The text is vague on these buggers. Are they part of Lareth's troops, or just some outlaws that wandered into a convient hideout? There's no mention of them interacting with anybody else. They don't wear the Eye symbol. I've played them both ways. Some players have been asking me o run the ToEE, and I'm tossing around ideas. Scott
I have also spent some time wondering about the bandits in the upper moathouse. IMC these brigands were formerly operating out of Nulb, where several brigand gangs hole up (see ToEE pg. 30 scrub/forest/road encounter table and Nulb militia section) that raid the Low Road and lesser tracks. In the case of the moathouse crew, a few weeks ago they raided a small gnome caravan returning from Verbobonc with a payroll chest and fine cloth and tableware for the merchant’s wife. While the group was divvying up the loot, the current leader (FTR2) slew the former leader, and with the brigands that would follow him, took off with the loot and established their new base in the “Black Chamber”. The leader wears a fine gnome-smithed necklace and all the coins they posses are of recently minted Verbobonc and Furyondy origin.
The leader of the brigands is a bullying, violent sociopath, although he possesses a certain animal cunning. His mercurial and violent personality, combined with the facts that the brigands have not garnered any new loot in a few weeks and that they are losing members (e.g., to giant snakes T1 pg. 14), makes them ripe for parley. Not all of the bandits are maniacs like their new boss, and any reasonable pay-off or offer of mercy, (depending on the situation) would allow access to the following information:
-There is another group of bandits operating nearby. This group is well organized, well equip and well led. Its members include humanoids. They wear the livery of an unknown liege, the burning eye. They are frightened of this group, and have had no contact with them. -The famed river pirate and smuggler Black Tolub operates out of Nulb. He and his group should be avoided, especially the Flan Hillman/pirate known as Squint-eye, he is especially dangerous (Squint-eye personally whipped most of this group to death a few weeks back; another reason that they vacated Nulb). -There are cult members trying to recruit men in Nulb. They offer high pay, but those that sign on are never heard from again.
I was always interested in the idea of where they retreat *to*. I always figured that they had a bolt hole to head toward, and IMCs I've often used the ruined monastery from the 1e DMG as another tie-in to the T1/T2 series; sometimes the bandit leader heads there.
I've used the monastery too, but always as a prelude to T1. The party starts out in a village on the on the other side of the Gnarley. They investigate the Monastery and find clues that lead them to Hommlet. Given its reputation as a haven for bandits, brigands, pirates, and such, they might head for Nulb. Thr party encountered the brigands last week. They were not associated with Lareth/the Temple. They emerged from the Black Chamber and attempted to attack the party from the rear while tey were engaged with the giant rats, but Spugnoir rolled great for his sleep spell and got every one of them, so where they retreat to wasn't an issue. Scott
The brigands in the Black Chamber are "totally unaware of the secret door and staircase down the dungeons." And if they spot the party, they lay an ambush if the party is weak, or flee out the back door if the party is strong. But there is no indication that they give Lareth's crew downstairs any warning or information. So, I always took this to mean they aren't formally a part of Lareth's troops. But they may be new recruits or possible recruits. Maybe Lareth knows about them, but they don't know about the dungeons. Lareth could have invited them to the moathouse and suggested they stay in the Black Chamber, to be called to join him on future raids.
I saw your online campaign link there, and this interested me since I had tried to organize something similar previously, though on a smaller scale.
The "moathouse bandits" are an interesting subject. Are they bandits? They are often referred to in exactly that way, though the text refers to them as brigands.
There is a significant difference according to the Monster Manuel.
I like the backstory and development posted here, it makes a great deal of sense and provides for interesting roleplaying, unless of course they are wiped out or manage to flee in which case the players never know what you developed.
Though to answer your original question I have always assumed that they are not Lareth's troops, but instead are the area's original criminal element, now in decline as the Temple ascends once again but still mustering some strength, as evidenced that they have reinforcements arriving per the random encounter tables.
I figure that there are always bandits/brigands pretty much everywhere trade takes place, and a small group of robbers would have been something like an established thief's guild or pirate gang.
The merchants who operated in the area still profited from trade, though there were expenses occurred to guard the goods and occasional losses of some goods to the criminals, but overall it was an ecosystem in balance with the costs of security and lost goods not high enough to stifle trade overall.
Now the Temple is rising again, and that balance has been upset. Merchants are losing more cargo than these "old school" bandits ever took, the standard rates and costs to guard a caravan have increased to the point where lower margin cargoes are no longer profitable, completely stopping most trade in many goods, and the price of guards has gone way up due to the increased danger involved in what was once routine duty.
More guards must be hired despite the increased price , and fewer guards are available due to losses incurred during Lareth's murderous raids. This further drives up the price as supply and demand enter the same market price that was driven higher by demands for danger pay.
So now the original bandits have fewer targets, and those that remain are defended beyond their ability to take. The "local" bandits and the merchants are not the only people who are unhappy with how this is going. Trade slows, tax revenue falls, and the nobility feels the pinch.
If played as old school "wise guys" content to take their cut off of the system before the new evil forces showed up to disrupt everything, the moathouse bandits could become natural allies of the players.
Some of them might be amenable to other work should the players recruit any as men-at-arms, provided that they survive or escape the initial confrontation with an adventuring party. Particularly if they have been captured and face crown justice as an alternative to joining.
Even if that doesn't work out parleying with them given a later chance, either with a prisoner or when some of them are found again could well result in the player's finding that these bandits have no love for the temple, and perhaps they might be willing to cooperate with the party in some way. Maybe they could provide intel, scouting out information for the party to use against the Temple troops, or maybe they could allow the PCs safe haven in their hiding place, possibly even guarding the hideout while the players recuperate, or they could even mount their own raiding operation as a distraction for the player character party, drawing some temple troops away while the players coordinate a strike against evil. Sort of a three stage set of encounters that could be ongoing while the rest of the campaign moves forward as normal.
This is of course assuming that they are in fact predominantly neutral bandits, and not Chaotic Evil brigands after all.
I always assumed that the Brigands, albeit Chaotic Evil in nature, were independant of the Temple as they have no apparent system in place to "report" back to it, but in the service of Lareth--who by default (the change in direction of T1 vs GDQ) serves Lolth and not Iuz and Zuggtmoy. In this case, it all comes down to how you play Lareth and who he serves. In re-reading The Hall of Many Panes set, I notice that Gary has the Illithid-analogs ("Brain Eaters") serving Dhu-Khalkru (the basis of the EEG's). I wonder if that was Gary's intent in AD&D as well, but it was never allowed to be realized... interesting implications on all of the factions that would have been involved with the Temple.
Post by davegibsongreyhawkdm on Dec 29, 2017 0:51:43 GMT -5
How have you DM'ed decision making by the brigands - how do they judge the PC party as 'weak', 'reasonably capable', or 'overwhelming'?
Since there are 8 normal men and a leader, I thought that if they have numerical advantage, or even numbers to the PC party, they could view the party as 'weak', since brigands are noted in the MM for high morale? Unless of course it is a PC party that is completely decked out in chain mail or better, brandishing glowing magical weapons, employing magical powers, etc.?
Reasonably capable could be that the brigands have a significant numerical disadvantage to the PC party, say if the PC party exceeds a dozen members, or else there are other readily perceived advantages the PC party displays?
Overwhelming PC party would have over a dozen members and also readily perceived advantages over the brigands?
It is not much gaming fun if the brigands sneakily bail out in face of a reasonably capable or overwhelming PC party, unless the retreating brigands circle back around the moathouse to steal tied up PC party steeds and any gear left on their mounts, or set up an external moat house ambush to hit the PC party when they leave the moathouse?