Friday, March 3, 2017
My latest work is Alien Capsules Book 1. It is a collection of ten aliens geared towards OSR games and compatible with White Star. My goals with the book were simple: come up with some creatures to play a variety of roles, and come up with some genuinely creepy stuff.
For your interest I'm posting the introduction to the book here. The rest will go live on RPGNow on Monday 3/6/17 (price to be announced but pretty cheap I imagine).
Aliens in roleplaying games usually come in two flavors, the friendly sort and the other kind.
Both are great for adventures. friendly aliens can be allies or patrons or need rescuing. Unfriendly aliens shoot at your characters or do worse. In this they are similar to the races of fantasy games. Except aliens will fire lasers and orcs fire arrows.
What makes aliens special is that they embody a mystery of some sort. Any of the beings I’ve listed here can be presented as an enigma with unknown motives. Can these creatures be negotiated with? What did we do to upset them? Where exactly did they come from?
If your group favors exploration you can present each race as nothing more than a rumor at first. Learning about them and communicating can be an adventure. In fact it might be the focus of a mission for your party!
If your group is not into making first contact the aliens can still be friends or shoot at them as is appropriate or the players may learn the beings are not what they seem initially. The Crater Men (page XX) might appear as a hostile mob of savages at first. As the characters learn more they discover the Crater Men are not normally hostile but seeking revenge for another offworlder stealing one of their precious artifacts.
Similarly the Death Angels (page XX) and the Slugs (page XX) are both written up as intensely hostile, xenophobic races. As the characters encounter them they may discover there are some individuals who want peace or that some of them can express gratitude for mercy shone.
Or they could all be evil. It’s your sandbox.
One overlooked aspect is that some of these creatures can work together. The Zamot (page XX) and the Beast Masters (page XX) would appear to be natural allies, one using animals as war machines and the others hating technology and AI. If players can make up a party that embodies different racial strengths so can the NPCs.
Aliens can also be fighting each other. Perhaps some evil Slugs seek an ancient weapon worshipped by Crater Men? Perhaps the Crater Men are aided by a shipful of the Zamot who are hostile to the Slugs because of their robotic shells. The characters run right into this war zone on a mission of their own.
Cagey players might find a way to use one group of aliens against another (this is dangerous stuff but you know players). The Slugs and Death Angels may both detest humans but this doesn’t mean they like each other. This might be the key to survival if they greatly outnumber the good guys.
You might want to throw the hit dice equivalents to the wind and upgrade or downgrade creatures to create an appropriate threat for your players. Maybe the first Slugs they meet are rookies at abductions and spreading terror. The players may decide these creatures are vastly overrated ... until they meet the first line monsters. A minor threat like Dreggz (page XX) or Crater Men could have an exceptional leader. Feel free to change any of the write ups anyway you wish to make them fit your game better. It is your game and they’re your aliens!