Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Randomly Generating Aliens

I've gone completely over to random setting generation for In Harm's Way: StarCluster! You can always use the setting supplied in StarCluster 2E, or SC3 if and when I ever write it, but that will not be included in the game. I wrote a section on creating aliens the other day, and finished it up today with an example. The three tables use a 4d6 roll, which gives a strong tendency to the middle. I thought I'd share the example with you all.

Example Alien

We’ll go through the steps of generating a random alien. Don’t feel obligated to use this alien in your game - it’s just an example of how you can create your own aliens tailored for your Cluster.

Diet: We roll a 10. The alien is a Carnivore.
Size: We roll an 8. They are dog-sized. Not too big, not too small.
Body Covering: We roll a 12. They are covered in scales.
Average Attributes: We need to roll for each attribute separately.
STR We roll a 19 for 10 - that’s too strong for a dog-sized creature, so let’s move that to COOR. We roll a13 for 6. That’s better. Still strong for its size, but no longer outlandish.
COOR We put the 10 from the first STR roll here.
AGY We roll a 17 for a 9. Excellent! It moves well.
END We roll a 12 for another 6.
CHAR We roll a 15 for 8. humans see this creature as rather attractive.
INT We roll a 14 for 7. Fairly smart, too.
PSI We’ll switch tables for PSI and Luck. We roll a 13 for a PSI of 1.
LUCK We roll a 15 for s LUCK of 2. Quite lucky!
Manipulator We roll a 13 for Tentacle/Trunk. Let’s make it a trunk! Trunks are cool! An elephant has two “fingers” on its trunk, and this alien has an average COOR of 10, so let’s give it 3 ”fingers” at the end of its trunk.
Locomotors Another 13. the alien has legs and hooves. That goes well with an AGY of 9!
Life Cycle We roll a21. Young-Adult, like a human. No egg or nymph stage.
Reproduction We roll a 16. Interesting! There are two sexes, but individuals change sex. Do they change at will? In crisis? In response to stimuli? Over time? Cool!
Senses We roll 2d6 and get an 8, so we’ll roll 8 times. We get Touch 1, Smell 3, Vision 3, and Hearing 1. So it hunts by sight and smell primarily.
Species Traits: We’ll assign it Lithe 2 for it’s AGY, Muscular 3 for its STR to size ratio, and Glistening 2 for its shiny scales.
Own Name: We’ll make up something - avoiding apostrophes, as they’re rather cliche! How about “Herensti”?
Familiar Name: Its most obvious feature is its manipulator. Let’s call them “Trunks”
Prejudicial Name: With that big nose, nothing but “Snotters” will do!

Done! Ten minutes tops.



  1. Are you sure that's outlandish? Isn't a Chimpanzee just a bit above "dog sized" and much stronger than US?

    Mind you I may not be remembering your scale where humans fall...

    Plus I may be biased, my dog weighs 160 odd lbs and can look me at 6'2 in the face if she uses her paws on my shoulders to brace herself...

  2. By dog-sized, I mean a normal dog. Your dog is human-sized - I've seen the pics! :D

    Dog-sized is about 13-35 kg. Something like 30-75 lbs. Chimps are really human-sized - the bent-over stature fools you. "The male common chimp is up to 1.7 m (up to 5.6 ft) high when standing, and weighs as much as 70 kg (154 lb); the female is somewhat smaller... The bonobo is a little shorter and thinner than the common chimpanzee but has longer limbs." (From wikipedia)

    And truly, STR 10 wouldn't be so much outlandish as just higher than I would be comfortable with. :D


  3. Man, I can't wait to GM this game. Hurry up, Clash! :)

  4. Hi elrics!

    I'm writing as fast as I can, dude! And I have illos to paint! I'll be doing that while it's back in playtest!


  5. OK I have to get this when it comes out. THis alien generation sequence is very sweet.


  6. Thanks, Mike! Glad you are liking the direction this is going!