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Aliens in Space Patrol

In my prospective GURPS Space Patrol game, characters are built by choosing an occupational template (worth 150 points) that determines your specialty in the crew and a dramatic template (worth 50 points) that establishes your role in the fiction. This set-up was directly inspired by GURPS Template Toolkit 1: Characters, and the templates are built using the advice found there.

I know that nonhuman characters are a big part of the space opera that this campaign emulates. But rather than create a wordy but ultimately incomplete list of alien races, I chose instead to build a modular dramatic template that lets the player define their race at character creation. I give you the Alien.


50 points

You are a nonhuman in the human-dominated Space Patrol. Depending on the campaign, this may mean a true alien species that evolved on another world, a bioengineered descendent of humans or other Earth creatures, or even an artificial intelligence. Regardless, you are an outsider among your fellow officers.

Note: Disadvantages on this template are considered racial disadvantages and do not count toward the -50 point disadvantage limit.

Advantages: Unusual Background (Alien) [10]. ● A total of 60 points chosen from ST +1 to +4 [10/level], DX +1 or +2 [20 or 40], IQ +1 or +2 [20 or 40], HT +1 or +2 [10 or 20], Per +1 to +4 [5/level], Will +1 to +4 [5/level], Absolute Direction [5], Acute Senses [2/level], Claws [Varies], Computer Brain [20], DR 1-4 [5/level], Discriminatory Smell [15], Doesn't Breathe (Gills, -50%) [10], Extra Arms [Varies], Extra Legs [Varies], Fearlessness [2/level], Fur [1], G-Experience (one band) [5], Metabolism Control 1 or 2 [5 or 10], Night Vision 5 [10], Robot Body [20]*, Sensitive [5] or Empathy [15], Sensitive Touch [10] or Vibration Sense [10], Single-Minded [5], Striker [Varies], Subsonic Hearing [5] or Ultrahearing [5], Teeth [Varies], Telescopic Vision 1-4 [5/level], and Temperature Tolerance [1/level].

Disadvantages: A total of -20 points chosen from ST -1 or -2 [-10 or -20], DX -1 [-20], IQ -1 [-20], HT -1 [-10], Bad Grip [-5/level], Callous [-5] or Oblivious [-5] or Low Empathy [-20], Chummy [-5] or Gregarious [-10], Cold-Blooded [-5], Colorblindness [-10], Curious [-5†] or Incurious [-5†], Fearfulness [-2/level], Hard of Hearing [-10], Hidebound [-5], No Sense of Humor [-10], No Sense of Taste/Smell [-5], Selfish [-5†] or Selfless [-5†], Short Attention Span [-10†], Stress Atavism [Varies], Unusual Biochemistry [-5], and Xenophilia [-10†].

* Must be taken with Computer Brain.
† Multiplied for self-control number; see p. B120.

Customization Notes

Alien offers the most variety of any of the dramatic templates. You are essentially creating a racial template of your own. This requires a clear concept before you start picking traits. Some examples include:

The Aloof Intellectual: Your species values science and reason above emotions and social interaction. You might pick IQ +2, Will +1, Acute Hearing 1, Acute Vision 2, Fearlessness 2, and Single-Minded for advantages, and take Callous, Curious, and No Sense of Humor for disadvantages.

The Android: Clearly, you must start with Computer Brain and Robot Body. Then you might add Absolute Direction and DR 3 as advantages and Low Empathy as a disadvantage for the classic "machine that wasn't programmed to feel."

The Heavy Worlder: Your home world has Heavy gravity, leading to your race being shorter and stockier than others. You've learned to operate somewhat comfortably in Normal gravity, though you still suffer an extra -1 DX in such conditions (see Native Gravity, p. 00). You increase the artificial gravity whenever possible. You might take ST +3, HT +2, G-Experience (Normal), and Subsonic Hearing for advantages plus DX -1 for a disadvantage.

The Uplift: You are part of a genetically engineered race that combines a humanoid form with animal features. You might take DX +1, Per +2, Acute Taste/Smell 2, Blunt Claws, Discriminatory Smell, Fur, Sharp Teeth, Temperature Tolerance 1, and Ultrahearing for advantages plus Chummy, Colorblindness, and Stress Atavism (Mild, 12 or less) for disadvantages to represent a dog Uplift.

New Metatraits

The following metatraits are available to characters built using the Alien template.

Computer Brain: You are an artificial intelligence running on a Fast Personal computer (Complexity 9). This could be implanted in the torso of a bioshell or combined with Robot Body below to create a completely artificial being. Accessory (Fast Personal computer) [1]; AI [32]; No Sense of Humor [-10]; Selfless (15) [-3]. Feature: IQ can be no higher than 12. 20 points.

Robot Body: You are an android with clearly mechanical appearance, resembling a human made of metal and plastic. You power down for 8 hours every night and require 4 D power cells every week. You must combine this metatrait with Computer Brain. Doesn't Breathe [20]; Electrical [-20]; Machine [25]; Maintenance (one person, monthly) [-2]; Payload 1 [1]; Reduced Consumption 3 [6]; Restricted Diet (Very Common, power cells) [-10]. 20 points.

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