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The Acid Pit is a system-neutral bandit hideout setting built to be dropped into your campaign at a moment’s notice, complete with characters, backstories, your choice of adventure tangents, and trader!

The once-meticulously pruned trees now sprawl wildly, their branches threatening to engulf what used to be a wide and welcoming path. Though overgrown, the track itself betrays signs of recent use. In places where nature has attempted to choke what’s left of the walkway, defiant hands have hacked back the encroaching foliage, leaving raw wounds in its bark. After some time and the feeling that you are well and truly in the middle of nowhere, your senses are hit by a sharp, unwelcome presence in the air – a caustic tang that stings your nostrils and grows stronger with each stride forward. The path stretches onward, the oppressive silence broken only by the crunch of leaves beneath your boots. The acrid scent that assaulted your senses earlier now intensifies, thickening into a suffocating fog that stings your eyes and claws at your throat. It seems to emanate from a single source ahead, a hulking shape emerging from the encroaching vegetation. As you draw closer, the source of the noxious fumes becomes clear – a massive brick factory, half-consumed by a wall of creeping vines. Its chimneys spew a bizarre spectacle, billows of pearly white smoke mingle with an unsettling coppery red, painting the sky an unnatural hue. The air itself crackles with an unsettling energy, sending shivers down your spine.

The Acid Pit

Once a monument to a bygone era, The Acid Pit was a tannery built decades ago to serve a booming hunting community. Few rural towns could boast such a large-scale operation, a testament to the seemingly endless supply of animal skins they brought back daily. Blessed with a rich ecosystem, the community thrived. However, the factory’s insatiable hunger for hides pushed the hunters to unsustainable levels of slaughter. Despite their pleas, the tannery continued to chew through animal carcasses and spit out gold. This insatiable demand eventually brought the forest ecosystem to its knees, and the industry collapsed under its own weight. The greedy owner, ever opportunistic, simply packed up and moved on, most likely to find another community to wring dry. In the wake of the tannery’s demise, the once-proud community withered, its residents forced to seek new homes. The deserted town and its now-silent factory were slowly reclaimed by nature, the ecosystem beginning a slow but steady recovery. Many years later, the tannery has now been rediscovered and restructured for a new, sinister purpose, and with the factory returning once again to life, it persevered as a monument to death.

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Bandit Leader

Patchwork Paul

Bandit Captain, Male Human

Adult, half-covered in bandages and burn scars, an eye of piercing blue. 5ft. 10″, slender tough sinewy build with shiny scarred skin

Upon first sight of the figure you first notice the bandages, some clean and freshly applied, others spoiled by oozing liquids – pink, brown, and sickly yellow… The figure strides with a commanding aura as his peons hurry around the building. His commanding presence seems to instill a sense of urgency in them, their every step quickened by his unwavering focus.

Patchwork Paul’s voice is rough, a combination of gravel and ash that invites a bizarre twist of fear and pity. He appears to be quite calm and collected most of the time, likely resulting from the many chemicals running through his bloodstream, yet, his temper remains on a short fuse, and any misstep, any brush with traits he deems undesirable, can and will erupt into violence without warning. Paul’s temper flared in two ways. Expendable? Straight into the acid pits. Indispensable? He’d make the acid pits feel like the preferable option.

The name “Patchwork Paul” was a grim souvenir of peculiar misfortune resulting in old wounds that refused to heal, or perhaps worse, would knit themselves shut only to erupt anew elsewhere on his body. The condition baffled the local clerics. Once, they’d competed to find a cure, but upon each failure, a cleric would vanish without a trace. The remaining healers, increasingly wary, eventually went into hiding, leaving Paul to suffer his torment without a chance of remedy. Paul, however, continued to keep the source of his affliction shrouded in secrecy, a truth buried deep within him, his crew knowing better than to question him on the matter.

Embittered by his unending torment, Paul turned his rage outward. The world had failed him, and he’d make it pay. He claimed an abandoned tannery, transforming it into a festering den he titled “The Acid Pit.” His twisted goal? To drown the world in the same burning agony he endured each and every moment of the day. But vengeance required pawns. To fund his twisted ambitions and recruit a crew, Paul took on a lucrative side hustle, “garbage disposal” for local gangs and the occasional corrupt politician. Victims found themselves “disposed of” within the acidic depths of The Acid Pit, their fates dissolving without a trace. Yet Patchwork Paul nurtured his venomous endgame, the world had tasted his agony in a fleeting glimpse through the Acid Pit. Soon, they would all be forced to savor it in full…

Likes

  • Obedience
  • Stoicism
  • Fresh bandages
  • Pain relief substances (In all forms, legitimate or otherwise)
  • Anguish and suffering in others

Dislikes

  • False hope
  • Questions about the origins of his “accident”
  • Whingers, whiners, and complainers
  • The world

Additional Bandits

Thunk, Adult, Male Ogre, Bandit Muscle

Morwen, Adult, Female Tiefling, Bandit Advisor

Big Kev, Middle-aged, Male Human, Bandit Merchant

Obedient, loyal, almost pet-like, very strong, and very resilient

Highly intelligent, excellent perception and insight, poor effectiveness in physical combat, prefers trickery to win fights, highly evasive, uses environment to her advantage

Jolly, non-partisan, not loyal to Patchwork Paul, smart enough not to betray him, remains useful to stay alive, main purpose is to fence items taken from Acid Pit victims

Yick, Adolescent, Male Goblin, Underling

Rowe, Middle-Aged, Human Male, Bandit

Hackett, Adult, Male Human, Bandit

Weak, bullied, underestimated, opportunistic, conniving and disloyal

Greedy, simple-minded, aggressive, sadistic, loyal to the highest and most violent bidder, skilled in combat, easily swindled

Intelligent, opportunistic, somewhat loyal, skilled in combat, knows when the fight is lost will prioritize his life

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Opportunities

The Disgruntled Peon. There has been talk about a certain member of Patchwork Paul’s crew “needing to be careful” as they’re apparently showing outward distaste for the gang and its leadership. (True; Upon careful surveillance of the gang, one member stands out as being bullied and disgruntled, Yick the goblin underling. Perhaps only protected by the fact the entire gang disrespects and therefore underestimates his ability to be of any threat. If the party can identify Yick as a weak link, he’ll be more than willing to betray his gang just for the thrill of revenge.)

The Secret Tunnel. There are records of the Tannery that now hosts The Acid Pit having built a waste/chemical disposal tunnel that opened up into a nearby stream. (True; The tunnel exists as recorded, but it is too good to be true as Patchwork Paul has bricked over the original tunnel entryway to the facility and it can only be opened from the inside of the hideout, making it a fruitless method of covertly entering the building. Not to mention it’s full of waste acid making traversal risky.)

Big Kev’s Discount Magical Goods. An excited bar patron can be heard bragging about how they managed to swindle Big Kev out of a priceless magical object. The patron laughs as they explain how Big Kev sells his jewelry and boots at a discount and has no clue which ones have magical enchantments attached. (True; Big Kev sells his goods at severely discounted prices almost as though he’s happy to be rid of them, and he has no affinity for magical enchantments. Yet perhaps the gossiping patron just got lucky and managed to swindle the only magic item of worth from Big Kev’s stores.)

Big Kev’s Trade Goods

Inventory

ItemCostDescription
Gold Teeth/Fillings (2 pounds)(ounce) 2 gp (pound) 32 gpA disturbingly heavy sack of gold teeth & fillings, a grim reminder of how many victims met their end here. Sold at a discount to the usual cost of gold per pound.
Boots(2cp – 5gp based on how expensive they look to Big Kev)A large pile of boots ranging from basic adventuring gear to upmarket noble footwear in exotic leathers and bedazzlements, some perhaps even possessing magical enchantments that require expertise to identify. Big Kev is of no help when identifying magical objects.
Various Jewellery(per item) 5gpA dirty sack filled with knock-off and expensive jewelry ranging from bracelets to piercings, to rings, with one or two giving off a slight magical aura. Requires more expertise to evaluate the true value.
Various Toolkits (Used)(per item) 50% cost of normal toolkit costA wide range of pre-owned toolkits sold at half price. Some may be missing crucial components or include damaged tools.

If the player does not inspect the toolkit thoroughly, it may result in disadvantage on ability checks when using the toolkit. Proficiency bonus is added as normal if they are proficient.
Patchwork Paul’s Special Brew(vial) 15gpVials of acid that are promised to be more potent than any other you’ll find on your adventures.

As an action, you can splash the contents of this vial onto a creature within 5 feet of you or throw the vial up to 20 feet, shattering it on impact. In either case, make a ranged attack against a creature or object, treating the acid as an improvised weapon. On a hit, the target takes 2d12 acid damage.
I leave the magical effects of the items up to what feels balanced in your campaign, this could be an opportunity for the party to get some cheap and powerful magical objects, or perhaps just swindled out of their hard-earned gold

I’m sure you can find a use for this bandit hideout in your game, we hope you’ll share your story in the comments below. 🙂

Downloads

You can use the button above to download The Acid Pit – Bandit Hideout map, and I have listed many of the map asset packs used below. You can also find many more on our Map Gallery.


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About the author

James

I help Ross with a chunk of the background work so he has more time for the part he loves, the artwork! When I'm not doing that, I'm working on my own maps & articles to assist you in your worldbuilding. :)

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