Friday, December 3, 2010

[D20cember] B is for Bandits!

Bandits!: A Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Labyrinth Lord adventure set in the Ashford Valley.

Get Ready:
A group of bandits is in the area and are causing some trouble for the inhabitants. No one has been killed yet but the locals are thinking it's only a matter of time, especially since these bandits are acting strange.

Get Set:
This encounter can be played anywhere in the Ashford Valley but works best near either a manor or one of the towns. The PCs can hear about the bandits from a variety of sources, including the local law (posting a reward), a couple of farmers (who were robbed) or a merchant house looking for a lost caravan (stolen).

These bandits are pretty odd. According to witnesses, they keep talking about a "Rydal Woods" (Ashford Valley has no such place) and they're going to "keep stealing the King's gold until the King is as poor as a pauper" (Ashford Valley has no king, nor does the local lord owe allegiance to one).

Once the PCs decide to go after the bandits, a number of locals each come to them, asking them to find a stolen family heirloom or a cow taken by the bandits or even a book that went missing (but is presumed taken by the bandits).

If the PCs ask about the book, the (previous) owner explains that it's a story about the famed (yet fictional) adventurer Ignacious the Bold and his fight against the bandits of the Rydal Woods.

Encountering the bandits is pretty simple, they'll show up and fight the PCs at any opportunity. They'll fight for a few rounds, not really wanting to kill them, then retreat, calling the PCs names in the process and claiming none of them are "hero" material and they can't be stopped. If one of them is killed, he will fall down then stand right back up a few moments later to the extreme surprise (and I'm sure horror) of the PCs.

After their first encounter, the PCs will meet Ignacious the Bold. The GM should play him completely over-the-top and, while kind to women and children and dogs, he will treat the PCs as bumbling town watchmen or incompetent nobles or even silly wizards, not as serious heroes. Still, he'll be obviously good so these insults (not that he means it that way) will sting some. He'll laugh off any attack by the PCs, instantly forgiving the offender with a jolly smile and a ribbing about "foolish squires."

If the PCs aid Ignacious in "his" quest to defeat the bandits, the fighting gets serious. This time the bandits will fight to kill everyone. Since this matches the story well (Ignacious the Bold and a few incompetent soldiers defeat the bandits), then the bandits will stay dead.

Unless the book is found (the bandits don't have it and neither does Ignacious), the problem won't go away unless there is a meeting between the bandits and Ignacious (with the PCs involved, it will happen). However, as long as the book is preserved intact, without a blessing from a priest, Ignacious will continue his adventures, this time as an actual asset to the Valley. Once the story in the book is over, he'll lose his special ability and become a regular (if not slightly odd) hero and fast friends of the PCs (but always treating them as bumblers). The fate of the book after this is immaterial to him thereafter.

The mystery of the book: An orphan boy named Martin, living in a rundown shack near the owner, found it and stole it. Taught to read by his mother, he became totally absorbed with the book's tale of thrilling heroics and wished that is could be true (after all, a farming area is boring for a 12 year old boy and he craved excitement). One of the fasteners on the book was formed from an old ring of wishes and the one remaining wish was spent. If Martin is found and introduced to Ignacious, then the hero will take him under his wing and train him to be a hero, too.

Notable NPCs:
Ignacious the Bold, Storybook Hero; Alignment: Lawful; Armor Class: 2; Hit Dice: 4d8, Hit Points: 32; Attacks: longsword (1d8+1); Save: F4; Special abilities: as a fictional character, Ignacious cannot be permanently killed unless the book is either destroyed or blessed by a priest (Level 3 Cleric). Morale: 12.

Storybook Bandits (5); Alignment: Neutral; Armor Class: 6 (leather armor & shield); Hit Dice: 1d8, Hit Points: 8, 8, 8, 8; Attacks: longsword (1d8), short bow (1d6); Save: F1; Special abilities: as fictional characters, the storybook bandits cannot be permanently killed unless the book is either destroyed or blessed by a priest (Level 3 Cleric) or defeated by Ignacious the Bold (though the PCs can help). Morale: 12.

Martin (12 year old boy); Alignment: Neutral; Armor Class: 9; Hit Dice: 1d8, Hit Points: 3; Attacks: knife (1d3); Save: NM; Morale: 3.

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