Alien Drop Table

Something I’ve been fiddling with, use it or not as you wish: a drop table for creating Star Wars aliens! Here’s my thinking, some instructions, and some warnings:

* This is based on my notion (mentioned at great length previously) that systematizing alien species in Star Wars RPGs is a terrible idea. So now, whenever you run into any new NPC, the very first thing you do is see what in the big wide galaxy it is! And you will never see the same alien twice, probably. 

* The idea is to create alien looking critters the way the art directors and writers do for the movies: by visually expressing character. So toward that, I’ve come up with several pairs of broad characteristics. They’re opposed pairs: nice/mean, cruel/gentle, that sort of thing. That’s how I populated the spots on the table, and that’s the characteristic I’m expressing. Then, for each characteristic, I’ve noodled up some visuals that, according to my dumb brain, kinda-sorta visually represent that.

* This is entirely unplaytested. Originally I had six rings (it’s an 11″ square image, meant to be printed across two sheets of legal paper) but honestly I started running out of interesting characteristic pairs. I started with inspiration from the six stats from the game itself, then kind of dreamed about what distinctive species we’ve seen in the movies so far. By which I mean Chewie and Jabba.

* I’ve made no effort at all to tweak distribution or relative sizes of the drop table spaces. They’re all same-ish, except for the beeeg “human” spaces at the corners, which I feel like is representative of non-Empire scenes (cantinas, streets, cities).

* One method of use goes like this. You get 3dwhatevers, probably 6es because everyone has those. Each one’s a different color. One color is a trait that will work against the wishes of the PCs, one color is a trait that will work in favor of the PCs’ wishes, and the third color is for adding an alien descriptor that is not associated with a personality element at all. Drop all three dice over the table at about shoulder height. Any die that flies off the table is a human without any political association or characteristic or anything — an uninteresting filler. Probably you should reroll those.

The “importance” of the traits is ranked in roll order. Highest value is the most notable factor, lowest is still notable but defer to higher values when working out how the NPC alien will act. Ties indicate an internal conflict or even personality disorder of the character.

For each trait on which a die lands, also find a physical expression of that characteristic. Put together all three characteristics and there’s your alien.

* I’m looking for more characteristic pairs! And physical expressions of those characteristics!

* Where OG Lucas style aliens trended very strongly toward gross racist stereotypes, I’ve tried instead to aim for ideas from the animal kingdom, pop culture iconography and so on. Let me know if I fouled up real bad somewhere. 

* I”m contemplating a mathy-er version that actually uses the FFG EotE dice but it seems overwrought for what is essentially just an NPC generator/set dressing thing.


0 thoughts on “Alien Drop Table”

  1. Craig Hatler I can’t figure out what that even means.

    Anyone who tries to turn this thread into bullshit political posturing about elfgames will get blocked.

    Happy new year, let’s not start it this way please.

  2. Art direction is not my strong suit.

    So what about other characteristic pairs? I can add a fifth ring with…let’s see…eight spaces? That’s four pairs.

    Edit: possibly 10 spaces/5 pairs

  3. Let’s see…
    Controlling intimidating, businesslike, dry, quiet or loud, grey, shiny eyes vs. *Free* flowing, long, musical, yellow and orange, sparkling or away eyes

    might go also with *Serious* vs *Playful*

  4. Strange. I was just thinking about something disturbingly similar for space combat, not a drop chart but instead of range bands having a tactical wheel that would make movement a little more important. Really cool idea, Paul Beakley!

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