Author Topic: Lets make an alien  (Read 5245 times)

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Offline Krakow Sam

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Lets make an alien
« on: March 10, 2013, 03:58:20 pm »
Since to my knowledge I don't think anyone on this forum has ever dabbled in creating original scifi aliens.

Its just not something this community has ever been into I guess.

Well that all changes. RIGHT. NOW.

While trawling /tg/ I found a version of an alien species generator from a GURPS Uplift sourcebook which someone has made available on a wiki: http://www.sedesdraconis.com/index.php/Gurps_Tables#Communication

It is extremely in depth and I've already tried it out. Creating a sort of dog-sized furry tundra-stalker with infra-red vision and sonar sense, which has three genders and engages in elaborate mating rituals.

So GS. Lets make an alien!


Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 04:16:21 pm »
Double posting aliens LIKE A MOD.

Ok. In this first post we'll be generating features from the creature's home environment up to its activity cycle.

Environment
Rolled a 2 on the table. So our creature lives in a Desert. Things like environment come into play throughout the alien's development, affecting the results of other rolls down the line.

Biochemistry
Roll of 2 gives us Carbon based. The most likely outcome.

Diet
Roll of 8 for desert dwellers gives us Carnivore. Again, this will have a powerful effect on almost every other attribute this creature possesses.

A further roll of 11 gives us Pouncers
Pouncers lie in wait in trees, on high rocks, or hide themselves in foliage. When a likely victim comes by, they leap from hiding and tackle their prey. Leopards are typical pouncers.

Being a Pouncer gives our creature a decreased suspicion of others (as a predator it isn't much threatened by others), an increased ability to concentrate, and a Tracking ability

Metabolism
A roll of 5 on this table is modified by being a desert dweller (-1) and a pouncer (+1) to level back out at 5. Warm blooded.

On a roll of 12 on two six sided dice the creature also has a special metabolic power. Well, guess what?

Quote from:  IRC dice roll script
KrakowSAM rolled 2d6 for a total of 12.  2d6 Rolls:  * 6 ** 6 *

A roll of 7 on the special metabolic power gives us recovery which I assume means this creature can rapidly recover from fatigue or physical exertion.

I am choosing to ignore the environmental dependency table and will move straight on to...

Activity Cycle
A roll of 6 on the table is modified by warm-blooded (-1) and pouncer (-2) giving a final result of 3, nocturnal.

Our alien pouncer is active at night. A sensible survival tactic for the harsh desert environment.

Before we move on to the next set of statistics, here is the running total of the species' personality traits.

Chauvinism       0
Concentration    +1
Curiosity        0
Egotism          0
Empathy          0
Gregariousness   0
Imagination      0
Suspicion        -1

Not too interesting so far. A little more focused and a little more trusting than a human.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 04:44:34 pm »
So far we have a Carbon based nocturnal desert-dweller which hunts by pouncing on its prey from high rocks or vegetation. It is warm blooded and has an extraordinary rate of physical recovery.

This post will cover the generation of the creature's society, through to its reproduction.

Society
"All species have some sort of social behavior, even if it is scaring away anything that approaches."

A roll of 6 on this table is modified by being a pouncer (-2) for a result of 4. The creature forms family groups.

Size
A roll of 7 is modified again by being a pouncer (-1) to give a result of 6. Average size.
The sample dimensions provided by the generator are  5'9" length or height and 150lbs in weight. Whatever shape they are they are roughly human sized.

Bulk
A roll of 6 is modified by being a desert dweller (-1) to give 5. Heavy. Our creature's weight is increased 20% to an average of 180lbs. All the worse to have on drop on you from above!

The Food Chain
A roll of 2 is modified up by being a carnivore (+2) to 4. The creature is near the top of the food chain. It is perhaps a little disturbing that something in this desert routinely preys on something the size of a large human! An additional roll reveals that this position in the food chain also grants animal empathy, whatever that means.

Now onto the fun stuff. Reproduction!

Reproductive Strategy
A roll of 4 means this creature has several young at a time and invests a moderate amount of energy into their care.

Lifespan
A roll of 11 indicates a slightly extended lifespan over a human baseline. Given good conditions these creatures could routinely live over 100 years.

Number of sexes
A lowball roll of 2 stays at 2 after modifiers for moderate care of young cancels out the effect of warmbloodedness giving a result of Parthenogenesis. A pretty unusual reproductive strategy for a complex organism! We'll decide later if this creature creates clones or has some unusual method of gene-swapping. This result has lowered the creature's gregariousness.

Method of Delivery
A roll of 8 stays 8 when its moderate care investment cancels out the effects of Parthenogenesis resulting in Ovoviviparous. The creature hatches the eggs within its body resulting in a live birth. This perhaps indicates this creature's ancestor laid eggs, but the strategy was discarded by evolution.

Development at birth
a roll of four modified by its moderate care investment and extended lifespan means the creature's young are born very weak/defenseless. This had a chance to increase the creature's empathy trait, but a roll of 11 proved that they are unmoved by the plight of their pathetic young!

Special Reproductive Features
A roll of 10 results in Only the dominant members of the tribe/pack reproduce. and a roll of 14 results in Species has genetically determined castes. There are 6 castes.

Well now things are getting interesting.

Chauvinism       +2
Concentration    +1
Curiosity        0
Egotism          +1
Empathy          0
Gregariousness   -1
Imagination      0
Suspicion        -1

High Chauvanism indicates the species is disdainful of other species, and may be bigoted or patronistic individually. Their low gregariousness also indicates they are a little uncongenial.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2013, 05:05:08 pm »
Now we have a Carbon based nocturnal desert-dweller which hunts by pouncing on its prey from high rocks or vegetation. It is warm blooded and has an extraordinary rate of physical recovery.
 It is of roughly human size, but of a heavier build. It forms family groups of which only the dominant individual can reproduce. Since reproduction is parthenogenetic, a family group consists of a single parent and its subservient offspring, only when the parent dies or goes elsewhere will one of the children fully mature and become capable of reproduction itself.
The species also has six genetically determined castes, suggesting the offspring in a family group have some sort of genetically determined role to fill in the group's dynamic. 
Young are born from internally hatched eggs, and are very weak and defenseless when born, requiring care from adults to survive.

Lets continue to body shape.

Limbs and Symmetry
A roll of 5 gives us four limbs, arranged with bilateral symmetry. Hmm, so far so Terran.

Extra Limbs
Extra limbs represent prehensile tails, tongues or pseudopods. A roll of 5 indicates one extra limb. It is weak, comparable in strength to human lips but has fair manual dexterity and tactile sensitivity. We can decide exactly what it is later.

Posture
A roll of 4 gives us semi-upright. This creature moves like a chimpanzee.

Walking Limbs
A roll of four means this creature's hind limbs end in Walking Paws. These are are like the feet of a human or dog, they have a little flexibility but can't be used to do much more than shove stuff around.

Handling limbs
A roll of 4 gives us hands. This alien's front hoofs are perfect for fine manipulation.

Number of Digits
A roll of 5 gives... five digits suspiciously humanlike!

Mouths
Default is one and more seems frivolous. Stats rolled for mouth were too average to bother noting down.

Natural Weapons
Rolls of 9 and 10 are both small claws/small pincers. Evidently this creature has claws on both its hands and its feet.

Chemical weapons
Roll of 10 means no chemical weapons.

Body covering
A roll of five on the desert section gives is Scales. This creature probably looks a little reptilian, even if it is anything but, taxonomically speaking.

Chauvinism       +2
Concentration    +1
Curiosity        0
Egotism          +1
Empathy          0
Gregariousness   -1
Imagination      0
Suspicion        -1

Personality is unchanged by outward form.

Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2013, 05:09:03 pm »
A carbon based nocturnal desert-dweller which hunts by pouncing on its prey from high rocks or vegetation. It is warm blooded and has an extraordinary rate of physical recovery.
 It is of roughly human size, but of a heavier build. It has scaly skin and four clawed limbs, with hands on its forelimbs and fairly un-dexterous feet at the back, though it walks on all fours in a stooped, semi-upright posture. It also has some sort of prehensile tail or tongue.
It forms family groups of which only the dominant individual can reproduce. Since reproduction is parthenogenetic, a family group consists of a single parent and its subservient offspring, only when the parent dies or goes elsewhere will one of the children fully mature and become capable of reproduction itself.
The species also has six genetically determined castes, suggesting the offspring in a family group have some sort of genetically determined role to fill in the group's dynamic.
Young are born from internally hatched eggs, and are very weak and defenseless when born, requiring care from adults to survive.

Right. Time to hit the hay for now. We'll finish our little alien project tomorrow.
Feel free to discuss theories about how this creature might look and act based on the information that's already been rolled.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Brandonazz

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2013, 10:53:07 pm »
That's all quite thorough.

I think it should look something like a large bipedal Pangolin, with its extra limb being a small prehensile tail, which would aid in balance when pouncing.

Offline Haseri

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2013, 03:58:53 am »
Ooo, this is a lot more detail then the 4e GURPS Space Alien generator, which is the decendant of the 3e Uplift one. There are more chemistry options for one example. I wonder how hard bashing them both together would be.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2013, 06:25:30 am »
A'ight, Quick update while I'm on my lunch break.

Communication.

Voice Box
Roll of 4 modified by reproduction being limited to dominant members (+1) gives a result of 5. Partial voice: Grunts, purrs and howls possible (good for communicating emotions).

Other communication types
Rolls of 3 (no special communication), 8 and 9 (Colour patterns). Because colour patterns was rolled twice this communication channel is sophisticated enough to be used for language should our species be sentient.

On to senses!

Sharpness of vision
A roll of 5 gives Average vision. This is actually worse than human vision, as human have excellent eyesight by some metrics.

Number of eyes
A roll of 4 gives this creature Three eyes.

Eye Placement
A roll of 1 stays at 1 because being a carnivore and having three eyes cancels out. The creature has a narrow field of vision granting binocular vision but no peripheral vision. Not too bad for a pouncing hunter.

Special visual powers
Both rolls for visual powers are modified -4 for being a nocturnal carnivore, giving final results of 3 (infravision) and 7 (no special power). The creature can see into the Infrared spectrum, probably with its third 'eye'. Useful for hunting in the cool desert night.

Hearing
Bonus to roll of +2 or pouncer, +1 for partial voice box giving a final result of 8 Excellent Hearing. The creature has very good hearing as well as directional hearing, implying some sort of external ear structure.

Special hearing powers
A roll of 6 means no special hearing powers.

Chauvinism       +2
Concentration    +1
Curiosity        0
Egotism          +1
Empathy          0
Gregariousness   -1
Imagination      0
Suspicion        -1

Welp. Back to work. Later we will continue with tactile senses.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2013, 11:50:33 am »
So we have a sort of stooping scaly-claw beast with two regular eyes set close in its head and one specialised "IR-eye" in the middle. Their hearing is excellent and facilitated by some sort of moveable external 'ears'.
It has some sort of prehensile 'extra limb', probably a small tail.
While it does have the ability to produce sounds they are limited to simple noises capable of conveying emotional state. Their primary method of communication is by 'colour patterns'. Since their regular vision is a little poor, and they don't have any sort of chameleonic abilities it seems logical that these 'colours' are in the Infra-red spectrum, and are generated by shifting body-heat through a specialised communication organ, which may have originally evolved as a method of cooling.
On Earth many desert mammals, such as the Fennec Fox, have large ears which help with cooling. Given these facts it seems probable that this creature has very large, moveable ear-like structures like a head-crest, which contain specialised fluid-vessels which allow heat to be managed with precision, forming infra-red colour patterns which they use to communicate.

Tactile
Roll of 4 indicates a normal tactile sense. They are in about the same ballpark as humans as far as touching things goes.

Motion sense
Roll of 2 indicates a normal ability to detect vibrations and air currents against their skin. Again, in the human ballpark.

Kinesthetic
This is the sense of balance and motion, "surefootedness" and level of perception of internal goings-on (heart rate, digestion, respiration, healing).

A roll of 2 indicates a poor kinaesthetic sense, rendering these creatures a little clumsy. They have no special kinaesthetic ability.

Sense of taste
Roll of 3, an average sense of taste, again, similar to humans.

Sense of smell
Roll of 2 gains +1 for being a carnivore, average again.

This creature has no other senses.

Now time for the really interesting bit. Mental abilities. Will our creature be 'sentient' or just a lowly beast?

Intelligence
A lowball roll of 5 modified by a few of the creature's habits (mostly its social organisation and mating habits) up to 10 gives an IQ of 5, just below the middle of the spread for intelligence. Things aren't looking too good for this creature being sentient.

Sentience
A roll of 4, unmodified by its modest IQ means this creature is not sentient, or even 'pre-sentient' (capable of civilisation with the benefit of Uplift by another species). Our scaly desert claw pouncer is just a lowly beast roaming some alien desert. 

Special Mental Ability
A roll of 13 on the special mental abilities table gives us Racial Memory. Perhaps as a result of its strange parthenogenesis, this creature inherits the experience of its predecessors.

Special Mental Disability
As fate would have it this creature has also rolled a mental disability. A roll of 13 gives Bestial. Not particularly interesting since this creature is a wild beast anyway. But it may have consequences a few million years down the line if evolutionary pressures cause their brains to grow a little.


All that remains is to roll some randomisation of the creature's personality traits giving us a final score of:

Chauvinism       +2
Concentration    +1
Curiosity        +1
Egotism          0
Empathy          0
Gregariousness   0
Imagination      0
Suspicion        0

Pretty middle of the road. They don't like other species much, but are pretty focused and a little more inquisitive than humans are.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline /lurk

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 10:44:06 am »
Special Reproductive Features
A roll of 10 results in Only the dominant members of the tribe/pack reproduce. and a roll of 14 results in Species has genetically determined castes. There are 6 castes.

But since the creature only lives in family groups anyway, this doesn't mean anything?


P.S: "Sapient"
Not a winner anymore.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 10:57:41 am »
P.S: "Sapient"

I know lurk, I am using the table's own wrong terminology :I


Also the castes thing could still apply in a family group. The offspring could have different predispositions based on the order in which they're hatched. Like, a gradient of six different sizes or something. So shut yo sass mouth lurk.

Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Detoxicated

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2013, 03:16:40 pm »
Neat little tool indeed, too bad the creature did not reach sapience
OK, both of you die and let us know what happens.

Offline Detoxicated

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2013, 04:26:50 pm »
Here is my new race

Name:
Attributes

Chauvinism       +3
Concentration    0
Curiosity        1
Egotism          1
Empathy          3
Gregariousness   1
Imagination      0
Suspicion        2

Home Environment: Jungle (Brachiator)
Biochemistry: Carbon Based
Diet: Herbivoric Browser (+1Suspicion, -1Concentration)
Metabolism: Warm Blooded
Activity Cycle: Diurnal

Society: Hive (+2Empathy, -1Egotism, +1Gregariousness, +1Chauvinism, +1 Suspicioun)

Size: Tall (+1ST, +1HT)
Bulk: Average
Food Chain Level: Middle +1Suspicion

Reproduction:
Reproductive Strategy: Few Children with Much Care (+1Empathy, +1Curiousity)
Lifespan: Normal
Number of Sexes:Two sexes; but individual's gender changes seasonally or with age. Empathy+1, Hermaphromorph
Method of Delivery: Ovovivaparous
Development at Birth: Born very weak
Special Reproductive Features: There is four genetical castes. The Offspring undergoes a lengthy animal phase. +2Chauvinism +1Egotism

Basic Shape:
Limbs and Symmetry: Bilaterally symmetrical with four limbs
Posture: Upright

Hands and Feet:
Walking limbs: Grasping Paws
Handling Limbs: Hands
Number of digits: Seven
Weapons: Large Pincers in its Mouth
Covering Skin: Spiny Fur

Communication:
Voice Boxes: Very High pitched Voice Box
Other Communication Types: 2 Levels of Coloration, Pheremones

Vision
Eyes: Excellent All-around Vision with four huge eyes and telescopic vision
Hearing: Excellent Hearing sense which is able to hear the subsonic sounds
Tactle Sense: Fair
Motion Sense: Good Motion Sense
Kinesthetic sense: Average
Sense of Taste: -Poor Sense of Taste
Sense of Smell: Good Discriminatory Smell

Mental Abilities
IQ: 5
Sapience: Non-Sapient
Special Mental Ability: Lightning Calculator

Type: Brachiator
OK, both of you die and let us know what happens.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2013, 03:37:11 pm »
Name:
Attributes

Enhanced move +1, animal empathy, perfect balance, catfall

Chauvinism       +1
Concentration    0
Curiosity       -1
Egotism         +1
Empathy         +2
Gregariousness   +4
Imagination      0
Suspicion        +1

Home Environment: Grasslands
Biochemistry:  Carbon
Diet: Carnivore (chaser)
Metabolism: Cold Blooded
Activity Cycle: Nocturnal

Society: Pack

Size: Average
Bulk: Average
Food Chain Level: Top, solitary

Reproduction:
Reproductive Strategy: Few/much
Lifespan: Short
Number of Sexes: 3
Method of Delivery: Ovoviviparous
Development at Birth: Very weak
Special Reproductive Features: Sex plays an important part in the species' social system.
Basic Shape:
Limbs and Symmetry: 4, radial, 7 extra limbs (weak, crude, fair)
Posture: semi-upright

Hands and Feet:
Walking limbs: Walking paws
Handling Limbs: Hands
Number of digits: 1
Weapons: Talons, Horns
Covering Skin: Metal or silicate deposits

Communication:
Voice Boxes: Partial Voice
Other Communication Types: Pheremones, Somatic, Colour Patterns

Vision
Eyes: 2, Poor, narrow set. Night vision (colour blind), microscopic vision
Hearing: Deafness
Tactle Sense: Fair
Motion Sense: Normal
Kinesthetic sense: Excellent, Full coordination
Sense of Taste: None
Sense of Smell: Excellent
Other: Magnetic sense

Mental Abilities
IQ: 6
Sapience: No
Special Mental Ability: Imperturbable


So in summary I am imagining a sort of radial sprinting crab with a metallic shell and four limbs, with an additional 7 prehensile tentacular protruberances probably arranged in a spiral on its shell as it grows. Its metallic shell also plays a part in allowing it to sense magnetic fields, which it uses to coordinate with its packmates to chase down prey. Its armor combined with its fearsome speed makes it the apex predator of its grassland biome.

Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Inkling

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Re: Lets make an alien
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2013, 03:25:23 pm »
I want to make an alien too!

Name:
Attributes: Kinda skipped this part.  Too many things to track as is.



Chauvinism       +1
Concentration    0
Curiosity       -1
Egotism         -4
Empathy         +3
Gregariousness  +2
Imagination      0
Suspicion        0

Home Environment:  Grasslands
Biochemistry:  Carbon-Based
Diet:  Omnivore - Gatherer/Hunter (+1 Imagination)
Metabolism: Slow - Unusual Biochemistry
Environmental Dependence - Decreased
Activity Cycle:  Doesn't Rest

Society: Colonial/Swarm (Empathy+2, Egotism-2, Gregariousness+2)

Size: Average
Bulk: Average
Food Chain Level: Top, Shared (Chauvinism+1)

Reproduction:
Reproductive Strategy: Many/Low: Egotism -1, Imagination -1, Curiosity -1. Early Maturation (one level)
Lifespan: Normal
Number of Sexes: 2
Method of Delivery: Live Birth (Empathy +1, Egotism -1)
Development at Birth: Born fairly well developed
Special Reproductive Features: High Sexual Dimorphism, Only one female in group is fertile
Basic Shape:
Limbs and Symmetry: Six limbs, bilateral symmetry
Posture: Centauroid

Hands and Feet: Cannot Climb
Walking limbs: Cloven hoof
Handling Limbs: Hands
Number of digits: 2
Weapons: Poisonous Fangs
Covering Skin: Skin

Communication:
Voice Boxes: Extraordinary Range
Other Communication Types: Color Patterns, sensitive enough for speech

Vision: Good
Eyes: 2, wide placement
Hearing: Good, Full Range
Tactle Sense: Excellent
Motion Sense: Normal
Kinesthetic sense: Poor, Low pain threshold
Sense of Taste: None
Sense of Smell: Excellent
Other: None

Mental Abilities
IQ: 6
Sapience: Presentient
Special Mental Ability: None


Right, so a roughly human sized creature with four legs and two arms.  Living out on the grasslands, I imagine their skin would be dark, like an elephant or hippo.  With colonial life, high birthrate with low commitment to young, it sounds like a social structure similar to ants or naked mole rats.   One female fertile in the group, high sexual dimorphism, sounds a lot like a queen.  Maybe it's a bit like a reversed lion pride.  One big female bosses around the group, while the smaller males do the work.  I'm not sure how lethal those poison fangs would be.  I guess they make up for few physical defenses, low pain tolerance, and poor balance with teamwork and sheer numbers.  Not sure what unusual biochemistry would mean.  Maybe something to help keep their slow metabolisms going around the clock.  Not sure what communication through color patterns means without a method for changing colors.  Maybe parts of their bodies such as the underside of their arms are lighter and they signal at a distance by waving their arms, like Morse Code.  Or maybe they paint themselves to mark different colonies.  Presentient apparently translates into ape level intelligence.  Highly sophisticated vocal cords and communal society would seem to indicate that the species has much potential.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 09:07:49 pm by Inkling »
Probably not a Goat, either.