N.B. -- I think that Aliens Archive is one of the better supplements which Imperium Games has produced, and if you use any of these GURPS conversions I encourage you to buy the original source for them. Aliens Archive includes more detail on pschology and culture plus two NPC's for each species, complete with adventure hooks and other ideas for encounters. This page is not intended to replace Aliens Archive, but to supplement it and open up its valuable information and ideas to players and referees of a different game system.
Aliens Archive is (c)1996 by Imperium Games, Inc. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises. Give them your support.
An Asym's left arm is very strong (ST 14, 45 * .3 = 14 pts) but clumsy (DX 8, -15 * .6 = -9), and is covered with a tough, resinous carapace (DR 2, 3 * .3 = 1 pt, PD 1, 25 * .3 = 8 pts). The right arm, in contrast, is weak (ST 8, -15 * .3 = -5 pts) but dextrous (DX 12, 20 * .6 = 12). In addition, Asyms have two long, prehensile "tails" (two Extra Arms, 20pts, +10 for Extra Flexibility, total = 30 points) which help in grabbing, pulling, climbing, or hanging (Brachiator, 5 pts).
The small head does not contain the brain (+5 points), which is instead contained in the torso beneath the "high tail." The single eye can simulate a double pupil, so Asyms have no difficulty with binocular vision, and their triangulated ear structures are more sensitive than those of humanity (Acute Hearing +2, 4 pts). The head atop its telescoping neck can itself be used for defense (Striker, 5 pts, 1 hex reach, +5), and contains only cartilage and muscles -- the airway and mouth are located within the cavity between the shoulders (No Neck, 5 pts).
As for the body as a whole, an Asym's outer skin is like thin leather (DR 1, 3 pts), while extensive muscle tissue lies within, and its bones are silicate rather than calcium-based (HT 12, +20). Extensive muscular control allows sheltering of most body mass in harsh environments (Temperature Tolerance, 7 pts). The "bounding" ability allows Asyms to travel some 75 miles in 10 hours with little conscious intervention (Move 3: 5 points?), but their short legs slow movement in general (Reduced Move -2, -10 pts).
Asyms reach adulthood at 30 (no points), with a life expectancy of sixty years or so (no points). They are renowned as creatures of mystique and ritual, concerned with ecology and recycling (Asym Code of Honor, -10), ever given to experimentation (Curious, -5), and generous and sharing of all they have (Compulsive Generosity, -5). Adult Asym are typically of 50-80 kg mass, and 1.3 to 1.5 m tall at rest (with head recessed). They are uncommon in the Third Imperium, and are limited to TL 8 (Primitive, TL 8 in TL 12 society, -20).
To play an Asym costs 65 points. Full details on the race appear in Aliens Archive, pp. 5-12.
The Controlled, like many winged sophonts, are hexapods. They are not very strong (ST 8, -15), and their arms are extremely slender (ST 6, -15 * .5 = -8) but have digital dexterity superior to humaniti's (Manual Dexterity +2, 6 points). Their feet (but not hands) are equipped with razor sharp talons (40 * .75 = 30), but they walk or run much more slowly than humans (Reduced Move -2, -10 points). Their true mode of movement, of course, is in winged flight: though in standard atmospheres they can only glide, in denser gas envelopes like that of their homeworld they can achieve speeds of some 30 meters per second! (Winged Flight, 30 points, Enhanced Move (6 levels) = 60 points, total 90, * .7 accessibility, = 63 points). They stand 1.25 meters tall (with a 3.25 m wingspan), and typically mass 50 to 75 kg.
A Controlled's skeleton is flexible and lighter than humans, with internal cartilaginous structures giving it a terrific resistance to blunt impact damage (HT 12, 20 points, Extra Hit Points (3), 15). However, their paper-thin skin tears or bruises easily (Fragile, -20). They cannot speak human languages (nor can humans physically voice theirs), so they must resort to translators (Quirk: -1). In another oddity, they requires special low berths and cannot use the conventional variety (Quirk: -1).
The Imperium's long supervision of the Controlled has made their mental life strongly resemble the typical (human) citizen's. They are still subject to impatience, restlessness, and moodiness (Impulsiveness, -10), but are capable of terrific powers of concentration for short periods (Distractable, -1)
To play a Controlled/Guy-Troy is an advantage costing 68 points. More information on the species is revealed in Aliens Archive, pp. 21-27.
The Denaar are a centauroid species (Four Legs, +5) with the brain and vital organs protected (No Neck, +5) beneath a chitin-like layered carapace, tough but flexible (PD 2, DR 2: (25 x 2) + (3 x 2) * .8 (partial coverage) yields 45 points). In physical and mental capacity they are much like humaniti, though they can carry more (Extra Encumbrance, +5) and require about double the living and work space (Increased Life Support, -10). Their two brain lobes can, to some extent, compensate for damage (No Brain, 5), protecting their valuable immortal personality (see below). Humans and Denaar find each others' languages physically unpronounceable, and thus must rely on writing or computers for interspecies communication (Quirk: -1). Denaar also cannot use human low berths, and have never had appropriate models designed (Quirk: -1).
Denaar eyesight is roughly equivalent to human, extending only slightly farther into the infrared, but their wider eye separation does allow peripheral vision beyond the human norm (Peripheral Vision, +15). They hear as well as humans in their dense home atmosphere, and their technology can usually compensate in lesser pressures (Quirk: -1). They have no sense of smell (Anosmia (partial), -2), but extremely sensitive taste perception (Discriminatory Taste, +10).
But the Denaar are best known for their "intellect downloading" or, more crudely, "body bopping" ability. No new Denaar personalities have been created for hundreds of millenia: offspring are born without self-awareness or useful intelligence. But when a Denaar's body is damaged or elderly (roughly 50 years life span), a mere ten minutes' touching of cerebral stems (normally concealed beneath a flap of the carapace) moves the existing Denaar intellect and personality to the new body from the old (which quickly fades and dies, no matter its age or condition). The process can be interrupted without hazard, and a Denaar intellect can survive up to five years in an intact brain lobe. Barring malice or catastrophe, then, an individual Denaar personality is immortal and unaging (15 * .9 for accessibility, 14).
Denaar memories, however, are no more lasting than human ones: despite their ancient existence (some recall visits by Second Imperium scouts!), the Denaar, like humaniti, dwell mainly on the recent past. Their virtual immortality, however, does cause a certain unconcern about disease or serious injury, and fosters risk-taking, lack of forethought, and even a devil-may-care attitude (Overconfidence, -10; Fearlessness +5, 10 points; Daredevil, +15). Since their offspring are nonsentient, Denaar have no sense of family, and remain highly individualistic, making friends but highly valuing their independence (Quirk: -1). They have a minor cultural bias against mechanisms that replace the power of the mind, such as computers (Quirk: -1), and that as well as their zero population growth and individualism have probably conspired to keep them at TL 7 (Primitive in TL12 society: -35).
The Denaar racial package sums to 62 points. Complete details on their biology and culture appear in Aliens Archive pp. 28-36.
The arboreal Graytch have six legs (+10). Their two arms are quite short (Short Arms, -10) and weak (ST 8, -20*.5 = -10), but the hands are very flexible and delicate (Manual Dexterity +3, 9 points). Graytch bones are made of crystalline silicon (HT 12, +20), and their muscle fibers, working in both directions, give them both great dexterity (DX 12, +20) and great range of motion (Flexibility, +15). Though slower than humans on flat surfaces (Reduced Move -2, -10), Graytch are supreme in 3-D environments (Brachiator, +5; 3D Spatial Sense, +10), often moving through trees faster than human runners on the ground (Enhanced Move (brachiating) x2, +20, Climbing @ DX, 2 points). Graytch mass from 75 - 125 kg, stand some 1.5 - 1.75m from ground to head, and extend about 2 - 2.25 m from snout to rump.
Graytch grow up quickly, reaching physical maturity a mere 7 months after birth and the age of majority within 2 years (Early Maturation (3 levels), 15 points). Almost all Graytch follow the non-violent teachings of Say-ta-chu (Pacifism (Self-defense only), -15), but each of the several sects looks down upon the others (Intolerance, -1). Graytch are intensely curious about other aliens (Xenophilia, -5), and are adaptive and tolerant in their minglings with other races, cultures, and beliefs, even suffering when they are alone (Chummy, -5). Two or three times in life a Graytch may become absent-minded and mistake-prone as they enter a thirteen-month parenting phase (Quirk: -1), but their culture has evolved to deal with these occasional sabbaticals. They may become confused in off-world dealings, since Graytch legal codes treat almost all crime as an example of mental illness, and hand out banishment as one of their most substantial punishments ("Delusion," -5).
To play a Graytch requires the expenditure of 64 points. More information appears in Aliens Archive, pp. 37-45.
Descended from ocean-dwelling hexapedally symmetrical filters, the Hana Saka ("suckers" or "ogres" to many humans) are a fearsome-looking but friendly race, standing some 2.8 to 3.5 meters tall and massing 350kg on average (Inconvenient Size, -10). They are far stronger than humans (ST 18, "Natural", 90 * .6 = 54 points), and their three-meter shoulder tentacles outreach their arms (two Extra Arms, +20, Reach 2, +20, total +40). Instead of an internal skeleton, minute calcium deposits in each cell provide an intricate network of thin supporting "bones" throughout the body. Not nearly as strong as human bones, but pliable and difficult to break, this configurable net essentially can form joints anywhere on a limb the Hana Saka desires (Flexibility, +15). The four fingers of Hana Saka hands proper are all mutually opposable and more flexible than their human equivalents (Manual Dexterity +2, 6 points). Any missing body part will regrow, taking up to a year to replace a lost limb (Regrowth, +40).
Hana Saka have only one eye (-10) with very poor vision (Bad Sight, -25): it gives fair resolution, a distinction between light and dark, but no fine detail (Color Blindness, -10). In recompense of a sort, they have doglike hearing (Acute Hearing +3, 6 points) and a racial sonar ability (Sonar Vision, +25). Hana Saka senses of taste and smell equal humans'. They have no head (No Neck, +5), instead clustering all sensory organs in the middle of the torso. Hana Saka do not "sleep" per se: they intermittently rest, but remain aware (Reduced Sleep, +10).
Hana Saka digestion is partially external, in the mouth-pouch, involving much noise, and involves violently spitting out inedible detritus, a practice many humans find disgusting (OPH, -15). Oddly enough, Hana Saka are intolerant of human chewing noises, and of excess, unnecessary, or random noise in general: sudden loud noise can, flare-like, shut down their hearing for up to a minute (-5). In general, however, the Hana Saka are an extraordinarily patient race, tolerant of others (Broad Minded, -1). Reach, touch, and proximity are of vital importance to them (Gregarious, -10), sometimes to the discomfort of human companions (OPH (Touching), -5): they even prefer sleeping in groups. Indeed, reach equates to power, and traditional Hana Saka combat is personal and close. They adopt human-designed missile weapons only grudgingly (Quirk: -1). In an additional cultural quirk, Hana Saka society is highly matriarchal: transients, owning only what they can carry or what a household will hold "in trust" for them (Quirk: -1). Indeed, males live roughly half as long as females, beginning aging at 45 and living on average to only 55 (Short Lifespan, -10). Hana Saka cannot use human-model low-berths, and none have ever been designed for them (Quirk: -1). In an Imperial setting, the Hana Saka are Primitives (TL 5 in TL 12 society, -35).
The Hana Saka racial package sums to 72 points (62 for males). Full information on the race is printed in Aliens Archives, pp. 46-58.
The tree-like Hresh can grow to 3m tall, with a ball of branches and leaves some 2m in diameter (Inconvenient Size, -10), though they are quite light for their size (just 90 to 110 kg). Their bodies are covered with tough, fibrous bark (DR 2, 6 points; Injury Tolerance (No Cutting/Impaling Bonus, No Neck, No Vitals), 40 points), though their root-tentacles are far more tender. Hresh have from thirty to fifty individual "branch arms" of 0.5 to 2.0 meters in length, though their limited mobility makes these unusable for, say, hand-to-hand combat (30 Extra Arms, 15 normal, 15 with Reach 2, all with No Physical Attack, (15x5 + 15x(5+10)) = 300 points). Each arm has up to ten "branch fingers" along its length, giving them many two-fingered hands but with poor manipulation (No Fine Manipulators, -30 points). The Hresh brain can control every finger/arm manipulator independently, allowing them to perform hundreds of small tasks at once, though they are incapable of reacting swiftly enough to use this for multiple at- tacks in combat. Still, the Hresh can bring great strength to bear (ST 16, 70 * .55 (No Fine Manipulators (-40%) and No Jumping Bonus (-5%) = 39 points). In general, Hresh have rather poor agility (DX 7, -20 points) and cannot use human personal equipment (Quirk, -1). Their casual movement rate is in inches per hour, but they can match a human walk if pressed (Cannot Run, -5?).
Hresh light-sensitive leaves allow them to perceive events all around them (360-Degree Vision, 25 points), seeing twice as far as humans (Telescopic Vision, 6 points) and making out close-up details twice as well (Microscopic Vision, 4 points). They can also distinguish light somewhat above and below the human spectrum (Infravision, 15 points). Hearing is roughly equivalent to the human norm, but their sense of smell can only detect intensities of odor, and taste is largely limited to detecting poisoned water (partial Anosmia, -3?). The Hresh sense of touch also tends to be imprecise: they can easily detect bumps or blows, but must pay more attention to detect soft touches or breezes (Quirk, -1). They are mute (Mute, -25), and communicate by funneling breezes through their leaves.
The Hresh are photosynthetic: they do not eat, but do require sunlight and water (5 points?). If deprived of adequate light and water for two weeks or so, they may enter a "photosynthetic priority" state to renew their energy stores (Quirk, -1). Though flexible in schedule, normally they spend 22 out of 44 hours in a resting state, still remaining more alert than a sleeping human (Light Sleeper, -5). Hresh grow rapidly from seedpod to seedling (a few weeks) to immobile but sentient sapling (1.8 years) to free-moving adult (1.8 years). Full size is attained within another 3.6 years (Early Maturation, 5 points), and Hresh can live for 90 to 180 years before hardening of the "bark" causes immobility, then for up to 300 more years (10 points?).
The Hresh have a strong mothering instinct, often carrying with them a menagerie of small animals inhabiting their branches (Odious Personal Habit, -5 points). Indeed, they will almost automatically extend courtesies and aid to any non-threatening creature less than about half man-sized (somewhere between Charitable and Compulsive Generosity, -5). They become disturbed by the human practice of eating such creatures (or even innocent plants), and indeed send prophets throughout known space preaching their "photosynthetic bigotry" (Intolerance, -10). Hresh are gregarious among themselves and lonesome when isolated from their fellows (Chummy, -5; Chauvinistic, -1). Their own peaceful communal lifestyles make them distrust- ful of centralized, controlling governments (Quirk, -1). Hresh physical technology is Stone-Age (TL0), though they have an interesting biotechnology based on grafting, giving them missile weapons and containers (TL1?) (Primitive, TL1 in TL12 culture, -55 points).
To play a Hresh costs 272 points: they are odd enough to normally only be encountered as NPC's. More details on the race are available on pp. 59-66 of Aliens Archive.
Of all humaniti's far-flung subspecies, only three (the Solomani, Vilani, and Zhodani) achieved jump drive independently. The others are thus classified as minor "races."
Bye-Ren adapt easily to lower gravities (Improved G-Tolerance, 15 points), but their short legs often cause trouble in keeping up with their taller kin (Reduced Move -2, -10 points). Their super-rugged metabolism tends to "wear out" sooner than other humans', even in normal gravity (Short Lifespan, -10), and the high blood pressure needed in their home environment causes significant bleeding problems (Hemophilia, -30).
Bye-Ren are extreme in their regard for personal loyalty and refusals to abandon either responsibilities or comrades, and in holding both friendship and enmity for life (Bye-Ren Code of Honor, -15). They tend to disdain luxury (Quirk: -1) and have the interesting social tradition that altitude indicates importance (Quirk: -1). Since the Bye-Ren have only recently been recontacted and are still seldom visited, their technology lags far behind the Imperium's (Primitive: TL 7 in TL 12 setting, -25).
The Bye-Ren racial package costs 48 points. Full details on the race are available in Aliens Archive, pp. 13-20.
The Bove of Arkady have an elongated, segmented body structure much like caterpillars (about 2.5m long, 20kg/m), but are endoskeletal and warm-blooded. They have fifteen body segments, each of which (except the head) possesses two limbs (seven or more legs, 15 points). The upper three segments' limbs are equipped with "hands:" simple, bony, curving pincers like those of crabs (four Extra Arms (short), 20 points; Reduced Manual Dexterity -2, -6 points). Bove have extremely flexible arm joins: their elbows and wrists are capable of nearly 360-degree rotation (Extra Flexibility, 10 points). Most of their tactile sense, however, lies not in their pincers but in the half-meter long tongue (Extra (Short) Arm with No Physical Attack, 2 points).
The Bove have better depth and peripheral vision than humans (Peripheral Vision, 15 points). They see mostly in the upper infrared (Infravision, 15 points), and are blind to human-visible light (Blind, -50). They are as agile in trees as Terran monkeys (Brachiator, 5 points) and have tree-pattern camouflage (5 points?) covering the finely meshed microscales of their skin. Bove tend to be bad at any math beyond simple addition and subtraction (Incompetence, -1), but are quite good at languages (Language Talent +3, 6 points). Their technological development is still Stone Age (Primitive, TL0 in TL12 Imperium, -60 points).
Bove have no centralized brain, instead relying on neuron clusters dis- tributed along a central notochord (Injury Tolerance: No Brain, 5 points). Many other bodily functions are similarly distributed (Injury Tolerance: No Vitals, 5 points). They are hermaphroditic: every two years or so after age 30, when the scent of the Hi'ich flower triggers mating (Quirk, -1), and after several months gestation, their rearmost body segment breaks off and becomes a hard-shelled egg. A Bove can produce four to eight children in this unique fashion. Its consciousness dissipates with childbearing (the results are akin to Alzheimer's disease) (Quirk, -1), since segments of notochord with their memories and knowledge are thus passed on to the offspring (Racial Memory, 15). Bove achieve physical adulthood at age 12 (they are born with full sentience, language, and abstract reasoning), and generally die by age 60 or so. However, only a few thousand or so indi- viduals survive (Dying Race, -10) due to over-development of their world by human colonists.
The Bove racial package sums to -11 points. More information on the race and their homeworld of Arkady is available in Sophontologist Paul Lucas' report "Xenocide Rhapsody," pp. 41-50 of issue #30 of Shadis magazine.
Last updated May 16, 1997 by Port Jackson Xenobiologist Joseph L. Lockett. Please send any new research findings.