Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Al Qadim - The Bandit's Bandits

After scouting the Bandit camp and figuring out that the majority of the highwaymen appeared to be less than 'fighter' worthy they decided to make an ambush for the Bandits.  This was agreed by Caravan master Garaval (since I really want the entire party to be there when I start Legacy of Fire and three people were out due to various reasons).  Master Garaval appeared to appreciate the player's cunning and granted them "you do as you wish, but be sure to be back at this house before two days pass so that we can continue on. My mistress does not like to be waiting long."

So the two rogues played by Eric and Frank (Hassim and Fishknife respectively) decided to scout the area around the Bandits and lo and behold there were many Thri-Kreen tracks all over the outskirts of the bandit encampment. The encampment was situated around three hills.  One hill was blocking the view of the olive orchard and farmhouse which has been in the previous adventure and where the players were staying the night.  The second and third hills were to the north east of the farmhouse and provided very good vantage points for the rogues to sneak around and spy on the Bandits.

The Bandits called, "The Trackless Ones" appeared to have several devices fashioned like brooms that they would drag behind their horses to cover all traces of tracks. The "Trackless Ones" appeared to be more merchant-based than based on brigands and thieves and there were signs of Thayan Slaver's equipment within the Bandit camp.

The party decided to setup the Ambush as the Bandits were making their way toward picking up their camp for the morning.  This gave the players plenty of time to setup the trap. The players setup at the back of the two hills into groups of twos. Fishknive, having contracted filth fever, a little worse for ware but overall seemingly in good spirits if not for the boils on his hands and face, had spotted two distinct caverns that both held what appeared to be evidence of Thri-Kreen.  The players decided to risk it and setup the ambush anyway, figuring that whatever was the gain from the Bandits outweighed the cost of them attracting the desert anthropoid raiders.

The ambush went off without a hitch and both Rogues scored sneak attack damage on members of the Bandit party as they passed within feet of their hidden positions, unaware, their horses almost bucking them off from surprise  The leader of the bandits felt the plague-riddled bolt from Esmarelda (The rat alchemist) and although he did not fall from his horse as he attempted to rush out of the battle from a grievous wound he took to his neck the lighting ray cast by Whitecloud the mage knocked him off his saddle and his horse drug him 200 feet into the desert. Fishknife scored a critical hit on a bandit and then quickly stole his horse even before his corpse hit the ground. He was rewarded by a halfling sling rock to his head to which the following turn he responded by tossing a knife into said halfling who was totally cut down to size. Hassim had a very good shot off on both the bandit leader and the bandit that was riding the lizard mount who he took out with an arrow to the throat (ouch!).

The total of 20 Bandits were taken completely by surprise by the party and in only a few rounds they had routed the Bandits in different directions. One of the Bandit groups entered one of the caves that was previously discovered by Fishknife.

After collecting the loot and horses as prizes the party decided to follow the bandits into the cave - only to find dead bandits littering the floor.  Suddenly, almost out of nowhere several Thri-kreen appeared as Esmeralda took stock of the Ashworm deep in torpor sleep from her obvious gouging of bandit flesh, her babies nestled snugly also sleeping off their meal in their mother's embrace.  The Thri-kreen, thinking the party were the bandits offered to trade with those that the dark skinned little ones did not kill.

After some diplomacy with the Thri-Kreen the players found out that the Thri-Kreen (at least this tribe) keeps slaves but has a socialist economy with no leader and no system of commerce other than barter. "You are worth what you are worth and what you can take you can keep." said one of the larger of the Thri-Kreen to Whitecloud who was astonished by their simple barter system and found it difficult to work within the confines of their ideals.

Meanwhile, Esmeralda has impressed the Thri-Kreen known as La-Tahsk and he offered her to ride the Ashworm. She accepted knowing that it meant that she would have to retire her character. She said it was because that was what her character would do. She was fascinated by both the worm and the Thri-Kreen and of the possibility of learning a new language. They were fascinated by her, having not seen many ratfolk. The party also exchanged for the Thayan Slaves that the bandits were supposed to be picking up all the while wondering if the dark skinned ones were drow, duregur, svirneblin or something more sinister.

I was very impressed by Jaz' eagerness to be so true to her character that I have allowed her to make a new character of whatever she wants within reason.  She has chosen to bring in an evangelistic cleric. I am very excited about this as he is fashioned after Steve Martin in Leap of Faith. He's a fraud but he's full of faith. Should be fun!

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