Saturday, April 2, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: B is for Brigands

A wide, open land waiting to be exploited-by men both sinister and just.
Greatholm is not a densely populated island.  Huge swaths of land are wilderness.  When you look at one of the maps, you'll see that the majority of the towns and settlements are surrounded by miles of wilderness.  While you will find many estates in the plains of Avonlea and Astleyham, large chunks of the Norcott and Astonwold are wild.  The Elshaw, with its fey inhabitants, is untouched by man.

Few of Greatholm's inhabitants venture far from their homes at any point in their lives.  Those brave souls travel with trepidation, for the way is often wrought with brigands.

As the campaign will begin in Wickster, we will focus on the brigands who inhabit the Astonwold Hills.  Many of them are descendants of the remnants of the Sterling Potentate (from Stonehell Dungeon), who took to the hills and forests after their rule was overthrown.  While the generations have erased any political motivations the brigands might have, many of them have developed a culture of hatred for the nobles of the island and seek to live outside of the boundaries of their rule.  Naturally, the powers that be frown upon this behavior.

Preying on travelers through the Astonwold (and occasionally venturing into the Norcott), the brigands operate in smallish, itinerant gangs.  Unable to settle in any of the land, they are forced to range far and wide, living off of the land and what they can gain by force.  The brigands are a loosely clannish folk, with the different clans composed of many different gangs related by blood.  When a gang grows too large to operate effectively, they separate into smaller gangs.  Intermarriage is rare within a clan, but interclan relations are often kept civil through political marriages.  Slavery is common, particularly women taken as forced wives.  Male slaves are usually hostages for ransom or skilled craftsmen.  The nomadic life of the brigands is not adapted for easy child-rearing, so the mortality rate is very high (increasing the value of child-bearing women).

Given the heavily forested terrain in question, most of the brigands operate as footpads.  The few highwaymen that do exist are well-known through the region and actively hunted by the Royal Road Wardens as well as the Ranger Brotherhood (who, outlawed themselves, are often blamed for brigand activity).

So here is a sample gang of Astonwold Brigands: The Teague McPhees

Led by Teague McPhee (of Clan McPhee), the Teague McPhees are one of the smaller brigand gangs roaming the lower Astonwold Hills.  They are quite notorious for their brutality and fearlessness.  Teague himself wears the magical armor of Sir Gilbert Warwick, a knight of the kingdom, whose death earned Teague a bounty of 5,000 g.p. on his head for murder of a noble.  Teague's younger brother Bayne wears the magic armor of an unnamed household knight who came after the band in retribution.

For the most part, I haven't described the non-combatant slaves and camp followers or the "important prisoners."  Maybe they could be Gilbert's family members or some merchants.  More on that if I end up using the band in my game.  Anyway, here are the stats for the brigands.

Morale +5
No. Appearing 1
Hit Dice 9d10+3 (53 h.p.)
Armor Class 2 (Plated Mail +1 & Shield)
Move 120’
Magic Resistance none
Damage Long sword 1d8+2, Dagger 1d4+1
Defenses none
Attacks Long sword (2 attacks/round, Attack Rank K, +1 to hit), 10 attacks/round vs. creatures with 1d8 hit dice or less.; Dagger +1 (3 attacks/2 rounds), Attack Rank K, +1 to hit), 10 attacks/round vs. creatures with 1d8 hit dice or less.
Size M
Intelligence Highly Intelligent
Alignment Neutral Evil
X.P. Value 1,642
Individual Treasure 10 g.p.

BAYNE MCPHEE (Teague's Lieutenant)
Morale +4
No. Appearing 1
Hit Dice 7d10 (24 h.p.)
Armor Class 4 (Steel Scale Mail +1 & Shield)
Move 120’
Magic Resistance none
Damage 1d8+2
Defenses none
Attacks Long sword (2 attacks/round, Attack Rank H, +1 to hit), 7 attacks/round vs. creatures with 1d8 hit dice or less.
Size M
Intelligence Very Intelligent
Alignment Chaotic Evil
X.P. Value 615
Individual treasure 8 g.p.

TEAGUE’S GUARDS (Alf, Cooley, Lee, Roarke, Siobhan, and Vincent)
No. Appearing 6
Hit Dice 2d10 (18, 13, 9, 10, 11, and 10 h.p.)
Armor Class 8 or 7 (Leather Lamellar (2 w/shield))
Move 90’
Magic Resistance none
Damage Long Sword (1d8+2); Light Crossbow (Point Blank (6’-60) 2d4+2, Short (61-120’) 1d4+2, Medium (180’)-Long (240’) 1d4+1)
Defenses none
Attacks 2x Long sword (3 attacks/2 round, Attack Rank C, +1 to hit), 2 attacks/round vs. creatures with 1d8 hit dice or less.; 4x Light Crossbow (1 attack/round, Attack Rank C, +1 to hit if target             is within point blank-medium range)
Size M
Intelligence Average
Alignment Chaotic Evil
X.P. Value 89, 74, 62, 65, 68, 65
Individual treasure 9, 6, 10, 2, 3, 9 g.p.

Morale -1
No. Appearing 20
Hit Dice 1d6 (6, 2, 6, 3, 3, 3, 2, 4, 1, 3, 2, 2, 4, 2, 1, 6, 1, 1, 3, 3 h.p.)
Armor Class 8 or 7 (Leather Lamellar (11 w/shield))
Move 90’
Magic Resistance none
Damage Light Crossbow (1d4+1), Long sword (1d8), Pike (1d6), Short bow (1d6)
Defenses none
Attacks 3x Light Crossbow (1 attack/2 rounds, Attack Rank B); 11x Long Sword (Attack Rank B); 3x Pike (Attack Rank B); 3x Short Bow (Attack Rank B)
Size M
Intelligence Average
Alignment Neutral
X.P. Value 11, 7, 11, 8, 8, 8, 7, 9, 6, 8, 7, 7, 9, 7, 6, 11, 6, 6, 8, 8
Individual treasure 7, 10, 8, 8, 8, 10, 8, 8, 7, 10, 7, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 8, 6, 8, 6 g.p.

10 Camp Followers (non-combatant)
10 Slaves (non-combatant)
2 Important Prisoners (non-combatant)

In the provisions and storage tent:
Ale, barrel (12 g.p., 250lb.)
Food, dried vegetables/fruit (2 g.p., 10 lb.)
Iron ore (10 g.p., 100 lb.)
Lumber (2 g.p., 25 lb.)
2x Livestock, fowl (in cage) (10 s.p., 7 lb.)
Livestock, goat (1 g.p.)
Silk, bolt (85 g.p., 9 lb.)

In Teague's tent:
Book, illuminated (small), entitled The Five Potentates of Sterling (100 g.p., 6 lb.)
Clothing, fine (1 set) (30 g.p., 4 lb.)
Ewer, glass (30 g.p., 5 lb.)
Incense (20 g.p., 1 lb)
Mirror, large (20 g.p., 12 lb.)
2x Box, engraved (medium) (50 g.p., 4 lb.)
The first contains 81 g.p., the second contains the following gems & jewelery:
Beaded electrum pin (13 g.p.) with a small star peridot (flawless) pip (50 g.p.)
Brass pin with 2 cloisonné spirals (1 g.p., 12 s.p.)
Copper beaded necklace with large, stamped, nude female figure (3 g.p.) and six very large moss opal (very poor) studs (10 g.p. each)
Plain copper ring (1 g.p.) with large jade (good) pip (10 g.p.)
Thick silver bracelet stamped with five flowers (15 g.p.) surrounding small blue spinel (flawless) pip (50 g.p.)
Medium Glass Bead (flawless) (1 g.p.)
Small Pale Aquamarine (good) (10 g.p.)
Tiny Opal (flawless) (25 g.p.)

In Bayne's tent:
Ewer, silver (18 g.p., 2 lb.)
In the Guards' tent:
Cup, copper (2 g.p., 1 lb.)
Ewer, copper (6 g.p., 2 lb.)
Fur pelt, ermine (4 g.p., 1 lb.)
Fur pelt, marten (4 g.p., 1 lb.)
Fur pelt, mink (3 g.p., 1 lb.)
Perfume, rare (10 g.p., 1 lb.)