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The Bandit Kingdoms CY 576 - Adventure Ideas
Posted on Thu, November 12, 2009 by LordCeb
Oerthman writes "Concluding the Bandit Kingdoms Gazetteer is a collection of module ideas and adventure hooks to help DMs to further develop a Bandit Kingdoms campaign.  Share and Enjoy! [tm]





Adventures in the Bandit Kingdoms
CY 576

The Bandit Kingdoms in CY 576 provides possibilities for campaigns of almost any type.  From classic dungeon crawls to straight city adventures to political intrigue to swashbuckling adventure on the high seas, the Lands of the Free Lords have it all!  The terrain varies from rolling prairies to dense forest, from the sea and coastal plains to the barrens of the Riftcanyon.  The cities likewise vary, from sleepy country towns to the slave-markets and armories of Stoink and the haunted streets of Battleford.


Published Modules

B1 In Search of the Unknown.  Perhaps set in the northern Fellreev, in hex T3-59.

B2 Keep on the Borderlands.  Could be placed almost anywhere along the northern edge of the Riftcanyon, other than at Riftcrag:  hex T3-72, S3-73, R3-74, or Q3-74.  

S2 White Plume Mountain.  Located in hex T3-70, about 60 miles south of the western terminus of Riftcanyon.  Of course, the area around the mountain can also be developed:  Dragotha's lair, Thingizzard and her potions, the Twisted Thickets, Castle Mukos, the Dead Gnoll's Socket (an entrance to the Underoerth?).

U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh.  The U-series could be transplanted to the Nyr Dyv without too much trouble.  Locate Safeton somewhere on the coast of the Urnst states or the Shield Lands.  The series would play out normally, but the DM could insert additional clues pointing to the Bandit Kingdoms - the smugglers could be based out of Tortage in Redhand, and the arms they were carrying from an armory in Stoink.  


Adventure Hooks, Pushes, and Pulls

No Specific Location

The PCs are members or leaders of a bandit group that decides to raid one of the surrounding lands (obviously best for N or E characters).  First, the group has to get to the border.  In spite of the Pact of the Free Lords guaranteeing free passage, many of the petty lordlings will obstruct the road, demanding tolls, a share of the loot, new recruits for their own bands, etc.  Second, they have to get across the border.  To the west is the Ritensa (with few fords and no bridges), to the east and south is the Artonsamay (only bridged at Redspan, swift and turbulent in the north, wide and deep in the south.  Third, the raid itself.  Finally, the return home.  If the party returns the way they came, they will see their ill-gotten loot evaporate as every lordling will want his cut.  Note that the lordling encounters will need to be role-played; most of the lordlings are greedy, very touchy, and proud of their crumbling keeps and rag-tag 'armies'.  


Western Lands
  • The party is in Wormhall for some reason (passing through, slumming, etc.) when they run across an old, senile beggar.  The beggar follows the party around until driven off or given something.  If the party is generally nice the beggar will hint that he has a secret that he will sell for a price.  After a bit of haggling, he tells that party that he was in the town gaol one night sleeping off a drunk when he overheard two of the guards talking about another prisoner.  No name was mentioned, but the guards seemed worried that someone named Hok would find out.  Later, the party sees a squad of guardsmen haul the beggar off to the keep of Wormhall.  Discreet inquiries reveal that Hok is the ruler of Warfields, to the south, and that he has a reward offered for information on Fria Vigdisdotr, former baroness of Wormhall.  If the party is less than discreet, or asks authorities about the beggar, they begin to notice that they are being watched and followed.  Persistence will bring further harassment and eventual arrest.  If the party goes to Warfields, Hok will indeed pay for the information, though not much.  He will also, depending on the ability of the party, hire them to investigate further and possibly rescue Fria Vigdisdotr if possible.  

  • In Warfields, an acquaintance of the party vanishes one night when the horned tower on the west side of the Ritensa river glows.  Natives whisper that the Horned Society abducts people from the streets when the horned tower is lit.  The party decides to investigate, and tries to infiltrate the tower.  What do the dungeons beneath the tower conceal?  It may be mundane, it may be vile evil magic, and the party could make powerful enemies in the lands of the Horned Society.  

  • While in the Shield Lands or Urnst, the party is approached by a merchant.  He asks them to take a chest to the Bandit Kingdoms, to an innkeeper in Abarra.  If questioned as to the contents of the chest, he smiles and says he will take his business elsewhere - he had heard the party was discreet.  If they accept the commission, he tells them the chest must be delivered within the next 3 weeks (adjust this according to the location of the party - they should definitely feel the time pressure).  During the journey, they are shadowed, attacked by brigands several times, stopped by officious border guards, etc.  The merchant and innkeeper may be on the level, in which case the chest contains the secret ingredients for the inn's special brew.  Alternatively, they are agents of Kor of Abarra.  Successful completion of this commission will recommend the party to him, and he may use them again.  (Kor could make a good long-term patron or enemy with his contacts throughout the Flanaess).

  • Master Eab Huldor of the Freehold of Northkeep has been working to secure his northern border in the Fellreev by overcoming the historical enmity between the Bandit Kingdoms and the woodfolk.  The strategy has been paying off - the woodsmen, druids, and elves of the forest have been friendly of late, and no longer allow humanoids through to raid the Freehold.  Now, two different settlements of the woodfolk have been raided, with all inhabitants put to the sword.  The woodfolk blame the forces of Freehold - the raiders left several bodies behind with Freehold insignia.  The Master of the Freehold strongly desires to keep the peace.  The party could be of the woodsfolk seeking vengeance, and learning that not all is as it seems, outsiders hired by the Master to determine the truth, or members of the guard looking for a fast track to promotion.  The culprits could be the forces of Greenkeep or Wormhall, main rivals of the Freehold, or it could be renegade elements in the Freehold seeking to undermine Master Huldor.  


South/Central Lands

  • While in Tortage, in the Principality of Redhand, the PCs are a little incautious in their carousing one night.  They wake up the next morning with no land in sight, aboard the pirate caravel Wastrel as newest members of her crew.  Outnumbered, the party must work with the pirates until an opportunity presents itself to escape - or to take over the ship and turn pirate themselves.  Encounters on the Nyr Dyv would include the sea monsters the lake is famous for, fat merchantmen, Rhennee bargefolk, or war galleys out of Furyondy, the Shield Lands, or Urnst.   Note:  a good way to bring a new party together instead of 'you all meet in a tavern'; probably works best with a mostly Chaotic and Neutral party - paladins will quickly be fish food. 

  • The party is hired by the venerable sage Orestes of Radigast City to escory him into Reyhu.  The sage's specialty is the history and architecture of the Aerdy Empire, and he is convinced that the old buildings of Helestria, in Reyhu, hold the key to his researches (and maybe the location of the remnants of the wyrm Azagur the Green's hoard).  The party must keep the absent-minded sage safe while fending off bandit attacks, "tax-collectors" and their muscle, and possibly monster attacks from the Riftcanyon.  Containing Orestes' enthusiasm may be the hardest part, however - he sees nothing wrong with barging into houses to look at the interior if the architecture is interesting, nor in talking about how he hopes to find the long-lost hoard of Azagur.  To make matters worse, Orestes is a former royal tutor who helped educate the current Countess of Urnst, Belissica.  She will *not* be happy if her favorite teacher is harmed...

  • The party is at Riftcrag in the Domain of the Rift.  They may be looking for adventure fighting monsters, spellcasters looking for rare material components for spells or items, or they may be inhabitants of the fortress town or members of the guard.  Late one Starday night, an enormous explosion is heard that shakes the very Oerth.  The following day, an enormous cloud is seen in the general direction of White Plume Mountain.  Oldsters and veterans turn pale, speaking of increased monster attacks when the mountain rumbles - no one knows what will happen now that the mountain has apparently erupted.  Riftcrag prepares for the worst, but nothing happens for nearly a week.  Earthday afternoom, one of the Guardians of the Rift brings news of a horde of monsters gathering in the canyon.  A huge beholder seems to be rounding them up and preparing for a massive assault.  Before dawn on Freeday,the horde strikes.  The party must help defend the walls, or the city will be overrun.  The monsters come in waves, with barely a break between them.  

  • The Tangles are getting worse.  While the forest was never friendly and always dangerous, lately the grasslands bordering on the forest have become unhealthy as well.  Farms have been destroyed, crops trampled under by huge beings with strange footprints, and one village several miles from the forest was completely swallowed up by trees overnight.  Divination has revealed the source is deep within the Tangles.  Earl Reynard wants the PCs to investigate and eliminate the problem.  Is it the oft-rumored but never seen druids of the Tangles?  A band of isolationist wood elves deciding to take back land for the forest?   A primeval spirit of the forest?  The PCs must enter the woods, find their way to the source deep within the Tangles, deal with the problem, and return (easier said than done given the trackless nature of the Tangles).

  • The Pact of the Free Lords calls for annual meetings of the leaders of the Bandit Kingdoms.  Traditionally these meetings are held at the old Castle Carbrey on the outskirts of Wheatfields.  The PCs are hired to disrupt the next meeting in order to prevent a certain topic from coming up.  The meeting will be held in about 2 months.  Once the leaders arrive, it will be very difficult to sneak in, so the PCs need to be in place beforehand.  The easiest way will be to join the workforce renovating and preparing the castle for the meeting.  The PCs can sabotage the renovation, replace good wine with vinegar, let moths and lice loose in the rooms, etc.  If they are bold enough, carving out their own secret room from which to 'haunt' the castle is an option.  The PCs employer will be grateful if they manage to disrupt the meeting, but not so grateful that he won't try to do away with them anyway.  The employer could be an ambitious bandit lordling trying to join the Council of Free Lords, or one of the current lords trying to cover up a mistake (Oltagg of Wormhall and the false Teuod Fent of Rookroost are good candidates).


Eastern Lands

  • The party is traveling in County Urnst when they see a column of smoke billowing into the sky in the north.  Following the smoke, they come to a devastated village.  Amid the smoldering ruins, they find clear signs that this is another bandit raid - dead bandits, their gear marked with the shield of the Artonsamay duchy of the Bandit Kingdoms.  They also find a dying priest of Rao.  His last words are "They took the Pearl...find...take to Countess...".  A bard or PC from Urnst will recall the famous black pearl of Urnst, worn by Belissica at her coronation.  They probably will not have heard of Pearl, her snot-nosed bratty niece.  Which one (or both) have been taken to the Bandit Kingdoms is up to the DM.  This is a good opportunity to pull the PCs to Stoink or Rookroost as they pursue the pearl (Pearl?) in the gem amd slave markets of Stoink and Rookroost.  If Duke Gellor of Artonsamay gets wind of either one, the PCs will have stiff competition.  There are any number of ways he could embarass Belissica with the black pearl or her niece.  

  • The easiest way across the Artonsamay north of the Phostwood is the bridge at Redspan - or it would be were it not for the massive fortifications maintained on either side of the river by Johrase and Tenh.  Current rumor in Johrase is that the Tenha Host intends to force the passage of the bridge and gain a foothold on the western bank.  The PCs are hired by Selnon of Johrase to investigate these rumors and, if possible, disrupt the coming invasion so that the Johrase guard does not have to drop the bridge (it has been rigged for just such an eventuality).  If the PCs return with evidence of the raid, Selnon asks them to travel to Dimre, raise a group of bandits, and raid the lands between the Phostwood and Redspan.  This should threaten the Host's supply lines and force them to cancel the invasion.  Of course, the PCs are welcome to keep all the loot they take.  If they succeed, they are hailed as heroes throughout Johrase and the eastern Bandit Kingdoms.  Of course, they are also reviled as black-hearted villains in Tenh, probably with a price on their heads.  

  • The last several bandit raids out of Dimre have been ambushed and savaged on their return through the Nutherwood.  The foresters of the Nutherwood have tried to track the ambushers through the forest, but always lose the trail after a few miles.  Szek Winvid is concerned - he takes a cut of all loot traveling back through his territory, plus he fears this may be an attempt by the Palish to take control of the Nutherwood.  Winvid's instincts are correct - a high-ranking commander of Prelatal troops has bribed several of the foresters to turn renegade.  The foresters notify him of outgoing bandit raids, and the routes they plan to take back to Ostmark or Longford, where they are ambushed.  The religious hierarchy is unaware of the means he is using, but has rewarded him for recovering a large amount of stolen property.  Winvid asks the PCs to investigate, promising a large cut of any recovered loot.  If they PCs refuse, Winvid is quite willing to use blackmail, the threat of force, and even magical persuasion to 'encourage' the PCs to help.  The PCs can work the mystery from several angles:  as part of a group of bandits, following a raiding group at a distance, or investigating who knew of the bandit raids outside of the raiders.

  • The PCs are relaxing after returning to Stoink one day when a squad of city guards enters.  The room goes silent as the guards march up to the PCs table and place one of them under arrest.  Attempting to flee or resist brings a quick response from the guards and reinforcements from outside.  Any PCs who interfere will be arrested; this includes any attempts to bribe the guard captain.  IF the PCs manage to fight their way free of the arrest, they find the whole town looking for them due to the reward posted by Dhaelhy.  The arrested PCs are taken before a magistrate who accuses them of conspiring against the city of Stoink in the person of its lawful Boss, Dhaelhy.  He listens to protests for a few minutes, then finds them guilty and has them jailed.  The whole situation is the result of paranoia on the part of the Boss; he had the PCs shadowed, and the shadower attempted to ingratiate himself with the Boss by accusing the PCs of treachery.  If the PCs resisted arrest or broke out of jail, it will be difficult if not impossible to clear their names with the Boss.  They can either leave town (and not return) or go up against the Dhaelhy machine.  This works best for a party of rogues or those used to working in the shadows; reading up on Chicago's political machine and gangs is recommended.



Northern Lands

  • One night in Rookroost, the party hears screams from an alley as they head back to the inn.  A young girl appears out of an alley, begging for help, followed closely by two men.  The three are really dopplegangers looking for new victims.  The PCs should be able to defeat them, and the last one will beg for its life with information.  It is an ancient doppleganger with the ability not just to absorb memories, but to transfer them to others.  If the party agrees to free it, it agrees to any reasonable terms (such as "leave town and don't come back") and reveals that its master is Cault, an illusionist who has takenthe place of the Plar of Rookroost.  Discreet investigation reveals some lapses on the Plar's part - misremembering friends, personality changes, likes, dislikes, etc.  Nothing major, but enough that questions are starting to be raised.  The PCs can try to blackmail Cault, or sell the information to another bandit kinglet such as Kor of Abarra (if they have had contact with him).  This information is political dynamite, and could lead to major changes in the political alignment of the Bandit Kingdoms, with the PCs in the middle.

  • The PCs are hired by Lord Yanboli of Greenkeep to provide security for a logging operation.  The guerilla war with the woodfolk, elves, and druids of the Fellreev is very hot at the moment, and looks to be getting more and more dangerous.  The PCs will face attacks by forest monsters and humanoids, traps set by woodfolk and elves, and harassment by druidic and elven spellcasters.  The forest folk will coordinate their attacks, making it difficult for PC spellcasters to rest and recover spells.  If the operation is a success and the logs are floated down the Artonsamay Greenkeep, Lord Yanboli will grudgingly pay the PCs.  If they fail, he will be savagely sarcastic and threatening, promising to ruin the PCs repuation.  Yanboli is a bully and coward, and not above working to bring down the PCs out of sheer spite.

  • Recently, a new mine was opened along the Groskopf-Fellands border by miners from Groskopf.  It proved to be one of the richest veins found in Groskopf's territory.  Once word got out, miners from Fellands claimed the mine, accusing the Groskopf men of moving boundary stones and mining on Fellands' territory.  This has touched off a nasty feud among the miners, with beatings, ambushes, and sabotage growing more and more common.  Now, all shipments from the area - on both sides of the border - have stopped. The PCs are sent by Baron Skiven to investigate and determine what is going on. Arriving at the new mine area, they find it deserted and eerily quiet.  Exploring the mine, about 1/4 mile in they find a large chasm blocking further passage.  The miners may have been taken into the UnderOerth, or disturbed some ancient evil under the hills.  

  • North of Fellands between the Fellreev and the Forlorn forest lie the vast plains of the Rovers of the Barrens.  These nomads rarely raid in force, raids are usually only small bands of young warriors trying to prove their manhood.  Recently, however, large bands have been sighted and several villages destroyed.   The raiders even captured the last two caravans of silver from the northern mines.  The survivors of the raids speak of a new leader among the Rovers, cloaked and masked and wielding powerful magic.  Lord Avaerd has offered a large reward for the elimination of this leader.  The PCs can raise their own warband, or go after the Rovers on their own.  The new leader is a powerful shaman known only as the Veiled One; a recent vision quest led him to the burial mound of an ancient Flan warchief, where he recovered the Warstaff of the Rovers.  A minor artifact, the Warstaff functions as a ring of human influence as well as granting shamanic spellcasting power to its wielder.  Those who are already shamans get additional power.  The Veiled One seeks to unite the remnants of the Rovers and lead them to new lands in the south. 
"
 
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