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-   -   Creating ORIGINAL alien races, not borrowed ideas (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=5259)

Maladominus January 26th, 2006 12:42 AM

I was wondering if there is any kind of software or website that lets me create a detailed ORIGINAL alien race, along with traits, unique personality, anatomy, etc. Something like a "Random Alien Generator"

You know what everyone does? They just borrow ideas from Dungeons and Dragons and other games, and then translate those races into so-called "Traveller aliens". I've done that in the past myself... and I think it's time to do it differently.

Alien races need to be created uniquely. They need to be really alien, totally bizarre, and having almost nothing in common with Humanity. They need to be something that you've never seen on TV, something that you didn't borrow from Star Trek or D&D. This is the only way that they can truly be called alien.

But how do we go about designing these truly unique alien species? How do we do this so that the "design" of the species is sensible? Surely there is some kind of RPG utility that someone created for doing this....

Maladominus January 26th, 2006 12:48 AM

P.S. -- there is nothing wrong with borrowing ideas of alien races from other sources once in a while. I would just like to have a utility that lets me create my own original ones. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Whipsnade January 26th, 2006 12:53 AM

Mal,

T5 will have such a generator.

While you wait for T5, let me suggest GURPS:Uplift. It allows you to either 'raw roll' a sophont species straight from its evolutionary ancestors; getting humans from primates for exampls, or coming up with sophont species from scratch.

Again, you can either 'roll them up' and play with the delightful results or you can start with a concept in mind and use the tables to flesh the species out.


Have fun,
Bill

P.S. SJGames is having a sale of 3e products at their e23 on-line store.

Maladominus January 26th, 2006 01:22 AM

I'll take a look into that GURPS product, thanks Bill.

sid6.7 January 26th, 2006 02:03 AM

i have a RANDOM CT character maker i made
you could use that if you want...

here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Gal24/...US%20stuff%20/

i suppose i could modify it to
make aliens but someone would
have to come up with the "Canon"
for making such...

so we would first need to make
a "canon" of what an alien could
be so i could get some kinda idea
of what info you want for the alien
keeping it simple yet descriptive
in like small 1 line sentence's would be good
or keywords in a format of some kind...

then i would print to file for your use
or screen(as the program does now)...

i have some dental surgury tomorrow
so it will be a few days till i can
respond to any input you put here...JSYN

Pickles January 26th, 2006 02:42 AM

Have you tried Marc's T5 alien generator in the Moot (membership required)?

Golan2072 January 26th, 2006 05:58 AM

First, generate a world using CT LBB3. CT LBB3 also has animal generation tables; generate an "ur-species" animal, then "evolve" it to a sentient race. Ecological role prior to sentience would probably have an effect on the sentient race, and their homeworld environment will also have. Build on that, and be creative.

And while my Precursors and Inheritors might be based on an established sci-fi idea, the Inheritors themselves are quite original - they were based on creatures generated using CT LBB3.

TheEngineer January 26th, 2006 08:47 AM

Hi !

This is just a list of aspects, which may influence the look and behaviour of a "being".
Guess its hardly possible to concentrate evolution on one page of paper, but perhaps a collection of influencing moments (which should be extended...) might help.

Original environment
- gasous
- liquid
- solid
- phase boundary -> x/y tendency

Metabolism
- C-based
- S-based
- mixed
- artificial
- other

Sensoring
- Gravitational
motivates symmetry reduction by top/down difference
- Radiation > energy source / interaction
- Magnetism > energy source / interaction
- Mechanical (Vibration etc...) > energy source / interaction
- Chemical > energy source / interaction
- static sensor motivations supports specilisation

Symmetry
- spherical
- polyedric reduction
- rotational x e.g. medusa
- rotational x - polygonic e.g. hiver
- mirrowed x e.g. worm, snake, human
- amorph

Preferred movement direction
- x
- x/y
- x/y/z
- dependencies: Sensoring

Manipulation
- Manipulation of location > movement
- none/static/passive
- unstructured/amorph > amoeba, fungus
- continuus following symetry lines (fish fins)
- multi-protosegments ()
- symetry proportional (e.g. 2*n for mirrowed x anatomy, n for n-polygonic shapes)
- reduced to symetry base

Movement
- Sophistication of movement motivates directional aspect to/from
- Sophistication of movement motivates segment count reduction

Energy source
- radiation, e.g. heat or photosynthesis
- mechanical, e.g. fluid or gas movement
- chemical > real "food" > breathing
- radioactivity
- energy source > motivation for sensoring, movement

Reproduction
- unisex
- splitting
- cloning
- multisexual
- up to your fantasy...

Social configuration
- one being
- individuals
- groups
- hive
- the larger the groups the larger the specilisation

Interaction/Communication
- strongly connected to sensoring
- visual > e.g. hivers
- (bio)chemical > e.g. pheromonic, memory transport
- mechanical > e.g. antennas, vibration
- audio /sound/speech
- electrical
- magnetical
- radiation (heat/light)

...to be continued

Fritz_Brown January 26th, 2006 08:51 AM

I'll be the third to mention the T5 race generation stuff. If you had a Moot subbie, I would send you my Excel file using MWM's data. (Don't want to break any rules, ya know.)

BTW, I used it to generate (partly randomly) a race around which i designed the Paper Airplane starship. Two sets of arms and different numbers of digits on each side make for a fun numbering system.

2-4601, MWM's race generation stuff is somewhat based on the LBB3 stuff.

Flynn January 26th, 2006 10:06 AM

Mal,

I have written the beginnings of a T20 system for Alien Race Generation, but it's not ready for prime time yet. By the time it's done, I imagine the PDF will be between 30-40 pages (it's currently at 25 pages, and is in need of examples and flavor text), far too big to put into a Stellar Reaches issue. While I was hoping to use it with the Limited License concept, seeing as how we haven't heard anything on that in almost a year, I'll probably finish it off in the next few months and post it somewhere.

That is, of course, unless QLI or MJD or someone is interested in seeing it for their own publishing efforts. ;)

Until Then, I Don't Have Much To Offer,
Flynn

BTW, if you have access to the Dragon Magazine Archive CD set, there's an old Traveller article that randomly generates alien races. I just don't remember which one it was in...

deadlock January 26th, 2006 10:06 AM

Greetings and salutations,

You may also wish to look at Atomik Alienz by The Atomik Vortex Studio. IMHO, it does a very good job in helping create aliens. I covers a lot of things that TheEngineer listed in his post. If you do obtain a copy of it, I suggest getting a copy of The Atomik Add-On Booklet. It will help convert things from their products into the appropriate gaming system you are using. Besides, it's free!

Hopefully this will provide you with some help in creating your own alienz.

Fritz_Brown January 26th, 2006 10:51 AM

Yes, Deadlock, forgot about Atomik! (And, he means the Add-on booklet is free - the Alienz book is 5.95.)

Ptah January 26th, 2006 02:02 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Marquis Deadlock:
Greetings and salutations,

You may also wish to look at Atomik Alienz by The Atomik Vortex Studio. IMHO, it does a very good job in helping create aliens. I covers a lot of things that TheEngineer listed in his post. If you do obtain a copy of it, I suggest getting a copy of The Atomik Add-On Booklet. It will help convert things from their products into the appropriate gaming system you are using. Besides, it's free!

Hopefully this will provide you with some help in creating your own alienz.

These are good books, bought both of them after Marquis recommendation. A mini-review is in this thread: www.travellerrpg.com/cgi-bin/Trav/CotI/Discuss/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=10;t=000072;p=5

Ptah January 26th, 2006 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Flynn:
Mal,

I have written the beginnings of a T20 system for Alien Race Generation, but it's not ready for prime time yet. ...

BTW, if you have access to the Dragon Magazine Archive CD set, there's an old Traveller article that randomly generates alien races. I just don't remember which one it was in...

Mal, on Flynn's first point, pretty much the same story here, but happy to share half-baked ideas.

On the second point, I have that article at home and will post at least the month and year later tonight.

Ptah January 26th, 2006 09:26 PM

Flynn may be referring to the February 1982 Dragon and the article by Jon Mattson entitled Anything but Human, pages 65-67. A nice little 3 page article for generating aliens that uses input from the alien's homeworld, via LBB3, to modify rolls on the generation tables. The design sequence has tables for: Basic Type, Basic Shape, Size, Attribute Modifiers, Psionic Rating Modifiers, and Special Abilities. Not a point buy system but a random generation sequence with modifiers.

Fritz_Brown January 26th, 2006 09:45 PM

Ooooooh, shiny! I guess I have to add that to my searches on eBay, now. :( (Right after my Cogs & Dogs and Rats & Cats searches....)

sid6.7 January 26th, 2006 10:28 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by TheEngineer:
Hi !

This is just a list of aspects, which may influence the look and behaviour of a "being".
Guess its hardly possible to concentrate evolution on one page of paper, but perhaps a collection of influencing moments (which should be extended...) might help.

Original environment
- gasous
- liquid
- solid
- phase boundary -> x/y tendency

Metabolism
- C-based
- S-based
- mixed
- artificial
- other

Sensoring
- Gravitational
motivates symmetry reduction by top/down difference
- Radiation > energy source / interaction
- Magnetism > energy source / interaction
- Mechanical (Vibration etc...) > energy source / interaction
- Chemical > energy source / interaction
- static sensor motivations supports specilisation

Symmetry
- spherical
- polyedric reduction
- rotational x e.g. medusa
- rotational x - polygonic e.g. hiver
- mirrowed x e.g. worm, snake, human
- amorph

Preferred movement direction
- x
- x/y
- x/y/z
- dependencies: Sensoring

Manipulation
- Manipulation of location > movement
- none/static/passive
- unstructured/amorph > amoeba, fungus
- continuus following symetry lines (fish fins)
- multi-protosegments ()
- symetry proportional (e.g. 2*n for mirrowed x anatomy, n for n-polygonic shapes)
- reduced to symetry base

Movement
- Sophistication of movement motivates directional aspect to/from
- Sophistication of movement motivates segment count reduction

Energy source
- radiation, e.g. heat or photosynthesis
- mechanical, e.g. fluid or gas movement
- chemical > real "food" > breathing
- radioactivity
- energy source > motivation for sensoring, movement

Reproduction
- unisex
- splitting
- cloning
- multisexual
- up to your fantasy...

Social configuration
- one being
- individuals
- groups
- hive
- the larger the groups the larger the specilisation

Interaction/Communication
- strongly connected to sensoring
- visual > e.g. hivers
- (bio)chemical > e.g. pheromonic, memory transport
- mechanical > e.g. antennas, vibration
- audio /sound/speech
- electrical
- magnetical
- radiation (heat/light)

...to be continued

holy smokes batman...i got what i asked for didnt i! [img]smile.gif[/img]

:( im not sure i even undertsand half of it :(


EDIT:
now maybe basic stats on hiver/droyne kkree
aslan,vargr,vilani,zhodani? or are they
just the same as normal stats but then called
a dog/lion/herbavore/insect? any others would help too i guess...arf!

TheEngineer January 27th, 2006 02:34 AM

Sorry, its because of the drugs.... [img]smile.gif[/img]

sid6.7 January 27th, 2006 03:01 AM

questions


wouldnt splitting be the more natural cloning?

VS artificial cloning as a trait?

cloning would happen if a race gave up
natural reproduction?

TheEngineer January 27th, 2006 04:21 AM

I considered splitting to describe the ability to release a fully "working" organism. just like splitting of a paramecium.
But perhaps with some modification of DNA, so a kind of inperfect copy.

Cloning should be considered to aim a "perfect" copy.

Maybe I should add "genetically engineered" to stress an artifical aspect.
But what if a species is naturally able to actively modify the result of a reproduction ?
Would be highly adaptable, wouldnt it ?
Like "uh, another iceage coming. Prehaps my next children should have fur" [img]smile.gif[/img]

sid6.7 January 27th, 2006 08:11 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by TheEngineer:
I considered splitting to describe the ability to release a fully "working" organism. just like splitting of a paramecium.
But perhaps with some modification of DNA, so a kind of inperfect copy.

Cloning should be considered to aim a "perfect" copy.

Maybe I should add "genetically engineered" to stress an artifical aspect.
But what if a species is naturally able to actively modify the result of a reproduction ?
Would be highly adaptable, wouldnt it ?
Like "uh, another iceage coming. Prehaps my next children should have fur" [img]smile.gif[/img]

okay understand...maybe "cognant evolution" would be a better "natural word"?

TheEngineer January 28th, 2006 10:49 AM

"Cognant evolution" !
Sound pretty good. I will note that [img]smile.gif[/img]

Maladominus January 28th, 2006 11:43 AM

If I remember from undergraduate Biology class.... the official term for "splitting" would be binary fission.

Of course, that term is usually applied to tiny single-cellular bacterial lifeforms. I'm not sure it actually works for larger creatures. Does it?

archhealer January 29th, 2006 03:55 AM

Well, provided the mechanisms were geared for it, there's not reason why not. Although, for really complex organisms, it's very likely that the 'clone' wouldn't so much split off, as for an embryonic tissue 'pod', like an egg or something, to develope from identical genetic information and then grow independantly of the 'parent' organism, either internally or externally. But yeah, splitting can work for complex organisms just as well as simple ones.

The trick is to remember that organisms which use splitting as their primary means of reproduction, usually take a lot longer to evolve any fixed traits. However, when they do, they tend to speciate much more quickly, sometimes in single generation.

Most simple organisms make up for the lack of mutation rate by having massive reproductive rates, allowing them to produce many more generations in the same span of time as most more complex organisms, so overall, they're about equal. Higher organisms, like vertabrates, would have an appallingly slow rate of mutation if they cloned, so a species would be basically stagnant in that ragard.

timerover51 August 16th, 2019 11:20 PM

My apologies for bumping this thread, but reading it did get me to do a bit of thinking.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Maladominus (Post 90538)
I was wondering if there is any kind of software or website that lets me create a detailed ORIGINAL alien race, along with traits, unique personality, anatomy, etc. Something like a "Random Alien Generator"

You know what everyone does? They just borrow ideas from Dungeons and Dragons and other games, and then translate those races into so-called "Traveller aliens". I've done that in the past myself... and I think it's time to do it differently.

For a much broader range of aliens, which are drawn from science fiction and not from games, it would be hard to beat Wayne Barlowe's Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials . As for cribbing creatures from Dungeon and Dragons, the "Displacer Beast" is cribbed from A. E. Von Vogt's story "Black Destroyer" which in modified form appears in his "Voyage of the Space Beagle", which is the source of two of Barlowe's Extraterrestrials, one of which does reproduce by splitting. For creating Aliens distinct from the ones in Traveller and other games, I would highly recommend the book, which can be found online. A planet full of Dilbians would be fun to add to any sub-sector or game.

Quote:

Alien races need to be created uniquely. They need to be really alien, totally bizarre, and having almost nothing in common with Humanity. They need to be something that you've never seen on TV, something that you didn't borrow from Star Trek or D&D. This is the only way that they can truly be called alien. (Emphasis Added)
If an alien is so totally different from Humanity, how is a human going to adequately portray them? If there is virtually nothing in common, how is one to think or react like them? Any alien created is going to be limited to what a human player can run or use.

Quote:

But how do we go about designing these truly unique alien species? How do we do this so that the "design" of the species is sensible? Surely there is some kind of RPG utility that someone created for doing this....
T5 does have the material from creating random Aliens. Whether they are believable or not is heavily dependent on the die rolls. Personally, I would rather use the given material to build one without the die rolls, but to each his own way of doing things.

mike wightman August 17th, 2019 06:00 AM

Some games I have that do this well:
T5, GURPS Uplift, GURPS Space 4e.

aramis August 17th, 2019 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 605497)
T5 does have the material from creating random Aliens. Whether they are believable or not is heavily dependent on the die rolls. Personally, I would rather use the given material to build one without the die rolls, but to each his own way of doing things.

Marc has made it clear in the past: in ALL editions the random process is there for those who want to use it as random; if you want to pick the rolls instead, and you're the ref, fine.

Marc writes toolkits.

ShawnDriscoll August 25th, 2019 01:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 605497)
If an alien is so totally different from Humanity, how is a human going to adequately portray them? If there is virtually nothing in common, how is one to think or react like them? Any alien created is going to be limited to what a human player can run or use.

I expect players to do their homework first if they choose to portray them. They should know their history/culture/politics besides all the biology stuff about them. And the other players will need to know about them as well. And decide together how the alien is to be handled in-game before starting any game session.


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