What with one thing and another, an awful lot of bandits show up in games. In an effort to make them into something other than speedbumps on the way to more dangerous encounters, here's a page on the Whys and Wherefores of banditry as it is in the world of the White City.
Ultimately, banditry is a lucrative career option. Merchant caravans are constantly travelling from the White City to the South, the West and especially the East. In addition many bandits adopt a raider lifestyle, pillaging defenceless villages, which usually helps to tide them over in the off season. All in all, it's not a bad life, apart from the ever present threat of death at the hands of a bunch of random adventurers.
Although it is convenient to lump all bandits together as "bandits", they do come in distinct flavours.
Brigands - These are your standard bandits. They waylay travellers and nick their stuff. They often pose as harmless members of the general public, in order to catch people unawares.
Raiders - Raiders are generally less concerned with waylaying travellers than with pillaging farms and villages. They are usually more organised and more numerous than mere brigands, and often have quite substantial encampments.
Raider-Villages - Sometimes, a village will be unable or unwilling to support itself through farming or a similar legitimate livelihood, and so will become a base and haven for raiders. Such organised groups of raiders can be a serious problem.
Highwaymen - Bandits with style. There is something of a vogue at the moment for "gentleman bandits", who will rob people in a polite and indeed quite charming way. Some, indeed, will challenge to formal combat anyone from whom they attempt to steal, and may even pay recompense if they are beaten.
One of the major reasons that banditry remains such an occupation of choice for so many is the lucrative sponsorship deals that a canny bandit chief can strike. With so many noble Families and City states squabbling over the trade routes, it becomes very very tempting for factions to start nobbling one another by hiring bandits. So they often do. A remarkable number of bandit groups will be working for one faction or another, and if you know the right signs they will often leave you alone.
Since people often wind up slaughtering bandits and then searching their camps, it's a good idea to provide a list of random effects that bandits may have on them.
Bandits are as religious as the next group of people, and since only the Light really proscribes specifically against theft many different faiths are to be found amongst bandit kind. The cult of the Prince of the Trade Wind is of course popular, and there are a fair few cultists of the Rattle Prince. A lot of bandits follow the cult of Blood & Wine, just because it's got a rep as the party religion. The cults of various Burned Lords are also relatively popular, since banditry is dangerous work.
The Troglodyte Tribes of the East
A number of tribes of troglodytes have taken to waylaying travellers, this is partially banditry and partially a territorial issue. Troglodyte infighting often reduces this threat considerably.
Sir Thomas Wollesley
Whether he's really a knight is the subject of some speculation, but Sir Tom's men have been sighted on the road to the City of Silk for several years now. Sir Tom is very much the gentleman bandit and has some level of popularity amongst the villagers of the West, who see him as a bit of a folk hero despite the fact that he has never really done them any good. There is a ballad about Sir Tom in the Filk section.
The Servants of the Palace at Three Rivers
The vast majority of banditry in the North is controlled from the Palace, and a number of the more dangerous raiding parties wield impious Ash magics or include undead among their number. The entire place is generally considered best avoided.
An unusual bandit captain who sometimes shows up, usually in the South but occasionally elsewhere. He has been cropping up for at least a decade and never appears to get any older, which has fuelled suspicions that he is either a myth, a Sorceror or a particularly unusual god.
Up to the top - This page last updated: 11th March 2005
Email the White City webmeister § Email the LARP Organiser § Back to the gates of The White City