No one knows how Shanahan came into possession of the Cutlass, how he earned the loyalty of Domi and Squee, how he made the Dread Pirate Blackmar his arch-enemy, or how he garnered an almost-freindly relationship with the Dead Pirate Zakhi. One also may wonder why a man as capable as Shanahan is content with merely the one ship, when he could easily have garnered an entire fleet by now.
What is known is this: Shanahan is human. He stands 6 feet tall, weighs about 14 stone and has dark reddish-brown hair. He has captained the Cutlass for about 10 years. He is vicious with a rapier and has single-handedly slain an adult black dragon that attacked the Cutlass on the high seas. He has a reputation as an honorable man - as much as can be attributed to a pirate, anyway.
In the Darklander port of Drachensgraab, folk whisper of the dread Master of Thieves; a brutish half-orc named Thurgo. He stands near seven feet tall and wields an enchanted spiked chain.
Folk are wrong though. Thurgo is not the Guildmaster. That title belongs to Chamille Miller, a human of Redlander and Islander descent. Chamille uses Thurgo as a mouthpiece and "beard" for the common folk to whisper about. Thurgo will often swagger about the streets, proclaiming his might in plain view, while Chamille watches from the shadows.
Chamille fights with a spiked chain as well. Most times her victims never see the chain coming, let alone Chamille herself. During a battle with the crew of the Maelstrom, she ripped the head right from the shoulders of a hapless wizard and then chose to drop into plain view from the shadows.
Chamille is a handsome woman with red-black hair and light olive skin. She has dark eyes and weighs in near 8 stone.
Twelve leagues north of the Whitelander port of Keghorst, the evil priest known only as Curse Feeder defiled a temple of the sun god and plunged a small island into eternal night. For nigh on twenty years he worked his abominations until the crew of the Maelstrom put an end to his machinations -- but not his life. For when he was felled in combat, there was a flash of obscene red light and an echo of evil laughter, and only a dessicated corpse lay where Curse Feeder had been. Surely, one as evil as he will return to plague the crew once again.
While riding that body, Curse Feeder was a large Whitelander man, standing 6 feet 2 inches and weighing about 15 stone.
Domi, First Mate of the Bloody Cutlass
Domi is a minotaur of few words. When he does decide to speak, his tone ranges from "bellow" to "roar." More often he lets his large fists do the talking. Like Squee, he is unquestionably loyal to Shanahan and has been with him since Shanahan took the Cutlass.
Domi stands 8 feet tall and weighs in at 17 stone.
Squee, bosun on the Bloody Cutlass
Of all the officers on the Cutlass that have been with Shanahan for a good long time, the goblin Squee is the most accessible. When not peering through a spyglass in the crow's nest, he can be found drinking and gaming with the rank and file of the crew. Aside from Shanahan, Squee may be the only person to have a conversation with Domi that lasts more than six words and/or doesn't end with a giant minotaur ham-fist to the jaw. Despite being the most talkative officer, he deftly ignores or deflects questions about the past before Shanahan took the Cutlass. Squee has remained a fine liaison between officers and crew, as he seems to be able to get along with anyone.
Squee is 4 and a half feet tall, and weighs 10 stone.
Zakhi, the Dead Pirate
No one is sure whether Zakhi is indeed undead or merely a necromancer that has complete loyalty of his crew. On the occasions that he is sighted, he can certainly pass for a dapper human. Stories are told of this colorful character across the world, not just the Archipelago, as he is known to sail the seas of Araby and Chin in addition to the local waters. Most tales of his exploits involve the acquisition of magical items, from trinkets of trivial power to mighty artefacts. He is known to keep a bargain, as the crew of the Bloody Cutlass (and later the Maelstrom) know.
When Zakhi was first encountered by the crew of the Cutlass he handed over a live Redlander girl to Captain Shanahan, saying something to the effect that a living, breathing person had no place aboard the Sunrise (Zakhi's war-galley). This was while two zombies that looked suspiciously like the girl's parents were visible as part of his crew. Shanahan treated with him cordially but gave order for battlestations as a precaution.
The second encounter with Zakhi (or rather; one of his agents) was on the island of Grungaark, where a pale man offered them a tidy sum to fetch a magical bauble from a nearby island. They took the job after a bar fight with a few Burning Sands Disciples, noting afterwards that one of the unconcious Disciples had been mysteriously exsanguinated. They then sailed to the uncharted island and after treating with the orcish tribal cheif therein, gained access to a sanctum that was warded against undead.
Guarding the bauble was a Chin man whos skin was the color of slate. After defeating him by breaking his contact with the earth, he was revealed to be a man named Anteus, who had sailed with Zakhi! Furthermore, Anteus was put in the sanctum as part of a curse, for he had no memory of his duty as earth-guardian and gave no recognition of the bauble he was set to guard. It seems he had been guarding it for nearly a century, and the Zakhi he knew would never have captained a ship full of undead. Indeed, as far as Anteus knew, Zakhi's hatred of undead was legendary... in his time.