[This will begin the fictionalization of a new campaign using 1st edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons playing through the classic Temple of Elemental Evil campaign, written by Gary Gygax.]
The party met on the main road south from the city of Verbobonc and while they were strangers, happenstance, timing and perhaps the gods will brought them together on the same path heading in the same direction.
Niel, a devotee of St Cuthbert and Mann-wulf, a tall imposing Baklunu warrior met. Both were seeking to right injustices and make a name for themselves. Rumour abound of bandits and other unrest in the nearby village of Hommlet.
Leaving Verbobonc, the pair ran into the unlikely pair of Or’ra Screameyelock, an Olven (elven) mage-thief and her Hobniz (halfing) companion, Wilo Fleetblower. Both had been outcast from the thieves guild of Verbobonc, and joined the group.
Anri Brightwater, a ranger from the nearby lands joined, feeling a strange kinship with the wild Olven mage. Finally, Car-i and Xogan the Cautious, an ex brigand-turned-fighter and magical student joined the group.
While still more than 5 leagues to go, Niel lead the group along the well-marked roadway. The occasional low shrub and rolling hills provided some minor cover, but there was very little surprised on either side as four men stepped out to block the road.
They were dressed in leather and carried functional shields. The two in the lead carried wickedly curved swords, while flanking them were two men carrying one handed mauls. Some movement drew the attention to a fifth man who stood up from behind some shrubbery, holding a crossbow.
From his leather hood, the leader raised his hand. “Halt!”
Niel raised his hand, and the party stopped, wary.
“There is a toll to pass.” the leader continued. Behind him, the other men snickered.
“A toll?” Niel repeated. Behind him, Wilo commented, “We don’t know who they are working for, or what their intent is”
As if hearing that, the man on the left commented “Oh yes. A toll. We work for the Viscount of Verbobonc.”
Another round of snickering.
“How much is this toll?” Niel asked, still not drawing his weapon – not wanting to provoke an attack on who could be innocent tax-men.
The leader spoke “Oh.. how much? It’s..” there is a pause as the brigand sized up the group. “Two gold pieces. Each. So that is..” he paused, his finger raised to count the seven party members, “That would be.. 20 gold pieces total.”
“I see their math is as good as their honesty” Wilo dryly pointed out.
Mann-wulf was starting to get anxious, but Niel lifted an open hand. “Approach, so that we may finish this transaction.”
The two men looked at each other, and still brandishing their swords, they slowly approached to about five feet before Niel. The flanking men While not rich by any means, the party easily had the funds for the paltry toll – but it was the injustice of it.
“Ten Gold.” Mann-wulf shouted from the rear of the party. Wilo glanced at the tall man, and then reached into her pouch, pulling out a handful of the stones she carried, her other hand sneakily slipping her sling from her belt.
“Wait.. no.. it was twenty gold.” The leader said, confused.
Mann-wulf removed his shield from his back, and reached for his weapon, “Oh.. I don’t think you heard me. I said eight gold.”
Seeing as the negotiations were breaking down, the leader nodded, and the two men with mauls started to flank the party looking menacingly.
Wilo took a look at the men, then glanced at Mann-wulf. “This isn’t going to work.” she said, referring to the negotiations. Slipping the stone into the cloth pocket, the nimble Hobniz stepped out, whistling the sling in an arc over her head, releasing to let stone fly. The stone impacted soundly on the crossbowman.
“Get Them!” the brigands shouted, with the lead two descending on Niel. In their eagerness, their curved swords locked, and their attack was over before it began.
Anri grabbed a dagger from her belt, tossing it beside Niel, landing soundly into the lead bandit, before drawing her bow.
Xogan who had been quiet until then, wove arcane symbols, and a glowing bolt of energy appeared beside him, streaking out to hit the crossbowman. This time the bandit fell back into the bushes.
Mann-wulf was at the back of the party – rear guard, but he did not want to be left out. Drawing his spear, he shouted a battle cry and threw the spear down the middle ranks of the party, over Niels shoulder, and unfortunately over the shoulder of the bandit. Mann-wulf cursed.
The two maul-armed bandits descended on Car-i, with mauls swinging. Car-i had her bastard-sword out – defending against both sides of her with large sweeping motions. First knocking one maul away, and following up with cracking the other bandit across the head with her massive sword. The bandit crumpled.
Wilo ran wide in the space opened up by Car-i, having reloaded and landed another stone, this time on the bandits attacking Niel. Anri mirrored the action, however her footing stumbled and she nearly lost her footing, the arrow flying wide. Renocking, she fired again, this one landing and freeing Car-i from bandits.
Mann-wulf shouted a mighty battle cry, charging forward into the bandit facing Niel, swinging, however failing to connect. “ARG! I SUCK!” he cried to the heavens.
The remaining bandit knew he had been outclassed, and just dropped his sword and shield, turning to flee.
Niel was about to attack, but paused. “Is it right to hit the back of a fleeing opponent?”
“He still could go out and cause evil.” Mann-wulf commented back. “Perhaps we should.”
“But it does not feel right, he may have learnt his lessons.” Niel debated back.
A blur of motion, as a slung stone passed between Niel and Mann-wulf, hitting the bandit squarely in the back of the head, knocking him prone. The party turned back to look at Or’ra.
She narrowed her eyes back. “Problem solved.”
The bandits were found to only have a small handful of coins and one gem. Apparently the pickings on the road had been slim. There wasn’t anything identifying them either – no way to know if they belonged to a greater evil – or were just a passing band.
“We cannot just leave them.” Niel noted. “Let’s bind their wounds, and leave them.”
“Shall we bring them with us?” asked Mann-wulf.
“It’s 5 leagues to Hommlet.” Wilo commented. “I’m not carrying them.” She paused and then pondered. “Do they have any rope?”
“Good plan. We can tell the local sheriff when we get to Hommlet.” Niel agreed
Finding indeed there was several coils of rope, the bandits were left, tied together. The party continued into the spring afternoon. Next stop – Hommlet