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[JBE] What Playable Aliens Do You Want To See?


Third-Party Starfinder RPG Products

Jon Brazer Enterprises

For those of you that do not know, I'm Dale McCoy, President of Jon Brazer Enterprises. We are known for our races in Pathfinder and would like to bring you aliens that you would like to play in Starfinder.

So we are coming to you. What kind of aliens do you want? Please feel free to reference existing Pathfinder material, your favorite scifi book/movie/tv show/web series/radio show/etc, or anywhere else you get your inspiration for a playable alien race that you want to see.

Tell us what you want to play.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Dragons.

Edit: I know they're not technically aliens, but they could be from their own world. ;)


Ken Liu wrote a collection of short stories called the Paper Menagerie and Other Short Stories. In the first story he wrote about a few REALLY interesting species. I think they would be worth looking at for some very creative ideas.

Also I think there should be some large species that are not aggressive, maybe like this;

http://conceptaliens.blogspot.com/

I was specifically looking at the 7th and 9th pictures as you scroll down but there are a lot of really cool ideas.


Some other ideas (though I know you can't just take them but maybe you can come up with ideas that "feel" similar)

Star Wars (tons of races but many feel very iconic to SW) Here are a few that aren't:

The Meris and Teltior
Trianni
Sluissi
Verpine
Defel

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/alien-concept-art/

TV shows
Lexx
Stargate
Star Trek (all of them)
Guardians of the Galaxy
Babylon 5

Movies:
Jupiter Ascending and that really cool reptilian species
Guardians of the Galaxy
The 5th Element

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

A feature of consensus fantasy Pathfinder that need not necessarily be abandoned in a Science Fiction re-imagining is "Familiars". A few stories spring to mind: "Soldier from Tomorrow" by Harlan Ellison and "A Game of Rat and Dragon" by Cordwainer Smith. In one story, housecats have become scouts engineered to accommodate telepathy and relay battlefield messages. In another, faced with an impossibly fast alien enemy, human fighters exceed the limits of human reflexes by using them as copilots. Access to "familiars" could be either a class feature or a racial ability in a new game system.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Jevon_Ulis wrote:

Some other ideas (though I know you can't just take them but maybe you can come up with ideas that "feel" similar)

Star Wars (tons of races but many feel very iconic to SW) Here are a few that aren't:

The Meris and Teltior
Trianni
Sluissi
Verpine
Defel

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/alien-concept-art/

TV shows
Lexx
Stargate
Star Trek (all of them)
Guardians of the Galaxy
Babylon 5

Movies:
Jupiter Ascending and that really cool reptilian species
Guardians of the Galaxy
The 5th Element

I love just about everything on this list, but I want to know what on this list do you want to play?

What about the B-Wing designing verpine seem interesting? Would you rather play a being of energy that must live in a mechanical suit to hide who they really are like the vorlons or how about an honor-bound race like the Klingons (and similarly the narns), the parasite-host race of the goa'uld or the trill? Do you want more small aliens? Do you want aliens that are great at singing opera, have brain tails and have body pouches to smuggle cargo? Do you want another logical race like the Vulcans, considering that androids are a core race?

I don't need pointed towards science fiction. I need pointed towards aliens from science fiction that you want to play and what is it about that race that you want to play.


Thematically, I have few concepts I'd like to see. Firstly, intimidatingly large ascetic pacifists, tough and wise but clumsy. Second, tiny sized mechanically oriented hexapod, four arms two legs. Third, hive mind symbiont.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Third, hive mind symbiont.

Hive minds are difficult because how do you have an individual if you are part of a collective? But if you mean something like the trill from Star Trek where you have two minds, one is the older wiser mind and the other is the body, that is much easier for people to understand.


Sorry, turned out longer than I planned, and I edited it down. ;)

Unfortunately this isn't very specific, but more of a guideline. But I am most interested in aliens that aren't single trait races. Fantasy fiction does this sometimes, but it often seems more prevalent in scifi. Just take the Star Trek examples – there are the honor-bound Klingons, the logical Vulcans. Each race has a single defining trait (and, of course, humans wind up being the "everything/complex" race).

Makes it tricky to market, but I'd say if you can explain what's most interesting about a race in one sentence, then it's not a draw for me. :)

That being said, trying to be actually helpful and specific... um...

A few things that jump out as interesting to me:

Less humanoid, exploring different biological shapes would be great

Also less humanoid psychologically This may be tricky to do mechanically, but could even work with a great explanation about the race and advice for players & GMs on how to convey that. Especially from some of my graduate work, this area really fascinates me. Thinking about the mental life of a creature that has evolved 100% separate from humans is fascinating! So not taking just one human trait and then cranking it to 11 like the logical Vulcans, but like the aliens in Arrival. Won't go into spoilers and that specific example would have to be watered down for a PC, but explain especially in the flavor text and to what extent possible in the rules, how a race actually experiences reality and fundamentally thinks differently.

For example, rather than human-like brains of higher (more civilized) conflicting with lower (more primitive) parts of the brain, maybe it is a tri-lobed alien with each brain relatively equal lobe largely independent. When one lobe of the brain settles on an action, a second lobe always agrees but tries to find another reason, and the third always disagrees with the other two. When the disagreement is strong enough, the creature acts on that, but only if it is better/stronger reasoning than the other two. Mechanically, you don't need to get into that detail, maybe something like since it takes longer to make a decision but they are able to focus on multiple things at once, so a greater penalty when surprised or on initiative, but less of a penalty from flanking. Nothing fancy. However, for the player, whenever the group is trying to decide on something, if there isn't a dissenting opinion yet, the player should dissent. If there already is a dissenting opinion, they should agree but try to find another reason why it's a good idea. But they also shouldn't care if everyone disagrees with them. Multiple conflicting voices are necessary to get the best decision, but you can't always listen to them all. Or in personal decisions (that allow some time, don't take too long during combat!) always list two completely different reasons for something and a reason against it before deciding.

Or the classic "see things as processes through time rather than static objects." Mechanics could be bonuses when move rather than stay in one spot or something, I don't know. But maybe more interesting is advice to players and GMs on how to speak when "Galactic Common" (or whatever) is full of nouns when your native language is all verbs. This can range from "-ing" words like "She is a humaning." which can be fun in small doses. An additional twist is perhaps getting confused on some words and instead call them by their previous or future forms. "Can I have some sheets of former tree to write on?" It's a minor little quirk, but used sparingly, those sorts of things can convey more character than most "+X to Y" traits anyway.

Races with built in story/character hooks. Like the vorlons being an ancient race meddling in the affairs of the younger races against another ancient enemy (been long enough, spoilers are ok, right?). An individual character can choose to play along with that, work against it, or struggle to find a way to balance both interests. Or also from B5 with the centauri having a past glory that they would love to reclaim. Those are fascinating hooks for both GMs to incorporate the race into the plot, but also for an individual PC to play off of if they want.

Art Also, for whatever races you come up with, I kinda hate to admit this, especially as someone who was a freelance RPG writer, but if I'm honest with myself, ahead of an interesting concept is the art for me. If a race has terrible art, I have a hard time really getting into it to even consider the concept. If it has mediocre art, I will consider it if there's a great enough concept. However, if the art is incredible, I will work a character around it even if the concept is weak (I guess maybe because it's easier to elaborate and expand the concept than it is to make better art for many of us). At the very least, try to avoid bland "here is a standard member of the race in a basic outfit standing motionless maybe with an arm out to the side as if from a medical data file." I like *characters.* Show me one or more examples of the race that has an interesting story to tell.


Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Third, hive mind symbiont.
Hive minds are difficult because how do you have an individual if you are part of a collective? But if you mean something like the trill from Star Trek where you have two minds, one is the older wiser mind and the other is the body, that is much easier for people to understand.

single mind, many bodies. It would form a symbiotic relationship with another creature, either another pc or a cohort. Like an intelligent bodysuit made of itty bitty creatures.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Here's an out of the box answer: how about starting out with no playable aliens? No need to go gonzo right out of the gate. Some of the best space science fiction sagas--Dune, Firefly, BattleStar, The Expanse, to name a few--were successfully told without any alien civilizations at all.

You could start Starfinder Society season one with several human factions in an exploration race. Humans might already have different colonial planet origins or ethnicities and maybe even levels of cybernetic enhancement and gen-engineering. Later seasons could add some encountered aliens and occasionally lift "boon restrictions" upon their playability. I would like to see alien species, when available, as having relatively small and double-edged bonuses and penalties that revolve more around situational terrain bonuses and damage vulnerabilities than stereotypes or inherent class superiority so as to not pigeonhole aliens to self building class "choice".

Admittedly, the above idea may be unpopular as other commentators already have their own alien ideas that they like. Alternatively, you could set core races not as alien races, but classifications of life. Instead of Humans, there is a "Humanoids" category and the player chooses abilities from this list and can name the character's species at the end. In place of Dwarves, there is another list for Lithivores and Silicon based lifeforms; further lists for mechanoid lifeforms, and so on. A number of turn based Space Strategy games like Galactic Civilizations and Master of Orion allowed players to design their own alien in such a way.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Valdirhast wrote:

Here's an out of the box answer: how about starting out with no playable aliens? No need to go gonzo right out of the gate. Some of the best space science fiction sagas--Dune, Firefly, BattleStar, The Expanse, to name a few--were successfully told without any alien civilizations at all.

You could start Starfinder Society season one with several human factions in an exploration race. Humans might already have different colonial planet origins or ethnicities and maybe even levels of cybernetic enhancement and gen-engineering. Later seasons could add some encountered aliens and occasionally lift "boon restrictions" upon their playability. I would like to see alien species, when available, as having relatively small and double-edged bonuses and penalties that revolve more around situational terrain bonuses and damage vulnerabilities than stereotypes or inherent class superiority so as to not pigeonhole aliens to self building class "choice".

Somehow, I don't think a third party publisher has any control over how Starfinder Society will progress...or how many alien races Starfinder will or won't start with. We already know that Starfinder's primary setting takes place in the future of Golarion's solar system, sans Golarion, which canonically already has a number of alien races present, and that we will certainly be beginning with several races, such as the lashunta, kasatha, ysoki, etc., as well as of course humans and the artificial androids.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Valdirhast wrote:
You could start Starfinder Society season one

If you're here for Starfinder Society and not for a home game, you're in the wrong section of the boards. This is the Third Party area. You can't use anything we produce here in Starfinder Society. Similarly, I have no say in what SS does.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Artificial Intelligences beyond the androids. Preferably something similar to the Droid Design Handbook.


Advanced ship's AI placed in artificial "humanoid body". Doesn't have to be female.


faeted wrote:
Artificial Intelligences beyond the androids. Preferably something similar to the Droid Design Handbook.

From WEG? SWd6RPG?


These seems a perfect place for me to start advocating for playable Flumpf stats. Bring on the flumpfs!


asari, zeltron( starwars race), togruta, and good old twi'lek and any sexy female race is gonna good for good old moi

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
khadgar567 wrote:
asari, zeltron( starwars race), togruta, and good old twi'lek and any sexy female race is gonna good for good old moi

What about a mandragoran? :)


Ashanderai wrote:
khadgar567 wrote:
asari, zeltron( starwars race), togruta, and good old twi'lek and any sexy female race is gonna good for good old moi
What about a mandragoran? :)

Work for me.( I know i forgot some thinng)

Grand Lodge

Some aliens I'd love:

A Crustacean Race
A Plant Race
A Space Ape Race
A Slime Race
A Space Anteater Race
Greys
An Energy based race
A Wookie-inspired race
A race of zen space koi people
A race inspired by the Dug from star wars
A race of sentient mercury-esque liquid metal people.

Ant people with an interesting life cycle: Broodmothers lay and care for egg clusters. These clusters hatch as miniscule larvae but cannot survive without a host at this point. The larvae enter living creatures and leech of off them in a sometimes symbiotic relationship and sometimes parasitic relationship. After a period of this they exit the host and build a stasis cocoon. After a long period of this, they break out as a small, bipedal ant people. They then rapidly grow to full size.

Blue skinned, desert dwelling, humanoid walruses with a mad max style culture centered around raiding and pillaging.

Just to name a few ideas.

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