Steve Jackson Games GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System

Aliens for GURPS

A Collection of Science Fiction Races for GURPS – Updated 2-11-90

All the creatures listed here are unofficial, submitted by your fellow fans and BBSers. Some are unlicensed conversions of material from various sources; others are original. All are credited to the person who submitted them, under whatever name he/she used to submit them.

These races were designed before work on GURPS Aliens started, so any compatibility with the rules in that book is pure coincidence.

CHIP PCs – 65 points

by Rex Stardust

The following rules are for an Artificial Intelligence character, resident on a (Tech Level 8, in SJ's opinion) computer.

MMSDs and The Chip PC:

The technology to mechanically record an individual's memories, reflexes, dreams and thought patterns has some interesting ramifications in the cyberpunk milieu, especially in the realm of artificial intelligence. Theoretically, it is possible to produce a run-time package for a stored personality. The memory and processing requirements for an AI are enormous; only a large corporation or government institution would be able to afford the hardware. Backup copies would require an immense amount of storage as well, so there won't be too many floating around . . .

Players may choose to be artificial intelligence programs; most of these Chip PCs will be based on MMSD data. Building a Chip PC is a lot like building normal characters; running one is another thing entirely. True AI programs like Wintermute, from Neuromancer, would be built on literally hundreds of points, making a true AI an extremely dangerous foe.

CHIP Player Characters: (65 points)

Chip PCs start out with the advantages of Mathematical Ability, Full Eidetic Memory and Absolute Timing. They have the disadvantages of being confined to the computer system, and a social stigma; meat beings regard them as Valuable Property, with all that entails. Their basic stats are bought normally; what the statistics mean for a program are sometimes quite different. To wit:

  • ST represents brute processing power. A chip with high ST can simply bring more power to bear than a smaller program. See Chip Combat, below.
  • DX represents processing speed and reaction time. A high DX would allow a better chance to slip into someone's systems unnoticed (via Stealth), and to move quickly through Cyberspace.
  • IQ is, basically, IQ.
  • HT is the program's ability to cope with external attacks and internal malfunctions. The higher the program's HT, the less likely it is to crash. Simple applications programs (HT 1) could be crashed without any real difficulty, while a truly paranoid operating system with multiple backups, high-quality memory protection and self-repair subprograms would have an HT of 16 or better.

CHIP Advantages And Disadvantages

Data Storage (2 pts/level)
This is treated exactly like the Data Jack advantage given in RP #9, except that personality modules may not be used. It can hold 1 pt of transferable skill for every two points of storage. This can be switched at will.
Protection (4 pts/Level)
This is the cybernetic equivalent of Strong Will. Protection has a direct bearing on a program's survival during cyberspace combat.
Self-Relocation (10 points)
Allows the chip PC to shift his dataset at will, providing for hardware compatibility and enough destination RAM to support him. In a big enough system, a chip PC could actually hide . . .

Other ads and disads are at the GM's discretion. No chip suffers from physical disadvantages. Pure AIs would be free of most mental disadvantages (save for Paranoia, perhaps . . .), but a stored personality could carry several. And anyone can have a few quirks.

Computer operations is free for Chip PCs, and is automatically at IQ+3 level. Computer Programming becomes M/A for a chip (it's his home turf, after all).

Cracking (P/A for chips, M/VH for humans who must have Comp. Programming at 14+ to get this skill) is the all-purpose cyberspace combat skill. See Combat, below.

Most mental skills can be used by chip PCs; check with your GM first. Examples: Stealth can be used to slide nondestructively through a system's security programs, Shadowing allows a chip to follow another program with out being seen, and so on.

Cyberspace Combat

This is handled much like basic combat, with a few alterations:

To attack another program, the attacking PC rolls against his Cracking skill. If he hits, the defender can make a defense roll calculated thus: 1/3 DX (round up) + Protection. If he fails this roll, the attacker rolls damage (Thrust damage, based on ST), and applies it to the defender's HT. If the defender's HT drops below 0, the program crashes. Chips attack in DX order, highest to lowest. Any program that takes damage may make a (current) HT roll at the end of its turn. If it makes the roll, it recovers 1 HT, on a critical success, it recovers 1/2 d6 HT, up to it's original HT. If its HT is below 0, it cannot attempt the recovery roll. If the chip's HT goes fully negative, the program is completely destroyed.

Recovering a crashed AI without a backup copy is an extremely difficult process requiring one or more Computer Programming rolls, with the program's negative HT as a modifier. Every successful roll adds 1d-2 to the program's HT. Once the program is above 0, it can recover itself, as above.

Thanks to Walter Milliken for his technical help.

Cats and Lizards: A Symbiotic Race-Pair – 2-25-89

by Caradon

Approximately 750 light years closer to galactic center, circling a yellow- white star, is the planet Tkiff. This planet is unusual, because it is the native world to not just one sapient race, but two: the Halzden and the Tyborians. Since before recorded history, these two races have been living in symbiotic harmony.

The Tyborians (Tybors for short) are the powerhouses of the pair, having great strength and amazing constitution. Yet they are slow, both mentally and physically. They resemble huge humanoid lizards, covered with thick scales.

As a contrast, the Halzden are extremely intelligent and quick, but their very small size (about as big as a Terran housecat) makes them weak and fragile. In fact they highly resemble their Terran counterparts, with the obvious difference that they have six legs.

HALZDEN: 15 pts.        TYBORS: 20 pts.
-4 ST         -30   +3 ST          30
-2 HT         -15   +2 HT          20
+3 IQ          30   -4 IQ          -30
+3 DX          30   -2 DX          -15
Chemical Dependency*  -10   Chemical Stimulation*  30
Move +1         5   Scales (PD 1, DR 1)   20
Telepathy**       25   Berserk         -15
Prehensile Tail     5   Honesty         -10
Mute          -25
Peripheral Vision    15
Overconfidence     -10
1/2 Carrying Capacity  -5

* – The Tybors' attributes can be increased temporarily when a Halzden injects certain chemicals from its body to the Tybor's (+1 ST, +1 HT, +2 DX, +2 IQ). This increase diminishes at a rate of +1/attribute/hour (after the first hour, there will only be a bonus of +1 to DX and IQ) unless the Tybor remains with a Halzden (not necessarily the same one), who can give him another injection.

For their part, the Halzden require certain chemicals in order to remain healthy. When the stimulating chemicals enhance a Tybor, they change into the chemicals vital to the Halzden. Without these chemicals, the Halzden lose HT at a rate of 1 pt./24 hours. This damage cannot be healed by normal means. Cheap replacement chemicals are available ($5/dose), but they only slow the loss down to 1 pt./48 hours. Only about an ounce of chemical-laced Tybor blood is required. A Halzden will normally ride about on a Tybor's shoulder, near the base of the neck which is the optimum place for chemical injection/removal (the area, naturally, has no pain sensors). The injection and removal is performed with a hollow, sharpened tube, located under a Halzden tongue.

** – The Halzden are Telepathic (see GURPS Horror or Horseclans for more info), but this ability is limited; they have a Power of TP7 when communicating with other Halzden, but a Power of only TP3 when communicating with other races. As against this, a Halzden can temporarily "take over" another being's vocal chords in order to be heard over a distance. This takes no skill roll if the subject is willing; otherwise it requires a Telesend roll at -6.

Normally, Halzden and Tybor children are "bonded" shortly after birth. A bonded pair normally remain together for all their lives, but may go separate ways if they so choose. Due to their relatively low intelligence and speaker/steed double function to the Halzden, Tybors are usually referred to as "mounts" by persons of all races (i.e. "that Halzden and his mount . . . "). They are, however, capable of individual thought, although they sometimes prefer their Halzden rider to do the thinking for them.

Halzden are not able to carry much equipment; their Encumbrance ratings are reduced to one-half normal (No encumbrance=ST pounds, Light=2*ST, etc.) A Halzden's prehensile tail is able to lift objects up to ST pounds, and is easily able to manipulate such objects (a laser pistol, for instance . . . ).

Halzden normally remain on all sixes, though they can stand upright for short periods of time. Their front paws are capable of fine manipulation of objects (+2 to Surgery and Lockpicking skills). Also, their long necessity of climbing up to a Tybor's shoulder (among other things) has given them a +2 to Climbing skill.

Kzinti – based on Larry Niven's "Known Space" stories – 100 points

by Rex Stardust

I'll assume you know the background. If not, look them up in Chaosium's Ringworld (Explorer book); or read Niven's Ringworld, Ringworld Engineers, and The Man-Kzin Wars (recently released) for background et. al . . .

Ads, Disads: Kzin characters get tripled ST, +2 to DX, and a base HT of 10/18. Their thick pelt protects for PD 1/DR 1. They have the advantages of Night Vision, Acute Hearing (+2) and Combat Reflexes (those that don't won't make it past adolescence). They have the disadvantages of Bloodlust, Gigantism and Bad Temper (no, kzinti don't often have Berzerk. It only seems that way to other races . . . ). Optional and common (dis)ads include Megalomania (''Now I can conquer the universe, as is my right!''), Bully, Impulsiveness, Overconfidence, missing arm/leg/etc. (few kzinti, however, are too proud to wear prosthetics), Strong Will, and Danger Sense. Addictions are looked on as a supreme shame, and the addict will often avoid other kzinti, and reside in human space. Kzinti claws are treated as daggers, and they can bite a grappled foe (P/E skill) for cutting damage appropriate to their ST (see page B136).

All Kzinti have the Hero's Tongue as their natural language, and must pay to speak human languages (M/H, since their mouths are not really built for it). In addition, they will all have numerous battle-related skills, both personal and shipboard.

There are only four Kzinti social levels, and each level above the first costs 10 points. Status affects reaction rolls much like Reputation, at least among other kzinti.

  • Level 1 (default, no bonus): The Kzin's name is styled to his profession: Speaker to Animals, Alien Technologies Officer, Engineer. Usually of non-noble birth; probably hasn't done anything particularly heroic . . .
  • Level 2 (10 pts, +1 reaction): The kzin, either through noble parentage or notable deeds, has earned a partial name: Chuft-Captain, Tzak-Navigator, Chjarrl-Interrogator, Kdapt-Preacher. Usually of comfortable wealth.
  • Level 3 (20 pts, +3 reaction): The kzin has earned a Name through heroic actions: Chmee, Hraoulr, Kfreeou, Ftanss, or anything else resembling a cat's sneeze. May be Filthy Rich. In wartime, he may even own his own battlecruiser.
  • Level 4 (30 pts, +5 reaction): Royalty; a member in good standing of the Kzin Patriarchy. Usually will have the suffix -Rrit attached to their name. Usually unavailable to PCs.

Lower status than 0 is possible; criminals, fallen nobility (if they survived . . . ), telepaths and so on will be of negative status; paid for at -5 points per level, with the resulting -1 modifier per level. It is strongly advised that no kzin PC start with better than a partial-name. Names should be earned in play by heroic deeds.

Puppeteers – from Larry Niven's "Known Space" stories – 80 points

by Rex Stardust

Again, I assume you know who these are. For those that don't, check the sources listed above for kzinti . . .

Ads, Disads, Quirks:

Puppeteers get +4 to IQ, and doubled Move. Their flat, brainless heads (both of them . . . ) are considered to be hands, with ST-3 and DX+3 when used as such. All puppeteers encountered outside of the Fleet of Worlds are Ambidextrous, have alertness +3, Common Sense, Danger Sense, Peripheral Vision (360 degrees, since both heads have an eye and can face anywhere . . . ) and Voice (a very sensuous contralto). By way of racial disads, they have Pacifism (total non-violence, though some can buy this up to self-defense only) and Cowardice. To be a non-Coward is a 10 point advantage, and is always coupled with some form of insanity.

By definition, any puppeteer met off the Fleet of Worlds is insane, and must have at least one of the following disads: Megalomaniac, Manic-Depressive or Suicidal (see below), Paranoia, any number of odd phobias (always severe, when they exist at all, although as a rule puppeteers are not superstitious, and shouldn't have quirks or phobias of that nature), Impulsive, or some bizarre Odious Personal Habit.

Some common quirks are: one-head talker (absolutely refuses to use the other head for anything but handwork), xenophilic, actually enjoys spaceflight, and others that most humans would consider normal . . .

In a combat situation, a puppeteer may kick with it's hind leg for Thrust+3 impaling damage. It takes one turn for a puppeteer to ready its hind leg for a kick. The kick is always at DX+2, and may never be learned as a skill (indeed, most will never admit that it can be done . . . )

Puppeteers may go catatonic if the situation becomes too dangerous (i.e., engaged against obviously superior odds). When in this state, they are curled up in a tight ball and are of no use to anybody. A puppeteer may remain in this state for several hours . . .

Manic-Depression (-15 points): At times of stress (and insane puppeteers are usually under a lot of stress), a PC with this disad may shift from one state to the other on a failed IQ roll. During the manic phase, a puppeteer may behave with extreme zeal, boldly insulting and challenging others, demonstrating a sense of humor, and in general being quite active and impulsive. Some have even taken (and enjoyed) roller-coaster rides while in the manic state. During the depressive cycle, a PC will be generally morose and useless (roleplay it!), moaning softly, even whining about how rotten things are, or isolating himself for days on end.

Suicidal (-10 points): This is where puppeteers consider most races to be. Will freely walk into dangerous situations, and is not subject to puppeteer catatonia. Probably enjoys computer games.

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