Click image to download this free TTRPG battlemap of a Forest Ambush, then keep scrolling for the detailed adventure prompt written for it ?
When you reach a crossroad, you find the bodies of almost a dozen caravan guards bloodied and broken among the mossy forest ground. More bodies and debris block the road to the east.
Walking among them are a group of thin and nervous men, picking through the remains, and pocketing what loose weapons and coins they can find. If approached, they’ll inform you that they had nothing to do with the slaughter—they’re only putting the dead men’s assets to better use, as they won’t be needing them anymore.
In truth, these men are indirectly responsible for the death of these guards, and the destruction of the trade caravan. They’ve been providing information to local bandits about caravan schedules and assets, in return for what the guards—living or dead—have on them afterwards (the bandit’s appropriating them for their informants, whilst keeping the loot from the caravans to themselves).
While usually the guards surrender upon seeing themselves outnumbered, this time there were as many of them as there were bandits—and so, they put up a fight. None of the guards survived, and from the blood trails leading into the woods, some of the bandits won’t live much longer, either. But the surviving raiders took their loot from the caravans, before they fled.
If the men before you now are allowed to live, they may cause more harm as catalysts to these attacks. After all, without them, the bandit’s rates of success drop significantly. However, these men have children and families on the edge of starvation, who rely on them for food, and they only turned to such desperate survival tactics after their jobs at the local lumber mill were lost, due to the deforestation turning the surrounding area into a desert…
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