NOMAD Stellar Alliance: Aliens

Posted: 2024-06-29
Last Modified: 2024-07-13
Word Count: 1634
Tags: ftl-nomad rpg settings

Table of Contents

WARNING: This is a WORK IN PROGRESS. See the enclosing directory for more about NOMAD Stellar Alliance.

Part of the NOMAD: Stellar Alliance series.

Below are the Alien species available in the Stellar Alliance setting, converted into Faster Than Light: Nomad terms.

Class I

“Class I” species conform to the rules from page 15 of FTL: Nomad. Each listing provides a physical description, some cultural tendencies, and finally the specific abilities (and disabilities) members of the species exhibit.

Algolian

Algolians are cyan-skinned humanoids roughly the size of humans. Their original homeworld having succumbed to an ecological catastrophe, most Algolians live aboard giant starships or orbital colonies.

Algolians have a mostly undeserved reputation for being devious and criminal. Perhaps life aboard cramped tin cans surrounded by vacuum has made them cynical. Nevertheless, most Algolians work hard and honestly to better conditions for themselves, their families, and their clans. Only a few ruthless clans belong to organized crime, but they taint the reputation of the whole species.

Through generations of living aboard cramped starships, Algolians have developed a resistance to most toxins and diseases. Algolians have Advantage on tests to contract a disease or succumb to poison; if the substance would normally be automatically toxic, the Algolian gets a roll with Disadvantage. Certain substances like nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide do not affect Algolians at all as long as there’s enough oxygen to breathe.

Grey

While vaguely resembling humanoids, Greys biologically resemble reptiles or avians: they have cloacas and internal genitalia. and some bloodlines are parthogenic. Otherwise they resemble the classic UFO trope: between 1 and 1.5 meters tall, gray skin, large black eyes with black sclera, small mouths, small slits instead of noses, scrawny bodies, and spindly limbs. Sometimes they go naked, but most wear clothing to respect human sensibilities.

The Greys themselves know nothing of their origins save myths and legends. Tribes of Greys have spread across space: the Cetani, the Jhi, the Qutani, the Tsi, and the Xetani. All fly “saucers” of ancient and advanced design, but culturally they could not be more different. The Cetani have settled on Mars after a regrettable incident, and have integrated well into the Alliance. The Xetani, on the other hand, have turned to piracy, and the Qutani style themselves the last survivors of a great empire.

Greys seem born to space; many are born in space. They gain Advantage on Vehicle or Technical checks when handling space ships or space technology. They also gain Advantage on Physical checks to resist the effects of sudden acceleration or high gravity, including blacking out or death. They gain Disadvantage on Combat checks in close combat due to their size.

Heavy-Worlder

“Heavy-worlder” refers to one of many humanoid species who adapted to worlds with high gravity. They are short and squat with thick limbs, strong muscles, and very little body fat.

On their own worlds Heavy-Worlders practice almost any occupation as any other humanoid, but in the wider galaxy they’re most in demand in tasks requiring heavy labor, like mining.

Heavy-worlders gain Advantage on tasks requiring strength and endurance, They may move freely (if carefully) on a world with up to double Earth’s gravity.

Minervan

Minervans hail from the planet Minerva … or so Earthers would have it1. Save for their blue-gray skin and uniformly black hair they could easily pass as tall, angular humans.

Minervan history is too long and convoluted to detail here. Clans, nations, and eventually planets strove to outdo each other in one field or another. Curiously, despite traveling over much of what’s now Alliance Space they never spread their civilization, nor did they invent many common Galactic Era technologies until they joined forces with humans. Perhaps they did not like the odds.

Culturally and psychologically, Minervans tend to be perfectionists. They gain Advantage on any task which requires precision and concentration. Conversely, they gain Disadvantage on tasks with unclear criteria for success, or which seem unlikely to succeed. (GM’s discretion on both.)

Pah-Kal

Pah-Kal resemble humans in silhouette, but there the resemblance ends. These saurians have wide mouths full of sharp teeth, retractable claws on their hands, and corded muscles on their otherwise lean bodies.

Pah-Kal are space nomads, their original homeworld lost millennia ago. In some volumes of space, Pah-Kal outnumber humanoids; these settled ones guard their territory jealously. On other worlds they’re just one species among many, and they try to get along with others … until someone pushes one too far …

Pah-Kal are essentially “Reptilians” from FTL: Nomad p. 15:

Their unarmed attacks cause 2d6 damage. A Reptilian with the Martial Artist Archetype cause 3d6 damage while unarmed.

Rephaite

A Rephaite (plural: Rephaim) or “Repha” is a Humanoid well over two meters tall, broad shoulders, and a muscular build. They come from a planet humans call Phaëthon.

Rephaim notoriously prefer flashy, dramatic gestures to anything that requires sustained effort. (In this they are the exact opposite of the Minervans.) This is a cultural tendency, though; many individual Rephaim have served the Alliance with distinction and dedication.

Rephaites have Advantage in close-quarters Combat or in any Physical check requiring brute strength or size. They may suffer Disadvantage when moving through or attempting to take actions in tight spaces (1.5 meters cubed or less).

Class II

“Class II” species require special rules or considerations.

Draconian

The Draconian Empire contains multiple species, although the one humans simply call Draconian are green-skinned humanoids. Their hair is black, one of several shades of blue, or as they age increasingly gray or white. Most lack facial hair, although older Draconian males sometimes grow thin mustaches or goatees.

As with many things, for every cliché about Draconians there are counter-examples. Warlords at the borders of the Empire might be crude, cruel, bloodthirsty barbarians, but high nobles are mannered and refined (although no less cruel). Draconian warriors believe in honor but will resort to base treachery if it will yield results. More than half of the residents of the Draconian Empire are subject species, i.e. slaves, but for whatever reason they remain fiercely loyal to their masters. And so on.

Draconian Rules

Draconians seldom venture outside the Draconian Empire except to conquer a planet. Their culture is so at odds with Alliance norms that Draconian player characters seem unlikely in an Alliance-based game.

That said, a “pure” Draconian gains Advantage on any Physical check to resist pain or to stay awake and fighting after having sustained a Wound. Once they succumb to their Wounds, they roll +1D on the Triage table.

Subject species include the following:

Humanoid

Humanoids are human-like beings who come from worlds other than Earth or its former colonies.

While humanoids may have different coloration, body shapes, forehead ridges, etc. most humanoids are funtionally equivalent to humans. Counter-examples include the Algolians, Heavy-Worlders, Minervans, and Rephaites.

Humanoid Rules

If the new species is functionally equivalent to a human in every way, simply create characters of that species exactly like humans.

Otherwise, work with the GM to determine what makes your humanoid species different from standard humans. Generally this involves specifying a situation in which members of the species have Advantage, but it may involve other perks. If the situation is too broad, the GM may impose Disadvantage or other limitations on members of the species.

Parahuman

Parahumans, less respectfully called “splices” and “muties”, are genetically engineered humans with altered, animal, or occasionally alien DNA introduced into their genome. They usually manifest some unusual, physiologically-based ability, as well as significant cosmetic differences from baseline humans.

Parahumans have full citizenship under the Alliance, but especially on backwater colony worlds they encounter prejudice. Many mistake them for “aliens”. That they have often have no “people” to turn to for support makes their plight even worse.

Parahuman Rules

Create a Synthoid using the supplement Synthoids.

Synthetic

Since the Treaty of Cydonia the Alliance has recognized artificial intelligences – Synthetics or “artificial people” – as citizens of the Alliance with all the rights and responsibilities as any organic. That said, most Synthetics do not trust or relate to organics very much, and prefer enclaves of their own kind.

See “Internal Disputes” for more about current Synthetic politics.

Synthetic Rules

Synthetics uses the Robot rules of pp 124-132 of FTL: Nomad. To qualify as sapients (player characters) they must take the Low Artificial Intelligence (TCR 1) or High Artificial Intelligence (TCR 2) options.

Uplift

Humans and other humanoids have “uplifted” animal species to sapience. These include apes, cephalopods, cetaceans, and strangely bears.

Uplifts usually work in tight-knit family groups, and draw a clear distinction between friends, strangers, and enemies. Friends have been friendly in the past; enemies have been cruel in the past, while strangers are unknown quantities.

Uplift Rules

Work with the GM on the talent your Uplift brings to the table.

Class III

Class III aliens are not available as player characters due body shape, life support requirement, psychology, culture, base Technological Age, etc. We list them here for completeness:


  1. Minervans call themselves the elihom, and their planet Mynrpha. Also, many Minervans actually come from the planet Earthers call Ægir, which they actually call Tolspha. ↩︎

  2. Except in an all-transhuman campaign. ↩︎