Week 13, Hunting Bandits
As it turns out, our heroes spent four weeks in the city of Shadazar in the southern Hremish empire. Also, contrary to the last log Beygar the Stick came south with us.
We set out on the south road, looking for the bandits of Khazad, and their leader Baba Rashad the Brigand. On the road, we meet a caravan coming north, carrying silk and spices. The leader is impressed by our flock of pegasi, which he first mistook for hippogrifs. We thus learned that there are hippogrifs in the south, and that East and West Chyoxus each have a hippogrif as their sign, one facing right, one facing left.
A few days later, we were overtaken by a rider in banded armor of black and red. He looked like a samurai cat, so we hailed him with "Tomukatu says hi!" as he thundered past. This caused him to wheel around and come back to us. He was indeed another samurai cat, presumably one of Tomukatu's companions on their search for the kidnapped princess. We told him that we had met Tomukatu a while back and that he was heading southwest. This pleased the samurai, we think.
After traveling for a couple of weeks, we came to the city of Damasai. This is the last Hremish city along the south road. Next is Khazad, an independent city-state between Hreme and West Chyoxus. The bandits work the road between Khazad and Damasai. We find two samurai-cat sigils on the walls of Damasai, and the guards inform us that "infidels" must pay a silver penny if they stay inside the city over night. We seem to be entering a rather Islamic territory.
In Damasai, we go to the Inn of the Golden Oasis of Three Palms. Tom commits a faux pas by asking for ale and so discovers that, just like Earthly Islam, this place is teetotally dry. He therefore orders an unknown noise and discovers it to be a form of thin, sweetened yogurt. Chris gets some sort of smoking weed, possibly psychoactive. "Any bandit trouble on the south road?" Tom asks, and the room becomes very quiet.
"I know of no bandits in these parts," the barkeep says stiffly.
"Oh? Very good. Glad to hear it. Well, good-bye." We scram.
On our way out of the city, Chris stops in the market to buy a pipe for the weed and gets his purse cut. He and Tom chase the thieving urchin through the bazaar and finally catch him. The urchin starts screaming "Thief!" at US, and a large guard-type lumbers up to investigate. Chris identifies the purse as his by listing all the coins it contains. The guard verifies this, gives back the purse and hauls away the urchin. We get out of Damasai as fast as we can.
Late that afternoon, we find an oasis. (The countryside is definitely desert by now.) We check it carefully for ambuscades and the like, but it's truly empty. Wu finds a faint magic residue in the well, but it may only mean the well was doused for. We fill our water bottles and drink, and Cantrel throws in a coin wishing for victory. Who knows? In this world, it might be efficacious.
Cantrel then goes looking for buried treasure, just for fun. And finds some. Carefully buried under some lined-up stones is a very good sword in very old leather wrappings, along with a pair of daggers and a small package. Nothing tests as magical. The package contains 4 coins, 2 silver, 2 copper, all largish with quasi-Arabic writing on them. The sword's scabbard conceals a long pin. Tom uses his Tools talent on the sword and estimates the previous user was not that great a swordsman.
All this causes Chris to remember the box given him by the Golden Archmage. It should contain the gift by now. This gift turns out to be a small ornate vial. When Chris opens it, a cloud of dust comes out. And gets bigger. And bigger. Chris hastily Dices the dust back in, but notices resistance. Lorelei, watching with her arcane perceptions working, detects the obvious magic but also notes that it is earth and air magic, plus some other flavors. A portable dust-storm?
We decide not to camp at the oasis. Instead, we travel on until sundown and camp at the roadside. Around midnight, we are attacked. Fortunately, we have several people on watch, and Chris and Pfusand give warning before the attackers are completely on us.
The bandits numbered about two dozen and were TOUGH. Also, their chief had a magical cloak and scarf, both of which entangle enemies when he throws them. Alag got the scarf and Cantrel got the cloak. And the chief had a wizard at his side, who threw some kind of stunning spells [magic missile, say the players] and shielded himself in a private whirlwind. He and Dr. Wu had an impromptu duel arcane.
Other high points of the battle: Pfusand KO'd the bandits' biggest bruiser about twelve seconds into the fight. Tom slipped away from his attacker, picked up Victoria's spear, and, using Tools, killed the bandit, then went to help Chris. Chris had Diced sand into the eyes and nose of his attacker and finished him off with his own akido and Tom's Victorian spear work. Wu and Lorelei prevailed by force of sleep spells, though Wu also used his new magic-missile spells to soften up the enemy wizard. Daewen, after thrashing about uselessly for most of the fight, came in at the end to KO the bandit chief.
And David Hunter got killed. Let us have a brief pause for David's passing. He was one of the founding characters of this campaign, and of the campaign before that. Now Cantrel is the senior player.
When the dust settled and we first realized David was dead, Tom took what steps he could. He urged everyone to look away, so as not to timelock any chance of retrieving the body fresh for resurrection. "Just hide him," Pfusand advised. So Tom picked up the body and concealed it in the dunes. He then glanced at Daewen's wristwatch and memorized the exact coordinates of the burial. If we ever get back to the pantope, Tom can steer it to the burial a few seconds later and we can rush the body to the autodoc while it's still warm and just clinically dead. David has a father back in the Jack....
Now to deal with our enemies. The bandit mage gets massively bound and thorough gagged. Of the two dozen who attacked us, seven survive. One, the big bruiser Pfusand KO'd, is the "guard" we encountered in the bazaar back in Damasai. Chris has picked up an ESP spell in the last few weeks. He uses it to "interrogate" the mage and the chief, without letting them utter any spells.
We learned that the bandits' headquarters is Baba Rashad's house in Khazad. (Rashad is the chief we have tied up here.) The mage is a guild mage, thinks of this as purely business, and expects to be set free, maybe after ransoming. However, Rashad and his folk are publicly known in Khazad. We have captured him and his main band but he has plenty of supporters in Khazad. So, to minimize the danger of reprisals, we feel we have to kill the whole band. Somewhat reluctantly, we do this. And I suggest that we not stop in Khazad, either.
We then find that, at some cost in blood, we are finally moderately wealthy. The bandits had ten horses, and a camel loaded with ever-renewing resources, plus assorted cash and goodies. (See the following loot list.)
Loot from Bandits from Cantrel's NotesHere are my notes on the loot acquired from the bandits and the oasis. Please forward this info to the other players.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.