outsider creative writing prompt roleplay ideas

The Outsider as a character for Creative Writing and Roleplay

When everything is going well, stir up some trouble by introducing an “outsider” to your story scene. A stranger, a monster, a long-lost friend… they’re all fantastic ways to mess with the status quo. Check out this post for lots of great ideas to help you add an outsider to your narrative world.

In this article…

Story Prompts for The Outsider

outsider creative writing prompts roleplay ideas
Outsiders have ideas of their own. Will your character be a beneficiary… or a victim?

Here is a collection of story ideas to stimulate your imagination whether you’re a writer or a game master in a roleplaying game. Adapt any of these ideas to whatever style or approach suits your own creativity.

  1. If a relationship between two people is going great, imagine who might show up that could put a little drama in the situation. Is it an old lover? Or someone who knows a secret? Is it a person that can lure one of the others down a concerning path? Perhaps it is simply somebody who shakes up the foundations with the promise of excitement and adventure.
  2. Nothing is more creepy than an invasive worm. A big worm can threaten an entire community. A tiny worm can work its way under the skin or into the mind of one character in particular. Start by dropping in some hints of the worm’s emergence in the story, an unsettling feeling and evidence of some slime.
  3. An outsider, themselves, could be quite innocuous, but maybe they bring something with them inadvertently. What if they carry a disease, an infection, a virus, or an illness? Maybe they’re cursed or possessed. They could also bring a gift that seems great at first until its true nature is revealed.
  4. When a generous outsider arrives, the suburban community not only accepts them but grows to love them. All seems good… until they finally want something in return. Can the community give them what they need? Imagine the division and confusion in the community that could ensue.
  5. Things start going wrong in the neighbourhood. Stuff goes missing and people are getting hurt. Food is tainted and it seems nothing can go right. The time when things started going awry can be traced back to the arrival of someone new. Can there be a connection and if so, how will the community deal with it?
  6. One of the people in your community is possessed by an outside force. This forces you to wonder what could be the cause. How can they be saved from the radical change they’ve undergone?
  7. A bird, strange to the area, seems to be hanging around your window sill. As you’re watching it one day, it looks right back at you and begins to speak. What does it say and what adventure will its words begin?
  8. A washed-up wizard wanders into town looking for inspiration. Dismissed as a fool, they are pushed aside and left to wallow while others laugh. You, however, show some pity. What will you learn from them? Can you help them… or should you help them?
  9. A stranger came to town a while ago and left behind a glyph, rune, ward, or some graffiti. People let it be, as it had an odd beauty to its design. Over time, folks forgot about it for the most part and it just became a piece of street art. Until one day when it came to life. What happens when it does? Does it open a doorway?
  10. You befriend a new student in class. But soon you discover that this outsider has some strange powers and you’re rapt. Will it be too late when you realize that those powers are “evil”?

Characters who make great Outsiders

outsider creative writing prompt roleplay
What adventure will an outsider bring to your story?

Here’s a list of folks that you might use as inspiration for an outsider character of your own. As you’ll see below, there are all kinds of strangers that can spur on a good tale.

  • peddler, seller of wares, snake-oil salesman, merchant, kiosk clerk
  • food truck operator, hotdog vendor, competitive chef, cook who likes to experiment,
  • new student, new family, new neighbours,
  • undertaker, coroner,
  • gunslinger, trouble-maker, rapscallion, highwayman, bandit, thief, scamp, rogue,
  • stranger, vagrant, hobo, traveler, lost scarecrow, pilgrim, wanderer, ranger, hiker, hippy,
  • detective, investigator, marshal, bounty hunter,
  • politician with promises, radical with new ideas, protester, dissident,
  • leader, king, president, prime minister, premier, mayor,
  • magistrate, judge, tribunal,
  • council members, board executives,
  • celebrity, pop star, hero, famous folk,
  • single parent moving away from a violent “ex”,
  • orphan child, lost kid, abandoned baby,
  • military, soldiers, vanguard of an army, scouts,
  • explorer, tinkerer, adventurer,
  • guide, tourist, vacationer,
  • spy, infiltrator, agent, FBI, CIA, secret service,
  • non-native animal, invasive species, foreign plant life,
  • gang, mob, thugs, organized crime syndicate,
  • old friend, past coworker, colleague,
  • past love, crush,
  • a talking animal, a curious bird, a stray dog,
  • relative, sibling, half-brother, in-laws,
  • wizard, mystic, magician, summoner, alchemist or potion maker,
  • travelling priest, monk, evangelist, preacher,
  • scientists in hazmat suits, a mobile lab, data collectors, observation team, scientific technicians,
  • traveling troupe, street performer, jester, puppet show, hypnotist, snake charmer,
  • psychic, fortune teller, prophet, seer, oracle,
  • businessperson, entrepreneur, investor, prospector, deal-maker, trader, merchant,
  • a robot, a cyborg, alien lifeform, construct,
  • felon, escaped convict, someone wrongfully accused,
  • demon, angel, messenger, entity, demigod, avatar,

Things that an Outsider might bring with them

Outsider creative writing and roleplay ideas
Does your outsider arrive with a ship full of surprises?

An outsider themselves might stir things up in the neighbourhood. However, they may bring something else with them that presents the real problem or challenge for your characters. With that in mind, here is a list of things that could be great story starters or plot twists for your creative writing or roleplaying game.

  • a letter, note, message, script,
  • tidings from afar, news of a relative, bad news, good news, strange news,
  • an order, edict, ruling, command,
  • food, treats, delicious delights, drinks, entertainment, music, a party atmosphere,
  • intoxicants, hallucinogens, drugs, stimulants, mind-altering substance,
  • promises, the “truth”, freedom, revolution,
  • a strange book, intriguing map, a key, a box, a trinket, gadget, bauble,
  • magic powers, psychic powers, strange readings, omens, blessings, a curse,
  • medicine, treatment, a cure, a remedy, a potion, hope,
  • technology, weapons, mind-control, solutions to a long-standing problem,
  • skills, knowledge,
  • a warning, an omen, a threat, caution,
  • a way out, a way in, a way through,
  • a gift, a present, a prize, something strange,
  • a disease, illness, virus, infection, plague, sickness, malaise,
  • a mystery, a puzzle, a riddle, a challenge,
  • something to celebrate, mourn, remember, strive for, commemorate,
  • economic growth, industry, money, jobs, incentives, investment, progress, development,
  • friendship, kindness, caring, partnership, love, passion,
  • colonization, oppression, indoctrination, subjugation, power, control,
  • a mission, a plan, an objective, a goal, an intention,

Storyframes involving Outsiders

These storyframes give you a quick arc for a narrative that you can fill out using your own creative details. They are great at keeping you on track by simplifying the vision of your overall story. And they fit any genre that you’re working in.

  • Character is wary of outsider, then trusts outsider, then learns they were right to not trust the outsider.
  • Character buys something from outsider; things go horribly wrong; character must find outsider again to correct the situation.
  • Character befriends outsider; outsider is good influence but becomes bad influence; character struggles.
  • Character becomes pursued by the outsider; outsider disappears; character is accused of murdering the outsider.
  • Character is wary of outsider, but others will not listen; outsider gains in power; then, character becomes enemy of their own community.
  • Community accepts outsider; character befriends outsider and learns secret; character tries to warn community.
  • Outsider is first rejected by character; character eventually adopts outsider then loses outsider
  • Outsider abducts someone close to character; character seeks outsider
  • Character is forbidden from seeing the outsider but falls in love with them
  • Character is invited on a journey with the outsider; outsider refuses to return character home
  • Outsider is accepted by community until they cause a calamity; character protects outsider from wrath of community

More Notes and Ideas for an Outsider

  • For some overall help with approaching creative writing, check out our first post of 2022 with some creative writing tips here.
  • You can have your main character encounter an “outsider” or maybe your main character is the outsider.
  • Build some mystery around your outsider, keeping their main intentions well-veiled until an opportune time.
  • Think of things around which you can build your outsider’s difference: clothing, accent, customs, symbols, music, stories, beliefs, and behaviours. As much as they try to blend in, their awkwardness and the community’s hesitation to accept them is so much fun to write and roleplay around.
  • Check out our page on MONSTERS to pick a villainous beast that could be the outsider in your story. Remember that a monster can always be disguised as a human and then reveal itself when it needs to feed. Monsters are sneaky like that.