The term outcast refers to members of the Nora tribe that have been banished from the tribe for breaking its laws. The main character Aloy is an outcast for much of her life, since being found abandoned as a baby; Rost is another outcast who raises her. Multiple other outcast characters are encountered in the game.
When a tribe member is accused of a crime, the High Matriarchs are called upon to judge and sentence them. The crimes of an outcast can range from minor infractions like fighting other tribe members, to crimes such as stealing or murder, and breaking tribal law such as leaving the Sacred Land. The outcasts are then given a term for which they must remain in exile; this ranges from a few years to a life sentence.
As an outcast, the offender is banished from permanent settlements and forbidden from returning until their sentence has expired. They are expected to fend for themselves, without any help from tribe members or other outcasts. Tribe members are forbidden from speaking with outcasts, and similarly outcasts are also forbidden from speaking with other outcasts. However, some outcasts and tribe members either choose to ignore the law, thus risking to break the law themselves, or find clever work-arounds, as in the case of Grata: she appears to indirectly speak to other outcasts such as Aloy by praying to All-Mother.
Outcast children are rare but special cases, as with Aloy, whom was motherless and therefore cast out from birth. Before Aloy, there is only one known instance of a child outcast, a thirteen-year-old boy that was cast out after killing his mother. Outcast children must follow all the rules of a normal outcast, plus one clause that specifically applies to them: when an outcast child reaches maturity (around 18 years old), the child is allowed to join other Nora children in the Proving. If the child completes the Proving, the child is no longer an outcast and is made a Brave. Aloy is the only known outcast child to have completed (and won) the Proving.
Any Nora who leaves the Sacred Lands without a Seeker blessing will be exiled from the tribe. Exiles are treated similarly to outlanders. If an exile attempts to enter the Sacred Lands, they will be deemed as trespassing, an offense punishable by death.
Attitudes towards Outcasts
The attitude towards the system of banishment in place of other punishments varies: some such as Teersa view the practice as relatively humane, as other tribes would resort to execution for certain crimes. Others, such as Aloy, believe it can be too harsh, as in her case when she was made an outcast for presumably not having a mother.
For the most part, tribe members adhere to the rule forbidding communication with outcasts, openly shunning them. For some, this is also an invitation to be hostile and violent towards outcasts; Bast throws a rock at Aloy's head and calls her 'no-mother' when they encounter each other as children. However, some are at least tentatively accepting of outcasts coming to their aid, as Olara, Thok, and Arana are with Aloy.
Even after an outcast is allowed back into Nora society, they may still face hostility. Resh and Lansra, for example, are antagonistic towards Aloy even after she is made a Seeker, and Bast openly mocks her on the night of the Proving. Still, others may be accepting, as Teb and Vala are to Aloy.
Among some outcasts, despite the tribal law prohibiting communication, there exists a sort of camaraderie; a willingness to help those who are in need, such as Aloy and Rost were with Grata, who was too old to hunt for herself. Even after he was received back into the tribe, Karst continued trading with outcasts.
The origin of the Nora practice of shunning is unknown, but given that it is a well-established custom it is likely to have been around for several generations, if not centuries.
After the Proving and War Party massacres, the Nora's warriors were wounded and stretched thin, allowing bandits to sneak through the border. At least two groups of outcasts formed for the sake of survival during the tribe's darkest hour. One group was led by Jom, and was comprised mainly of outcasts with life sentences. With Aloy's permission, the group took shelter in the Devil's Thirst Bandit Camp once it had been cleared out. The other group was led by Kurnst, made up of outcasts with lesser offenses (none of them were murderers), and were located west of Mother's Crown.
- Aloy (formerly, won Proving)
- Brom (formerly, term completed)
- Karst (formerly, term completed)
- Odd Grata
- Many of the outcasts use brown and white pigments in their face paints as opposed to the traditional blue of the Nora.
- In Ancient Greece, the Athenians had a practice called 'ostracism.' Citizens would write an undesirable person's name on a shard of pottery and place it in a large public container; if a citizen's name was written enough times, they would be banished from the city for ten years.
- In-game dialogue with Teersa