Val	CHA	Cost	Roll	Notes
25	STR	15	14-	Lift 800 kg; 5d6 HTH Damage [5]
13	DEX	9	12-	OCV:  4/DCV:  4
15	CON	10	12-
13	BODY	6	12-
10	INT	0	11-	PER Roll 11-/12-
10	EGO	0	11-	ECV:  3
15	PRE	5	12-	PRE Attack:  3d6
8	COM	-1	11-

5	PD	0		Total:  5 PD (2 rPD)
6	ED	3		Total:  6 ED (2 rED)
3	SPD	7		Phases:  4, 8, 12
8	REC	0
30	END	0
34	STUN	0		Total Characteristics Cost:  54

Movement:	Running:	8"/32"
		Leaping:	1"/2"
		Swimming:	2"/4"

Cost	Powers & Skills
3	Used To A High-G Environment:  Armor (4 PD/0 ED); Only To Protect Against G-Force Damage (-1)
2	Thick/Tough Skin:  Damage Resistance (2 PD/2 ED)
4	Heavy:  Knockback Resistance -2"
4	Spiraling Advance:  Running +2" (8" total), END 1
5	Whirling Run:  Running 0" (8" total), x4 Noncombat, END 1
1	Three Eyes:  +1 PER with Normal Sight
1	Three Eyes:  +1 versus Range Modifier for Normal Sight
6	Three Arms And Legs:  Extra Limbs (6 total) (1), Inherent (+1/4)
2	Long-Lived:  LS  (Longevity: 400 Years)
2	Hot And Humid Homeworld:  LS  (Safe in Intense Heat)

9	Three-Armed:  Ambidexterity (no Off Hand penalty)
8	"Sensitive To Adulterants":  Danger Sense (self only, out of combat, Function as a Sense, 
	Intuitional); Only To Detect Altered Food Or Drink (-2) 18-/19-
1	High-Gravity Dweller:  Environmental Movement (no penalties in High-G)
2	Semi-Aquatic:  Environmental Movement (no penalties in water)

Total Powers & Skill Cost:  50
Total Cost:  104

75+	Disadvantages
15	Physical Limitation:  Cannot Lie/Cannot Conceive Of A Lie Or A Falsehood (Infrequently, Fully Impairing)
10	Physical Limitation:  "Curse Of The Skloodz" (see text) (Infrequently, Greatly Impairing)
15	Physical Limitation:  Highly Susceptible To Alcohol (Infrequently, Fully Impairing)
5	Physical Limitation:  Large (2 x the height of a man, 4 x the mass) (Infrequently, Slightly Impairing)
5	Physical Limitation:  Reduced Leaping; can only leap 1" (Infrequently, Slightly Impairing)
10	Vulnerability:  2 x BODY from blows to location 3 (area between the nose and the mouth) (Uncommon)
10	Vulnerability:  2 x STUN from blows to location 3 (area between the nose and the mouth) (Uncommon)
145	Total Disadvantage Points

The Masters

Found in John Christopher's The Tripods trilogy (The White Mountains, The City Of Gold And Lead, The Pool Of Fire), plus the later prequel, When The Tripods Came, The Masters are a race of technologically advanced aliens. Capable of building immense starships (one is said to be a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide), manipulating gravity, converting an entire planet's atmosphere, and manipulating the thoughts processes of other organisms, they are a race to be feared.

The Master's Biology:  There is an excellent description of the Masters in the second book of The Tripods trilogy (The City of Gold and Lead). It runs as follows: "They stood much taller than a man, nearly twice as tall, and broad in proportion. Their bodies were wider at the bottom than the top, four or five feet around I thought, but tapered up to something like a foot in circumference at the head. If it was the head, for there was no break in the continuity, no sign of a neck. The next thing I noticed was that their bodies were supported not on two legs, but three, these being thick but short. They had matching them three arms, or rather tentacles, issuing from a point halfway up their bodies. And their eyes—I saw that there were three of those, too, set in a flattened triangle, one above and between the other two, a foot or so below the crown. In colour the creatures were green, though I saw that the shades differed, some being dark, the green tinged with brown, and other quite pallid. That, and the fact that their heights varied to some extent, appeared to be the only means of telling one from another. I felt it was a poor one."

"I thought the words issued from the mouth—which I judged the lower of the two central orifices to be—until I saw that it was the upper one which was quivering and open while the other remained closed and still. With the Masters, I was to discover, the organs of breathing and eating were not connected, as men's are: they spoke as well as breathed through one, ate and drank only through the lower, larger opening."

As can be seen, the Masters have a fairly unique physiology. The are described as "reptilian," probably due to their thick rough skin, but also seem to be amphibious. They will easily consume four to six times the amount of water a human would use during the same period of time, using it for bathing and drinking. A master will drink at least once an hour and will never go more than an hour without drinking. They like their atmosphere to be very hot and humid, bath frequently, and often will stand or wade in pools of water of hours.

Although large and massive, Masters are anything but slow. They tend to be quicker than the average human, and are very agile with their three tentacles. Their normal mode of movement is to "walk" via a twirling motion of their bodies, but if needed they can run, using a "spiraling advance" that can cover yards between each step.

Masters can eat both plant and animal matter, and are fairly specific about how their meals are to be made and consumed (apparently, they are creatures of habit, and don't deviate from established routines easily). They cannot tolerate alcohol at all, and even the smallest amount is sufficient to render them unconscious for six hours or more. They will regain consciousness after 12 hours, and return to normal after 24. Curiously, they are very adept at detecting alterations to their food and drink, and will refuse doctored meals, but don't seem to notice alcohol (until it is too late). While they don't drink alcohol, Masters do partake of what are called "gas spheres," small spherical containers that attach to the Masters' skin and emit intoxicating fumes. 

The Masters are a single sex, or more appropriately, sexless. The propagate via parthenogenesis, with the new Master apparently the same size as the parent, and knowing everything it knows. They are also very long lived, with estimated life-spans of at 200 years at bare minimum and possibly as long as 800.

Periodically, the Masters will suffer from something called the "Curse of Skloodzi" (this pronunciation is open to debate). The Curse causes their skin to develop brown patches, their tentacles quiver uncontrollably, and a Master becomes listless and apathetic to their surroundings. Masters tend to remain in their bathing/wading pools for long periods of time while suffering from the Curse, and will partake of numerous gas spheres. This can cause them to become violent.

The Master's Homeworld:  Very little is known about the Master's homeworld. Based on comments from the Masters themselves, as well as their conditions inside their great domed cities, the following can determined:  It is a large planet, much larger than Earth, with a gravity roughly near 3 G. It has a thick, hot, and humid chlorine-based atmosphere, and is presumed to be covered in extensive swamps.

Society And Culture:  As with many things about the Masters, their social structure is pretty much a mystery. However, observers can reliably state the Masters do everything in threes. Their clock is divided into a day of nine periods, with each period divided into ninths (one ninth a period is roughly 15 minutes). This day is linked to the local day, so the periods expand and contract as the days grow longer and shorter. In addition, they don't bother to keep track of time at night. Their buildings and vehicles are triangular in shape, and pyramids abound in cities of the Masters. They also pilot immense three-legged walkers when they need to leave their cities.

As stated before, the Masters tend to be creatures of habit, and tend to stick to an established routine. However, they are also highly curious and interested in new things. They will usually investigate almost anything unusual and different in the local area, often seeking to capture it to add to their collections of curiosities.

It is unknown, what, if any, form of government the Masters have. They are not a social race, and tend to remain solitary. Their interactions with other members of their race tend to be short, and even in group activities (such as attending public sporting events), the Masters usually remain to themselves. It is presumed this aloofness is due to their reproduction—the Masters don't seem to form any sort of family group. By the same token, virtually all Masters or incredibly loyal to their race as a whole. Everything they do is for the betterment and advancement of the Masters as a race, and such things as thieves and rebels seem to be virtually unknown. This may be related to the fact the Masters can't lie and don't understand the concept of fiction and stories. They will accept anything told them at face value and believe it to be the truth. This has made them terrible traders in the interstellar markets.

Due to their cultural arrogance and pride, the Masters have great difficulty in accepting other cultures as their equals. Their name comes from their habit of finding planets suitable for colonization, invading them (often through various forms of mind-altering technologies and subterfuge), and then changing the world to fit their needs. Any inhabitants are enslaved for as long as they are needed, and then most are killed off when the atmosphere converters finally come on-line. The Masters, for the most part, don't see any problems with this. About the biggest objection is to the use of slaves—some Masters see this as a sign of weakness on the part of the Masters and wish to end the practice. Not out of concern for the slaves, but because they feel the Masters may be "lessened" by depending on others.

The Master's technology is fairly advanced. They have ATRI 9 power sources, including broadcast power, but only ATRI 8 starships (They don't have a stardrive, but instead use STL ships. Due to their long lifespans and solitary lives, this isn't an issue with them). With regards to weapons, they seem to have ATRI 10, as they can manipulate gravity and seem to have some form of laser and/or plasma weapons. They also have very advanced communications systems and are capable of creating mind-control technologies.

Designer's Notes:  The Masters are one of the better alien races in science fiction, if only because they aren't humanoid. They certainly look alien, although I find some of their alien habits and physiological quirks rather convenient (i.e. they were included only to advance the plot of the original novels along). At the very least, I'd remove the Vulnerability and maybe the Curse. The other Physical Limitations work well enough.

As presented, I've tried to keep the Masters generic and not tie them down to the setting of The Tripods. You could fit them into most settings, especially space opera such as Terran Empire, Star Wars, or even Star Trek.

Oddhat from the Hero Message Boards states:
Good write up. Worth noting for anyone using them that the Masters, if they're to play the same role they do in Tripods, should have tech at least a few steps ahead of anyone they go to war with.

Due to the nature of the Master's psychology and culture, I don't see them as a PC race.

(The Masters created by John Christopher, character sheet created by Michael Surbrook)

The Masters' Hero Designer File

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