02.2 Creating Non-Human Species (Aliens)
Begin your alien generation process by selecting an environment your alien species evolved in. Either roll
2D or pick one of the following as the primary species habitat.
|2D Roll||Environment||Common Traits|
|2||Barren||Specific Terrain Survival ; Environmental tolerance; Environmental vulnerability|
|3||Desert||Specific Terrain Survival ; Environmental tolerance; Environmental vulnerability|
|4||Forest||Specific Terrain Survival ; Environmental tolerance; Environmental vulnerability|
|5||Glacier||Specific Terrain Survival ; Environmental tolerance; Environmental vulnerability|
|6||Jungle||Specific Terrain Survival ; Environmental tolerance; Environmental vulnerability|
|7||Mountain||Specific Terrain Survival ; Environmental tolerance; Environmental vulnerability|
|8||Ocean||Specific Terrain Survival ; Environmental tolerance; Environmental vulnerability|
|9||Plains||Specific Terrain Survival ; Environmental tolerance; Environmental vulnerability|
|10||Wetlands||Specific Terrain Survival ; Environmental tolerance; Environmental vulnerability|
Barren environments are typically arid ones, possibly with hostile environments. The ground is extremely hard, dry and cannot sustain most forms of life. The atmosphere is likely to be intolerable to humans. Species who thrive in a barren environment may not find human-standard environments hospitable without breath masks or other life-support aids.
Deserts have sparse plant cover with large stretches of bare ground of usually sand or the like. These are harsh, dry ecosystems. Both the plants and animals found here will be very hardy and able to survive a long time without food or water. Temperatures in the desert are not moderated by any humidity and will be hot in the day and cold at night. Very cold deserts are called tundras – the ground stays frozen all year long, although the surface may thaw during a warm season and allow plants to grow.
Forests occur most commonly in temperate zones, but they can also occur in very cold or warm areas (see Jungle for tropical forests). In large forest ecosystems, the trees will probably be the most prevalent forms of life. Small plants rarely survive well in large forests. However, tiny plants thrive by living off the decaying refuse of the trees. Animals flourish in forests, most of which are herbivores subsisting on the plant life surrounding them. Large Carnivores keep the population of the herbivores under control.
Glaciers are huge frozen sheets of ice that can be several kilometers thick. Some places are permanently locked into a frigid environment (such as polar regions and planets far from their stars’ warming rays), while others are simply passing through an ice age. In the former case, life will have evolved to thrive in this environment, and have suitable protection against the cold. In an ice age scenario, the dominant species may not be entirely adapted to the environment, but is hardy or clever enough to survive.
Jungles, rain forests or tropical forests receive a great deal of precipitation and are usually on the warm side. These ecosystems support different subsystems at different heights in the trees. These may be so separated that there is no contact between the creatures in the canopy and those on the forest floor.
Mountainous planets have been (or still are) home to a great deal of geologic activity. The mountains may range from small hills to huge alps, but if they characterize a species’ main environment, they are probably fairly large. Many lifeforms live in mountainous environments. They are usually hardy, sure of foot, and accustomed to thriving in rarefied atmospheres.
A species from an ocean environment may be a marine lifeform or live primarily on the surface, like seabirds. Depending upon geological activity, oceans may be very deep or merely large and shallow. Ocean depths are sparsely inhabited and will have strange creatures unused to any light and living off the heat of volcanic vents. Coastal waters are the richest ecosystems with plenty of light and minerals and many forms of plant and animal life. On worlds with a large moon or those which circle a gas giant, coastal areas will be subject to tides that leave some land exposed part of the day. Such conditions often give rise to amphibious creatures.
Plains get less rainfall than forests and this keeps the plants from reaching great heights. Plains (or grasslands), may feature a tree or two, but they are few in number with a lot of space in between. Plains animals are often accustomed to traveling great distances in search of food or water. Veldts (plains located in hot climates) have more types of life forms than cool grasslands. Herbivores and insects live on the plains, and the carnivores that prey on them tend to be speed-oriented. There aren’t as many places to hide in the grasslands, so the animal life must be fast, strong or both.
Wetlands can take the form of ponds, marshes or
swamps. Most wetlands are in warm climates, but this
is not a prerequisite (bogs and fens are as likely to be
found on highland moors as tropical river deltas).
Wetlands support a vast array of lifeforms of every
The environment is a combination of two other
terrain types. Roll twice on this table. You can discard
contradictory results if you like, but it may be a fun
challenge to invent an explanation for a desert,wet,
lands combination. Note that some apparently con,
tradictory combinations are perfectly plausible. A
glacier,plains combination, for example, describes a
Exotic environments can encompass all sorts of
unusual conditions, from volcano worlds riddled with
underground caves, to rarefied strata of gas giant
atmospheres (you can find some additional ideas on
page 20 of the Star Wars Planets Collection). If you like,
roll on this table again, ignoring this result. Use
whatever is rolled as a “basis” for an alien ecosystem,
then go from there. For example, if you roll “Forest,”
the forest might be made of magnesium and heavy
metal “trees” and have animals that feed on these
compounds in it.
|2D Roll||Origin||Common Traits|
With your environment in mind, it’s time to select
a basic origin for your species. The following catego,
ries are not all,inclusive, and to streamline things
some disparate species are grouped together. Feel free
to further specialize the system if you’d like to get more
Select one of the following or roll 2D to get the
basic biological form of your species (the values are
weighed in favor of species types common in the Star
Wars galaxy, namely mammals, reptiles and insects).
Disregard any obvious clashes between environment
and origin (unless you really want to explain aquatic
aliens living in a desert).
Plants synthesize energy from water, nutrients in
soil, and sunlight. They are the lowest and most
common niche in an ecosystem. They tend to be
immobile and typically possess only passive natural
defenses such as burrs.
Sentient plant species are usually immobile, but
some species can move about in search of better soil,
light or nutrients. They can be very difficult to com,
municate with since their entire existence is based
upon a life where food is present every day and they
lack many concepts humans and other animals find
Soft invertebrates include species descended from
soft,bodied creatures without bones, such as worms
slugs or snails, or· octopi. These creatures may ea~
either plants or animals and can form colonies or stay
independent. They can take many forms, and some
species are able to change form as necessary. They
usually move about using muscles, and some creatures
have very unusual internal structures that give them
some of the rigidity necessary to enable swift move,
Insects are arthropods (for simplicity’s sake, arach,
nids are lumped in with insects). Most have well,
defined segmented bodies consisting of a head, thorax
and abdomen. Others have evolved into other forms
(there are some humanoid insect species out there).
Insects may have any number of jointed legs, usually
have exoskeletons, and some have wings. Sentient
insects may be carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, or
Reptiles are cold,blooded vertebrates which usu,
ally have a bony skeleton and a body covered in scales
or bony plates-species like snakes, lizards, turtles, or
crocodiles. Most reptile species live on land and lay
eggs. ~ese species may be carnivores, omnivores,
herbivores, or scavengers.