Footprints #16 – Bandit Stronghold

fp16

by Brian Wells
Freely distributed by Dragonsfoot
AD&D
Levels 2-4

This is a short little assault/infiltration of a bandit lair that it set in to a cliffside. Decent loot and an attempt at a decent location differentiate this one. The mini-note map formats at the end of the adventure are in an interesting format.

Caravan attacked, bandits, daughter taken hostage .. the usual crew starts this adventure off. It is distinguished by a couple of extra lines in the descriptions to help the DM kick things off. The caravan survivors gather around a wagon and prepare for attack when the party approaches. The bandits leave people behind at their turn-off to watch their rear. Those are among the sorts of little extra details that distinguish this adventure from many others that use these same elements. Those sorts of detail are not much and they tend to be buried in a lot of extra text, but the do provide that extra bit of zip for the DM to work with.

The bandit lair is more of the same, both good and bad.The lair sits on a edge on a cliff ledge with some ruined buildings that have been recent rebuilt and refortified. A corral full of horses and livestock sits outside. An outcropping of jade is nearby in the cliffside. The ‘fort’ has arrow slits. With 24 or so defenders this is going to be a tough nut for the party to crack. I like these sorts of set ups; just a fortification with guards and some brief guard descriptions and a kind of ‘mission impossible’ base assault type feel. That’s usually the type of thing that spawns crazy PC plans that always end with major amounts of fun.

The interior rooms, about nine or so, are nothing special. There’s a great deal of text, several long paragraphs in most cases, that describes the rooms. These are generally of not much use. Just detailed descriptions of the minutia that makes up the rooms, some geographic information and a little bit of “70% chance of 1d2 bandits during the daytime” type of information. There’s little in the room descriptions to assist a DM in running an exciting or interesting room, just the minutia of everyday life.

The treasure IS interesting through. I already mentioned the jade deposit in the cliffside. The reward from the merchant for his daughter is 200# of raw silver ore. Pearl earrings, animal pelts like beaver, min and fox, bolts of fine cloth, and other trade goods abound as treasure. The magic items are not stellar; while there is a Rod of Pass Without Trace the rest of the items are just book magic: +1 swords and bows and arrows and boring old potions. I wish as much effort had gone in to the magic items as went in to the mundane treasure; it would have added wonderfully to the adventure.

The maps are interesting. There are three at the end and they contain most of the key information for the adventure. The rough notes, the key monsters stats and the like. I’m not sure if this is the ‘original adventure’ that the more detailed write up was based off of or if it’s just a play aid. Either way it is a great way to summarize the adventure for the DM and is PROBABLY the only thing a decent DM needs to run the adventure. This sort of consideration for Actual Play is something I wish more adventures would do.

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