10.12.20

The Outlander

A US civil war veteran transported to mars, a kryptonian evacuated to earth, a college athlete accidentally rocketed to an alien planet. With strange super-human abilities manifested on their new world the Outlander is a classic trope and the topic of today's Dungeoneering.

Edgar Rice Burroughs arguably invented the super hero genre with his epic hero Captain John Carter of Virginia in the classic novel A Princess of Mars. Carter's adventures on Mars inspired generations of kids who would go on to become artists, writers, and even scientists like Carl Sagen, Isaac Asimov, Frank Frazetta, and Frank Herbert.

The concept that someone raised on a planet with certain conditions would exhibit unusual abilities when transported to a different planet with different conditions is a compelling one. Often explored in science fiction, the most common being someone from a heavier gravity being stronger. There is so much more potential in the concept. Here is the Outlander as a playable character race. Ideal for the Warriors of the Red Planet and Guardians roleplaying games:

Outlander Strangers of extraordinary ability from other worlds

When one who is born on another planet or dimension or from another time with different atmospherics, climate, knowledge, or gravity arrives on this world they inherently have unusual abilities far beyond what natives may have. On their world of origin they may have been little more than average, but on this world they are stronger, or can jump higher, or have incredible endurance, or even stranger abilities that seem superheroic. 

Despite their otherworldly origins, Outlanders adapt rapidly, being able to learn local customs and languages in a short time. Consequently, Outlanders may learn the local equivalent of Common within days of first hearing it, regardless of their Intelligence score. 

Many Outlanders find themselves looked upon with fascination as possible heroes or saviors, whose unexpected arrival means the status quo is about to change. Just as easily as they find allies, they are likely to encounter enemies in equal numbers.

Perhaps because journeys between worlds/times/dimensions are inherently hazardous, only the most resilient -- and fortunate -- Outlander survive. Members of this race gain a +4 bonus to saving throws. 

Owing to the unusual nature of their fighting styles, Outlanders gain a +1 bonus either to Armor Class or to hit and damage when fighting opponents unfamiliar with their ways. Which bonus the Outlander wishes to use must be declared before each combat begins and, should the opponent survive to face the character again, the bonus is nullified thereafter in the case of that particular foe.


Home World

These are just a few of the possible conditions of the Outlander’s home world and the abilities it confers to them on this world, choose one.

Heavier Gravity: Outlander is unusually strong, +1 Strength and can jump twice as high and far as normal.

Thinner Air: the Outlander has unusual endurance, +1 Constitution

Advanced Knowledge: the Outlander understands technology and can figure out strange gadgets or make their own with the proper time and resources, +1 Intelligence.

Aquatic: the Outlander is amphibious and can breath underwater and on land. And swim twice as fast as normal. They can hold their breath for unusually long periods, for no less than 2 hours plus their Constitution modifier.

Hotter: the Outlander from a hot world is nearly impervious to heat, taking half damage at most from fire or heat attacks, and usually being able to save for none.

Colder: the Outlander from a cold world is nearly impervious to cold, taking half damage at most from cold attacks, and usually being able to save for none. They are not susceptible to the further effects of cold, such as being frozen. 

Radiation: the Outlander was born on a planet with extremely high and unusual radiation. When they come to this world that lacks this radiation and bathed by the light of a different sun they gain unusual powers of flight, invulnerability, x-ray vision, even laser blasts from the eyes. As all of these combined are likely to unbalance a game, choose one of these options:

  • Flight (24”) with high maneuverability

  • Invulnerability: +2 natural AC, +2 hit points per level

  • X-Ray vision: able to see through most solids as normal, the GM determines what blocks this vision, usually heavy metals like lead.

  • Eye Lasers: roll to hit, inflicts 2-7 (1d6+1) damage. Can be used 3 times per day.

  • Super breath: can exhale a powerful gust of wind, in 15’ cone, targets must make a Dexterity check or be blown back 25’ cone, targets must make a Dexterity check or be blown back 10’ and fall down prone. Can be used no more than once per hour and when not fatigued.


I started a discussion thread on the ODD74 Forum here: https://odd74.proboards.com/thread/14588/outlander-new-character-race

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Inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs, American comics, and Robert Heinlein, and many other “Science Fantasy” books and movies. Loosely based on the Stranger by James Maliszewski http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2009/08/grognards-grimoire-stranger.html