steppes raiders



ok guys,been playing my campaign for a little while and the player characters have joined a kozaki band on the steppes west of the Vilayet sea.They are currently camped on a hill overlooking the road between Khurusan and Sultanapur waiting for a richly laden caravan to plunder with their motley band of around 60 brigands.
I intend to use this as a step to the next part of the plot which will involve the red brotherhood(once pirate isles becomes available)rescuing them from slavery on a Turanian galley.
However I dont want them just to ride in,kill the escorts and be told that the loot is worth so many silver coins.As well as some idea of the sorts of treasure that the caravan is carrying I would like suggestions as to the levels and numbers of guardsmen(the 4 pc's are lvl7 and the kozaks are lvl2 nomads).
Also I need something in the caravan to be worth so much to King Yezdigerd that he takes such insult as to dispatch troops of his imperial guard to apprehend and kill or enslave the villains.
I was thinking about a favoured courtesan from his seraglio but think this may be a bit cliched.
Then again I suppose REH set the standard for the cliches of his imitators so perhaps I should just go with it and make it big and bold,a princess perhaps?
Your thoughts and comments on this will be greatly appreciated.
The afore-mentioned favored courtesan or princess both work well, especially if one of the PCs is of the studly, women-melt-in-his-presence types (such as Conan himself).

Other possibilities to tick off Yezdigurd:
A stone statue of himself is among the caravan goods. Being worthless (to the nomads anyway), it is found smashed and covered in insulting grafitti at the ambush site.

A report on military deployments for a specific region. He would want to recover this before it could be sold to one of his enemies.

Tribute from a vassal region, perhaps in the form of the beautious daughter of that region's ruler (see princess above...)
Don't worry about cliche's...use em. It's probably why your players like Conan and these stories...After using a few, then hit them with an non-cliche...specially if it's a trap or a bad guy....that is sure to get em!
The military plans and statue are both cool Bombaatu. I especially like the statue idea, vain kings are always fun. :D


Why not be direct about it?

Have the caravan hiding an overwhelming force of royal guard waiting to capture any brigands such as your party. This was the king's plan all along. It also avoids any messy distribution of wealth to your party. Remember a poor PC is an adventurous PC.

Grim Wanderer
I'd put in the king's oracle or prophet. No doubt he would be a scholar of some sort. It would make the attack that much more interesting, espescially if the party is unaware of his presence.

The caravan could also be smuggling something for the king. Perhaps some sort of vice that's otherwise illegal to the general population. The king would then be doubly mad as he will most likely lose the item even if he catches up with the thieves, as he doesn't want to lose face by showing his addiction.

Or the caravan might be carrying an ancient "Spellb. ook", I've heard that this is a desired item in the Hyborian age. :wink: