What is a fringe hiker?

A fringe hiker is a cursed wanderer, forced to undergo catastrophe after catastrophe while they seek their Home. They grow tough, inside and out, and they learn how to cope with their situation by following three laws:



  • Experience Catastrophe
  • Avoid Annihilation
  • Push Homeward


All fringe hikers are trying to get Home, whatever that may mean to them. Fate, of course, conspires to prevent them from reaching home; they tend to meet with bizarre disasters whenever they get too close. Like the legendary Odysseus, fringe hikers often wander for decades while seeking a way back to their wives and homelands.


Between Scylla and Charybdis
Odysseus Between Scylla and Charybdis

Much like Odysseus, fringe hikers are very hard to kill. Some theorize it is because they are the playthings of the gods. But the gods hate having to interfere to save the life of a fringe hiker, and always exact a price for it later. To cope with the trials of the Fringe, a Hiker must become powerful in the ways of the wilderness.


There is a thin “fringe” of routes that satisfy these requirements and still wind slowly homeward. The miserable soul “walks the fringe” where he is uncomfortable but not dying, wandering but making progress. It’s often a thin line to tread.


We all see aspects of the Fringe in our daily life, and live by it half-consciously.

Traffic is worst when you’re in a hurry.

If you pack your raincoat, it won’t bother raining that day.

Examples of Fringe are very common in literature, from mythology to the classics to contemporary Discworld novels.


As a reader, you may find beauty in the idea of wandering the wide open world and overcoming all nature can throw at you.

1 thought on “What is a fringe hiker?”

  1. “I’m sure you’ve read dozens of stories about Fringe Hikers; they’re everywhere, if you know what to look for. Most adventures end the same way: with the successful hero turning and heading home. But sometimes that’s the hardest part of the journey. Sometimes the fates demand one more story from you. They take your triumphant return and they make it a curse. You have nowhere to go but home, but there is always another roadblock, another setback. You’re tired and hungry and you’ve been away for far too long.”

    “But there’s one thing you can do. If the fates are demanding a story from you, you give ’em one. You don’t let the fates make the story, you write it yourself. You face the dangers, you endure the discomfort, you grit your teeth and push on. That’s the Fringe; the fine line between walking straight into danger and giving the fates control, or never getting home.”

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