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Sidequest Saturday: Desert Thieves (CR 3)

sidequest saturday - Desert Thieves


Villages throughout this arid territory have been plagued by bandits and vagabonds for months now. The various townsfolk have secretly pooled their resources to hire adventurers to rout the ne’er-do-wells and were the astounding 300 gold reward not enough, recently several youths have gone missing!

A retired old hunter followed their trail to what can only be the campsite of the criminals, and expediency in safely returning the wayward offspring is the utmost concern. The aged fellow sweetens the deal with a DC 15 Diplomacy check, lending his masterwork composite (+1) longbow to the adventurers on the condition they see the task through (and on a result of 17 or more, parting with it permanently).

Parties that immediately leave for the camp of the desert thieves arrive as the sun is setting and the bold criminals already have a fire lit.

A wisp of gray smoke stretches up into the darkening sky as the sun sets behind a small butte off in the distance. Even from here you can easily see silhouettes of the brazen bandits up along its rocky ridge, clearly unaware or not at all concerned with your presence.

PCs that succeed on DC 12 Stealth checks can approach through the Boulder Field [5] without alerting the desert thieves on watch [9]. Approaching through the Rocky Grassland [6] is possible, but each round there’s a 50% chance that the keen-eyed leader of the desert thieves (going to and fro from the Main Tent [1]) spots anyone that fails a DC 21 Stealth check.

On the butte itself, Small-sized creatures can hide in the Tall Grass/Short Trees [7] but there is no way to remain concealed by entering from the path on the southeast. Ascending the steep rocks requires a DC 18 Climb check (incurring a -5 penalty to Stealth) but an adventurer can quietly climb up in one of the Clefts in the Rock [8] with a DC 12 Climb check.

The youths are unharmed and asleep, ready to escape from their ad-hoc wooden cage late [2] at night or suffer indoctrination into the desert thieves. At the first sounds of combat they wake up and every round thereafter, there’s a 25% chance they break free and run back toward their homes.Image_Portfolio_1.13_Fantasy Rudolf Montemayor 06

Once the camp is alerted to the presence of the party, all six of the desert thieves bandits (N Human fighter 1; see “Superstitious Mercenary” in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: NPC Codex) as well as their dangerous leader, Hazgradt (CN Half-elf rogue 3; see “Skilled Sniper” in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: NPC Codex). Most of these thugs are also cowards and each has a 50% chance to flee when he falls in battle.

Inside the Main Tent [1] the PCs find assorted items stolen from the townsfolk, worth a total of 100 gold—though no family heirlooms with gold or jewels. Adventurers that make a DC 16 Perception check find those specific types of goods in the Bundles of Grass/Twigs [4].

When the youths return home the townsfolk are overwhelmed with joy and proclaim the party to be heroes. The adventurers are afforded free housing as well as all the food they can eat and beer they can drink—an entire month’s worth!

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