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Cat People Race?

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3 hours ago, ORtrail said:

I feel like the old SPI Universe RPG is the only space RPG I have that didn't have the usual cat/dog/reptile aliens.  Oh, and the even more rare Journeyman RPG too. 

That's because it easy to fall back on common types. It's the reason why most FRPG games have the stereotypical elves, dwarves and so on. Designing an alien species and making it more than just people, or people with a extreme attitude, and wearing a funny costume, is a lot more work. 

 

 

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12 hours ago, seneschal said:

How do they cram themselves into a spaceship cockpit? A giant plunger?)

Lots and lots of lube.

Because nobody here has been squicked enough, and now you can't un-see it.

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14 hours ago, seneschal said:

At least the Kizinti aren’t cute and snuggly.  (5d6+12 STR, 4d6+10 SIZ ???  You gotta be kidding me!  Even real-life sabertooth tigers aren’t that tough.

Glad Ringworld used doubled hit points!

Their stats seem to be the same as RQ3 Tigers,  with a slightly, smaller -2 SIZ. So they has a mass of about 200 kg  which matches up with Niven's description. A large smilodon would be a little larger (220-400kg for SIZ 26-32 and probably STR 5d6+15) and do another +1D6 damage, not that it will matter much to a human. Just means it will be a closed casket affair. 

14 hours ago, seneschal said:

How do they cram themselves into a spaceship cockpit? A giant plunger?)

Cram nothing they just claw out a bigger spot!

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What about the shape-shifting, invisible-turning, soul-sucking feline monsters from 1992’s “Sleepwalkers?”  And their arch enemies are ... housecats.

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On 4/12/2019 at 10:36 AM, seneschal said:

How do they cram themselves into a spaceship cockpit?

Niven's Known Space universe doesn't really have cockpits prior to the Pierson's Puppeteers selling their monomolecular hulls to the other sapients of Known Space. During the initial stages of the Man-Kzin Wars, space craft were sublight craft powered by plasma torches (which could double as weapons should some of the humans have skipped on their altruist medication). Those vessels had bridges rather than cockpits.

Kzinti love boarding operations, for the thrill of the hunt and the satisfaction to feel their prey beneath their claws (and if pressurized, between their teeth). It is rumored that the Puppeteers used the Man-Kzin wars to cull the most aggressive and unsocial Kzinti traits out of the population by using them up in battles against those unpredictable space monkeys.

 

Those fighter craft pilot felines were either the Kilrathi of the Wing Commander series or the Orions of the Starfire board game series (and books). The Kilrathi still hulk a bit above humans (at least above "aren't you a bit small to be a storm trooper" Mark Hamill), but are a lot less massive than the Kzin. IIRC, Orions are even slightly smaller of frame than humans.

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On 4/12/2019 at 6:49 PM, seneschal said:

Originally, Traveller was a humans-only situation,

The great thing about original traveller (1977) is that it had no setting. Book 1 had this excellent section:

Quote

 

A NOTE ON GENDER AND RACE

Nowhere in these rules is a specific requirement established that any character (player or non-player) be of a specific gender or race. Any character is potentially of any race or of either sex.

 

When we got this we played all manner of creatures. I played a saurian from Poul Anderson's Satan's World. The next version changed it all and reduced a broad background to the Imperium setting and we had to wait for alien stats to appear. Original traveller was a real breakthrough for us (at the time) D&D players.

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2 hours ago, David Scott said:

The great thing about original traveller (1977) is that it had no setting. Book 1 had this excellent section:

"A NOTE ON GENDER AND RACE

"Nowhere in these rules is a specific requirement established that any character (player or non-player) be of a specific gender or race. Any character is potentially of any race or of either sex. "

When we got this we played all manner of creatures. I played a saurian from Poul Anderson's Satan's World. The next version changed it all and reduced a broad background to the Imperium setting and we had to wait for alien stats to appear. Original traveller was a real breakthrough for us (at the time) D&D players.

I find it amusing that your group took the meaning of the word "race" in the Traveller rules to be the corrupted meaning used in D&D (i.e., to mean "species").  This comment is not meant as a criticism.  It is just a plain statement of amusement from one who has always been a bit pedantic about word meanings.

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11 minutes ago, ThornPlutonius said:

I find it amusing that your group took the meaning of the word "race" in the Traveller rules to be the corrupted meaning used in D&D (i.e., to mean "species").  This comment is not meant as a criticism.  It is just a plain statement of amusement from one who has always been a bit pedantic about word meanings.

The OED has the definition that is "of a group or set of people or things with a common feature or features". Things definitely covered aliens in our minds and didn't limit it to just humans. I'm pretty sure this came up at school.

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I think my copy of the Little Black Books was the 1981 version.  But worrying about race/gender/species was never a thing in my gaming groups.  We role-played to escape from real world concerns.  We didn’t want our fun polluted by political correctness, politics, or assorted agendas.

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2 hours ago, ThornPlutonius said:

I find it amusing that your group took the meaning of the word "race" in the Traveller rules to be the corrupted meaning used in D&D (i.e., to mean "species"). 

The Human Race, The Vulcan Race, the Minbari Race, the Aslan Race and so on.

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

The OED has the definition that is "of a group or set of people or things with a common feature or features". Things definitely covered aliens in our minds and didn't limit it to just humans. I'm pretty sure this came up at school.

In German language and education, boy did that term and its abuse come up in school - especially history. Which makes me prefer the biological terms species and subspecies unless we are talking about domestic animals.

In the Gloranthan context, the Man Rune trumps biology.

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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

The Human Race, The Vulcan Race, the Minbari Race, the Aslan Race and so on.

All of which usages have made me twitch.  /laugh/ 

My favorite feline species is that of the Chanur series.  I think the author did an excellent job of translating cat behavior into a sentient high-technology species.

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On 4/14/2019 at 9:06 AM, ThornPlutonius said:

 the corrupted meaning used in D&D (i.e., to mean "species").  This comment is not meant as a criticism.  It is just a plain statement of amusement from one who has always been a bit pedantic about word meanings.

Ironically, that's probably because of Tolkien. In his notes, at times he states that Elves, Men and Orcs can interbreed so they are probably all the same species. That would also fit with his notes of orcs being corrupted elves or men (he mentioned both in different places). 

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All sorts of intriguing psychological and philosophical questions are posed when an alien race (of any kind) is done well. I, too, dislike the use of race in this context, because race is a human concept applied to itself that is nonsense in terms of any meaningful context in biology or psychology. A lot of aliens in the media are not done well, and it's hard to do in an RPG where you, as a writer, must rely on individual GMs and Players you will never meet to do with your work what they will.

It's hard to do something completely alien like the Hivers as a GM. If a creature is almost inexplicable by human terms, how do you use it?

One could do a felinoid in any number of ways, as we have explored here. If you want to take the route of the housecat-like personality (because that obviously how most of us experience "cat"), we can get creatures that are simultaneously curious, independent-minded, and "chummy". They would enjoy the company of other creatures -- but only within a limit they set (and they frequently will not tell you what that limit is until you unintentionally cross it).  In some circumstances, they enjoy non-sexual physical contact with species they have no other interest in. In others, any sort of touch could be viewed as hostile or threatening. (That in itself raises uncomfortable issues for humans, who tend to view touch much more sexually than the felinoids would).

In terms of RPG stats, fantasy-world felinoids would be much more dependent on their physical weapons (like their claws) than they would in a setting where better weapons are readily available and ranged combat is more prevalent.

Which may not help much, but I wanted to explore the thought. Carry on.

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14 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

All sorts of intriguing psychological and philosophical questions are posed when an alien race (of any kind) is done well.

Possibly. One of the big sticking points about aliens is that we don't have any examples to hold up and base RPG characters on. We assume they will be very different from us, but considering how much we would probably have to have in common just for them to be sentient it's just a probably that they could have more in common with us than not. We just don't know. 

Our human  views on what aliens are like could be similar to our human views as what random is like. 

Edited by Atgxtg

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9 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

One could do a felinoid in any number of ways, as we have explored here. If you want to take the route of the housecat-like personality (because that obviously how most of us experience "cat"), we can get creatures that are simultaneously curious, independent-minded, and "chummy". They would enjoy the company of other creatures -- but only within a limit they set (and they frequently will not tell you what that limit is until you unintentionally cross it).  In some circumstances, they enjoy non-sexual physical contact with species they have no other interest in. In others, any sort of touch could be viewed as hostile or threatening. (That in itself raises uncomfortable issues for humans, who tend to view touch much more sexually than the felinoids would).

But why not use these social traits of housecats and place them with an eight-legged, four-eyed species (may very well still be furry and have an endoskeleton)?

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