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A Role Playing Game
by
Lee Saborio

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Who’d have thought…

 

            As it turns out, most of the classic sci-fi flicks were right: intelligent life is a pretty standardized thing throught the cosmos.  From the planet Sneedle to the far-flung moons of Backwater, folks are breathing a not-so-rare atmospheric gas called oxygen.  Without worrisome eras of colonization, English simply and simultaneously sprang-up as the Lingua Franca of star systems billions of light years apart.  Most planetary races even share the same concepts of  Room Temperature, “Hey, are your ears popping?," and, “Gee, I love the decor of this restaurant, but it really does lack atmosphere.”  It goes deeper than that, though: nearly all sentient beings have one pair of arms and legs and stand upright at a height of around five foot five.  Other universal traits include having one head, complete with mouth, nose, eyes and ears; and farting after eating a lot of beans...

Let it be said, however, that the cosmos is a big place…  For every rule, there are billions of bizarre exceptions.  The outgoing denizens of the Melanite Asteroids live in the silence of a vacuum and communicate with a combination of telepathy and expressive color changes.  Northern Biltharians lack heads, while those that inhabit southern Biltharia lack bodies.  Largathians—who have six legs, are roughly twelve feet at the shoulder and breathe argon—are a nuisance at all but drive-in theatres.  There is no word for Tourist in Teerise, the native tongue of the scorching planet Cinder, which is inhabited by entities composed of liquid fire.  For the sake of the reader’s sanity, we won’t even touch on extra-dimensional beings such as the Nij of Diphtheria, who are composed of solidified neon, breathe fire and… well, you get the point.