I went with the “Plague Rats”. Obviously.
The idea behind it was to have a band of lowlife individuals, who are mostly frowned upon by many of the normal people, and especially the nobility.
Yet, their services are somewhat of an ugly necessity in these times, and so they are hired again and again to fight off orcs and bandits, undead and werewolves.
The flavour texts in the game actually reflect that type of band pretty well, in particular if you often deal with those rather healthy merchants in blue robes.
To show that ingame, I decided to work only with specific backgrounds for my characters.
Everything related to nobility or even well educated classes is not allowed to join, so I will not pick up adventurous nobles, bastards or swordmasters, neither minstrels, historians or apprentices (just a few examples). Those would refuse to join a group of individuals with such low, questionable backgrounds.
On the other hand beggars and deserters, poachers and hedge knights, gamblers and vagabonds are very much welcome.
Backgrounds of the social middle range like lumberjacks, retired soldiers or tailors are accepted on a case by case basis, depending on their particular background. A butcher who had to leave hsi town because he used… questionable meat sources would be agreeable, for example.
Was a bit tough to get a starting group who fits into that and still gave me enough people of that kind for hire; I had to reroll several times. Often I had someone in the starting three who did not fit – and when those were fine, I could only hire historians and swordmasters. The problem was less to get capable characters, mind you, but ones who would fit into the background schematic. Beggars were totally fine.
Eventually, I ended up with a lumberjack, a graverobber and a deserter as the founding members, and hired a gravedigger, a miner and a wildman before setting out. The miner is sort of expendable (which is why he got the title “the Redshirt”), but so far he refused to die – unklike the gravedigger, who was too eager to dig his own grave right in the first battle.
The only really tricky part is ranged combat, since both bowyers and legitimate hunters do not fit into the bunch of outsiders. I have not found a poacher yet and I think I would also take along a witchhunter, but so far my brawler (the only character I could find with a somewhat decent ranged skill) seems to be content with shooting with the bow instead of trying to bash it over peoples’ heads. He even hits a target on occasion.
Plague Rats - we're not famous, but we get the job done.