The faction consists mainly of Bandits not organized under Yoga's lead and stalkers that broke off from other factions. The Renegades do not seem to be under a formal leadership and act as warbands and gangs instead. Following the increase in emissions and the subsequent changing of the Zone's anomalous activity, the road to the Great Swamps opened up and people began moving in on what they hoped was an area of unharvested bounty. These people, dubbed the Renegades, soon got themselves into a turf war with the resident Clear Sky, a war they were well on their way of winning until Scar got involved, where their numbers were reduced to less than 25 fighters.
The Renegades are the first human enemies the player comes across and also the first faction war opponents, serving as a go-along tutorial for both combat and the faction wars mechanic. They are always hostile unless the player does not kill any of them and later joins the Bandits or Freedom. They are only encountered in the Swamps and in the Red Forest. Renegades are, much like Bandits, equipped with light weapons and low-quality armor. At the start of the game, they are still vastly superior to Clear Sky in sheer numbers. The Renegades were most likely made as a supplement for the Bandits as so the player could still join the Bandit faction without harming one's reputation with them. Renegades were not seen in Shadow of Chernobyl or in Call of Pripyat, suggesting that they most likely dissolved into the Bandit factions, became Loners, or were completely destroyed.
It is unclear what ties the Renegades have with the Bandits. When one joins the latter faction, they will become neutral with the Renegades, and as such it is unclear what the goal of this faction is: The elite Renegade strike force guarding the bridge to Limansk and the one in the Red Forest is distinct from the similarly equipped Bandits in Limansk, and one can wonder as to whether they are in fact cooperating, having perhaps equipped elite units to form a blockade on the paths to the center of the zone, whilst pushing on northward with another squad. This is supported by the unprecedented level of organization shown amongst Bandits under Yoga's rule, however, seeing as the Renegade faction does not seem to have a leader or at least one with a speaking role, it remains ambiguous.
Sadly, upon joining the Bandits and traveling to the swamps, the Renegades offer no real background story and have been lazily written using the same script as the members of Clear Sky, referring to the Clear Sky leaders as they are their own.
If the player joins the Bandit faction and returns to the swamps, providing they didn't annihilate the remaining dregs of the Renegade faction, it is possible to get the swamp Renegades back on their feet. Occasionally, Renegade squad leaders will offer jobs to the player – ones that damage Clear Sky and allow the Renegades to establish a foothold once more. If enough Renegades were left alive at the top corners of the swamp or any other parts, they may take advantage of Clear Sky's weakness that develops if you clear some of their squads off nearby camps or ruins. The Renegades can send squads to reclaim locations and take over sections of the previously Clear Sky dominated swamps. Once they start to gain momentum and more renegade squads spawn, their numbers can potentially rise to above 50 again and Clear Sky's numbers will begin to diminish for the time being. At this point, the renegades may well push their way as far as to the fishing hamlet and southern village.
The Renegades can be thought of as a dormant cancer once the Clear Sky faction war is complete. The player is able to join the Bandits and become neutral to them and from there, reenter the swamps to help the renegades. Once the renegades take a few locations back from Clear Sky, the "cancer" can be said to be active once more and will spread with increasing aggression as time goes on. Unfortunately, Clear Sky will always be able to respawn squads and overwhelm the Renegades sometime after their numbers have dropped to a certain point. Clear Sky will inevitably push the renegades back and at least reclaim most of what they lost. The renegades will eventually return to their weakened, dormant state once more if Clear Sky is able to beat them back. If they're lucky, they may be able to retain a few places that Clear Sky doesn't come after, namely the Pump Station or the Machine Yard.
At first, in the Great Swamp, renegades are armed with relatively light weaponry much to the reminiscence of Bandits in Shadow of Chernobyl. Later in the Red Forest, however, they are seen with much more advanced weaponry including 9x39mm SA Avalanche rifles wielded by the trenchcoat-wearing renegades and AKM-74/2s loaded with armor-piercing ammo wielded by the mercenary suit-wearing renegades.
- Bandit jacket - Identical to the leather jacket, except the artifact container count, which is 2.
- Trenchcoat - Thick brown coat, good for cold temperatures. Unobtainable by the player up until S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat.
- Mercenary Suit - Lightweight suit, normally used by Mercenaries but it has been adopted by Bandits and Renegades. It provides slightly higher ballistic protection than the Stalker Suit at the cost of radiation and anomaly protection. Used with a brown BDU, while Mercs use a blue BDU. They do not use gas masks.