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Friday, February 6, 2009

A Brother's Revenge - Final Conflict

This is the final part of a series of encounters and events featuring the Bandits of Lope as the primary antagonists. The previous articles in this series are:
By now the party should have a good idea who is responsible for the strange infections and creatures showing up around town. Hopefully they've decided to take action against the source of the infection, Renis and his followers. These two encounters assume the party is headed towards the suspected location of the bandit's base of operations.

A Meeting in the Woods

As the party nears the bandit's area of operations, they should encounter Timon and his followers, mounted and moving at a good pace in a well ordered formation. Timon and his followers have broken with Renis and his fanatics and are headed out of the area. They left the bandit's camp over a week ago and have been camping in the woods nearby while they figure out their next move.

Timon and his men will not start conflict with the party, but if threatened they will fight. Timon is a solid leader with a good understanding of battle tactics and his men include most of the ex-military members of the bandit group. If the party chooses to parlay, Timon can provide them quite a bit of useful information:
  • The location and layout of the bandit camp
  • Rough numbers on the remaining bandits
  • Information about the Yullic plague creatures in the camp
It is unlikely Timon will want to return to the bandit's camp, but the party might convince him to assist in cleaning up the mess. His followers will be even harder to convince. They have no desire to be infected with the Plague of Yullic and succumb to the fate of some of their former friends. Timon's group includes:
  • Timon: Great swordsman, Good bowman, Fair group tactics, negotiation, Average woodcraft
  • 12 rank and file bandits: Average swordsman, woodcraft or military tactics
  • 6 camp followers (including Timon's woman Karla): Mediocre brawling, Average survival
Timon and his followers are planning on heading out of the general area towards a less populated region. As a group they are the least troublesome of the bandits. Unless the party is bent on following the letter of the law they should find a way to avoid conflict with the group. The information Timon can provide will be very helpful in planning an attack on the bandit complex.
What Timon knows:
  • Renis has at least a dozen of the rank and file and a half-dozen camp followers loyal to him
  • Those that attempted to escape the compound were imprisoned in the lower levels of the cave complex and infected with the Plague of Yullic
  • At least three of Renis' followers are showing signs of infection
  • Renis seems to be immune to the effects of the Plague
  • Renis can control the Fungal Zombies
The Bandit Camp

The final confrontation in the bandit camp is a straight up fight. Renis, always a fanatic, is clearly sinking into madness. He's been infecting camp followers with the Plague. Aside from his core of hard-liner believers, the remaining bandits are afraid of him. Timon's information on Renis' forces is pretty accurate, though morale throughout the mundane forces is sinking. It's clear to the remaining followers than anyone caught trying to leave is going to end up as a Fungal Zombie. The actual forces remaining in the camp are:
  • Renis: Great healing / disease magic, Good diplomacy, Fair swordsman, intimidation
  • 8 hard-line followers: Average swordsman, woodcraft or military tactics
  • 6 rank and file bandits: Average swordsman, woodcraft or military tactics, three infected with the Plague of Yullic
  • 4 camp followers: Mediocre brawling, Average survival, two infected with the Plague of Yullic
  • 6 Fungal Zombies
  • 1 Fungal Brain
See A Brother's Revenge: Horrid Minions for stats on Zombies and Brains.

Outer Camp

The outer camp has been abandoned in favor of the caves. The huts are still there, but clearly haven't been used in a few weeks. The group maintains a spotty watch in the outer camp (Fair alertness), but discipline has fallen off since Timon's departure. If the alarm is raised the bandits in the caves will rush forth in a haphazard series of attacks.

Upper Caves

Renis and the majority of the bandits are now encamped here. Their reduced numbers easily fit within the caves. The entry cave houses a small stable of horses (much reduced by the departure of Timon and his followers).

The bandits here will give battle under the direction of Renis. The hard-line followers will fight fiercely, the others less so. Renis himself is fanatical, giving no quarter and fighting to the death. He will use his ability to contact the Fungal Zombies to draw them into the conflict. Given the chance members of the rank and file and the camp followers will break past the conflict and use the fight as cover for their escape. This includes those infected with the Plague.

Tucked away at the back of the upper caves is Renis' personal shrine to Yullic. The area is filthy, with an overpowering stench of rotten meat and stale smoke. The altar itself is a small stone platform featuring a crudely carved hand of Yullic. The burned remains of past sacrifices are scattered around the altar, including the decaying remains of the human sacrifice Renis offered to receive his current powers from Yullic. Once the fight is over cleansing the altar will require a Great test of religious ritual.

Lower Caves

The entry to this section of the cave has been barricaded with a rough wall of wood and brambles. The wall won't stop a determined group but does prevent easy escape by the prisoners kept in the lower portion of the cave.

The former prison of the lower cave is now home to a Fungal Brain and its minion Zombies. The area is filthy and littered with the bones of past victims, mostly former camp followers who didn't succumb to the Plague. There are three fresh victims in the prison area, tied up and under the influence of the Brain's spore cloud. They have all been infected with the Plague, though they are not showing any symptoms.

Renis can influence three of the six Zombies in this area, calling them to assist in any conflict in the upper caves. The Brain and remaining Zombies will all cooperate in any fight, attempting to draw the party into the spore cloud of the Brain.

Overall Reactions

Renis and his hard-line followers will fight with the ferocity of true fanatics. The remaining rank and file and camp followers will break and run if the opportunity presents itself. Zombies and Brains will fight cooperatively, seeking to draw opponents into the Brain's spore cloud. The Brain will happily infect any of the bandits (other than Renis) that come within reach.

Rewards

Renis and his followers have a small amount of hard currency, mostly scattered and hidden in their personal gear. They have a good supply of food and drink and a number of average quality weapons. The stable contains a half-dozen horses along with tack and harness.

Fallout


This is technically the end of the line for Renis and his quest for revenge. It doesn't have to be though. Here are some possible plot-lines that might arise from this series of adventures:
  • Renis escapes, fleeing the area and finding a new base of operations for his vengeance.
  • Fungal Zombies and / or Brains are still at large, leaving the party with a major cleanup operation.
  • Renis was a pawn, he was working for someone else who used his brother's death to leverage him into beginning Yullic's work.
  • One of Renis' victims was someone of importance. Relatives or friends want information.
  • Timon wasn't such a nice guy. The party let a known criminal escape, now they must deal with the fallout.

Final Note & History

I hope this series of encounters proved useful to someone. This adventure grew organically out of a D&D campaign I ran a few years back. The initial bandit encounter caught the player's interest, so I ran with it. The revenge cycle included a direct attack on a party member's family while the group was off exploring a nearby ruin. The party's leader shared a common past with Timon (both former members of the same military organization) and Timon cleverly leveraged that to avoid an open fight with the group when they met (a fight the bandits would have lost but would have hurt the party). The group steam-rolled Renis and his followers, but clues quickly indicated he was only a pawn of a more powerful foe (one the party eventually faced down and defeated).
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