Thursday, November 15, 2007

River Robbers - Commerce Raiders of Vale

As ideal as the valley may be, it is not without its sins. Because the communities of Vale are so spread out there is a great amount of trade that travels though vast expanses of wilderness. One of the ways that the transport of these trade good and merchandise can be simplified is through the use of the valleys numerous slow, windin grivers. It is these trade routsthat have become the stalking grounds of a special kindof bandit known as River Robbers.

River Robbers are bands of men who ply the waterways in merchantile vessels, diguising their true natures in order to join up with water caravans or to get close to isolated merchant vessels. Preferring the lighter faster craft as prey, the River Robbers avoid the big merchant barges as they are often well-manned and equipped for defense.

Often a single robber vessel will take up with a smaller merchant craft, playing the friendly companion and taking advantage of the merchant's desire to have company along the way. When the merchant has been lulled into confidence, the robber vessel with either feign distress or subtly lead themerchat vessel down a wrong tributary and into the clutches of hiswaiting brethren.

More daring River Robbers will often set up grand plans of attack to take one of the large merchant barges. This is no less than a military operation and usually involves the planting of at least one agent within the crew of the merchant barge. Once this agent knows the ins and outs of the barge and has had a chance to work some saboutage, he will notify his brethren when the best time to strike will be.

When that time comes, the robbers will attack en mass, sewing a distracting and violent assault upon them erchant vessel while their agent has a chance to wok his villainy from within. Taking hostages, rendering weapons or tillers useless or even poisoning crew with incapacitating toxins, the agent will do his best to undermine the defensive abilities of the barge and its crew.

River Robbers band together in groups of usually no more than 40-60 individuals. They aremostly male and come from all places in the valley and from beyond. They carry a combination of weapons made up of martial weapons and improvised weapons created from farm implements andcraftsmans' tools. Their craft, as mentioned earlier, are sleek and light weight, the sort that can pierce the river water and get through the most shallow of places.

The robbers make their hideouts in secluded backwaters and downhidden tributaries. Being men of the water, they seldom stray too far from it and often build their homes out over the water. Occasionally a watery cave or manmade canal will allow them to move off the water way proper for greater defense.

River Robbers are knwon throughout the valley, but for most they are not a personal threat and perceived as thesort of thing that only river merchants have to worry about. Occasionally River Robbers will venture onto the land when pickigns are slim or when the mood strikes them. There are other times, though, when the robbers will turn to the defense of a community and it is true that they sometimesh ave very close ties to some landed communities.

No comments: