Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Project Hood – Who Is Robin Hood?

Illustration by Doug Telford
The most common tales put Robin of Locksley living as an outlaw in Sherwood Forest, not far from Nottingham, in the time of Richard the Lionheart. Historians would have us believe that the famous outlaw was a Yorkshireman, living in Barnsdale or Wakefield and causing havoc during the reign of Edward II, some 100+ years later.

There is also a library's worth of fictional novels available that have Robin sporting a variety of outfits and wildly differing characteristics. In some he is a hero, in others a psycho?

It would seem that there are no rules. Robin Hood is an amalgamation of hearsay, tall tales and storytelling on top of a grain of long forgotten truth.

When it came to my Hood project, defining the Robin character became pivotal and quite an obsession. After all the game is named after him!

Let me introduce to you Robert, an orphan from the tiny village of Loxley. An athletic and energetic child, he yearned for excitement and adventure. When a band of knights passed through the village on their way to the Holy Lands, he packed a bag and followed them.

Things were not as he had imagined and the horrors of war scarred Loxley to his core. After a treacherous journey back to England the world-weary Robert planned to live in peace in a quiet part of the countryside, contented with simply being alive.

Alas, this plan also did no got as expected. He was not allowed to live a quiet or peaceful life as he and nearby villagers were constantly having their money and food taken from them as taxes for the King. Those who didn't die were starving. Any show of disobedience was punished with an iron fist, many villagers killed for standing up to the authorities.

After a direct confrontation with the Sheriff of Nottingham, the orchestrator of so many of these ills, Robert was arrested for treason. However, he slipped his chains and scaled the walls of the city, escaping into nearby Sherwood Forest. Soldiers were sent after him and he now fights for his life on a daily basis.

Robert decided to hit back, fighting fire with fire. He started a campaign of guerrilla warfare against not just Nottingham, but all those in authority and anyone else who tried to rob him or collect the bounty on his head. In fact anyone who entered the forest would be judged and relieved of their possessions.

After years of fighting for other people, Robert was looking out for himself. Lurking in the shadows he strikes out at those who would hunt him. Soon Nottingham would be losing more soldiers, gold and supporters than it could handle. The Hood (as he became known) was everywhere, yet could never be found or caught.

In our game, Robert 'The Hood' leads the Sherwood faction – a rag tag collection of those who find themselves outside the law. He's a mixture of the anti-hero tendencies of Batman and the survivability of John Rambo in First Blood, thrown together in a man with a deadly aim and a grievance with the world.

As well as having the legendary skill with a bow, our Hood is also extremely agile capable of gliding through the forest at speed using his surroundings. He's a free runner, able to scale the tallest tree or wall – some say he can even leap across the Nottingham Castle moat! Yet despite these two superb abilities he cannot take on the enemy in a sustained fight – hit and run is his art form and he has become a master at it.

Who Is Guy De Gisburne?


  1. "He's a mixture of the anti-hero tendencies of Batman and the survivability of John Rambo in First Blood" - what an intriguing combination Mike. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this project.

    1. He was never going to be an all out good guy, it's too clean and neat for my tastes, hence the anti-hero idea. Plus I really liked the story in First Blood, and that's where some of the inspiration came from – Vietnam vet comes home, gets treated badly by people prompting him into action, the authorities then hunt him down but are in turn hunted.

    2. I think its a great characterisation...brings to mind a medieval version of The Punisher too :-)

    3. Ooh, The Punisher… of course!

  2. There better be handfuls of dice. That will be me sorted. I like a good confrontation.

    1. Your obsession with dice volumes has been a pivotal ingredient so far ;)

  3. This will likely turn out like the Arturian knight Galahad whose name is a variant on Gul e Hadr, a middle eastern name. Given he was grandson of a grail knight...
    For Robin Hood it smells of protoindoeuropean roots so its likely older than you think.



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