Banditry, Fact and Fiction:
- Fiction: A group of rural warfare specialists lurk behind trees and amidst boulders, waiting to leap out on the lightly defended caravan which approaches. If they aren’t the heroes, then they are incorrigible villains who will be justifiably and valiantly slain by the heroes defending the caravan. If they are the heroes, Robin-Hood-style, then their athletic assault will dramatically overpower the guards, and net them loads of immediately useful booty (which they won’t even need to worry about fencing – such practicalities not being in their idiom).
- Fact: Bandits area deeply linked in to their social environment. Whether they are nineteenth-century Sicilian rural gangsters, or modern Somali pirates, they need friends to protect them, informants to guide them, and a weak enough political authority that they will be able to get away with their overt thefts. It’s actually very complicated, and very interesting. (The Eric Hobsbawm book, Bandits, makes a very good read, for example. If you don’t fancy reading 200+ pages, then read the Illyriad Outlaws Faction description.)
Fact, as ever, is more interesting than fiction. And Illyriad is more complicated and interesting than most fictions.
So, it is no surprise that if someone wanted to play the bandit in Illyriad, they would be better guided by fact than fiction. Here is an example of how, using the Blockade tactic, this might work:
- The banditry can only start during a war, or if the political stability of Illyriad collapses. So, don’t try this in peace time – too many people will be ready to call you to account for your crimes. Like real bandits, you need an absence of authority to act.
- The banditry requires an accomplice, as well as the bandit. So, find yourself an accomplice.
- The accomplice spies out a victim and initiates a trade with the victim. This could be as simple as just accepting an order on the Market. The accomplice then tells the bandit when his/her own caravans will be arriving at the victim’s town – the exact time, to the nearest second!
- The bandit player sends a Blockade to the victim’s settlement, timed to arrive seconds before the caravan, and to leave just one minute later. The split second timing means that the victim will be unable to attack the Blockade camp quickly enough to dislodge it – the Blockade should depart safely before it can be attacked.
- The result is that goods from the victim to the accomplice will still be received by the accomplice, but the accomplice’s own delivery to the victim may now have been intercepted by the bandit.
- When the intercepted goods arrive at the bandit’s town, the bandit and accomplice can then split this loot – a proportion is sent back by the bandit to the accomplice, and a proportion retained.
- Consequently the accomplice has now got their purchase at a cut price, the bandit has got free loot, and the victim has nothing.