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RobCaswell's avatar

Trust me - I'm a robot!

This is one of my oldest published Traveller images, but it's still a fave. It's a Hiver with one of its diplomatic robots designed for interacting with Humans. I was always a Hiver-junkie as they were probably the most alien of Traveller's major races.

Ink on board w/ tone film.
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© 2013 - 2021 RobCaswell
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Back off man. I'm a robot.
RobCaswell's avatar
Hey, chill!
Unless.... need some coolant?
cadwaladr's avatar
:) cool, did like the Hivers. Them and the Vargyr were my preferred aliens in Traveler. Just remember never to 'shake hands' with a Hiver
RobCaswell's avatar
HA! I almost forgot! ;)
TheBloodPhoenix's avatar
Great image! Really captures the Hiver physiology. And I can totally relate to you describing yourself as a Hiver "groupie". They have successfully manipulated
me into thinking that starfish are somehow "cuddly". Of all the aliens I've "encountered" in books, movies, TV shows, and (of course) myriad game worlds, none can compare to the Hivers.

I have pretty high expectations when it comes to life-forms from other worlds! Far too many Sci-Fi "aliens" are just "humans in rubber suits", with a few odd bumps or ridges, and usually with one emotion or personality trait exaggerated. "These aliens have a devotion to logic that borders on religion, while these aliens are ill-tempered and honor-bound". In case you can't tell, the endless parade of humanoid aliens in Star Trek that are fundamentally human is an old pet peeve...but even that setting managed to produce some very 'alien' aliens, mostly on the original series: the Tholians and the Horta come to mind...

Beyond physical appearance, most of the time some human culture is tweaked a bit and grafted on (the medieval Japanese seem to be popular), because its an enormous intellectual effort to create a genuinely alien culture and mind-set. Which is why I'm all the more impressed when a genuinely alien-looking race comes along that also has a very alien way of looking at the universe. My only regret is that I haven't yet had an opportunity to see a Hiver grace a movie or TV screen - CGI technology is certainly up to the challenge! For now, I must be content with the inscrutable Vorlons...

Hey, as a Traveller fan, maybe you can explain a piece of Hiver-trivia for me...
I saw the image in your gallery of a Hiver grav-bike, which was cool! I like the various Hiver devices that are designed for use with their oddly shaped "hands" like the guns that have a "ball" on them. What I have never understood, given their design aesthetic as expressed in their tools and building architecture, is why their spacecraft are portrayed as...flying boxes. I would expect a creature with radial symmetry to create something that...well, that was radial. At the very least, that had six sides (as they have six limbs, etc) I don't know, the blocky, sharp lines don't seem to fit with their physicality. I would expect something alot more "organic"-looking. What are your thoughts?
RobCaswell's avatar
My thoughts? The "flying boxes" weren't created on my watch ;p I'm guessing that bit showed up the GURPS Hiver supplement? If so, I ain't buyin' it - not unless they make a compelling argument for it... and if they did you wouldn't be asking me! ;) Like you I'd expect them to go more organic. Nothing about their physiology or environment seems to encourage "flat/square". And as master manipulators I just can't see why their designs would be so blunt and lowest-common-denominator utilitarian.

If you look at the design work done by myself and Bryan Gibson before the GURPS stuff was done, their design is not boxy at all.... but more organic as you suggest. Maybe now I know why a good friend and dedicated Traveller fan told me not to waste my money on the GURPS alien books. My brain would have imploded when I got the Hiver design section :)

I'm with ya on aliens.... I'm not a big fan of the "guy in lizard suit" school or alien creation.
Colourbrand's avatar
This is why I love Traveller - its SF without the BS
RobCaswell's avatar
Well... without too much, for sure. It's less compromised than your average media SF :)
Colourbrand's avatar
Exactly - that is why I love it :D
LmAnt's avatar
This robot is obviously designed for humans who already had a lot of alien-encounters.
however it in fact is more human than that really alien,...erm.....Alien :)
I like that dog-tag around its neck, a lot :)
What does it say? Can you remember?
RobCaswell's avatar
Oh, actually that's not a dog tag - it's a translation screen. You can see it a little better here. Note the back leg is typing on the back of screen [link]
LmAnt's avatar
oh wow!
this picture is totally lovely!!
is that yours??
RobCaswell's avatar
Nope. That's an old friend of mine's, Bill Keith. These days he's mostly writing. [link]
LmAnt's avatar
but it's still your design?
RobCaswell's avatar
Oh no... I'm not sure who designed the look of the Hiver.... but my hat's off to whoever it is. I suspect it was Bill Keith. He designed some pretty great aliens :)
LmAnt's avatar
oh,...okay. I thought it was yours :)
RobCaswell's avatar

Bill's a real talented guy. It's too bad he doesn't illustrate anymore.
Instead he WRITES - and writes - and writes! [link]

I forget how many aliens I've designed over the years, but none are as cool as the Hivers :D
Urus-28's avatar
Hivers are really alien, I like them for that, you cannot compare them to other things =D
RobCaswell's avatar
Yup - they really stand out in the Traveller universe.
I-Am-Madbat's avatar
Good old Traveller, I remember getting killed in that game....a lot.
RobCaswell's avatar
Heck, you could get killed even BEFORE you actually played! ;)
I-Am-Madbat's avatar
I remember LOL....Talk about a rough neighborhood. At least character generation itself was painless. I played a lot of I.C.E. stuff, and it took forever to generate a character in that system. God help you if you were rolling a high level one.
NICELabs's avatar
Excellent :) First time to see this particular image, but always dug Hivers. They were definitely the most alien. Did a whole campaign once where a Hiver ship owner had them as the center of a great experiment. Started with characters fresh out of mustering out meeting as strangers on a ship, which then crashed (caused by the Hiver). Being the survivors, they then travelled on foot several months to civilization on the other side of the planet (a certain Hiver research station) where they were 'rescued'. By that time they had bonded as friends and all signed on to the Hiver's ship as crew. Then the manipulations REALLY started :D
RobCaswell's avatar
Sounds like great paranoid headgame stuff!
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