Monday, August 6, 2018

Bandit Tables: Get More Out of Your Bandit Encounters

The party travels through the winding game trail. Up ahead a loud whistle cracks through the air. Immediately, angry shouts from above, to the left, and to the right follow. Arrows strike party members. Bandits erupt from the underbrush and attacks. 

How many times have parties encountered and fought these low level ruffians? They are like an optional starter kit for 1st level adventures.

But you know what? I love bandits. 

They don't have to be generic, nameless, mud smeared criminals living in the trees. If you wish to make them a little more interesting I've come up with a few quick tables to flesh out your bandits. 

d6 Leadership Strength 
1 none: the group has no leadership, they are have a -2 to morale rolls. Their group will only have minimal members.
2 - 3 weak: broken into fractions, the current leader has a tenuous hold on the leadership. One or two bandits divide the group. A -1 to Morale rolls. 
4 - 5 moderate: the bandits obey the current leadership There is no morale adjustments. 
6 - strong: a respected and/or feared leader. Bandits will not disobey orders and less likely to give up information. They are have a +1 to morale rolls. 

Now that we have the strength of leadership determined, we can move onto what type of leadership. It doesn't have to be a bigger version of themselves. There are numerous reasons why a bandit group exists. 

d10 Leadership Type (if no leadership then skip this table)
1 - 3 bigger/smarter bandit: a bandit has proven to be the biggest or the smartest, and has taken control. 
4 absent: the leader works through a proxy in the group. The absent leader makes an appearance when needed, but relies on his proxy's ability to lead. Leadership  Strength rolls are at -1.
5 co-leaders: a pair of powerful and respected individuals run the group. 
6 secret: a puppet master props up the leader of the bandits by providing information, supplies, and bribes. A secret leader is using the bandits to further an agenda.
7 religious: led by a leader who believes their purpose it to serve a god. It gives the bandits purpose and a justification for their actions. Religious leaders gain a +1 to Leadership Strength rolls.
8 monstrous: a creature has gained control of the bandits through threat or intelligence. The monster has to have some intelligence, a reason why it has taken control of the bandits.
9 military: conscripted under the leadership of an actual and self-styled military leader. Military leaders gain a +2 on Leadership Strength rolls.
10 family: this group of bandits is a family and thus run by one of the family. They gain +2 to leadership rolls. 

Each bandit group has a reason to exist. You could go with the outlaws joining together to make a living. But some groups have purposes beyond plying a trade. 

1d4 Purpose
1 survival: these bandits were thrown out, chased away, running from the law are out to survive. If given the chance, they may return to civilization to reestablish their lives. No need to roll on the Wealth table. 
2 money: they are looking to get paid. Money is power. Money is freedom. Money is what they want.
3 killers: these bandits enjoy the kill. Gold and jewels is secondary.
4 justified: bandits with a purpose, they feel justified in the actions no matter how horrible. 

With these three simple tables, a GM can create bandits that rise above the expected.