The Wing Commander series never explicitly required a player to interact in any way with any form of alien life other than the Kilrathi or Nephilim (and even then the only real interaction was mortal combat). There were, however, several other forms of life mentioned; there is even an instance where a struggle against a non-intelligent lifeform was plot-centric (the Wing Commander Academy episode "Word of Honor"). Some adventurers may want to follow a story-line along this same vein. Others may want to have adventures involving various forms of life never before seen in the Wing Commander Universe, from innocuous little plants, to ferocious predators, to intelligent lifeforms. The following sub-Chapter outlines the steps needed to create a new lifeform for use in a WCRPG adventure. The procedure included can be used to create both intelligent and non-intelligent lifeforms (which characters may opt to hunt and trade).
Creatures (also known as lifeforms) can be broadly placed into two categories. The first consists of those species capable of acting with judgment, including the capacity to abstractly communicate ideas to other beings; these are known as sapient lifeforms. The second category, as one might expect, consists of lifeforms lacking this capability and are known as non-sapient lifeforms. Sapience is often confused with sentience, a term which refers to a being's ability to feel or perceive subjectively. Whether or not non-sapient lifeforms possess sentience is a matter best left to philosophers and meta-physicists. As a caveat, the two terms are often used interchangeably in science-fiction arenas and so any reference to sentience in this text should be considered equivalent to sapience.
Most creatures fall on the Character Size Class scale (though some very large creatures can also be placed found on the Vehicle Size Class scale). For the most part, creating a creature is similar to creating a character (albeit with some significant differences). The specific pieces of information that must be generated for an entire species depend largely on whether or not it possesses sapience. A sapient species will need all of the same information seen with the individual races in Chapters 2.2 (personality, description, race relations, territory, names, motivation, and basic characteristics). Further information about a specific member of that species can be generated using the character creation rules found in Chapter 2.3. A different information set is needed for non-sapient species, one geared more towards combat situations. It's unusual for situations to arise wherein information is needed about a specific member of a non-sapient species, but in those instances the character creation rules should suffice (with a couple of minor limitations, which will be outlined in this sub-Chapter). It should be noted that creating a species from scratch requires more in the way of multiplication and division than creating characters, vehicles or starships. While not strictly necessary, it is highly recommended that a creature designer have access to a calculator to expedite the design process.
Regardless of whether a desired species is sapient or not, the main point of the creature creation procedure is to generate its physical description and basic characteristics at a minimum (it should be noted that the term "creature" is used in this procedure to denote an entire species). Both sapient and non-sapient creatures follow the same basic multi-step procedure for their creation, though some of the steps may be skipped depending on the specific creature type. Here is the basic outline of the procedure:
- Compose the creature's concept.
- Determine the creature's niche, symmetry and size class.
- Determine the creature's mass variation.
- Determine the creature's long dimension (height) variation.
- Determine the creature's Speed.
- Determine the creature's Physical Index and Mental Index values.
- Determine the creature's Hit Difficulty ratings.
- Determine the creature's Value as a Commodity.
- Determine the creature's Life Phase thresholds and Lifespan.
- Determine the creature's Discipline point pool, if applicable.
- Determine if the creature has any special abilities.
- Compose the creature's physical description.
- Assign attacks to the creature.
- Compose the remainder of the race's description, if applicable.
- Determine the creature's "hero level".
- Distribute points to the creature's Attributes.
- Spend points on the creature's Skills.
- Determine the creature’s derived statistics.
- Test the creature.
Compose the creature’s conceptBefore a creature designer (creator, for lack of a better word) begins to build their creation in earnest, they should take some time to think about what it is they wish to create (is their creation going to be a slavering 4-armed venomous beast, a six-legged farm animal, a race of giant starfaring spiders, a D&D™-esque dire wolf, or something else?). Having a good concept is always a great place to begin the creation of a creature as it will guide the creator’s choices and perhaps determine a few of the creature's final abilities. Along with writing down the final desired capabilities of the creature, it may help for the creator to try and sketch it out; a visual reference may help to spark additional ideas. Obviously, a more detailed sketch is better, but even a stick figure may be useful. Finally, writing down the creature's concept alone may provide a creator with enough information to fill out the creature's physical description information (which is one of the main goals of this procedure).
What constitutes a "good concept" is generally up to a creator, but in general it should be able to answer these questions: what does the lifeform eat?, what's its general shape, how big is it, how does it move (if it moves at all), and how dangerous is it. A creator that can answer these questions in the concept phase has a solid base from which to begin. If they can't answer a question or two (or even all five), it's still possible to create a lifeform; it just means more decisions will need to be made on the fly.
Creature creation is a long and complex process. To aid first-time designers, two examples will be included at the end of each step in the process, a sapient species example and a non-sapient species example.We're going to use a lifeform from the game "Starflight II: Secrets of the Cloud Nebula" for our non-sapient species example. The specific lifeform we're going to create is called a Poison Glider, a somewhat dangerous, insectoid-like creature. A picture of a Poison Glider is present in the game's manual; it's the same image as the one above. Getting a text description of a Poison Glider is also really easy; one need simply go into the game itself, find a Poison Glider, and take some screenshots of the description text. One can also find a direct transcription of the same text at www.starflt.com, a fan website.
Here's the text description we have of the Glider: A cat-sized, insect-like carnivore. This creature's body is covered with a shiny yellow exoskeleton with a black camouflaging pattern. It has two powerful rear legs for jumping and extendable membranous flaps which allow it to glide long distances. Its front claws are hooked for grasping and it has a small swivel head with one large compound eye. It also has a retractable, needle-like mouthpiece capable of injecting a potent poison.
There's a lot of information contained in that short paragraph. We already know it's a relatively small insect-like carnivore (which suggests the creature is bilateral; the picture confirms this assertion) with an exoskeleton (which suggests some natural armor) featuring a camouflaging pattern (Camouflage is a special ability of some creatures), two legs for jumping and gliding flaps (the lifeform is primarily a biped but has the ability to glide), two claws for grasping (two motor appendages), a single eye, and a poisonous bite. The swiveling head is a fairly unique feature; it would allow the eye, mouthpiece and any other attached organs to be re-positioned to face any direction. This will need to be noted in the creature's final ability set. There's some additional information available on the Poison Glider at starflt.com: It has a unit Value of 1500 SP per cubic meter (a total Value of 3000 SP; information that in this case is relatively meaningless), a volume of 2 cubic meters, fast movement, and a three star (300 HP) damage rating. A creature creator should definitely consider including this kind of information in their concept.
For our sapient race example, we're going to go with perhaps the third most popular race in the Wing Commander universe behind Terrans and the Kilrathi: the Firekkans. Information on the Firekkans is available from multiple sources; these have all been nicely summarized in an entry at the WCPedia Project (the entry includes probably the only known "official" screenshot of a Firekkan, from Secret Missions 2: Crusade). We aren't given much descriptive text in the entry: The Firekkans are an avian race that resembles seven-foot tall predatory birds. Firekkan males are slightly smaller than their female counterparts. Any other information on their physical appearance will have to be generated, which could ultimately pose quite a challenge...
Determine the creature’s niche, symmetry and size class
Once the creator has a concept for their creature, the next step is to determine its niche, symmetry and size. This is a crucial step as these factors will determine several of the creature’s base statistics directly, including its Physical and Mental Index values, height/length/wingspan, base HD ratings, hit points, speed, mass, lifespan, and potential damage capability.
A lifeform's niche refers to its position on a food chain. Food chains can be very intricate and a lifeform's position on one may change depending on its physical location, particularly if the creature is present on more than one planet (i.e. an apex predator on one world may find itself prey for another, larger predator on a different world). Because of this, information on a creature's niche need not be terribly specific. What's crucial is the lifeform's eating habits; more specifically whether or not it can synthesize the element most necessary for its development and growth on its own (carbon is most common, but other elements such as boron and silicon are possible), and what is its primary source of energy. All creatures fall into one of ten base niche categories based on this information; these are outlined in the table below.
|Producer (Autotroph)||Consumer (Heterotroph)|
|Photosynthetic||Lifeform obtains energy by converting light energy into chemical energy and uses carbon dioxide as a source of carbon.||Lifeform obtains energy by converting light energy into chemical energy and obtains carbon by intake of organic compounds from the environment (which can include other organisms).|
|Chemosynthetic||Lifeform derives energy through the oxidation of inorganic compounds (such as hydrogen sulfide) and uses carbon dioxide as a source of carbon.||Lifeform derives energy through the oxidation of inorganic compounds (such as hydrogen sulfide) and obtains carbon by intake of organic compounds from the environment (which can include other organisms).|
|Herbivore||Lifeform obtains energy by ingestion of other autotrophs and uses carbon dioxide as a source of carbon.||Lifeform obtains both energy and carbon by ingestion of autotrophs.|
|Carnivore||Lifeform obtains energy by ingestion of heterotrophs and uses carbon dioxide as a source of carbon.||Lifeform obtains both energy and carbon by ingestion of other heterotrophs.|
|Omnivore||Lifeform obtains energy by ingestion of a mix of autotrophs and heterotrophs, and uses carbon dioxide as a source of carbon.||Lifeform obtains both energy and carbon by ingestion of a mix of autotrophs and heterotrophs.|
|Exotic||Lifeform obtains energy from an unusual source, produces unusual compounds, or has an unusual physical composition but still uses carbon dioxide as a carbon source.||Lifeform obtains energy and carbon from unusual sources, requires consumption of unusual compounds, or has an unusual physical composition.|
The preceding table uses terminology appropriate to carbon-based life. In the event that the creature is based on a different element, a more appropriate producer source substance will need to be selected (silicon dioxide for silicon-based life, boron nitride for boron-based life, etc.).
Note that if a lifeform has the capability to feed in more than one mode, the creator should select which one it prefers to use most often. If the lifeform does not have a preference, the creator should pick whichever category is furthest down on the chart (with any consumer category outranking all producer categories). Secondary feeding habits should be listed with the creature's traits (discussed later in this sub-Chapter).
A lifeform's niche determines a number of its basic characteristics. To determine the effects of niche on the creature, the creator need merely look up the information on the table below; here's a quick overview:
- Base Value: This is a modifier to the lifeform's value as a commodity (per cubic meter). As a general rule, lifeforms higher up in the food chain will have a higher value.
- Base Attack Bonus (Non-Sapients Only): A lifeform may get a bonus to its base attack value depending on its niche. This value is added to various other modifiers to determine its final attack bonuses. The Security Skill is used as the base attack bonus for sapient creatures, and so this value only applies to non-sapients.
- Mental Index Modifier: This is a modifier to the creature's Mental Index, which is used to help determine the lifeform's available mental Attribute point pool. All creatures have at least some ability to learn from and to from their environment, even if they don't possess sapience. This modifier will be added to a die roll to determine the creature's Mental Index later in the creation process. As a general rule, lifeforms higher up in the food chain will have a higher Mental Index modifier.
- Attack Die: The attack die columns list the dice types used when figuring up how much damage the creature can cause when attacking. There are five attack die columns in the table, one for the various possible types of attacks a creature may have at its disposal. This information is used when the amount of damage caused by the creature's attacks are figured up later in the creation process. While sapient beings are not generally given attack damage (it's assumed they prefer to use fashioned weapons more over what nature gave them), it can be done if the creator wishes. A "d1" entry on the table always means a result of one.
- Bite Die: This lists the die type used when figuring the creature's damage due to any biting attacks. The damage done from bites depends largely on the makeup of the teeth in a creature's mouth. As one might expect, the higher up a lifeform's position on the food chain, the more damage they can inflict with a bite.
- Claw Die: This lists the die type used when figuring the creature's damage due to any clawing or raking weapons. Claws are the obvious example here, but this kind of weapon also includes talons, pincers, or any other type of hooked appendage (except for hooked stingers, which are considered a Gore weapon).
- Slap Die: This lists the die type used when figuring the creature's damage due to any slapping, slamming or punching attacks it may make (a tail whip, kicking, head butts, etc.). Note that this kind of attack is considered unarmed and as a result the amount of damage indicated is Non-Lethal Damage.
- Gore Die: This lists the die type used when figuring the creature's damage due to any attacks with goring weapons (such as horns, antlers, etc.). This weapon type also includes stings, particularly if the weapon also causes acid damage or poisoning.
- Special Die: This lists the die type used when figuring the creature's damage due to any special attacks. As the name suggests, this category encompass any attacks not covered by the other attack rolls (such as natural ranged weapons). Depending on the type of damage intended, this die can vary (at the creator's discretion), but it is generally recommended the indicated die be used.
|Niche||Base Unit Value||Base Attack Bonus||Mental Index Modifier||Bite Die||Claw Die||Slap Die||Gore Die||Special Die|
Symmetry refers to the balanced distribution of duplicate body parts or shapes within an organism. Most lifeforms will exhibit some form of symmetry within their structure. Symmetry is, at best, an approximation; it's a rare thing when an organism is completely symmetrical with itself. Symmetry is important for determining the potential lifespan of an organism as detailed below. To determine a lifeform's symmetry, a creator need only look at their creature concept and search on the table below for the description that best matches it.
|Amorphous||The lifeform doesn't exhibit overall symmetry is capable of altering its shape at will. Amoebae are the classic example of this category of lifeform.||*2|
|Irregular||The lifeform doesn't exhibit overall symmetry but does have a fixed shape. Parts of an irregular lifeform may exhibit other forms of symmetry. Many plants fall into this category as do lifeforms such as sponges.||*3|
|Spherical||As a whole, the lifeform exhibits reflection symmetry along many cutting planes along multiple axes, producing many possible mirror image divisions. Spherical lifeforms are (as one might expect) sphere-shaped, exhibiting no clear dorsal, ventral, left or right sides. A few corals exhibit spherical symmetry, but most spherical lifeforms are microscopic (such as the members of the Staphylococcus genus).||*4|
|Radial||As a whole, the lifeform exhibits reflection symmetry along many cutting planes along a single axis, producing many possible mirror image divisions. Radial lifeforms have a defined dorsal and ventral, but no clear left or right side. Jellyfish are considered radial lifeforms (though their tentacles may be of different lengths), as are many species of mushrooms.||*5|
|Bilateral||As a whole, the lifeform exhibits reflection symmetry along a single plane, which roughly divides it into two mirror images. A bilateral lifeform has defined left, right, dorsal and ventral sides. Many lifeforms (including Humans) fall into this category.||*6|
If a creator doesn't know the symmetry of their lifeform (either because they have a poor concept or are just creating something at random), they may either select a symmetry level at random or make a roll of 1d5+1 and use the category whose lifespan modifier matches the result. As a general rule, the further down the lifeform falls on the chart, the more complex it is.
Finally, size refers to the various dimensions of the creature and covers such qualities as its volume and weight. Unlike vehicles and capital ships, the volumes given for lifeforms refer to their actual internal volume (as opposed their "bounding box"). As with vehicles and capital ships, size determines a large number of a lifeform's basic statistics. Here's an outline of stats determined by size as indicated in the table below:
- Creature Size Class: As with vehicles and capital ships, a creature's size is categorized by a Size Class. To prevent confusion between the creature and vehicle Size Class scales, creature Size Classes are prefixed with the letter "C" (thus a Size Class of C5 corresponds to Size Class 5 on the creature Size Class scale).
- Approximate Minimum Volume: This lists the minimum volume a creature may be in order to be categorized in a particular Size Class. A creature is said to be of a certain Size Class as long as it is at least as large as the minimum required volume for the Size Class but is no larger than the minimum volume for the next higher Size Class.
- Physical Index Modifier: This is a modifier to the creature's Physical Index. Like the Mental Index Modifier, this value will be used to help determine the lifeform's available physical Attribute point pool. This modifier will be added to a die roll to determine the creature's Physical Index later in the creation process. As a general rule, larger lifeforms are more durable.
- Base HD Ratings: This lists the base hit difficulty ratings for a creature of a given Size Class; these help determine how hard it is to hit the creature in various situations.
- Dimension Range/Roll: Sometimes a creature designer will need to have a rough estimate of how "tall", "long" or "wide" a creature is on average (this is especially true for sentient lifeforms, which require a height stat). This column lists a range of acceptable long dimension values for a creature of the indicated Size Class. The values given may be used for any lifeform but are most appropriate for creatures with humanoid proportions; Formulas for determining long dimension variations (as well as for determining average mass variations) for creatures with non-humanoid proportions will be discussed momentarily. A creature designer may either select a value from the range indicated or use the corresponding die roll formula to get the long dimension of the lifeform. Note that this gives an average long dimension for the species; individuals may vary from the average value significantly. Note that it is not strictly necessary to determine long dimension information for non-sapient creatures, if the creator would like to skip that step.
- Mass Range/Roll: This column lists a range of acceptable values for the mass of a creature of the indicated Size Class, assuming the lifeform is neutrally buoyant in water (i.e. it neither floats nor sinks readily). A creature designer may either select a value from the range indicated or use the corresponding die roll formula to get the mass of the lifeform. Alternatively, if they've determined their creature's long dimension with a die roll, they may simply multiply the result by ten and use the resultant amount as the result of the mass die roll (this method assures that the lifeform will be neutrally buoyant in water). Note that this gives an average mass for the species; individuals may vary from the average value significantly. Note that it is not strictly necessary to determine mass information for non-sapient creatures, if the creator would like to skip that step.
|Creature Size Class||Approximate Minimum Volume (m3)||Physical Index Modifier||Base HD Ratings||Dimension Range / Roll||Mass Range / Roll|
|0||<0.001||-5||35/50/35|| <0.38 m|
| < 1 kg|
|1||0.001||-4||38/50/38|| 0.37-0.64 m|
0.37 + (d10 * 0.03)
| 1-5 kg|
1 + (d% * 0.04)
|2||0.005||-3||41/50/41|| 0.64-0.8 m|
0.64 + (d10 * 0.02)
| 5-10 kg|
5 + (d% * 0.05)
|3||0.01||-2||44/50/44|| 0.8-1.16 m|
0.8 + (d10 * 0.04)
| 10-30 kg|
10 + (d% * 0.2)
|4||0.03||-1||47/50/47|| 1.16-1.37 m|
1.16 + (d10 * 0.02)
| 30-50 kg|
30 + (d% * 0.2)
|5||0.05||0||50/50/50|| 1.37-1.73 m|
1.37 + (d10 * 0.04)
| 50-100 kg|
50 + (d% * 0.5)
|6||0.1||1||53/50/53|| 1.73-2.49 m|
1.73 + (d10 * 0.08)
| 100-300 kg|
100 + (d% * 2)
|7||0.3||1||56/50/56|| 2.49-2.95 m|
2.49 + (d10 * 0.05)
| 300-500 kg|
300 + (d% * 2)
|8||0.5||1||59/50/59|| 2.95-3.72 m|
2.95 + (d10 * 0.08)
| 500-1,000 kg|
500 + (d% * 5)
|9||1||2||62/50/62|| 3.72-5.37 m|
3.72 + (d10 * 0.17)
| 1,000-3,000 kg|
1,000 + (d% * 20)
|10||3||2||65/50/65|| 5.37-6.36 m|
5.37 + (d10 * 0.1)
| 3,000-5,000 kg|
3,000 + (d% * 20)
(Vehicle Size Class 1)
|5||2||68/50/68|| 6.36-8.27 m|
6.36 + (d10 * 0.19)
| 5,000-11,000 kg|
5,000 + (d% * 60)
(Vehicle Size Class 2)
|11||3||71/50/71|| 8.27-10.43 m|
8.27 + (d10 * 0.22)
| 11,000-22,000 kg|
11,000 + (d% * 110)
(Vehicle Size Class 3)
|22||3||74/50/74|| 10.43-13.14 m|
10.43 + (d10 * 0.27)
| 22,000-44,000 kg|
22,000 + (d% * 220)
(Vehicle Size Class 4)
|44||3||77/50/77|| 13.14-16.55 m|
13.14 + (d10 * 0.34)
| 44,000-88,000 kg|
44,000 + (d% * 440)
(Vehicle Size Class 5)
|88||4||80/50/80|| 16.55-20.85 m|
16.55 + (d10 * 0.43)
| 88,000-176,000 kg|
88,000 + (d% * 880)
(Vehicle Size Class 6)
|176||4||83/50/83|| 20.85-26.27 m|
20.85 + (d10 * 0.54)
| 176,000-352,000 kg|
176,000 + (d% * 1,760)
(Vehicle Size Class 7)
|352||5||86/50/86|| 26.27-33.08 m|
26.27 + (d10 * 0.68)
| 352,000-703,000 kg|
352,000 + (d% * 3,510)
(Vehicle Size Class 8)
|703||5||89/50/89|| 33.08-41.68 m|
33.08 + (d10 * 0.86)
| 703,000-1,406,000 kg|
703,000 + (d% * 7,030)
(Vehicle Size Class 9)
| 1,406,000 kg+|
If a creature designer doesn't know the desired size of their lifeform (either because they have a poor concept or are just creating the creature at random), they may either select a Size Class randomly or make a roll of 1d10 and use the Size Class that matches the result (with a result of zero indicating ten in this case).
Note that some lifeforms are large enough to fall on the vehicle-scale; in that case a designer must decide whether their creature will utilize the character-scale or vehicle-scale for combat. This decision affects the creature's movement, attacks and HP, and may make it very dangerous.
From our concept, we know a few things about the Poison Glider already. First, we know it's a carnivore; it says so in its text description (A cat-sized, insect-like carnivore). Given that it has the capability to inject "a potent poison", it’s more likely that it’s a consumer rather than a producer. From its picture, we can see that it has distinct dorsal, ventral, left and right sides, so it’s definitely a Bilateral creature. Finally, from the information we have from the SF2 documentation, we know that it has a volume of two cubic meters. This contradicts the notion of it being a "cat-sized" lifeform; we're going to ignore this bit of information and go with the two cubic meter measurement. It will make the Glider huge, which should in turn make it all the more dangerous...
So, what we have is a 2m3 bilateral carnivorous consumer. Looking at the various charts in this section gives us several pieces of information for generating the Glider. First, because it's a carnivorous consumer, we know that it has a base value of ¤600, an attack bonus of +10 and a +2 modifier to its Mental Index. We know that when the time comes to assign attacks, we can use d10 for biting attacks, d5 for clawing, raking and/or special attacks, and d1 for any slapping or goring attacks. From its symmetry, we get a multiplier of *6 for its lifespan. Finally, because the Glider has a two cubic meter volume, we know that it is a Character Size Class Nine creature (just below the necessary threshold to put it on the vehicle-scale), it gets a +2 modifier to its Physical Index, it has a base HD of 62, a base THD of 50, and a base FHD of 62. Since this is a non-sapient lifeform, it's not strictly necessary to bother with figuring up its average long dimension and weight; we'll do so for the sake of demonstration. In that case, we know the Glider might weigh somewhere between one and three metric tonnes (more on this "might" business a shortly). If we assume it has roughly humanoid dimensions (not necessarily that big of a stretch), it might have an overall length somewhere between 3.72 and 5.37 meters.
Hell of a lot of information for three little criteria, ain't it?
As far as the Firekkans are concerned, we know from their description that they are an avian race that resembles seven-foot tall predatory birds. There's not a lot to that description, but there's enough there for us to answer a few questions about them. First, we know they are avians; this would suggest that they are omnivores, though since they're also described as "predatory", they are probably more carnivorous than herbivorous (like most species of raptors); for the sake of argument, we'll say they are carnivores. Like the Poison Glider, their image clearly shows left, right, front and back sides; they are therefore Bilateral.
When it comes to their size, we have a bit of a problem in that all we really have is an average height value. Height is all well and dandy but any ornithologist will tell you that a bird's wingspan is oftentimes longer than its beak-to-tail-feathers length, so what we really need to do is figure out an average wingspan. This is going to be a special situation and it's going to require a bit of math, so we'll go ahead and skip over this piece of information for the time being; be rest assured that we'll get to it soon enough. In the meantime, we again have a bilateral carnivorous consumer, and can use the same sets of modifiers we have for the Poison Glider on that front (base value 600, attack bonus 10, +2 Mental Index modifier, d10 for biting, d5 for claws, rakes and special attacks, d1 for goring and slapping, and *6 to its lifespan modifier).
Determining Mass Variation Ranges and Die Rolls (With a Quick Word on Buoyancy)
As previously mentioned, the die roll included in the Size Class chart is good for determining the average mass of a lifeform. Most of the time (particularly for non-sapient beings), this average value can be used as a generic catch-all value for all members of a species. However, there may be times (sapient character creation among them) when a designer will need to have some mass variation for their creatures. Determining a "normal" mass variation range and a corresponding die roll for a creature is simple enough but it can be math intensive; it is first necessary to determine a reasonable average mass.
The masses listed on the Size Class table assume that an average member of a species of a given Size Class will be neutrally buoyant in water, which is to say that they have the same density as water (one thousand kilograms per cubic meter; i.e. a lifeform with a total volume of one cubic meter would have a mass of one thousand kilograms). Given that the substance with the largest molecular concentration in most lifeforms is water, this makes sense. If the average member of a species is neutrally buoyant, they will neither float nor sink in water, which further means that (given that not all members of a species weigh the same amount or have exactly the same body shape) some individuals of the species will have a tendency to float while others will have a tendency to sink.
The problem with this assumption is that it doesn't necessarily hold true in all cases; some lifeforms may have members who all float or all sink. So, it doesn't necessarily follow that a species of a certain Size Class has an average mass that corresponds to the same Size Class. What's important to know in this case is the lifeform's primary mode of transportation; whether it is best categorized as land-based (a runner), air-based with powered flight (a flier), air-based without powered flight (a floater), or sea-based (a swimmer).
Runners have the widest potential variations in possible mass; there are some species that are much lighter than they should be for their volume, while others are much more massive than they should be. If so desired, a creator may select a mass for their lifeform from a category up to three Size Classes lower or higher than the Size Class indicated by its volume ("Exotic" runners - those that happen to be exotic producers or exotic consumers - are an exception; their mass may be up to six size Classes lower or higher). Note that selecting an average mass value from another Size Class will impart a modifier to the lifeform's Physical Index as outlined in the table below. Alternatively, a creator may make a 2d10 roll to determine their creature's buoyancy. A creature creator always has the option of just going with the indicated Size Class. Exotic runners may double or halve the result of the roll without further Physical Index modification at the creator's discretion. The chart below details the possible results and effects.
|2d10 Result Range||Buoyancy Level||Mass Size Class Adjustment||Physical Index Modifier|
|0||Extremely Buoyant||Roll 1d10 (0 counting 10) and add 2 to the result. Use the Size Class a number of steps equal to the result less than the indicated Size Class||-3|
|1-2||Very Buoyant||Use the Size Class two steps less than the indicated Size Class||-2|
|3-5||Buoyant||Use the Size Class one step less than the indicated Size Class||-1|
|6-12||Average||Use the indicated Size Class||0|
|13-15||Dense||Use the Size Class one step greater than the indicated Size Class||1|
|16-17||Very Dense||Use the Size Class two steps greater than the indicated Size Class||2|
|18||Extremely Dense||Roll 1d10 (0 counting 10) and add 2 to the result. Use the Size Class a number of steps equal to the result greater than the indicated Size Class||3|
If the result of the die roll indicates a mass from a Size Class that is not listed on the table, use the result from whatever extreme end of the chart is otherwise indicated (either Size Class 0 or Size Class 19, whichever is appropriate to the situation).
By design, fliers generally have lightweight skeletons and body structures designed to provide a lot of power while minimizing weight. If so desired, a creator may select a mass for a flier up to three Size Classes less than the Size Class indicated by the lifeform's volume. Exotic fliers are an exception: their mass may be up to six Size Classes less; the same is true of all floaters. The same buoyancy chart as for runners is used for fliers and floaters, though these lifeforms will use a roll of 1d10 instead of 2d10; note that this means that all airborne lifeforms will have no higher than an average density. Again, a creator always has the option of just going with the indicated Size Class. Exotic fliers and floaters may double or halve the amount indicated by the roll without further Physical Index modification at the creator's discretion.
For runners, fliers and floaters, once a target mass range has been determined, the creator may either select a desired mass at random in the indicated range or they may make the corresponding d% roll to determine the actual value of the average mass.
Swimmers are unique in that all members of the species must be neutrally buoyant (in order to prevent them from floating to the surface or sinking all the way to the ocean bottom). To find their average mass, the designer needs only to multiply the volume of the creature by 1000; the result is the average mass in kilograms. Should a swimmer be intended to inhabit a liquid medium other than water, the 1000 multiplier may simply be replaced by the density of the desired fluid, provided that the density to be used is in units of kilograms per cubic meter (for example, to find the mass of a swimmer that swims in hydrochloric acid, one would simply multiply its volume by 1180, since the density of HCl is 1,180 kg/m3). Again, exotic swimmers are an exception to this rule; treat them as exotic runners for purposes of determining their average mass. NOTE: It is possible to adjust the mass of runners and fliers should a creator wish to base them on a substance other than water. In that case, the creator can use the table as indicated but will need to multiply the final result by x/1000, where x is the density of the desired base substance in kg/m3.
One thing to consider with lifeforms is the possibility of significant sexual dimorphism, or systematic differences in form between individuals of different gender in the same species. For certain species, there can be a substantial variation in the average mass of one gender over the other. In these cases, a creator may either choose to treat the various genders like separate species (and come up with individual average masses) or select average masses for each gender, the mean of which will be the average mass of the species as a whole.
For all types of lifeforms, the same procedure is used to generate the mass variation range and die roll once their average mass has finally been determined. All mass variation rolls are based on a roll of 2d5 and are designed to provide variance at 5% intervals for a range of possible masses from 80 to 120% of the average mass (the corresponding masses at those values act as the bounds of the "normal" mass variation range). When a player or GM goes to make a specific creature, its long dimension is usually determined first. At least one (and sometimes both) of the d5 results for mass always comes from the roll for long dimension. Given that the interval between results is the same for each possible outcome on the die roll, all that's necessary for the creator to do is to determine the base mass value and the interval multiplier.
The interval multiplier is determined first. To do this, the creator will multiply the average mass value by 0.8 (80%) and record the result. The creator then will multiply the average mass value by 0.85 (85%) and record that result. Finally, the creator will subtract the result of the 85% calculation from the 80% one, rounding the result to the nearest hundredth; the final result is the interval multiplier.
The creator can determine the base mass value once the interval multiplier has been determined. To do this, they must take the 80% result from the last set of calculations, round it to the closest hundredth, and subtract the interval multiplier from the resultant amount; the final result is the base mass value. At this point, the information needed to compose the mass formula is complete. The formula is always of this form:
base mass value + ((1d5 from long dimension + 1d5) -OR- (2d5 from long dimension) * interval multiplier)
Note that it is possible that the actual value of the average mass becomes an impossible value as the result of this process. This is perfectly acceptable, but for those creators who do want the average to be a plausible result, slight alterations to the base mass value, the interval multiplier or both may be made until the average becomes a possible result; the formula creation process will get a designer in the ballpark of the average mass in any event.
We already know the Glider is a CSC 9 creature since it has a volume of 2 cubic meters. It's obviously a land-based creature, but we also know from its text description that it does have flight as a secondary mode of transportation: It has two powerful rear legs for jumping and extendable membranous flaps which allow it to glide long distances. Because of this, we won't leave the average mass entirely to chance; we'll say it’s buoyant, use the mass formula from CSC 8 instead of CSC 9 and make it water-based to keep the math easy. This gives the Glider a possible mass somewhere between 500 and 1000 kilograms. Letting fate decide, we roll d% and come up with a result of 78. The die roll for CSC 8 is 500 + (d% * 5), so the final average mass of the Glider is 890 kilograms (500 + (78*5) = 500 + 390 = 890).
Now to determine the interval multiplier, we multiply 890 by 0.8 and get a result of 712 kilograms. We then multiply 890 by 0.85; we get 756.5 kilograms. So, the interval multiplier is going to be 44.5 kilograms (756.5 - 712.0 = 44.5). We can now figure out the base mass value, which is going to be 667.5 kilograms (712 - 44.5 = 667.5). The final mass variation formula for the Poison Glider is therefore 667.5 + ((1d5 from length + 1d5) * 44.5) kilograms.
The Firekkans are a sapient race, so we will definitely need to derive their mass formula. However, we haven't figured out their size as yet (because, once again, all we have to go on is their height when what we really need is their wingspan). Since we don't have that basic information, we can't determine their mass formula just yet. We'll be determining their volume in the next step, so their mass formula example will wait until then. In the meantime, we can determine their buoyancy. Firekkans are fliers primarily (though we will say that they also have a secondary movement mode as a runner, given what we know about them from the novel Freedom Flight), so we'll need to make a 1d10 roll to see where they'll fall on the chart. The roll comes up as a four, so we'll assume they're buoyant. This will pass on a -1 modifier to their Physical Index when it comes time to determine it.
Determining Height Variation Ranges and Die Rolls
As previously mentioned, the die roll included in the Size Class chart is good for determining the average long dimension of lifeforms (for the sake of this discussion, "height" will be used as a catch-all term for the long dimension; this could just as easily be a lifeform's length or width depending on the situation). Most of the time (particularly for non-sapient beings), this average value can be used as a generic catch-all value for all members of a species. However, there may be times (sapient character creation among them) when a designer will need to have some height variation for their creatures. Determining a "normal" height variation range and a corresponding die roll for a creature is simple enough but it can be math intensive; it is first necessary to determine a reasonable average height.
Determining an average height is easy enough if the lifeform has humanoid or near-humanoid proportions, if it's water-based and if it's a runner or flier. If all of these conditions are fulfilled, all the creator needs to do in that case is to either make the die roll indicated or pick an appropriate value for the creature's Size Class at random. The height rolls in the table already take into account humanoid proportions and neutral buoyancy in water.
Things become much trickier if the lifeform is a swimmer or if it has proportions that are substantially different from the humanoid norm (i.e. if it isn't roughly shaped like a human being). In this case, height must be calculated. The creature's exact volume will need to be known in this case (its mass divided by its density). The height calculation uses the following formula:
h = c * V(1/3), where h is the long dimension, c is a proportionality constant, and V is the creature's volume.
The proportionality constant is different for various types of lifeforms and will need to be set for a new lifeform at its designer's discretion. Mathematically, it's a dimensionless ratio of the length of the long dimension to the area of the other two dimensions in a three-dimensional frame of reference. The higher this number, the longer and skinnier the creature is. It is possible to derive the proportionality constant of any creature provided that one knows its average long dimension and volume (or mass and density) of a similar creature. For reference, all spherical lifeforms have a proportionality constant of 1.241; any proportionality constant lower than that is meaningless. The constant for humanoid lifeforms is approximately 3.721. The following table lists the proportionality constants of a select group of additional real-world animal lifeforms; creators may reference this table to estimate the constant of their own creations.
|Name||Size Class||Proportionality Constant|
|catfish, Mekong giant||7||4.257|
|cockroach, giant burrowing||0||2.514|
|crab, Japanese spider||3||21.891|
|cuckoo, Australasian channel-billed||0||10.245|
|elephant seal, southern||10||4.035|
|flying fish, Japanese||1||5.000|
|flying fox, giant golden-crowned||1||15.724|
|frog, golden poison||0||1.969|
|gorilla, eastern lowland||6||3.017|
|gull, great back-backed||1||12.208|
|hog, giant forest||6||3.921|
|jellyfish, lion's mane||6||69.637|
|lemur, Sunda flying||1||5.794|
|manatee, west Indian||9||3.513|
|pigeon, Marquesan imperial||1||8.000|
|rat, Bosavi woolly||1||7.163|
|rattlesnake, eastern diamondback||3||9.667|
|salamander, Chinese giant||5||4.575|
|salamander, Japanese giant||4||4.634|
|sea lion, northern||9||3.116|
|sea turtle, leatherback||8||3.071|
|shark, great hammerhead||8||7.686|
|shark, great white||10||4.294|
|snail, giant African||1||3.500|
|spider, Goliath birdeater||0||5.415|
|tuatara, brothers island||1||6.794|
|tuna, northern bluefin||8||5.006|
|vulture, Eurasian black||3||12.862|
If for some reason a creator doesn't want to deal with the hassle of figuring out the proportionality constant for their creation, they may simply pick a height at random. This is the least useful and least realistic way of selecting the average height for most species, but it can be done if realism isn't that big of a concern; it's also acceptable for determining the long dimension of lifeforms with irregular symmetry.
As with mass, there may be significant sexual dimorphism between the various genders of the species, which in turn may cause a substantial variation in the average height of one gender over the other. In these cases, a creator may either choose to treat the various genders like separate species (and come up with individual average heights), or select average heights for each gender, the mean of which is the average height of the species as a whole.
For all types of lifeforms, the same procedure is used to generate the height variation range and die roll once their average height has finally been determined. All height variation rolls are based on a roll of either 1d5 or 2d5 and are designed to provide variance for a range of possible heights from 80 to 120% of the average height (the corresponding heights at those values act as the bounds of the "normal" height variation range). The 1d5 rolls provide variance at 10% intervals; in other words, a result of one on 1d5 will indicate 80% of the average height, two will indicate 90%, three 100% (the average), four indicates 110%, and five indicates 120%. 2d5 is the same, but provides variance at 5% intervals instead. All swimmers must use 2d5 for the die roll, no exceptions. Both methods provide an even interval for each possible outcome on the die roll, so all that's necessary for the creator to do is to determine the base height value and the interval multiplier.
The interval multiplier is determined first. To do this, the creator will multiply the average height value by 0.8 (80%) and record the result. The creator must then select whether their die roll will be based on 1d5 or 2d5. If the roll is based on 1d5, the creator then will multiply the average value by 0.9 (90%) and record that result. If it's based on 2d5, the creator will multiply the average value by 0.85 (85%) and record that result instead. Finally, the creator will subtract the result of the first calculation from the second one (the 85% or 90% result minus the 80% result), rounding the result to the nearest hundredth; the final result is the interval multiplier.
The creator can determine the base height value once the interval multiplier has been determined. To do this, they must take the 80% result from the last set of calculations, round it to the closest hundredth, and subtract the interval multiplier from the resultant amount; the final result is the base mass value. At this point, the information needed to compose the height formula is complete. The formula is always of this form:
base height value = ((1d5 or 2d5) * interval multiplier) meters
Note that it is possible that the actual value of the average height becomes an impossible value as the result of this process. This is perfectly acceptable, but for those creators who do want the average to be a plausible result, slight alterations to the base height value, the interval multiplier, or both may be made until the average becomes a possible result; the formula creation process will get a designer in the ballpark of the average height in any event. Also, all individual members of a species are always considered to have the same Size Class as an average member of their species, regardless of whether their final long dimension indicates a different Size Class.
First things first: we'll assume that the Glider has humanoid proportions. We've already made the assumption that it's water-based, and we know it’s a runner. This lets us use the chart to determine its average length. Given that the Glider is a CSC 9 creature, an average member needs to be somewhere between 3.72 and 5.37 meters in length. We'll let fate decide in this case and toss the dice. The formula for CSC 9 is 3.72 + (d10 * 0.17). The d10 comes up as a one; the Glider's average length is therefore 3.89 meters.
Now we can figure out the roll for their long dimension, starting with the interval multiplier. We'll pick 1d5 for the die roll, giving us 10% intervals. We multiply 3.89 by 0.8 and get 3.112 meters. We then multiply 3.89 by 0.9 and get 3.501 meters. So, the interval multiplier is going to be 0.39 meters (3.501 - 3.112 = 0.389, which rounds to 0.39). We can now figure out the base length value: 3.112 rounds to 3.11, so the base length is going to be 2.72 meters. The final height variation formula for the Poison Glider is therefore 2.72 + (1d5 * .39) meters.
Now for the Firekkans. We still don't have any data to go on other than their average height (seven feet). The first thing we're going to need to do is to convert the seven-foot figure into metric units; plugging that value into a conversion routine gives us an average height of 2.13 meters. Next, we'll need to figure out the proportion between their height and their wingspan. What we'll do to accomplish this is gather up some information on some of the other raptors we have listed in the proportionality table above; this includes the harpy eagle, the gyrfalcon, and the bald eagle. We'll go ahead and average the proportionality constants of these three creatures and use that figure for the Firekkans; the result comes out to 7.928.
A quick Internet search gives us figures for the length and wingspan of the previously indicated birds. In each case, we're given a range of values for both length and wingspan, so what we'll do is simply divide the minimum bound of the wingspan by the corresponding minimum bound of the length and do the same for the maximum values. Harpy eagles are 89–105 cm in length and have a wingspan of 176 to 201 cm; this gives us wingspan-to-length ratios of 1.98 and 1.91, respectively. We do the same for the gyrfalcon and bald eagle; this gives us values of 2.29 and 2.13 for male gyrfalcons, 2.43 and 2.46 for female gyrfalcons, and 2.57 to 2.25 for bald eagles. If we average all these values, we come up with a length-to-wingspan proportionality value of 2.25, which we'll use for the Firekkans. When we multiply their average height by this value, we come up with a final average wingspan value of 4.79 meters.
Now we can use the proportionality formula to find their volume. First we solve the formula (h = c * V(1/3)) for volume: we get V=(h/c)3. Plugging in our values for h and c, we get a volume of .2205 m3 ((4.79/7.928)3 = 0.2205). Checking the chart above, we can see that this volume corresponds to Character Size Class Six. This gives them a +1 modifier to their Physical Index and a base HD of 53/50/53. We determined in the last step that they will be buoyant creatures, so to determine their final average mass we'll use the die roll from CSC 5 (50 + (d% * 0.5)); the die comes up as 85, so the Firekkans will have an average mass of 92.5 kilograms.
So now that we finally have our average parameters for long dimension and mass (4.79 meters and 92.5 kilograms), we can finally determine our die roll formulas for the Firekkans. We have one complication to contend with, though: the line that says Firekkan males are slightly smaller than their female counterparts. That means sexual dimorphism and the need for different formulas for male and female members of the species. Since we want to keep the differences relatively small, we'll just adjust females up two percent from the average and males two percent downward. This gives female Firekkans an average wingspan of 4.87 meters and an average mass of 94.36 kilograms. Male Firekkans will have an average wingspan of 4.67 meters and an average mass of 90.64 kilograms. To simplify matters, we'll use 2d5 for our dice modifier for both genders and for both formulas.
We have 94.35 kilograms as our average mass value for female Firekkans. We multiply this value times 0.80 and get 75.48; we then multiply it by 0.85 and get 80.1975. Subtracting one from the other gives us 4.7175, which we'll round to 4.72, giving us our mass interval multiplier. We'll then subtract that amount from 75.48, giving us our base mass value of 70.76. So, the female Firekkan mass formula is 70.76 + (2d5 from long dimension * 4.72) kilograms. Similarly, the female Firekkan wingspan is 4.87. Multiplying this value by 0.80 and 0.85 gives us 3.896 and 4.1395 respectively, which we'll subtract and round to get 0.24, our wingspan interval multiplier. Finally, we'll subtract this amount from 3.9 (3.896 rounded) and round the result to give us a base wingspan value of 3.66. A quick check of the formula shows that this value won't give us the 4.87 value on the average 2d5 result of five, so we'll tweak the base wingspan value to 3.67. The final wingspan formula for female Firekkans is therefore 3.67 + (2d5 * .24) meters. We could go through this example again for male Firekkans, but let's not for the sake of brevity; their formulas will be 67.99 + (2d5 ld * 4.53) kilograms and 3.52 + (2d5 * .230) meters, respectively.
Determine the creature’s Speed
Once a creature's average long dimension has been determined, it becomes possible to determine its speed. Speed indicates how fast the lifeform will be able to move at its most basic pace (walking for runners, easy cruising for both fliers and swimmers); it should be noted that it will be possible for the creature to move up to four times the calculated amount for relatively brief periods of time (such as during a chase or other "emergency" situation).
All creatures in SFRPG have at least two speed ratings, one for tactical movement (used in combat) and one for general movement (used for adventuring). Tactical movement is expressed in terms of meters per round (m/rd), where one round is approximately equal to six seconds. General movement is expressed in terms of kilometers per hour (kph). One meter per round equals 0.6 kilometers per hour. Naturally, if the lifeform is intended to be stationary, it will have a speed of zero for both tactical and general movement and this step can be skipped.
Determining a creature's speed is relatively simple. The creator should by this point already have determined the creature's mode of transit, its long dimension and its Size Class. These data by themselves provide a good deal of the information needed to determine a creature's speed. Two other pieces of information need to be determined at this time. If the creature can be classified as a runner, the creator must know the specific number of propulsive appendages it uses for movement. Having a larger number of appendages tends to make a lifeform move faster (at least up to a point; all running creatures with five or more propulsive appendages are classified as multipeds and use the same set of multipliers, regardless of the final number of appendages the lifeform actually has). The other piece of information that's needed is the lifeform's relative speed category. There are five of these categories: very slow, slow, average, fast and very fast. This information can either be set arbitrarily by the lifeform's creator or rolled; 1d5 is used, with a result of 1 corresponding to very slow and increasing by one category per increment up to a result of 5 corresponding to very fast.
To determine a lifeform's basic speed, find the multipliers on the chart below that correspond to the lifeform's relative speed category and movement mode for both m/rd and kph. If the creature is a flier below Character Size Class 6, subtract its Size Class from 7 and multiply the result by the speed category modifiers (for example, a CSC 3 creature would multiply the speed category modifiers by 4, since 7 - 3 = 4). All other creatures leave the modifiers as they are. Finally, the modifiers should be multiplied by the long dimension of the creature, with the resultant amount rounded to the nearest whole m/rd and kph (for amorphous creatures, use the cube root of their volume in place of the long dimension). The final result is the creature's base speed. Speeds will need to be determined independently for each movement mode a lifeform has available to it.
|Creature Type|| Very Slow Lifeform Speed Multiplier|
| Very Slow Lifeform Speed Multiplier|
| Slow Lifeform Speed Multiplier|
| Slow Lifeform Speed Multiplier|
| Average Lifeform Speed Multiplier|
| Average Lifeform Speed Multiplier|
| Fast Lifeform Speed Multiplier|
| Fast Lifeform Speed Multiplier|
| Very Fast Lifeform Speed Multiplier|
| Very Fast Lifeform Speed Multiplier|
Once a creature's base speed values are known, it becomes possible to calculate its combat speed values. Combat speed is a fairly simple calculation; it's just the creature's tactical speed divided by the respective character-scale combat range increments (5 meters for short-range combat and 25 meters for long-range combat) and rounded to the closest integer. If the initial calculation results in a speed that is less than one range increment, the reciprocal value (i.e. one divided by the result) should be determined prior to any rounding; the final result in this case is the number of rounds that must pass before the creature may move a single range increment.
We know from our earlier discussion that a Poison Glider is a bipedal runner with fast movement and that it also has the ability to glide as a secondary transit mode, though we don't really know how fast it moves when it glides. We'll assume it is a Fast runner but a Very Slow flier. We also know that it is a CSC 9 creature with an average length of 3.89 meters.
That's all the information we need to determine its speed ratings. Looking at the table, we see that Fast bipeds have a multiplier of 8 m/rd and 4.8 kph. It's a runner, so we don't really need to deal with its size (for now). We simply take those multipliers time 3.89 and round to the nearest whole number. The Glider's walking speed is 31 meters per round and 19 kilometers per hour (3.89 * 8 = 31.12, rounds to 31 m/rd; 3.89 * 4.8 = 18.672, rounds to 19 kph).
The Glider also has a gliding speed which must be determined. Looking at the table, we see that Slow fliers have multipliers of 8 m/rd and 4.8 kph. Since it's above CSC 6, it doesn't get any bonus for its size and since these multipliers happen to be the same as the ones used for its walking speed, we know the Glider also glides at 31 m/rd and 19 kph.
Since the Glider has the same speed in meters per round for both gliding and running, it'll have the same set of combat speeds for both transit modes. We divide 31 m/rd by 5 meters per range increment and round the result for short-range combat; 31 / 5 = 6.2, so the Glider will move 6 range increments per round while in short-range combat. Similarly, we divide 31 m/rd by 25 to get the long-range combat speed. This works out to one range increment per round.
As for the Firekkans, we know that they are CSC 6 flyers (they're right at CSC 6, so their speed won't be modified due to their size). The average wingspan (the long dimension in this case) for females is 4.87 meters and 4.67 meters for males, so the two genders will have different speed ratings. Again, we don't really know how fast they move, so we'll assume they are Average Flyers and Very Slow Bipedal runners. From the table above, this gives us multipliers of 24 m/rd and 14.4 kph for their flight, and 2 m/rd and 1.2 kph for their walking. We'll take these multipliers times 4.87 for females and 4.67 for males, rounding the results to the nearest whole number. The flight speed of Firekkan females is 117 meters per round and 70 kilometers per hour (which will give us 23 increments in short-range combat and five in long-range); their walking speed is a mere 10 meters per round and 6 kph. This will give us 2 range increments per round for short-range combat. Since the division of their walking speed by 25 will give us a result less than one (10/25 = 0.4), we have to calculate the reciprocal amount, which in this case is 2.5 (1/0.4 = 2.5). This value rounds to three, so the walking combat speed of a female Firekkan will be one range increment every three rounds while in long-range combat. For males, the flight speed is 112 meters per round and 67 kph (22 range increments per round in short-range combat and four in long-range combat), and their walking speed is 9 meters per round and 6 kph (which ultimately works out to the same combat speed figures as for females).
Determine the creature's Physical Index and Mental Index values
Once its niche, symmetry, size and related characteristics have been set, the creature's Physical Index and Mental Index values need to be determined. These two basic racial attributes are critical for determining a number of derived statistics and directly determine the lifeform's physical and mental faculties.
To determine a creature's Physical Index, the creator needs to roll 2d5 and add the result to any indicated modifiers from the creature's size and buoyancy; the final sum is the creature's Physical Index score. If the final result is less than one, the creature's Physical Index score must be set at one; no creature may have a Physical Index score of zero or lower. Conversely, biological creatures may not have a Physical Index rating higher than nine; if the final result is greater than nine, any excess amount must be exchanged for an equivalent amount of natural armor (see the next paragraph). Only synthetic lifeforms or lifeforms based on exotic materials (such as metal or rock) may have the maximum Physical Index score of ten.
At this point in the design process, the creator may elect to exchange points of their creature's Physical Index for natural armor. Natural armor functions like a full suit of physical armor (see Chapter 5.3), except that it can be "fixed" (heal) over time at the same rate as the lifeform. Each point of the Physical Index exchanged for natural armor allows the creature to have an additional Class equivalent of armor (for example, if three points of Physical Index are exchanged, the creature may have natural armor up to Third Class). Any HD penalties for armor still apply for natural armor, though all Finesse and Perception penalties may be ignored. The creator must leave at least one point in the creature's Physical Index and may not exchange more than ten points for Physical Armor.
The creature's Mental Index value is determined similarly to its Physical Index, with the key difference being that creatures are allowed to have a Mental Index score of zero; these creatures either act on simple instinct only or are pre-programmed automatons. In either case, any creature with a Mental Index score of zero cannot learn or benefit from training. If a creature is generated with a Mental Index score of less than zero, the creator can set its Mental Index value at either zero or one at their discretion. As with the Physical Index, the maximum Mental Index score is ten; if the final result of the roll for Mental Index determination is higher than ten, any excess amount must be exchanged for an equal amount of weapons dice (see the next paragraph).
A creator may elect to exchange points of their creature's Mental Index for weapons dice once its final result is determined. Weapons dice give a creature the opportunity to gain attacks that are more effective than what their size would ordinarily indicate. Each point of Mental Index exchanged for weapons dice grants the creature an additional die to be rolled during the determination of its attacks later in this procedure. For now, the creator simply needs to keep track of the number of points exchanged. Note that if the creature is ultimately given no natural weaponry, they will completely lose any potential benefit from weapons dice.
Once the creature's Physical and Mental Indexes have been set, determining the base number of points available for its physical and mental Attribute pools is reasonably straightforward. Simply multiply the respective Index values by 25 if the creature is sapient or by 15 otherwise; the final result is the number of points in the given point pool. The creature's base hit points may also be set at this point if the creature is sapient; it's simply ten times the final Physical Index value. Non-sapient creatures will determine their base hit point values later on in the procedure.
Time to figure out the Glider's Physical and Mental Index values. We'll begin with its Physical Index; 2d5 are rolled and the result is five. The Glider gets a +2 Physical Index modifier from its size. We made the Glider buoyant, which imparts a -1 Physical Index penalty. The Glider's Physical Index rating is therefore six (5 + 2 - 1 = 6). For the sake of making them interesting, we'll exchange one point of Physical Index for natural armor (accounting for the Glider's exoskeleton). This will give them a final Physical Index of 5 and 50 AHP for First Class armor, with a corresponding +2 armor penalty to their HD and FHD.
Now we can roll for the Glider's Mental Index. 2d5 are rolled; the result is seven (a high roll for a non-sentient lifeform). The Glider gets a +2 bonus to its Mental Index by virtue of its niche. Its Mental Index rating is therefore nine (7 + 2 = 9). We won't exchange any amount for weapons dice for the Glider, so that will be its final Mental Index value.
Now we can determine the number of points in the Glider's Attribute pools. We simply multiply the Index values by 15 since it's a non-sapient creature; this gives us a final physical Attribute pool of 75 (15 * 5 = 75) and a mental Attribute Pool of 135 (15 * 9 = 135).
For the Firekkans, the 2d5 roll for Physical Index comes out as a six. We have a +1 modifier for their Size Class, which is subsequently cancelled out by a -1 modifier due to their buoyancy, so six is the initial Physical Index rating. We won't give them any natural armor (it doesn't look like they'd have any from their picture anyway), so their final Physical Index value will be six (indicating 60 base HP). The 2d5 roll for their Mental Index results as a ten, to which a +2 modifier for being a carnivorous consumer is applied. This gives us an initial value of twelve. We will have to exchange at least two points for weapons dice, but that works out because we will want to give the Firekkans a few natural weapons (for their beaks and talons) anyway. We'll go ahead and exchange four points for weapons dice; this reduces the final value of their Mental Index to eight (which is still a pretty high number). Now we can determine their Attribute pools: multiplying by 25 (because they're sapient) gives us a final Physical Attribute pool of 150 and a Mental Attribute Pool of 200.
Determine the creature's hit difficulty ratings
Once its Physical Index is known, it's possible to determine the creature's final base hit difficulty (HD) ratings. HD ratings for creatures are dependent upon three things: the base HD ratings determined by the creature's Size Class, its base speed for general movement and the Class of any natural armor it possesses.
A creature's speed provides a modifier to its general hit difficulty (HD) and touch hit difficulty (THD) ratings. To determine this modifier, the creator must subtract ten from the creature's general movement speed, divide the result by five and round the result up to the next integer. The maximum possible modifier is 30; any higher modifies become thirty. If the creature's general movement speed is five kph or less, the modifier becomes -5. For all stationary creatures, the modifier is -10.
The final calculation of a creature's HD ratings is simple enough. The creator must take the base HD ratings and add to them any penalties inflicted due to any natural armor, and then subtract the indicated speed modifier from the HD and THD ratings. The result of these calculations produces the creature's final HD ratings.
We've determined that Poison Gliders are CSC 9 creatures that move at 19 kph and have First Class armor. The base HD ratings for CSC 9 are 62/50/62. First Class natural armor inflicts a +2 HD/THD/FHD penalty; adding it to the base ratings gives us 64/52/64. We now have to calculate the speed modifier; we subtract ten off the speed (giving us 9) and divide the result by five (giving us 1.8). Rounding that value up, we get a bonus of +2 HD/THD, which we'll then subtract from the HD ratings. The Glider's final HD ratings are therefore 62/50/64.
We can figure out the ratings of the Firekkans similarly. The base value for any CSC 6 creature is 53/50/53. Firekkans have no natural armor, so no HD modifiers for armor apply in this case. We have general movement speeds of 70 and 67 kph for female and male Firekkans respectively. We can subtract ten off these speeds (60 and 57) and divide the resultant amounts by five (12 and 11.4); the results of rounding in both cases is twelve, so we'll wind up with a single HD value for the Firekkans. Subtracting twelve from the HD and THD gives us our final HD ratings for the Firekkans, which turns out to be 41/38/53.
Determine the creature's Value as a Commodity
A lifeform's value as a commodity is based on three main criteria: its niche, its relative level of intelligence (as indicated by its Mental Index value) and its desirability. Of these criteria, niche and intelligence are crucial for determining the relative worth of a lifeform, while desirability acts as a modifier. Note that this step is not limited to non-sapient races; sapient trafficking is alive and well in the 27th Century as demonstrated by the potential for slave trading in Privateer.
Simply put, desirability indicates whether or not anybody wants to buy the lifeform. If a creator hasn't done so in their concept, this would be a good time to consider what races might be willing to buy the lifeform and (assuming any purchasing species inhabits more than one world) at what specific worlds/bases the lifeform is desired. A creator can get as detailed as they'd like as to the reasons why their lifeform is as desirable as it is, though this is not strictly speaking necessary. There may also be several reasons why a lifeform is undesirable (such as inedibility, a particularly annoying quality such as it making a constant noise, the requirement of an extremely expensive enclosure for storage, etc.). In the event that the lifeform is not desirable to anyone, its value can simply be set at zero and the rest of this step can be skipped.
If a lifeform is desirable, it may be that it has qualities which would make it more or less valuable than normal for a creature of its size and level of relative intelligence. For all desirable lifeforms, a series of die rolls needs to be made in order to establish the exact amount by which the lifeform's desirability affects its value. The designer must roll 2d10 and find the result of the roll on the following table, making any subsequent rolls as indicated.
|0-2||Roll on the High Table and reduce the lifeform's value by the indicated amount, then Roll on the Low Table and reduce the lifeform's value by the indicated amount.|
|3-4||Roll on the High Table and reduce the lifeform's value by the indicated amount, then Roll on the Low Table and increase the lifeform's value by the indicated amount.|
|5-6||Roll on the Low Table and reduce the lifeform's value by the indicated amount.|
|7-11||Do not roll on either table; desirability does not affect the lifeform's value.|
|12-13||Roll on the Low Table and increase the lifeform's value by the indicated amount.|
|14-15||Roll on the High Table and increase the lifeform's value by the indicated amount, then Roll on the Low Table and reduce the lifeform's value by the indicated amount.|
|16-18||Roll on the High Table and increase the lifeform's value by the indicated amount, then Roll on the Low Table and increase the lifeform's value by the indicated amount.|
|2d10 Result||Amount Added/Subtracted|
|0||Roll d%; affect the amount by the result as a percentage.|
|1-18||Multiply the result by ten (if increasing value) or by five (if reducing value); affect the amount by the result as a percentage.|
|1d10 Result||Amount Added/Subtracted|
|0||Roll d%; affect the result as a direct amount.|
|1-3||Do not change the current amount.|
|4-5||25; affect the result as a direct amount.|
|6-7||50; affect the result as a direct amount.|
|8-9||75; affect the result as a direct amount.|
Figuring up a lifeform's value is simple and can be accomplished as soon as its Mental Index value has been determined. The designer needs simply to multiply the lifeform's Mental Index value by ¤100 and add the resultant value to the base amount indicated by its niche. They must then adjust that amount by the amount indicated as a result of the desirability roll(s). The final amount is the lifeform's commodity value per unit. In the event that the lifeform's value is zero or less after the result of the desirability roll is factored in, the designer may use ¤10 as its value (or roll for desirability again). If the resultant value seems too high, the creator may multiply it by the creature's volume, rounding up to the next whole credit.
We know that the Poison Glider is a carnivorous consumer from earlier discussion and we also recorded the base Value '(¤600) 'for that niche. We've also determined that the Glider has a Mental Index of nine, so the contribution of its intelligence to its base Value is ¤900 (9 * 100 = 900). We add those values together and get ¤1,500 (¤600 + ¤900 = ¤1,500). The Glider did have some buyers in its source game (indicating desirability), so we now need to make a 2d10 roll for its desirability. The result is sixteen, indicating an increase in value on both tables. The roll on the high table is a ten. We therefore increase the value by 100%; the value increases to ¤3,000 (¤1,500 + ¤1,500 = ¤3,000). Finally, we throw on the low table; the result is a two, so no additional changes are made. The final value of the Glider is ¤3,000.
Firekkans are sapient, but that doesn't stop them from having a value as a commodity (indeed, there is evidence from Secret Missions 2 and Freedom Flight that the Kilrathi took some Firekkans as slaves, so a monetary value for them makes even more sense). They are carnivorous consumers, so they have a base value of ¤600. We determined their Mental Index value was eight, so we'll add '¤'800 to that value and get '¤'1,400. A 14 is the result of the initial roll for their desirability, so we'll need to add the result of a roll from the high table and subtract one from the low table. The 2d10 roll on the high table results out as a one, so we add a mere ten percent to the current value, raising the value to '¤'1,540 ('¤'1400 + '¤'140 = '¤'1,540). We then roll 1d10 for the low table and get a six for the result, so we have to subtract '¤'50 from the value; the final value of the Firekkans is ¤1,490.
Determine the creature's Life Phase thresholds and Lifespan
A final set of data that can be directly determined by a lifeform's size, niche, symmetry and Mental Index is its maximum potential lifespan. As with height and weight, this aspect of a lifeform may vary from individual to individual. It is not necessary to determine this information for a non-sapient creature, but the creator may still do so at their own discretion. Note that this step produces a maximum potential lifespan. It doesn't necessarily follow that an individual will live as long of a life as possible; war, disease, predation, famine and any number of other factors can reduce an individual lifeform's lifespan significantly (an example of this phenomenon is the Kilrathi as a species; a good number of their males die fairly early in their life cycles due to a lifetime spent in war - even if they are lucky enough to make it to adolescence first).
To determine a lifeform's maximum potential lifespan, the designer must take its Size Class (not its volume) and multiply it by the factor indicated by its symmetry; the result is a base maximum lifespan value. This base value applies for all lifeforms. If the lifeform is sapient, a value equal to ten times its Mental Index may subsequently be added to the base lifespan value regardless of the lifeform's level of technological development. This subsequent step can be done at the creator's discretion; they may very well want to have a relatively short-lived sapient lifeform. Skipping this step should be considered carefully for any kind of "uplifted" sapient lifeform (i.e. one that has only recently achieved sapience).
Once any adjustments have been made to the base lifespan value for sapience (if applicable), a further adjustment for a few special cases may be necessary. The first of these special cases is for photosynthetic producers; their base lifespan value is multiplied by 10 (plants in particular tend to have exceptionally long lifespans). Photosynthetic consumers multiply their base lifespan value by 5 instead, as does any lifeform that can use photosynthesis as a secondary means of gaining energy regardless of whether they are a producer or a consumer. Any animal lifeform that lacks a hard skeleton of any type (amoebae, jellyfish, etc.) must multiply their lifespan value by ½, rounding any remainder to the nearest tenth of a year. Any lifeform that is an "offshoot" of another race may adopt their parent race's lifespan at the designer's discretion. Finally, microscopic lifeforms will need to have their maximum base lifespan value set in units of months rather than years (even if they're sapient).
After any applicable adjustments for special cases have been made, the designer must make a 2d10 roll to throw in an additional "random factor" that will either serve to increase or decrease the species' maximum lifespan, resulting in a final maximum potential lifespan value. The potential outcomes of this die roll are outlined in the table below.
|2d10 Result Range||Effect|
|0||Decrease maximum lifespan by 75%|
|1-2||Decrease maximum lifespan by 50%|
|3-5||Decrease maximum lifespan by 25%|
|6-12||No effect (100%)|
|13-15||Increase maximum lifespan by 25%|
|16-17||Increase maximum lifespan by 50%|
|18||Increase maximum lifespan by 75%|
With their maximum potential lifespan value set, it becomes possible to determine the boundaries of the creature's life stages. Assuming it finally dies of old age, a creature's life from the time it is born to the time it dies is divided into six phases: Childhood, Adolescence, Adult, Middle Age, Old Age, and Venerable Age. The effects that life stages have on a character are discussed in Chapter 2.3; the same set of effects also applies to creatures in general. The creature creation process makes the assumption that a lifeform being created is in the Adult stage; if this is not the case, an adjustment for the creature's Life Phase will need to be made during the final derivation of its derived statistics. If a creature's childhood form is totally different from its Adult form (say for an insectoid form of life), it may be best to create a separate creature that reflects the pre-Adult life phases.
Determining the age at which a lifeform enters a given life phase requires a little bit of math. This is because a life phase is expressed as a percentage of the lifeform's final lifespan value. Each life phase has a range of potential percentage values. A creator may either select a specific percentage from the range indicated or make the corresponding 1d10 roll to select a percentage randomly.
|Life Phase|| Max Lifespan Percentage|
|Childhood|| 0%-(Adolescence Age)|
|Middle Age|| 25%-34%|
|Old Age|| 44%-53%|
|Venerable Age|| 58%-67%|
Note that for creatures with relatively short lifespans (20 years or less), it is acceptable to list the boundaries of their life phases in tenths-of-years; the designer needs only to round the result of the percentage calculation to the nearest tenth of a year. For longer-lived lifeforms, any rounding of the calculation should be done to the nearest full year, even if doing so places a boundary out of the recommended range for a given phase.
With the boundaries of their life phases determined, all that remains is to determine the final lifespan roll. This roll determines the age at which an individual member of the species will die of natural causes; it is made once they reach Venerable Age. Death is not necessarily immediate once the creature reaches the determined lifespan age, but they will die before reaching the next year (or tenth-of-year for short-lived creatures).
A creature's lifespan roll always has the following form:
(venerable age threshold + modulus) + (xd5 or xd10)
To determine a creature's Lifespan roll, the designer must subtract its Venerable Age threshold from its maximum potential lifespan and note the result. Lifespan rolls are made with rolls of xd5 or xd10 (it should be noted that this is one of the cases where a roll of zero on 1d10 counts as ten), so it's important that the final result of the subtraction be evenly divisible by five or ten. If the result isn't evenly divisible by either five or ten, any remainder must be added to the lifeform's Venerable Age threshold. This remainder is the indicated "modulus" in the lifespan roll formula shown above and it basically serves as a "free" period over the Venerable Age threshold that the lifeform will live (it should be noted that the modulus will never affect the already-determined Venerable Age threshold itself). It's important that the remainder be as small as possible; whichever die type produces the smallest remainder should be selected for the lifespan roll. For example, let's say that for a given lifeform the result of the subtraction is 39. If you divide that by ten (for an xd10 roll), you get a result of 3 and a remainder of nine. If you divide it by five, you get 7 and a remainder of four. In this case, dividing by five produces the smaller remainder and so 7d5 should be selected). If the remainder happens to be zero for both five and ten, the smaller overall number of dice should be selected for the lifespan roll (this will usually be the xd10 roll).
While we really don't need information about the Poison Glider's life cycle, nothing says we couldn't use it; a character group might stumble across a nest of baby Gliders and they might be forced to combat both them and their angry mother...
It's been well established at this point that the Glider is a CSC 9 creature with a volume of two cubic meters. We also know that it's a Bilateral lifeform, which gives it a *6 multiplier to the maximum potential lifespan; this gives the Glider a base maximum potential lifespan of 54 (9 * 6 = 54). It's a non-sapient creature, so it gets no bonus from its impressive Mental Index. It also doesn't fit any of the special cases, so it gets no bonuses there either. We'll roll 2d10 for random factors; the result is an eleven, so no adjustments of any kind need to be made. The maximum potential lifespan of a Poison Glider is therefore 54 years.
We're going to leave the determination of the boundaries of its life phases to chance, so we'll make five quick d10 rolls and record the results. The results are 8, 9, 7, 4 and 3. It will therefore reach Adolescence at 12% (4+8=12), Adulthood at 22% (13+9=22), Middle Age at 32% (25+7=32), Old Age at 48% (44+4=48), and Venerable Age at 61% (58+3=61). The Glider has a fairly long lifespan, so we'll round the boundaries to whole years. It therefore reaches Adolescence at 6 years (0.12 * 54 = 6.48, rounds to 6), Adulthood at 12 years, Middle Age at 17 years, Old Age at 26 years and Venerable Age at 33 years.
We now need to determine the final lifespan roll. We have a margin of 21 years to account for; we can translate that either to a 4d5 roll or a 2d10 die roll and tack the extra year (the modulus) in either case to the end of the Venerable Age. To make things interesting, let’s make it a 4d5 roll; it's not what we're supposed to do according to the procedure but we're going to do it anyway. The Glider's final lifespan roll will therefore be 34 + 4d5 years.
Now let's perform the calculations for the Firekkans. We know they're CSC 6 creatures and that they're Bilateral, so we multiply six times six and get 36 for their base maximum potential lifespan. They are sapient with a Mental Index value of eight, so we'll add eighty to the base value, which gives us 116. No special cases apply. A thirteen is the result of the random factor roll, so we increase the value by 25%. The final maximum potential lifespan of a Firekkan is 145 years.
We'll again leave the determination of life phases to chance. The d10 rolls result as 0 (which translates to 10), 5, 2, 6, and 2. This translates to Adolescence at 20 years, Adulthood at 26 years, Middle Age at 39 years, Old Age at 73 years and Venerable Age at 87 years. We have a margin of 58 years to account for; that will translate to an 11d5 roll with a three year modulus. The final lifespan roll for the Firekkans is 90 + 11d5 years.
Determine the creature's Discipline point pool, if applicable.
Sapient Only Step.
The seven Disciplines used in WCRPG are the exclusive domain of sapient races. If the creature being created is non-sapient, its creator can skip this step; it will have a pool of zero points to spend on Discipline Skills. Note that non-sapient races still have access to Attributes and Attribute Skills as normal. Any abilities that a non-sapient creature may need that would ordinarily require a Discipline Skill can be covered as a specialization of the Performance Skill or through special abilities (as discussed later in this sub-Chapter).
The number of points that will be available in the Discipline point pool of a sapient species can be determined as soon as their Physical and Mental Index scores have established. The potential number of points allowed for a given species is determined by their technological level (which is merely an indication of how advanced a species is). The designer should have included the desired technological level for their creation in their design concept; if this is not case, they may select a technological level at random at this point or roll d% and reference the result on the following table. To determine the actual number of points a species will have in the Discipline point pool, the designer may either select a value within the range indicated on the table (in multiples of five only) or make the indicated die roll.
|d% Result||Creature Tech Level||General Description||Number of Points Available|
|00-24||Stone Age||Prehistoric, stone and bone tools, very limited technologies|| 0-20|
|25-49||Metal Age||Pre-industrial, metallic tools, large variance between earlier to later years; represents the bulk of Human history|| 15-60|
|50-74||Industrial Age||Automated tools, introduction of advanced technologies up to the beginning of interstellar travel; 1850s-2100s in Human civilization|| 60-150|
|75-99||Starfaring Age||Species regularly conducts interstellar travel|| 150-330|
The Glider is a non-sapient creature, so it skips this step. Its Discipline point pool has zero points in it. Period.
Fortunately, we have the Firekkans to help us out with this step. We know that they're a Starfaring Age race (a recent one, but Starfaring nonetheless) from Secret Missions 2 and from Freedom Flight. We can go ahead and make the indicated roll for a Starfaring Age race; a seven is the result of the indicated 2d10 roll, so the Firekkans will have a total of 220 points in their Discipline point pool ((7 * 10) + 150 = 70 + 150 = 220).
Determine if the creature has any special abilities
Most of a creature's basic characteristics will have been determined by the time the number of points in its Discipline point pool has been set. The next step in the creation process is to determine if the creature has any kind of special abilities or restrictions. Special abilities are any kind of unusual quality that serves to enhance some aspect of a creature. These abilities may include qualities often unavailable to characters, giving the creature an advantage during a confrontation. The creator should reference their creature concept and select any special abilities and/or restrictions that best describe what it should be able to do, if those abilities haven't already been explained earlier in the creation process.
If the creator so desires, they may assign Traits as listed in Chapter Four as special abilities for their creature. This should be done with careful consideration as any assigned Traits will affect the entire species. There are some limitations on what Traits may be assigned to an entire species. No species can be assigned the Comeliness, Wealth, Social Status or Education variable Traits. Reputation can be assigned to an entire species, provided it is assigned in relation to some characteristic of their being. Contacts cannot be assigned to an entire species, while Ambidexterity can be assigned to any species. All other Talents are restricted to sapient beings only. Most Complications may be used; any species may be assigned the Allergic, Bleeder, Curious, Hunted, Intolerant, Addicted, or Phobic Complications, while Creed, Greedy and Honest may be assigned to sapient creatures only. When a Trait is assigned to a creature, all individual members of that species will automatically have it; they neither give nor cost that member any building points.
Creatures may have a number of special qualities other than Traits. The following table contains a list of non-Trait qualities that can be given to creatures in WCRPG. Note that some special abilities may not be assigned to certain lifeforms. Where there are restrictions, they will be so noted in the ability's description.
|Biological/Chemical Weaponry||The creature is capable of making an attack that directly delivers a biological or chemical agent to its target (including diseases, venom, acid, etc.). The creator may select a specific effect listed in Chapter 12.3 or use those effects as a guideline. Can be combined with a direct damage attack or used as a special attack on its own. The lifeform must belong to a niche capable of delivering the specific form of attack desired.|
|Bioluminescence||The lifeform is capable of generating its own light source naturally. Can be used as a Lure (see below) if desired. Provides bright light in a radius of up to ten meters and dim light in a radius up to sixty meters from the emitting body part.|
|Combined Organs||The lifeform has at least one body part that also performs the functions of another body part (for example, a creature's motor appendages can also be used as its propulsive appendages). For purposes of determining hit locations in combat, the part in question is considered to be its "primary category" (in the previous example, if the appendages are primarily considered motor appendages, they will take damage when motor appendages are indicated but not propulsive appendages).|
|Constrict||The lifeform has the ability to squeeze an opponent in an attempt to deal direct damage and/or to suffocate them (see Chapter 9.2 for details). To have this ability, the lifeform must have a motor or propulsive appendage capable of wrapping around another being (such as a tentacle, arm, vine, etc.), or a worm-like/snake-like physique (a proportionality constant greater than 12.000).|
|Directed Eyesight||The lifeform's visual organs are capable of being moved in such a way as to shift the center of the lifeform's field of vision. The amount of redirection may be set at the discretion of the designer to a maximum of 180°. This ability requires the lifeform to have at least one visual organ.|
|Enhanced Visual Sense||The lifeform has the ability to see in conditions of low to no incident radiation or in bandwidths other than the visual spectrum. The creator must specify in which bandwidths the lifeform is able to see. This ability requires the lifeform to have at least one visual organ.|
|Esper Potential||The lifeform has some kind of psionic ability; this can include any kind of telepathic, clairvoyant, precognitive or psychokinetic ability. This includes the ability to reduce or enhance damage to itself or other creatures. Psionic abilities are assigned at a creator's discretion; they must be specific about what abilities their creature has.|
|Extra Resistance/Healing||The lifeform has the ability to heal faster than normal and/or has natural damage reduction. If the lifeform can heal quickly, replace the words "hour" with "round" and "rounds" with "seconds" for all natural healing functions and Checks. If the lifeform has damage reduction, an amount of damage equal to five times its Size Class can be ignored from any attack successfully made against the creature. This ability requires the lifeform to have a combined natural armor Class and Physical Index rating of eight or higher.|
|Improved Grab||The lifeform has the ability to grab and hold an opponent much more easily than most other lifeforms. After a successful Melee attack, the creature may immediately attempt to Grapple as a free action without provoking an Opportunity attack in the process. This ability requires the lifeform to have at least one motor appendage or gustatory organ.|
|Lure||The lifeform possesses some kind of custom lure; this can be visual, olfactory, or auditory in nature. If the lifeform encounters an opponent capable of perceiving the lure, the opponent must make two successful Willpower Saves in a row each round or start moving directly towards the lure; the opponent can do nothing else while moving towards the lure.|
|Multiple Movement Modes||The lifeform has two or more modes of movement. One movement mode is primary; that movement mode will determine the lifeform's speed ratings. Other possible speeds must be calculated for the additional movement modes.|
|Natural Ranged Attack||The lifeform is capable of making a ranged attack of a nature that is not easily emulated by character-scale weapons (such as showering an attacker with molten rock). All natural ranged attacks are considered Special Attacks. Any additional effects of the attack may be added at the creator's discretion.|
|Natural Stealth||The lifeform has the capability of blending in with its surroundings in some manner; this usually means visual stealth but also covers other camouflaging methods (such as the ability to mask its own infrared output). The specific type of camouflage must be indicated by the creator. Typical effects include bonuses to HD (but not THD or FHD) and Hiding and Seeking Checks performed in order to hide.|
|Natural Weapon-Like Attack||The creature has at least one natural attack or defensive ability that behaves in a manner similar to one of the weapons listed in Chapter 5.2. The ability to generate electric shocks can be emulated by any creature using Dazzler equivalents; for all other weapons, a lifeform must be classified as exotic in order to have this ability.|
|Regeneration||The lifeform has the ability to regenerate lost limbs or organs. In the event the lifeform is maimed, it may make one Recuperation Check per day for the express purpose of attempting to regrow the lost organ. The degree of success equals a number of "healing points" gained, which count towards the regrowth of the lost organ and accumulates over time. Any failure of the Check does not reduce the number of healing points gained. When the accumulated number of healing points equals the creature's HP, it has regrown the lost organ. This ability cannot be applied to a lifeform's Cognitive Organ,|
|Special Atmosphere||The lifeform has an unusual atmospheric requirement; this can include an uncommon gaseous element or molecular compounds in a non-gaseous state. If the lifeform's current environment does not include the required substance, they must immediately begin Checks for suffocation (see Chapter 12.3).|
|Swallow Whole||The lifeform has the capability of swallowing opposing lifeforms or prey sufficiently smaller than itself without the need to chew first. See Chapter 9.2 for details. To have this ability, the lifeform must have at least one gustatory organ.|
|Synthetic Lifeform||The lifeform is artificial in nature. Synthetic lifeforms have a special set of rules which are discussed in the next section.|
|Terrifying Presence||The lifeform's appearance is such that the sight of it strikes fear into the hearts of most other lifeforms. When encountered, any opponent must make two successful Willpower Saves in a row every minute (three if the lifeform's Size Class is at least twice that of its target) or become Shaken.|
|Trample||The lifeform has the capability of run over and crush any sufficiently smaller opponent without stopping (see Chapter 9.2 for details). To have this ability, the lifeform must be a runner.|
|Weapons Resistance||The lifeform is resistant to a particular kind of weapon (laser, missile, plasma cannon, etc.) or to a particular weapon effect (fire, ice, electric shock, etc.). The creator must specify what a lifeform is resistant to at the time of its creation. If hit by a weapon to which the creature is resistant, a GM must count the weapon as being five Classes lower than it actually is before applying damage. If hit by a weapon that causes an effect to which the lifeform is resistant, the effect does not apply (though the weapon will still inflict a normal amount of damage). Lifeforms may only be resistant to one specific effect.|
Finally, a species may be assigned automatic specializations in Attribute Skills (but not Discipline Skills). These specializations may be used to indicate species-wide aptitude in a Skill (for example, a species whose members who are known to be strong swimmers may have a species-wide "Swimming" Three-Dimensional Maneuvers specialization). A species should be limited to less than half a dozen of these specializations at the most.
Given what we already know about it, we can make a few easy decisions about special qualities for the Glider. Taking a quick glance at Traits, Senses is an obvious Variable Trait; we'll give it +5 for eyesight to help it track prey. None of the rest of the Traits are obvious fits, so to keep things relatively simple we'll say that's it. For non-Trait qualities, Biological/Chemical Weaponry is necessary (given that the Glider "is capable of delivering a potent poison"). We'll make the poison capable of causing fifteen points of Lethal Damage every minute until a successful Fortitude Save is made or unless someone makes a successful Specialized Medicine Check on the victim's behalf. We'll also give it Enhanced Visual Sense to make things interesting; we'll say it can see in infrared. Finally, we've already indicated the Glider can fly in addition to walking, so Multiple Movement Modes is another necessary quality. We won't add any specializations to the Gliders; they may be able to fly, but they probably aren't exceptionally good at it.
As for the Firekkans, we've already said they are flyers first and walkers second and so Multiple Movement Modes is definitely a must. None of the other non-Trait special abilities seem to make sense for them. Going through the list of available Traits, Senses (Sight) is a good choice given their bird-of-prey-like nature; we'll give it to them at +5. Navigational Sense also makes sense, again given their nature; we'll also set this at +5. For Complications, Hunted may be a good choice given the nature of their relationship with the Kilrathi; we'll go ahead and give it to them, setting it at -5. Finally, since they are probably very good flyers, we can give them an automatic Three-Dimensional Maneuvers Skill specialization in Flight; we'll put this at fifteen points.
A Quick Word about Synthetic Lifeforms
Synthetic lifeforms are unique as they are not naturally occurring. As such, they are subject to their own set of rules both during the course of an adventure and during their creation process. The following section discusses the specific changes to their rules. Lifeform designers will need to keep these rules in mind when making a synthetic creation; if their creation is non-synthetic, these rules should be ignored.
Synthetic lifeforms automatically have a Physical Index score of ten but may not have a Mental Index greater than five. This is because they are usually made out of materials (such as durable plastics and metals) that are stronger than those that make up almost all biological lifeforms. Conversely, the level of intelligence of a synthetic lifeform will be limited by the language used in its programming; even the most sophisticated computer programming languages can't fully emulate the natural mental capabilities of most species.
Synthetic lifeforms are immune to a wide array of adverse environmental effects. They are immune to any effects that influence the mind (i.e. require Willpower Saves), atmospheric effects, poisons, natural diseases and any effects that require a Fortitude Save (unless the effect also works on objects). They are also immune to anything that would cause them to become hungry or fall asleep, though synthetic lifeforms may require a recharge cycle that can emulate either or both of these effects. For details on how these environmental effects affect biological lifeforms, see Chapters 9.2 and 12.3. Note that while they are immune to poisons and natural diseases, synthetic lifeforms can still be "infected" with malware, which can be set to have similar effects. Finally, synthetic lifeforms never become Shaken or Dazed.
Synthetic lifeforms have no natural healing ability. Repairing a synthetic lifeform must be done by a qualified cyberneticist and requires the Mechanics Skill (which acts in the same manner as the Long Term Care Skill does for non-artificial life). The amount of damage that can be repaired at any one time is limited to no more than the number of points in the synthetic lifeform's Recuperation Skill. In regards to taking damage, synthetic lifeforms always have no Reproductive Organs and may or may not have certain body parts (Sensory Organs, Motor Appendages, Propulsive Appendages) depending upon its overall design. If a synthetic lifeform is reduced to zero HP, its body is immediately destroyed. This does not necessarily cause the lifeform's death; it does, however, knock a full year off the lifeform's next maintenance cycle (which will also be explained shortly). On a positive note, synthetic lifeforms are not subject to Non-Lethal Damage or any further effects of massive attacks other than the inflicted damage. Any Wounds inflicted on a synthetic lifeform do not cause additional Lethal Damage, but will reduce the period of the lifeform's next maintenance cycle by one month. For information about how these effects normally affect characters, see Chapter 9.2.
The key component of any synthetic lifeform is its central processor, which serves as its Cognitive Organ. The only way to completely kill off a synthetic lifeform is for this processor to be destroyed; failure of the Cognitive Organ has the same effect as reducing a non-synthetic lifeform to zero HP. If a synthetic lifeform's "brain" can be recovered after its frame has been destroyed, there is a good chance it can be "resurrected" by placing it inside a new frame. Installing a synthetic lifeform’s brain in a new frame requires 10 minutes of work, an Engineering Toolkit, and a successful Mechanics Skill Check (preferably with a Cybernetics specialization). If successful, the lifeform retains all its memories and any training or additional programming it had received to that point, though any physical modification unique to the old frame is lost. Subsequent Checks can be made if the initial Check fails, but half a year is reduced off the lifeform's next maintenance cycle for each failed attempt; if through failure the amount of time to the next cycle is reduced to zero months or less, the brain will not accept a new frame and the lifeform is lost at that point. These Checks have critical potential: in the event of critical success, no time until the next maintenance cycle is reduced for any prior failure or even for the lifeform's "death". In the event of a critical failure, the brain is destroyed outright.
For all their advantages, synthetic lifeforms are still lifeforms, which among other things means that they have to deal with the adverse effects of aging. Rather than life phases, synthetic lifeforms use maintenance cycles. All synthetic lifeforms should have an "initial maintenance cycle" listed in their profiles, which indicates the amount of time that passes between the time the lifeform is initially brought on-line and its first maintenance cycle. When the period of the maintenance cycle has ended, a GM running an adventure/campaign in which the synthetic lifeform is a participant will roll 1d% and compare the result to the table below for any adverse effects of that cycle. The period of subsequent maintenance cycles is half the amount of time of the previous maintenance cycle (e.g. a synthetic lifeform with an initial cycle of twenty years will have their next cycle after ten more years, the one after that will be after another five years, the one after that after two and a half years, and so on). The time between maintenance cycles can be reduced via Wounds and via destruction of the lifeform's frame (being reduced to zero HP). Once the time between maintenance cycles reaches one month or less, no further months are subtracted from the period between maintenance cycles, but a cumulative -1 penalty of is inflicted to the roll per subsequent maintenance cycle.
|≤00||Total Primary CPU/Memory Core hardware failure occurs. The lifeform goes BSOD and fails completely (dies). An attempt to transfer the lifeform's memory into a new brain can be done if it is attempted within 24 hours of failure. The procedure requires three successful Mechanics Skill Checks involving some manner of Cybernetics specialization. If successful, the memories and personality of the lifeform are preserved along with any software upgrades made since the lifeform came on-line. The failure of any of the Checks results in the lifeform's permanent loss.|
|01-04||The software controlling the flow of the lifeform's power supply becomes corrupted. Every 1d5 days, the lifeform will shut down completely for a period of 1+1d10 hours, with a 5% chance (four or less on a d% roll) of an explosive overload occurring at some point during the shutdown period, destroying the lifeform's frame (zero HP). The problem can be corrected with two successful Mechanics Skill Checks involving some manner of Cybernetics specialization. The Checks have critical potential: on a critical failure of either Check, the lifeform detonates.|
|05-09||Total hardware failure occurs in the lifeform's main sensory processing junction; it immediately loses all sensory capabilities. The junction can be replaced with two successful Mechanics Skill Checks involving some manner of Cybernetics specialization. The Checks have critical potential: on a critical failure of either Check, the failure cannot be corrected without moving the brain to a new frame.|
|10-14||Intermittent hardware failures occur in the lifeform's main sensory processing junction, occurring at intervals of 1d5 days and lasting for 2d10 hours. During those sensory blackouts, the lifeform loses all sensory capabilities. The junction can be replaced with a successful Mechanics Skill Checks involving some manner of Cybernetics specialization. The Check has critical potential: on a critical failure, the failure cannot be corrected without moving the brain to a new frame.|
|15-19||Total hardware failure occurs in the lifeform's main motor/propulsive processing servo junction; it immediately loses control over its motor and propulsive appendages. The junction can be replaced with a successful Mechanics Check. This Check has critical potential: on a critical failure, the failure cannot be corrected without moving the brain to a new frame.|
|20-24||Intermittent hardware failures occur in the lifeform's motor/propulsive processing servo junction, occurring at intervals of 1d5 days and lasting for 2d10 hours. During these periods, the lifeform loses control over their motor and propulsive appendages. The junction can be replaced with a successful Mechanics Check. This Check has critical potential: on a critical failure, total hardware failure occurs.|
|25-29||A random failure occurs in the lifeform's frame, affecting its Sensory Organs, Motor Appendages, or Propulsive Appendages. The failure can be corrected with a successful Mechanics Check. This Check has critical potential: on a critical failure, the damaged part remains damaged (a subsequent attempt may be made to fix it) but a subsequent failure may occur; the GM must roll again for another effect on this table.|
|29-99||The lifeform suffers no ill effects this maintenance cycle.|
Compose the creature's physical description
By this point in the procedure, the creator should have enough information to write a physical description of their creature. This can either be a short descriptive blurb (which is good enough for most non-sapient races) or a full biological summary (which is what's seen with sapient races). The method for composing a full summary will be discussed, as that kind of description requires the highest level of detail. This step is not as quantitative as previous steps in the procedure and will require some careful thought by the creator.
A creature's physical description is more than a summary of what it looks like (although that's a big part of it). It is an opportunity for the creator to get particularly creative, adding depth and personality to their lifeform. This is when a creator can determine their creature's disposition, the environment for which it is best suited, what its specific place in the food chain is, how the species continues itself, and so forth.
When determining their lifeform's appearance, a creator can be as specific as they'd like. The first thing to consider when writing a creature's description is its external appearance; some examples of exterior coverings an exoskeleton, scale, fur, skin, hair, feathers, metallic armor, etc. Determining the creature's exterior is an important step as it helps to determine the environment for which it is best suited. If it has thick fur, it would do well in a polar environment. If it has been given Natural Stealth as a special ability, it'd do well in an area that complements its specific type of camouflage. If it has green skin, forests may give it the opportunity to blend in and hide without formal camouflage. When determining their creature's outward appearance, the creator should be fairly detailed and include information such as color patterns or specular traits such as shininess.
Once its exterior is finished, the creator should move on to specifics regarding the creature's sensory organs, manipulators and any natural weapons. This information is important not only because they allow the creature to interact with their environment, but also it provides information on possible hit locations in combat (without which the creature is far more vulnerable to certain types of damage). Creatures may have any of the five senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch), though it's not a given that a creature has all of them. In general, in order for a creature to possess a sense, it must be given at least one of the correct kind of corresponding organ - visual organs for sight, auditory organs for hearing, olfactory organs for smell and gustatory organs for taste. If a sensory organ is required by one of the lifeform's special abilities, it must be given that organ at this point. It's generally assumed that a creature automatically has the sense of touch (the tactile sense) by virtue of its central nervous system (regardless of its specific form). The creator should record the exact number of specific sensory organs the creature has. A lifeform can be given as many of a particular kind of sensory organ as its creator wishes, though for combat purposes there is a point when a creature has so many of one type of organ that it's impossible for it to lose that sense entirely; such a creature has "Numerous" organs of that type.
One important aspect of any creature that has visual organs is its field of vision, which determines whether or not it has line of sight on its target during combat situations. The creator should take the time to consider carefully how big of an arc into which their creature can see. As a general rule, a creature's field of vision is going to be determined by the location and type of visual organs on their body (simple eyes sunken into depressions in a creature's head are not going to afford nearly as big of a visual arc as a convex compound eye on the creature's exterior). As a general rule, it’s better for a creator to determine the peripheral arc first and the optimal arc second. If a creator needs a hard, fast rule for determining the size of the optimal arc, they can use a value equal to 60% of the peripheral arc.
With sensory organs determined, the creator can turn their attention to manipulators. Manipulators come in two general forms, Propulsive Appendages and Motor Appendages. Propulsive Appendages enable a lifeform to move; some examples include legs, tentacles, pseudopodia, cilia, wings, flotation sacks and fins. More exotic examples (not seen in nature - or at least not on Earth) may include wheels, treads and rotors. The number and kind of propulsive appendages given to the creature should be dependent upon its previously established mode of transit. Motor Appendages allow a lifeform to manipulate objects in their environment; some examples include arms, tentacles, pseudopodia, vines, stems, and branches. Creatures may also use their mouths in this capacity if they have them, though generally a mouth is not considered a primary motor appendage. The number and type of both Motor and Propulsive Appendages should definitely be included in the text portion of the creature's physical description.
A creature may or may not possess natural weaponry. Natural weapons are generally used for self-defense and/or catching prey. There are five general categories of natural weapons: biting, clawing, slapping, goring, and special. Biting weapons generally use mechanical leverage to inflict damage on a target and are situated such that any chunks bitten off the target immediately enter the creature's digestive tract as a comestible. Some examples of natural biting weapons include teeth, beaks and mandibles. Claws are weapons that also use mechanical leverage to inflict damage, with the main difference between them and biting weapons being the lack of association with a lifeform's digestive tract. Examples of clawing weapons include claws and pincers. Slapping, slamming or punching weapons are natural bludgeoning tools. Generally a creature's motor and/or propulsive appendages can be used for this purpose; examples of slapping weapons include hands, tails, feet, and tentacles. Goring weapons are similar to slapping weapons; their main difference is that they are designed to pierce the target (not bludgeon it). When combined with poison, these weapons are sometimes called stings. Some examples of goring weapons include stingers, horns, antlers, quills, thorns and tusks. Finally, creatures with special weapons may be externally placed organs that complement their other weapons (such as a poison sac for a venomous creature) or a completely different class of weapon in its own right (such as a conic snout to help direct psionic energies). Natural weapons tend to be more common in non-sapient than sapient beings, though there is no real reason why a sapient creature couldn't be given natural weaponry (the Kilrathi are a great example here; they are renowned for the use of their claws). The creator should record whether or not the creature has any natural weapons and make note of them in the creature's physical description. The effects and amount of damage of any natural weaponry a creature possesses will be determined in the next step.
One last thing to consider about a creature's manipulators, weaponry and sensory organs is how they use these features to communicate. Most creatures have ways of communicating with other creatures (with other members of the same species in particular). Methods of communication most commonly involve the generation of sound, but can also include pheromonal releases, color changes, gesticulation, etc. A creator may select any communication method they wish for their lifeform as long as it is in keeping with the composition of their organs (it'd be difficult for a creature to use gesticulation as their mode of communication if they have no motor or propulsive appendages, and it'd be difficult for a member of a species to communicate with other members of the same species via sound generation if none of them have auditory organs).
The creature’s disposition should be determined next. Disposition is a fancy word that describes a creature's aggressiveness (how willing it is to stand and fight rather than running away). Most creatures will try to avoid anything larger than they themselves are and will prefer to run if it is a viable option. All animals will fight to defend their territory, to defend their young or to prevent predation. Predatory species will also fight to predate on prey creatures; this includes primary consumers (herbivores), which "attack" plants and other producer species. Generally creatures choose to feed on other creatures that are as large as or smaller than they themselves are; larger creatures are occasionally prey for a predatory species, though often pack-hunting is required in this case. Some creatures will be more aggressive than their environmental conditions would otherwise suggest. Creatures encountered outside of their natural environment (usually there due to some external force) generally tend to be stressed and therefore more aggressive. The most aggressive creatures will attack for the sake of attacking; these creatures should be the exception rather than the rule. Finally, sapient beings have the capacity for making a conscious decision of whether or not to attack, while non-sapient beings will tend to act on instinct alone.
A lifeform's feeding habits are an important thing that needs to be determined next. By and large, the question of what a creature feeds upon has already been answered through the determination of the creature's niche; this step focuses on the question of how much and how often a creature needs to eat to stave off starvation (for details on starvation, see Chapter 12.3). Related to the question of feeding habits is whether or not the creature requires water or some other liquid volatile to sustain its metabolic processes, and (if it does require such a substance) how much and how often it needs it before dying of thirst (for gameplay purposes, dehydration is considered a form of starvation). As a general rule, larger creatures need to ingest greater amount of food on average as opposed to smaller creatures, which means that they requires larger amounts of food more often. If a creature has a favorite "prey" species, the creator may make a note of it.
The amount of sleep per day that a creature needs should be included in its physical description. Sleep performs many biological functions; among other things, it is required for optimal natural healing. As a general rule, larger creatures and carnivorous species require more sleep than other lifeforms. Lifeforms that do not get the indicated required amount of rest will face the harmful effects of sleep deprivation (see Chapter 12.3).
Finally, a creature's reproductive habits should be determined. This may be a taboo topic for some creators, but it is one of the key biological functions necessary for the continuation of any species, so it's necessary to discuss it. Creators are advised to be sure their mother is nowhere nearby when they go to write this part of their creature's description. Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms are produced; it's how a species continues itself. There are two broad categories of reproductive methods, asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction. Creatures that use asexual reproduction can reproduce without the involvement of another individual; offspring are exact clones of the parent organism. Sexual reproduction requires the involvement of two or more individuals and typically involves the use and exchange of gamete cells specialized to specific genders (females of any species have the largest of these gametes). There are a small number of species that are capable of both forms of reproduction. The reproductive method used by a species determines a couple of things about it. First, it determines the number of genders the species has; asexual species always have just one single gender, while sexual species have multiple genders, the exact number of which depends upon how many gamete cells are needed to successfully generate another lifeform. Most species that use sexual reproduction have two genders; though there is theoretically no limit, the fewer the number of individuals that have to be involved in the reproductive process, the more successful the lifeform tends to be at reproducing itself. The number of genders in turn helps to determine how many reproductive organs will have. Asexual lifeforms tend to not have any organs dedicated specifically to the purpose of reproduction. Most sexual lifeforms have a single reproductive organ designed either for the delivery or reception of gamete cells during reproductive activities. Sexual lifeforms may have multiple sex organs; it's even possible for different genders in a species to have different numbers of sex organs. The creator should record how many genders there are in their species as well as the exact number of reproductive organs a member of a specific gender has. The reproductive method should also be included in their physical description (particularly if it isn't a clear cut method like those used on Earth) along with information about how long it takes a new member of the species to gestate (develop before birth) and what method of birthing is used (live birth, egg-laying, etc.).
Once they have generated all of the necessary information, the creator can compose a coherent physical description for their creature. While features of the creature may be discussed in a physical description in any order the creator chooses, the following format is recommended. First, the creator should begin with the species niche and transit mode and list any exterior features. They should then put in the information on the creature's average long dimension and mass and discuss the major sensory organs. Some information about the creature's overall level of intelligence and toughness based on its Physical/Mental Index and point pool values relative to other species can be put in next, followed by a discussion of its manipulators and natural weaponry as well as its method of communication. Feeding and sleeping habits can be discussed next, with reproductive habits coming last. A list of the creature's major organs must follow the text description in all cases.
We started the discussion of the Poison Glider with its text description in Starflight II™: A cat-sized, insect-like carnivore. This creature's body is covered with a shiny yellow exoskeleton with a black camouflaging pattern. It has two powerful rear legs for jumping and extendable membranous flaps which allow it to glide long distances. Its front claws are hooked for grasping and it has a small swivel head with one large compound eye. It also has a retractable, needle-like mouthpiece capable of injecting a potent poison. That's a pretty good description as far as a non-sapient race goes (and aside from the part about it being "cat-sized", it’s close to what we've created as well). If we were to write up a full summary instead, the end result might look something like the following:
Poison Gliders are bipedal insect-like carnivorous creatures exhibiting a shiny yellow exoskeleton with a black camouflaging pattern. Extendable membranous flaps attached to their exterior allow them to glide long distances and they have two front claws which are hooked for grasping objects. They are typically anywhere from three to 4.75 meters in length and weigh between 750 and 1100 kilograms. They have a small swivel head with one large compound eye and a retractable, needle-like mouthpiece capable of injecting a potent poison. Poison Gliders are comparable to Humans in terms of problem-solving capabilities as well as physical toughness. They use a complex system of gesturing to signal other members of the species, which is used mainly during their mating season. Gliders typically spend up to half of their day hunting and can usually go about two weeks without food and about five days without water. They typically don't sleep until after completing a meal, resting for about sixteen hours afterwards. Gliders reproduce sexually; females lay a sack after a six month gestation period that contains 10 to 20 eggs, which usually hatch about three months later.
- Motor Appendages: 2
- Visual Organs: 1
- Field of Vision: Optimal 180 degrees forward, Peripheral 300 degrees forward.
- Auditory Organs: 0
- Olfactory Organs: 1
- Gustatory Organs: 1
- Propulsive Appendages: 4
- Reproductive Organs: 1
Now to slap out a description for the Firekkans:
Firekkans are an avian species similar in appearance to most other members of the family Accipitridae, with the main difference being the inclusion of a full arm-and-hand motor appendage assembly separate from their wings. This technically makes them hexapods, though they definitely exhibit far more bird-like than insect-like traits. Firekkans are largely carnivorous like most members of Accipitridae, though they are known to occasionally eat seeds and imbibe alcoholic beverages (Firekka's Finest being the most well-known of these). While primarily flyers by nature, their leg and talon structure is such that they are capable of walking; they generally are about as fast as Terran when moving in this manner. Their head structure is like most raptors; they have a sharp, keratinous beak with two nose-holes near the top, two eyes set forward (which are generally blue in color), two ears lacking external pinnae, and a tuft of filoplumes on top of their head covering the ears; this topknot is generally reddish in color. Their bodies are covered with a series of vaned feathers, which are generally a bright orange-yellow color. Only their talons and arms are not covered in feathers; these have a keratinous structure like their beaks and are also an orangish color. Males have been observed with more varied and brighter color patterns on their bodies. Firekkans are on par with Terrans both physically and intellectually, despite the significant difference in the anatomy of the respective species. They communicate with one another verbally, using a language based upon various calls and clicks generated within the beak structure. Firekkans average around 2.13 meters in height, 4.79 meters in wingspan and 92.5 meters in mass, with females of the species being slightly larger and heavier than the males. They feed about four times a day on average and like most raptors; their digestive system is designed to process food that has been swallowed whole. Firekkans can generally go around two weeks without food, but will not have sufficient energy to fly if they don't eat at least once every three to five days. They can generally go about four days without water. Sleep is generally for six hours a day and performed as vigilant sleep; Firekkans are capable of performing roosting flights if necessary. Reproduction is performed oviparously, with females laying a clutch of one to three eggs after a five month gestation period. Eggs generally take another five months or so to hatch, with both parents involved in incubating and caring for their brood.
- Motor Appendages: 2
- Visual Organs: 2
- Field of Vision: Optimal 200 degrees forward, Peripheral 280 degrees forward.
- Auditory Organs: 2
- Olfactory Organs: 1
- Gustatory Organs: 1
- Propulsive Appendages: 4
- Reproductive Organs: 1
Assign attacks to the creature
The next step is to determine just how much damage a creature can cause with its natural weaponry. If the creature was not given any natural weapons, this step may be skipped.
As discussed in the previous step, there are five categories of natural weaponry: biting, clawing, slamming, goring, and special. A creature has a single damage value for each applicable category regardless of the actual number of weapons it possesses. For example, even though a lion has four sets of claws (four clawing weapons), it only gets a single damage value for clawing attacks. Since it has teeth as well, it also has a biting attack value; biting weapons are a separate category.
Determining the amount of damage a creature may inflict in any given category is dependent upon three things: its volume (not its Size Class), its niche, and whether or not the creator set aside any weapons dice during the determination of the creature's Mental Index. Each niche has five die types associated with it, one for each of the five natural weaponry categories. To determine the amount of damage a creature's can inflict in a given category, the creator must roll a number of dice of its indicated type equal to the sum of the creature's volume (rounded up to the next whole cubic meter) and weapons dice. For example, carnivorous consumers roll d10 for biting attacks, d5 for clawing and special attacks, and d1 for slamming and goring attacks. Let's say a creature with a volume of 2.5 cubic meters has been given claws and that its creator set aside two weapons dice. The roll in that case would be 5d5 (2.5 rounds up to 3, 3 + 2 = 5, and d5 is indicated for clawing attacks).
There two special rules regarding the die roll for figuring up a damage value. First, a result of zero on any individual die counts as a zero, regardless of the die type. Secondly, any time a zero or nine are rolled on an individual die, whatever value they indicate for the current roll should be added to the current sum of the roll and then rolled again; this may continue as long as a zero or nine comes up on the die, with the new result accumulating with any previous total. Once any re-rolls have been resolved, the final sum is the creature's damage value for that category; it should be recorded with the creature's stats. The type of damage done by the weapon should also be noted; biting and clawing attacks almost always cause Lethal Damage, slapping attacks cause either Non-Lethal or Basic Damage, and goring weapons cause either Basic or Lethal Damage.
We've given the Glider a single attack, its needle-like mouthpiece capable of injecting a potent poison. We already know that the mouthpiece delivers poison to its target, but we need to know how much damage it inflicts when the Glider goes to envenomate its target. The Glider has been established as a carnivorous consumer, so its attack dies are d10 for biting attacks, d5 for clawing and special attacks, and d1 for slamming and goring attacks. It's logical to assume that the mouthpiece makes a biting attack. The Glider's volume is an even two cubic meters in volume and no weapons dice were set aside for it, so we must make a roll of 2d10 for the Glider's attack. The results of the die roll are five and nine. That's fourteen total, but we have a nine a die, so we'll roll that single die again. Again, nine comes up as the result, so we add that nine to the tally (we're up to twenty-three now) and roll it yet again. The next roll results as a seven, so we stop there. The Poison Glider does thirty points of damage with its bite, which we'll go ahead and say is Lethal Damage (making it a very dangerous creature, especially considering that its bite is coupled with poison).
The Firekkans are raptor-like, so it only makes sense that we give them raptor-like natural weapons; that includes a sharp beak and powerful talons (traits which appear to be born out in their few screenshots). They also have arms in their screenshot (both Firekkans are holding guns), so we can go ahead and add a slapping attack. Since we've established them as carnivorous consumers, the Firekkans will have an xd10 roll for their beak, xd5 for their talons (which will work like claws) and xd1 for their fists. The volume of a Firekkan is 0.22 cubic meters, which rounds up to one. We also set aside four weapons dice for them, so we'll make a roll of 5d10 for their beak, 5d5 for their talons and 5d1 for their fists. The individual die results on the 5d10 roll are 3, 3, 4, 5 and 6, which sums up to 21. There will be no re-rolls, so the beak can inflict 21 points of Lethal Damage. The die results for the 5d5 roll are 3, 3, 4, 4 and 5 (with the five being a natural nine on the die, of course); this adds up to 19. Since the five was a natural nine, it gets rolled again; the second time result is 2, so the final amount of Lethal Damage the talons inflict is again 21 points. Finally, the dice are rolled for their fists; none of the individual results are nines or zeroes, so the results are 1, 1, 1, 1 and 1; this attack inflicts a mere five points of Basic Damage. Since that's barely worth mentioning, we'll go ahead and discount it.
Compose the remainder of the race's description
Sapient Only Step.
Whether or not a creature is sapient determines the last few steps of the procedure. For non-sapient beings, items such as Skill scores, hero levels and derived statistics still need to be determined. The determination of these characteristics takes place in the next few steps; non-sapient creatures may skip over this step. These same characteristics are handled by the character creation rules for sapient beings, so at this point in the procedure only a few additional elements unique to sapient beings need to be filled in. Sapient beings will be complete as soon as this step is performed by the creator; they may skip over all other remaining steps.
As mentioned in Chapter 2.2, sapient beings have eight pieces of information in their racial profile: an overview, personality, physical description, relations with other races, territory, onomastikon, motivation, and basic characteristics. The creature creation procedure up to this point has filled in the details about the creature's physical description and basic characteristics; this step will fill in the remaining six pieces of information.
Despite it coming first in a race's profile, a creator may want to wait until they've filled in the rest of the race's information before choosing to complete the overview. An overview is simply a brief introduction to and summary of a race. A creator may include any information they wish about the species in the overview, including quick tidbits of information included elsewhere in the race's profile, warnings about how difficult the race would be to role-play, and anything else they would like to say that doesn't readily fit elsewhere in the profile (a brief history of the species is a good example). The key thing about the overview is for the creator to keep it brief. It can be quite easy to expound too much on a race in their introduction; usually information is unnecessarily repeated as a result.
As part of the overview section, a creator may wish to give their creation an alternative name using scientific taxonomic nomenclature. Taxonomic names are added simply for flavor. Classifying a lifeform can be a tricky proposition that will require some (perhaps intense) research. It's helpful to find an Earth lifeform that is similar to the creation and to look up the names and characteristics of its individual classification levels (kingdom, phylum, etc.). If a creator is lucky enough, they might be able to find a species that's similar enough to their lifeform to be able to place it in the same Genus as the Earth lifeform. It should be noted that in taxonomy, a lifeform's location is never an issue and it is thus possible for an extraterrestrial lifeform to share a Genus name with an Earth lifeform. If the creator is not so lucky, they will have to come up with their own Genus name. When doing this, is usually best to proceed with a name based on the lifeform's primary characteristics. For example, the Kilrathi are part of the Genus Feliduocrura; this is not an actual Genus name, but a joining of the Latin words "felis" ("cat"), "duo" ("two") and "crura" ("legs"), thus meaning "two-legged cat". All Genus names must be in Latin. If the creator doesn't know Latin, they can try to fake it so long as there isn't a Latin expert in their playing group (and if there is such a person in the group they'd do well to enlist their help in this matter). Species names are a little more flexible: they can either be in Latin or at least sound that way. A clever creator might also get away with using the name of the creature's homeworld (or a "Latinized" version of it) to function as the Species name. The Kilrathi are an example here as well, as their species name is kilrah; Kilrah is - of course - the name of their homeworld).
Personality details how a member of a species can be expected to behave in social situations. This section can expound on the disposition the creator ascribed to their creation while preparing its physical description and may also be used to explain why a species as a whole believes or acts in a certain manner; think of it as assigning the race a stereotype. Note that it does not follow that an individual member of the species will behave in the manner described in this section; whoever does creates an aberrant individual should probably have a pretty good reason for the change (abnormal upbringing, traumatic experience, etc.).
A sapient race may or may not have dealings with other sapient beings, depending upon their technological level and level of isolation from the rest of the galactic community at large. Even if a given sapient race has no direct interaction with another species, other races might have an opinion or attitude about them. Details about these dealings, attitudes and interactions should be included in the race's relations with other races section. The creator should at a minimum discuss the relations their creation has with other sapient races in the same Sector or general galactic region. Relations can be simple phrases, such as saying "the race likes Race X, hates Race Y and is neutral towards Race Z". Ongoing disputes, grudges, alliances, or any other interaction can be included in this section. Changes in relationships over time should also be noted.
A sapient race's territory is simply the area to which they lay claim. The size of this area is somewhat dependent upon their technological level. Stone Age and Metal Age creatures generally lay claim to a single world (or possibly a single continent on a single world), though it is possible for them to inhabit multiple worlds if they have frequent contact with Starfaring Age races. Industrial Age species generally lay claim to a single world, but depending on their level of development may lay claim to a single star system. Like other non-Starfaring races, they may inhabit multiple worlds if they have frequent contact with Starfaring Age races; a few may even lay claim to multiple star systems). For any non-Starfaring Age race, a brief discussion of the highest level of technology (including weapons, electronics, vehicles, etc.) they have developed can be added to their territory discussion if the creator so wishes. Starfaring Age races generally have what's known as a "sphere of influence", which is largely defined as the area where their ships are most frequently encountered. A creator may be as specific as they wish when describing the territory of a Starfaring Age race, including which systems the species inhabits or lay claim to without necessarily having any permanent habitation. If they don't wish to be very specific, a creator can get away with just listing which star systems contain homeworlds and colonies, or which general region of space they inhabit (part of a Sector or multiple Sectors if appropriate).
To facilitate the selection of an appropriate name for an individual member of a given species, an onomastikon (a Greek word meaning "name dictionary") should be included in their racial profile. A good onomastikon will include a discussion of how many words can be included in an individual's name, how they are given their names culturally (including whether or not the species allows nicknames and how they are used if allowed), what sounds are preferred (including pronunciations, particularly if any odd sounds exist in their language), and how many "suffixes" (usually a surname) can be affixed to a "prefix" (usually a given name). In addition to the discussion, an onomastikon needs to include example prefixes and suffixes that can be used by the species. If there is variation between what names are acceptable based on gender, lists for each gender should be provided. A reasonably-sized name list includes about twenty entries; that should provide a species with four hundred unique names at a minimum depending on their naming structure.
Finally, there may be many reasons for a given member of a species to leave the familiarity of hearth and home in order to go face the unknown; the usual reasons are listed in the final section of their racial profile, motivation. The idea behind the motivation section is to give a possible leg up on the history of any character (PC or NPC) that may be found outside the normal territory for their race. The creator may choose any adventuring motivations they wish for their creation as long as they are clear and logically thought out; this is an area where using the plot slicing technique discussed in Chapter 11.1.1 could come in handy.
Coming up with data for a sapient race can be an arduous process for any creator, so much so that it is recommended that they gain the input of other members of their player group (in particular the GM who will be running the adventure in which the new race will first appear). Other people can provide excellent ideas about a given race and may provide the creator with some things to include in their profile that they hadn't thought about themselves. There's nothing wrong with going solo, but a team effort (especially towards the end) can make a species just that much better. In any case, once the final pieces of information are filled in, a sapient race is complete and ready to be used.
The Glider is non-sapient, so it skips this step. The Firekkans are, however, so we need to fill in their remaining information and call them done. After taking some time to consider the Firekkans and what we know about them, we might write the following:
Firekkans (Armatiavis firekka) are a species of highly social, bird-like lifeforms originating from the planet Firekka (Firekka System, Antares Quadrant, Epsilon Sector). The Firekkans have 'only recently' become a major player on the galactic scene, after the Kilrathi attempted to invade their world for their Sivar-Eshrad ceremony 'in 2655'. Firekkan society is based on a hierarchy of flocks. Because of their strong subordination their flock and its desire to remain tightly knit, few Firekkans have left to go out into space (at least in the past; with the ascendency of Teehyn Ree Rikik, more Firekkans have launched themselves into the void for the good of their species). Firekkan culture and philosophy are very spiritual and are based heavily on imagery of flight and nature, and their architecture is quite distinct. Probably the most noteworthy thing about the Firekkans is a potent alcoholic drink known as Firekka's Finest, commonly hailed as one of the best drinks available anywhere in Known Space.
- Personality: Firekkans are a friendly, outgoing race. They are very social creatures (particularly with one another) and have developed a complex system of greetings, gestures and customs when dealing with others (including those not of their race). A typical greeting among the Firekkans is to groom one another for parasites and bugs (again, this is type of greeting is often also extended to those not of their race). To those that offer them friendship, friendship is readily given. To those who offer them hostility, Firekkans can be fierce opponents. Firekkan culture relies heavily on a matriarchal flock system, valuing the interests of the flock (and particularly the will of the flock matriarch) above those of the individual. The flocks themselves have a hierarchy, with the leader of the most important flock (the Teehyn Ree) functioning as nominal ruler of the entire species; the species as a whole follows the will of the Teehyn Ree. Firekkans commonly follow the Flame Winds doctrine, which emphasizes living in the moment and not worrying about the future or planning ahead since any single event can undo any future plan. Other notable things about Firekkan personality include the ducking of one’s head between the shoulders when embarrassed, involuntarily moulting when frightened, chatting about practically everything (even in moments of crisis or where intrepidity is called for), and clacking one's beak when amused.
- Relations with Other Races: The Firekkans tend to stick close to home and they're fairly new on the intergalactic scene, so their interactions with other races have been relatively minimal up to this point. Of the major races with which they have had contact, they by far have the best relationship with Terrans; they were even part of the Confederation for several years and even though they withdrew prior to the False Armistice of 2668 they remained strong allies with the Terran governments. They do have some trade relationships with the frontier races (such as the Haggan and Jarma) but for the most part they are neutral towards them. They also honor the neutrality of the planet Oasis. They have practically no relationship with the major non-starfaring races (the Mopoks, Dolosians and Dioscuri). By far their biggest antagonists are the Kilrathi, who briefly held control over the Firekka system and enslaved the entire Firekkan populace during the disrupted Sivar-Eshrad ceremony of 2655. The Kilrathi have since treated the species as "one who got away", with a few of them going out of their way to hunt down Firekkans in later years. The Nephilim also were antagonistic towards the Firekkans during the Nephilim War, particularly when they launched their invasion of the Antares Quadrant in 2691. While the Firekkan systems did not suffer quite as badly as the Terran systems, the Nephilim did cause a significant disruption in trade.
- Territory: The Firekkans have not been starfaring for a particularly long time. First contact with the Terran Confederation happened just prior to the start of the Terran-Kilrathi War, with the first few Firekkans leaving their planet for the first time shortly thereafter, beginning their Starfaring Age. From 2654 to 2668, the Firekkans were members of the Confederation, eventually withdrawing to form the Firekkan Planetary Alliance in protest of the Kilrathi Armistice. By 2678, the Firekkans had colonized the adjacent T'Kirsa system. Despite having been starfaring for some time as of 2701, the vast majority of their species remains located in their home system, located in the Antares Quadrant of the Epsilon Sector.
- Onomastikon: Without exception, all Firekkan names consist of a single two-syllable word which is usually either five or six characters in length when romanized. This word functions primarily as a forename. Individuals will refer to themselves by flock name only if absolutely necessary in conversation; the flock name is a separate idea in Firekkan speech and is never included as part of the name of an individual. Firekkans are given their names by their brood mothers during a flock ceremony that takes place a few months after they have hatched. Firekkan names are based on no more than four unique vowel sounds: long and short "A", short "I" and long "E". Consonant usage tends to heavily favor "L", hard "H", "K" and "R" (with "R" sometimes trilled), with "L" and "H" slightly more common in male names and "K" and "R" more common in female names. Glottal stops are also sometimes present in female Firekkan names. Firekkan names are usually quick to say and easy to pronounce; nickname usage, while not unheard of in Firekkan society, is generally rare. Firekkan names consist of exactly one prefix and exactly one suffix.
- Male Prefixes: Haik, Haikk, Hairr, Hak, Hakk, Harr, Heek, Heekk, Heerr, Hik, Hikk, Hirr, Laik, Laikk, Lairr, Lak, Lakk, Larr, Leek, Leekk, Leerr, Lik, Likk, Lirr.
- Female Prefixes: K', Kaik, Kaikk, Kairr, Kakk, Keek, Keerr, Ki', Kr', Kra', Kraik, Krairr, Kree', Kreekk, Kri', Krikk, R', Rai', Rak, Rakk, Reek, Reekk, Ri', Rik.
- Suffixes: aik, air, aish, ait, ak, ar, ash, at, eek, eer, eesh, eet, ha, hai, hee, hi, ik, ir, ish, it, ka, kai, kee, ki, kka, kkai, kkee, kki, kra, krai, kree, kri, la, lai, lee, li, na, nai, nee, ni, ra, rai, ree, ri, rra, rrai, rree, rri, sha, shai, shee, shi, ta, tai, tee, ti.
- Motivation: It takes a special kind of Firekkan to want to leave hearth and home to voyage amongst the stars, particularly given the race's tightly knit flock culture and the stigma against going against the will of the flock. Those relatively few Firekkans who do leave their planet do so out of a sense of general social rejection, in search of a new "flock" with which to bond. A few of the flocks do hold to the belief that some of their number should seek out new worlds and experiences, the better to come back and enrich the flocks. In that sense, an adventure is like the Amish practice of rumspringa to some Firekkans. There are also those bold folks who feel that they can better their own position by heading out into space; the incidences of whole flocks leaving Firekkan to chance their fate among the stars has been minimal as yet, but not unheard of.
The final written profile for the Firekkans can be seen in Chapter 2.2.3; that profile is the same as the one outlined for them here.
Determine the creature's "hero level"
To reiterate, the procedure from this point forward is geared towards the completion of non-sapient creatures only; enough data has been generated about sapient creatures to allow the creation of individual characters, a processed discussed in Chapter 2.3.
The next step towards the creation of a non-sapient creature is to determine its "hero level". As with characters, this is simply a number of additional points given to a creature to spend on their individual Skills. If the creator wishes to make their creation stronger and/or more intelligent than what's indicated by its stats up to this point, they may give it as many additional building points as they wish. Creators never have to use hero points; it's entirely at their own discretion. If a creator is building a creature for a specific adventure without the guidance of its GM, they may add extra hero points but it is strongly recommended that the GM subsequently review the creature before using it. Hero points are put into a general pool; later, they may be assigned to any of the creature's various Skills.
The Glider is a somewhat dangerous creature (three out of five stars according to the SF2 cluebook). To make things a little more interesting, we'll give them 20 hero points.
Distribute points to the creature's Attributes
With its hero level set, it's time to determine the number of points that will be spent on the creature's Attributes (remember that non-sapient creatures always have zero points in all Disciplines). The creator simply distributes the points present in their creature's physical Attribute point pool to the three physical Attributes (Power, Finesse and Physique). Similarly, the points present in the creature's mental Attribute point pool are distributed to the three mental Attributes (Intellect, Acumen and Charm). Any points assigned to the creature due to their hero level must be spent at this point in the creation process; they may be spent on any Attribute of the creator's choosing. Remember that no single Attribute may ever have more than 200 points in it.
It's time to determine the Glider's Attribute scores. We know that Gliders have 75 points in their physical Attribute pool and 135 points in their mental Attribute pool from earlier in the creation procedure. We've also given them 20 points for their hero level; we'll apply all of these points to their mental Attributes, effectively bringing the mental Attribute pool to 155 points. We'll divvy up the 75 points in the physical Attribute pool to two groups of 30 and one of 15 points. Flying and being able to track prey are going to be important for the Glider, so we'll put 30 points into Power and Finesse and give the remaining 15 points to Physique. We'll divvy up the mental Attribute pool fairly evenly, giving one attribute 55 points and the other two 50 points. Again, the ability to hunt prey is paramount for a predator, so we'll want to focus those points in areas that contain Skills useful for the Glider's style of hunting. Perception is perhaps the best one of these, so we'll give 55 points to Acumen and 50 to Charm and Intellect.
Spend points on the creature's Skills
Once all of a creature's points have been allocated to its Attributes, the time has come to assign the points allocated to the individual Attributes to the Skills that they cover. For more information about the effects of Skills, see Chapter 3. As with characters, each point spent on a Skill correlates to a +1 modifier to the DC of its Check. A creator may leave any Skill unmodified and may buy skill specializations if they wish, but they must allocate all of the points allocated to all Attributes at this time. Creators should remember that no Skill may ever have more than 25 points allocated to it and that no skill specialization may ever have more than 50 points allocated to it.
Thirty points were allocated to the Glider's Power Attribute. Brawling might be a useful skill to have here, but Three-Dimensional Maneuvers is going to be essential given its ability to glide. We'll give the Glider 20 points in flying (a Three-Dimensional Maneuvers specialization) and ten in Brawling. The remaining five points can go to Three-Dimensional Maneuvers in general. Finesse was also allocated 30 points. All three of Finesse Skills are incredibly useful but the most important is probably Hiding and Seeking when it comes to finding prey. Five points will be allocated to Dodge while ten will go to Hiding and Seeking, five to Hiding From Prey (an H&S specialization), and ten to Stalking Prey (another H&S specialization). Finally, a mere 15 points were allocated to the Glider's Physique. We must at least assign a few points to Recuperation or else the Improved Healing trait we gave it will be worthless. We'll just go for an even split here and give five points to Concentration, Stamina and Recuperation each.
We've allocated 50 points to the Glider's Intellect. Knowledge and Cunning are going to be crucial; we'll split the points evenly between those two, giving ten to each Skill in general and giving fifteen to specializations (Knowledge of Prey and Camouflage Usage). Fifty-five points have been allocated to Acumen. Perception and Survival are going to be key here; we'll give thirty to Perception (20 to the Skill itself and 10 to a general Sight specialization to augment its Enhanced Visual Sense) and 25 to Survival (with 5 of those points going to a "Finding Water" specialization). Finally, we've got fifty points to spend in Charm; none of these Skills are particularly crucial. We'll sink all fifty into Personality, 20 into the Skill itself and 30 into a Threatening Attitude specialization; the Glider might not prefer to intimidate its prey, but it'd probably be nice for it to have the option.
Determine the creature’s derived statistics
Once a creature's Skills have been set, its derived combat statistics may finally be determined. Creatures have the same set of derived statistics as characters and for the most part they are determined in the same way, though there are a few key exceptions (as will be noted). The following list outlines how to determine derived statistics for creatures:
- HP/NHP: To find a creature's HP, the creator must make a 1d10+5 roll and multiply the result by the creature's Physical Index value; alternatively, the creator may simply multiply the creature's Physical Index value by ten and use that result. The creature's Physique DC Modifier is then added to the initial result regardless of the method used to determine it. The final result is the creature's HP and NHP.
- SI: A creature’s strength index is a combination of their hit points, any armor hit points and the combined strength of all of their available attacks (as opposed to characters, which only use their strongest available weapon for calculating their SI).
- HD/THD/FHD: These have already been determined at this point; no additional calculations are necessary.
- Initiative: To determine a creature’s Initiative value, subtract their Physical Index score from 11; the final result is their Initiative value.
- Attack Bonuses: A creature receives a base Attack Bonus value from its niche. A creature's Melee Attack Bonus is simply the sum of their Power modifier (the number of points in the Power attribute divided by ten and rounded down) add to the base value. Similarly, the creature's Finesse DC modifier is added to the base value in order to determine its Ranged Attack Bonus.
- Saves: Saves are calculated in exactly the same way for creatures as they are for characters: a creature's Fortitude Save DC modifier is a combination of their Health Trait score and their Physique DC modifier, their Reflex Save DC modifier is a combination of their Reflexes Trait score with their Finesse DC modifier, and their Willpower Save DC modifier is a combination of their Discipline trait with their Acumen DC modifier. A value of 30 is added to each of these individual results to determine their respective final scores.
Looking at the information we've gathered on the Poison Glider up to this point, we can readily determine its derived stats. The Glider's Physique score is 15, which will give it a +1 modifier. We also know it has a Physical Index value of five; to determine its HP we'll simply multiply the Physical Index by ten, so they have 51 HP/NHP (5*10=50, 50+1=51). We gave them 50 AHP worth of natural armor and they have a single biting attack capable of doing 30 points of damage, so their SI is going to be 131 (51 + 50 + 30 = 131). We've already determined their HD ratings are going to be 62/50/64. With a Physical Index value of 5, they have an Initiative rating of 6 (11 - 5 = 6). The Glider is a carnivorous consumer; their base Attack Bonus rating is therefore 10. It has 50 points in both its Power and Finesse Attributes, which gives both of them a +5 modifier. It's Melee and Ranged Attack Bonuses are therefore the same, both with a value of 15 (10 + 5 = 15). We didn't give the Glider any points in Health, Reflexes or Discipline, so those won't help the Glider's Save DCs out any. We already know the Glider's Physique modifier is +1, so its Fortitude Save DC is 31 (30 + 0 + 1 = 1). We also know its Finesse DC modifier is +5 and so its Reflex Save DC is 35 (30 + 0 + 5 = 5). Finally, its Acumen score is fifty-five, giving it a +5 DC modifier. The Glider's Willpower Save DC is therefore also 35 (30 + 0 + 5 = 35).
Test the creature
A creature is essentially complete once its derived statistics have been determined; the only other thing that needs to be done (besides giving it a name if it doesn't have one at this point) is to test it in combat. Only by testing the creature will the creator know if they've made the creature stronger or weaker than they originally intended and if they need to make any adjustments.
Testing a creature is relatively easy. The creator should build a character group with a combined SI roughly comparable to that of the lifeform (an SI range of anywhere from 80 to 120% of the creature's SI is acceptable) and conduct their lifeform in a test encounter against that group. Terran characters armed with laser pistols and equipped with physical armor are recommended for the test. The creator may assign points to their test group's characteristics as they sit fit; alternatively, Human archetype characters (built as discussed in Chapter 2.3) may be used for testing purposes - a combination of Commander, Scientist, Doctor and Security Officer is recommended. For those lifeforms large enough to be placed on the vehicle-scale, combat should be conducted against at least one vehicle.
If the creature is defeated, another test may be conducted with two creatures facing off against the same opposing group. If on the other hand the creature defeats the opposing group easily, additional members may be added or better equipment used. In either case, what constitutes a creature that is "too strong" or "too weak" is totally up to the creator and what they intended in the first place, though as a rule individual creatures should not be stronger than a group with twice its SI or greater or weaker than a group with half its SI or less.
At the conclusion of a test, the creator will have a better feel for how powerful their creation really is. If they are happy with the creature as it is, they can consider it complete and ready for use. At that point they may do as they wish with the creature, possibly making different versions for its various life phases or adding a few with various levels of hero points (creating "elite" members of the species). On the other hand if they aren't happy with their creation, they can go back through the creation procedure to make any changes they deem necessary. Creations that are particularly flawed may be saved for a different adventure or (if the creator is really hacked off and feels there is no hope for their creation) trash it completely.
The Glider is complete at this point. Sufficed to say, it passed its combat tests and is ready to use as is in an adventure...