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Today, I’m talking Aliens in Era: The Consortium.
When I first started, I thought very carefully about what I wanted to offer the players. Did I want to force them to stick to Humans, but provide a society with all kinds of aliens (perhaps a little like Mass Effect)? Did I want to force them to be aliens – perhaps excluding Humans from the equation?
After I made the decision to have both Humans and aliens, I still had to choose how many alien races were needed. In fact, in earlier versions of the book, the Eulutians and Ximians were the only playable races apart from the Humans. I added the Vilithii as playable a little later.
While I’m reasonably happy with four playable races, I have an expansion idea for a fifth race, which will be included as a Stretch Goal in the campaign. Each race is unique, and has its own way of interacting with the world, and their own world views. It was vital to me, as a lifelong sci-fi fan, that aliens are not just Humans that look different. Each race had to have their own personality, their own approach.
You can find more information on each of these species on the Backstory page, but I’m going to discuss each one in turn, here, briefly, and explain the differences in their outlook on life, because I love them all in their own way!
While the Eulutians joined the Consortium with very little struggle or difficulty, that is to be expected. They are peacemakers, and they will often take a longer, more subtle route to reach their goal rather than fight head-on for it. That, obviously, doesn’t apply to all of them, as they have boasted some of the fiercest warriors ever seen in the Consortium – they are very self-reliant relative to Humans, thanks to their culture and upbringing.
The Ximians were the opposite when joining the Consortium – decades of war followed by decades of oppression was how they entered. Being insectoids, I had considered giving them a hive mind, but instead chose to make their attitude a very communal one – they believe everyone should be working together to make the whole greater. They would each give their life for their people, and while their appearance may be initially quite unpleasant to Humans, I felt that people would eventually get used to them.
The Vilithii are backward primitives who were brought into this community by virtue of happening to be present on one of the Consortium planets. I asked myself how they would adapt to life amongst more advanced races, especially being shapeshifting flora. The answer was fairly logical – they would find their place and adapt to fit it.
Each of these races has expanded the Consortium in its own way, and I think each brings a different and valuable potential attitude to a player.
I hope you feel the same!