These Aliens Are Crazy!

The thing about alien psychology is in order for it to seem alien, a human with those traits would have to appear crazy to other humans. It may be full on bats in the attic crazy or slow burn crazy, but if it’s not then it’s just more of the Roman playwright Terence’s dictum: I am human, and I think nothing human is alien to me. (And maybe your SF premise is that aliens, no matter how weird, are really just humans inside, which is fine, but not what we’re going for here.) For game purposes every member of the alien race has the same trait, unless they are mad by the standards of their race. The trait won’t be their only feature, and may not be the dominant one (particularly if the trait would make it too hard to play the alien character or for other players to enjoy playing with the alien character if it was front and center), but it’s part of that race’s mental make-up, not an individual quirk.  Also note that from the point of view of the alien species, the trait may not be what humans perceive it as at all.

So here’s some random alien psychology to play with.  Players should roll or choose.  More alien aliens should go directly for the Mental Illness Equivalent table, but a possibly easier alien would start with the milder Alien Psychological Traits, remembering though that as an alien trait it should probably be more extreme or oddly directed than it would be in a human.

Alien Psychological Traits (d30)

  1. Flirtatious
  2. Addict
  3. Primps constantly
  4. Absent-minded
  5. Fumble-fingered
  6. Collector
  7. Romantic
  8. Know-it-all
  9. Perfectionist
  10. Squeamish
  11. Sexy
  12. Bloodthirsty
  13. An attitude
  14. Dislike something
  15. High pain threshold
  16. Low pain threshold
  17. Insomniac
  18. Fanatic
  19. Picky eater
  20. Glutton
  21. Pacifist
  22. Gung ho
  23. Pet-lover
  24. Practical joker
  25. Neatnik
  26. Slob
  27. Pack-rat
  28. Figures of speech
  29. roll on Mental Illness Equivalent
  30. Quite eccentric; reroll 1d3 times

Mental Illness Equivalent (d20)

As explained above, this is meant to indicate not that the alien is mentally ill, but that it regards as standard behavior something that in a human would be a mental illness.

  1. Catatonia
  2. Multiple personalities
  3. Compulsive liar
  4. Paranoia
  5. Hallucinations
  6. Megalomania
  7. Severely phobic (roll on Phobias)
  8. Hypochondria
  9. Manic-depressive
  10. Quixotism
  11. Panzaism (seeing the most extraordinary things as normal and logical)
  12. Depression
  13. Hysterical injury
  14. Obsession
  15. Delusional identity
  16. Kleptomania
  17. Pyromania
  18. Hebephrenia
  19. Berserker rage
  20. reroll 1d3+1 times.

Phobias (d100)

  1. animals
  2. being alone
  3. beards
  4. bridges
  5. buried alive
  6. blood
  7. cancer
  8. cats
  9. children
  10. cold
  11. colors
  12. comets
  13. computers
  14. corpses
  15. crowds
  16. darkness
  17. depth
  18. disease
  19. dreams
  20. drink
  21. drugs
  22. electricity
  23. empty rooms
  24. enclosed spaces
  25. everything
  26. eyes
  27. failure
  28. females
  29. feces
  30. fire
  31. flowers
  32. flying
  33. fog
  34. foreigners
  35. germs
  36. glass
  37. god
  38. ghosts
  39. graves
  40. hair
  41. heights
  42. horses (or culturally appropriate domestic animal)
  43. ice
  44. idleness
  45. imperfection
  46. infinity
  47. insanity
  48. insects
  49. justice
  50. lakes
  51. males
  52. metal
  53. mirrors
  54. missiles
  55. monsters
  56. motion
  57. narrowness
  58. new things
  59. night
  60. nudity
  61. open spaces
  62. pain
  63. parasites
  64. philosophy
  65. physical love
  66. poison
  67. psychic powers
  68. punishment
  69. rain
  70. reptiles
  71. responsibility
  72. ridicule
  73. rivers
  74. see
  75. sex
  76. shadows
  77. sinning
  78. slime
  79. sleep
  80. small things
  81. snakes
  82. space
  83. spiders
  84. standing
  85. storms
  86. string
  87. symmetry
  88. trees
  89. travel
  90. touch
  91. tyrants
  92. vehicles
  93. voids
  94. water
  95. wind
  96. words
  97. work
  98. wounds
  99. writing
  100. reroll 1d3+1 times

5 thoughts on “These Aliens Are Crazy!

  1. I like the idea, but the specifics seem odd to me. These lists of alien traits are all familiar tics or disorders of humans. I’d expect alien traits to be less familiar, things that perhaps a human could do but that you’ve never heard a specific example of. Like being disgusted by radial symmetry, or obsessed with what every room smells like.

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    1. Perhaps I made them too prosaic, but I’m a bit worried about playability. I’m afraid it might be too hard on both the player and GM to be constantly worrying about the presence of cues in the environment that wouldn’t normally be described as part of game-play, if that makes sense. I’ll see about adding a section of more exotic traits/concerns for people that want to try it.

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