Friday, October 9, 2020

Howl of Oblivion - The Bandit Plague [Part 1]

Howl of Oblivion presented by Iron Seer
Howl of Oblivion Campaign Page

The Greyhawk Wars have passed.  From the ashes, the nations of the Flanaess retreat to their holds to lick their wounds.  Though peace is said to flourish across the lands and the wars have ground to a halt, the Flanaess is perhaps more dangerous today than at the outbreak of the wars.

All folk across the Flanaess are justifiably wary of even their neighbors, to say nothing of strangers.  The wars and their insidious belligerents have made everyone paranoid, and the general rule is to keep to one's self.  In these uncertain times, caution prevails over social niceties.  The distance between communities (as well as the folk within them) has grown greatly over the last few long and hard years. 

In the west, in the lands populated by the Baklunish folk, the scars of the war are only just beginning to be felt.  Far from civilization, some bands of nomads never saw  battle in the recent conflicts of the eastern nations.  

And yet...something sinister stirs in these lands.  The unrest across the Flanaess has risen dramatically since the wars' end.  In these dark times, danger stirs to threaten all one could ever hold dear - and even those far removed from the conflicts of these last years will suffer.  

The Tevarsi Encampment

In the eastern part of the lands of the Tiger Nomads, the Tevarsi clan plies the space where the foothills of the Yatils meet the ice of the frozen north.

Loyal to the Unvanquishable Tiger Lord Ilkhan Cligit of the Chakyik Horde, the Tevarsi have lived on these lands for hundreds of years.  They have a fine tradition of horsemanship, and are proud to serve as warriors for the Ilkhan when he calls for them.

The encampment is sprawling, with many yurts set up in concentric circles.  While approximately 400 people populate the clan's grounds, only 100 or so of them are fighting age males.

The Tevarsi are typical Tiger Nomads, one might even say exemplar of the sort.

The following are points of interest within the encampment, where ever it may currently be:

  • Amir's Yurt
  • Elder's Council
  • Shrine of Istus
  • Artisans' Ring
  • Outfitters' Row
  • Hunter's Lodges
  • Stable Yards
  • Night Market

While the Tevarsi have plenty of normal supplies, it might be hard for PC's to find exactly what they are looking for within the encampment.  To represent this, the premium on any non-food item other than basic weapons is raised to 25%.  Otherwise, the normal 10% still applies as it does all over the Flanaess due to the lasting effects of the war.

The Bandit Plague

Neighboring tribes to the east and west both have concerns regarding roving brigands.

The nearby Zyrjan clan of the Tiger Nomads have sent emissaries who will arrive shortly, and the Faraku Wolf Nomads just beyond the foothills have also sent word of their concerns back with the border scouts, and will arrive within the week to speak to the Amir.  

The player characters are trusted advisors of the Amir of the Tevarsi, Sulan Iruz.  The adventure begins with the players standing with the Amir.  Sulan Iruz requires the PC's to escort the emissaries of the Zyrjan into the encampment, who are expected to arrive later in the day.  Nothing untoward is expected, but the amir wants some of his best folk on the job. 

The players approach the ridge at mid-day and post-up.  They must wait until the Zyrjan envoys appear on the horizon and let them approach.  Once contact has been made, they are to bring the envoys back to the camp.

However, that plan doesn't exactly pan out.  

A string of nomad commoners from the lands outlying the camp arrive, and are waved into the encampment from a distance.  Lopollah, the Tevarsi priestess of Istus, visits the party while they are on the ridge soon after.  She and a few acolytes bring water and begin singing to the goddess.

Suddenly, three horses come running fast over the far ridge.  Nothing seems to be pursuing them, but when the horsemen draw closer it can be seen that they are panicked and fleeing. The players flag them down, and though they are frightened at first the party identifies themselves quickly, they they stop and are becalmed enough to speak.

It is Calikankir Fashrazradir of the Zyrjans, and two of his men.  They are injured and bleeding, and they bring word from their  Amir Beif Castandreh of increased brigand activity along the main routes through both Zyrjan and Tevarsi territory.

It seems they had been ambushed further up the trail, just over the far ridge!  Although they managed to escape, but lost a man and cart (full of food). They saw four brigands, and were taken by surprise at close quarters.

The party did not wait, sending Fashrazradir into the camp with Lopollah.  Advancing on the ambush site, they are spotted by brigands who are plundering the Zyrjan cart. The party of adventurers make short work of the brigands, some of whom manage to run into the wilderness.

Victorious, they notice the unconcious body of an old man, Xers Dai, the eldest of the Zyrjan envoy's party.  He was assumed dead by Fahshrazradir and was left.  Xers is very grateful once he realizes the party means him no harm.  The party also search the brigands for loose change.

The party safely delivers Xers Dai to the envoy and the amir.

The Zyrjans bring dire news.  All across the northern nomad lands, brigands have been rising in number and disrupting the otherwise idyllic lives of the folk who dwell there.  Dealing with this will have to be a combined effort, especially if the brigands manage to form an army.  This is Fashrazradir's prime concern.

The party is named as the forefront of the body of soldiers the amir will commit to help hunt down these brigand dogs before they can form an army.  When the other members of the Zyrjan envoy leave with the amir's pledge of these warriors to the hunt, Lopollah approaches the party along with Xers Dai.  He had remained behind for another concern.

It seems that his son, Hanasib, has gone missing. Due to both this event and his unique placement in the Zyrjan tribe, Dai has developed a theory about what may be happening with the brigands but was hesitant to bring it up in front of Fashrazradir.  It seems that a Ketite amir named Tep El-Bakir appeared in their lands, offering work to the men who could fight.

Hanasib listened to El-Bakir's rhetoric, which alluded that those with might could find conquest in the east in the wake of the war.  El-Bakir insinuated ideas of wealth and glory in the minds of the young men. This angered Amir Beif, and he summoned El-Bakir - who could not be found in the Zyrjan encampment.

Against the orders of Amir Beif, many of them went to join El-Bakir in the night.  Hanasib was one of them.  Dai insists that Hanasib is a good young man, but taken with the lies of a budding warlord.  He pleads with the party to bring Hanasib back alive, and without telling the Zyrjans of the issue.

Lopollah seems to endorse this, which seems odd for a follower of a Fate deity.  She was the only one Dai trusted to speak to, as a Priestess of Istus.  Additionally, she has one of her acolytes point the party in the direction of mysterious tracks found in the last few days that don't seem to belong to any of the Tevarsi.

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