Review: Idyll Creations – Outland (Adventure System)

Outland is a science fiction gazetteer for the Adventure System, written by Philip T. Adams and published by Idyll Creations.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about Outland here
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Outland is a sci-fi setting that is something of a skin for the Adventure System. It takes place in our Solar System well into the future where humans have populated the system and grown away from their Earth roots. Technology has advanced, but the setting remains placed within the confines of our Solar System with lots of interesting interaction going on between humans living on different planets and satellites (interesting as in great things for the GM to use for memorable adventures and campaigns). From a mechanical standpoint, the supplement focuses on the various groups of humans and hybrids, travel throughout the system, and some cool new technology to go with it. It does not get crazy with the changes though, keeping things to a minimum in terms of changes to the core rulebook. Instead, the bulk of the book is handed over to the gazetteer.

It’s clear that the design philosophy of Outland is to focus on the setting and the character options that marry with the fluff of the setting. The setting has a timeline that brings life to where Outland takes place and the entire gazetteer and character races embrace that timeline. The result is a book that is equal parts utility and setting guide. In fact, it would not be that difficult to take the utility aspects of Outland and use them in a different game system. You would have to find a way to incorporate all the mechanics thrown out here and there, but there’s a landslide of source material that applies without the need of mechanics. The setting definitely takes the cake!

The character options, on the other hand, fall a little flat. The different human cultures spread across the Solar System are interesting and match the fluff. The “hybrid” animal-human things though are anthropomorphic and a little awkward. The one thing I really don’t like is how technology is presented; there is a technology section which has a small selection of gear, but additional gear is presented throughout the gazetteer and you almost stumble upon it before finding it. All that technology should be located in one area to avoid forcing the user to hunt around the book looking for it. Other than that it’s a solid setting guide and leaves very little need for the GM to fill in the gaps. When you think of our Solar System, you can go anywhere using this book!

As for the look and feel of the book, the artwork is great, the graphic design is solid, and the flow of content is perfect (except for the gear)! The writing is excellent and there is no shortage of bits and pieces to use as adventure hooks.

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