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Old 10-13-2019, 09:19 AM   #31
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Default Re: [Space] How alien are your aliens?

I'm more of a starfish-alien guy. I liked the aliens in 2300AD for example. (Where, oddly, the designated enemies- the Kafer- were arguably the most humanoid, getting competition only from the Sung.)

But I don't really think of them as PC material. Rather, they are a roleplaying opportunity for the GM. This is sort of how 2300AD did things, and the PCs could have fun figuring out the weirdo aliens, like in the Energy Curve or Ranger adventures.

For PC weirdos I like modified humans, either evolutionary weirdos as in Traveller or modified parahumanity weirdos. I mean, I can think of lots of weird things that some people might want to change themselves into if they could. Furries alone allow nearly limitless variety, and they would potentially still allow for the Star Trek trope of interspecies romance, but there are much weirder things as well.
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Old 10-13-2019, 12:35 PM   #32
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Default Re: [Space] How alien are your aliens?

There's also the option of body modification of adults. Look at all the extreme things modern people do and add more advanced medical technology.
And heck, why not something similar for non-humans?
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Old 10-13-2019, 03:26 PM   #33
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Default Re: [Space] How alien are your aliens?

I think Mass Effect had a good balance when it comes to "alien-ness" of aliens. They were mostly roughly humanoid (two arms, two legs, torso, head with eyes, a nose, and a mouth), but unique enough that it definitely wasn't Star Trek style rubber-forehead aliens. Only one of them (asari) could be considered that type, and they were still distinguished by a unique reproductive system. It also had a few very alien aliens, including quadrupeds and floating jellyfish who communicate through luminescence.
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Old 10-13-2019, 04:57 PM   #34
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Default Re: [Space] How alien are your aliens?

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I think Mass Effect had a good balance when it comes to "alien-ness" of aliens. They were mostly roughly humanoid (two arms, two legs, torso, head with eyes, a nose, and a mouth), but unique enough that it definitely wasn't Star Trek style rubber-forehead aliens. Only one of them (asari) could be considered that type...
I think you're using the term "rubber-forehead alien" completely differently than me, as every single ME alien that can join your team* is a rubber-forehead alien.

A rubber-headed alien is one that is "human in all but looks and sometimes biology". In other words, they have very human (and thus relatable) psychology and behavior.


* Asari, Drell, Krogan, Quarians, Salarians, Turians.
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Old 10-13-2019, 05:09 PM   #35
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Default Re: [Space] How alien are your aliens?

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I think you're using the term "rubber-forehead alien" completely differently than me, as every single ME alien that can join your team* is a rubber-forehead alien.

A rubber-headed alien is one that is "human in all but looks and sometimes biology". In other words, they have very human (and thus relatable) psychology and behavior.


* Asari, Drell, Krogan, Quarians, Salarians, Turians.
Ah. That's an incredibly uninitutive name then. I don't see any way that an outsider could read it and not interpret it as "Basically human except for some small cosmetic differences".
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:24 PM   #36
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Default Re: [Space] How alien are your aliens?

Any one work with creating a different Maslow Hierarchy for alien species to try to get a handle on creating and detailing "Alienness"?
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:32 PM   #37
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Default Re: [Space] How alien are your aliens?

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Ah. That's an incredibly uninitutive name then. I don't see any way that an outsider could read it and not interpret it as "Basically human except for some small cosmetic differences".
To be fair, it started as that exactly. Star Trek is the generator of the trope after all. But in many circles it's been stretched to encompass any alien that's humanoid; could be played by a human in a movie with heavy makeup, costuming, and camera trickery; and is human in psychology.

The core concept is still all about relatability and telling the human tale.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:22 PM   #38
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Default Re: [Space] How alien are your aliens?

What exactly does human in psychology mean though?
Some things are probably near universal, like basic emotions such as familial bonding, greed, and anger.
Others probably at least common for certain evolutionary histories such as our descent from arboreal animals leading to love of and discomfort toward heights.

While it is easier to keep straight for GMs and players, I tend to dislike the rigidly defined monolithic species as much as the one biome planet cliche.
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Old 10-13-2019, 10:00 PM   #39
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Default Re: [Space] How alien are your aliens?

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What exactly does human in psychology mean though?
It means acting on emotions in a manner that humans find relatable or understandable. Something that is actually alien will do things for reasons beyond our understanding or on a 'base instinct'

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While it is easier to keep straight for GMs and players, I tend to dislike the rigidly defined monolithic species as much as the one biome planet cliche.
I agree. But how many players can really pull off playing an alien psychology? And 'tropes' do make for a quick grasp of a situation for entertainment purposes.
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Old 10-13-2019, 10:38 PM   #40
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Default Re: [Space] How alien are your aliens?

We have no idea how true aliens will think because they are not related to us at all, so we really have no idea how generalizable our emotions are. For example, humans share 50% of their genes with pine trees, so we have more in common with plants than any true alien.
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