Alien Races and Sci-Fi Adventures

So, how many sci-fi GM’s are guilty of using non-alien aliens?  What do I mean?  Well, I mean an alien race that is essentially a humanoid with a different shade of skin or perhaps a little bit of fur.  An animal or object that has been turned human like in an anthropomorphic fashion?

Image by Joe Lercio under a Creative Commons – Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Licence

Alien life should be alien, shouldn’t it?  I have heard arguments that we have evolved into the alpha life form on Earth and hence our form is the most evolved.  Not true in my eyes.  I have a form that has evolved to suit a very finite form of variables (temperature, environment, atmosphere etc.) and a form that has adapted to a wider variety of conditions is far better than my body.

Or do we do this because we just cannot think in an alien fashion.  We have been bred to understand things have a certain structure and form.  If we were a scout in the Traveller Imperium how would we know that when we found an unexplored planet that the lichen on the cube like things were not the dominant race and truly intelligent creature of this world?  How would we know that in our first step off the Scout Type S ship that we unwittingly stepped on a race of tiny, yet intelligent beings and we decimated their civilization.

Perhaps the ruling creature of a water world is the amoebic form that floats through the seas with and extremely complicated nuclei communicating in a spectrum far higher than normal communication channels.  Traveller has done a good and a bad job of this through their selection of aliens.  There are far more anthropomorphic races than not.  In fact (and I know this may be controversial) I would put Hivers and Droyne (and only just) as the only two that are not terribly anthropomorphic.

Image by Goldeen Ogawa under a Creative Commons – Attribution – Non Commercial – No Derivative Works 3.0 Licence
I want to begin populating my worlds with truly alien races.  Intelligent ones that communicate by light signals or have developed a sense of communication that we would consider a sense of taste.  How weird is life out there going to be and is our rather limited experience of what intelligence means going to be able to categorize that which we find out there in “the big black”?  Let me know in the comments if you have run games that fit this description, either in Traveller or some other sci-fi game.  I want to be inspired as I ramp up my Classic Traveller campaign later this month! Keep rolling!

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