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ID: 3232


October 17, 2006, 3:37 pm

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Bindlestiff Roads


I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone

The Many Roads
Most of the Bindlestiff roads are narrow affairs, not large enough for two carts to pass each other. Pedestrians have to actually climb into the heath and scrub along these roads to not be run over by the rare carts and wagons that rumble along the ways. The Bindlestiff Roads are a collection of farm paths and vagrant footpaths that run between the vagabond city of Gaberlunz, Cambor, the city of poverty, and Buzzard’s Bay, once the city of thieves.

The Roads are considered a dangerous place to travel, as the paths are unmarked, bridges are in horrible repair if they are even still holding up, and there are brigands lairs scattered through the area. Worse still, tha majority of land in the Bindlestiffs is unclaimed wilderness, there are no small farming villages every few miles, no barns to crash in for the night. Between random encounters with wildlife and brigands, few travel the roads who don’t have to.

The Bindlestiff Men
An exception to the rule is the Bindlestiff Man, usually a lone traveler who carries all of his goods in a blanket tied to a stick. These men and rare women tramp the roads, somewhere between being wandering bards and shiftless vagrants. As a rule, these wanderers are adept at living on the edge of society and feeding off of the land, avoiding brigands and wildlife alike. Some consider them lucky, others think them cursed with a permanent wanderlust.

On the Road Again
Resting between the Agares River to the north and the Bosque River Valley to the south, the Roads is a mix of rolling hills, scattered woodlands, and large spaces of open terrain. Wild wheat grows in copious amounts since many of the open areas were exploited a century ago to counter grain shortages, and were then later abandoned. These proto-communities for the most part dried up and were forgotten. Few of the buildings are left standing, and those that are have been since claimed by thick vines, inhabited by wild animals, or taken as bandit strongholds.

Food on the roads isn’t terribly hard to come by. The climate is forgiving and wild fruits, berries and wheat can be found with relative ease. Game is also towards the plentiful side, but generally wary of humans, mostly due to the violent antics of the brigands in the area. Winter is the worst season, as the exposed areas can recieve good amounts of snowfall and driving winds from the west.

Bandits and brigands are a constant problem in the area, with gangs of men gathering in the stone ruins of Trinity sponsored grain barns. Armed with makeshift weaponry and armor, they rule petty kingdoms carved out with their cudgels and bows. Most simply demand a tribute from the merchants and such, only a few pieces of gold or silver if the merchant group looks well armed. Less armed caravans unlucky enough to pass through the area are lightened of half of their load, but seldom any more than that. The brigands are rather fussy about not killing merchants since that would cause the trade to dry up completely.

Some less than scrupulous traders from wastrel Cambor will bring gifts for the bandits, usually barrels of ale to secure their passage or young and foolish girls to sate their often pent up lusts.

Many tinkers pass along the Bindlestiff Roads on their way to Gaberlunz. These caravans of brightly painted wagons and troops of horses are seldom molested in any fashion as most of the brigands have horror stories of a friend of a friend who was cursed by a Tinker witch, hunted by packs of wolves and such until he was eaten.

Plot Hooks

  • The Swagman - The PCs encounter one of the itenerant bindlestiff men, and though as poor as can be, he has a smile on his face and half a pinch of tobacco for his battered pipe. He can point them in the right direction, or would hire on as a guide. The price is cheap for good company, a few hot meals and some stories around the fire
  • Brigandage - The PCs, traveling through the Roads, are accosted by brigands who politely request a ‘toll’ from the PCs. They will take goods such and blankets, boots, ale and the like, but they are not leaving empty handed without a fight.
  • The Caravan - The PCs encounter a Tinker Wagon and its accompaniment of mustachioed men on horseback. They are brightly colored and happy of spirit. They invite the PCs to follow with them as far as they like, but only if the PCs arent running around with swords drawn ready to hack anything they come across.
  • The Runaway - One of the Brigand’s toy girls has escaped from their camp and encounters the PCs on the road. She begs them to help save her friends, all of whom were going to be taken to Gaberlunz for a festival but were given to the brigands by a merchant that the PCs have dealt with recently.

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    Comments ( 5 )
    Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

    Voted Wulfhere
    October 17, 2006, 16:35
    Of course, there would have to be roads to get to and from Gaberlunz. It certainly makes me think of the hobo subculture of the early 20th Century.
    Voted Cheka Man
    October 17, 2006, 18:39
    Only voted
    Voted manfred
    October 18, 2006, 6:59
    It is these roads that connect all the colorful locations together, creating a wild and fun area for adventuring, far from the 'civilization' to fall back upon. I start to be tempted to steal the whole thing and insert it into my world somewhere. Good work!
    Voted MoonHunter
    October 18, 2006, 11:29
    A nice set of description for the location. It grants a good feel for the roads, and provides enough detail that you won't be hard pressed to present them in a game. Nicely done.

    You should more actively link them all together, rather than relying on the free-text.
    Voted valadaar
    October 18, 2006, 14:42
    Only voted

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