Bandits in the Woods

Continuing our Zweihãnder game, on Roll20, we are dealing with bandits that have been murdering tax collectors near the village. Eva the Preacher continues with her tale.

The last thing that happened that night was that a well dressed outsider stopped me after my sermon and said that “it was always good to hear a stirring lesson on people knowing their place”. He was dressed in sturdy travelling clothes, and probably someone of importance, but definitely not from the village.

We later found out that he was here with two others, and nobody was sure what their purpose here was. The gentleman had given his name as Ernest Haast. His bodyguard was named Klimmer, and there was a third who slept in the barn named Garn.

Whilst talking to the innkeeper after the sermon I was asked whether our reasons for being here were more than we were presenting, and whether it was anything to do with the bandit situation. I complemented him on his observation, and admitted that yes, we may be here to look into things. He seemed to find the bandits more trouble than they were worth, and mentioned that I might want to speak to someone named Eric Vortson.

The inn was relatively subdued whilst I was there, but apparently it got much livelier after I went to bed.

This morning we decided to split up. Calthar had to go to the blacksmith to get some of her armour repaired, and Djarin hung around at the inn and kept an eye on things there. I went for a walk around the village to ‘check on things’, and made my way back via Eric Vortson’s house, trying to look casual about it.

I did have a concern about approaching him – I wasn’t certain whether he would know something and be helpful, or know something because he was involved with them. In the end, I took a plunge and just knocked on his door and talked to him. He explained that he’d made a snide comment about the bandits the other night when a couple of them happened to be in the inn. They’d beaten him up and injured his leg. He explained that he wasn’t the only one who was against the bandits – maybe about a third of the village was. They caused trouble and drove merchants away, so he considered them bad in the long run. They were also likely to bring more trouble to the village if the Baron didn’t get his taxes.

He gave directions to where they could be found in the woods nearby, as well as their names and who they were. There were six of them, only one of which had actual military experience, but three of them were good with a bow. Dealing with them directly could be a problem.

Back at the inn, Calthar had obtain some similar information from the blacksmith. According to the innkeep, a couple of the bandits often stopped by the inn every other night or so – which meant there was a good chance of catching them tonight.

I had wanted to find out more about the others as well – Ernest Haast and his companions. Apparently I completely failed to spot them going into the inn whilst sitting right outside, and didn’t get a chance to meet up with them over the rest of the day. Djarin and spotted them coming and doing though, and they may have been up to something outside of the village.

The evening has been eventful. Two of the bandits did turn up at the inn, and with help from a bit of coin from Calthar the innkeep served them beer which was considerably stronger than normal. The woman was Hesta, the man Bergin, and we caught up with them as they were trying to stagger back to their camp.

As they fumbled around, I made myself known to them and demanded that they come quietly and surrender to us – they were under arrest for banditry. They refused to come quietly (though were quite incapable of doing much), but admitted that they were bandits. So Calthar knocked them both out.

We decided to hang them there and then. Leaving it until morning would complicate how to deal with the others, and would also probably lead to a problem with a lot of the villagers if they objected to us enforcing the law.

Having dealt with these two, we made our way carefully into the woods – fortunately there was sufficient moonlight to see by. It wasn’t too hard to find their encampment, and all but one of them was asleep. Djarin took care of her quietly, and then both him and Calthar took care of the rest. It was a messy business, but I don’t see that we could have done it a better way that wouldn’t have led to more trouble later, or to our deaths.

We have decided to camp out in the woods, and go back into the village in the morning once people have discovered the two we hung.

The mood of the crowd that morning had been ugly. As expected, many of the villagers were very upset that their friends had been hung, and some rushed off into the woods to check on the others. Equipped with pitchforks and scythes, they were close to being violent towards us.

I started a sermon first saying prayers for those who had died, not just the bandits but the others whom they had killed. I then explained that they who had preyed about the villagers and merchants hereabout had been dealt with, and received their just punishment.

I tried to say that the roads would now be safe, and that merchants would be able to come here again. I also said that the bandits were no fault of the villagers here – that they were outsiders not known to the locals. Though many in the village supported the bandits, and were even friends with them, I wanted the whole affair to end here.

Player’s Note: Now that I actually have the Leadership skill, I get to make proper use of my Preacher ability, which allows me to flip the dice to succeed when making a Leadership test. This means than when rolling percentile dice, I can select which is tens and which is units – rolling 93 allows me to treat it as 39. Very useful. Something I forgot though, is that I also always treat a success as a critical success. I put it down to Eva only just having learned the skill. I rolled a 05, which didn’t need reversing, which was enough to succeed.

Fortunately, my words were just enough to sway enough of them that things remained mostly peaceful, though I think some may have also been influenced by Calthar’s steely stare. Nevertheless, we quickly exited the village after that and are now heading back towards the city to report our success.

Samuel Penn