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The Grey Bastards Reader’s Guide

By Jonathan French

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

READERS GUIDE

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. The Grey Bastards Character Guide
by Jonathan French

Jackal — Ambitious and cunning, the half-orc Jackal is known to be the “comeliest mongrel in all the Lots.” A capable and fearless fighter, he possesses a thoughtless confidence that some would call foolish. His unmatched skills in the saddle are bolstered by his beloved hog, Hearth. Jackal is increasingly dissatisfied with his place as a rider in the Grey Bastards and has schemed for years to unseat the Claymaster. Despite the harshness of life in the Lots, Jackal has a deep love for his homeland and fervently resists all that would threaten the Bastards’ survival.
 


 

2. Oats — Oats is a thrice-blood: the product of an orc father and a half-orc mother. A hulking rider, he is steadfastly loyal to Jackal and must often counterbalance his friend’s headstrong impulses. Unlike most mongrels, Oats was not abandoned at birth—he was raised by his mother, Beryl, providing him with a sympathetic nature in contrast to his brutish appearance. Still, when roused to violence he is a formidable warrior, and none in the Grey Bastards can match his raw strength.  

3. Fetching — Fetching is the only female rider among the Grey Bastards. What’s more, she’s the sole female rider among all the half-orc gangs. Fierce, pugnacious, and a peerless shot, she earned her place among the Bastards, though not the respect of their leader. Like Oats, she supports Jackal’s bid to usurp the Claymaster, but instead of tempering his ambitions, she fuels them by challenging his decisions. Full of ferocity and prowess, Fetch uses every advantage, though she needs few. 

4. The Claymaster — Once a slave to Hispartha, the Claymaster was one of the first half-orcs to take up arms in the kingdom’s fight against the orcs, eventually earning his freedom. Now, aging and misshapen by a plague contracted during the war, he is the founder and chief of the Grey Bastards as well as the architect of their fortress, the Kiln. His life has been a constant battle, and he is disdainful of humans and orcs. Though he can no longer sit on a hog, he rules the gang with a bitter callousness and can sense Jackal’s growing rebellion. 

5. Crafty — A pudgy half-orc wizard from the distant Tyrkania, Crafty is a newcomer to the Bastards. His easy smiles and congenial manners cannot fully mask the potent sorcery he wields. His vast knowledge and mysterious powers may be the key to Jackal’s winning the chief’s seat, but Crafty could just as easily be a weapon for the Claymaster to use to bury his young rival.  

6. Hoodwink — This dead-eyed half-orc has skin the color of a snake’s belly. Ousted from many of the other gangs, Hoodwink rode as a nomad for years before being taken in by the Claymaster. Since then, he has become the chief’s personal cutthroat, given dark errands that are kept secret from the other Bastards. If Jackal hopes to become chief, he must first deal with this scarred and remorseless killer.  

7. Grocer — Grocer is the Bastards’ stingy quartermaster. Nearly as old as the Claymaster, he has been around since the gang’s beginning and is fiercely loyal to the chief. It’s rumored that the sour miser is a frailing, the child of a half-orc and a human, but none would dare say it in his presence. 

8. Beryl — This staunch half-orc matron is the mother of Oats, and the surrogate mother of all who have come under her care at the Bastards’ orphanage. Tireless and unshakable, Beryl has cared for many half-breed foundlings. Jackal and Fetching were both raised beneath her strict roof. She’s seen much in her long tenure among the Bastards and fears for Jackal’s ambitions. 

9. Captain Bermudo — Like most humans, Bermudo has a low opinion of half-orcs. His noble birth and rank as a cavalero only adds to this deeply rooted bigotry. Bermudo has command of the last Hisparthan castle in the Lots, a duty that he both resents and flaunts. The men under his command are outcasts and exiles from polite society. How the good captain came to bear such a posting is the source of many rumors. 

10. Zirko the Hero Father — A halfling, Zirko is the high priest of Great Belico, a human warlord from antiquity who attained godhood. From the hill and tower of holy Strava, Zirko commands the loyalty of the Unyars, the descendants of Belico’s tribe of horsemen. The Hero Father, his fellow halfling faithful, and their Unyar protectors are a neutral, if not wholly unbiased, power in the Lots. 
 

 
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