In the years following Queen Elenor’s decree effectively ending the Age of the Empire by disbanding its last remnant, the Imperial Army, bandit activity has gone up. While most societies follow a similar hierarchy, the Sirius Empire had a unique caste form from its Imperial system – the Imperials. They were not precisely lowborn, peasants, nor artisans, they were also not nobility or clergy. Instead, they were the instrument of the ruling class to maintain stability and security within their demesne. Thus Imperial families were born – generations of the same family plying their skill in the art of war and widely respected for their loyalty to the Emperor.
However, with the changes in the Imperial system, the eventual downfall of the Empire, and the dissolution of the Imperial army, the lands of France were faced with a unique issue – families with no craft yet also unwilling to work the land. Some gave in to farming and other simple trades. But most chose to abandon the system that had abandoned them. Settlements across France saw former Imperials leaving the safety of their settlements and venturing into the unsettled regions of the country, establishing communes illegally on land which was not theirs. As they had no trade, they were forced to survive on crime, often turning into bandits.
At first, these bandit communes were large but disorganized, allowing the respective lords of each territory to deal with them alone. However, as time passed, the bandits realized they could not establish permanent homes, and that dividing would lead to their extinction. Several bandit brotherhoods were formed, all wreaking havoc across France. They employ hit-and-run tactics and are virtually impossible to root out by a conventional force. Sometimes settlements protect them, sometimes they are used as mercenaries in local conflicts, and sometimes they engage in vigilantism. Depending on the brotherhood you encounter, you will have a different experience each time. The Crown has chosen to ignore the issue, hoping it is something that will wane with time. Certain lords are against this approach, calling for war against these people, which would be practically impossible.
In 1222, there are still bandit brotherhoods near large settlements, always moving, always growing, and employing Imperial-age tactics passed on from the veterans of the Fifty Years’ War. Each settlement is tasked with dealing with them on an individual basis. There are those in Parliament who would argue for more drastic measures.