Perilous Gateways

Bandit Lord Portals

By Robert Wiese

The Raiding Portals

Of the many portals that the Bandits of the Iron Wind discovered in the ruins of the lost civilization, the most useful have been the network they call the Raiding Portals. According to the records, this network of six portals was used by farmers so that they could be spread out over great distances and still work as a community. Five portals linked the farming regions to each other and to a central portal in the city. Each portal is about 6 feet in diameter, and they were all marked by unassuming arches. The arches have long since crumbled, but the portals remain. They are keyed; to activate one, the user must wear a symbol to the lost civilization's agricultural god (not Chauntea; a drawing of the symbol was in the records). Further, the portals were numbered on their arches, and saying the number of the portal at which you wished to arrive keyed the portal to that destination. Since the arches are gone, it took some time for the bandits to figure out which portal was which.

The five portals in the countryside are all within twenty miles of the ruined city, and no two are separated by more than ten miles. They form a kind of gentle curve stretching across the countryside, and the curve now parallels the road. The center two are but two miles apart.

These portals have made the bandits much more successful than they otherwise would have been. They can scout caravans coming from both ends, and they move quickly to outmaneuver them and attack from wherever they choose within the portal strip. Their favorite tactic is to catch the caravan in the center and use the two closest portals to attack from two sides at once. To encourage caravans to stop within their reach, the bandits built two large campsite areas within the spread of their portals. These camp areas seem defensible with good views that allow one to see anyone approaching. However, one of the portals actually is located in one of the campsites, and the other campsite is a mere 300 yards from the portal at the other end of the portal chain. Thus, the bandits can get very close and attack before caravan guards can mount a suitable defense.

Kaldrav does not let the bandits attack too frequently within the portal chain, because the portals cannot be moved and he does not want to lose such a big advantage. He therefore spreads out the bandits' raids in that area so that they are not frequent enough to discourage merchants from using the road.

Jaida Goldspun: Female elf Ranger 7/Shadowdancer 2; CR 9; Medium humanoid; HD 7d8+7 plus 2d8+2; hp 53; Init +3; Spd 30 ft.; AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 19; Base Atk +8; Grp +10; Atk +13 melee (1d8+3/19-20, +1 longsword) or +12 ranged (1d8/x3, longbow); Full Atk +11/+6 melee (1d8+3/19-20, +1 longsword), +11/+1 melee (1d8+3/19-20, +1 short sword) or +12/+7 ranged (1d8/x3, longbow); SQ animal companion, darkvision 60 ft., elf traits, endurance, evasion, favored enemy (humans +4, monstrous humanoids +2), hide in plain sight, improved combat style (two-weapon), low-light vision, track, uncanny dodge, wild empathy +7, woodland stride; AL LE; SV Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +4; Str 15, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 10. Height 4 ft. 11 in., weight 104 lbs., age 281.

Skills and Feats: Hide +13, Jump +5, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (nature) +8, Listen +10, Move Silently +11, Perform (dance) +5, Ride +8, Search +8, Spot +10, Survival +10, Tumble +8, Use Rope +6; Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Endurance, Mobility, Track.

Animal Companion (Ex): Jaida has a light warhorse animal companion named Sebastien. She gains the following benefits from it.

Link (Ex): Jaida can handle Sebastien as a free action or push him as a move action, even though she doesn't have any ranks in the Handle Animal skill. She gains a +4 bonus on all wild empathy checks and Handle Animal checks regarding him.

Share Spells (Ex): Jaida can have any spell she casts upon herself also affect Sebastien if desired. Sebastien must be within 5 feet of her at the time of casting to receive this benefit. If the spell has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting Sebastien if he moves more than 5 feet away and does not affect him again even if he returns before the duration expires. Jaida can also cast a spell with a target of "You" on Sebastien (as a touch range spell) instead of on herself. Jaida and Sebastien can even share spells that do not normally affect creatures of the animal type.

Elf Traits: Jaida is immune to magic sleep spells and effects, and she has Martial Weapon Proficiency in longsword, rapier, longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats. She has a +2 racial bonus on saves against enchantment spells or effects. Jaida is entitled to a Search check when within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door as though actively looking for it. She also has a +2 racial bonus on Listen, Spot, and Search checks (already figured into the statistics given above).

Evasion (Ex): If exposed to any effect that normally allows a character to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, Jaida takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Favored Enemy: Jaida has selected humans and monstrous humanoids as favored enemies. She gains a +4 bonus on her Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills against humans. She gets the same bonus on weapon damage rolls against humans. She gains a +2 bonus on her Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills against monstrous humanoids. She gets the same bonus on weapon damage rolls against monstrous humanoids.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): Jaida can use her Hide skill even when observed for as long as she is within 10 feet of a shadow. (She cannot hide in her own shadow.)

Improved Combat Style (Ex): Jaida has chosen two-weapon style. She acts as if she has the Two-Weapon Fighting and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feats when in light or no armor.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Jaida can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to even be aware of it. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) regardless of being caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. (She still loses any Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.)

Wild Empathy: Jaida can use body language, vocalizations, and demeanor to improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to influence the attitude of a person, but Jaida's modifier to the die roll is +7. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly. To use wild empathy, Jaida must be able to study the animal and it her, so they must be within 30 feet of each other under normal conditions. Generally an attempt takes 1 minute. Jaida can also use this ability to influence the attitude of a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but she takes a -4 penalty on the check.

Woodland Stride (Ex): Jaida can move through normal undergrowth at normal speed, but is still hampered by magically manipulated undergrowth.

Ranger Spells Prepared (2; save DC 11 + spell level; 20% chance of spell failure): 0 -- speak with animals (2).

Possessions: +1 elven chain mail, +1 longsword, +1 short sword, masterwork longbow, 20 arrows, cloak of resistance +1, wand of cure light wounds, military saddle and tack, portal interruption key, 55 gp.

Clever, organized, and efficient, Jaida sees herself as the real authority behind the bandits, at least when raiding. She is usually successful, good at strategies, and adaptable enough to make use of whatever is at hand. She is content with her role and position in the group, and she recognizes that Kaldrav brings a level of vision that is necessary for the band to become something more than mere thieves. She does not possess such vision herself; she is more a detail-oriented person. She never leaves anyone behind if it can be avoided (and she has not had to yet), but she would abandon a plan if it would lead to disaster. She is very no-nonsense and does not really have a sense of humor, but she commands respect for her abilities due to her bearing and straightforwardness.

Sebastien: Light warhorse animal companion; CR --; Large animal; HD 5d8+15; hp 37; Init +2; Spd 60 ft.; AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 13; Base Atk +3; Grp +10; Atk +5 melee (1d4+3, hoof); Full Atk +5 melee (1d4+3, 2 hooves), and +0 melee (1d3+1, bite); Space/Reach 10 ft./5 ft.; SQ bonus tricks (2), evasion, link, low-light vision, scent, share spells; AL N; SV Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +2; Str 17, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 6.

Skills and Feats: Listen +5, Spot +5; Endurance, Run.

Scent (Ex): Sebastien can detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

Bandit Lord Portals