DisabiLife: Tannis (Borderlands) and Asperger’s

Hello everybody! Jonathan Feldman here, with another chapter of DisabiLife!


Today’s blog is part of an ongoing series of entries on disabled characters portrayed in the media — video games, movies, television, books, and etc.

There are many characters who, despite potential physical or mental limitations, have made incredible success for themselves in whatever they set out to do. For example, you may remember my earlier blog on Dr. Shaun Murphy, the surgeon with Asperger’s Syndrome from The Good Doctor. So, lets begin, shall we?

Doctor Patricia Tannis (the Borderlands series)

The In-Game Introduction for Doctor Patricia Tannis

The Borderlands series of video games takes place in the future on the planet Pandora. No, not the same Pandora as in Avatar; Borderlands actually came out two months before that!

Anyway, the Pandora in Borderlands can be described as Mad Max in space, with a twist of western-frontier. Within the game, you play as a Vault Hunter: A sort of adventurer/mercenary that searches for the Vaults left behind on Pandora by the mysterious original inhabitants, the Eridian. Throughout the game, you receive quests from a wide variety of eccentric characters, including one Doctor Patricia Tannis.

Tannis is an archaeologist and researcher, as well as the leading authority on the Eridians and their Vaults. She is one of the most intelligent characters in the series, and integral to the story line! This is all the more impressive when you learn that she also has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Her symptoms (as revealed in Hidden Journals within the games) include a lack of empathy towards others, difficulty recognizing social cues, a tendency towards veering off on wild tangents, and an over-fixation on her work, interests, and hobbies. She consistently demonstrates a complete aversion to social interaction. These symptoms aren’t particularly helped by living on Pandora, one of the least civilized planets in the universe.

Despite all this, she found a place where her talents allow her to thrive as a scientist and researcher. Tannis always manages to keep her thoughts together enough to guide you in your quest, with her quirks adding a nice touch of variety and uniqueness to the game.

With Borderlands 3 having been just released, I’ve been replaying Borderlands 2 to remind myself of everything that happened thus far, and Tannis is a notable and gripping character.

Well, that’s all for now! See you later!


Written By: Jonathan Feldman

This blog post was written by a member of the eVero Outreach team. The Outreach program aims to teach individuals with disabilities marketable job skills, and enable them to find gainful employment. To learn more about eVero Outreach, click here.