Bandits prefer hidden, defensible lairs which—preferably—lie close to a ready source of victims such as a well-travelled road, bridge, ford or narrow, sunken lane.
Use the table below, to add points of detail and interest to such a bandit camp:
- A crude, waist-high wall of tree branches, tree stumps and the like surrounds the camp. The barrier will not keep out determined intruders, but provides cover for the camp’s defenders—and keeps some wandering animals away.
- A hodgepodge of tents, lean-to shelters and so on stand haphazardly throughout the camp seemingly without any order or plan. Small campfires smoulder in front of many of the tents.
- The skinned and dressed carcasses of several woodland animals—a brace of rabbits, several squirrels and a deer hang from an A-frame near a central cooking fire.
- One part of the camp is given over to a meeting place of sorts with tree trunks arranged as crude benches around a central fire-pit. A stack of firewood lies nearby.
- Trash and rubbish are scattered on the ground outside, and within, the camp. A short distance away, the bandits have dug a series of latrine pits in a sunken hollow. Even unwary intruders smell the latrines before blundering into them.
- A larger tent—what looks to have once been a noble’s pavilion—rises above the rest in the centre of the camp. Herein dwells the bandit chieftain.
- Wisps of smoke from the camp’s many campfires drift upwards through the trees; the sunlight slanting down from above creates many shiv lights giving the camp a strange, almost otherworldly feel.
- A shallow ditch—a half-hearted attempt at a moat—runs along a short portion of the camp’s boundary; the lazy bandits gave up soon after starting their work; a few rusting shovels and a mattock lie on the ground nearby.
- Well trodden earthen paths wend their way through the camp; obviously the bandits have laired here for some time.
- An empty wagon—without its attendant horse—is drawn up under a tree; an awning hangs down over the wagon, obscuring what lies beneath (a pair of bedrolls set up “dangerously” close together by a pair of courting bandits).
- A large empty barrel stands near the main fire pit. An axe is embedded it its lid and dried blood covers both the axe and the barrel. Here, the bandits butcher rabbits, deer and other creatures caught in the surrounds.
- Under a pine’s low branches, a thick tarpaulin covers a large pile of firewood stacked close to the central fire pit.
- A short distance outside camp, several crude grave-markers show where several of the gang have been laid to rest. They dead could have succumbed to battle injuries, a freak accident or virulent disease. The markers do not record names or causes of death.
- A knotted rope hangs from the boughs of a large tree growing on the camp’s fringes. A makeshift platform among the tree’s branches serves as a concealed lookout spot.
- Four cows and two sheep are penned in a small makeshift enclosure in the camp. Proceeds of recent raids, the animals will soon be slaughtered for meat.
- Six shuttered lanterns hang from the branches of various trees scattered about the camp. At night, the lanterns are lit—except when enemies are in the locality.
- The ground on which the camp stands is slightly sloped; the bandits have dug flat areas out of the hillside to pitch their tents.
- A large oak stands at the centre of the camp, its heavy branches reaching down almost to the ground. It is dry, but dim, under the tree’s canopy. Graffiti mars the oak’s wide, gnarled trunk.
- The camp stands amid the ancient, tumbled walls of some ruin now swallowed by trees, brambles and weeds.
- The bandits have set tripwires designed to make a loud noise around their camp. Only three pathways into the camp are devoid of the traps.
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