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Generating a Sci-Fi Race Dynamic

This is an old idea from a Story Games thread lost in time[1], but it’s stuck in my mind for the past few years. Building from yesterday’s post about cliques, you could do the same thing to flesh out sci-fi races. The following is a “half-idea“, left to you, the reader, to fully form if you so desire.

Start with the Best Friends approach, which is that each character fills out:

  • I hate ____ because she’s smarter than me.
  • I hate ____ because she’s cooler than me.
  • I hate ____ because she’s prettier than me.
  • I hate ____ because she’s tougher than me.
  • I hate ____ because she’s richer than me.

And puts a character’s name in each slot, making that true about their dynamic. Looking at the Star Trek dynamic, we easily have “logical,” “honorable” and “aggressive” traits. I don’t want many traits that are antithetical, so no “warlike” and “peaceful”, which means finding two more traits that can co-exist with logical, honorable & aggressive.

In the end, we’d have:

  • We do not understand ____ because they are more honorable than us.
  • We do not understand ____ because they are more logical than us.
  • We do not understand ____ because they are more aggressive than us.
  • (one other)
  • (one other)

You’d describe elements of your race, like visuals & homeworld, then launch into this phase. If you’re playing a crunch game, you could probably use this to generate some bonuses. Playing a Fate-like game, use this to generate racial aspects a la Bulldogs! Or just use it to influence play.

Enjoy!

– Ryan

[1] I don’t remember who the author of the post was. It’s possible it was even me.

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3 Responses to Generating a Sci-Fi Race Dynamic

  1. Ryan Macklin says:

    Hmm. I just realized that this also means there’s no true apex race. There’s no “we are the most aggressive and there’s no one above us” vibe. Even if everyone lists Klingons as “more aggressive,” they’ll still pick another race they see as more aggressive.

    Which I guess is a good explanation for a Klingon-Romulan war. :)

    – Ryan

  2. Ezra says:

    You need “three more traits”? But you’ve only got blanks there for two.