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Alternity: Mass Effect [Races]

Dave ST

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I love Alternity when it comes down to a good ol'fashioned space opera game. So, Vivi and I awhile back began play testing rules for using the Mass Effect Universe as a medium for a high octane, balls to the wall action/drama campaign that centered around the heroes coming up against some of the worst low lifes the galaxy had to offer.

The game went well, and we'll probably be picking it up again soon. At the time we had generic rules for how to handle some of the races on various sheets of notebook paper but we were having too much fun playing the game itself that we never really organized those notes into a set of rules that governed the playable species of the Mass Effect Universe.

Well, I compiled those rules, and below is the result. Enjoy people!

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The Asari

The asari, native to the planet Thessia, are often considered the most powerful and respected sentient species in the known galaxy. This is partly due to the fact the asari were the first race after the Protheans to achieve interstellar flight, and to discover and inhabit the Citadel.

A mono-gender race—distinctly feminine in appearance—the asari are known for their elegance, diplomacy, and biotic talent. Their millennia-long lifespan and unique physiology—allowing them to reproduce with a partner of any gender or species—give them a conservative but convivial attitude toward other races. The asari were instrumental in proposing and founding the Citadel Council, and have been at the heart of galactic society ever since.


The asari were the first contemporary race to achieve space flight and discover the mass relays. When they found the Citadel in around 580 BCE, the asari also encountered the keepers, whose mute assistance enabled them to quickly settle on the station and learn how to operate its systems. Sixty years later, the salarians made first contact with them, and together the two species agreed to found the Council.

The asari continued their exploration. In around 200 BCE, the asari made first contact with the elcor and played a key role in their ascension into the galactic community. It is known that they were charting the Gorgon system at some point in Earth's 17th century.


A typical asari individual has a blue to purple complexion; the gas giant Sharblu was named after a famous asari soprano with a distinctive skin tone that resembled the planet's atmosphere. Some asari, such as their representative on the Council, have facial markings. In the place of head hair, asari possess wavy folds of sculpted skin; aside from this and their skin tone, aesthetically the asari are the closest alien species to humans. The Asari are incredibly flexible, graceful and all sentient species seem to agree that all asari are incredibly attractive.


Asari have a robust cellular regenerative system. While they do not heal faster than other species, asari are known to reach 1000 years of age.

Although asari have one gender, they are not asexual. An asari provides two copies of her own genes to her offspring, which—regardless of the species or sex of the 'father'—is always an asari. The second set is altered in a unique process called melding, also known as the joining.

During melding, an asari consciously attunes her nervous system to her partner's, sending and receiving electrical impulses directly through the skin. Effectively, the asari and her partner briefly become one unified nervous system. This unique means of reproduction is the reason asari are all talented biotics. Their evolved ability to consciously control nerve impulses is very similar to biotic training. The partner can be another asari, or an alien of any gender. However, since the asari began encountering other sentient species, non-asari mates have become preferred for the diversity they provide. This reproductive process can lead to some confusion among non-asari, who might expect offspring with "mixed" genes. However, the offspring is always 100% asari, as it does not actually take DNA from the partner, simply use it as a "map" to randomize the genes of the offspring.

An asari's melding ability extends to a mental connection as well, which is described as being the true union between an asari and her partner. It allows the asari to explore her partner's genetic heritage and pass desirable traits on to any offspring. During mating, an asari and her partner share memories, thoughts, and feelings. It is also possible for an asari to meld with another for the sole purpose of transferring thoughts, without reproduction.

Asari pass through three climacteric life stages, marked by biochemical and physiological changes:

-The Maiden stage begins at birth and is marked by the drive to explore and experience. Most young asari are curious and restless.

-The Matron stage of life begins around the age of 350, though it can be triggered earlier if the individual melds frequently. This period is marked by a desire to settle in one area and raise children.

-The Matriarch stage begins around 700 years of age, or later if the individual melds rarely. Matriarchs become active in their community as sages and councilors, dispensing wisdom from centuries of experience. Their knowledge and guidance may be one reason why Matriarchs are rarely seen outside asari space.

However, it should be noted that, each stage could be started whenever an asari feels that she has reached the correct level of maturity. While each stage of life is marked by strong biological tendencies, individuals do make unexpected life choices. For example, there are Maidens who stay close to home rather than explore, Matrons who would rather work than build a family, and Matriarchs who have no interest in community affairs.


Because of their long lifespan, asari tend to have a "long view" not common in other races. When they encounter a new species or situation, the asari are more comfortable with an extended period of passive observation and study than immediate action. They are unfazed that some of their investments or decisions may not pay off for decades or centuries. Matriarchs can seem to make incomprehensible decisions, but their insight is evident when their carefully-laid plans come to fruition. In interstellar relations, this long view manifests in the unspoken policy of centrism. The asari instinctively seek to maintain stable balances of economic, political, and military power.

Traditionally, asari spread their influence through cultural domination and intellectual superiority. They invite new species of advanced development to join the galactic community, knowing that their ideals and beliefs will inevitably influence the existing culture. The asari tend toward communal, consensus attitudes among themselves too: for example, they prefer to live in shared spaces aboard starships even if there are alternatives available.

Asari believe that their offspring acquire the best qualities of the "father" from the melded genes, but evidence is anecdotal. They frown upon intraspecies conception, since genetic traits and cultural insight is gained from mating outside their species, so it's considered wasteful for asari to reproduce together. The results of such unions are occasionally referred to as "purebloods", a great insult among contemporary asari. A rare genetic defect known as Ardat-Yakshi, which makes asari destroy the partner's mind during melding, occurs much more frequently among the daughters of purebloods.

Because of their natural sensuality and ability to mate with any species, asari are sometimes rumored to be promiscuous. These rumors are mostly a result of misinformation (or wishful thinking). In fact, asari have to accept that if they mate outside their own species, they will almost inevitably outlive their partner (with the notable exception of the krogan, who have a similarly immense longevity). Therefore they have had to apply their philosophical "long view" to relationships as well, savoring the time they spend with their partners rather than focusing on their inevitable loss. On the Citadel, an asari and her companion are trying to decide on a souvenir to purchase, and while her friend feels a fish is too short-lived to make a good memento, the asari notes that they must "enjoy the time they have with the fish." As a result of the age difference many asari raise their daughters alone, especially if the "father" species is short-lived. Despite their partner's death, a part of them will live within their other.

The asari celebrate the springtime fertility ritual Janiris, which marks the start of the New Year. During this time, they create wreathes of flowers and distribute them among their friends and loved ones. As is the case with the holidays of some other Citadel species, the celebration of Janiris has been adopted by other species that operate in Citadel Space.

Ability range

Str 4-12

Dex 6-15

Con 4-12

Int 4-14

Wil 5-15

Per 6-16

Although not as robust or physically powerful as humans the asari are lithe, agile and incredibly attractive. Their natural biotic ability allows them to mentally push themselves farther and harder than humans might.

Free Broad skills

Str: Athletics

Dex: Vehicle Op

Con: -

Int: Knowledge

Wil: Awareness

Per: Culture, Interacton

The Asari possess the most knowledge of alien cultures than any other species in Citadel Space.

Great Looks: All Asari possess the great looks perk, despite cultural or species differences, this perk is always in effect. This perk can be negated if individuals have reason not to like the asari hero or, for whatever reason, just don't like asari in general.

Natural Biotics: All asari are natural biotics. Any asari biotic hero's possess a number of biotic energy points equal to their Will x 1.5 instead of Will x 1. An asari hero may opt to purchase the 'talent' perk later in their career to reflect training in some of their own latent biotic ability.

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The Turians

Known for their militaristic and disciplined culture, the turians are the most recent of the Citadel races invited to join the Council. They gained their Council seat after defeating the hostile krogan for the Council during the Krogan Rebellions. The turians deployed a salarian-created biological weapon called the genophage, which virtually sterilized the krogan and sent them into a decline. The turians then filled the peacekeeping niche left by the once-cooperative krogan, and eventually gained a Council seat in recognition of their efforts.

Originally from the planet Palaven, turians are best known for their military role, particularly their contributions of soldiers and starships to the Citadel Fleet. They are respected for their public service ethic—it was the turians who first proposed creating C-Sec—but are sometimes seen as imperialist or rigid by other races. There is some animosity between turians and humans, largely due to the turian role in the First Contact War. This bitterness is slowly beginning to heal—as shown by the cooperation of the two races on the construction of the SSV Normandy—but many turians still hate humans, and vice versa.


Turians typically stand over six feet tall, have two long, proportionately thick fingers and an opposable thumb on each hand, each tipped with talons, and a set of mandibles around their mouths. The most distinguishing feature of turians is their metallic carapace, which is a result of their evolution. Turian features are avian, making them resemble humanoid birds or raptors. Turians are also recognizable by their voices, which have a distinctive flanging effect. Males and females do not differ greatly in physical appearance. Female turians lack the crest of horns found in the males of the race.

Since the Unification War, turians normally wear elaborate facial tattoos marking their colony of origin, though it is not known which markings distinguish which colony. These tattoos are usually white — particularly on turians with darker carapaces — but can be of various colours. Garrus Vakarian's markings, for example, are dark blue. As a point of interest, the turian term "barefaced" refers to one who is beguiling or not to be trusted. It is also a slang term for politicians.

Turians exhibit the characteristics of predators rather than those of prey species. Their forward-facing alert eyes give the impression that they possess outstanding eyesight and their teeth and jaws mimic the structures possessed by apex predators such as crocodiles or ancient, carnivorous dinosaurs. Needless to say, their talons on both their feet and hands are capable of ripping flesh. Their slender bodies permit them to be capable of moving at high speeds.

The turian home world, Palaven, has a metal-poor core, generating a weak magnetic field and allowing more solar radiation into the atmosphere. To deal with this, most forms of life on Palaven evolved some form of metallic "exoskeleton" to protect themselves. Their reflective plate-like skin makes turians less susceptible to long-term, low-level radiation exposure, but they do not possess any sort of "natural armor". A turian's thick skin does not stop projectiles and directed energy bolts. Turian blood has a dark blue coloration, possibly from the presence of hemocyanin rather than hemoglobin, which would fit with the biology of a metallic exoskeleton.

Although life on Palaven is carbon-based and oxygen breathing, it is built on dextro-amino acids. This places the turians in a distinct minority on the galactic stage; the quarians are the only other sapient dextro-protein race. The food of humans, asari, or salarians (who evolved in levo-amino acid-based biospheres), will at best pass through turian systems without providing any nutrition. At worst, it will trigger an allergic reaction that can be fatal if not immediately treated.

The lifespan of a turian is comparable to that of a human.


The Unification War:The turians had already discovered several mass relays and spawned colonies throughout the galaxy when the asari reached the Citadel. At about the time the asari were forming the Council with the salarians, the turians were embroiled in a bitter civil war next door. The Unification War, as it was later named, began with hostilities between the colonies furthest from the turian homeworld, Palaven.

Local chieftains ran these colonies, many of who had distanced themselves from the Hierarchy. Without the galvanizing influence of the government, the colonies became increasingly isolated and xenophobic. Colonists began wearing emblems or facial markings to differentiate themselves from members of other colonies and open hostilities became common.

When war finally broke out, the Hierarchy maintained strict diplomacy and refused to get involved. After several years of fighting, fewer and fewer factions remained until the Hierarchy finally intervened. By that time, the chieftains were too weak to resist; they were forced to put an end to fighting and renew their allegiance to the Hierarchy. Though peace was restored, it took several decades for animosity between colonists to fade completely. To this day, most turians still wear the facial markings of their home colonies.

In the midst of the Krogan Rebellions, the Citadel Council made first contact with the turians. At the Council's behest, the turians brought their considerable war machine to bear on the krogan, who had recognized the threat posed by the krogan and declared war. While the initial turian offensive was successful in routing many krogan warrior bands, it provoked a massive counterattack from the krogan that devastated several turian colonies. Rather than scaring off the turians with this show of force, the turians only fought with more resolve to quash the krogan utterly. Eventually, the turians implemented the salarian-developed genophage. With their advantage in numbers removed, the majority of krogan were subdued, although scattered insurgent actions would continue for decades.

By 900 CE, the turians were granted full membership on the Citadel Council in gratitude for their service during the Krogan Rebellions. The turian military fills the military and peacekeeping niche left by the decimated krogan.

The Relay 314 Incident: In 2157 CE, following Council laws in place since the Rachni Wars which prohibited the activation of uncharted mass relays, a turian force opened fire on explorers from an as yet unknown race: humanity. One human starship managed to escape and warn the Systems Alliance, which retaliated and destroyed several turian vessels. The situation quickly escalated to war.

Over the next several weeks, the outnumbered Alliance lost multiple scouting parties and patrols to turian offensives. The conflict came to a head when a turian fleet broke through Alliance lines and besieged the human colony of Shanxi. With no other options, the Alliance garrison on Shanxi surrendered, and the turians proceeded to occupy the world, confident that the majority of Alliance forces had been defeated. However, one month later the Alliance's Second Fleet caught the turian occupiers by surprise and evicted them from the planet. Both sides began preparations for a protracted interplanetary war.

Before that could happen, the Citadel Council intervened and revealed the galactic community to humanity. Terms of peace were negotiated and the conflict effectively brought to an end. The turians were ordered by the Council to give heavy reparations to the Alliance for their part in instigating the conflict, known to the galaxy as the "Relay 314 Incident". Mistrust between both races would linger for years to come.


Turians are noted for their strong sense of public service. It is rare to find one who puts his needs ahead of the group. Every citizen from age 15 to 30 serves the state in some capacity, as anything from a soldier to an administrator, from a construction engineer to a sanitation worker. Turians have a strong inclination toward public service and self-sacrifice, so they tend to be poor entrepreneurs. To compensate, they accepted the mercantile volus as a client race, offering protection in exchange for their fiscal expertise.

Turian society is highly regimented and very organized, and the species is known for its strict discipline and work ethic. Turians are willing to do what needs to be done, and they always follow through. They are not easily spurred to violence, but when conflict is inevitable, they only understand a concept of "total war." They do not believe in skirmishes or small-scale battles; they use massive fleets and numbers to defeat an adversary so completely that they remove any threat of having to fight the same opponent more than once. They do not exterminate their enemy, but so completely devastate their military that the enemy has no choice but to become a colony of the turians. It is theorized that another conflict between the rapidly advancing humans and the turians could annihilate a large portion of known space.

The turian military is the center of their society. It is not just an armed force; it is an all-encompassing public works organization. The military police are also the civic police. The fire brigades serve the civilian population as well as military facilities. The corps of engineers builds and maintains spaceports, schools, water purification plants, and power stations. The merchant marine ensures that all worlds get needed resources.

Other species see turians as "men of action," and they are generally regarded as the most progressive of the Citadel races (though some species believe humans are rivaling this position). Since their culture is based on the structure of a military hierarchy, the rest of society quickly adopts changes and advances accepted by leadership with minimal resistance.

While turians are individuals with personal desires, their instinct is to equate the self with the group, and to set aside all personal desires for the good of all. Turians are taught to have a strong sense of personal accountability, the 'turian honor' that other races find so remarkable. Turians are taught to own every decision they make, good or ill. The worst sin they can make in the eyes of their people is to lie about their own actions. Turians who murder will try to get away with it, but if directly questioned, most will confess the crime.


The turian economy is vastly larger than that of the Alliance, but cannot match the size and power of that of the asari. For many years, development was hampered by cultural disinterest in economics. When the turians accepted the volus as a client race, business development improved.

The military is supported by a well-developed infrastructure. Manufacturers such as Armax Arsenal and the Haliat Armory produce advanced, reliable equipment. Volus manufacturers have been known to produce cheap knock-offs of turian equipment.


Turians believe that groups and areas have "spirits" that transcend the individual. For example, a military unit would be considered to have a literal spirit that embodies the honor and courage it has displayed. A city's spirit reflects the accomplishments and industry of its residents. An ancient tree's spirit reflects the beauty and tranquility of the area it grows within.

These spirits are neither good nor evil, nor are they appealed to for intercession. Turians do not believe spirits can affect the world, but spirits can inspire the living. Prayers and rituals allow an individual to converse with a spirit for guidance or inspiration. For example, a turian who finds his loyalty tested may appeal to the spirit of his unit, hoping to reconnect with the pride and honor of the group. A turian who wishes to create a work of art may attempt to connect with the spirit of a beautiful location.

Turians enjoy absolute freedom of religion and can practice whatever appeals to them so long as it does not impede anyone's ability to perform their duties. There are many practitioners of the asari siarist philosophy. Since opening dialog with the human Systems Alliance, some turians have embraced Confucianism and Zen Buddhism.

In the past, turians believed that titans strode across Palaven, reaching for the heavens. They worshiped these deities and communicated with them at a structure called Temple Palaven. The temple was tended to by a religious order called the Valluvian Priests, who wear special purple robes that obscure their forms. In order for turians to join this order, they had to be considered worthy enough through some action. When the turians spread out from Palaven and discovered other life among the stars, however, they sealed Temple Palaven because they no longer needed legends to prod them upward. With the temple abandoned, eventually the Valluvian Priests fell into legend.


The turian government, known as the Turian Hierarchy, is a hierarchical meritocracy. While it has great potential for misuse, this is tempered by the civic duty and personal responsibility turians learn in childhood.

Turians have 27 citizenship tiers, beginning with civilians (client races and children). The initial period of military service is the second tier. Formal citizenship is conferred at the third tier, after boot camp. For client races, citizenship is granted after the individual musters out. Higher-ranked citizens are expected to lead and protect subordinates. Lower-ranking citizens are expected to obey and support superiors. Promotion to another tier of citizenship is based on the personal assessment of one's superiors and co-rankers. At the top are the Primarchs, who each rule a colonization cluster. The Primarchs vote on matters of national import. They otherwise maintain a "hands-off" policy, trusting the citizens on each level below them to do their jobs competently.

Throughout their lives, turians ascend to the higher tiers and are occasionally "demoted" to lower ones. The stigma associated with demotion lies not on the individual, but on those who promoted him when he wasn't ready for additional responsibility. This curbs the tendency to promote individuals into positions beyond their capabilities. Settling into a role and rank is not considered stagnation. Turians value knowing one's own limitations more than being ambitious.

Turians enjoy broad freedoms. So long as one completes his duties, and does not prevent others from completing theirs, nothing is forbidden. For example, there are no laws against recreational drug use, but if someone is unable to complete his duties due to drug use, his superiors step in. Judicial proceedings are 'interventions.' Peers express their concern, and try to convince the offender to change. If rehabilitation fails, turians have no qualms about sentencing dangerous individuals to life at hard labor for the state.


Although they lack the brutality of the krogan, the refined skill of the asari, and the adaptability of the humans, the turian military has formidable discipline and their fleet makes up the single largest portion of the Citadel Fleet. Their fleet is also allotted the single largest number of dreadnoughts by the Treaty of Farixen, having 37 as of 2183 and 39 as of 2185, as a point to their fleet's service as galactic peacekeepers and position as the primary military arm of the Council.

Officers and NCOs are "lifers" with years of field experience. Enlisted personnel are thoroughly trained and stay calm under fire. Turian units don't break. Even if their entire line collapses, they fall back in order, setting ambushes as they go. A popular saying holds: "You will only see a turian's back once he's dead."

Boot camp begins on the 15th birthday. Soldiers receive a year of training before being assigned to a field unit; officers train for even longer. Most serve until the age of 30, at which they become part of the Reserves. Even if they suffer injuries preventing front-line service, most do support work behind the lines.

Most turian families are said to keep small arms in their homes and basic training includes instruction on how to create simple firebombs that can be surprisingly effective against armored vehicles.

Biotics are uncommon. While admired for their exacting skills, biotics' motives are not always fully trusted by the common soldier. The turians prefer to assign their biotics to specialist teams called Cabals.

Command and control is decentralized and flexible. Individual squads can call for artillery and air support. They make extensive use of combat drones for light duties, and practice combined arms: infantry operates with armor, supported by overhead gunships. Strategically, they are methodical and patient, and dislike risky operations. The turians recruit auxiliary units from conquered or absorbed minor races. Auxiliaries are generally light infantry or armored cavalry units that screen and support the main battle formations. At the conclusion of their service in the Auxiliaries, recruits are granted turian citizenship.

Tradition is important. Each legion has a full-time staff of historians who chronicle its battle honors in detail. The oldest have records dating back to the turian Iron Age. If a legion is destroyed in battle, it is reconstituted rather than being replaced.

Ability range

Str 4-14

Dex 4-14

Con 4-14

Int 4-14

Wil 4-14

Per 4-14

Turians do not excel as a species in one particular category of attributes; much like humans they are capable of a wide variety of skills and tasks.

Free Broad skills

Str: Athletics

Dex: Modern Ranged Weapons, Vehicle Op

Con: Stamina

Int: Knowledge

Wil: Awareness

Per: -

All turians go through boot camp and are taught from an early age the use of weapons and military grade hardware.

Night Vision: Turian eyes are designed to intensify ambient light, thus allowing them to see in near total darkness. This ability enables a turian to ignore any penalties that apply to other species in situation of low illumination. Night vision doesn’t function in total darkness.

Radiation Resistance – A turians evolved metallic carapace allows them to survive in environments up to R3 without ill effects.

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The Salarians

The second species to join the Citadel, the salarians are warm-blooded amphibians native to the planet Sur'Kesh. Salarians possess a hyperactive metabolism; they think fast, talk fast, and move fast. To salarians, other species seem sluggish and dull-witted, especially the elcor. Unfortunately, their metabolic speed leaves them with a relatively short lifespan; salarians over the age of 40 are a rarity.

Salarians are known for their observational capability and non-linear thinking. This manifests as an aptitude for research and espionage. They are constantly experimenting and inventing, and it is generally accepted that they always know more than they are letting on.


The salarians are a bipedal race of amphibians, with tall, elongated bodies suited for their high metabolism. Their heads are long and thin, and have a pair of horns protruding from the top of their skulls. Salarian skin varies in color, but is mostly a shade of blue or grey. However, this does not apply to all salarians, as some are brightly colored, ranging from light red to green.

Salarian eyes are large, oval and have thin membranes in place of eyelids. Salarians blink upwards, rather than downwards as humans do. The pupils are a wide slit, oriented horizontally, and iris colors - while normally not visible - include green, purple and brown.

Salarians are noted for their high-speed metabolism, which allows them to function on just one hour of sleep a day. Their minds and bodies work faster than most sapient races, making them seem restless or hyperactive. The drawback of this active metabolism is a short lifespan of around 40 human years.

The salarians are amphibian haplo-diploid egg-layers; unfertilized eggs produce males and fertilized eggs produce females. Once a year, a salarian female will lay a clutch of dozens of eggs. Social rules prevent all but a fraction from being fertilized. As a result, 90% of the species is male.

Salarians have photographic memories and rarely forget a fact. They also possess a form of psychological ‘imprinting’, tending to defer to those they knew in their youth. Salarian hatching is a solemn ritual in which the clan Dalatrass (matriarch) isolates herself with the eggs. The young salarians psychologically imprint on her and tend to defer to her wishes.

During the hatching of daughters, the Dalatrasses of the mother and father’s clans are present at the imprinting. This ensures the offspring have equal loyalty to both, ensuring the desired dynastic and political unity.

Salarians have more cartilage in their skeletons than many other Citadel species, such as humans.


On their first three interstellar colonies, the salarians planted settlements named Aegohr, Mannovai, and Jaëto and they remain at the heart of salarian territory to this day.

The salarians were the second species to discover the Citadel, only a few decades after the asari. They opened diplomatic relations at once and became one of the founding species of the Citadel Council. In a gesture of trust, the salarians opened the records of one of their intelligence services, the League of One, but this quickly created problems when the League's members found themselves in danger as a result. The League slaughtered the entire Union inner cabinet, but was later hunted down, leaving only relics behind.

The salarians also played a significant role in the advancement of the krogan species. The salarians provided the krogan with advanced technology and a new, tranquil home planet (in order to manipulate the krogan into eradicating the rachni for the Council). The peaceful home planet and better technology put less strain on the krogan as a species; they no longer had to worry about simply surviving on a dangerous planet with primitive technology, as they did before contact with the salarians. This comparatively easy life, combined with their exceedingly high birth rate, allowed the krogans the time, numbers and energy to spread through Citadel space, aggressively claiming formerly allied planets as their own. In order to end these "Krogan Rebellions" the salarians then provided the turians with the genophage, a biological weapon that effectively sterilized the krogan resulting in almost all krogan pregnancies ending in stillbirth.

Though their military is nothing special, salarians are currently seen as the premier intelligence and information gathering arm of the Council. As such they are well respected, but some races, including a few humans, see the salarians as manipulators.


Salarians excel at invention, preferring to use cutting-edge technology rather than settle for anything less. For example, their GARDIAN starship defenses put emphasis on high performance over reliability even though a malfunction could cost lives.

The salarians see information gathering and even spying as a matter of course when dealing with other races, but this is not underhanded: they simply embrace the dictum of "knowledge is power". Alliance counterintelligence agencies are constantly uncovering salarian agents and cyber-warfare incursions, but there is little they can do to stop them.

Normally, the rare salarian females are cloistered on their worlds out of tradition and respect. Powerful female Dalatrasses are dynasts and political kingpins. They determine the political course of their respective regions through shrewd negotiation. Though male salarians rise to positions of great authority in business, academia, or the military, they rarely have any input on politics, though the salarian representative on the Citadel Council is male.

Due to their method of reproduction, salarians have no concept of romantic love, sexual attraction, or the biological impulses and social rituals that complicate other species' lives. Male-female relationships are rare (due to the scarcity of females) and more akin to human friendship. Sexuality is strictly for the purpose of reproduction. Ancient social codes determine who gets to fertilize eggs, which produces more daughters to continue the bloodline. Fertilization generally only occurs after months of negotiation between the parents' clans, and is done for purposes of political and dynastic alliance. No salarian would imagine defying this code.

Salarian names are quite complex. A full name includes – in order – the name of a salarian's homeworld, nation, city, district, clan name and given name. For example, the salarian on Feros is named Gorot II Heranon Mal Dinest Got Inoste Ledra, but he would be called either by his clan name, Inoste, or his given name, Ledra.

The salarian race also includes the Lystheni "offshoot". How the Lystheni are distinct from mainline salarians and why they are currently unwelcome in Council space is unrevealed. Lystheni salarians may be found living among batarians, exiled quarians, and other galactic refuse at Omega.

Salarians celebrate "Betau", the first day of their New Year. Traditionally, it marks the end of winter in the southern hemisphere on the salarian homeworld, Sur'Kesh. During this occasion, they repay debts, and petition favors from one another.


The salarian economy is the smallest of the three Council races, but still far larger than the Alliance. It is based on "bleeding-edge" technologies; salarian industries are leaders in most fields. They make up for a lack of military quantity by holding a decisive superiority in quality.


Salarians are not notably religious, but as free-willed sentients there are exceptions. One of the less favored salarian religions (which the Council deems a "cult") worships a goddess, and claims that a certain pattern of overlapping craters in the southern hemisphere of Trelyn resembles her. Many salarians believe in a wheel of life, which is similar to Hinduism due to a shared belief in reincarnation.


The salarian government, since at least the formation of the Council in 500 BCE, is called the Salarian Union. It is a labyrinthine web of matrilineal bloodlines, with political alliances formed through interbreeding.

In many ways, the salarian political network functions like the noble families of Earth’s Medieval Europe. Structurally, the government consists of fiefdoms, baronies, duchies, planets, and marches (colonization clusters). These are human nicknames, as the original salarian is unpronounceable. Each area is ruled by a single Dalatrass (matriarchal head-of-household) and represents an increasing amount of territory and prestige within the salarian political web.

Approaching 100 members, the first circle of a salarian's clan comprises parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, and cousins. The next circle includes second cousins, etc, and escalates to well over 1000 members. The fourth or fifth circle of a clan numbers into the millions. Salarian loyalty is greatest to their first circle and diminishes from there. Their photographic memories allow salarians to recognize all their myriad relatives.


In principle, the salarian military is similar to the Systems Alliance, a small volunteer army that focuses on maneuver warfare. What differentiates the salarians is not their equipment or doctrine, but their intelligence services and rules of engagement. The salarians believe that a war should be won before it begins (a doctrine also espoused by some of humanity's greatest generals, such as Sun Tzu).

The unquestioned superiority of their intelligence services allows them to use their small military to maximum effectiveness. Well before fighting breaks out, they possess complete knowledge of their enemy's positions, intentions and timetable. Special Tasks Groups (STG) who monitor developing situations and take necessary action, usually without the shackles of traditional laws and procedures, spearheads their powerful intelligence network in the field. This may be as simple as scouting and information gathering, or as complex as ensuring a conveniently unstable political situation stays that way. The effectiveness of the STG during the Krogan Rebellion is what provided the template for the Council to establish their SPECTRE program immediately afterward.

In every war the salarians have fought, they struck first and without warning. For the salarians, to know an enemy plans to attack and let it happen is folly; to announce their own plans to attack is insanity. They find the human moral concepts of 'do not fire until fired upon' and 'declare a war before prosecuting it' incredibly naive. In defensive wars, they execute devastating preemptive strikes hours before the enemy's own attacks. On the offense, they have never issued an official declaration of war before attacking.

Biotics are virtually unknown in the salarian military. Those with such abilities are considered too valuable to be used as cannon fodder and are assigned to the intelligence services.

While capable of defending themselves against most threats, the salarians know that they are small fish in a universe filled with sharks. As a point of survival, they have cultivated strong alliances with larger powers, particularly with the turians. Though the relationship between the two species was rocky at first due to the krogan uplift fiasco, the salarians take pains to keep this relationship strong enough that anyone who might threaten them risks turian intervention.

The salarian navy has sixteen dreadnoughts, which is considerably less than the maximum they are allowed to build according to the Treaty of Farixen.

Ability range

Str 4-11

Dex 4-14

Con 4-10

Int 8-16

Wil 4-14

Per 4-14

Salarians are a frail species but make up for it with an intense intellect and a wide variety of useful skills.

Free Broad skills

Str: Athletics

Dex: Vehicle Operation

Con: Stamina

Int: Knowledge, Technical Science

Wil: Awareness

Per: -

As fast paced wiley inventors, salarians tend not to get out much. As such they are usually better with engineering than they are interacting with others.

One Step Ahead: Salarian speed of thought is so swift that they are prepared for most situations before they happen, either through gathered intelligence or tactical appraisal of a situation. All salarian heroes receive a –1 step situation die bonus to their action checks. This makes a salarian hero’s base situation die for these checks –d4 instead of he usual +d0.

Photographic Memory: All salarian heroes receive the photographic memory perk for free. A salarian my recall names and faces, especially those of his clan, without a check.

Natural Inventors: chances are someone’s already built it, but the salarians always find a way of building it better. As natural inventors, salarian heroes receive a –1 step situation die on all Technical Science – invention rolls that apply to creating a new device or upgrading a currently existing device.

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The Krogan

The krogan are a species of large reptilian bipeds native to the planet Tuchanka, a world known for its harsh environments, scarce resources, and overabundance of vicious predators. The krogan managed to not only survive on their unforgiving home world, but actually thrived in the extreme conditions. Unfortunately, as krogan society became more technologically advanced so did their weaponry.

Four thousand years ago, at the dawn of the krogan nuclear age, battles to claim the small pockets of territory capable of sustaining life escalated into full-scale global war. Weapons of mass destruction were unleashed, transforming Tuchanka into a radioactive wasteland. The krogan were reduced to primitive warring clans struggling to survive a nuclear winter of their own creation, a state that continued until the salarians discovered them two thousand years later.

With the help of the salarians, the krogan were "uplifted" into galactic society, and lent their numbers and military prowess to bring an end to the Rachni Wars. Ironically, after the rachni were eradicated, the rapidly expanding krogan became a threat to the galaxy in turn, starting the Krogan Rebellions and forcing the turians to unleash the genophage. This genetic "infection" dramatically reduced fertility in krogan females, causing a severe drop in births and, ultimately, population, eliminating the krogan numerical advantage.


Due to the brutality of their surroundings, natural selection has played a significant role in the evolution of the krogan. Unlike most species on the Citadel, krogan eyes are wide-set - on Earth this is distinctive of prey animals, but in this case it gives the krogan 240-degree vision, giving them greater visual acuity and awareness of approaching predators. Prior to the genophage, krogan could reproduce and mature at an astonishing rate.

Their large shoulder humps store fluids and nutrients, enabling them to survive extended periods without food or water. A bigger shoulder hump is seen as a sign of high status, showing how successful an individual krogan is at hunting. Their thick hides are virtually impervious to cuts, scrapes or contusions, and they are highly resistant to environmental hazards, including toxins, radiation, and extreme heat and cold. Consequently their diets can include food and drink that would prove very dangerous to other species—a fact reflected in the krogan liquor of choice, ryncol, which "hits aliens like ground glass". Younger krogan have yellow or green markings on their hides. These markings darken to brown or tan over time, showing their age.

Krogan typically stand over 7 feet and weigh roughly one ton in armor. Biotic individuals are rare, though those who do possess the talent typically have strong abilities. The most amazing physiological feature of krogan biology is the multiple instances of major organs. These secondary (and where applicable, tertiary) systems are capable of serving as back-ups in the event of damage to the primary biological structures. They have, for example, two hearts, four lungs, and most notably four testicles. This reflects in their slang, where they often speak about a "quad" where a human would use the words "balls" or "pair". Krogan also have a secondary nervous system using a neuroconductive fluid, meaning they are almost impossible to paralyze. Krogan bleed a yellow or orange fluid when shot, which may be this fluid or actual blood.

Having redundant systems makes krogan difficult to kill or incapacitate in normal combat scenarios. Sheer physical hardiness means an individual krogan can expect to live for centuries. Krogan can live for well over a thousand years, as evidenced by Warlord Okeer, a veteran of the Krogan Rebellions who died (of decidedly unnatural causes) well over a thousand years after the Rebellions ended.


Rise of the Krogan: Roughly 2000 years ago the krogan were a primitive tribal species trapped on a world suffering through a nuclear winter of their own making. They were liberated from this state by the salarians, who "culturally uplifted" the krogan by giving them advanced technology and relocating them to a planet not cursed with lethal levels of radiation, toxins or deadly predators.

But the salarian intervention was not without an ulterior motive. At the time the Citadel was engaged in a prolonged galactic war with the rachni, a race of intelligent space-faring insects. The salarians hoped the krogan would join the Citadel forces as soldiers to stand against an otherwise unstoppable foe. The plan worked to perfection: within two generations the rapidly breeding krogan had the numbers to not only drive the advancing rachni back, but the ability to endure the harsh conditions of the rachni worlds. They were able to pursue them to their home worlds, find the rachni queens, and eradicate the entire species.

Saviors of the Galaxy: For a brief period the krogan were hailed as the saviors of the galaxy and were given not only the conquered rachni worlds but also other planets in Citadel space to colonize, in gratitude for their help. The Citadel Council even commissioned a statue for the Presidium—the Krogan Monument—to honor the krogan soldiers who died defending Citadel space.

But without the harsh conditions of Tuchanka to keep their numbers in check, the krogan population swelled to unprecedented numbers. Overcrowded and running out of resources, the krogan spread out to forcibly claim other worlds—worlds already inhabited by races loyal to the Citadel. There was always "just one more world" needed. The final straw was when the krogan began settling the asari colony of Lusia. When the Council ordered them to leave, Overlord Kredak, the krogan ambassador, stormed out of the Chambers, daring the Citadel races to take their worlds back. War broke out soon afterward.

The so-called Krogan Rebellions continued for nearly three centuries. The krogan sustained massive casualties, but their incredible birth rate kept their population steadily increasing. Victory seemed inevitable. In desperation, the Council turned to the recently discovered Turian Hierarchy for aid. The turians unleashed the genophage on the krogan home worlds: a terrifying bio-weapon engineered by the salarians. The genophage caused near total infant mortality in the krogan species, with only 1 birth in every 1000 producing live offspring.

The Genophage: No longer able to replenish their numbers, the krogan were forced to accept terms of surrender. For their role in quelling the Krogan Rebellions, the turians were rewarded with a seat on the Citadel Council. The krogan, on the other hand, still suffer from the incurable effects of the genophage.

Over the last millennium krogan numbers have steadily declined, leaving them a scattered and dying people. Some try bizarre treatments for the genophage, including testicle transplants. But, faced with the certainty of their extinction as a species, most krogan have become individualistic and completely self-interested. They typically serve as mercenaries for hire to the highest bidder, though many still resent and despise the Citadel races that condemned them to their tragic fate.

Despite an announcement about failed, krogan-funded research into the genophage most krogan have not worked toward a cure, as they are more interested in combat than science. A salarian scientist, Mordin Solus, explained that the krogan are in fact evolving to undo the damage of the genophage. To prevent overpopulation, Mordin's Special Tasks Group team created and applied a modified genophage, which he claimed will keep the population down but still allows for a viable population, indicating the krogan race isn't as doomed as they believe. Mordin stated that both the original and new genophage were designed to stabilize the krogan birth rate at pre-industrial levels—one viable birth per thousand. Given the prodigious krogan birth rate, it would appear that the enormously violent nature of krogan culture is actually responsible for their dwindling numbers. Ironically, this means that if the krogan were not so convinced that they, as a species, are doomed, and consequently spent less time roaming the Galaxy spoiling for a fight, their numbers might increase—they are essentially being killed by their own fatalism.


The harsh krogan home world conditioned the krogan psychology for toughness just as it did the body. Krogan have always had a tendency to be selfish, unsympathetic, and blunt. They respect strength and self-reliance and are neither surprised nor offended by treachery. The weak and selfless do not live long. In their culture, "looking out for number one" is simply a matter of course. Krogan have powerful territorial instincts that serve them well in combat, but can create problems; when traveling on starships, for example, krogan find sharing quarters nearly impossible.

Most krogan trust and serve no one but themselves. This solitary attitude stems in part from a deep sense of fatalism and futility, a profound social effect of the genophage that caused krogan numbers to dwindle to a relative handful. Not only are they angry that the entire galaxy seems out to get them, the krogan are also generally pessimistic about their race's chances of survival. The surviving krogan see no point to building for the future; there will be no future. The krogan live with an attitude of "kill, pillage, and be selfish, for tomorrow we die."

Female krogan rarely leave their home worlds, focusing on breeding in an attempt to keep krogan numbers from declining too quickly. The few remaining fertile females who can carry young to term are treated as prizes of war, to be seized, bartered or fought over. Recently, it has been noted that the females of the krogan species live in clans separate from that of the males. Envoys are sent out from the female clans to determine who amongst the males is worthy to visit the female clans. Due to the effects of the genophage and the lack of fertile females, this happens often and many male krogan sire children from one female.


Krogan are not shown to have strong religious beliefs. The closest they come is to establish ritualistic burial grounds called the Hollows, where the skulls of their ancestors are displayed to remind them of "where we all come from, and where we all go." The Hollows are as sacred as any krogan place can be, and violence there is forbidden. Several krogan also mention a place called "the Void" which seems to be the krogan version of the afterlife.


Krogan are divided into numerous clans. Membership in a clan allows a krogan to own property, join the army and apply to serve under a Battlemaster. Young krogan undergo a rite of passage that is overseen by a shaman respective to the clan the krogan wishes to join. In clan Urdnot, for example, this rite consists of battling various wild fauna on Tuchanka, ending with an encounter with a thresher maw. Merely surviving for five minutes is considered proof of worthiness, but killing the thresher maw increases the initiate's prestige and standing. Few outsiders have seen the rite of passage take place, even though there aren’t any rules in krogan tradition that state that a non-krogan can't help with the undertaking of the rite by acting as the participant's krantt. The clan shaman preserves the rite of passage and all other rites and traditions. The shaman must undergo lengthy and torturous rites to assume the position, and is required to give up his name. Because of this level of commitment, the shaman is one of the most respected members of a clan.

Known krogan clans:

Clan Drau - Drau Sorze is a "ruzad", or "judge", in the Republic of Ghurst on Tuchanka.

Clan Forsan - this clan's leader declared being hit by Pyjak dung grounds for executing the trader responsible for introducing them to Tuchanka.

Clan Ganar - Ganar Wrang, an exiled krogan battlemaster, founded the Blood Pack mercenary group.

Clan Gatatog - led by Gatatog Uvenk on Tuchanka.

Clan Hailot - clan leader Hailot Wrund controlled Garvug prior to the corporatist invasion in 2185.

Clan Jorgal - a clan known to have one of the longest krogan bloodlines.

Clan Jurdon - an enemy of Clan Urdnot on Tuchanka.

Clan Nakmor - the Nakmor Ambassador can be found next to the Shaman on Tuchanka.

Clan Quash - Quash Hurgott is a Blood Pack commander.

Clan Ravanor - the clan runs a mining operation on Tuchanka; Warlord Ravanor Tusk is a clan member.


After their defeat in the Rebellions, the very concept of krogan leadership was discredited. Where a warlord could once command enough power to bring entire solar systems to heel and become Overlord, these days it is rare for a single leader to have more than a thousand warriors swear allegiance to him. It is speculated that their instinctive aggression and territorial nature prevent the krogan from forming any kind of centralized government or parliament that is not based on fear or obedience.


Traditional krogan tactics were built on attritional mass-unit warfare. Equipped with cheap, rugged gear, troop formations were powerful but inflexible. Command and control was very centralized; soldiers in the field who saw a target contacted their commanders behind the lines to arrange fire support.

Since the genophage, the krogan can no longer afford the casualties of the old horde attacks. The Battle Masters are a match for any ten soldiers of another species. To a Battle Master, killing is a science. They focus on developing clean, brute-force economy of motion that exploits their brutal strength to incapacitate enemies with a swift single blow of overwhelming power. This change of focus from mass-unit warfare to maximal efficiency has increased employment demand in the fields of security and 'muscle for hire.' Due to the unsavory reputation of the krogan, most of these jobs are on the far side of the law.

Battle Masters are not 'spit and polish,' but they do believe in being well armed and equipped, preferably with a gun for each limb. They are callous and brutal, but methodical and disciplined. They use any means at their disposal to achieve their goals, no matter how reprehensible. Hostage taking and genocide are acceptable means to ensure a quiet occupation with few krogan casualties.

Biotics are rare among the krogan, especially since the practice of surgically creating krogan biotics has been discontinued (due to the high mortality rate). Those that exist are viewed with suspicion and fear. The krogan see this aura of fear as a useful quality for an officer, and often promote them. Combat drones and other high-tech equipment are likewise in short supply.

Ability range

Str 9-16

Dex 4-12

Con 8-16

Int 4-13

Wil 4-12

Per 4-12

Krogan are strong and tough, but that’s about it. They don’t seem to excel at anything other than combat and brutality.

Free Broad skills

Str: Athletics, Unarmed Attack

Dex: -

Con: Stamina

Int: Knowledge

Wil: Awareness

Per: Interaction

A krogan’s life is a tough one; they learn to quickly adapt and fight or they die.

Superior Durability: A krogan, with its secondary and tertiary organs, is better able to withstand physical punishment than members of other species. When determining a krogan’s durability rating, use the character’s Constitution score x 1.5 (rounding up if necessary to produce a whole number).

Body Armor: All krogan possess natural body armor that provides protection of d4+1 (LI), d4 (HI), d4-1 (En). This body armor does not layer with armor worn by the krogan. If a krogan wears armor, use the statistics for the armor worn.

Regeneration: All krogan possess astonishing regenerative capabilities. Once per day, a krogan can force their body to begin an adrenaline induced healing cycle that lasts for 6 rounds. During this time, the krogan will automatically regain 1 point in every damage category (stun, wound, mortal, and fatigue) at the beginning of its turn. Once activated, the ability continues to function until all 6 rounds have elapsed. There are rumors of exceptionally powerful krogan who exceed this limitation, but such individuals would be exceedingly rare, indeed.

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The Quarians

The quarians are a nomadic species of humanoid aliens known for their skills with technology and synthetic intelligence. Since their home world Rannoch was conquered, the quarians live aboard the Migrant Fleet, a huge collection of starships that travel as a single fleet.

Approximately three hundred years ago the quarians created the geth, a species of rudimentary artificial intelligences, to serve as an efficient source of manual labor. However, when the geth gradually became sentient, the quarians became terrified of possible consequences and tried to destroy their creations. The geth won the resulting war and forced their creators into exile. Now the quarians wander the galaxy in a flotilla of salvaged ships, secondhand vessels, and recycled technology.


Quarians are generally shorter and of slighter build than humans. Quarians have an endoskeleton, lips, teeth, and two eyes with eyelids and tear ducts; they also have three thick fingers on both hands that include a thumb and an index finger, as well as three toes on each foot. Their lower legs are bowed backwards significantly, compared to asari or humans. Aside from hands and legs, their general body shape and sexual dimorphism is similar to humans.

The most important fact of quarian biology is their weak immune system, compounded by centuries of living in sterile environments. As a result, all quarians by necessity dress in highly sophisticated enviro-suits, to protect them from disease or infection if they are injured. Their suits can be compartmentalized in the event of a tear or similar breach to prevent the spread of contaminants (similar to a ship sealing off bulkheads in the event of a hull breach).

Quarian immune systems have always been relatively weak, as pathogenic microbes were comparatively rare in their home world’s biosphere. Furthermore, what few viruses and other microbes were native to their home world were often at least partly beneficial to them. After living aboard the Migrant Fleet for generations, the quarians' immune systems have atrophied further still due to the years in the sterile environment of the Migrant Fleet. As such, quarians are given various vaccinations and immunizations to help ward off disease. However, they prefer the safety of their suits even in clean environments and are reluctant to remove them without a good reason.

A quarian who wishes to remove their suit must take antibiotics, immuno-boosters, herbal supplements, or the like in order to do so safely, and even then there are inherent risks. As a result, physical acts of affection are difficult for quarians, even for the purposes of reproduction. Ships in the Migrant Fleet often contain "clean rooms" where quarians can give birth or undergo medical procedures in relative safety, though there are always risks. The most intimate thing quarians can do is link their suit environments. However, doing so guarantees a quarian will get sick, although they will usually adapt over time.

Like turians, the quarians are a dextro-protein species of reverse chirality from humans and asari. The food of levo-protein races such as humans or asari is at best inedible and at worst poisonous, most likely triggering a dangerous allergic reaction. Quarians who want to taste something (other than the refined edible paste issued to all who leave on their Pilgrimage) can eat specially purified turian cuisine.


The quarians' top priority is the survival and sustainability of the Migrant Fleet. Most of their laws and customs revolve around this goal. It is illegal for couples to have more than one child, so that the fleet can maintain zero population growth (if the population begins to shrink, this rule is temporarily lifted, and incentives may be provided to encourage multiple births). Families are thus very small and close-knit. Because every quarian depends on his or her crewmates to survive, they are much more community-minded than individualistic species like the krogan. Loyalty, trust, and cooperation are highly prized qualities.

Quarians enjoy storytelling as a means of escape from their often trying lives aboard the fleet, and are known to hold dancers in high esteem.

Young quarians are required to undertake a Pilgrimage outside the fleet in order to pass into full adulthood. The Pilgrimage is an opportunity for quarians to experience the world outside the Migrant Fleet, interact with other cultures, and learn to appreciate life among their own people. Their departure is a major event; the whole crew assembles to see them off, and they are given many gifts to aid them on their journey, along with immunity-boosting injections and advice on surviving on the outside. The young quarian cannot return to the flotilla until they have found something of value to bring back - whether information, money, or supplies. When they return, they do not go back to their birth ship, but instead select a new ship to join; this helps maintain genetic diversity by preventing intermarriage between close relatives. The quarian presents their gift to the captain of the new ship to prove they will not be a burden on the crew. Although the gift may be rejected if it is sub par, this is very rare, as most captains are eager to welcome a new shipmate on board. Having a large crew is a prestigious thing, as it means the captain has the financial and material means to provide for many people.

Conditions aboard most quarian ships are extremely cramped. It is not uncommon for all family members to share the same small living space. Quarians place low value on personal possessions, instead evaluating objects by their usefulness and bartering them for other items once they are no longer needed. Every ship has a designated trading deck where those looking to barter can gather to do business.

Quarians wear their environmental suits at all times, partly in case of a hull breach and partly in response to the lack of personal space aboard the flotilla. Because their suits make it hard to identify individuals on sight, quarians have developed the habit of exchanging names whenever they meet.

Over time, the environmental suits themselves have gained symbolic and cultural significance and being fitted with their first suit is considered a rite of passage. After returning to the fleet after their pilgrimage, they may alter their suit to reflect their new status as adults. Linking suit environments is seen as the ultimate gesture of trust and affection.

Due to their history with the geth, quarians are reluctant to place complete trust in virtual or artificial intelligences, but they also show surprising compassion towards them and are far more likely than other species to treat them as living beings.

Quarians refer to commanding officers of any ships, quarian or non-quarian, as captain, regardless of rank. Their reasoning is that the CO's decisions always carry great weight on his/her own ship.


The quarians have a very different economic system from the rest of the galaxy. While credits influence what is available in Citadel space, currency is non-existent in quarian society. Quarians value the little space they have above all else, so no unused items are kept to maximize space. When a quarian has an item they do not need, they place it in a public area, in what resembles a market. The items available are put into storage lockers, and those in need may simply take what they find. Since quarian society is based around honor and loyalty to their fellow quarians, there is rarely disagreement.

However, food and medicine are handled more strictly. The food coming from both the Liveships and from scout ships is put into a central stock and distributed carefully to individuals. Outgoing food is tracked carefully, so as not to put the Migrant Fleet at risk of food shortage, or worse, mass starvation. Medicine is also distributed carefully. However, since the quarians wear their enviro-suits everywhere, even when aboard the Migrant Fleet, they are at a very low risk of sickness. Controlling the flow of medicine also creates an emergency stockpile in case of a widespread outbreak, which is necessary since the quarian immune system is so weak.

Another means of resource income for the Fleet is from whatever system that the Migrant Fleet is passing through at the time; the quarians will strip-mine any promising planets for resources with well-trained efficiency. Any other races with industrial or corporate interests in that system will often offer a "gift" of ships, food, or other supplies to encourage the Fleet to leave. Usually, the Admiralty Board accepts the gift, as the Migrant Fleet is in no position to decline resources. In addition, some ships may linger in orbit over inhabited worlds to sell refreshments, supplies, and various trinkets to the locals.


The quarians used to practice a form of ancestor worship. This involved taking a personality imprint from the individual and developing it into an interface similar to a VI. The quarians began experimenting with making these imprints more and more sophisticated, hopefully leading to the wisdom of their ancestors being preserved in an imprint that could be truly intelligent. However, the geth destroyed the quarians' ancestor databanks when they rebelled. Some quarians saw their subsequent exile as punishment for their hubris, but most accept that the geth rebellion was a mistake, not a punishment.

However, respect for their ancestors is still prevalent in quarian society.


Now that the quarians are reduced to a small, insular population they have one common language. Such words as are known have slipped out from intra-quarian conversation.

nedas — nowhere

tasi — no-one

vas [ship-name] — crew of

nar [ship-name] — child of

keelah — exclamation

keelah se'lai — possibly a religious statement, sometimes used in the same terms as a benediction.

bosh'tet — curse/insult, likely being relative to "son-of-a-bitch" or "bastard".

Quarian names are composed of four parts—the quarian's given name and clan name separated by an apostrophe, the title ('nar' means 'child of', referring to their birth ship, while 'vas', adopted after the quarian has completed their Pilgrimage and joined a ship, means 'crew of') and the name of their vessel.

For example, when Tali first meets Shepard, she was goes by the name of her birth ship (the Rayya) because at that point she had not yet completed her Pilgrimage and was thus not yet able to join a quarian crew. Later, though, she becomes known as "Tali'Zorah vas Neema", indicating that she had completed her Pilgrimage and was welcome to join the Neema.

In certain formal situations, quarians appear to use both their adult ship and childhood ship. At one point Tali identifies herself as "Tali'Zorah vas Neema nar Rayya.”


Migrant Fleet: There are roughly 17 million quarians on the Migrant Fleet (also called the Flotilla). It is technically still under martial law but is now governed by bodies such as the Admiralty Board and the democratically-elected Conclave, though ship captains and onboard civilian councils tend to address most issues "in-house" before it gets that far. Quarians are divided into several clans that can be spread across several ships, or restricted to one.

Law: Although the Conclave establishes civil law much as any planet-based democracy, enforcement and trials are more unique. After the flight from the geth, there were few constables to police the millions of civilians aboard the Fleet, so the navy parceled out marine squads to maintain order and enforce the law. Today, quarian marines have evolved training and tactics akin to civilian police, but remain adept at combat in the confined spaces of a starship, and fully under the command of the military.

Once taken into custody, the accused is brought before the ship's captain for judgment. While the ship's council may make recommendations, tradition holds that the captain has absolute authority in matters of discipline.

Most are lenient, assigning additional or more odious maintenance tasks aboard the ship. Persistent recidivists are "accidentally" left on the next habitable world. This practice of abandoning criminals on other people's planets is a point of friction between the quarians and the systems they pass through. Captains rarely have another choice; with space and resources at a premium, supporting a non-productive prison population is not an option. Offences that carry exile as a penalty include murder, treason, repeated violent episodes, and sabotage against vessels, food stores or the Liveships themselves. Quarians practice capital punishment; mutiny or hijacking starships is punished with execution. Exile is generally the preferred punishment, as any offspring an exile may have are welcomed back to the Fleet.

Galactic Relations

Humans have no political relations with the quarians because the Migrant Fleet has not yet passed through any human-controlled area of space. Other species tend to look down on the quarians for several reasons, the foremost of which being their supposed 'unleashing' of the geth upon the galaxy. This act led to the quarians' losing their embassy on the Citadel. Quarians are often viewed as beggars and thieves.

Because of the Flotilla's limited resources, quarians strip-mine the systems they pass through, which often puts them at odds with any species currently settled there. The Migrant Fleet also tends to drop off criminals on planets it passes, because the quarians cannot support a non-productive prison population—they simply lack the resources. However, life on the Migrant Fleet means quarians have unique skills. They are masters at maintaining and converting technology, especially ship parts, and they are also expert miners because the Fleet requires huge amounts of fuel. They are able to repair what most species would melt down. This proficiency means corporations sometimes quietly hire quarians "on the side" if the Migrant Fleet is nearby, replacing existing workers, much to their annoyance.

This unpopularity, and the fact their entire species travels and works as one, makes most quarians quite insular, caring only about the continued survival of the Migrant Fleet. Their nomadic life and exclusion from the Citadel mean that the concerns of the Citadel races don't particularly interest or impress them.


In the early years, many quarian freighters were armed and used as irregular "privateers." Civilian ships still show a strong preference for armament, making them unpopular targets for pirates. Though they have rebuilt their military, there are still mere hundreds of warships to protect the tens of thousands of ships. The quarian navy follows strict routines of patrol, and takes no chances. If the intent of an approaching ship can't be ascertained, they shoot to kill.

For this reason, young quarians on their Pilgrimage are given code phrases to repeat upon their return, as they often arrive back in vessels they have bought or scavenged which are unknown to the Flotilla. One phrase denotes a successful Pilgrimage and the quarian navy will permit them to rejoin the Fleet; the other alerts the navy that the quarian is returning under duress, and their ship will be immediately destroyed.

Ability range

Str 6-12

Dex 7-15

Con 4-10

Int 9-16

Wil 4-14

Per 6-12

Quarians are a very dexterous and incredibly intelligent species. They are, however, very insular and possess incredibly weak immune systems.

Free Broad skills

Str: -

Dex: Acrobatics, Zero-G Training

Con: -

Int: Computer Science, Knowledge, Technical Science

Wil: Awareness

Per: -

Quarians skills reflect their insular nature and focus on their technical backgrounds with training in how to survive in low, or no, gravity environments.

Computer Operation Skill Bonus: Quarians receive a –1 step situation die bonus whenever they use the Knowledge-computer operation or Computer Science-hacking skills.

Make it Work: Quarians are unrivaled when it comes to making ‘junk’ work like it’s brand new. This reputation and ability comes from years of working with outdated machinery and finding way to integrate with the fleet’s ancient, rundown ships. They receive a –1 step situation die bonus whenever they use the Technical Science broad skill and all its accompanying specialty skills.

Quarian Enviro Suit

Availability: Controlled

Cost: 1,500cr

Mass: 2.5kg

Action Penalty: +1

Environmental Tolerance:

-Gravity: G0 – G3

-Radiation: R0 – R3

-Atmosphere: A0 – A4

-Pressure: P0 – P3

-Heat: H0 – H4

LI/HI/En: d6-3/d6-2/d4-2

This is the typical quarian enviro suit model that all young quarians get fitted for. Nearly all quarians, after owning their suit for awhile, begin making all manner of modifications, from hardening the armor, adding kinetic barriers, or increasing the environmental resistances.

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  • 1 year later...
Did you ever expand this to include other races like Geth, Elcor, or Vorcha?

Not really, mostly because those are more NPC races, not playable 'hero' races, with the exception of the Geth. I just RPed the NPC races, assuming they had scores appropriate for their size and intellect. For the most part, 'statting' the races wasn't necessary.

The Geth, however, are not a 'race'. Each one is an AI downloaded into a mobile platform, so the Geth would follow the rules for Robots and AI's within the Alternity game system.

I'm pretty sure could whip up a sample Geth sometime, it wouldn't be too hard.

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Technically, there is not even 'one' Geth. Each mobile platform has hundreds of 'individual' Geth processes in it. That's the only reason the mobile platforms are sentient in the slightest. Geth only achieve intelligence through networked collaboration.

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Technically, there is not even 'one' Geth. Each mobile platform has hundreds of 'individual' Geth processes in it. That's the only reason the mobile platforms are sentient in the slightest. Geth only achieve intelligence through networked collaboration.

Semantics. The easiest way to qualify all those little processes and the networking is to simply treat the Geth as a single, individual, AI. In essence, like all the little processes that our brain runs through. They make us who we are, but the GM doesn't ask for us to roll up a character sheet for each brain function our completed PC is going to have. We simply are, the Geth simply is.

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  • 4 years later...

Did you ever complete a weapons file, ships file, or creatures file (Geth, Reapers, etc.)? Would love to see a finished product. Finally started working on my Alternity Star*Drive collection, and my gaming party (mostly my wife) would love to play this.

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