Mass Effect Part Thirteen: Vorcha

The Vorcha are a ‘pestilent’ race of aggressive scavengers, notable for their unique biology and startling aggression. They are found primarily where civilisation is breaking down or has broken down. Many turn up in mercenary gangs, valued for their regenerative abilities, if not their capacity to follow orders.

Vorcha only live for around 20 years, in part due to the hyperactive nature of their biology. The Vorcha are made up of clusters of adaptive cells which allow them to heal (see the Krogan) and to adapt quickly to the environments that they find themselves in. They might grow thicker skin after being cut, increase their muscle mass to resist high gravity and so on. Unlike the Krogan they can also regenerate limbs and completely heal scars.

Vorcha originate from a small and overcrowded planet, stripped of its natural resources. They follow a small scale, loyal, clan-based society of constant warfare over scant resources. It is this lack of resources that has kept them relatively primitive, rather than – necessarily – any particular weakness of the species.

A non-spacefaring species, they have accessed the wider universe as stowaways and have bred, and spread, across the darker and less civilised areas of space ever since. Adapting and flourishing outside of common view.

However, as a consequence of this, the vorcha as a species no longer evolve as other races do. The vorcha equivalent of DNA has remained unchanged for millions of years. There is no need for them to evolve as a species when they can adapt as individuals.

Vorcha Worlds
Vorch – homeworld (nickname), Flett, Wrill, Volturno

Vorcha Statistics
After generating statistics for a Vorcha, modify them as follows:
CRE -1, FIT +1, INF -1, KNO -1.
Adjust their STR, after calculation, by +1
Natural weapons: Claws and teeth, +1 Unarmed damage, minimum value 2.
Regeneration: See Krogan
Adaptability: 1d6+1 days to adapt, shift one stat point to another stat, must be response to external stimulus.

Mass Effect Part Twelve: Quarians

The Quarians are a once-great species, brought low through the revolt of their servant robots, the Geth. They are known for their technical skill and expertise with synthetics (robotics, VIs, AIs and implants) but are also something of a pariah race since their forced exile from their worlds. Since the loss of their world the Quarians have lived aboard the Migrant Fleet, a collection of starships that stands in proxy for their home.

Three centuries ago they created the Geth, a species of networked VI that gradually formed an emergent intelligence – something that was not supposed to happen or to be able to happen. The Quarians panicked when this occured and tried to shut them down. They strove to survive and eventually drove the Quarians from their worlds.

Quarians are shorter and slighter than humans, but this may be due to three centuries of adaptation to shipboard life, selective breeding or genetic manipulation. Quarians have a human-like endoskeleton and superficially resemble humanity. They have two hands, each with a thumb and two fingers, their feet are similar but their legs bow backwards, giving them a springing gait. They have head hair, like humans and facially resemble them other than their ears which are tiny and almost atrophied in appearance.

Quarian DNA is dextro-protein in the same manner Turian DNA is, meaning that they cannot eat or drink the same organic foods as other species and can have fatal allergic reactions. They also have terrible immune systems, caused by living in the sterile ship environments. As a result they are almost always implanted with disease-resisting technology, devote a lot of their resources to medical advances and spend almost all their time within their elegantly and artistically designed pressure suits.

Quarian culture has developed into one of survival and maintenance, though they hope against hope that they can one day reclaim their homeworld. Their laws and customs are harsh and dedicated to this survival. Couples may not have more than one child, everyone is very community minded and puts the needs of others first. Loyalty, trust and cooperation are prized values that Quarians aspire to, far more than individuality.

Quarians, despite their reputation as technicians, are also a very artistic race, fond of storytelling and dancing and adorning their pressure suits with intricate patterns. Every young Quarians undertakes a rite of passage to prove their worth, a pilgrimage where they leave the Migrant Fleet to explore and to find something of value to bring back. In this way they earn their place, find a ship and thus their full name.

The Quarian religion is, or was, a sort of pragmatic ancestor worship. The dead’s personalities and knowledge were imprinted into complex VIs in order to be preserved and to act as advisors and memoriums. These were lost, almost in their entirety, when the Geth revolted.

The Migrant Fleet (Or Flotilla) – some 17 million souls us governed by the elected Conclave and the unelected Admiralty Board. Ships govern themselves internally as much as possible, via a variety of methods, but larger decisions are made at this level with the Board able to override the Conclave when necessary. Captains are the final authority on their vessels. Law and order is enforced by shipboard Quarian Marines, who also serve as the fleet’s military. Laws are fairly lenient, most involving punishment detail and the most severe of punishments is usually exile, rather than death, though in extreme cases this does happen.

The Quarians, despite their expertise, are often looked down upon as ‘space gypsies’ and bribed or threatened to move on. They are resented for ‘unleashing the Geth’, an act that cost them their Citadel embassy and official standing. They are seen as beggars and thieves and this is not always inaccurate, given their desperation and the actions of those on their pilgrimage.

The whole Quarian fleet is armed. They seek to ward of pirates and other interstellar predators and while this uses up valuable space it means they are not often messed with. Their true military force is, however, relatively small, only a few hundred ships and – justifiably paranoid – they tend to shoot first and ask questions later.

Former Quarian Worlds
Rannoch – homeworld, Haestrom, Ket’osh

nedas — nowhere
tasi — no-one
vas [ship-name] — crew of
nar [ship-name] — child of
keelah — “By the homeworld”
keelah se’lai — “By the homeworld I hope to see one day.”
bosh’tet — curse/insult, likely being relative to “son-of-a-bitch” or “bastard”.
geth — “Servant of the People”
Rannoch — “walled garden”

Quarian names are four-part: [Given name]'[Clan name] Nar (child of) or Vas (crew of) [Vessel Name]
EG: “James’Kirk Vas Enterprise”

Quarian Statistics
After calculating statistics, modify them as follows:
BLD -1, FIT +1, KNO +1
The difficulty for Quarians to resist diseases is considered two higher.
After buying skills Quarians get to add the following, for free, due to their shipboard upbringing:
Pilot +1, Electronics +1, Mechanics +1.

Mass Effect Part Eleven: The Hanar

The Hanar resemble the terran ‘Portuguese Man o’War’ but is a single rather than a colonial creature. Hanar are intensely polite when speaking and hold their religion – an ancestor worship of the Protheans whom they call The Enkindlers – dear.

Hanar stand tall on long tentacles outside of their natural ocean habitat and have to employ a mass-effect field in order to do so, lessening their mass and allowing them to stand. Each tentacle – and they have six – ends in three fingers and they can ‘stand’ on as few as two tentacles, making them incredibly dextrous though they have a hard time exerting a great deal of strength, lacking solid structure as they do. Their grip around things is strong, but their ability to otherwise exert strength is sorely lacking. Hanar do resemble jellyfish in that they can excrete natural toxins, though they do this through their skin rather than through a sting as jellyfish do.

Hanar technology is typically extremely subtle, almost invisible unless you know what to look for. They have a very hard time using Mass Effect or other recoiling weapons and in large part rely on their client species, the Drell, to handle such tasks for them.

Hanar communicate using bioluminescence, which is translated into audible speech via devices, but these lack the true subtlety of Hanar communication, a common problem that they share with the Elcore. Some Drell – and others who deal regularly with the Hanar – have implants or surgery to extend their perception into the infrared and ultraviolet, the better to recieve Hanar communication.

There are two names to the Hanar, a face name and a soul name. The face name is used generally for business and with acquaintances. The soul name is reserved for family and truly close friends. It tends to be poetic and descriptive of the Hanar in question. Hanar never refer to themselves in the first person, considering it rude and selfish. This mask of politeness never falters, even under extreme duress.

The Hanar are not isolationist but do tend to be isolated – economically – because of their physical differences to most other intelligent species. They are ruled by The Illuminated Primacy, a semi-theocratic governmental institution. They are strong contenders for the next Council seat, though the undertaking that earned such respect is not yet known.

Hanar Worlds
Kahje – homeworld, First Land, Belan

Hanar Statistics
After generating statistics, modify the Hanar character as follows:
AGI +2, FIT -2
When calculating STR the calculated value is for gripping/holding, for all other exertions their STR is considered -4

Hanar Toxin: Potency 15 (Modify by Fitness), Effect: Paralysis, Onset Time: 3 turns (15 seconds).

Mass Effect Part Ten: The Elcor

The Elcor are a large, broad-shouldered, ponderous species from the high-gravity world Dekuuna. They are massive, standing on four muscular legs with a gait somewhat similar to a terran gorilla. Their forelegs have manipulating ‘fingers’ but are by no means dextrous.

Elcor do everything slowly and carefully, which makes up for their lack of fine control in most circumstances. They do things carefully, but right. Their slowness is an evolved response to their high gravity environment wherein a mistake or a fall can be costly, even lethal. Their attitude reflects their physiology, slow, deliberate and conservative.

While slow moving, the Elcor are imposing and posessed of immense strength along with a tough, thick skin that protects them from harm. They can communicate verbally but most of their tone and attitude is conveyed through smell and body-language so subtle and hard for non-Elcor to read that it puts the Batarians to shame. To compensate for this the Elcor preface their speech with descriptors when talking to non-Elcor, such as ‘Alarmed: what are you doing in my office?’

The Elcor are a minor Citadel race with close ties to the Volus and the Asari (who helped usher them into interstellar society). They are content in their position and, typically for the Elcor, not especially ambitious. Their government reflects their herd-like past, stable and consistent, which makes up for a considerable amount of other weaknesses. If nothing else, the Elcor are reliable.

The Elcor government, The Courts of Dekuuna, is based on seniority. Elders spend an age formulating the best possible plan, consulting with the best possible experts and map out a course on the long-term view.

Elcor military forces are typically based on a standing defence. In space combat they rely on heavily automated ships working on tactics determined and pre-programmed by expert elders. VIs run their battles far faster than the Elcor themselves can react. Their troops carry heavy armaments across their shoulders and operate as ‘living tanks’.

Elcor Worlds
Dekuuna – homeworld, Ekuna, Thunawanuro

Elcor Stats
After calculating statistics, modify them as follows:
AGL -2, BLD +2, CRE -1, FIT +2, INF -1, KNO +1, WIL +1
STR +1 after calculation
Elcor have a natural armour of 5.