Alien race/culture question

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
September 24, 2014 - 6:27am
Is making an insectoid race with an honor/warrior culture (akin to Yazirians) too cliche?  I'm not necessarly talking about for Star Frontiers but for sci-fi in general? What are your thoughts and why?
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Comments:

Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
September 24, 2014 - 6:39am
No it would be different. Most insectoid races have a hive mentality. An honor/warrior them would make them more individualistic!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 24, 2014 - 5:37pm
I dont think thats a problem.

Other model would be a solitary type insect that preys on others- which would be more about Horror type themes, meaning the solitary bug is a boogey man looking to get the PCs.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 24, 2014 - 8:49pm
Quote:
Is making an insectoid race with an honor/warrior culture (akin to Yazirians) too cliche?

You mean like the Zuraqqor? Cool
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

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Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
September 25, 2014 - 6:41am
But do the Zuraqqor have an honor system, Shack? I thought they were just a warrior - hive group? Please correct me if I am wrong.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 25, 2014 - 9:00am
Nothing mentioned about honor, but theyre definitely warriors. They're one small tweak away from it.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
September 25, 2014 - 9:06am
True.

KRingway's picture
KRingway
September 26, 2014 - 1:12am
The Martians had a similar culture in 'Quatermnass and the Pit', although without the honour culture. But IMHO the whole warrior/honour culture has become too much of a cliche, for insects or otherwise.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 26, 2014 - 4:29am
"the noble savage" is a cliche fobbed off on us by Holywood. You can read accounts by early colonist in America of the natives going to war with each other and one group wiping out another village completely or wiping out the adults and taking the children as slaves. Not really noble, effective yes but not so noble.

Before anyone starts on the treatment of the natives by the colonist not being noble I'm simply evaluating the one act on its merits and not actually criticizing it per se. The Noble savage is a myth that does not measure up to reality even though there are a lot of piece in play in history that lead to confussion on the matter.

So you could, yes have a bug culture with honor being a part of it but I also have to agree with KRingway about it being cliche.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
September 26, 2014 - 6:02am
Certain themes have been done to death in sci-fi, and many are well-known enough that your players may find it too predictable as a premise. Whilst you can lean on cliches a little more in space opera, there are a few that always need avoiding and IMHO the whole honour/warrior thing is one of them. Ditto the whole 'bugs = hive mentality' thing.

That said, as it is such a well-trodden theme, there's no reason why you couldn't mess with the presumptions it invokes in players. So, from the outside it may look like there's an honour/warrior dynamic going on, but it might actually be something else.

Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
September 26, 2014 - 6:57am
Ah, take the old cliche and flip it!

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
September 26, 2014 - 7:02am
To avoid cliches, try to think of something that can't be found on tvtropes.com.

Ascent's picture
Ascent
September 26, 2014 - 10:00am
Stormcrow wrote:
To avoid cliches, try to think of something that can't be found on tvtropes.[b]ORG[/b].
Dude. They don't just cover TV tropes. They cover tropes from every genre of entertainment, including books, comic books, plays, role-playing games, even art, and anything else with tropes. There is no way to get around it. I doubt there is any trope that site hasn't posted. I suggest, instead, looking on that site for a trope that has not been overused in role-playing games.
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rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
September 26, 2014 - 12:31pm

Many social insects of the hive/nest type have specific warrior/guard types. But the honor of the insect would be different then the "quest for glory" since they are primarily concerned with defense of the hive and queen.

Semi-social insects like wasps are more geared toward everyone fights no one quits mentality and would also work.

The Zuraqqor were written up in Star Frontiersman with four castes and only one being warriors.

Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 27, 2014 - 1:32am
rattraveller wrote:

The Zuraqqor were written up in Star Frontiersman with four castes and only one being warriors.


TSR wrote them up with five: workers/drones, techs, warriors, queens, & kings.

Kings led the warriors, and they were the only ones permitted to carry weaponry...although any class could arm themselves for self-defense.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 27, 2014 - 1:44am
Flip the trope: bug hedonist, bug borg- note borg are hive mind with a queen so they are humans turned into bugs so what if the "borg-ifying" experience turned hive bugs into "humans" destroying the hive collective.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
September 27, 2014 - 2:34am
The problem is that too often insectoids are shunted into the whole 'hive/drone/royalty' theme, whereas there are many insects that don't follow such patterns. So one trick might be to look at insects that don't have hives, etc.

For example, I have an exploration adventure stashed away in which a planet is dominated by two insect races. They have some basic technologies - primarily, chemical weapons and unpowered flight (via catapult-launched gliders). I got both ideas from looking at insects that use chemicals for defence and by wondering what they would do if they were intelligent but lacked the natural capability to fly. Here's an old illustration I created which depicts the two sides and one of the gliders (the original is in colour):


Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
September 27, 2014 - 10:04am
Nice, KRing!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
September 30, 2014 - 8:54am
Thanks Smile

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
October 26, 2014 - 10:44am
I agree hive mind though fun to explore can be over done in Sc-Fi and is based on the very human concept that only "social" insects would develop high IQs. There are many species of insects that do not function as hive groups, but may migrate together for procreation, or may mate as just two individuals instead of the Queen/drone deal... some species have hives but lack the Queen structure, or hibernate together but lack hives. So you could really spend some time looking at bugs for ideas that do not meet the traditional Bee Hive/Ant Hive. There are Bees & Ant species that do not meet the stereo-type too. Also "Honor" can be very subjective, very closed in that it only applies to their own culture and not outsiders and so on. There is in one sci-fi book series a race of insects that paint markings on their exoskeletons to denote rank, jobs, etc. A note to on hive races, ants take "slaves" (a human perspective) & raise the larvae of the conquered hive as their own but only allow them to be workers, this would be interesting to explore if say a human colony was now ruled by an Insect race that had assimilated all human larvae (probably children under a certain age) as their own children and raised them as worker class totally socialized them as such. The insect parents might be just as "loving" & "protective" of said children along with the colony being equally protective, their society would not see it as slavery but a normal thing to do adopting the larvae and even an act of kindness and maybe honor to both groups. Such humans might think very differently then other humans too. Normally socialized humans would see it as kidnapping, slavery, brain washing and not understand why humans under insect rule might choose to defend the colony or stay.I think a ST TNG looked at the idea of a child being adopted by a warrior alien race per their laws that the Federation wanted back and how it put terrible stress on the child and could result in war between an Empire & the Federation. 
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Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
October 26, 2014 - 5:47pm
interesting