The Defias Brotherhood is a neutral and evil group of assassins, thieves and pirates that dwell in the rural areas of the Kingdom of Stormwind - areas not easily protected by the Army.
Razed by the Horde in the First War, the city of Stormwind required a small army of engineers and artisans in order to begin a massive program of reconstruction. After restoring the city to its former glory, the workers gathered outside Stormwind Keep to collect payment for their services. This came as a surprise to the nobility of the city, who had assumed that the work was being done as a matter of civic pride. Whether they were unable or simply unwilling to proffer payment, they immediately ordered the workers exiled from the city. With only the tools in their hands and the clothes on their backs, the workers were forced out of Stormwind and into Elwynn Forest.
The shocked and forlorn workers were rallied by engineer Edwin VanCleef and became bandits, collecting their payment one traveler at a time. Marking themselves with a tattoo of a cog on their right hand, the bandits declared that “the machine will not run smoothly if the parts go renegade” to each waylaid traveler. Banditry and thievery quickly became a way of life for the exiles, banding together under VanCleef’s leadership as the Defias Brotherhood. Over the years, the ranks of the Brotherhood have been bolstered by the skilled, the desperate and the outcast, and now those marked with the cog tattoo signifying membership number in the hundreds. In Elwynn Forest and the area around Stormwind, the Brotherhood has mastered the art of the ambush, and despite protection by the Stormwind City Guard, few caravans get through the woods unhindered. The Guard’s inability and unwillingness to pursue the Brotherhood into Westfall has led the farmers and villagers in the area to form The People's Militia in an attempt to stave off the Brotherhood’s constant looting.
Lacking any formal military training, the outcasts who formed the Defias Brotherhood might have been forcibly disbanded long ago were it not for the skilled craftsmen and tinkers who made up its founding membership. These founders have worked together to give members of the Brotherhood access to an array of mechanical devices and weapons ranging from climbing equipment and smoke bombs to automatic crossbows and wagon traps (clamps buried in the ground that seize heavy wheels passing overhead and stop wagons on the spot). When the Defias Brotherhood advanced into Westfall, the goblins of the area were upset both by the Brotherhood’s raids on the merchant trains that supplied their shops and by the Brotherhood’s refusal to sell their inventions at goblin merchant outposts. After repeated attempts by the goblins at negotiation were met by increased attacks on their suppliers by the Brotherhood, the merchants hired a group of mercenaries to hunt the bandits. This hunt resulted in the only major battle fought by the Brotherhood — and led to the capture of all goblins in Westfall by the renegade bandits. Chained together, they were marched south into the Dead Mines and put under the command of Edwin VanCleef. What has happened to them since is, until recently.