Amazon Quintet of Justice, episode II: "After the Bandits! We Must
Our Heroines' dwarven contact (and employer for the last job) decided
he wanted to go to the university in the capital to some research.
Reasoning that leaving town wouldn't make Hrogarth less of a target for
the Forces of Evil1, the Amazon Quintet
offered to escort him there. (They wanted to check into the lich
There had been increases in prices and mutterings about bandits in
the lowlands, so the trip was conducted with due caution, but nothing
happened while the road meandered through several small villages of the
same sort as Quietdale2.
Then, just a couple of days from the first real city, Tigris, while
camping between towns3, Evil struck!
A little while after dark, three bandits covered by a silence spell pounced on
Solara, who had wandered off to skulk in the woods. At those odds, she
started getting beat up pretty bad, but Amaryllis noticed the bushes
rustling, checked to see that the only male for miles around (Hrogarth)
was still asleep by the fire, and raised the alarm.
Three more bandits then leapt out at Amaryllis and stuck her with swords,
ruining her clothes!
These guys were darn tough for bandits, but once the Amazon Quintet
regrouped so they weren't being picked off individually at bad odds, they
triumphed fairly quickly. It's unclear whether Hrogarth helped overall
by flailing at the bandits with his satchel of books and breaking the
sanctuary spell Fresa put on him, but the bludgeoning he did
let us take one of the bandits alive without having to waste expensive
potions on him. In fact, only one bandit didn't survive to get a fair
Interrogation didn't go all that well, despite one of the bandits being
turned over to Amaryllis and Solara so he could emit terrified shrieks from
behind the bushes while Sophia discoursed sadly on how she just couldn't
keep them from using up prisoners. They did admit to having friends who
would be mad at them if they sold out4, but
that was about it. So they got tied up, guarded carefully, and in the
morning marched to Tigris to be handed over to lawful authority (along with
all the recaptured loot from the camp Solara and Alyssa found by
This made the AQoJ local heroes, since no one else locally had been able
to do anything about the bandits. The guard couldn't track them down, Q
caravans got either ignored or crushed with overwhelming and well-informed
force, merchants were losing valuable goods at a distressing rate, it was
bad all around. Since Sophia lives solely to fix bad situations, action had
to be taken! Fortunately, Hrogarth had been sucked into the local
extension of the Great University, so the Quintet had some free time.
(One other adventuring party had tried to clean out the bandits but had
last been seen heading off to raise money to ransom one of their number
who'd been captured, said prisoner being described as a dark-haired,
dreamy-eyed youth named Con-something. Amaryllis and Solara quickly agreed
with Sophia that the bandits needed dealing with.)
As celebrities, the Quintet couldn't just announce they were saddling
up to go clear out the bandits; the informers in the watch and the
merchant's guild would have the word out in less than no time. So, after
getting one of Amaryllis's sorcerous acquaintances to shapeshift to
imitate one or another of them at scattered times and places within the
city5, they snuck out of town and set
off on the trail of the bandits.
They couldn't find any useful tracks from the camp of the bandits who
attacked them, but Alyssa called a hawk to do some scouting and it
reported finding two areas that didn't have much in the way of rabbits
and deer. One of them also had owlbears, but the other didn't, so the
Quintet pegged it as a likely bandit hideout and headed for it.
Of course the owlbears attacked along the way, but they were
dispatched fairly quickly, and their lair located. The four appallingly
cute cubs were determined to be not innately evil, so they were caged up
with a good supply of food and water and left to be picked up on the way
The bandit camp was pretty much where expected, and not unlike what
had been expected (rude wooden buildings, tents, a cave), but had one
fairly sturdy building that contained about a dozen young, attractive
humans. Since the adventurer guy was the only one who had been known to
have been taken prisoner, this was an unexpected complication.
Plans were laid, modified, discarded, and revived, but finally it was
agreed that kidnapping and interrogating the lone sentry was the first
step to any plan. Alyssa laid a false owlbear trail to throw off
suspicion while Solara and Sophia, covered by the silence wand,
mugged the sentry. This would have failed miserably and brought the
whole camp down on them had not the prisoners seen them and made enough
commotion to cover the sentry's yells until they could finally blackjack
him into submission.
There was no pursuit, so Amaryllis and Fresa didn't get to ambush
anyone at the end of the owlbear trail, but that was within the
parameters of the protoplan. The sentry, being not entirely Evil,
succumbed to moral suasion and bribery and described the bandit's MO and
the inside of the cave and so forth, but didn't know what the prisoners
Our Heroines flailed around in the set of all possible plans for a
while longer before deciding that the corridor that led off from the
inhabited parts of the cave must lead to a secret escape route for the
bandit leader. Thus, they planned to cover the entire exterior part of
the camp with an entangle spell, use a flaming sphere
to burn a path to the cave, and then collapse the entrance as soon as
they got in to prevent being pincered. After cleaning out the higher-ups
in the cave, they would go out the back door and come around the hill to
clean up the riff-raff. Since the taking of hostages was a concern,
Amaryllis would send an air elemental into the building where they were
kept to mug any inside guard, and then she would fly up invisibly and
pass the prisoners the Quintet's spare weapons.
The plan was actually dead well before contact with the enemy, but
its hair and claws kept growing so it had the appearance of viability
until the Amaryllis got to the prison shack and the air elemental said,
"No armed guys in here, boss". And there was a funny oily smell...
Alyssa entangled the camp, but one of the guards by the cave
escaped the plants long enough to shoot a fire arrow into the prison shack,
which went up like a wooden building soaked in lamp oil. Sophia and her
horse6 ran around to help deal with that
and ended up fighting off the two bandits who were waiting to ambush anyone
who tried to rescue the prisoners (there were still a few inside, tied up),
leaving Amaryllis and the elemental free to work on prying a board out of
the hut7. Meanwhile, the rest of the team
fought their way along the path, through those of the bandits who had
managed to break free of the entangle long enough to get in their
All this took much longer than it should have, but eventually Amaryllis
killed the bandits at the hut, Sophia and her horse broke down the wall of
the prison so the hostages could escape, and the rest arrived at the cave
entrance. Things may or may not have been helped overall by the cloud of
obscuring mist Alyssa conjured to cover the battlefield.
At the cave entrance, one of the mid-rank bandits tried to get Fresa to
back off by showing a cute teenage boy and a knife, and demonstrating he
wasn't afraid to use them, but she put the bandit to flight with a
command, patched the kid up, and sent him off to join the other
escapees. There was also an embarrassing moment when Alyssa's jump
potion sent her flying over Fresa's head and into her own
entangle, but the fog covered that up nicely, and she was able to
conjure a flame blade and get free to join the fight.
Inside the cave was a rat bastard with a bastard sword, three of
his goons, and a bunch of hostages. The bandits were shouting something
about "Sacrifice them now!" "No, the stars are wrong!", so Sophia
engaged the leader in open combat while Solara ran around behind and
removed his kidneys. Amaryllis shot the bow out of the hand of the goon
pointing it at a hostage, and he fled down the corridor. She and Solara
followed him, as did Sophia shortly, and Alyssa and Fresa after they
cleaned up the other goons and sent the prisoners out with the
It's a good thing things didn't go as planned, because the corridor
did not lead to a secret escape route! It led to a small room
with a pool of evil liquid and a big scary snake-woman-thing with a big scary
sword. The bandit fled babbling behind his "Mistress" and battle was
As usual, Solara worked her way around behind the foe (offing the
goon in the process) while Sophia engaged from the front and Amaryllis
flung rabid elementals and arcane missiles from afar. Alyssa and Fresa
joined the battle line, so there was someone to take up slack when
Sophia had to fall back. Fortunately, the snake-monster was completely
unable to actually bite anyone, so we didn't find out how nasty its
venom was, and although it was resistant to magic, some spells did get
through. Holy water also got tossed into the pool, which made it hiss
angrily but didn't seem to kill it.
Badly mangled, the snake-monster tried to dive into the pool, but
body-slamming the fire elemental burned it enough that it slumped,
unconscious, across the rim of the pool... which began sucking it in!
Sure that nothing good could come of this, the Quintet (plus elementals)
dragged the corpse back out, with some difficulty, and shoved it into a
corner far away from the pool. Amaryllis tried to use shocking
grasp on the pool, even though it reached up to grab for her8, which resulted in her taking the maximum
shocking grasp damage, but not in her being sucked into hell to be
the pool's sex toy for the rest of eternity.
Leaving the pool to be fixed later, Our Heroines collected the
treasure, freed prisoners (including a handsome, dark-haired,
dreamy-eyed git named Conrad), and captured bandits, and went back to
the city (stopping to collect the owlbear cubs along the way).
1: Well, someone didn't want him to get the
Ancient Dwarven Research Materials!
2: For some reason, bandits don't find robbing poor hicks as
rewarding as robbing rich city folk.
3: An ancient dwarf plus a rickety cart doesn't make
for speedy travel.
4: Duh. Like the Quintet would have believed that a band
of random muggers was carrying around eighteen potions and two
5: But only doing disreputable things when disguised as
6: Or possibly, "the horse and Sophia".
7: Because the door was a) on fire, and b)
8: Why yes, she does hang out with Solara a
lot. Why do you ask?
* * *
By this time it was midnight, so we broke there and fled homeward