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The Red Road

The Red Road Chapter is intended for
Slazaro also intends to smuggle the goods
across the border, over the Spine into Caros,
Characters with 35 Traits. It can be played in a skipping the river taxes normally incurred by
single session. crossing at the city of Ramamat and going
All Blood and Bone adventures are structured through Abkhaz. This will save a hefty sum for
around the events, characters, or locations that himself, unbeknownst to his employer who
are used to drive the story. would never risk an entire caravan on such an
The material in this book is meant for the undertaking.
Arbiter's eyes only, as they facilitate the Players To accomplish this venture, Slazaro has hired a
journey through the various problems that will local guide, Farri, who claims to know a secret
arise over the course of the Adventure. The pass through the Spine. Farri is really the servant
Arbiter should read through the Adventure boy for a bandit gang that hides out in a cave near
Background before running the Adventure. The the foothills of the Spine. Through Slazaro's
informtaion presented in the Adventure gambling house exploits, the bandit gang found
Background is for the Arbiter alone. out about his desperate plan and planted Ferri to
All italic text is meant to be read aloud or lead the caravan into the bandits trap.
paraphrased and shared with the Players at The third factor that entangles this ill-fated
appropriate times. journey is the presence of Lothir. Lothir is a
Tarnish deserter, previously a captain in their
Adventure Background army, who in escaping to Mercos was captured by
slavers and sold to Slazaro. The petty merchant
A Mercish caravan is set to leave from the small
believes he can sell Lothir for a higher markup to
trade city of Saval near the border of Mercos and
Abkhazi slavers bound for the fighting pits of
Caros, south of Tarille. Purportedly, it is carrying
Maribzul. He is bound on one of the carts, but
a cargo of iron to sell in Caros. In reality it is
will attempt to escape however and whenever he
carrying a more risky and valuable haul of
Mercish swords and chainmail. Slazaro Mereeni,
the small-time merchant in charge of this cargo,
works for a Trade Prince who has many such Saval
caravans bringing him wealth daily. The game begins with the Characters meeting
Slazaro is deep in gambling debts back in Saval. outside the walls of Saval. The Players could be
Wishing to pocket more money for himself off hired guards, tinkers or peddlers, slaves being
this venture, he has lied to the Characters and the transported for sale, or simply travelers using the
rest of the caravan, telling them it is only carrying caravan for safe passage.
iron, as a cargo of arms is far more likely to
attract trouble. In this first scene the Characters especially if
The caravan is suspiciously over-guarded for they are new to one another should describe
hauling mere freight, with Gerardo, Slazaros themselves and introduce themselves in
personal Caroan bodyguard; Kasad and Hibaal, a character, as well as familiarize themselves with
pair of Abkhazi mercenaries; plus any of the the various NPCS. This can continue as they
Player Characters acting as guards. Gerardo is in begin their journey.
on Slazaro's plan and has been promised a cut.

Saval is a typical Mercish city, surrounded by high Should a Character get close enough without
dusty red stone walls. You are just outside the city, them noticing with (Stealth CR 10) or (Perception
near a small side gate open to what little traffic CR 15), they will overhear snippets of the
passes. conversation. If they fail, read them only
fragments of the below.
Three carts sit along the dusty road. The front cart is
covered with a cloth tarp, and seated at the reins is a You hear the merchant (Slazaro) hiss, I will have it
grizzled Caroan with an eye patch over a long shiny for you when the caravan returns, you have my
scar on his face. (If any of the Players are there as word.
guards, it is Gerardo, who would have hired them.)
The second cart is much the same as the first, cargo The shorter of the two brutish men spits into the
protected with a faded cloth tarp, though no one sits dust, Your word is worth nothing, Slazaro. Try to
at the reins, and the two horses idly paw the dry run, and we will find you. Come back empty-handed
earth. Behind it, the third cart is clearly the supply to Risani, and you will wish we had found you.
cart. Two Abkhazi, mercenaries by the looks of them,
swaddled in dark cloth, sit at its front. In the back, I will not fail him again, insists Slazaro.
behind sacks of food and a large water keg, sits a
man with long shabby hair and a matching beard. Aye. You will not. This is your last chance, Slazaro,
Alongside the carts, checking the horse's reins, is a says the short man flatly.
ratty-looking boy in sandals and ragged clothes.
A few more hushed words are exchanged, and the
If anyone approaches the long-haired man on two brutes move off towards the small gate and
the cart (Lothir), they will notice immediately that disappear. Slazaro returns to the caravan.
he is blindfolded, and upon closer inspection, that
he is manacled to the cart. He will remain Should a Player ask Slazaro about this
unresponsive to most questioning. He may even interaction, he will tell them to mind their own
be asleep. business. Should they succeed on a (Manipulate
CR 10) he will comment that his higher-ups
One of the Abkhazi mercenaries, the man, (Hibaal) demand much of him and that he has a lot riding
says in his harsh accent, Let him sleep. He has a on this caravan trip.
long road ahead of him, this accursed one.
The trip to the border is supposed to take three days.
If either the Abkhazi or Gerardo are asked It is across the rough terrain of Taberos, the dry,
about the man (Lothir) they will reveal that he is a rocky badlands that run between the more temperate
Tarnish deserter, caught crossing the border, and Mercos and the harsh Abkhazi desert. Parched and
that they believe Slazaro will sell him in Tarn. arid, Taberos is effectively a desert itself, though
Hibaal speaks of Lothir with respect, as a fellow much more vegetated than the sand-seas of Abkhaz.
warrior. Gerardo speaks of Lothir with contempt; It is peppered with scrub grass and the occasional
it is clear he has no love for the Tarnish, or cluster of palms or wizened trees.
deserters, or people foolish enough to be taken
prisoner. The sun over Taberos is hot and high as you begin
your trek into the badlands. Soon the walls of Saval
If any Character chooses to look around for the are lost to the shimmering heat rising from the ridge.
leader of the caravan (Slazaro, the missing driver You walk for most of the day as the hot sun beats
from the second cart), they will notice him off by mercilessly down. Finally, after walking along a dry
the small gate. river bed, your guide leads you into the ruins of a
small village.
A fat, bald man in the latest style of Mercish robes
stands with two brutish-looking men in the shadow
of the wall. They converse in low tones.

The Ruins shambles towards you, emaciated arms outstretched,
clawing the air with long-fingered, gaunt hands.
Behind crumbling half-walls of dusty stacked stone
sit the ruins of a small village of similar
construction. A cluster of hollow stone houses huddle, Once the Risen has been dealt with, exploration
ruined, around a dry well. Most of the houses have of the cellar reveals it to once have been a store
crumbled into scattered stones, but a few have most room. Old crates, empty barrels, and long-ago
of their walls, empty doors and windows open to the mouldered sacks of flour are stacked high. An
wind and sand. Your guide, Ferri, says We should Investigate or Perception check will reveal a patch
camp here for the night, we will not find better of differently-colored earth, yellow on the gray
shelter out in the wastes. sand something is buried.

In exploring the town Players will find enough Digging will reveal a small locked chest made of
dry brush and old bleached timber to start a fire wood and brass, covered in a nest of black
for the night. Other than some ancient stone serpents.
pillars and the fallen statue of a warrior, the ruins
are fairly empty. Wild dogs howl as dusk settles If the Players dug carefully, the snakes may still
cool and dark over the desert. be asleep. If a Player dug quickly, the snakes will
strike on sight (Dexterity CR 15). On a failed
Allow the Players time to converse with each check, the Character receives a wound and the
other and the NPCs. snakes slither into cracks in the crumbling stones.
With an appropriate (Survival CR 15), a Player
may be able to move the snakes a stick without
The Trap Door provoking them. A base Dexterity roll or
The fiery orange sun hangs low over a rise, casting (Thievery CR 15) can remove the chest without
long shadows across the cracked earth. Soon it sinks aggravating the snakes. Fire will also scare them
below the horizon, plunging the desert into cold off. The chest has a scattering of old Caroan
night. A chill wind whistles through the empty town, copper and silver coins at the bottom (Caroan
and one by one, stars begin to fill the black sky. coins, though larger than Mercish rings, are
actually worth less. A (Learned CR 10) reveals the
At some point during the night, a loud coins to be worth approximately 35 copper rings
thumping noise will arise. Any Character who is if sold, or near double that in raw materials if
awake will be able to hear the noise and melted).
determine its direction. It is coming from one of
the more complete houses. Should they choose to
discover its source, a (Survival, Investigate, or
Perception CR 12) leads to the discovery of a
trapdoor beneath the dust on the floor. It is tied
shut with ancient twine between two rusted metal
loops. If opened, they see a worn wooden ladder
leading down into what appears to be a cellar
there is no apparent source to the noise.

Should the Players drop a torch down or make

a large amount of noise, a Risen will come into
view. The Risen is not able to climb the ladder.
Should they descend without seeing the Risen, it
will attack them once they are in the cellar.

You see a man-shaped shadow in the corner of the

room, shoulders slumped, head down. As you draw
closer, it seems to sense you its head snaps up and
its dead white eyes meet your own. It lets loose a
guttural growl, jaw hanging impossibly wide, black
lips rotted away in a permanent hideous grin; it

The Oasis The leader of the bandits will stay back and
watch from the top of the rise. Once the bandits
Grey morning breaks pale as the sun rises, but soon
it is as hot and bright as if night never was. After a suffer a few casualties their leader will wade in to
quick breakfast of dried bread and meat from the turn the tide.
supply cart, you move out, back into the harsh
expanse of the Taberos badlands, filling your Lothir
waterskins from the cask on the cart. Lothir will offer to lend aid in exchange for his
freedom. One of the Characters should find
You walk for the better part of the day. As the sun themselves engaged in combat near his wagon, or
sinks low and you squeeze the last drops from your a wounded Character may stumble past.
waterskins, you crest a rise, and there below you is
an oasis. Its a small muddy watering hole, ringed by You stink of blood, unshackle me and I can help
scraggly trees and sparse vegetation. you; quickly!

The water keg is running low, and Farri says If Lothir is set free he will be true to his word.
that this is the only place to refill it for miles He will heal wounds to the best of his ability with
around. As the company refills their waterskins, Knit and Brink, and use Wither if attacked.
Farri will recommend camping here for the night However, he will try to use the commotion to
so as to start fresh the next day with as much escape, stealing a horse and riding south towards
water as can be carried. Sarcosa. He will not attack the Characters unless
they attempt to prevent his escape.
Farris Treachery
Farris treachery will begin the attack. He will The End of the Fight
start by stabbing Hibaal in his sleep. Players may The Bandits will not fight senselessly to death.
be awakened by Hibaals muffled cries as Farri If they lose more than half their number and their
stabs him repeatedly (Perception CR 15). leader is slain, they will attempt to flee.

If no Player Character is awakened by this, If Farri or any of the bandits surrender or are
Farri will move among them, attacking whoever captured they can be persuaded to give up
he perceives as the biggest threat. If this occurs, information (Manipulation or Intimidation CR
Hibaal will throw a knife with his dying breath, 13): Farri was working for the bandits, the bandits
inflicting a wound on Farri and causing him to have looted other caravans, and the location of
cry out in pain just before he slits the Characters the bandit's lair.
Roll (Learned CR 10) to remember seeing a
notice in Saval advertising a bounty on the
The Bandits Attack leaders head. If the Characters dont remember,
During the night the gang of bandits Farri has
or dont bring it up, Kasad will take the mans
been working for will attack the caravan camp.
head or signet-ring and tie it to his saddle. He
Kassad is also on guard and may be used later to
intends to take the money for his tribe, but
help balance the fight. His appearance can be held
Gerardo insists they split it. Its up to the Players
to save a Players Character in a time of need, or
how they handle the situation.
his actions can be confined to the background.
The number of bandits should scale with the
number of Players. The Bandit Leader and two Wild Dogs
followers should always be present. Increase the If the Characters linger, they will hear distant
number of bandits by one for each Player. howls and yips drawing nearer. A pack of wild
dogs will circle the camp, eating the bodies
Bandit Leader + 2 + Number of Players towards its outskirts. They are scavengers and
will not attack the Characters. Use the dogs to
Depending on how many of the Characters are reinforce the realism of the fight and remind the
focused on combat, you can make Gerardo Players of the bodies of those their Characters
engage actively in fighting, or take a defensive killed.

The Bandits Trail If any of the bandits escaped
Copper rings lie scattered across the cracked
When the caravan leaves the oasis and moves
towards the mountains, they will come across flagstones, spilling from the fractured corner of a
several looted wagons. small chest. Barrels and crates appear to have been
hastily moved, some lying in splintered fragments.
Several broken wagons lie like the bones of some Among the wreckage, you can make out two bodies.
great beast, half buried in desert sand.
The two women are Mercish slaves from the
pillaged caravan, Vivana and Ysbel. Viviana is
(Survival or Investigate CR 12) reveals that the
beaten, her clothes torn. Ysbel is dead, stabbed by the
arrows in these wagons are the same as those
fleeing bandit.
used by the bandits in last nights attack. There The few copper coins scattered on the floor and in
are corpses buried in the sand, mummified from the half-full chest amount to a small but meaningful
weeks of dry sun and sand. They have the sum.
tattooed necks of Mercish eunuch guards.

Looking up from the ruins of the cart, as the heat

If none of the bandits escaped
The cave is well-stocked with piled crates and
shimmer clears, you see a dark cave cleft in the
barrels. At the far, shadowed end of the room you see
distant rocks.
a wooden cage with two figures inside it.

The Cave The two women are Mercish slaves from the
The stones inside the caves mouth are cool to the pillaged caravan, Vivana and Ysbel. Ysbel has a
touch and it smells of damp. The natural cleft at the broken leg, inflicted on her by the bandits when she
entrance gives way to the crumbled flagstones of an tried to escape the night before; she is unconcious.
ancient room. In the center, stacked stones form a Should they be treated kindly, Vivana will reveal
wide well. the loose flagstone that covers the bandits hidden
stash. There are three small chests of copper rings
and a trunk of rich silks that amount to a fair sum.

Caravan Characters Be still or I'll break your neck like a twig. Don't
even think about screaming or drawing your
Slazaro Mereeni weapon, you'll be dead before you move.
Slazaro is a bald, overweight merchant, wearing
many gold rings on his fat fingers. He is a greedy He will attempt to convince the Player to let
coward and cares more for the wellbeing of the him escape.
caravan's cargo than that of those transporting it.
More than the cargo, and indeed all else, Slazaro It's wrong to have a man in chains, surely you know
cares for himself. He will hide at the sight of that. They want to sell me to men who will kill me. I
danger and is unwilling to take any personal risks. have committed no crime. The Caroan has the key,
you can get it from him. I swear I won't hurt you or
Gerardo your companions, I just want my freedom.
Gerardo is a jaded veteran from the Caroan
Army. Grizzled, he wears an eye patch, partially
concealing a long scar that cuts down his cheek
and trails off into his salt and pepper stubble. His
one good eye is cold and black, and Gerardo is as
shrewd and weathered as he appears. He will not
die for Slazaro or the caravan, but he will
certainly kill for it.

Farri is a slimy character. Wearing a obsequious
smile, he accompanies all his statements with
sire. He acts as the caravan's guide while secretly
Lothir serving the bandits.
Lothir is a competent and trained Blooded.
Once a soldier in Tarn's army, he deserted after
witnessing a terrible slaughter. He has no desire
to kill anyone, but will do what it takes to escape.
He is shackled to the supply cart with manacles
that connect his wrists, bind his ankles, and attach
to an iron ring in the cart. He is also blindfolded
as an extra precaution to prevent him from using
Blood. Should any Character try and speak to
him, he will remain silent, in the hopes that they
will lean close so he may grab them in a choke-
hold with the chains. He may ask for water to lure
them close.
If Lothir should succeed in snaring a Character
with a (Dexterity or Strength CR 15), he will say
the following in hoarse whisper.

Hibaal & Kassad Potential Names: Khalid, Sadik, Ziyad
Hibaal and Kassad keep to themselves, speaking Potential Characteristics: Oily black beard,
mostly to each other in Abkhazi. If another scarred face, squashed nose. The leader of the
Character is Abkhazi they may be receptive to bandits has an impressive bare chest above a wide
them and share food and light conversation. leather girdle. His muscled forearms are wrapped
Kassad will follow Hibaal through anything, and in studded leather bracers.
is willing to die for him. Hibaal is honorable,
legitimately willing to die to uphold his contract
to protect the caravan.