non-bipedal aliens


One thing that is missing from many RPGs (ones that I've seen, anyway) are aliens that aren't 'humans with a different head'. I read about them in sci-fi books, and I wonder what the interface of starships or machinery would be for a sentient blob of goo or a ladybug the size of a horse that engages in piracy in the space lanes. Do they even use starships if they are large enough?

Obviously, a human interface would not work for a blob of goo, and sitting in a chair wouldn't necessarily work for either. And it occurs to me that whatever amounts for an interface for the blob or the ladybug may prove difficult for a human to work with.

If we designed aliens in N.E.W. and gave them a snake like body, no eyes, or made them a sentient ladybug, how would someone play a character like that?

I apologize for rambling, but I've had this question poking around in my head for a while now...

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Well, that was fun
Staff member
I really hope that some folks try that. I deliberately kept the core species very simple, but the idea of experimenting with unusual and exotic species is core to what I'd like to see happening.

You'd have to be careful designing the species and ensuring it remains playable, but the system is completely designed to allow for that.


First Post
I tried my hands on making some bioships using the starship manufacturing rule set, and had to conclude that it made more sense to just give them arbitrary stats like agility hit points and speed rather than to actually generate them. For the weapons I just renamed some of the impact weapons.


Well, that was fun
Staff member

In the majority of fiction that deals with non-humanoid species and space-flight there are generally three approaches:

1> The interface is completely alien but can be adapted by rigging humanoid controls into the system - see Independance day and the use of a laptop

2> the interface is mostly alien but can be managed through teamwork as one alien would have the capability to manipulate all the controls while humanoids just don't have enough arms, tentacles, etc so it takes two or three of them - see Prometheus

3>the interface looks alien but a human can handle it anyway - see The Last Starfighter or ...damn, that other movie...

I am a fan of approach #1 as it gives the PCs more to actually do and more leniency for 'accidents' {aka plot twists} when the rigged controls don't work as expected.

Any non-humanoid species in a humanoid-centric world would have to be ready to adapt as needed. Perhaps telekinesis {or drones} to manage the things that require hands/arms. The challenge is not figuring out how the character can be alien and still interact with the world, the challenge is not crippling the character by taking out whatever is used to adapt. While at the same time, annoying the character {not the player!} with the omni-present issue of being alien in a humanoid-centric world.

Kinda like the whole 'I want to play an Ogre in a dwarven raiding party underground'. Its annoying that the little holes in the wall are dwarf sized.. but if the DM allowed the character in the first place you can't exclude them from the story line.

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