|Ruler||Bandit Lord Jacob Thornbaugh|
The Bandit Kingdoms refers to a collection of petty holdings which were founded in the early Third Age. The primary targets for the bandits, at that time, were trade caravans traveling the Lesser Farthing Road between the human settlements on the coast of the Western Reaches and the Durinshold dwarves of the Shadowyarn Mountains. Until the establishment of the Baronies of the Middle Reaches in 621 TA, the area was primarily wilderness.
As the Middle Reaches Baronies were established, towns, castles and farms became new targets for the bandits. At that time, the Bandit Kingdoms stretched from the Whispering Hills in the west to the Shadowyarn Mountains in the east in an area that ran some 300 miles south from the Middle Reaches Baronies. Each holding was ruled by a robber chieftain claiming a title through military might rather than heredity. The territorial boundaries were subject to rapid change due to sudden warfare and shifting alliances between the bandit lords.
The establishment of the Barony of Walworth in 648 TA provided a minor disruption to the activities of the bandit lords. With Walworth's fall in 653 TA, the Crown established the Shield Lands, a military district run by the Order of Crusaders. Advancing from the north and west, the knights of the Shield Lands pushed the bandits southeast against the Shadowyarn Mountains. By 660 TA, the bandit threat to commerce along the Lesser Farthing Road was eliminated.
In 840 TA, the Bandit Kingdoms united under a single ruler, Jacob Thornbaugh the Younger, a charismatic young man and son of a powerful bandit lord. Jacob established the present-day capital at Dullstrand. The Bandit Kingdoms now run south from Dullstrand along the Shadowyarn Mountains to the Sands of Time, some 300 miles to the south.
While Jacob, now an old man, still rules, pressure from the dwarven construction of Bishopshill Tower and Desertgate Tower, the establishment of the gnome town of Betwixt, and continued pressure from the Shield Lands to the west and the Barony of Tenbury to the south has significantly curtailed bandit activity.
Nearby Areas of Interest
This land is sunken in the center and cliffed along both sides. This cupping causes water to form into standing pools and sluggish streams and flowages. The resulting morass of water and vegetation is known as the Direhaunt Swamp. The movement of water in the Direhaunt Swamp indicates that it gradually drains northwards, but there is no known river rising from the end, so it is thought that there are underground channels through which the waters run.
Certain desperate outlaws from the Bandit Kingdoms dwell with the Direhaunt Swamp. Ferocious predators and loathsome monsters likewise consider this their domain. The folk dwelling in the hills to either side keep constant watch to assure that the denizens of the Direhaunt Swamp do not roam beyond its edges. There are many tales and legends concerning this area, but the most likely is that of the lost burial place of a lich who once ruled the morass.
The rocky hills which run south of Mt. Todd on the southwestern tip of the Shadowyarn Mountains are known as the Gold Hills. The northern verges of the hills are relatively safe, and these are claimed by the Bandit Kingdoms. The central and southern portions are very arid, and the hills are so rough and precipitous as to preclude mounted movement and make even foot-based military forays difficult. No operations have proven successful in clearing these tall heights. Occasional adventurers will return with tales of having prospected within these hills, stories of encounters with monsters, and the like, but most cannot be believed. There are certainly riches within the Gold Hills. It is known that the Bandit Lord has several productive mines in the area.
Located at the southern end of the Shadowyarn Mountains, this volcanic peak was known in the First and Second Ages of Man as Mount Thunder, presumably because of its frequent eruptions and tremors. In 666 of the Second Age, Benedict Demonbinder was accidently killed by Todd Treelover, a druid, while adventuring against demons under the mountain. Shortly thereafter, popular legends began, and the mountain became known by its current moniker.
In September and October 828 TA, a party consisting of Sir Zachary, Hylax the Barker, U-Gene the Dwarf, Zephaniah the Good, Falstaff, Sirfexx Ivancevio, and Blackfoot undertook a mission from King Gregory to recover the Staff of Justice from Benedict's grave under Mount Todd. The journey was successful with the Staff of Justice regained, the Giant Raver Worldsplitter defeated, and the demons of the covenant bound by Hylax the Barker. With the exception of Foultooth, the Giant Raver of the Thirteenth Covenant, the Binding ended the Demon Wars of 821-828 TA.
In the lands of the southern Shadowyarn Mountains, amidst the rough and broken ground and jutting crags of the badlands there, a deep canyon of tremendous extent is found. This strange rift in the floor of the earth is over forty miles in length and five miles wide near the bandit town of Riftcrag. Tales tell that this rift is more than a mile deep and pocked with caves and caverns. Much of its length has been cleared of monsters, although they still issue forth from the tunnels from time to time. The bandits use both humans and monsters to hold the place, and rich loot is taken here from raids throughout the area. The floor of the rift at its western end is shunned, due to the particularly fierce monsters dwelling there. Attempts to clear this area have ended in disaster. Southeast of the Riftcanyon is the volcanic cone of haunted Mt. Todd, avoided by both knights and bandits.