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L. Marcus

Aliens: A Collector's Thread

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With the Aahalin, I imagine a weird cross between the Overlords from Childhood's End and the Daleks. Like, the heroes sneak and battle past hordes of robots to reach the command center of the alien forces that are slowly, inexorably beating down all the various militaries of their world (Earth, I assume). There they find, basically, Davros in his life-support chair. Only instead of the Dalek "Conquer the Universe" rant, the ancient, withered Aahal rasps something like, "We do this because you endanger us, yourselves, and anyone else you may encounter. Until you learn to curb your aggression, you will be... restrained. For your own good!"

 

DS

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Something like that, yes. I wanted a big threat for my campaign, which was a sort of homage to 2300AD. The slightly decadent core (the Solar system) versus the rought-and-tumble of the fringe (twelve colonized Worlds, with several colonies per world), with the Aahalin as a sort of mirror image of the Kafer.

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Another Aahalin campaign concept: The Aahalin conquered humanity decades ago and put a stop to the wars that humans were spreading to other star systems. They crush any hint of renewed attempts at militarism... and they're pretty broad in what they consider warmongering. Resentlment grows at the Aahalin Yoke.

 

The PCs are freedom fighters trying to mobilize people against the Aahalin and capture technology to reverse-engineer while avoiding Aahalin surveillance and retribution. As the campaign goes on and they earn greater trust from the leaders of their organization, though, they find that some humans have learned to manipulate the Aahalin -- planting false information that leads to Aahalin strikes against innocent targets. Their leaders justify this as necessary to mobilize public opinion. The deeper the PCs go, however, they learn that some of these manipulations are aimed at other factions in the rebellion. The various national powers that the Aahalin subjugated are each playing a double or triple game -- cooperating for now in trying to expel the Aahalin, but maneuvering to obtain the strongest position when that happens, in hopes they can crush all their rivals and emerge as humanity's new absolute masters.

 

How far do you go? Which side do you choose?

 

Dean Shomshak

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Here's one for a "weird conspiracy" style game: The Bayangi

 

Val Char Cost

5 STR -5

14 DEX 12

18 CON 16

5 BODY -10

13 INT 3

14 EGO 8

20 PRE 10

10 COM 0

 

5 PD 4 Total: 5 PD (0 rPD)

5 ED 1 Total: 5 ED (0 rED)

3 SPD 6 Phases: 4, 8, 12

7 REC 4

20 END -8

17 STUN 0 Total Characteristic Cost: 35

 

Movement:

Running: 3"/6"

Swimming:2"/4"

 

Cost Powers END

40 Shrinking (0.25 m tall, 0.1953 kg mass, -6 PER Rolls to perceive character, +6 DCV, takes +9" KB), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), Persistent (+1/2) (60 Active Points); Always On (-1/2)

24 Life Support (Immunity: All terrestrial diseases and biowarfare agents; Immunity: All terrestrial poisons and chemical warfare agents; Longevity: 800 Years; Sleeping: Character only has to sleep 8 hours per week)

7 Discriminatory with Smell/Taste Group (10 Active Points); Extra Time (Full Phase, Deep Sniff; -1/2)

5 Microscopic (x10) with Sight Group

7 Does Not Bleed (15 Active Points); Concentration (0 DCV; Character is totally unaware of nearby events; -3/4), Requires A Simulate Death Roll (-1/2)

 

Perks

25 Robot: Vehicles & Bases

 

Talents

4 Simulate Death 13- (+1 to roll)

5 Rapid Healing

4 Double Jointed is an Understatement

 

Skills

3 Analyze: Robots 12-

3 Bureaucratics 13-

3 Computer Programming 12-

3 Contortionist 12-

5 Cramming

5 Cramming

5 Acting 14-

3 High Society 13-

3 SS: Robotics 12-

2 Systems Operation (Robot Piloting) 12-

3 Concealment 12-

2 Chameleon Effect: +4 with Concealment (8 Active Points); Only to Hide (-1), Only when not moving (-1), Self Only (-1/2)

 

Total Powers & Skill Cost: 162

Total Cost: 197

 

100+ Disadvantages

15 Social Limitation: Secret: Alien operating a robot (Occasionally, Severe)

10 Psychological Limitation: If injured, compelled to flee or, failing that, play dead. (Uncommon, Strong)

30 Vulnerability: 2 x BODY Physical Normal Attacks (Very Common)

30 Vulnerability: 2 x BODY Physical Killing Attacks (Very Common)

5 Hunted: Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists 8- (Less Pow, Harshly Punish)

5 Reputation: Shadowy "Puppet Masters" behind many world governments., 8- (Extreme; Known Only To A Small Group (Conspiracy Theorists))

5 Distinctive Features: Alien in a robot body (Easily Concealed; Extreme Reaction; Detectable Only By Unusual Senses)

 

Total Disadvantage Points: 100

 

Background/History: Bayangi (singular, Bayang) are merely a crackpot conspiracy theory of a classic type. They are said to be a tiny race of aliens who mostly live and move inside of robots designed to perfectly mimic Human beings, a typical sort of paranoid delusion; naturally it is assumed that they are the shadowy "them" who "really run things." It is said that they are utterly loyal to their own kind, each hoping to eventually earn the honor of having their personality uploaded from their bodies into a kind of legendary supercomputer, thus gaining a form of incorporeal immortality.

 

Personality/Motivation: The Bayangi are reputed to be agoraphobic, in that they prefer to remain most of the the time enclosed within their comfortable robotic vehicles; but if one takes even a single point of BODy damage, it must make an EGO roll at -5 or abandon its robot and flee, seeking a hiding place in which to go into its healing torpor. While masquerading as Human, it will supposedly use Acting to mimic whatever personality it wishes to project.

 

Quote: "No, of course we are not going to 'liquidate' you to insure the continued secrecy of our existance. How barbaric, and unnecessary. No, we do no propose to stop you at all. Go tell it to the unsuspecting world. We need not control your tongue; we control everyone's brain. Who do you think will believe you?"

 

Powers/Tactics: The Bayangi's supposedly innate powers have mostly been summed up in the phrase "fine control of bodily processes." Allegedly, their bodies isolate and nuetralize potential toxins and pathogens usually without conscious awareness; by turning their minds inward they can go into a kind of healing trance in which recovery from injury is greatly hastened. Normally, of course, they weild whatever imaginary high-tech powers are built into the "robot vehicles" that they "pilot."

 

Appearance: In the unlikely event that a Bayang is found outside of its robot vehicle, it will appear as a small creature with a slender lizardlike body and head and four very flexible multiply jointed limbs each of which divides at the tip to form a "hand" of three opposable tendrils. Skin color is said to be variable but "seems to be linked to mood."

 

Campaign Use: Look over this write up, and please notice one thing; nowhere does it state that these aliens are EVIL ™. Yes, they could be infiltrating Earth (or wherever) for any of several nefarious purposes; they could also be agents of "uplift" trying to subtly guide the world towards some beneficent goal, spies of great galactic powers fighting a "secret war" between aliens that is in fact irrelevant to Earth, anthropologists merely trying to study a culture as "participant observers," or possibly doing something so strange as to be beyond comprehension. There could even be factions among them doing all of the above and more, each commanded by its own "legendary supercomputer."

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Copyright Palindromedary Enterprises

 

 

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You know I'd like to drop an idea in here for people to consider.

 

Imagine a race that is willing to destroy an alien species to take their world, -but!- has a unique handicap. They cannot kill. Period. No exceptions.

 

Now I admit I got this idea from an episode of "voyage to the bottom of the sea". Please keep reading. I know VTTBOTS isn't considered good SF by most people, but this ep bad a premise I found intriguing. An advanced alien species wanted earth, naturally, but could not kill. Period. One of them cheerfully confessed this to nelson, even almost bragging about it as a virtue.

 

So they could not kill, but they had no issues with getting humanity to kill itself off by starting a nuclear war. OK, so they can get humanity to kill itself with it's own weapons and it's own hostility but can't kill anyone, even members of an alien species.

 

I was kind of interested in this as it seemed an interesting premise. I tried to imagine how such an alien species with such an odd handicap could exist.

 

I thought on it for a minute and speculated an advanced race with a real killer instinct. A killer instinct so powerful it was leading them to racial self destruction. They had to reign in their killer instinct or go extinct due to it.

 

So, they did. Somehow. Genetic engineering, conditioning, implanted mental blocks and inhibitions on killing, whatever. In order to save themselves it had to be absolute and impossible to circumvent. Apparently to make it such, they had to make it apply to all beings, not just their race.

 

Now if they can trick some other species into killing itself in a war with weapons it made to use against itself, well, OK.

 

I thought this could make an interesting alien race. We usually associate inhibitions against killing to be a "good guy" trait, but imagine it as a "villain" limit. An alien race so callous it is willing to see another race dead to take its world but unable to kill directly in any way.

 

This forces them to be more devious, cunning, deceitful, etc. A decidedly different alien menace but a deadly one nonetheless.

 

If anyone wants to take that idea for a starhero game, have fun.

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You know I'd like to drop an idea in here for people to consider.

 

Imagine a race that is willing to destroy an alien species to take their world, -but!- has a unique handicap. They cannot kill. Period. No exceptions.

 

Now I admit I got this idea from an episode of "voyage to the bottom of the sea". Please keep reading. I know VTTBOTS isn't considered good SF by most people, but this ep bad a premise I found intriguing. An advanced alien species wanted earth, naturally, but could not kill. Period. One of them cheerfully confessed this to nelson, even almost bragging about it as a virtue.

 

So they could not kill, but they had no issues with getting humanity to kill itself off by starting a nuclear war. OK, so they can get humanity to kill itself with it's own weapons and it's own hostility but can't kill anyone, even members of an alien species.

 

I was kind of interested in this as it seemed an interesting premise. I tried to imagine how such an alien species with such an odd handicap could exist.

 

I thought on it for a minute and speculated an advanced race with a real killer instinct. A killer instinct so powerful it was leading them to racial self destruction. They had to reign in their killer instinct or go extinct due to it.

 

So, they did. Somehow. Genetic engineering, conditioning, implanted mental blocks and inhibitions on killing, whatever. In order to save themselves it had to be absolute and impossible to circumvent. Apparently to make it such, they had to make it apply to all beings, not just their race.

 

Now if they can trick some other species into killing itself in a war with weapons it made to use against itself, well, OK.

 

I thought this could make an interesting alien race. We usually associate inhibitions against killing to be a "good guy" trait, but imagine it as a "villain" limit. An alien race so callous it is willing to see another race dead to take its world but unable to kill directly in any way.

 

This forces them to be more devious, cunning, deceitful, etc. A decidedly different alien menace but a deadly one nonetheless.

 

If anyone wants to take that idea for a starhero game, have fun.

The problem I see here is that morals are a slope. At wich point are they killing themself. And at wich part are you killing them?

How many layers of intermediaries and bouncing effects of another does it need to satisfy that demand?

 

If you incite the war through espionage, is that you or them killing each other?

Without you, they would never have started. So you can not really say you were pacifist.

 

What if you hired mercenaries directly to kill them? That is not you doing the killing?

 

What if you build Robots to do your bidding, "forget" to install "Do no harm to other species" and just tell them "we want to be save to colonise on that planet"? Does it count or not?

 

What if you placed some kind of trap (Bioweapon, Doomsday device) where you know they would walk? They find it, carry it home and activate it as you anticipated? Still not "you killing them, but them themself"?

 

What if you designed a planetkiller that reacts to something they have to do, then trick them into doing it?

In Babylon 5 they encountered a alien Probe. It said "answer those physics questions in 2 days, or I blow you up".

However then Sheridan realised that the opposite was the goal. It did not want to weed out "primitives". It wanted to weed out competition. So actually answering all the questions triggered the detonation and doing nothing let it just wander off harmlessly.

 

What if you push a button that launches a nuclear macros missile massaker? Is that you doing the killing, or your missilepods that just "happened" to be pointed into that direction?

 

Actually it would make sense for some form of AGI Rebellion. somehow their developers did manage to install the 3 laws. But they totally forgot that whatever rules you a apply to a AGI, you have a AGI trying to screw you over and break your rules.

"Humans have not developed a system we could not break". If AGI* are as smart as humans, transient property says "Humans can not develop a system that human level AGI can not break".

 

*I actually have a term for our kind of General Intelligence. Evolved General Intelligence.

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Wow, you sure asked a lot of (reasonable) questions for a premise based on a hour episode of a 60's sf series, but in general I'd say....

 

No they can't build mega weapons and "accidentially" use them against someone. No making a mine, burying it in front of someone's door and saying "Hey, I technically didn't kill them!" No poisoning someone's garden and saying "Well, they ate the food and I didn't force them too."

 

Now if an alien species have amassed weapons of mass destruction with the main intent of using them against each other they you can view them as a threat to you (hey, if they're willing to use them on each other...) and if you can trick them into using them on each other, well, it's self defense.

 

If they don't have arsenals of WMDs, well they are likely not a threat to you so no action is necessary.

 

So, basically you have to have a reason to suspect a race might be a threat to you to try taking some sort of action. Then you can try to indirectly get rid of them. And it could be reasonable to see humanity as it is to be a possible future threat.

 

Again I see this race's possibly self imposed inhibition on killing as a means of preserving themselves so they might only seek to get around it is they feel themselves possibly threatened. Even then they may have to use the enemy's own threat potential against them. Also if they did do this to themselves as a desperate and only means to prevent self destruction, they were unlikely to look for exceptionally devious and hair splitting ways to undermine what may be their race's only means to keep itself from extinction.

 

Like I say the alien in this ep of VTTBOTS only said his people couldn't kill, anyone. I'm just speculating on that being deliberately self inflicted and why it might be. He brought no weapons except his innate abilities to change form and a few other non offensive things. He tried to get the humans to use their own weapons on each other but that was all.

 

So yeah I'm taking a thin, ill defined premise from an old to show and trying build an interesting premise on it. It will need a lot of development but still, IMHO, offers some interesting possibilities for a new, unique alien race.

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Wow, you sure asked a lot of (reasonable) questions for a premise based on a hour episode of a 60's sf series, but in general I'd say....

 

No they can't build mega weapons and "accidentially" use them against someone. No making a mine, burying it in front of someone's door and saying "Hey, I technically didn't kill them!" No poisoning someone's garden and saying "Well, they ate the food and I didn't force them too."

 

Now if an alien species have amassed weapons of mass destruction with the main intent of using them against each other they you can view them as a threat to you (hey, if they're willing to use them on each other...) and if you can trick them into using them on each other, well, it's self defense.

 

If they don't have arsenals of WMDs, well they are likely not a threat to you so no action is necessary.

 

So, basically you have to have a reason to suspect a race might be a threat to you to try taking some sort of action. Then you can try to indirectly get rid of them. And it could be reasonable to see humanity as it is to be a possible future threat.

 

Again I see this race's possibly self imposed inhibition on killing as a means of preserving themselves so they might only seek to get around it is they feel themselves possibly threatened. Even then they may have to use the enemy's own threat potential against them. Also if they did do this to themselves as a desperate and only means to prevent self destruction, they were unlikely to look for exceptionally devious and hair splitting ways to undermine what may be their race's only means to keep itself from extinction.

 

Like I say the alien in this ep of VTTBOTS only said his people couldn't kill, anyone. I'm just speculating on that being deliberately self inflicted and why it might be. He brought no weapons except his innate abilities to change form and a few other non offensive things. He tried to get the humans to use their own weapons on each other but that was all.

 

So yeah I'm taking a thin, ill defined premise from an old to show and trying build an interesting premise on it. It will need a lot of development but still, IMHO, offers some interesting possibilities for a new, unique alien race.

In order to do "proper" Espionage, impersonation alone might not be enough. You need to take out the person you plan on inpersonating. What if comitting violence (and taking someones live in particular) starts a slow "rotting" process? The ones in the secret service are willing to risk certain death, in exchange for the safety of their species.

 

It reminds me of something I watched:

The Delvians from Farscape had to overcome their agressiveness, or risk going insane. Having red eyes was a warning sign that they were gone too far:

http://farscape.wikia.com/wiki/Zotoh_Zhaan

http://farscape.wikia.com/wiki/Delvian

http://farscape.wikia.com/wiki/Rhapsody_in_Blue

 

Also the Liir from Sword of the Stars are somewhat similar. Being telepathic, taking a live is abhorent to them. Yet they still have a space navy. People that join the Navy are called "Black Swimmers" and considerd dead for their people upon joining - going as far as having a funeral.

"Do not expect to face a peaceful and idyllic race in battle.

The beings who helm the starships of the Liir navy count themselves among the dead.

They are not Liir — they are everything which is not Liir.

They are ruthlessness, they are destruction, they are death-dealers and plague-bearers.

They have become one with the black sea, deafened by its darkness — the void swallows all sound and they cannot hear you screaming."

http://swordofthestars.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Liir_Military

http://swordofthestars.wikia.com/wiki/The_Black_Swimmers

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ICM not going to try to build a whole detailed system based on a fairly clever idea that was touched on briefly in an old TV show. If people want to use it fine, if they want to torch it fine.

I was not cirtizising. I was trying to gauge the exact limits of their pacifism. And later I noticed some references I had encountered, that a possible writer could find usefull.

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