Duster Bandits

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Duster Bandits
Founded E5-700s
Headquarters None
Activities Kidnapping and ransoming VIPs
Forcible wealth redistribution
Leaders None

The Duster Bandits are a minor faction in the Mazes. They are a loosely associated group of people of all species and backgrounds who follow the Bandit Code. Officially considered to be a minor criminal organization by the Maze Police, the Duster Bandits consider themselves to be members of a movement advancing justice and promoting a fairer and more natural lifestyle in the Mazes.

The Duster Bandits style themselves after cowboys, wearing a traditional duster and cowboy hat and equipping themselves with traditional weapons of the blackpowder era; single-action revolvers in particular. All follow the Bandit Code, a manifesto written during the 700s of Era 5 by an anonymous author, which denounced the consolidation of power into the hands of "the wealthy and civilized", then called on those seeking justice to don the name and appearance of a Bandit and deliver it themselves.

The core values of the Bandit Code can be summed up as follows: Target the rich and powerful, extract wealth out of them, redistribute the spoils to the less fortunate, protect and defend the destitute and coinless, and reject civilized life at all costs (living in a town is seen as aiding and abetting the rich and powerful). Their brand of justice and redistribution of wealth has been called cowboy justice or Bandit justice and has since come to mean "taking justice into one's own hands", often with a negative connotation.

Because the Duster Bandits only have the Code and their outfit in common, they are only very loosely organized. In the Bandit Code's text, the author explicitly encouraged a leaderless approach, claiming that bandits should associate with one another to promote the Code and its values without the constraints of a hierarchy, as it would implicitly create "lesser" and "better" Bandits. Bandits may elect one of their own as a squadleader, but this is only a temporary measure for the sake of efficiency.

Although Duster Bandits have interpreted the Code in various ways, their most common and most famous activity is kidnapping and ransoming VIPs and arranging for the extortion of large sums of money in exchange for the VIP's safe release. On occasion, Bandits will steal objects of value instead of persons, ransoming them to their owners. Although it is not explicitly outlined in the Code, most Bandits frown upon unnecessary violence, largely out of necessity; if they were to gain a reputation for being violent and merciless, their modus operandi would no longer be effective and they would spend more time in gunfights than in negotiations.

See also