Startopia features 9 different races and several minor races and unique characters.
Virtual Artifical Lifeform
The Virtual Artifical Lifeform, or VAL, is the player's servant and the robotic assistant, helping administrate station operations with a biting wit and a sense of humour drier than the Kasvagorian homeworld.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Surprisingly averted. Despite his attitude, he never rebels against the player.
- Ancient Astronauts, Historical In-Joke:VAL: I visited Earth once. Your ancestors made a lovely stone circle to worship me, but as I left I banged into it and some fell down. Pity.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Mission Control
- Noodle Incident: Besides the reference to one of the previous Administrators see Shout-Out, below, he mentions that another apparently went mad and threw himself out of an airlock.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: He is capable of sexual arousal. Go figure.
- Shout-Out: Take one guess. It's even lampshaded:VAL: You know, you remind me of one of my earlier charges. I believe his name was Dave. I can't remember much more than that, as my memory banks received some damage during that period.
An infamous merchant who makes the rounds around the player stations local area, selling a wide variety of wares at high prices and even offering a few highly exotic items.
- Chekhov's Gun: He mentions selling old mucous wine early in the game, and mucous wine is suspected as the cause of the Zedem diplomats illness in the climax of the first mission and turns up as a cause of illness after that. He even tries to offer the player some mucous wine, nouveaux, but admits he doesn't drink it either.
- Fell Off the Back of a Truck: One of his excuses for selling you contraband items.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Until the ending
- Honest John's Dealership: He seems friendly and says all the right things, trying to get into your good graces to sell you stuff, but his prices are typically higher than those of the other merchants. On the other hand, there are some exotic items that only he carries.
- Ho Yay: Some of his remarks to the player seem oddly homoerotic. See below, for some rather disturbing implications, or a possible explanation for his affection..
- Intrepid Merchant
- Loan Shark: Subverted. He will loan the player some funds in the event of an energy crisis, but his interest rates are extremely low.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: In the ending. Especially odd, when you consider VAL implies the player is an Earth human.
- Maybe the PC is adopted?
The Groulien Salt Hogs
A race of salt of the earth, porcine aliens with a Protestant work ethic and a mind for employment as soldiers, recycling plant and factory workers. Their leading organisation is the Groulien Workers Party.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The salt hogs don't look like much, but they're all armed and can fight almost as well as Kasvagorians (and are a lot cheaper to hire en masse). Their version of Christmas involves handling out a random selection of toxins to the kids alongside some gifts (apparently to teach them that life isn't fair) and the last Administrator who failed them was fed to a flesh-eating intestinal parasite.
- Crapsack World: Like the quarians, the fluff for Salt Hogs explains that most of their worlds are all giant Generation Ships that are constantly falling apart, which requires the race to be....
- Mr. Fixit: A Planet of Hats example.
- Pig Man
A race that formerly indulged in cattle mutilation and alien abduction, but has now turned to peaceful medical endeavours, help cure the citizens of the galaxy in the aftermath of a great war. Their leading organisation is the Grey Council.
- Alien Abduction / Aliens Steal Cattle: In their past.
- The Charmer: The greys are alone in the game in that they get well along with everyone.
- Combat Medic: They can fight, but they're lousy at it.
- Creative Sterility: Their art consists of three boxes, stacked on top of each other. Naturally, it's the one piece of art nobody finds offensive.
- Mad Doctor: Criminal Greys will hurt anyone they heal, and can lead to visitor casualties if not caught.
- Never Live It Down: In-Universe: The bovine abductions. They don't do that any more, and wish everyone would stop commenting on it.
- Roswell That Ends Well: Apparently, some of the Greys had relatives who died in that crash.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: They absolutely enjoy cold-wet climates despite their lack of clothes would otherwise imply.
- The Greys: Of course.
- The Medic
- The Spock
The Zedem Monks
A race dedicated to an ascetic religion worshipping a wrathful deity called Zedem. Apparently, one of the most prominent figures in the Zedem movement is, or was, Father Zederous. Their leading organisation is the Zedem Conclave.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Zedem seems like a Straw Deity for the Old Testament God.
- Saintly Church: For all their traditionalism and moralising, the Zedem Monks are peaceful, take their asceticism seriously. and show genuine concern for their fellow sentients' spiritual well-being.
- Science Is Wrong: They do not get on with the empirical Turakken.
- Sex Is Evil: They get the least enjoyment out of the Love Nest and the love-producing Oroflex, as well as feuding with the Sirens.
- The Zedem will, unless severely deprived, instead try to fulfil their 'love' need by praying at the temple, which actually does provide them with a small bonus (moreso if they are absolved by a resident monk). Go figure.
- The Fundamentalist
The Grekka Targ
A race of communications specialists and techno geeks regarded as smug and arrogant by other races. In actuality, they are largely dull and uninteresting, due to their hive mind and social structure. Their leading organisation is the Targ Collective.
- The Generic Guy: They have no particular advantages or disadvantages species wise, other than being able to fight, manning comm stations, having a preference for cold and dry environments and giving half the normal satisfaction in conversation.
- Insufferable Genius, Jerkass: Their reputation.
- Insectoid Aliens
- No Social Skills: Nobody really likes to talk with them.
- Stalker Without a Crush: Within the constraints of the game, criminal Targs simply slow down the rate that passing space ships are located / communicated with, the 'fluff' is that they use your station's communication and observation tools to spy on anyone they feel like.
- Terse Talker: Messages from targ traders indicate they talk like this.
A race of winged, scantily clad, beautiful humanoids. The only race in the game to have two genders, though the difference is purely aesthetic. Their leading organisation is the Siren Academy.
- Gender Flip: Someone from Mucky Foot once said that the Sirens are inherently Gender Flipped. The stacked hourglass-shaped Siren? Dude. The one looking like its suffering from Testosterone Poisoning? Chick.
- The veracity of the claim is up to debate, however, as the original post stating it has been long deleted and strong evidence exists to the contrary (namely, the Dahanese racial art, a statue of their mother goddess, clearly depicts the mother as a female looking one)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: They offer the in-game equivalent of prostitution. Which the player runs. On a bisexual basis.
- G-Rated Sex: They dispense love in their Love Nests with a stream of hearts flowing out of their chests into their clients.
- Human Aliens
- Our Angels Are Different
- Palmtree Panic: Hot and wet is their natural environment on the biodeck.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: Also the only ones with any sexual dimorphism at all.
- Stripperiffic: The both genders wear a one-piece bikini or speedo. According to some early concept art◊, female Sirens were originally intended to wear clothing that was basically a bunch of white straps covering the naughty parts.
- Winged Humanoid
A race of tall, spikey shouldered Proud Warrior Race Guys with a passion for battle and skill to boot. Their leading organisation is the Kasvagorian Kingdom.
- The Big Guy:
- Genius Bruiser: They man the command centre, the complex nerve center for your station's entire defense network.
- They apparently spend most of their time in there playing pong, if the screens are any indication.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
- Shifting Sand Land: On the Biodeck, Kasvagorians love High-Heat, Low-Humidity climates common to this sort of Land.
- Spikes of Villainy: Inverted, as they are the only characters with spikes in the game.
A race of hippies and botanists who like nothing more than to spend their days in harmony with nature. Their leading organization is the Karmarama Commune.
- Crying Indian: It's hard to tell in-game, in part because the numbers aren't shown to the player, but the plant-loving race clearly hate seeing you pull up all the plant life on the Biodeck. Karmaramans become a bit upset when they see you harvesting plants.
- Green Hill Zone: Their preferred environment in the biodeck is a perfect balance of average temperature and moisture.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture
- Space Age Alien Hippie
- Non-Fatal Explosions: Their Karmagasms are actually beneficial. Bad ones, released by criminal Karmarama, can, however, be damaging and potentially fatal to both organics and scuzzers.
A two headed race of scientists and researchers. They also have a strong desire for love. Their leading organisation is the Turakken Committee.
- Horny Scientist: They have the highest love need of any of the races.
- Multiple Head Case: Both literally and figuratively. When asked if they need anything, often each head will motion differently until they look at each other and agree. Which is probably why they make such good scientists. Each individual has two opinions, which allows for more ideas to be explored.
- The Smart Guy
The Polvakian Gem Slugs
A Hutt like green and yellow-white skinned race with unimaginable amounts of wealth. Their leading organisation is the Polvakian Aristocracy.
- Ascended Glitch: There's a bar/bathhouse specifically for Gem Slugs. Occasionally, a Gem Slug will 'freeze' while sitting in one of the baths, completely frozen, while the game still calculates its dropping health, hunger, and happiness traits. The developers caught it, but thought it appropriate that Gem Slugs would occasionally neglect their own health while taking care of being happy.
- Power Floats: They use power chairs to get around.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: The only race that can't be hired. Their only purpose is to be pampered in the hopes that they will excrete an energy-rich material called Turdite. Naturally, their radically-different philosophies mean that they don't get along with the Groulien Salt Hogs.
- Shout-Out: To the Hutts, of Star Wars. A decadent, wealthy sluggish race that requires artificial levitation to float around?
- Solid Gold Poop: When happy, they excrete a jeweled material called Turdite, which is worth great amounts.