This is what happens when you take the idea behind Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
and scale it up to the size of an entire army. The army of thieves and whores is composed primarily of the dregs of society - criminals, prostitutes, outcasts, renegades, the poor, and in general everybody you wouldn't expect to see in a proper army.
Generally, these guys will be the heroes, because Underdogs Never Lose
. In most cases, they're some sort of rebel army
opposing their imperial oppressors
, who will of course be well-ordered, disciplined, and often respectable.
There may also be a theme of uniting the downtrodden to stand against their oppressors.
- The name comes from the rebel army raised against the tsar in Nikolai Dante, which does indeed consist mostly of robbers, prostitutes, pirates, and various people the tsars have trodden on.
- The Lost and the Damned in the Warhammer 40,000 universe are a villainous (well, more villainous than usual) version - they make up various Chaos armies, and are composed of mutants, murderers, heretics, and assorted scum of the Empire.
- Gaius Marius' legion in Emperor: The Gates of Rome is viewed by the more conservative Romans due to Marius abolishing the land requirement for entry, bringing in numerous poor citizens who otherwise would have had no means of supporting themselves. And they love him for it.
- Temujin's (Genghis Khan's) forces in Wolf of the Plains starts out as one of these, as he initially builds up his forces by recruiting the various outcasts and nomads who would otherwise have nobody to stand with.