I'm planning on running an Arabian-influenced thieves and pirates game for Gameday in a few weeks, kind of like an Arabian Red Skies over Red Seas (the second Gentleman Bastards book). I'm thinking about there being two different kinds of ships in the setting, the regular kind and desert running ships.
So, what makes a desert ship sail? I was imagining a current, which was going to be like a twisted network of ley lines that have directionality ("Don't take the left fork here, we'll be stuck for at least a day righting the ship!") or possibly sand serpents that were motivated to go in certain directions that the ships would ride in the wake. The latter might allow for ship to ship battles.
I'm looking for some answers to some questions:
What method of sand shipping makes the most sense in terms of being worth it? I wouldn't want a huge cost associated with the ships and personnel for a "magic drives everything" solution since it seems like the risk doesn't seem appropriate to invest a lot of money in a ship and then the loss of one crewman stranding the ship. Something that is almost the same as regular shipping but slightly different is probably what I'm looking for.
What is desert shipping like, especially for pirates? Do you board ships by just running men out into the desert? Or is the desert a sea unto itself that will eat a man in moments? What about food? In the ocean you can fish, at least. Rain can be caught for water ...
I'm almost to the point where I don't think it makes any sense and wouldn't be fun to explore in the game. Any optimists out there with expanding or enlightening ideas?