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RPR Archive Tips/Advice Articles: Non-Human Characters

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource Archive' started by NaboosPrincess, Mar 12, 2006.

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  1. NaboosPrincess Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 6
    Please use this thread to discuss the unique aspects of playing alien characters from all over the galaxy (and even other galaxies!) Remember to clearly label your post so readers can easily identify the species you will be discussing in your post.
  2. NaboosPrincess Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 6
    Here are some tips from the old "Training Grounds and Informational Thread" to start us off!
    YUUZHAN VONG CHARACTERS
    • Basic Information on the Yuuzhan Vong

    • Answers to Some Questions

    Basic Information on the Yuuzhan Vong, by KnightHawk

    (Note: Some of this information will come from interpretation/mild reflection on material presented in the first five books [all I've read so far] in the New Jedi Order series, and some is paraphrasing from the Yuuzhan Vong Expanded Universe and Behind the Scenes files, located here and here, respectively.)

    The Yuuzhan Vong are a species of brutal, destructive invaders with one goal in mind: either convert the inhabitants of this galaxy to their beliefs, or kill them. They see their fight as a holy war, and not an average 'scuffle'.

    Some important opening information about the Yuuzhan Vong is as follows: the Yuuzhan Vong are unable to be sensed in the Force, and are also unable to utilize it. They view it as an abomination, equal to mechanical 'psuedo-life', which is seen as an affront to their religion and their gods. They resemble baseline humanity, but just barely, due to their extensive self-mutilation and the presence of many tattoos on their bodies.

    Honor, religious belief, and sacrifice play highly in their society, especially in this crusade. The gods that they worship have tasked them with a mission that cannot accept failure: claim this 'new land' as their new home. They will stop at nothing to fulfill this quest, even if it results in their own deaths.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The classes of Yuuzhan Vong society hold great influence in how everyday affairs are run, both normally and in the crusade against the 'infidels'. At the very top are the religious, who are said to speak directly with the gods themselves. Blessings for battle come from these deeply-revered beings. Divisions of the priest caste include: Supreme Overlord (membership of one; has secular/religious authority and direct connection with the creator, Yun Yuuzhan), High Priest/Priestess, Priests/Priestesses, Seers, and Savants.

    The next rank of Yuuzhan Vong social structure is that of the warrior caste, which is considered to be the class favored by the gods. These brutal, pain-loving, combat-adoring beasts are among the most populous in Yuuzhan Vong society. The Yuuzhan Vong military is a vast and powerful organ of their way of life, responsible for carrying out any and all wishes of the gods related to conquest and the destruction of infidels. Ranks include, but are not limited to: Warmaster, Supreme Commander, Commander, Sub-altern, and Warrior.

    Shapers are among the most important of the Yuuzhan Vong's societal structure. Their work is the formation of Yuuzhan Vong biotechnology, as well as the implementation of these masterpieces of living 'tools'. Ranks include, but are not limited to: Master Shaper, Adept, and Apprentice.

    Intendants among the Yuuzhan Vong maintain important functions that cater to the stability of the society. They work in fields of commerce, trade, bureaucracy, and slave-labor maintenance. Ranks include: High Prefect, Prefect, Consul, and Executor.

    The lowest of the castes, and the most heavily populated, is that of the worker class. They perform simple menial labor, and are usually made up of three groups of beings: those conquered in battle, those who failed in another caste, and those who were born into the worker caste. Slaves are seen as members of tbe worker caste, as are the Shamed Ones. These two groups are looked upon with disdain by their fellow workers.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Some of the gods of the Yuuzhan Vong religion are as follows:

    Yun-Yuuzhan -- Also known as the Creator, the Supreme Lord, and the Cosmic Lord, Yun-Yuuzhan is hailed as the chief god of the Yuuzhan Vong. Man/>/>
  3. Detonating-Rabbit Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 5
    The Imporance of Research in the Development of Alien Characters by Detonating-Rabbit

    There are as many aliens in the Star Wars universe as there are different ways to utilise, and develop your non-human characters in the context of TF.N?s ever-expanding Role Playing Forum. There are many approaches to how you can individually develop your own character, but there are some things you should consider before you commence your involvement in a game.

    Generally speaking, you will want your character to be original, unique, and memorable; this is one way in which you can leave your mark on the online role playing community. Furthermore, the actual process of developing complex characters ? and non-humans are, I would argue, more difficult than the conventional human ? can be an extremely useful experience, particularly if you want to provide yourself with a practical challenge to improve your own creative writing skills for future projects.

    Research is obviously an important task that should be undertaken by any serious writer. All non-humans are different, after all; if it?s not their appearance, then it?s their personality, and for continuities? sake it is desirable to write and develop your character properly and comprehensively. I find that this leads to a more thorough and accurate development of a character, which will assist you later when you are using an alien protagonist on a regular basis.

    To highlight my point: if you were to use a Gand as a character (think Zuckuss from TESB, or Ooryl Qrygg from the Rogue Squadron series), it might be advisable to know of the limitations of their insectoid appearance, of the fact that they come from a rigidly traditional society, and that they rarely refer to themselves in first person when they speak. The Iktotchi (Saesee Tiin), for example, are suspected of being telepathic, and to fail to take this into account could substantially limit the future possibilities for your character. Finally, if you wanted to use a species that was quite obscure, like a Vratix, you would have to take into consideration the fact that they are not bipedal, nor readily found offworld.

    So, research is the first important step towards successfully developing an alien character.

    To begin with, the internet can be a particularly useful resource for those of you who are looking to discover more about a particular species with which to write. Starwars.com and the wikipedia are useful places for anything Star Wars. Even Google can provide you with an ample amount of sites that could be of assistance. For more specific resources, however, if you can get your hands on a copy of the Essential Guide for Alien Species, or Wizards of the Coast?s Ultimate Alien Anthology, then you?re doing quite well for yourself.

    When and if you find the material you?re after, there are certain things that you might want to take into consideration. Obviously, any image of the species would provide a useful visual reference. Aside from this, however, any biographical information, such as descriptions of general personality traits, physical traits, and example names are practical. Any further information that you can find, such as any possible limitations on the dialects a species can speak, will assist exponentially in the process of characterisation.

    Remember: the more information and images you can find of the species you?re after, the better. If you take more into account when you are researching the species, your character will appear more realistic, more plausible, and you will enjoy writing for them even more. Research may be time consuming, sure, but it will give you a substantial edge in your writing ? both within the RPF, and with any other future writing projects you might have.
  4. Sith-I-5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 5
    If you are going to create a character based on a non-standard Alien species, or perhaps even then, never assume that your fellow players have the same knowledge as yourself.

    A good idea, I think, is to include a link to a picture of your species, and give relevant description.

    One GM that I played with, posted a species that I had never heard off, and had it starting a bar fight.

    It was one of those rarity's where Google couldn't come up with an image for me, and the tf.n's own database couldn't help, so I had to have my own character, a female Twi'lek, tackled it, and it turned into a minor OOC spat as this creature was twice the size of my character.

    It could have been avoided if the originator had bothered to provide some description.
  5. Detonating-Rabbit Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 5
  6. NaboosPrincess Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 6
    Upping to save from the auto-lock. :)
  7. Sith-I-5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 5
    My thanks to Detonating-Rabbit for those links!
  8. Detonating-Rabbit Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 5
    Always a pleasure! :) However, as I have recently discovered, the Wookieepedia is great as well for images and also includes those from the Updated Guide to Aliens and Species.
  9. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Ladies and Gentlemen, a lesson on Basic Biology:

    In a vast sweeping majority of situations, different species cannot breed (though oddly enough some of them will mate). Owing to the differences in genetic codes, things don't easily crossbreed with other species. So though you may fancy that Twi'lek's flopping lekku, your human probably won't be able to concieve a child with one. Think of it this way: Humans and primates have some incredibly similar genetic codes... however, owing to tens of thousands of years of branching evolution, they are not genetically compatible (though I hope this isn't an issue you'd normally concern yourself with). Likewise, even if it was a human at one point, a few dozen millenia will make a hell of a difference if a baseline human genetic stock isn't intermingled there on repeated occasions.

    You might be able to get by with a Near-Human hybrid, but seriously folks, consider a few things:

    Minor Caveat: Science still has difficulties defining what exactly constitutes a species, so we've got room for argument.

    1) We have lots of different kinds of dogs here on Earth... the poodle and the collie are two different looking dogs, but they're still both in the same species, Canis lupus familiaris, and as such can breed freely with perfectly healthy (if strange-looking) offspring. Likewise, some of these "species" may have different appearances, but are able to breed freely with humans... they might just be odd humans (like the Lorrdians, which are humans with a cultural history of mime).
    2) Most of the different species on Earth can't breed. However, sometimes some species that are pretty dang similar can crossbreed (such as horses and donkeys, which can combine to form mules/hinnies). This isn't really a common occurrance among most species.
    3) Even in the case of half-breeds like the aforementioned mules, a vast majority of them are totally sterile. This means that if you're able to produce an offspring of two sorta-similar species, odds are you won't be able to create a quarter-breed by combining the child with a member of one of its parent species.
    4) Sure, there are examples of mules which were able to give birth, but there's only been a few dozen cases of that in the entire history of animal husbandry, and in a majority of those cases, the family tree... didn't fork. Think on that one.

    So, in conclusion: Please think before making your super-special hybrid snowflakes. If anything, you could do what thousands of other infertile couples do each year and... adopt.
  10. Sith-I-5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 5
    Bravo. Well, that was a good read. And I learnt something about Bimms.
  11. MasterJassano Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2007
    But aren't there references to persons born out of a Human-Alien marrage? Like in the Rogue Squadron series, I thought that a Twi'lek man married a Human woman, and they planned to have a large family. :confused: And aren't Human-Alien hybrids sometimes referred to as mutants? Just wondering, because I think it would make sense in such a large galaxy with so many similar species that at least some of them would be able to interbreed. And yes, I know that most SW species are incompatable biologically with each other, but I don't think that applies to all of them.
  12. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Well, there are a few species that can do so, such as the Theelins, whose make-up is such that they seem to have fertility problems with themselves, but not with humans (though their offspring have a high infant mortality rate- go figure). Two such examples of hybrids are Shug Ninx and Rystall Sant (one of the dancers from RotJ). This tends to be an exception rather than the rule.

    As to the Rhysati and Nawara, it's not specifically stated as to what they did, though I think they adopted. Reason being that if humans and Twi'leks can cross-breed, I think we'd have seen an example of it by now, given the fact that Twi'leks are pretty much Star Whores.
  13. MasterJassano Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2007
    LightWarden- Star whores, yep, that pretty much describes Twi'leks, though most of the time it's not of their choosing. Zeltrons, on the other hand, are that way on purpose. [face_devil] But I guess the general consensus is that there are aliens that can interbreed with Humans and other species, but it's rare. Makes sense. I do know that there are many inter-species marriages, but most of them would probably have to adopt if they wanted kids.
  14. Mitth_Fisto Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 6
    Just wanted to ask a question of those with greater knowledge about what to do when encountering roleplayer (Such as in these boards) that take the positive pluses of a species and not their hinderences or speciesial(SP?) background, in my own experience I always spend at least a few days or even a week or two researching every aspect of my characters race before I even begin writing a bio to avoid these errors.

    What gets me is that I always seem to run into characters that neglect the differences in their characters biology to that of a human. For example they notice the cool things like for a popular example, a Faleens ability to exude controlling(emotionally) pheromones. But they ignore that this natural trate their character's are not immune to themselves, therefore creating an untrustful species as a whole due its play in natural society.

    Another point is for a bit rarer uses such as when a player is a Tynnan, Anx, or other species they tend to ignore the species physiological shortcoming such as shortsighted\bad eyesight(as seen in both species mentioned) and capatilize on their strengths. For the Tynnan they focus "Iam the best swimmer and fast witted this side of the Hapes Cluster and I can what your doing from what I saw when you where ten meters away!" When in truth the species they're using couldn't even make facial features from even just three meters away. Or with an Anx they assume a natural supperior nose that can smell how you feel (Even though the race with research, relies on general color changes to tell not scent) and give them automatically the ability to see as well as a human with perfect knowledge of any species weaknessess physiologically speaking when this knowledge is just a common learning in terms of generallity.

  15. MasterJassano Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Mitth Fisto;

    Let me first point out that you are dealing with people who are obviously not quite as concerned about extreme realism as you seem to be. Second, most people don't research their alien characters very throughly. But speaking of research, not all aliens supposedly negative traits that you're describing are even recognized as official. There is much conflict and contention over even basic species traits. For example; Twi'lek females in the films are always shown wearing some type of headband with cones where their ears should be. There is no explaination in the films as to whether their ears are cones, or if it's simply Twi'lek fashion to cover their ears with cones in their headbands. Thus, some sources say that these cones are the Twi'lek females' ears, while others, citing that the males have Human ears, say that it's just something most Twi'lek women wear. My point is that there is simply too much conflict in sources to justify criticising those who do not take into account the species traits that you may have heard of, because they may have heard the exact opposite. For example, the Ultimate Alien Anthology from the Wizards of the Coast SW RPG contains 180 alien species and defines their traits and special abilities and disadvantages. Many players look to this book, and other alien guides by several publishing companies to create their characters.

    Also, there's the issue of playing against type. You mentioned the Falleen. They are indeed suspicous and untrustful, but that doesn't mean that some might be loyal, trusting, and friendly. And if someone chooses to play a Twi'lek or Zeltron female, it doesn't mean that they have to dress immodestly and hit on handsome males wherever they go. They could just as easily play a tough character that dresses in battle armor and would rather kick that handsome guy's backside than kiss him. There are always circumstances and even just personality quirks that can prompt a member of a given species to act differently than the norm.

    As to the physical traits (you mentioned eyesight), I so think that someone should take negative aspects of their species' physiology into consideration. I played a Thisspiassian character once, and while their serpentine
  16. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    On playing alien races, I think a good way to start is to play up the physical characteristics of the species that you're playing. They aren't human, after all. Everything down to the voice of your character could be used. (Tim Zahn, to my mind, basically created a standard for 'speaking Wookiee', or Wookiee-accented Basic, when he surrounded his speakers' dialogue with brackets and trilled the 'r' sounds. [Like this forr example.] Simple, straightforward, but it perfectly describes the differences in a Wookiee speaking Basic.) Has the character got a prehensile tail? Does it switch in irritation like a cat? Does the character dribble something from his nose, which is entirely appropriate for his species, but is impolite in civilised society? Do his eyes have a multicoloured whirling to them? Does his fur ruffle when he's annoyed?

    A second technique is taking a leaf out of Grand Admiral Thrawn's book and considering the unique psychology of the species in playing the character.

    The best example I've seen of this (or at least the most hilarious) cropped up in a part of the IBOP. (From memory it was Winged_Jedi ... big surprise ;) ) A member of my squadron was a species that had a high metabolism or something and ate approximately 8 meals per day. The posts for this character were interspersed with the character grabbing extra pies, and thinking about the precise length of time it was until his next meal (during the pilot briefing). I don't think Wings was playing it for laughs. :)

    Not all alien races will have the same moral code as humans. A 'lemming-like' alien might see death as nothing really to get rattled about at all. A species that lives 800 years or so might see death as tremendously fearful because they spend so much time waiting for it. Or even the way the race grew up might determine its predispositions: Mon Cals might (no evidence of this) hate Tatooine because it's all sand--a complete opposite to their own world. Iktotchi (with their suspected telepathy) might see subterfuge or deception as amusing rather than annoying, given they could see straight through lies.

    These things should be as important as personality traits of human characters; they can be played on or used as much as a character's reputation as 'angry', 'sad', or 'kind to small kittens.'
  17. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
  18. blubeast1237 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2007
    star 5
    *Bumps back*:p

    Its great that this thread came back up because I just chose to play an interesting character.:D

    Will post his sheet tomorrow to be discussed!!!


    -BeastoftheWonderland-
  19. Darth_Brutus666 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 25, 2006
    star 4
    Anything I need to know about a Kel Dor, besides the mask because of Oxygen Rich Atmosphere is poisoness
  20. Mitth_Fisto Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 6
    Kel Dor, just remember a few societal traits as well. Such as they have a strong since of right and wrong to the point of black n white view of things for the most part. They believe in the death penalty and when it comes to seeing someone commit a crime they believe it is everyones duty to step in and stop it and to dole out punishment. So their not usually big fans of the justice system as they believe it shouldn't be needed exept in special situations, otherwise let the people stop the lawbreaker and punish him if need be.

    That is all that comes to mind unless you where thinking about making a force using Kel Dor, then there are a few other interesting points which I might recommend. Best of luck and well wishes!
  21. Darth_Brutus666 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 25, 2006
    star 4
    ALright that is what my character is, he is a male Kel Dor Assassin, and I have him revealing why he became an assassin soon. What you said will factor in, as do the Baron Do sages.
  22. Mitth_Fisto Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 6
    Well, since you know the name I'll take a wild guess that you know as much about this temporally minded force group, that focuses more on the when, as I do. If you need more information just let me know, and best of luck with your revelations;)
  23. NickLitYouAFlame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 5
    I don't mean to go back to the past, but I don't think LightWarden put anything in his contributions about Kiffars. As far as I know, which isn't really that much, they are the only species that can breed with humans. This is shown with Boba Fett's and a Kiffar, Sintas vel's offspring Ailyn Vel.
  24. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Yes, I know they can "interbreed", but I have yet to see anything that truly convinces me that the Kiffar are a biologically separate species, rather than humans with weird genetic mutation found in every hundred and a propensity for tattoos and dreadlocks. Perhaps we should ask Mr. Ostrander about it, and figure it out. Then again, Wookieepedia classifies Hapans as "Near-Humans", even though they're humans with a genetic history of night blindness and attractive ancestors. Considering that sort of thing can happen on Earth and we don't jettison people from the gene pool, I really think that the "Near-Human" tree needs pruning. It's like saying that Great Danes are larger and stronger than your average Labrador Retriever, so therefore are "Near-Dogs" (or calling certain ethnic groups "Near-Humans" if you want to get racier).

    About the only species I know of that seem to be clearly not actually a human and still capable of breeding with humans is the Theelin species, who seem to possess the dumbest genetic code in the galaxy. It apparently mutated to the point where they were capable of breeding with other species, but not with other Theelin, though the hybrids usually had a high rate of infant mortality, so the original species pretty much dies out (and probably dilutes itself into oblivion afterwards, because even if you make it a point of breeding Human/Theelin with Human/Theelin, you probably won't have a large enough sample to create a stable genetic stock, and anything that doesn't match will only dilute the line further).

    For some reason, apparently Miraluka can interbreed with humans and produce fully functioning offspring as demonstrated by Krynda Draay, who successfully became the ubermensch with both Miraluka sight and normal eyes, giving her super seer powers (instead of just, you know, learning). And now the fanboys have more ammo to make super characters of incredibly gifted bloodlines (seriously, they're everywhere on the fanon wiki. Everyone's special and important and has the world on a platter).
  25. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
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