrofitted seafaring vessels used to move across large desert expanses. Typical Sand Scuttlers feature over sized sails and large complex mechanical linkage systems which transfer the force of desert winds to crab-like legs to walk along the dunes or cracked badlands. Over time Sand Scuttlers have been adapted from their orginal purpose as royal transports to innumerable uses across social classes. The most common adaptations are the Racer Class, Crew Class, and Cargo Class.  

Racer Class

Racers Class scuttlers are the smallest of the common classes, and despite their name were first commonly used by smugglers and desert pirates. Their small size allows them to move across great expanses quickly while being operated by as little as a single crew member. This later lead to popular usage among messenger services. Their class title comes from their most modern use for sport as dune racers which are stripped down as much as possible and use kite sails as opposed to more traditional fittings.   A Racer class Sand Scuttler typically seats two to three people and has enough cargo room to carry a week's worth of rations, water, and a backpack each for its passengers. Rides are typically uncomfortable, getting worse with more passengers as elbow and leg room are luxuries. These vessels are typically made from small decomissioned fishing vessels and sit between 16' and 25' in length, though short trips and races have seen even smaller ships made from large row boats.  

Crew Class

Crew Class scuttlers are the original class of scuttler and were first used as transportation for royalty, later expanding to general nobility, and wealthy merchants before they were more heavily adapted for other purposes. Crew class scuttlers are now the most common class of scuttler due to the versitility their size offers them. Traveling merchants often form caravans of these scuttlers, and offer transportation for travelers in the unused spaces. In areas where desert trade is more common these ships are sometimes preffered by modern pirates to racer class scuttlers for their increased cargo potential.   Crew Class Sand Scuttlers typically seat six to twelve people and have enough cabin storage room for each person to carry a week's worth of rations, water, as well as two medium backpacks. The ship's non personal storage compartments can hold an additional 12 to 30 cubic feet of cargo depending on the ratio of cabin to cargo. Since their inception crew class scuttlers have stuggled against desert storms more than any other class; their size means they're less resilint to damage than cargo class ships, and they're used for longer journeys than racer class ships, leading to more exposure time. As a response to sandstorm struggles modern designs have quick retract sail designs and some even feature retractable legs. Most designs are made from or based on either larger commercial fishing vessels or retired messenger ships and range from 36' to 60' in length.  

Cargo Class

Cargo Class scuttlers are the newest addition to scuttler design as the Crew Class has slowly pushed for more and more carrying capacity. As sizes grew more and more adjustments had to be made and more legs have been added with vessels now reaching 60 to 100 legs per side.   Cargo Class Scuttlers stretch the upper limits of what can be moved without completely new technology or a total reliance on magic. These ships are typically 80' to 160' long and the legs need to be made out of special materials in order to hold the weight. Cargo class ships can carry approximately 25 tons of cargo, as well as a crew of 22 to 50 and appropriate rations and water for a month's journey for the crew. Cargo Class Scuttlers are extremely rare and only opperated by the most wealthy of merchant companies. Most often they are made out of smaller cross ocean vessels which are partially disassembled to be moved to the location the Scuttler will be rebuilt at. It is not uncommon for the crew of these ships to include a wind mage or two to ensure consistent movement even in low wind.


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Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
2 Aug, 2022 22:31

I feel that the Sand Scuttlers may be quite important in your world. I love the detail you've written and how you've written it. You get straight to the point, which makes the article very believable. The different classes that you've included are nice and varied, and also add some interesting background to desert society. I think I'll recommend this on my reading challenge article - this article needs more views!

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
3 Aug, 2022 07:41

Thanks Ocelot. I'm actually excited to fix a few typos and clean it up a little in the future. I really appreciate the feed back and if I ever decide to expand the information here I'll be sure to try to preserve the straight-forward nature of the article.

4 Aug, 2022 01:05

I love the idea of these marching though the sand like strange giant crabs. Great job!

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Adazuri: A shonen-inspired magitech fantasy world home-brewed for 5e.
24 Aug, 2022 08:53

Nice! I like that you have mentioned not only how many people, but the amount of cargo each ship can hold.