Two hundred years ago, trade between the towns and cities was in rapid decline due to excessive piracy, roving bandit camps, and organized criminal activity. One of the most sinister incidents occurred when a band of monks attached themselves to a merchant caravan on its way to Neverwinter. None of the merchants suspected anything, so when the night watch was settled in, the monks were already strategically positioned near each of the guards. Quietly, the monks rose, as if to pray, then they quickly assassinated the guards and murdered the remainder of the group. By morning, the monks were gone, along with the caravan’s horses, wagons, and valuables. Only the bodies were left as a sign of what had happened.
Bandits usually worked in small groups, but were easily dispatched by the merchant’s bodyguards, mercenaries, or travelling adventurers. This flaw in their approach was corrected when several master thieves saw an opportunity for increased wealth in exchange for minimal effort. Over time, these master thieves became the Bandit Kings, ruling over loosely knit groups of street thugs, bandits, beggars, and assassins.
With fewer and fewer shipments of goods and supplies reaching the towns and trading posts, the people were without food and necessities, so they became angered and threatened to revolt. The regional monarchs and leaders were afraid of facing a uprising, so they decided to pay a substantial reward for the heads of thieves and pirates. This caused a massive number of able-bodied men and women to leave the more populated areas in hopes of winning the bounties for themselves.
Greed became the all consuming passion, igniting a line of fire between groups. Fighting broke out everywhere, primarily between the hunting parties, and the bandits enjoyed every minute of it. When the battles ended, it was easy enough to sweep in, finish off the survivors, and collect everything of worth.
Ironically, it was a thief that brought about the downfall of the Bandit Kings. A young boy called Theo was skilled at picking pockets and not much else. With the towns empty, the valuables in the hands of the older members of the Camps, Theo was on the verge of starvation. The Bandit Kings cared nothing for those who did not “earn their keep” and Theo was just a child, in their eyes. Well, this “child” refused to let the other bandits get the best of him and devised a plan.
It was simple, dead simple. Theo would disguise himself as a messenger and provide detailed information on the Bandit Camps, their leaders, and the pre-planned routes of escape to the Lord of the nearest Town. As expected, armies surrounded the encampments, obliterated the inhabitants, and restored confidence in the merchants who used the supply routes.
Theo spent many nights sleeping beneath the stars, dreaming about heroes, villains, monsters, and magic. He eventually decided to be a hero and worked hard to develop his skills for the sake of good. His life was long, eventful, and full of amazing adventures, at least until he settled down and married. His new wife didn’t believe in dreams, in adventure, or in fighting for the good of all men, so Theo died without ever realizing his goal of being a Hero.
If you’re lucky enough to spot a cottage on the outskirts of Trinity, you may just see the spirit of Old Theo sitting on the porch, head hanging low, avoiding your gaze as you are surrounded on all sides by Bandits.