Races of SF

Gargoyle2k7's picture
Gargoyle2k7
February 24, 2009 - 2:46pm
One of the hallmarks of space opera sci-fi, to me, is alien, non-human races.  The races of Star Frontiers have always been a source of concern for me.  On the one hand, I love the fact that they aren't just "humans with funny foreheads (a la Star Trek).  On the other hand, many of the races are just... ugh.  Yazirians - flying monkey-men?  Dralasites - blobs.  Ifshnits - dwarves! in! spaaace!!  Humma - feisty kangaroos?  Oh, you must be joking!    Then it gets worse.  Volturnus - we have desert-dwelling octopi (Ul-Mor), jungle monkeys (Kurubandi) and freakish crustaceans (Edestakai), all created by advanced, intelligent dinosaurs (Eorna), who also created a race of cold, intelligent robots (the cleverly named Mechanons).  How about Sundown on Starmist?  A freakishly aberrant race with purple skin called the Heliopes (heliope being a purplish color).  Notui?  Naked featherless bird-men.  Sathar - psychic earthworms.  Ppttthhhbbb!!!!!!!

Why are the races of SF such reeking, steaming piles of excrement?  True, it isn't easy to create interesting, imaginative alien races that aren't comparable to real-world examples.  Additionally, many sci-fi movies and TV shows don't do much in the way of creating great, unique aliens either, and there are plenty of examples of silly or stupid creations out there.  My own creations are perhaps a bit lackluster, but I work on culture to compensate for any failings in originality.

I'm wondering what any one else has done (outside of the submissions in Star Frontiersman) in the way of alien races.  Have you stuck to "humans with funny foreheads", anthropomorphosed animals, or adapted races from other sources?  Have you created new races whole cloth?  Have you revised/re-envisioned any existing races?  In my own games, I have kept the four core races, although the dralasites have undergone a major revision (they are an aquatic race), and the ifshnits have been reinvented as a race called the byshinti.  I've added others, and omitted some as well (there just are no humma, ul-mor, kurubandi, etc.).  Please share your thoughts.
Long live the Frontier!
Comments:

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 10, 2009 - 11:16pm
Oh man, what was the name of that game...I recall it as well. It was a continuation type game (hence the constant quarter stuffing) where up to four players could play simultaneously.

Ah, yes --- it was called "Gauntlet"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gauntlet_(arcade_game)
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
March 11, 2009 - 7:51am
There were too few cooperative arcade games like Gauntlet most that allowed multiplayers were PVP in some sense. Kind of sad.

When I was a kid I didn't even get that a D&D party was about forming a team that worked together to overcome the opposition.

EDIT: Found these paper models of the game for anyone who wants to have an arcade on their spacestation:

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <![endif]--> http://s237.photobucket.com/albums/ff83/jedion357/?action=view&current=PA-Gauntlet.jpg

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <![endif]--> http://s237.photobucket.com/albums/ff83/jedion357/?action=view&current=PA-Defender.jpg

 

http://s237.photobucket.com/albums/ff83/jedion357/?action=view&current=PA-Gravitar.jpg

 

http://s237.photobucket.com/albums/ff83/jedion357/?action=view&current=PA-Pacman.jpg

 

http://s237.photobucket.com/albums/ff83/jedion357/?action=view&current=PA-Robotron.jpg

 

http://s237.photobucket.com/albums/ff83/jedion357/?action=view&current=PA-Tempest.jpg



 

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
March 11, 2009 - 11:16am
I play Gauntlet at the locla .05 cent arcade.

lots-of-fun

:-)

Zeram's picture
Zeram
March 11, 2009 - 2:54pm
Hold on there.  A 5-cent arcade?  So a place to play these classic coin-ops for 5 cents a play?

Where is this?  I wondered at some point if it would be cool to open up something like this and what kind of draw it would get.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 12, 2009 - 1:39am
We used to have a nickel arcade here back in the 1980s. Now it's a Kinko's (document/copy shop). Haven't seen one anywhere since. Gret concept though, it had all the (then) modern games and you paid an entry fee (a buck or two) and could play unlimited games for a nickel each until they locked the doors.

The closest thing we have to that now is a pinball museum, same concept but only vintage pinball machines.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 12, 2009 - 7:39am
There's one in Orem, UT just up the road from where I live.  Never been in it but like Shadow Shack said, they have a cover charge ($3 I think) and then all games are a nickel.
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Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
March 12, 2009 - 7:42am
http://nickelworldtoledo.com/

Some of the games are free, including Gauntlet.

8-D

Ranger's picture
Ranger
April 12, 2009 - 9:57am
I had created my own races for my planet that the CANON folks designated for me years ago .. we all created a full solar system with planets and moons .. A co-worker of mine had drawn the images for me during a deployment after the KHOBAR TOWERs bombing so long ago ..

They are all posted on my site if you would like to see them.

Tim

Zane M. Cole - Ranger
Wolfbane Development Corp (WDC)
ZaneMCole@StarFrontiers.com
http://starfrontiers.com
https://www.facebook.com/starfrontiers

Oghma's picture
Oghma
April 14, 2009 - 4:09pm

I've been trying to think of really good alien races and the one that stands out to me the most would be the Goa'uld from Stargate.  Othewise, I think wookies have always had great potential that people were scared to develop.  It always bothered me that Chewbacca wasn't a real character.

Beyond that, I haven't found very many alien races that were truly alien and truly believable at the same time.


jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 15, 2009 - 10:51am
Oghma wrote:

I've been trying to think of really good alien races and the one that stands out to me the most would be the Goa'uld from Stargate.  Othewise, I think wookies have always had great potential that people were scared to develop.  It always bothered me that Chewbacca wasn't a real character.

Beyond that, I haven't found very many alien races that were truly alien and truly believable at the same time.



I doubt that any race out in the universe would imagine humans for their RPGs - I suspect that many races that they could imagine would remind one of the race doing the imagining or of animals that it is familiar with. It may be that SF RPGs are doomed to be the victem of Human centered imaginations.

I think the answer is to take an animal, bird, insect, fish that few humans are familiar with and develop an alien race off of is- like the vursk which dispite the familiarity I still find them intriguing enough to play as a PC.

OR.. take a fairly familiar type and turn the concept on its head like the yazerian- hes a short petite wookie that can glide- and is a well beloved alien
enough remains of the original- arboreal trea dweller, love to fight, hairy and has a primitive honor code but enough is different to be of interest and not a yawner.

or steal from a movie or book that you like.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Ascent's picture
Ascent
April 15, 2009 - 2:58pm
jedion357 wrote:
When Qui-Gon Jin – had Jar Jars tongue in his hand I was hoping he'd slam his head into the table.

Shadow Shack wrote:
I was actually hoping for a Vader versus Obi-Wan beheading homage...
http://www.nemodog.org/Misc/DarthDarthBinks.jpg

You all should appreciate this, then. I made this a while back:



That life-size sculpture actually exists at the LucasFilm Studio offices.

As for online video games, many have been collected here:

All-in-1 List of Free Game Sites and Games

As for the Mechanon, they were revised in look and mechanics in the article Mechanon 2.0 in Issue #8, p.62.

A reimagining of the Ifshnit, drawn as described and expanded, along with a revision of the Zethra for play is forth-coming.
View my profile for a list of articles I have written, am writing, will write.
"It's yo' mama!" —Wicket W. Warrick, Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi
"That guy's wise." —Logray, Star Wars Ep.VI: Return of the Jedi
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? - Felicia Day (The Guild)

Ascent's picture
Ascent
April 15, 2009 - 3:05pm
SORRY FOR THE DOUBLE POST, I must have hit quote instead of edit.

jedion357 wrote:
When Qui-Gon Jin – had Jar Jars tongue in his hand I was hoping he'd slam his head into the table.

Shadow Shack wrote:
I was actually hoping for a Vader versus Obi-Wan beheading homage...
http://www.nemodog.org/Misc/DarthDarthBinks.jpg

You all should appreciate this, then. I made this a while back:



That life-size sculpture actually exists at the LucasFilm Studio offices.

As for online video games, many have been collected here:

All-in-1 List of Free Game Sites and Games

As for the Mechanon, they were revised in look and mechanics in the article Mechanon 2.0 in Issue #8, p.62.

A reimagining of the Ifshnit, drawn as described and expanded, along with a revision of the Zethra as player characters (originally only designed as NPC's of little note) is forth-coming.
View my profile for a list of articles I have written, am writing, will write.
"It's yo' mama!" —Wicket W. Warrick, Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi
"That guy's wise." —Logray, Star Wars Ep.VI: Return of the Jedi
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? - Felicia Day (The Guild)