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Random Encounter: Grape Bandits

Here is a quick encounter and map thrown together over the course of some long road-trips I’ve been on in the last two weekends.

Grape Bandit Hideout

Grape Bandit Hideout

Rumor: People have been disappearing up the road, but their family has sworn they have been wandering about local towns trying to sell some odd smelling wine.

Rumor: There is a secret temple of fertility hidden in the hills. The king has promised a wagon of gold if someone can bring him back a cask of their aphrodisiac wine, to guarantee a healthy heir.

As you first pass down the road you see a wooden barricade blocking the view of a small cove in the stony hill faces. Two men and one woman, staggering as they shout, throw small fruits at you, that pop with sugary juices where they land. When a red-purple grape bursts, the thrower makes an exaggerated explosion sound with their mouth.

If anyone gets close, they swing flexible sticks with a fertile grape vine lashed to it. It bends with a heavy burden of grapes that squash on impact. Wherever one of these grapes or a thrown grape hits, it stains what it hits a deep purple. This juice makes skin it touches feel ticklish and soft, as if wrapped in a thick fur coat.  

After a few rounds of combat, the guards get distracted or fall asleep and ignore you. Once inside the unlocked wooden double doors, the people inside pay you no mind. The dozen or so mixed persons inside this place stumble about their chores and slur their small talk. None of them can even conceive of an outsider getting past the guards, so if someone is inside, it must mean that they are a friend. Everyone you see will initiate the conversation by offering fruit salads, dried fruit bars, juice, or wine. Their is regularly a smell of baked, roasted, or fried, wine-marinated fish. If you eat or drink any grape based foods, you must save at disadvantage or become intoxicated for 1d4+1 hours. It will seem like an awesome idea to stick around and help these people out. It would be really nice to learn about how they made those explosions and deadly weapons out of grapes…

Wine Bottle Test-Directly asked about their pasts, they all have different life stories that use dream logic connecting their past lives with their grape banditry now. Guards that were sent to investigate, the bandits that found the place, a monk or two that grew up here, and some travelers that stayed. All of them at various stages thought to take advantage of the ‘Grape Bandits’ drunken stupor, learn their secrets, or steal away their specialty grape vines. They have since seen the error of their ways and just want to chill out here.

-18 people currently live here, and due to many newcomers, they share beds and sleep in shifts. About two thirds of the group is young to middle-aged men, with the rest being a mix of women, children, and the elderly. They are mostly drawn from travelers, bandits, and locals in the area who ended up staying. Another half dozen members are out bartering for supplies, selling wine, and partying in nearby at any given time. If they sober up, they have a pretty good chance of returning to their previous lives.

-The secret origin of the temple is as an outpost of a hedonistic god that created the highly enriching water and turned up the fertility of everything in garden room to eleven (intercourse in the room is guaranteed to result in pregnancy if possible. The Grape Bandits have not figured this out). Then, the deity promptly got drunk and forgot to ever turn it off. She is probably still in a drunken stupor out there somewhere, but she is long forgotten. From a time long before any Grape Bandit can remember, they became accidental carp farmers after someone brought in fish to the top pool to keep them fresh and they just started breeding like crazy up there.

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