I’m toying with a random generation system for character species in Shards of Tomorrow. You roll for four different qualities of your character, receiving 1d4 results in each quality. The final category, dispositions, is the tendency and reputation of a species; you don’t have to be these things, but they should flavor your decision making in character design. Maybe your species is arrogant, but you’re the outlier who just happens to be really self-conscious and self-deprecating. I rolled up a species to see… and rolled 4/3/3/4 for numbers of qualities in each category. Wow. This is going to be an exceptional species…
Abilities: +1d4 DEX, +1d4 CON, +1 AC, +1d6 hp
Talents: Chameleon, Flight, Shape Change
Characteristics: Webbed hands and feet, scales instead of skin, mammalian appearance
Dispositions: Violent, spartan, self-disciplined, tolerant
Description (made up based on what I rolled above):
The Volok consider themselves a vastly superior species, but they show a remarkable patience with the ‘inadequacy’ of lesser species. In their natural form, they are a scale-covered people that resemble flying monkies, but they are continually changing form and color, blending in with their surroundings and assuming the forms of other species. They are highly prized as spies and assassins, but are also greatly feared for this. Some planets have enacted laws requiring Volok to retain their ‘natural’ appearance at all times, making the activation of their natural abilities an illegal act. In general, suspicion of Volok runs high among most species, and a Volok in his or her natural form is likely to be greeted with suspicion in most places.
I like this. It feels a little more like the supers game in terms of character building, but it definitely hews towards the source material (which is Star Wars. Duh). I have struggled in the past with creating game balance between Wookies and Ewoks; now I don’t bother. Wookies are awesome, and Ewoks are lame. That’s just how it goes.
It's a galaxy with thousands of stars, and tens of thousands of planets. There are a lot of species to choose from.