Travel: River Blades’ Camp
This quest should begin some time after dealing with the events at the “Pitax River Bend” area as part of the quest The River’s Justice. One of the three areas you’ll have to travel to in order to deal with Irovetti’s varied threats - in this case the beasts Irovetti is loosing on your kingdom - is the “River Blades’ Camp”. Its location, starting at the Rushlight Fields, is as follows:
Battle: Western Bandit Camp
When you arrive, you may just spot a trap to the west. This should set the tone for this area. The trap covers a slope leading to a bandit camp, of which there are three in this area, with another lying to the northeast (also with a trap guarding the sole approach) and a third along the far nothern end of the map. Since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get past the eastern bandits to reach the northern ones, you might as well take this sequentially, working your way up the area, slaughtering as you go. Fortunately, unless you go out of your way to provoke them, the camps shouldn’t come to assist one another.
The western camp is the largest of the three, with the most bodies lurking therein. Going to disarm the trap outright is probably the least sophisticated thing you can do… aside from simply trampling over it outright. If you do provoke the bandits there, you’ll find yourself in a fight with a variety of mundane Bandits (armed with bows and melee weapons) a Bandit Bard and a Bandit Alchemist. None of these archetypes should be new to you, and although their stats may be a bit higher than you’re used to seeing from bandits, they’re still not as high as many creatures you’ve faced thus far.
Much like the “pirates” you fought earlier, the Bard will start out with Haste and Slow while the Alchemist will cast Reduce Person on himself then pelt you with bombs. Winning this fight can be easily achieved with a bit of bombing of you own - spell-bombing. Start out the fight with area-of-effect debuffs like Phantasmal Web, Tarpool, Confusion and the like. Their Will Saves are abyssmal, and there’s a good chance the lot of them will be neutralized outright by such an attack. Whether they’re completely disabled by the attack, or merely severely crippled by it, you should abe able to leisurely disarm the trap, then smite your opposition.
Battle: Ilora Nuski
Don’t get too carried away with the slaughter, however, as a larger, stronger group lurks to the northwest. They’re placed less advantageously, with several bandit archers making up the southern-most bunch. This isn’t the group you want to target, as the better, higher-value targets await further north. These include a Bandit Bard, a Bandit Transmuter and the bandit leader, Ilora Nuski.
Don’t despair at the thought of having to devise some new strategem, the spellbomb will works wonders, you’ll just have to divide and conquer to hit the choicest targets. Leave your warriors in the elevated bandit camp, just in sight of the archers. While they hold the line there (don’t provoke anybody yet) move any casters with area-of-effect debuffs off the hill, then around it to the northwest. Near the northern edge of the elevated camp you should find a tent, south of which Ilora Nuski and her minions have gathered. From the eastern side of the camp you should be able to target a Bandit Bard, while to the west you’ll find a Bandit Transmuter.
Again, spells like Phantasmal Web shine, as you can target any one of these foes and expect to hit most - if not all - of the bandits around Ilora Nuski. Failing that, hitting the group with Confusion, Tarpool, Obsidian Flow or any similar spells may produce good results. At the very least, targetting the Bandit Transmuter with Disintegrate can remove one of the more troublesome foes before the fight ever begins. Unleash you magical onslaught, then retreat with your casters to avoid taking too many shots from any enemies which may have been unaffected by your spells.
After the spell salvo, engage the unaffected bandits with your warriors, none of whom should be particularly challenging on their own… save for Ilora Nuski. Most of the bandits have moderate Attack Bonuses and Armor Class values in the low twenties, but Ilora’s got a high enough Attack Bonus to hit your tanks regularly and is best neutralized with magic (neither her Reflex nor Will Saves are particularly high). After you defeat the southern bandits (joined by whatever bandits resisted your spell onslaught) make your way north, pick off value targets (the Bandit Bard, Bandit Transmuter and Ilora Nuski) then mop up the rest.
Emerge victorious and Ilora Nuski will surrender, allowing you to question her about herself, her role in this operation, Irovetti’s lecherous ways (and some strange wooden sword he carries around), and her affiliation with the thieves’ guild… or lack thereof. Get what information you can, then make a choice regarding Ilora’s fate. Only the [Neutral Good] option spares her, both the [Lawful Good] and [Chaotic Evil] options opt to put her down. Talk about horse shoe theory.
Should you opt to slay Ilora, you can loot her for two Agile Shortswords +1, a Chainshirt +2 and a Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2. The rest of the bandits have less interesting gear, but be sure to search them for the odd magical item worth selling. Can never have too much gold. Speaking of which, be sure to loot the western edge of the area to find [Perception 25] a pile of rocks near a tree, which hides a Token of the Dryad.
Sack the Eastern Camp
You’ve cleared one camp, but more persist, so make your way back south and east to where you entered there area, then follow a stream to the north. Keep an eye on the hill to the east as you advance, as you should see bandits waiting for you above. You won’t be able to approach the trapped slope leading up to the camp without provoking them… unless, perhaps, you have a character with a high Stealth score (perhaps aided by Invisibility spells).
A more evergreen tactic is to simply lob an area-of-effect debuff or two at the nearest bandit (who may be obscured by a tree), then retreat to the west. This time around there are two groups of bandits who will leap to each other’s aid, and the geography and enemy placement both conspire to make targeting the northern group with spells a difficult proposition. If you attack the southern group with spells (including several Bandits and a Bandit Bard) the northern group (two Bandits and a Bandit Cleric) will chase after you. Lure them away from their debilitated fellows, kill the bandits and the critters the Bandit Cleric will summon, and when the Bandit Cleric shows himself, charge and cut him down. At this point you have killed around half the bandits in the eastern camp and neutralized at least a few more, so you should be in a good position to approach the camp, disarm the trap, and vanquish the few remaning bandits.
Two down, one to go. Return to the stream that cuts through this area and follow it north until it forks at which continue north and uphill before turning northwest. When you see some tents, stop, as enemies lurk nearby… although they may not be apparent.
If you continue advancing you’ll by hailed by a Bandit Alchemist named Urtennea, who pulls the “I just work here” line. Question him if you want, but if you pass a [Perception 36] check you’ll spot his companions encircling you as the alchemist distracts you. If not, he’ll spring his ambush when you attack [Chaotic Evil] or when you grant him leave to live in peace [Neutral Good]. If you end up ambushed, you’ll probably find three Bandits in your midst who are fond of sneak attacking, and three Bandit Alchemists to the west who aren’t shy about pelting you with bombs. Suffice to say, it’s not a good position to be in.
There’s no reason to put yourself in that position, either, as you can prepare the field ahead of time. Since these bandits technically don’t start out as hostile (and since most of them are hidden) it complicates targeting them with spells. Phantasmal Web and other spells that need specific targets of hostile foes won’t operate as intended, if at all, but Confusion doesn’t discriminate. Not that confusing these bandits will turn them hostile, but it’s one way to soften them up before picking a fight. Phantasmal Web will, as usual, work wonders once the fighting actuall begins, and may just hinder the alchemists from throwing bombs once in a while.
Whatever the case, make sure you protect a tank as much as possible and send them forward to provoke the bandits; they’ll want that extra defense to ward off sneak attacks. Also, given the surprisingly high Armor Class scores the alchemists have, you should instead worry about mitigating the damage they deal, as it could take quite a bit of chopping to bring them down. Resist Energy and Protection from Energy (fire resistance) paired together should protect you admirably enough.
When this last camp of bandits has been cleared, loot their leader (Urtenea) to score a suit of Leather Armor +2, a Headband of Vast Intellect +2, an Amulet of Natural Armor +1 and a Ring of Protection +1.
Now that Urtenea and Ilora are both defeated, Irovetti’s bandit depredations in your realm should have been halted. You can now make your way back to the Rushlight Fields area and from there follow the directions to another of Irovetti’s staging grounds (War of the River Kings - The Menagerie or War of the River Kings - Littletown). On the other hand, if this was the last of the three threats you needed to neutralize, skip ahead to the page The Path of the Dreams.