of the Western Heartlands
By Rand Sharpsword
a Short Guide to Enemy Caravans in Darkhold Sector, with Emphasis on Merchant
Houses and Costers To Be Beaten into Submission so that the Hand of Bane
Controls All Trade on the Surface and in the Underdark of Faerûn.
report prepared by Rand Sharpsword, caravan leader and anticaravan agent.)
Most caravans have no colors. They're independents, or working for one
city or another, or groups of merchants traveling together. Now, some
of the new trading houses and costers fly their own colors as advertising.
For us, it's more like target identification. Here's what you need to
know to start your missions.
Dealing Coster: Owned
by two brothers, Iltravan and Chethar, formerly of the Vilhon Reach, now
operating mainly out of Iriaebor and Elturel. Some of their caravan guards
are still recruited from antipirate ships, good with scimitars but not
much use with missile weapons. They're a well-run outfit, but they relax
when they near their headquarters in Iriaebor and in Elturel, trusting
to the Hellriders or the merchant houses to guard 'em. Ripe for a Hellrider
Group: They travel straight down the Trade Way. Paranoid and well
armed because of too many fights with Iron Throne. The bright side is
that any attacks against them can be passed off as Iron Throne attacks,
and they'll buy it.
Trading Coster: The big target out of Waterdeep and Scornubel: a white
crescent on a black, star-studded oval. Big because they control so much
trade along the Sword Coast. Rich because they carry spices from the south
that no one else can get hold of. Dangerous because they nearly always
have guards or agents who are at least familiar with magic. Swords alone
don't work well against Highmoon.
Throne: Our sometimes allies, but they control too much of the weapons'
trade. Best to take their toys away when possible. Instead of fighting
them directly, might be best just to spread word of their presence and
hope that they will soon be as hated as we are, but not as feared, since
that way our enemies will attack them instead of us.
League: Formerly a big trading group out of Baldur's Gate, but all
the competition from the smaller costers has ruined their pricing. They're
ripe for outright attacks or sabotage because they're no longer paying
enough for security.
Shields: Mercenary company turned trading company, turning both trades
to its advantage from Neverwinter to Amn. All things considered, too much
trouble to confront directly. If possible, lead them into terrain we've
seeded with deepspawn. Their police duty in Scornubel seems lax, but they
kill our agents when possible.
Suns: Sad potatoes. Hard to say if the effort it takes to run off
their feeble guards is worth the poor take from their caravans. Can't
always ignore them because sometimes people cut corners and send rich
loads with them -- though not often.
Coffers Market Priakos: Not an easy target. Well organized, home bases
throughout Faerûn. Approach with caution.
Trading Coster: A hard case named Bharavan Bhaerkantos runs his wagons
in groups of one to a dozen on the route from Waterdeep to Hillsfar, through
Scornubel, Berdusk, Arabel, and Essembra. The Thousandheads want to fight.
Bunch of old adventurers as caravan guards, often as not, some of them
working for low rates just for the pleasure of killing bandits. This lot
may require heavy magic to take out. They don't take any prisoners, but
they don't go in for torture and ritual sacrifice, so they're not quite
in our league.
Lords: As near as I can figure, this group fronts for the Red Wizards.
Sometimes they're just half-orcs guarding regular caravan goods, other
times they're a Thayan concession on the move. Unpredictable. Worth testing
out with minor scrapes before committing to a full attack.
Trading Coster: A pack of wannabe heroes carrying shields blazoned
with a white pegasus. More errand boys than traders. Worthwhile targets
only because you can assume that the messages they're carrying are messages
we would rather possess than see delivered. Fewer than 70 members, though
we've whittled their numbers down some. Probably a front for the Harpers,
or at least friendly with them.
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