D20 FUTURE HEROIC ALIEN SPECIES CONVERSION

1
0

Hello readers! Here is hoping you had a fun Halloween and are enjoying November. For those that have reached out over social media, thank you. Personally, things are improving, while there is a lot of rebuilding to do here in Puerto Rico post Hurricane María, I’m working, we are among the tiny percentage that have power back, and despite some additional problems popping up at home as consequences of the winds, rain and extended blackout, I feel like I’m on a better mood and a better place. The island still has a long way to go… If you’d like to help you can find out more in my first post on the subject.

Something else I have written about before is my love for Stars Without Number! From my first unboxing of the POD copy post, to my many lists thought the years, Stars Without Number is a staple. Backing the revised edition Kickstarter was a no brainer for me, and we recently got the Galactic Omnibus collecting all the previously published material for the game. Look at the pictures my friend Anibal Delgado took!

I am always impressed by Kevin Crawford’s Sine Nomine Publishing Kickstarters and products. He is a consummate professional, keeping backers informed, accessible to answer questions and sort out any problems. He delivers quality products in a timely fashion. I own most of what he has published. He consistently takes OSR mechanics and reimagines them in ways that consistently please and surprise. That coupled, with his advice and tools for sandbox gaming, make his games a must own!

You can find the free beta rules for Stars Without Number (SWN) here. One of the things I love in the revised edition is the inclusion of aliens as an option for players. This was something missing from the previous version of the rules and one of the elements that have really fired up my imagination. After reading the rules I began to tinker with converting the heroic alien species from D20 Future.

A supplement to the D20 Modern, the species in D20 Future were taken from previous role-playing games published by TSR, specifically Star Frontiers and Alternity. Instead of going to the original sources, I used this later interpretation of the species since they were presented using the d20 rules, and converting them to SWN should have been easier. I did consult the original sources for clarifications and additional information. Let me share with you the results…

Mind you, this is NOT an attempt to translate all the species abilities whole cloth into a new the system, but to capture their feeling for SWN. While I used the rules for alien player characters in page 231 of the SWN revised rulebook, I took many liberties, and attempted to balance them in other ways. This conversion still requires some revision, and hopefully playtesting, and that is exactly why I’m sharing this document with you, our readers!

For this conversion I am using some Character Creation House Rules and Grappling rules I wrote for SWN. Also, a note on page references. When referring to rules in the Stars Without Number, revised edition, I sued the abbreviation SWNr. Page references to the D20 Future book are abbreviate as d20F. The page reference at the end of each benefit are to specific rules in the SWN rulebook on the abilities aliens could have. They are there for reference should you want to know what rules was used to create a specific benefit.

These are the alien Foci for each of the species: 

ALEERIN (d20F p.216)

Aleerin Species Focus

Level 1 Benefits:

  • Attribute Score Bonus Modifier: The aleerin gains a +1 bonus to their Constitution modifier, up to a maximum bonus of +3. (Strong Attribute, SWNr p.231)
  • Computer Link: An aleerin’s cybernetic nature allows them to connect to a computer via short filaments that extend from their bodies, typically from their hands. Once the physical link is achieved. the aleerin can use the computer to accomplish complex computer-related tasks more quickly than normal. Routine tasks, other than hacking a system, when connected physically to a system, require one-tenth of the normal time such activities would normally requires. Establishing the connection is a Move Action and ending it is an On Turn action (SWNr p.50). The integrated circuitry in an aleerin’s body functions much like a Dataslab (SWNr p.74). For an aleerin with the Program skill attempting to hack a system, this connection counts as plugging in to a connected terminal, for purposes of achieving physical interface with a system as per the hacking rules (SWNr p. 56-57). Via this interface link an aleerin can perform hacking actions in half the normal time, but this trades caution for speed, and results in a +2 penalty to the skill check of any hacking action they attempt. If they succeed at a hacking action meant to take over a system, this lasts an additional 2 rounds. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Cybernetic Resistance: An aleerin’s Constitution is considered 2 points higher when calculating their System Strain, up to a maximum of 20. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)

Aleerin Species Drawbacks:

  • Distant and Aloof: An aleerin’s discipline of self-control means that other species often find them distant or aloof, especially when compared to humans, a comparison common among other species, who are hard pressed to tell the two apart. Aleerin are not as personable, and less capable of reading the moods of others, they suffer a -1 penalty to Talk skill checks with other species, and a -1 to Notice skill checks when understanding the emotional state of other species.

DRALASITE (d20F p.217)

Dralasite Species Focus

Level 1 Benefits:

  • Attribute Score Bonus Modifier: The dralasite gains a +1 bonus to their Constitution modifier, up to a maximum bonus of +3. (Strong Attribute, SWNr p.231)
  • Elasticity: A dralasite’s stretchable skin is supported by a complex muscle structure. Dralasites can stretch their malleable bodies, but regardless of its shape, a dralasite’s body cannot be thinner than 1 foot and cannot expand beyond a width of 5 feet. A dralasite can “grow” arms and legs to use for handling objects and walking, and it can reabsorb limbs that are no longer needed. They may grow arms or legs, each requiring a move action. The dralasite must decide whether a limb becomes an arm or a leg when it is grown. A limb can be up to 3 feet long and no less than 3 inches thick. “Fingers” for handling items can be up to 3 inches long and no less than ½ an inch thick. They can have a total number of limbs equal to 5 plus their Dexterity modifier, to a maximum 8. Extra arms do not grant extra attacks, but each extra arm beyond two can ready an additional item (see Encumbrance SWNr p.62), and having three or more arms grant a +2 to opposed checks when grappling (see Grappling House Rules). Dralasites must have a minimum of two legs to move. Having three or more legs, or no legs at all, grants a +2 to opposed checks when attempting to force enemy movement (SWNr p.54). Having four legs can increases their movement by 4 meters for short burst of action, a total number of times equal to half their Constitution score per day, rounded down. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Interaction Skills: Because of their inscrutable facial expressions and their knacks for reading others dralasites have a +1 to skill checks with Notice, but only to determine the emotional state of others, and a +1 to deceive other species with the Talk skill. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Scent: A dralasite’s sense of smell is so keen they can identify people by smell. Notice skill check related to their sense of smell receive a+1 bonus. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • See in the Dark: Dralasites can only see in black and white, but can see perfectly well in total darkness. They distinguish colors by the different shades of grey they perceive. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)

Dralasite Species Drawbacks:

  • Special Equipment: Armor for dralasites must be custom-made and costs an additional 15% to 25% (1d10+14) unless acquired in a planet where they are a majority of the population. This equipment accommodates their malleable bodies and accounts for the growth of extra limbs. Some equipment, such as certain hard armors or power armor, may limit the possibility of growing extra limbs beyond a pre-set configuration.
  • Slower: Due to their amorphous shape, dralasites normally move only 6 meters when taking a move action. If they grow more legs this movement can increase for short periods of time.
  • Vulnerability to Gas Attacks: Physical saves against gases suffer a penalty of -2.

 Fraal (d20F p.218)

While I used the abilities of the Fraal described in the D20 Future book for this conversion, I assumed their size was closer to the description of the species in the original Alternity book, which describes them as 1.5 meters tall, about 5 feet.

Fraal Species Focus

Level 1 Benefits:

  • Attribute Score Bonus Modifier: The fraal gains a +1 bonus to their Intelligence modifier, up to a maximum bonus of +3. (Strong Attribute, SWNr p.231)
  • Natural Psionics: All fraal have rudimentary psionic abilities and can use a limited form of telepathy. Fraal know the Telepathy Skill at level-0 and the Telepathy discipline core technique, Telepathic Contact. They have point of 1 Effort to fuel the power, plus the bonus of the highest Wisdom of Constitution attribute modifiers. They are considered restricted psychics, and can improve the Telepathy skill, but are not forced to spend at least one skill point per level improving their Psychic skill. If they raise the Telepathy skill level, Effort is calculated normally, and they add the highest Psychic skills, in this case only Telepathy, to their Effort total.

If a fraal chooses the Psychic or Partial Psychic class, their total Effort increases by 1. A Fraal Psychic must select Telepathy as one of their bonus skills, effectively increasing Telepathy to level-1. A fraal Partial Psychic can select Telepathy as their bonus skill, or select another Psychic skill, they are still considered a restricted psychic and may only improve Telepathy, and/or the Psychic skill selected as their primary focus. A fraal Partial Psychic that gains the Psychic Training Focus (SWNr p.24) can select either Telepathy or the psionic skill they chose as their Psychic Training bonus skill. Innate Ability and Origin Skill, SWNr p.231)

Fraal Species Drawbacks:

  • Limited Senses: Fraal have poor sense of smell, and no sense of taste. Notice skill check related to smell suffer a -1 penalty, and any Notice skill check directly related to taste fails.
  • Smaller and frail: Due to their smaller size and frail nature fraal have a -2 to opposed checks at attempts to force movement (SWNr p.54), or when grappling (see Grappling House Rules). When calculating the number of ready and stowed items a Fraal can carry (see Encumbrance SWNr p.62), do so as if their Strength was two points lower.

The previous version of the fraal makes them naturally psionic but does not go as far as making them telepathic for the sake of game balance. If you want all fraal to be telepaths, as they were portrayed both in Alternity and D20 Future, you can use this more powerful version of the Species Focus.

Fraal Species Focus (Alternate)

Level 1 Benefits:

  • Attribute Score Bonus Modifier: The fraal gains a +1 bonus to their Intelligence modifier, up to a maximum bonus of +3. (Strong Attribute, SWNr p.231)
  • Natural Psionics: All fraal are innate psionics and receive the Telepathy Skill at level-1 as a bonus. They know the Telepathy discipline core technique, Telepathic Contact (SWNr p. 42) and two additional disciplines, Facile Mind (SWNr p. 42) and Transmit Thought (SWNr p. 43). They have 1 point of Effort to fuel this power. They are considered restricted psychics, but cannot improve their Telepathy skill at all, unless they choose the Psychic class, or the Partial Psychic Option from the Adventurer class. See below.

If a fraal chooses the Psychic or Partial Psychic class, their total Effort increases by 1. A Fraal Psychic or Partial Psychic cannot select Telepathy as one of their bonus skills, because the skill is already at level-1. A fraal Partial Psychic is still considered a restricted psychic and may only improve Telepathy and the Psychic skill selected as their primary focus. A fraal Partial Psychic that gains the Psychic Training Focus (SWNr p.24) can select either Telepathy or the psionic skill they chose as their Psychic Training bonus skill. (Innate Ability and Origin Skill, SWNr p.231)

Fraal Species Drawbacks:

  • Limited Senses: Fraal have poor sense of smell, and no sense of taste. Notice skill check related to smell suffer a -1 penalty, and any Notice skill check directly related to taste fails.
  • Powerful Species: A fraal is a particularly powerful species. A player that plays a fraal must spend two Foci to do so. It could be their 1st and 2nd level Foci or they could use a bonus Foci granted by a class. In whatever combination the player chooses, by 2nd level the player must have spent two Foci to play this species.
  • Smaller and Frail: Due to their smaller size and frail nature fraal have a -2 to opposed checks at attempts to force movement (SWNr p.54), or when grappling (see Grappling House Rules). When calculating the number of ready and stowed items a Fraal can carry (see Encumbrance SWNr p.62), do so as if their Strength was two points lower.

Sesheyan (d20F p.218)

Sesheyan Species Focus

Level 1 Benefits:

  • Attribute Score Bonus Modifier: The sesheyan gains a +1 bonus to their Dexterity modifier, up to a maximum bonus of +3. (Strong Attribute, SWNr p.231)
  • Flight: Sesheyans can fly at a combat movement rate of 12 meters. If they wear Encumbrance 1 armor their flight movement is cut in half. They cannot fly when wearing Encumbrance 2 armor, when wearing any power armor, or if they are Lightly or Heavily Encumbered (SWNr p.62). If conscious and able to fly the sesheyan doesn’t take any damage from falling. (Unusual Movement Mode, SWNR p.231)
  • See in Near Total Darkness: Sesheyans can perceive all colors in the visual spectrum, and can see perfectly well in twilight and low light conditions. They cannot see in the near total darkness when wearing goggles to protect them from their light sensitivity. See below. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Stealthy: Sesheyans receive the Stealth skill as a bonus. (Origin Skill, SWNr p.231)

Sesheyan Species Drawbacks:

  • Alien: Sesheyans lack social graces, and their appearance and customs seem strange to many other species. They suffer a -1 penalty to Talk skill checks with other species.
  • Light Sensitivity: Sudden exposure to bright light, such as daylight, binds the sesheyan for one round, they can’t take any action. In subsequent rounds under such light conditions, they suffer -2 to Skill Checks, attacks, armor class and Evasion saves. Wearing custom made dark-tinted goggles negates this effect. The goggles cost from 50 to 100 credits (1d6x10+40). Enemies can use the Disarming a Foe combat maneuver (SWNr p.54) to remove the goggles the sesheyan is wearing.
  • Special equipment: Armor for sesheyans must be custom-made and costs an additional 15% to 25% (1d10+14)
  • Technophobic: Sesheyans as a species distrusts technology other than that of their home planet. They lack the ability to properly use most TL 1 or higher items. Any skill check or attack when using equipment TL 1 or higher has a -2 penalty to all rolls. Armor of TL 1 or higher has a -2 penalty to the AC. A player who wants to play a sesheyans that has learned to use this technology may remove this drawback by giving up their Background’s total ability increase at character creation, or sacrificing half the bonus (+1 of the total +2) granted by the Attribute Increases as they go up in level. (See the Character Creation House Rules.)

T’sa (d20F p.219)

While I used the abilities of the t’sa described in the D20 Future book for this conversion, I assumed their size was closer to the description of the species in the original Alternity book, which describes them as 1.4 meters tall, about 4 feet 6 inches.

T’sa Species Focus

Level 1 Benefits:

  • Attribute Score Bonus Modifier: The t’sa gains a +1 bonus to their Dexterity modifier, up to a maximum bonus of +3. (Strong Attribute, SWNr p.231)
  • Curious Tinkerers: T’sa receive the Fix skill as a bonus. (Origin Skill, SWNr p.231)
  • Fast: Their alacrity and constant movement grants them the Alert Focus at level 1, see SWNr p.22. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)

T’sa Species Drawbacks:

  • Smaller: Due to their smaller size t’sa have a -2 to opposed checks when grappling (see Grappling House Rules). When calculating the number of ready and stowed items a t’sa can carry (see Encumbrance SWNr p.62), do so as if their Strength was two points lower.

Vrusk (d20F p.220)

Vrusk Species Focus

Level 1 Benefits:

  • Attribute Score Bonus Modifier: The vrusk gains a +1 bonus to their Wisdom modifier, up to a maximum bonus of +3. (Strong Attribute, SWNr p.231)
  • Educated: The vrusk’s conglomerates and trading houses value education, thanks to this vrusk start with either Administer, Know or Trade as a bonus skill. (Origin Skill, SWNr p.231)
  • Stable: A vrusk’s eight legs grant them +2 to opposed checks when attempting force enemy movement (SWNr p.54) and when grappling (see Grappling House Rules). (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)

Vrusk Species Drawbacks:

  • Hard to swim: Because of their biology swimming is difficult for vrusk. They suffer a -2 penalty to Exert skill checks when swimming.
  • Special equipment: Armor for Vrusk must be custom-made and costs an additional 5% to 10% (1d6+4) unless acquired in a planet where they are a majority of the population. Because of their hand structure vrusk also need special custom-made weapons, these have no additional cost and have the same statistics as regular weapons, but using weapons non-vrusk weapons imposes a -2 to attacks. Likewise. non-vrusk using these weapons suffer the same penalty.

Weren (d20F p.221)

Weren Species Focus

Level 1 Benefits:

  • Attribute Score Bonus Modifier: Were gain a +1 bonus to their Strength modifier, up to a maximum bonus of +3. (Strong Attribute, SWNr p.231)
  • Big and strong: When calculating the number of ready and stowed items a weren can carry (see Encumbrance SWNr p.62), do so as if their Strength was two points higher, up to a possible score of 20. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Claws: Weren claws do 1d8+1 Damage, 2 points of Shock, AC 13. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Hunters in the Dark: Weren can see perfectly well in twilight and low light conditions, they however cannot see in total darkness. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Natural camouflage: A Weren’s color changing fur grants a +2 to Sneak checks if the Weren moves no more than 2 meters in a round. If they remain totally still they receive a +2 to opposed Sneak vs. Notice skill checks, and their opponent must roll twice, selecting the worst result. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Tough: A weren’s size and resilience makes them much more resistant to damage. They begin the game with maximum hit points, and get one additional hit point per level. (Tough variation SWNr p.231).

Weren Species Drawbacks:

  • Inexperienced with technology: Were come from a world with a lower technology level than other species. They lack the knowhow to use most TL 3 or higher items. Any skill check or attack when using equipment TL 3 or higher has a -2 penalty to all rolls. Armor of TL 3 or higher has a -2 penalty to the AC. A player who wants to play a weren that has learned to use this technology may remove this drawback by giving up their Background’s total ability increase at character creation, or sacrificing half the bonus (+1 of the total +2) granted by the Attribute Increases as they go up in level. (See the Character Creation House Rules.)
  • Powerful Species: A weren is a particularly powerful species. A player that plays a weren must spend two Foci to do so. It could be their 1st and 2nd level Foci or they could use a bonus Foci granted by a class. In whatever combination the player chooses, by 2nd level the player must have spent two Foci to play this species.
  • Special equipment: Armor for Weren must be custom-made and costs an additional 15% to 25% (1d10+14).

Yazirian (d20F p.222)

Yazirian Species Focus

Level 1 Benefits:

  • Attribute Score Bonus Modifier: Yazirian gain a +1 bonus to their Dexterity modifier, up to a maximum bonus of +3. (Strong Attribute, SWNr p.231)
  • See in Near Total Darkness: Yazirian can see perfectly well in twilight and low light conditions. They cannot see in the near total darkness when wearing goggles to protect them from their light sensitivity. See below. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Excellent Grip: Yazirians receive a +2 to opposed checks when grappling (see Grappling House Rules). (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Glide: If the a yazirian is conscious and can extend their wing flaps, they can slow down a fall and not take any damage from falling. This requires at least a 30-meter diameter space in which to maneuver and glide. Smaller, confined spaces do not allow for proper gliding and result in half-damage. If unconscious or incapable of extending their wing flaps, yazirians suffer normal falling damage (SWNr p.60). Exert skill check when jumping, where yazirians can use their wing flaps to assist them, receives a +2 bonus. (Unusual Movement Mode, SWNR p.231)
  • Life-enemy: Skill checks, attack rolls and saves when confronting to a chosen life enemy, in some way; be it a species, an individual, a cause, a goal, etc., get a bonus of +2. The yazirian may use this ability a total number times per day equal to one, plus half their character level rounded down. The action must directly relate to confronting their chosen life-enemy or achieving a goal that advances the cause of defeating or stopping their life-enemy. (Innate Ability, SWNr p.231)
  • Savagery: Yazirians are renowned for their savagery, berserker rage, and combat prowess, granting them a +1 to their attack bonus. (Aptitude for Violence, SWNr p. 231)

Yazirian Species Drawbacks:

  • Light Sensitivity: Sudden exposure to bright light, such as daylight, binds the yazirian for one round, they can’t take any action. In subsequent rounds under such light conditions, they suffer -2 to Skill Checks, attacks, armor class and Evasion saves. Wearing custom made dark-tinted goggles negates this effect. The goggles cost from 50 to 100 credits (1d6x10+40). Enemies can use the Disarming a Foe combat maneuver (SWNr p.54) to remove the goggles the yazirian is wearing.
  • Powerful Species: A yazirian is a particularly powerful species. A player that plays a yazirian must spend two Foci to do so. It could be their 1st and 2nd level Foci or they could use a bonus Foci granted by a class. In whatever combination the player chooses, by 2nd level the player must have spent two Foci to play this species.
  • Special equipment: Armor for Yazirians must be custom-made and costs an additional 15% to 25% (1d10+14) unless acquired in a planet where they are a majority of the population.

Let me know what you think of the conversions. Did you like them? Did I make these aliens too powerful when compared to the rules in SWN? I look forward to your feedback in the comments. The art used in the post is the original illustrations for these aliens in Alternity and Star Frontiers, the rights belong to the publisher, to the best of my understanding, and are used here so people know what aliens I am talking about. I recommend you get D20 Future for much greater details on the species.

Have a wonderful day!

5 thoughts on “D20 FUTURE HEROIC ALIEN SPECIES CONVERSION”

  1. Glad to hear you’re alive and well! Do you need anyone to send you a care package of anything? (I don’t even know if it would actually get there, right now, though)

    I like the conversion idea. More stuff for SWN is always a good thing 🙂 . (he’s such a stand-up guy, I pretty much back any of his KS projects I come across)

    It’d be interesting to see Neogi and Mind Flayers (for a more standard-sci-fi take on Spelljammer races).

    1. Johnkzin, thank you! I am much better and currently don’t need anything, but thank you for your kind offer. If you want to help donate to one of the charities helping Puerto Rico.

      Neogi and Mind Flayers… as playable races?

      1. Well… yes… but, to me, everything should be a playable race 🙂 .

        (my biggest problem with the larger d20 family of games (all editions, including OSR/etc.) is that monsters and characters don’t use the exact same set of game mechanics; compared to, say, HERO or BASIC-RPG or d6, where the rules you use to define a character are the exact same rules you use to define any adversary, monster or npc or etc.)

Leave a Reply