Hey /tg I am creating a semi-hard Sci-fi setting for a game that starts in 2 weeks and I've got the rules of the universe in place, human history, a game system picked out, all that shit. Now I'm stumped on aliens. I know a lot of Hard Sci-fi just discounts them entirely but I really want some weird critters and in some cases just saying "let's not have em because how could we think of what they're like" is often lazy. So potential alien brainstorming session or just share pics of weird ass lifeforms of our own world, or cool alien art of both the Hard and Soft Science variety.
Pic related, my first species of sentient life I'm working on is based on this fucking abomination because damn nature is awesome and scary.
gonna need more info about your setting and system
A lot of the creatures from numenera make for great aliens, just use them rarely. Make aliens the thing people aren't entirely sure of; most people wont know if they are real or not. But once in a while a city or ship experiences a horrible incident that people can't explain. And between the masses horrible inhuman infiltrators lurk.
>gonna need more info about your setting and system
> "let's not have em because how could we think of what they're like" is often lazy.
Also disingenuous. Are they living in the same reality as us? Do they lack psychic powers? Do they have civilization? Yes?
This means they have
-A means to move and grasp at the same time, otherwise building things becomes nearly impossible
-Some sort of way to store information beyond a generation
-Some sort of social structure, even if it's just "we agreed not to be dicks to each other"
A lot can be done with just those three.
Okay setting, it's several millennia in the future. Humanity spread out became a galactic super power and collapsed, genetic modification and conditioning have made several sub-species of humans adapted to different worlds think of each other as alien so they kinda split off and made there own culture, I wanted them to be the only really Hollywood style aliens in the setting.
FTL is possible because that's the one pass everyone makes so I'm planning on having odd races meet the human descended ones and such.
The system itself is going to be a slightly modified version of Classic Traveller.
Nothing else is set in stone at the moment.
I have the idea of aliens with gas bodies that communicate with thunder and lighting but I can't come up with how an encounter will them will go.
Also OP, have you read Lem's Solaris? Its about a sentient planet.
That take me to other idea I've toyed about, non-ovbious life, like, how could you prove a rock is alive? What if rocks are a sentient species but not obvious to us? Making contact with them will be extreamly interesting.
>-A means to move and grasp at the same time, otherwise building things becomes nearly impossible
>-Some sort of way to store information beyond a generation
>-Some sort of social structure, even if it's just "we agreed not to be dicks to each other"
I've always assumed something like this but never read anything about it. The list you made gives me something to go on thanks.
I have not read it but I now plan to now. The idea of attempting to communicate and reason with a self-aware planet seems like it'd be interesting for a filler adventure.
Playing around with their morality system seems like a fun time. Like a race of practically immortal sponges not understanding murder being frowned upon because nothing they've met are particularly fragile. maybe even seeing is as a good thing if you say cut one in half and it develops into two lifeforms from the act.
That sounds fun!
>I've always assumed something like this but never read anything about it. The list you made gives me something to go on thanks.
You're welcome. Let's add some more.
-Potent natural weapons = Small societies with strong hierarchies. Humans are interesting in that regard because we're really, REALLY bad at killing one another without tools but exceedingly good at compensating for that fact.
-Harsh environments breed "competitive cooperation", i.e individuals cluster together more in order to add their strength to some sort of collective effort that is at odds with other groups doing the same for similar reasons.
-Population size and breeding habits interact with the way society is structured which in turn is influenced by how high up the food chain a particular species is.
I hope you enjoy!
What kind of environments would your aliens be living in? How high/low is the gravity, what's the composition of the atmosphere, is it thicker or thinner than earths? Is their planet hot or cold compared to earth, what's the weather like?
The environment will determine a lot about what basic shapes and design philosophies might win out on their planet.
Most alien creatures will not be intelligent however the few that are are going to be fairly fleshed out but I may have to create things as I go along. Biology is currently the part I'm stuck on due to my lack of knowledge in anything of that area. I'm a social science pleb.
Well nobody knows anything about xenobiology because, obviously, we've never actually encountered any Ayys to dissect. If you tell us something about their planet though we could reach some good guesses about how they might adapt to that environment.
Tell us about the planet, and maybe what the common form of life is like over there. Do they have bilateral symmetry like majority of Earth animals? Do they have radial symmetry, like starfish? Maybe they're asymmetric? Do they mostly crawl on the crust, soar in the atmosphere, swim through the common liquid there, or all three? What are the planet's major producers and what energy source do they generate biomass from?
Those are starter stuff.
The Lost Fleet books have some interesting ones. Like the Enigma, about whom almost nothing is known because of their extreme xenophobia. They selfdestruct their ships if in danger of capture and their planets are shielded in a way that makes scanning them impossible. They are willing to destroy their worlds rather than let outsiders learn anything about them.
I would like to point out OP that several millenia into the future if humans can generate genetic traits and engineer ,essentially, new species they will likely be able to change the genome, epigenome and proteome of already living creatures without being restricted to humans having to be modifying before birth which means everyone, though they may have different cultures, should be the same species depending on location as they should be able to change it on the fly for the environmental requirements on hand
Funny, I have used that fungus as a Mythos creature.
Sounds like Hyperion taken a few hundred years further than Rise of Endymion.
I'd base it all on the shapes and solutions our biology has developed. Chnaces are it looks about the same on a basic level everywhere it happens, and your setting is that it was seeded from Earth.
So yeah, extremophiles, altered scale, walking fish and underwater birds. I wouldn't go down the frivolous transhuman body route too much. Maybe have a military killer race hidden away somewhere (Xenomorph?), but don't introduce a million worlds of biomod-hats. Instead consider what could have thrived in the different conditions presented, and embellish that a bit. Creating native freefall biology seems much more challenging, especially in game terms: "What do you mean my character cannot go down to the surface? Crushed by my own weight?! Are you kidding me?"
I am not OP, but I want to take the opportunity to make a question, that has left me stumped for some time.
What kind of environment favor the development of humanoid (in form e.g. one head, torso, two arms, two legs, erect posture) creatures?
A mixture of all sorts of stuff. A humanoid body is actually very versatile, but it doesn't specialize well. I think I did hear once that it may have something to do with tall grasses, which make it useful to be able to stand up to see farther.
This is how I alien.
>What kind of environment
Well we apparently emerged from the Savanna
>favor the development of humanoid (in form e.g. one head,
That is pretty universal in higher organisms, inefficient to support the most expensive bunch of organs twice
Again, pretty universal. Segmentation makes sense at insect scale.
>two arms, two legs,
Starting with 4 appendages comes from the amphibian phase. Once they have specialized more, 2 can be sufficient for locomotion, leaving the other 2 for new tasks.
>erect posture) creatures?
This happened pretty late. It conserves energy and provides a better position for the head. It's pretty much crap in all other dimensions like speed, mobility, having a properly aligned spice, ...
In one of David Attenborough's documentaries it was suggested that the upright movement initially developed in populations living in wetlands. Gathering food while vading in water, free hands for gathering and easier on the spine to walk upright when partially submerged.
Upright position also good for endurance hunting (google it)
endurance hunting has nothing to do with the upright position, sweating is what allowed humans to do it in hot areas
otherwise animals outperform humans at it no matter their posture
sweating has nothing to do with endurance hunting, the hand ax is what allowed humans to do it with anything larger than a piglet
otherwise animals outperform humans at it no matter what their prowess
>Running on two legs is more efficient over long distances
This was a popular idea from 2007-2011 but more recent analysis across mammal groups suggests it's not very significant - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248412001443
GURPS Space has some stuff on this.
What ecological niche do the critters occupy? Sessile photosynthetic, also known as a plant? Ambush carnivore like a jaguar? Each role requires different brain functions, senses, even
reproduction strategy. You don't need a brain or eyes to sit in the sun, but you do to learn the difference between holly berries and cherries.
No, sweating is the entire reason endurance hunting works. It's a huge advantage in hot areas where other animals slowly succumb to heat exhaustion.
In cold areas other animals, like wolves for example, outperform humans in endurance over long distances.
We need the agitation to digest our completely pleasure driven diet. You can see what chairs have done to people. As a cause of death, chairs are #1 with a loooong lead. Not because of digestion, but because of cardio issues. Chairs are evil. Moving chairs more than others, they crash and they burn dinosaurs, making the oceans angry.
but human evolution. is a very strange seris of events that involve chimpanzees fucking pigs and for some reason not drowning the horrible little abominations that resulted right away.