As part of a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) adventure, you encounter a group of bandits keeping a village hostage. Or, a NPC (non-player character) leads you to the secret forest camp of a gang of DND thugs.
What exactly are DND Bandits? What are their stats? And how do you ensure a decent chance of survival against them?
In this article, I will answer these (and many more) questions about D&D bandits.
D&D Bandit Stats
Bandits are roving bands of medium humanoid thugs. They can be of any race or class.
Check out this chart for a quick overview of D&D Bandit stats:
|Armor Class (AC)||12 (Leather Armor)|
|Hit Points||11 (2d8+2)|
|Challenge||1/8 (25 XP)|
|Alignment||Any non-lawful alignment|
Here are a few bandit actions to spice up your combat encounter:
|Melee Weapon Attack||+3||5 ft||1 (one)||4 (1d6+1) slashing damage|
|Light Crossbow||To hit||Range||Target||Hit|
|Ranged Weapon Attack||+3||80 ft./320 ft||1 (one)||5 (1d8+1) piercing damage|
While bandits don’t possess special powers in D&D, you shouldn’t take them lightly.
For one thing, they often attack in armed groups. Thus, it’s critical to understand how to outsmart and outmanuever them.
But how do you know their capabilities?
Here are some additional information on their stats that may help a Dungeon Master (DM) know how to use bandits appropriately.
First, bandits will often wear leather armor of class 12. They might possess a hit points rating of 11-16 (2d8 + 2). That means they are pretty much equivalent to a medium monster.
In combat, they mostly rely on their weapons to fight.
Keep in mind that bandits may operate in both ranged or melee roles.
They may use horses or run at speeds of up to 30ft. Additionally, they pose a challenge of up to 1/8 (25 XP) with a proficiency bonus rating of +2.
Bandits can wield different weapons: swords, daggers, longbows, crossbows, clubs, or other bludegeoning weapons—basically anything else they can get their hands on.
What Is a DND Bandit? (Easy Explanation for Beginners)
D&D Bandits are essentially street thugs. They are hardened criminals that have taken up a life of crime to survive. They rove in gangs of humans (and sometimes other races) that prefer to live outside of the law. As such, bandits make their living as thieves, enforcers, and murderers.
In a world filled with dragons, demons, and other more dangerous foes, the bandits will do anything to survive.
You can find them across any D&D world in many different forms and sizes.
For example, they may harass merchants and farmers or way-lay travelers along a trade route. Sometimes, when left unchecked, they may take over an entire village or town, essentially becoming a small army.
Pirates are another type of DND bandit.
While they do not carry sophisticated weapons, they are still capable of extreme violence and cruelty.
However, cruelty levels vary from one group of bandits to another.
Some bandits are only interested in making a living as a means of survival. Often these kinds of bandits are honest folks who get forced into crime by circumstances such as drought, famine, and oppression.
Others will torture their captives in the meanest ways possible and delight in violence.
This love for cruelty and self-interest above everything is what can make D&D bandits a formidable force.
Although they exist as outlaws, they have their own internal hierarchy and working mechanisms. There is always someone leading the group and possibly others with different jobs and responsibilities.
The leaders of bandits may be veterans, a spellcaster, or stronger thugs.
While the leader provides the ideas and goals for the group, what holds the gang together is loyalty. Always keep this in mind whenever your PC captures a bandit.
Unlike other one-off enemies, D&D thugs travel in groups, making them one of the most dangerous and interesting foes that your characters will ever face.
D&D Bandit Variants
There are many different types of bandits in Dungeons and Dragons.
Each one has its own unique style and motivation that makes them distinct. These bandit types get organized according to location and their behavior.
It is critical to understand these variants.
That way, you can have a better idea of how to deal with bandits in your campaign.
Here are common D&D bandit variants:
- Dessert Bandit
- Peasant Bandit
- Female Bandit
- Large Bandit
- Teenage Bandit
- Human Bandit
- Half-elf Bandit
- Archer Bandit
- Magic Bandit
- Mounted Bandit
- Water Bandit (Pirate)
- Monster Bandit
- Shadow Bandit
Imagine a bandit group of wizards or thieves—both sound incredibly fun to roleplay.
Related: Can Wizards Wear Armor? (Solved)
What Is a Monster Bandit?
Monster bandits are groups of non-humanoutlaw monsters.
Your characters might encounter a group of half-goblin bandits hired to harrass rival town. Any D&D creatures can mob together to form a band of thugs.
Be creative and experiment with different kinds of monster bandits.
What Is a Shadow Bandit?
Shadow bandits are a type of bandit generally found in forested terrain. They look like your typical humanoid but might be undead or even demons.
They slither around in the shadows, stalking their victims.
I wouldn’t force a low-level party to fight them without a clear escape route.
What Is a D&D Bandit Captain?
All bandit groups need a leader.
In a bandit group, the leader is a D&D Bandit Captain. They are usually tougher than average bandits, higher intelligence and charisma, and have immense knowledge about the surrounding area.
See their stats in the next section.
A DND bandit captain is not only ruthlessly cunning, but also possesses a silver tongue.
This way, they get to keep the rest of the bandits in line and under their strict rule. Part of their duties as leaders is to mete out justice and settle disputes between other bandits.
As a result, they punish and reward bandits regularly.
D&D Bandit Captain Stats
|Armor Class||15 (Studded Leather)|
|Hit Points||65 (10d8 + 20)|
|Challenge Rating||2 (450 XP)|
|Languages||Any two languages|
Unlike regular bandits, captains have studded leather armor.
This way, they are more protected against your characters. They also have a higher hit point of 65 (10d8 + 20). As a result, they can put up more of a fight before going down for the count.
Bandit captains can multi-attack.
This means captains can make three quick melee attacks—for example, two with a scimitar and one with a dagger. The captain might also perform two ranged attacks with its daggers.
They can also parry.
In combat, a DND bandit captain adds 2 to their AC against a single melee attack. To parry, the captain must visibly see the attacker and also be wielding a melee weapon at the time of the attack.
Bandit captains also may have a language advantage over other regular bandits.
In fact, sometimes they can speak any two languages, whereas the common bandits are limited to only speaking one (usually the common language).
D&D Bandit Encounter
Here is a simple D&D Bandit encounter I created.
Feel free to use it as is or tweak it to blend into your D&D campaign, module, or one-shot adventure.
DND Bandit Encounter: Shakedown in the Woods
The characters enter a clearing and see six humanoid figures in front of them. As the characters approach, they notice that it’s six bandit thugs armed to the teeth with clubs and knives.
One of the thugs demands the player characters empty their pockets.
Bandits – Perception 15, Passive Perception 10
- Bandit Thug – AC: 11 (leather armor), Hit Points: 9, Damage: 1d4 + 2 (1 club)
- Bandit Thug – AC: 11 (leather armor), Hit Points: 9, Damage: 1d4 + 3 (1 club)
- Bandit Thug – AC: 10 (leather armor), Hit Points: 9, Damage: 1d4 + 1 (1 knife)
- Bandit Thug – AC: 11 (leather armor), Hit Points: 9, Damage: 1d4 + 3 (1 club)
- Bandit Thug – AC: 11 (leather armor), Hit Points: 9, Damage: 1d4 + 3 (1 knife)
- Bandit Thug – AC: 11 (leather armor ), Hit Points: 9, Damage: 1d4 + 3 (1 club)
The bandits do not attack unless the player characters attack them first. The only initial action they take is to shakedown the players and steal their treasure and expensive-looking items.
If the player characters strike first, however, the bandits will defend themselves.
During the first round of combat, the bandits will attack the strongest characters first.
The bandits will also try to grab the weakest character and take them hostage. The bandits will not kill the character unless the players force them to do so.
Instead, the bandits will use the hostage to get the loot, end the battle, and escape.
Experience Points (XP)
All six thugs are common thugs. Each thug is worth 100 XP. If your group manages to kill all six of them, that’s 600 XP total. The bandits are not carrying any treasure.
How To Use This Encounter
You can use this D&D encounter in your campaign any way you see fit.
I think it might work perfectly as a random encounter in the middle of an adventure. Something interesting to keep the players on their toes.
It’s for low-level groups (level 1-4) of between 3-6 players. You can scale up the encounter for higher-level groups.
For example, you could add more thugs and even a bandit captain.
Note: You can homebrew this D&D 5e Bandit encounter for any edition of Dungeon and Dragons.
How To Make a D&D Bandit Lair
A Dungeons and Dragons bandit lair is a temporary location where bandits and other criminals meet, collect loot, and rest before heading back out into the world.
Basically, it’s their hideout.
The best way to make a bandit lair is to use your imagination. You can put a lair anywhere in almost any environment, but here are a few examples to give you some ideas.
Bandit lair ideas:
- In a cave or abandoned building
- In a forest but still close to a town or multiple towns
- Along a road, in some abandoned ruins
- Near entrances or exits of a town
- In a sewer or another place underground
To make a more believable and realistic bandit lair, you could turn the location into an obstacle course for the players to go through.
For example, you could make them navigate a series of caves and traps to get to the bandits.
If you want to make it easier for your players, you could turn this bandit lair into a forest encampment with less security.
A stealth mission to infiltrate the camp, retrieve stolen goods, or take out the captain would make for a very memorable adventure.
DND Bandit Hideout Map
When you put your players up against bandits, it’s helpful to have a bandit hideout map. It provides a general idea of the area and helps the characters visualize gameplay.
Here is one idea of how a map can look:
Hint: You can create maps for free on Canva.com. There are many other great map-making websites, too.
D&D Bandit Ideas
There are so many different bandits that you can use to fill your world with danger and excitement.
Depending on what kind of adventure you are running, you can opt for various bandit types.
If you want ideas to make your bandits more interesting, here are some great suggestions:
- Brigands—Your classic bandit who robs travelers and caravans.
- Outlaws—Outlaws are bandits who tend to be more organized and less likely to kill their victims. They are bandits that belong to a larger gang, and they specialize in thievery and other crimes.
- Deserters—These bandits have turned to a life of crime after deserting from the army.
- D&D Crime lord and Mercenaries—Crime lords and mercenaries are bandits that use their strength to get what they want. While the crime lords will have a squad to command, the mercenary will have a group of recruited soldiers.
- Raiders and Thugs—Raiders are criminals that focus more on raiding towns and killing their people. On the other hand, thugs are more about stealing treasure, supplies, and money without actually killing anyone.
You can be as creative as you want.
Consider a group of bandits who unload stolen goods or a cursed item on your party as they escape into the woods or caves.
The players could then become wanted fugitives who possess some item or stolen loot.
D&D Bandit Tokens (What They Are and Where To Get Them)
DND bandit tokens are 2-D digital representations of bandits or other enemies in your game.
You can buy bandit tokens online on Pinterest or Steampowered.com.
You can also make them yourself if you want to save money.
It’s generally cheaper to make bandit tokens yourself. But, if you want many, buying them online will save you time.
You may also sometimes find free bandits tokens online.
Other players like to give away their D&D bandit tokens. If you see some interesting bandits tokens, make sure to download the file and print them out.
D&D Bandit Miniatures (What They Are and Where To Get Them)
Dungeons and Dragons bandit miniatures are 3-D physical or digital representations of bandits. They come in a variety of styles, genders, and sizes. They typically cost between $5-$20.
Like the tokens, these ones too are available online or you can opt to make them yourself.
Most leading e-commerce sites, such as Amazon and Walmart, sell bandit miniatures.
These minitures can really elevate gameplay, letting players “see” themselves on D&D maps or tabletop cubes.
Conclusion: Bandits in Dungeons and Dragons
Hopefully, this DND Bandit Guide for Beginners will help you understand the basics of bandit encounters.
Roleplaying bandit encounters are some of the most fun times I’ve had playing D&D with friends.
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