Parent Pages: Factions


The Wayfarers, as they're most often referred to by others, are a tribal society of travelers. They live on the outskirts of other cultures, traveling from island to island, most often as entertainers.

They're not a unified group; each tribe has it's own leadership and politics, but they do share a common cultural background.

The Wayfarers always appear exotic and foreign to the locals of the islands they visit. This is likely intentional, as appearing interestingly exotic is good for business.

Individual tribes travel together as a small group of ocean-going vessels, one or two families per ship. The ships themselves are often small and decorated in garish colors, but large ships for larger extended families are not unknown.

Wayfarers marry for life and divorce is incredibly rare. Those that do divorce do not remarry.

The goal of most young wayfarers is to earn enough money to purchase a ship for their own immediate family. Many become adventurers for a short time for this very purpose.

Pirates and Couriers

The garish colors of Wayfarer vessels seem to be some form of warning for the sake of Pirates, who uniformly avoid attacking their convoys. According to legend, anyone attacking the Wayfarers is promptly swallowed by inexplicable ocean weather, never to be seen again.

For this reason, Courier ships are often seen tagging along behind a Wayfarer convoy, a privilege they pay a small fee for. On top of this, the Wayfarers often put on shows for their Courier guests, by exchanging passengers for a time.

The wayfarers seem to derive amusement from this arrangement, as discussions of the Couriers are often followed by light-hearted laughter.


The wayfarers once lived on a large continent, traveling from place to place by walking and wagon. Long, long ago (no one is quite sure how long ago), one small tribe came to the Archipelago on a ship that was lost in the ocean for many months after a particularly powerful storm.

With their original homeland lost to them, they looked upon the ship as a new form of wagon and continued their traditional way of life as best they could. The crew of the ship eventually joined the tribe.

All current Wayfarers are descendants of this original sea-faring tribe or were accepted into a Wayfarer tribe as outsiders.

Tribal Markings

The Wayfarers all bear an extensive tribal tattoo covering most of the top of their left forearm (if missing the left arm, the other will be tattooed instead), with a unique mark for each tribe, special marks for each family and a unique mark for the individual. The family mark is a combination of the individual marks of mother and father (male and female individual marks are designed to interlock). Children of unwed parents receive their mother's individual mark in the place of a family mark. This is always an embarrassment to the child. If the parents later wed, the child may have their father's mark added.

These tattoos serve both to remind everyone of their outsider status among those they visit and as a genealogical record of their ancestors for the past few generations. They take great pride in this family connection and receive the marking at the age of fourteen. Married individuals receive a copy of their spouse's tattoo on the other arm or the underside of their arm (if they've only got one); this is instead of a wedding ring.

Those exiled from the family will have the tattoo ritually seared from their arm as a mark of shame. This is just as often self-inflicted as it is an imposed punishment. Anyone suffering this punishment will usually forsake their heritage and find a place to settle down, permanently.

The rare individual that divorces will normally sear their spouse's tattoo from their arm.

Joining a Tribe

Joining a Wayfarer tribe requires performing some great service or act of heroism on their behalf, usually without any thought or request for reward. They will then be honor-bound to offer their benefactor a position in the tribe.

Unmarried men will normally be offered the hand of a willing woman of the tribe in marriage. Particularly heroic men may be offered more than one woman to choose from, as their actions have impressed the women. Unmarried women normally get multiple marriage proposals, all at once, with heated competition among the men for her hand.

There is no penalty for refusing to join, but the tribe will always consider their benefactor a friend and trusted ally. This can be treated as an Ally, Ally Group or Contact, with an appearance roll of 6 and a 2 point Claim to Hospitality that extends to any tribe allied with the tribe in question. The Claim to Hospitality requires the character to accept a small tattoo on their arm that is very similar to the tribe's tattoo.

If the offer is accepted, the new member is required to take an oath to never betray the tribe and given a tattoo with the mark of an outsider instead of a family mark (unless they're adopted as a member of a particular family). This is followed by a few months of intensive training in the ways of the tribe.

See the section on Wayfarer Characters for the traits such a character will gain from membership in the tribe. The GM should make an exception to the rules regarding PCs acquiring new Disadvantages in play, because this is entirely voluntary. Points gained from the new Disadvantages must go toward the required Talents, however.

Wayfarer Characters

Wayfarer characters may be members of any race, but humans, elves and halflings are the most common. The GM may wish to require an Unusual Background for any other race. Most of the purely cultural traits of the racial template should be stripped away, but a few small remnants would be appropriate.

Wayfarers bear the Social Stigma (Minority Group) Disadvantage, due to their tattoo and the way they dress. They must also take Vow (Always wear exotic clothing) [-1] and the tattoo counts as the Distinctive Features Quirk. Their nomadic way of life is Vow (Never stay anywhere more than six months) [-5]. Outsiders accepted as a member of the tribe must instead take Vow (Never betray the tribe) [-5]. Finally, most Wayfarers have a Sense of Duty to their tribe for -5 points.

They're uniformly very talented and required to spend at least 20 points on Talents; this is part of their childhood education. Many also have a Perk known as May Purchase Racial Talents From Other Races. This is due to the fact that the Wayfarers have accepted many non-humans and learned their Talents from them, incorporating that knowledge into their own culture.


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