At this meeting the group spent a decent amount of time coming up with a plan to attract the attention of the bandits and give an option for them to track the bandits at a later time.
I'm almost sorry they didn't go with an earlier iteration and rub peppermint all over a fat sheep.
Write up follows:
The majority of the party went to the Mane and Tail Inn to get a bite to eat and discuss what our options were next. Flimflam detoured to the Temple of Demeter to check up on Whosea, learning that his dog would be better and able to travel tomorrow.
The group then discussed what our options were on finding the bandits. The feeling is that the bandits are most likely staying in one of the many abandoned Estate homes littering the countryside. However, the sheer number (scores, maybe hundreds?) and the distance between makes easy searching time consuming and almost an impossibility.
We then spent an hour or two tossing ideas out, deciding to tempt the bandits to assault a lone traveler. What about Flimflam’s raven? We did not think it would be a good idea and discounted that idea as well. We went over the three interviewee’s conversation, deciding that we could not iron exactly where the assault would take place (outside of north of Heatherfield). Finally, what if the Estate’s moved? What if they were in one Estate one week and moved to another one another week?
Then we discussed the number of limestone caves in the area? We are assuming Estate homes – but what if their base is in a cave? We needed some more discussion and background.
We talked about getting in touch with local hunters to see if they report anything. We also talked about luring the bandits out – but would need one of us to be the target. One of the things we also wanted to avoid was tipping off to the bandits that we were out here looking for bandits. So that meant quizzing the locals was going to be problematic at best. So we needed information, but not to let the locals know we were looking for bandits.
The downfall of that was the 3 people were invited to the lord’s house and were interviewed by us about their bandit encounter. So we suspected that we were already known as being out here.
We went back to the idea of getting robbed. A sheep would be a good choice. We could buy a sheep and somehow scent it (piss? Paprika? Roseoil?) and then allow Sanford and Whosea to track it back to their lair. Good idea, but no one herds “one” sheep – it would raise a flag to the bandits. Ok, good idea, but more thought was needed?
After much talk and discussion and plans formed and changed and discarded and altered we settled on a two-fold plan. We figured that Tranis would be “hunting” for quail, and allow himself to be robbed – using a brass braided necklace as a planted item – lacing it with oil so it reeks. The other would be Quintus would be on his way to Dairymeade with an engagement ring and let himself get robbed – the ring and box it would be in would also be laced in oil so it reeks.
We then put our prep work in order. A rosewood box was purchased, lined with linen, and a silver ring (we had in our treasure pile) was readied, with Quintus going around to various vendors and eventually a different inn and talked long and loud about going to Timberton to get a girl named Lirea and propose, bringing her back here eventually.
Zeta wandered around the poor section of town, settling at the Fleaside Tavern where he made contact with the local thieves’ guild, a lieutenant named Galarus. He suspected the orphanage might be in line with the thieves’ guild. On his completion, he wandered around town until his tail was lost and then made his back to the Inn.
Tranis went out and did some hunting, getting a quail and then selling it to the local tavern for a few coins.
We rested, waking the next day (watermonth the 18th) and set our plan in motion. Tranis went out for hunting again, and Quintus made his way north to Dairymeade hoping he might get picked up and assaulted.
And we hit pay dirt. Both of our guys were assaulted by bandits. Lone guys, no real armor, minimal weaponry. They were each robbed of the items laced with the smelly oils, and then briefly blinded while the bandits escaped. They waited for their vision to return, went back to town, met up with the rest of us and shared where they think they were assaulted at first. Noted were compared and we noted humans and half-elves, archers, and large assed dogs. Total was maybe 8 or so?
We armed and armored up and then went off, coming to Quintus’ site first. Whosea caught the scent and we followed it across the landscape to the west of the road, going to an abandoned homestead. There was a single wall, 300’ long, 100’ from the home, 3’ tall. No light in the windows and no smoke from the chimney – but we could faintly see movement through the unshuttered windows. This had to be the place.
The feeling was that there were archers, fighters, and maybe druids and sorcerers in the bandit employ. So we discussed plans quietly around the corner of the wall and eventually opted to have Quintus approach the front and lure some of the bandits out. Then the rest of us would storm forward and assault the back of the Estate House.
Goodberries were handed out and Flimflam also cast a few Invisibility to Animals to cover the entire party, and then had us “touch” his own animals so they could be seen. This should keep the enemy dogs off our ass. And then as ready as we were going to be, Quintus wandered to the front of the place and began walking closer.
A voice from within told him to stop right there and he continued on that all he wanted was his ring back. They went back and forth as he approached and then the grasses around him rippled and he was entangled, held to the ground. A three count came out to bind him and bring him in, taking some of the camp dogs with them – BIG dogs.
This was our chance. The rest of the party climbed over the wall spread out (to avoid being entangled) and charged the wall. A number of us were outlined in purple and green flames – faerie fired. And then arrows were shot out of the window, peppering the party. Zeta was hit a few times and the charge to the house slowed. We tried to return fire and another spell shot out, warping Tranis’ bow and snapping his string!
Quintus was being forced inside and those inside were calling for help – so they double timed it towards the back. Light spells and magic missiles flared, followed by a blast of Tasha’s Uncontrollable hideous Laughter. The inside of the Estate home was illuminated, making it easier to pick our targets. Hit points were whittling away as we closed the gap. The bandits came out, spearheaded by a large fighter-type in chainmail and sporting a well used broadsword. Others followed and more spells and shot went flying. Zeta hit the ground with 2 hp’s left and 4 painful wounds – staying there.
Marcus raced ahead and shot the emerging troupe with a sleep spell, dropping two of them. An attempt was made to Hold Whosea but it failed. Flimflam summoned a hippogriff next, appearing IN the house and assaulting the foes arranged still inside. And still arrows rained amongst the party with devastating accuracy.
We could hear others inside coming to the fight when the ground tore from just in front of Zeta’s prone form, ripping to the north and east in a grinding broken line – 30’ across! And then the earth fell. A crater dropped down 30’, steep sloped sides making egress from those caught in the chasm (Flimflam, Whosea, Sanford, Marcus, and three of the enemy forces as well (the fighter and the two who had been caught in the sleep spell)) almost impossible. There were two cave opening along the eastern side of the pit – each maybe 7’ tall, 6’ wide. And coming from each – over a dozen under warriors, skeletal dogs, zombies, and even a giant skeletal bear.
And they were charging for everyone stuck in the pit.
The druidic leader of the bandits called out, “Truce!” at the same time that Flimflam did. Both sides then turned their attention to the ravenous horde and prepared to do battle with the living dead.