The boring old highwaymen and pirate raids can feel played out after a few encounters. It can be beneficial to throw something unorthodox into the mix. Here are d4 bandit groups that have a bit of flair to them.
- Cretan’s Brambles. About 40 years ago a troupe of pixies and sprites got bored and decided to become pirates. Since they lived in a landlocked forest, they built their ‘ship’ in the antlers of a giant elk which wanders the 7 glades. Their raids are rather bizarre since they tend to put their victims to sleep with magic and their shortbows while they embellish the embarrassing fight with cannon sound effects and flashing lights. They spend ALL their ill gotten coin at the nearest tavern where they destroy everything in their revelry. THe local taverns put up with it since the last innkeeper that stood up to them was polymorphed into a goat.
- Gutless Crew. A powerful necromancer killed and reanimated a bandit camp to serve her in her efforts. She was very skilled and was able to preserve the sentience of the reanimated dead. She was slain by a band of adventurers, and the skeletons fled far from the wizard’s tower. Since they had nothing else better to do they turned back to banditry. When they confront a victim they barrage them with terrible puns about bones, being dead, and lacking organs. These guys have gotten so good ‘awful’ with their puns that they can now cast Vicious Mockery at will with a save DC of 12. If they hear a joke they hadn’t heard before they often let their target go.
- Tumbler Brigade. Not every mob of rats or cluster of bats is merely a swarm. They may be a well organized cavalry unit controlled by Tumblers. These tiny rock spirits may just be a quarter inch tall, but they have skin as hard as stone (AC 17) and are as smart as the average human. They speak terran, sylvan, and have learned to communicate with small animals. They use their ability to speak with small animals to mount epic sieges on fruit carts, bee hives, and birds nests to loot the sweet treasures they wish to dine on. They love the exotic rations adventurers bring to the wilderness, and will plan mythic battles to claim their prize.
- Misguided Bull. A band of minotaur have turned the forest into a labyrinth by destroying old passageways and creating dozens of circular paths and dead ends. They then travel the wood and demand compensation for guiding them to the way out. They often wait until the victim is exhausted and too weak to fight after days if not weeks of being lost. To make things worse a young gorgon has grown fond of the minotaurs and wants to mimic the bovine thugs. The gorgon will awkwardly confront merchants and won’t leave them alone until they leave something for him, at which point he picks it up with his horns and prances back into the woods.