Another guest post submitted by: Alan Knightly (aka. Tamn Footstooler)
My name is Tamn. Until recently I was a slave. Very briefly I was a wealthy adventurer. Now I am a bandit.
It all started when I fell down a well, the bandit part at least. I landed in the middle of a small army of kobolds, orcs, lizard-men, and…other things, all with weapons pointed at me. I thought I was going to die, albeit, a better death than my friends got. I was just waiting for one of the kobolds to skewer me while I was down, then the biggest half-orc I’d ever seen pushed his way through the throng and offered me a hand.
I let the big bastard, genetically speaking of course, help me to my feet, and he introduced himself as “Noriss the Grey, Bandit Lord of Old Phlan.” He gave me a rather square deal—join his group or die. Obviously the former seemed preferable, so I found myself facing off, unarmed, against an oddly cute-looking lady-kobold. Don’t ask me why I thought she was cute, or how I knew she was a she.
I usually prefer to have at least a stick for a fight. She was a lot stronger than she looked and, damn was she quick, but after a few tosses I got her measure, got her in a choke-hold, and had her under in a couple of minutes.
Noriss was pretty sweet on the whole thing, let me keep my weapons and armor and gear, took all my cash—nearly a thousand crowns worth—naturally. He named me a ‘lieutenant’—apparently most of the gang were scraped up from the rank-and-file of local humanoid tribes or skum from the slums, so “adventurers” that join get special treatment.
After the little ‘test’, Noriss dispatched a couple of lizards to cling up in the top of the well and report on what was going on with the shadows. A couple of the kobos helped their sister back up and she introduced herself as Isti. Lord Noriss told her to show me to a place to bunk out while they waited for things topside to calm down. She then introduced me to the other two lieutenants: Gorilla-Arm Yuri, who did, in fact, have a HUGE arm, and Coffex, a lizard fellow.
I dumped my cash in the treasure room—and boy was it a treasure room—then was lead to a surprisingly dry hole, given that we were at the bottom of a well, where I could sleep.
I was woken up I don’t know how long later, by a grumpy-looking orc. I have NO IDEA what it was saying, probably something about fucking my mother, but I got the idea that I was wanted back at the well. When I arrived, Noriss informed me that the shadows things had yet to bother the well, but that the big black ball they came from was still covering the exit. He also, of course, asked about what kind of loot my companions had been carrying…
After getting the run-down on the sick loot my friends had, Noriss decided we should retrieve the bodies. He was even nice enough to suggest that his gang would give them a proper burial—though Isti pointed out that this was more a matter of self-preservation, given that ghouls were fairly common in this section of the ruins and corpses tended to attract them.
The lieutenants, myself included, were to go up first to secure the area—apparently being a ‘lieutenant’ was less about leadership than it was about getting special assignments that were too dangerous or difficult for the normal gang members. A squad of orcs and lizards would be coming behind us to grab the bodies and haul them down the well.
Coffex gave us each a weird, foul-smelling potion to quaff. I shrugged and drank it, and felt much stronger for it. He then pointed to a brown-and-white striped, woolly caterpillar climbing down the side of the well, saying it was an omen of ‘Great Luck’, foretelling a harsh winter to come. I couldn’t really follow how a harsh winter was ‘Great Luck’ but figured if it made my cold-blooded new companion happy it had to be good for now…
We came up topside cautiously, Yuri and Isti sporting bright bullseye lanterns and me and Coffex armed and ready. It was quiet, and dark, even with the lanterns, and—I could see—even with the sun bright overhead. Again I could see strange shapes moving in the darkness. I scanned the area, looking for where my friends had fallen and spotted the metal cube that that punk Damien had given us, sitting on the ground right by the well-head.
Cursing, I reached down, picked it up, and poked at the silver side. There was a click, and the darkness vanished. We blinked, dazedly, in the light, but were not nearly as surprised as the many shadows that suddenly found themselves standing fully visible in the bright sun, naked as the day they were birthed onto this plane. I rushed at them furiously, but they scattered into the surrounding ruins.
I pocketed the cube and Yuri yelled the all-clear down the well. Within two minutes my friends’ bodies were taken down the well and stripped of their weapons, magic items, and valuables. Noriss had them ‘buried’ (more like dumped) in a deep pit. They were covered with lye and i was allowed to say a few words, then a heavy stone slab was placed over the pit (apparently the bandits’ standard method of disposing of bodies).
We then adjourned to Noriss’s private chambers to divvy up the magical treasures (apparently such rare finds were reserved for the Lieutenants and Noriss himself) and discuss our next mission—the kidnapping of a wealthy heiress in New Phlan.