“The greenwood is the outlaw’s friend. Now the orphan boys make us welcome. There was no tax, no tithes. Nobody rich, nobody poor. Fair shares for all at Nature’s table. Many wrongs to be righted in the country of King John…”
Outlaw takes place in an imagined version of the early 13th Century, during the recent death of King Richard The Lionheart in 1199, with William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke and the Dowager Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine bringing forward a Ward that they claim is Richard’s legitimate child and heir.
This causes the newly anointed King John of England to cast all those that he suspects to be in league with his scheming mother and the Marshal from his court, declaring them traitors and outlaws.
The game revolves around the challenges faced by a hardy group of William Marshal’s friends and allies – those who have been brought together to stop King John’s war machine and gain support for the heir of the Lionheart.
This is the era that all the tales of Robin Hood are set – Good King Richard, Bad King John, The Sheriff of Nottingham and the Merry Men, with the backdrop of the Crusades, Barons’ uprisings and Peasant rebellions.
This group is made up of folk of all social classes who have lost everything to King John: Barons whose lands have been confiscated by the crown, now reliant on their kin to scrub a living; down-on-their-luck Knights in exile after blunders at court; commoners, perhaps cast from their ancestral homes when John’s hunting grounds were extended or named “outlaw” for political beliefs and those of Lionheart’s returning army looking for a worthy cause, and those people that now welcome the lost to the hidden realms of the woods – the Hoods of a forgotten England.
All have been chosen by the rebels for one reason: They have nothing to lose.
We see this game being more along the lines of Legio SPQR than Land Without A King; there may be grand battles going on across the kingdom, but we happy few are just that – a few.
All nobles are unlanded, either because they have had it and lost it, or as the younger siblings they had few prospects but a title anyway. Some may have been able to retain some of their retinue when the money ran out by sheer force of personality, loyalty or promises of future wealth, but the fighting strength of a character is determined only though what they can bring to the game itself. A Knight with a squire, serjeant-at-arms and a couple of archers at their side has just that – and not an entire army of the same somewhere offscreen.