Monday, April 25, 2016

Dogwood City A to Z: The Unknown

Wow, just one week to go in the A to Z Challenge!  I've been pleasantly surprised...surprised at the direction Dogwood City has taken as I've hit on more mystical than science-fictional superpowers, and also surprised that I like this direction as much as I do.  I think it'd be cool to work in at least one "cosmic observer" type, like the hosts that traditionally introduce horror comics.  I hit upon Retribution over at the Public Domain Super Heroes wiki:

I thought he might be a nice character to include, but upon first seeing this 1955 story, I assumed Retribution was just a knock-off of a certain member of the Trenchcoat Brigade.  Eventually, though, I found that this story actually reprints a much older tale from 1946:

The Unknown predates the Phantom Stranger by more than six years!  Very cool, I thought!  Welcome to Dogwood City, I said!

The Unknown has a short and sweet writeup over at the PDSH wiki.  He's a horror story host that some speculate is an incarnation of the Unknown Soldier.  I love the idea of the Unknown playing the role of observer, advisor, and sometime-participant in the mystical events that swirl around Dogwood City.

His appearance did change a bit over time, as later artwork showed him as more of a ghostly hooded figure...

I have to say, though, I really like the classic look with the fedora.  I guess there's just something about trenchcoats that I've been conditioned to associate with magic.

The Unknown
Real name:  Unknown (as in no one knows it; it's not "Unknown")
Level ?
20 Hero Dice
Defense 20*

Wave of the hand (melee or ranged) +20 (1D damage)*

Mastery:  Human nature, the occult, the cosmos

The Unknown can grant any other character a chance to rewrite fate.  On a successful saving throw, the character's player may establish a plot point that must be worked into the story by the GM.

*The Unknown rarely engages in combat; when he does, he can only be hit on a roll of a natural 20.  If the Unknown somehow reaches 0 hit points, he simply disappears.


  1. I always love those cosmic observer types. He seems like a nice Phantom Stranger/Spectre hybrid.

    1. Good point; I suppose his drive to ensure that folks get what they deserve has a definite air of the Spectre!