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Israel Hands, ‘Basilica Hands’

“From Blackbeard’s loyal second-in-command to a mysterious fate: Unveiling the untold story of Israel Hands, the infamous pirate with a haunting legacy.”

Israel Hands
  • Alias: Basilica Hands
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Occupation: Pirate, Former Second-in-Command to Blackbeard
  • Religion: Unknown
  • Allies: Blackbeard (formerly), Pirate Crews
  • Enemies: Naval Forces, Rival Pirates, Betrayers
  • Abode/Base of Operations: Various pirate strongholds and ships in the Atlantic and West Indies, Nassau (Republic of Pirates)
  • Nationality: English
  • Languages: English, Pirate Cant
  • Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
  • Affiliation(s): Blackbeard’s Crew (formerly), Independent Pirate, Brethren of the Coast
  • Significant Others: None known

In the treacherous world of piracy, there stands a figure shrouded in mystery and infamy. Meet Israel Hands, a charismatic and cunning pirate who once served as the trusted second-in-command to the infamous Blackbeard. With his enigmatic past and ruthless reputation, Hands commands attention wherever he goes.

As a character, Israel Hands embodies a unique blend of resilience and resourcefulness. His journey through the perilous waters of the Atlantic and the West Indies has left him weathered and scarred, both physically and emotionally. Despite the hardships he has faced, Hands possesses a sharp intellect and a silver tongue, allowing him to navigate the dangerous realm of piracy with calculated precision.

Driven by a thirst for power and wealth, Israel Hands craves the thrill of the open sea and the taste of victory. He is a formidable strategist, always seeking opportunities to outsmart his adversaries and seize valuable treasures. Hands thrives in the chaotic and lawless world of piracy, where his cunning mind and ruthless nature set him apart from his peers.

Beneath his hardened exterior, Hands harbors a deep desire for recognition and respect. Having been thrust into the shadow of the infamous Blackbeard, he seeks to forge his own legacy and rise to prominence. His actions are guided by a relentless ambition to become the most feared and revered pirate captain, surpassing even the notorious reputation of his former mentor.

While wealth and power drive him forward, Israel Hands is not devoid of personal motives. Behind his cold façade lies a yearning for redemption, a chance to atone for his past sins. The weight of his actions and the consequences they have wrought weigh heavily on his conscience, fueling his quest for a second chance at life.

With every encounter and every battle, Israel Hands seeks to carve his name into the annals of pirate history. He strives for a legacy that will transcend his mortal existence, forever solidifying his place among the legends of the high seas. The journey is perilous, but Hands is willing to risk it all in pursuit of his ambitions, knowing that fortune favors the bold and the ruthless in this unforgiving world of pirates and plunder.

Israel Hands, the Dread Pirate

Israel Hands
One More Step, Mr. Hands by N.C. Wyeth, 1911, for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Medium humanoid (human), neutral evil

Armor Class 16 (studded leather) Hit Points 120 (16d8 + 48) Speed 30 ft.

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

Saving Throws Dex +7, Con +6, Wis +5 Skills Acrobatics +7, Athletics +6, Intimidation +5, Perception +5 Senses passive Perception 15 Languages Common Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)


Multiattack. Israel Hands makes two cutlass attacks.

Cutlass. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Knife. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) piercing damage.

With a swift motion, Israel Hands draws a knife from his belt and strikes at his foe, aiming for a vulnerable spot. The razor-sharp blade cuts through the air with deadly accuracy, seeking to pierce the enemy’s defenses.

Pistol Shot. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 30/90 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage.

Pirate Tactics. Israel Hands has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of his allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.


Parry. Israel Hands adds 3 to his AC against one melee attack that would hit him. To do so, he must see the attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.

Legendary Actions

Israel Hands can take 2 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Israel Hands regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.

Disarming Riposte. Israel Hands makes one cutlass attack. If the attack hits, the target must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or drop one item of Israel Hands’ choice that it is holding.

Distracting Flourish (Costs 2 Actions). Israel Hands uses his cutlass to perform a flashy and distracting flourish. All creatures of his choice within 30 feet must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or have disadvantage on their next attack roll before the end of their next turn.

Menacing Presence (Costs 3 Actions). Israel Hands unleashes an intimidating shout. All creatures of his choice within 30 feet must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. They can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success.


  • Studded leather armor
  • Cutlass
  • Flintlock pistol
  • Dagger
  • Bandolier of gunpowder and shot

Plot Hooks

  • The Torn Loyalty: While Blackbeard is known for his ruthless reputation, Israel Hands finds himself questioning their actions and the morality of their piracy. He seeks solace and guidance from the players, torn between his loyalty to Blackbeard and his growing doubts about the piratical life. The players’ words and actions have the potential to sway Hands and influence his path, either encouraging him to break free from Blackbeard’s influence or pushing him further down the path of darkness.
  • The Stolen Ship: Israel Hands, desperate and humbled, approaches the players seeking their aid in retrieving his stolen ship, the Adventure. He reveals that a rival pirate crew, jealous of his reputation and seeking to establish their dominance, attacked and took control of his beloved vessel. With his knowledge of the ship and his intimate understanding of its weaknesses, Hands proposes a daring plan to infiltrate the enemy stronghold, reclaim the ship, and restore his former command.
  • The Final Battle: As the Battle of Ocracoke Inlet rages on, the players find themselves caught in the midst of the conflict between Lieutenant Robert Maynard’s forces and the remaining loyalists to Blackbeard, led by Israel Hands. Hands recognizes the players as potential allies and presents them with a choice: to join forces with him and the remnants of Blackbeard’s crew, or to side with Maynard in their quest to eliminate piracy. Their decision will shape the outcome of the battle and determine the fate of Hands and his crew.
  • The Testimony: Israel Hands, burdened by guilt and determined to seek justice, reaches out to the players for protection. He plans to testify against the corrupt officials who consorted with Blackbeard, but fears retaliation from those who wish to silence him. The players must escort Hands safely to the courthouse in Williamsburg, navigating treacherous waters filled with hired assassins and agents of corruption. Along the way, they uncover shocking secrets and encounter unexpected allies, ultimately ensuring that Hands’ damning testimony is heard and the truth is revealed.
  • The Redemption Quest: Haunted by his past actions, Israel Hands seeks redemption for the crimes he committed under Blackbeard’s command. He approaches the players, confessing his deep remorse and pledging to right the wrongs he had once perpetrated. Hands proposes a series of challenging tasks and quests that will test his resolve and allow him to make amends. The players become his guides and companions on this arduous journey, helping him navigate treacherous moral dilemmas and confront his inner demons, ultimately leading to his personal redemption.
  • The Vanishing Pirate: Strange rumors circulate among pirate communities of a mysterious figure who bears an uncanny resemblance to Israel Hands. Whispers suggest that this individual might be the ghost of Hands, an imposter, or even the real Israel Hands himself, miraculously returned from the dead. The players are hired to investigate these rumors and track down the enigmatic figure, delving into hidden truths and navigating a web of intrigue. Their quest takes them across dangerous seas, uncovering long-forgotten secrets and challenging their perceptions of life, death, and the power of myth.

Currently in the World

Israel Hands, a weathered and rugged man in his forties, stands at an average height with a strong and muscular build, testament to his years at sea. His once dark hair, now tinged with streaks of gray, is cropped short, and his salt-and-pepper beard frames a weather-beaten face adorned with a prominent scar. His piercing brown eyes hold a mixture of intensity and weariness, reflecting the experiences of a life lived on the edge.

Currently, Israel Hands finds himself aboard a pirate ship, sailing through treacherous waters. He stands near the helm, his calloused hands gripping the ship’s wheel with practiced ease. The rhythmic sound of crashing waves against the hull and the distant cries of seagulls fill the air as he navigates through the open sea.

Surrounded by the vast expanse of the ocean, Hands’ mood is a blend of focus and determination. His face bears the signs of a man who has seen both triumph and hardship, marked by the rough lifestyle of a pirate. There is a fierce determination in his eyes, fueled by a desire for freedom and the pursuit of wealth. Yet, there is also a sense of weariness, a weariness that comes from a life filled with danger and constant uncertainty.

In this moment, Israel Hands is at home on the ship, where he feels most alive. The salty air stirs a sense of adventure within him, driving him to seek further exploits on the high seas. He is a pirate through and through, driven by the thrill of the chase, the spoils of plunder, and the camaraderie of his fellow pirates.

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