Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bulldogs! Review Pt 1b - Custom Species Creation

Here's a few more species we came up with for our Bulldogs! game, once again showing the creative flexibility of Bulldogs! species creation system.


The Cynyu
Art by Franco DeRosa

“Sure, they gave us fusion generators, installed our networks, set up supply ships - we’re certainly better off. We didn't read the fine print though - now we pay 20% to that Cynyu on every transaction.”
- Sissinnguaq, Zephron colonist

The Cynyu hail from the highly irradiated, sulfuric ice planet of Adypso. Long ago they evolved from social herding ungulates and are uniquely adapted to surviving in harsh conditions. They stand on two cloven feet at a height of about 1.5m, and range in color from a vibrant blue to a deep blue-black.

Their brains are unique amongst the sentient species of the galaxy with 22 different lobes. Throughout the course of a day, approximately half of these lobes are ‘resting’, and specific brain functions rotate to the lobes that are ‘awake’. This rotating brain activity has many functions for the Cynyu, making it such that they never sleep and allow them to tackle multiple independent thought processes at the same time.

As a former herd species, they evolved a unique defense against predators. Though they no longer have the ability to spray the sulfuric acid at their enemies, they still emit a very strong odor that is off putting to many species. Another relic of their ancestry is a herd mentality; in isolation, a Cynyu is prone to depression. In a group they thrive, as they draw forth ideas from others.

An ancient species, the Cynyu developed interstellar travel about the same time as the Charcodons. They soon became (and still are) the galaxy’s most prolific traders, and have colonized many worlds. Unlike the Squillo, they do not see the residents of other planets as targets for subjugation. They look at these others as potential trade partners, and invest resources into improving their infrastructure to guide them towards becoming better trade partners. To that end, Cynyu have a long tradition of helping and teaching different species to reach their full potential as members of the galactic community. While this typically works seamlessly, it went awry when they helped mature the Hikari, who took the knowledge they learned and used it to subjugate much of the galaxy under the Hikari Imperium.

Despite their olfactory shortcomings, Cynyu are welcome throughout the galaxy. The typical Cynyu has a persistent, goal-oriented mindset; a quality that makes them useful to all. Their attention to a task is legendary. The multi-lobe structure of their brains allow them to focus on multiple problems simultaneously. This can be a disadvantage, as a Cynyu devoted to a task is difficult to interact with at times. This lends towards a view of Cynyu as cold and unfeeling with a smug superiority complex. When pressed, they often get frustrated by other individual’s inability to retain focus.

Cynyu excel in most professions, and are often the heads of large organizations. With their ability to work diligently at whatever they focus on (a quality they consider the highest virtue one can have), they are natural researchers, military strategists, artists, teachers and athletes.

Cynyu Names
Most Cynyu have a single name, given to them when they reach adulthood, around 12 cycles. Before that, they are simply known as Jouku, or ‘young snow.’ When a Cynyu completes a task that grants her renown, she will often take an epithet to reflect the accomplishment. The most lauded of the race often have long titles demarking their long history of achievement.

Male Names: Ánot, Issko, Klemmá, Siivár
Female Names: Čuvje, Linne, Sussu, Vuohkku

Typical Cynyu Aspects


Cynyu Species Abilities [-2 Refresh]

Environmental Immunity [-1]
Adypso is a harsh, unforgiving place, and the Cynyu are well adapted to survival there. A Cynyu is immune to damage, consequences, or environmental aspects related to cold or radiation.

Multi-Lobed Brain [-2]
With the ability to assign difficult tasks to their brain simultaneously, a Cynyu character gains several advantages. As a Cynyu can effectively ‘turn off’ lobes of her brain throughout the day, she has no need of sleep. When multitasking, mental tasks are completed two time increments (page 65, Doing Things chapter) faster than usual. In addition, any penalty for taking a supplemental action in addition to a basic action is reduced by one.

Sulfurous Odor [+1]
Cynyu are well-known for the pungent, sulfuric oils that they naturally secrete from skin pores. Over time, many get used to the smell, but others find it unbearable. Cynyu characters suffers a –1 penalty when making social interaction rolls with characters of a species other than her own.

The Hikari
Courtesy of DevilPig

“There’s a saying where I come from: If you are going to look a Hikari in the eyes, you better be prepared to draw-down.”
-Cynyu Solicitor General Dr. Áillun Thrice-Grand, Chief Legal Counsel of Vonda IV

Once the most feared and powerful race in the galaxy, now the majority of the matriarchal Hikari are now reduced to largely vagabond, peripheral existence. Before first contact with the trading empire of the Cynyu, the Hikari were limited to their homeworld of Shima. Quickly adapting to the technological and social advances introduced by Cynyu emissaries, they went on to found the first true galactic empire, marked by a brutal militarism and a profound sense of superiority reinforced by religious belief. The Hikari religion states that all Hikari are the descendants of the Star Goddess: a transcendent entity from their home star. In addition to giving birth to their race, she also appointed the first Star Queen, Empress Pimiko.

Females are rare and valued in Hikari society: only every eighth child is female. As a result, every female member of Hikari society enjoys a large harem of male suitors, each of whom vies for the attention of the lady that they owe their loyalty to.

The Hikari Imperium was long gone before the first Mirasuvian set out to explore Known Space. Although their empire is now long fallen, the memory of their brutality still remains in the formerly occupied worlds. In these places, the very sight of a Hikari can quickly raise the specter of enmity, hate and fear. 

Hikari Names
The majority of Hikari have one surname and one given name with no middle name, except for the Hikari Imperial Family, whose members bear no surname.

Male Names: Nakoé, Otomué, Gaston, Shinrike
Female Names: Ponyanpe, Konkani, Isepo, Nonno
Surnames: Ren-Emusi, Ren-Koto, Su-Emi, Su-Mio

Typical Hikari Aspects


Hikari Special Abilities [Refresh -2]

Strike To The Heart [-1]
Swordplay is a revered skill to the Hikari - a physical expression of their warlike culture. Once per scene on a successful hit, spend a fate point to add 3 to the damage of your Weapons attack. This stacks with any other damage increasing stunts for Weapons.

Menacing Legacy [+0]
Though the Hikari Imperium has long faded away, its brutal legacy lives on. The character suffers a –1 penalty when making social interaction rolls with characters of a species other than her own. In addition, a Hikari may use Intimidation no matter what the power imbalance in the situation is.

Tympanic Senses [–1]
Hikari have sensitive ears that pick up even the faintest sound. Their ears are lined with tiny hairs that are sensitive to faint changes is air pressure. Any scene aspect that restricts vision or other senses must directly block this additional sense or the aspect can be ignored.


Photo by Alexander Semenov

“I took my wife to the Squillopera the other night. Needless to say, I was a happy man later!”
- Rastul, Mogri mechanic

The many-limbed, asexual Squillos have the most impressive vocal chords of all species in the galaxy. They have the uncanny ability to mimic virtually any voice, dialect or sound, and the pursuit of perfecting this skill is paramount in their culture. Each of their five brains has a substantially enlarged auditory cortex, which makes them master of language and interpreting sound. Their long, soft bodies are covered in a wide range of vibrant colors and protuberances, while only the head and the ends of their feet are hardened. They are slow moving creatures - their muscular trunk and grasping feet make them hard to move, and enable them to climb sheer surfaces and ceilings. As omnivores, they are capable of digesting just about anything, with a soft spot for any kind of egg. The Squillos have a pair of silk-generating spinnerets behind their mandibles. The powerful muscles attached allow them to explosively fire a thread of silk at a target, the force of which is can be quite damaging. They use these organs to immobilize prey and build elaborate silk structures.

Hailing from the multiple inhabitable planets of the Mot System, they were one of the earliest galactic species to develop starship technology. Quite adaptable, they quickly colonized many systems, driven by their religious beliefs. They believe the universe was a gift for to the Squillos from their creator god, Lu-kthu The Weaver. Emerging from another universe, it spun the webs of the cosmos, creating a new universe for its people to master. To the Squillo, the lace-like threads of star-stuff are their species’ future destiny. Their arrogant nature has led to many conflicts, particularly when expanding into other regions of the galaxy. In the past few centuries, with the discovery of so many hyperlanes leading to previously unexplored regions of the galaxy, such warfare has all but ceased. The Benevolent and Enlightened Hegemony of Mot has focus their energy on exploring and colonizing these new worlds.

Not all Squillos are part of the Hegemony of Mot, and are widespread throughout the galaxy. Often recruited as spies, translators, and cultural researchers, their adaptability and ability to understand subtle social cues make their talents highly demanded. Most famous of all, however, are the operatic Squillo vocalists, capable of performing an entire libretto by themselves, are lauded for their virtuosity, and ability to sing multiple parts simultaneously. The best-selling Squillo vocalist and actor Sonatro is known the galaxy over. Nicknamed “The Voice”, he became a legend due to his masculine, swinging singing style, his womanizing, and alleged ties to underworld figures.

Squillo Names
Squillo names are hard for other species to pronounce, due to the number of consonant clicks they generate with their mandibles. Each individual takes a surname, prefaces by -Yog, which can mean either ‘descendant of’ or ‘from’.
Names: !Cthaat, Gur'la!ya, Ny!crama, Thog!
Surnames: Yog-!Alal, Yog-H!an, Yog-Y!eb, Yog-Swarog!

Typical Squillo Aspects:


Squillo Special Abilities [Refresh -3]

Impressionist [-2]
As Squillos are unsurpassed masters at mimicking sounds, they gain +2 to Deceit rolls when trying deceive or convince others they are a different person or even different species vocally; they also gain a +2 to create an advantage when using a sound to distract someone.

Linguist [-1]
Squillos speak five additional languages beyond Galactic Standard (Oyl) and their native tongue. You don’t need to specify which languages you speak at character creation—you can add a language to one of your slots as needed during play.

Maxillapeds [–1]
Due to their many sharp-clawed feet, Squillos may climb any normal surface as if they were walking without needing to make an Athletics roll, and they gain a +2 to Athletics tests when climbing a surface that is slippery, slick, or completely upside-down.

Reduced Speed [+2]
Moving even within the same zone in combat requires a supplemental action, and moving just one zone requires all of the character’s concentration and an Athletics roll. No additional actions may be taken. A Squillo may not move more than two zones in a single round. Squillos aslo have an additional –2 penalty to Alertness for the purposes of determining initiative.

Born To Rule [+1]
Squillos are notorious for their arrogant conqueror's temperament. The character suffers a –1 penalty when making social interaction rolls with characters of a species other than her own.

Spinnerets [-2]
The Squillos make expert use of their silk generating abilities. Once per fight a Squillo character may make a ranged attack. On a success, the character may place an immediate consequence on their opponent related to the special attack type (Pinned, Stuck, etc) in addition to any normal damage. Only the lowest available consequence will be used.

Bulldogs! Review Pt 1 - Custom Species Creation