Monday, July 23, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Aliens

Aliens species in most science fiction rpgs are of the of the human body animal head variety or just human’s with odd skin color--which might be cool if they gave them so interesting personality.  There are some pretty interesting aliens in games.  Here are a few of my favorites:

From: Star Frontiers
All the species in basic Star Frontiers are pretty cool (Zebulon’s Guide has some clunkers, though) but the corporatist, insect-appearing (though not actually intervebrate) Vrusk are good ones.  They avoided the cliches of evil insectoids and (mostly) hive culture.

From: GURPS Aliens
At first blush these guys are a “warrior race” cliche (okay, not just at first blush), but two me there are a couple of interesting things about them.  One is that their societal structure is based around cadres and avoids the usual “Klingon Empire” thing.  Two, their noseless humanoid appearance reminds me of the Acroyear in the Micronauts comics, who are one of the coolest warrior races ever.

From: GURPS Traveller: Alien Races 2
Horse-like herbivorous sophonts on a holy crusade to cleanse the universe of meat-eaters. Not only due the K’Kree break with typical humanoid alien design, they turn “peaceful herd animal” expectations on their ear.

From: Star Control
These guys are from a series of computer games and are just green-skinned humanoids.  What’s interesting about them is they reference the classic little green men from flying saucers motif.  Their ships are inertialess too, making them unique among the sentient races--and mysterious. The fraal from Alternity's Star*Drive setting are a somewhat similar idea, perhaps better done, but without the cool saucers.

From: Traveller: 2300AD
2300AD had several well done species, but the biotech-using pentapods are my favorite. Interestingly, the pentapods themselves are biotechnology--constructs made by deep sea intelligences on their homeworld.  It’s a set-up that could be easily used for horror, but the pentapods are one of the closest allies of humans.


Gothridge Manor said...

I liked the alien race in Galaxy Quest, the Thermians. Where so many alien races are eith really smart, really violent or so out there they are beyond comprehension the naive Thermians come along an show there can be an advanced race of 'nice' aliens without any powerful traits.

David said...

Acroyear FTW.

Jim Shelley said...

While I can't add anything to the discussion regarding Aliens in RPG games, I will happily second Unknowns vote of confidence in Acroyear!

Jayson said...

The Vrusk are easily my favorite RPG alien race. Just so nifty. And the corporate state social structure is a good way to suggest a hive past without still being beholden to it--sapient species tend to outgrow their instincts somewhat, after all.

The Angry Lurker said...

I like the K'kree.....very interesting but still meat!

Chris C. said...

I used to love the Vrusk. They were my favorite Star Frontiers race.

Ty said...

Geez, I haven't played Star Frontiers in nearly 30 years. Yikes, I'm getting old! Thanks for the blast from the past with the Vrusk, also one of my favorite alien races.