Wolves and Outlaws

For those who find themselves declared outlaw, whether for just or unjust reasons, the forests of Britain have historically provided some cover while they decide what to do with their lives. Some escape to Wales, Scotland or Ireland, where lords will sometimes accept a capable fighter, magician or healer willing to swear oaths of loyalty and provide capable and unfailing service, in return for shelter, support and no questions about their past. Some die at the hands of mercenary hunters who will track them for the bounties on the heads, as they would a wolf or a bear. Some wander, lost and broken, near their homes, in the hope that their families and friends will provide them with shelter, and many of these are caught and their loving allies punished alongside them. Some make heroic last stands in public places and try to take down their oppressors before they are cut to shreds with steel blades - it's seen as a quicker way of dying than starving or freezing, especially in winter.

Some turn their backs on the world that rejected them, and whether they do so invidivually or as part of a group, and whether they decide to work alone or with the support of others, they are known as sisters or brothers of wolves, and they are perhaps the most feared people in Britain. Defeat or capture mean death to an outlaw, so with nothing to lose - no lands, no possessions, no homes and usually no family - they take what they need from those weaker than themselves, whether that be with violence or with trickery. The ones who succeed and thrive tend to be the ones who band together with others, and these isolated groups have developed a sort of pattern language of their own, using the materials from the forests in which they live. Patterns in pine cones, trees marked in certain ways, nets of woven rushes - all these mean something to the wolfsheads, and enable them to keep in touch and pass messages up and down the country. They're frequently unreliable, as patterns get knocked by the wind or rearranged by sheriffs and mercenaries, but they do provide a method of communication and an aid against the crushing loneliness and despair which is too often the life of an outlaw.

Culture and Philosophy

With a few piratical exceptions such as Alva Drake and Sister Eustasia, most outlaws live in the forests which cover much of Britain. Usually living in small bands of three to five, they will sometimes come to the aid of each other if the danger is not too fierce and there is some possiblity of reward or reciprocity from the outlaw who was aided. Betraying the Wolves is always punished by death - no exceptions - wherever the traitor is found.

The Wolves are generally split by their philosophy: older Wolves and those who follow the legends of renegade nobles such as Fulk Fitwarin and Sister Eustasia tend to believe in the rule of law and the inherent goodness of the current system, but see the need for reform of personnel and the removal of corrupt lords and justices, to be replaced with righteous people. Bands who follow this viewpoint tend to follow a social hierarchy within the group based on the previous rank held by each outlaw, electing the most high-ranking as leader. Many of them nurture grievances against corrupt officials and some were previously notable individuals who had wealth, power and social standing. Most of them see violence as the only solution to their problems. Almost all are Christian.

Younger Wolves, or those previously of low social standing, seem to be engaging in a new way of thinking which seems to believe the the law itself is at fault and rather than replacing bad rulers with good what is required is for dramatic changes in the law to protect the right of lower status subjects. Most of these see the need for a strong and just ruler to lead a well-paid mercenary force against rogue nobles and clerics. (Many of them see themselves as one day occupying high-ranking positions in this mercenary force.) Since the death of Henry II, various candidates for a strong ruler of this kind have been considered, though short of attempting to put one of their own on the English throne, debate is still ongoing as to which notable figures are likely to reward good service with not only restoration of their personhood and property, but also with legislation to protect their fellows. The aging Eleanor of Aquitaine is considered a possibiity by the more romantically-minded, or alternatively the relatively weak-seeming Prince John, who is widely believed to need all the military support he can get if he wants to defeat the claim of his brother Richard.

There is a lot of pride in being able to survive in the hostile forests of England. Although the forests provide shelter, food and protection against the humans chasing desperate outlaws, they come with dangers of other kinds - animals such as boar, wolves and escaped bears, renegade Fae seeking to twist the Pact of Charlemagne as far as possible, the Fae creatures, such as kappas, and


The Wolves are really too anarchist to have any formal ranks, though they tend to listen to those who “talk sense”, especially if it's backed up by a suitable reputation. The only ways of gaining standing are to have enough heavily armed followers to ensure you can win a fight against another group of outlaws, or to prove that your skills are good enough and your loyalty unquestionable, to join one of the powerful outlaw bands. To allow another to join you is to trust him with the lives of the entire group: it only takes one spy to bring down the sherriff and shortly after the gallows on an entire band. Tests of skill and loyalty are difficult and sometimes heartbreaking: it is not unusual for petitioners to be asked to kill their children, or to fight a wolf bare-handed.

Notorious Individuals

Robert of Locksley

Recently Robert of Locksley has called for the Wolves to band together to aid the Sicilian Ambassador. Locksley has no authority over the Wolves, nor does he seek to enforce any, but as leader of the largest known group of outlaws since the legends of Hereward the Wake, his word does carry some authority and the promise of safety and security in his band has led some to consider taking up the Ambassador's invitation. Others, wary of Locksley's promises, have chosen to turn up as individuals, to see what is on offer and if hunted men and women stand to gain in this relatively lawless world.

Locksley is a Norman, and many of low birth do not trust his words.

Hereward the Wake

Grandson of that Hereward the Wake, the current holder of the name is still strongly linked to rebellious factions in Northern England. He is rumoured to hole up in the Fens with a large gang of armed warriors, waiting for the day when the Saxons will rise and drive the Normans from England for good.

Sister Eustasia

The noted turncoat and pirate was declared outlaw some years ago, since when she has harried English and French, depending on who is paying her this week. Eustasia is always on the lookout for competent sailors to join her ships, but her tests are hard and the mortality rates of her followers high. Still, the rewards are great, and the opportunity to annoy the powerful Abbess of Kirkless Nunnery (one of the richest and most miserly women in the North) can be its own reward.


They were taken to the Tower of London and haven't been seen since. They're probably dead by now and even with the King dead, that place is well guarded. Nobody's getting in to break them out. Yes, we never leave a Sibling behind, but there's just too much risk with that one.


The Catholic Church and the law of the land are are strongly bound together and outlaws, rejected by both secular and religious law, frequently find there is no place for them in congregations or even at shrines. Most saints will reject or ignore offerings from those cast out of society.

There are some exceptions:

Saint Fritheswith

Fritheswith of Oxford, abbess and saint, has always had a soft spot for outlaws, and prayers and offerings made to her have been known to have beneficial effects for the giver. Many Christians say her kind nature and generous heart means she never refused the poor and desperate in life and in eternity she protects the weak and those without friends or family. Many outlaws will point out that the posse of guards sent after her came back blinded, that her pagan husband died under mysterious circumstances and that the wells which sprang up wherever she commanded flooded the houses of several of her critics, many of whom drowned in the deluge. It is something of a badge of honour among Christian outlaws to claim a greater kill count than St Fritheswith, or Frideswide.

Saint Hild

Hild was martyred by Danish Viking raiders when they overran Whitby Abbey prior just prior to the Norman Conquest. Choosing to die rather than fight, she held up her hands to the skies and offered sanctuary for all, whether Pagan or Christian, outlaw, peasant, freeman or noble, if they would avenge her death and draw down the wrath of all gods upon the heads of those who came to do her harm. Later retellings of this have emphasised that Hild will protect anything that is hers, so as long as an item or area is dedicated permanently to St Hild, it will enjoy a degree of protection.

However, despite the popularity of Fritheswith and Hild, it cannot be denied that most outlaws, at the mercy of the weather and the land, turn to the Old Gods to beg for aid and protection. The prices asked can be steep, especially when the gods know you have nowhere else to turn, but the rewards can be truly great. Druidism in particular has always attracted many followers, with Ritona of the Paths being favoured by those who live in the forests, whereas those who turn to piracy for a living revere the Shipwright, and no matter how christian an outlaw claims to be, all of good sense sacrifice to Robor of the Forest.

Too many outlaws in the past have dedicated themselves to the Daughter of Carnage, and ripped bloody paths through the forest, leading the law to what remained of their friends. Call upon Agrona's favour only in times of greatest need, and remember that the death of the one who called her will not always sate her need.

The Fae

While most Fae encountered within the forests and moors are hostile to humans, there are a few who are known not to oppose unwary travellers. Some will even provide aid.


The Prince of Madness has offered his hand in friendship to all who will aid him settle his score with his family, and in particular, with Rhiannon of Gorsedd Arbeth. Almost all outlaw leaders are advising caution - Efnisien is notoriously capricious and if Prince John should take the throne, he is unlikely to look favourably on those who helped the enemies of Rhiannon.


A great cat-like beast that prowls the Yorkshire moors, Ninian is seen by very few and would be thought a myth if not for the number of deer and boar carcasses found on the woods on the moorland edge. Those who leave out bowls of milk and fish heads find their sheep are left alone; those who leave nothing for the cat find their flocks destroyed overnight, with barely enough time for the terrified animals to bleat a warning.

Bands of outlaws travelling across the moors at night to get to Whitby and the ships of Sister Eustasia have sometimes reported encountering Ninian, who will nod their head in greeting and then slink away.


The woods around Warwick are home to a girlish figure who can usually share food and shelter for a night or two. She says she can cast spells that ensure the recipient never feels pain, but she asks a high - and an unusual - price.

Faction-specific Quirks

We recommend the use of the generally available quirks Outlaw and Wilderness Lore with this faction. The Outlaw quirk means you are much more likely to be accepted by your fellow outlaws, whilst the Wilderness Lore ensures that you're not going to die of starvation. An Outlaw character without Wilderness Lore is automatically assumed to be playing the game on hard mode and to have taken Hit Me Harder!

Note: Rank +1 is not available for the Wolves and Outlaws faction

Rank (Outlaws) (+2)

You have a reputation that has allowed you to gather notice within the Wolves and Outlaws: many of your fellows are likely to listen to what you have to say, though they won't follow you blindly. They also expect you to maintain your reputation!

wolves_and_outlaws.txt · Last modified: 2015/10/04 23:50 by gm_cecily
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