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Alice Greene
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PostSubject: Mass Effect Species Info.   Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:18 am

Council Races

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.

History:
The asari were the first contemporary race to achieve spaceflight 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.

Appearance:
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 concept art, Matriarch Benezia's are described as tattoos; however, they appear to be genetic as they appear on one asari's clones, and may denote the 'father' species (as Liara T'Soni, the daughter of two asari, has none). 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.
There is some conflicting information regarding the gender of the asari. Though they resemble females, at least to humans, asari are non-gender specific, with no concept of gender differences. Liara says her species is "mono-gendered - male and female have no real meaning for us," and, if asked, says that she is "not precisely a woman". However, in the Codex it is stated that the asari are an all-female race. The Galactic Codex: Essentials Edition 2183 says that "while asari have only one gender, they are not asexual like single-celled life - all asari are sexually female", and according to Liara they also have maternal instincts. They are innately different from humans for asari can crossbreed with other species and inherit certain traits.

In Mass Effect 2 it is possible to overhear a conversation between a salarian, a human and a turian, who are watching an asari dance. The men comment that the asari looks like a blue salarian, human and turian respectively, implying that the asari may appear similar to whatever race the viewer is. The only constant factor seems to be their blue skintone.

Biology:
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. A common phrase used before melding is "embrace eternity," presumably to help focus the partner's mind. Effectively, the asari and her partner briefly become one unified nervous system. This unique means of reproduction is the reason asari are 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.
An asari's melding ability extends to a mental connection as well, which Liara describes 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 to meld with another for the sole purpose of transferring thoughts, without reproduction. This technique is used by both Liara and Shiala, with varying success; Liara finds the ordeal extremely intense and debilitating.

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 can 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.

Culture:
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', which is a great insult among the asari. A rare genetic defect known as Ardat-Yakshi, which makes asari destroy the partner's mind during sex, occurs much more frequently among the daughters of purebloods.

In Mass Effect: Revelation, David Anderson admits that, when dealing with the asari—despite their political and military prowess—their feminine appearance makes it difficult for him to accept them as one of the most powerful races in the galaxy. He feels that this isn't his fault due to thousands of years of human cultural bias. Asari are well aware they tend to be attractive, and are comfortable expressing their sexuality, like the dancers in Chora's Den. Young males of all races tend to have a fascination with asari: Kaidan mentions that the sight of Matriarch Benezia in a pin-striped suit sounds like something from an extranet fetish site.

Because of their natural sensuality and ability to mate with any species, asari are sometimes rumoured to be promiscuous. These rumours 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. Therefore they have had to apply their philosophical 'long view' to relationships as well, savouring the time they spend with their partners rather than focusing on their inevitable loss. 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.

Government:
The asari governmental structure is relatively broad, and is known as the Asari Republics; the asari came late to the notion of world government. For centuries, their homeworld of Thessia was dotted with loose confederacies of great republican cities. The closest Earthly equivalent would be the ancient Mediterranean city-states. Since the asari culture values consensus and accommodation, there was little impetus to form larger principalities. Rather than hoard resources, the asari bartered freely. Rather than attack one another over differing philosophies, they sought to understand one another. Only in the information age did the city-states grow close. Communication over internet evolved into an 'electronic democracy'.

Aside from their Council representative, the asari have no politicians or elections, but a free-wheeling, all-inclusive legislature that citizens can participate in at will. Policy debates take place at all hours of the day, in official chat rooms and forums moderated by specially-programmed virtual intelligences. All aspects of policy are open to plebiscite at any time. In any given debate, the asari tend to lend the most credence to the opinions of any Matriarchs present, nearly always deferring to the experience of these millennia-old 'wise women'.
In modern times, the asari normally act as the diplomatic arm of the Citadel Council.

Economy:
The asari possess the largest single economy in the galaxy. They have extensive trade and social contacts. Craft guilds, such as those within the cities Serrice and Armali, hold a virtual monopoly on advanced biotic technology. Given their political influence, an embargo by the asari would prove disastrous to the Alliance.

Military Doctrine:
The asari military resembles a collection of tribal warrior bands with no national structure. Each community organizes its own unit as the locals see fit, and elect a leader to command them. Units from populous cities are large and well-equipped, while those from farm villages may be only a few women with small arms. There is no uniform; everyone wears what they like. The asari military is not an irregular militia, however; those who serve are full-time professionals.

The average asari huntress is in the maiden stage of her life and has devoted 20-30 years studying the martial arts. Asari choose to be warriors at a young age, and their education from that point is dedicated to sharpening their mind and body for that sole purpose. When they retire, they possess an alarming proficiency for killing.
Huntresses fight individually or in pairs, depending on the tactics preferred in their town. One-on-one, a huntress is practically unbeatable, possessing profound tactical insight, a hunter's eye, and a dancer's grace and alacrity. Biotics are common enough that some capability is a requirement to be trained as a huntress; lack of biotic talent excludes a young asari from military service.

While fluid and mobile, asari can't stand up in a firestorm the way a krogan, turian, or human could. Since their units are small and typically lack heavy armor and support weapons, they are almost incapable of fighting a conventional war, particularly one of a defensive nature. So asari units typically undertake special operations missions. Like an army of ninja, they are adept at ambush, infiltration, and assassination, demoralizing and defeating their enemies through intense, focused guerrilla strikes. Asari huntresses were among the first individuals to be chosen as Spectres and played a key role in the Krogan Rebellions.
As a popular turian saying puts it, 'The asari are the finest warriors in the galaxy. Fortunately, there are not many of them.'

Religion:
The pantheistic mainstream asari religion is siari, which translates roughly as 'All is one.' The faithful agree on certain core truths: the universe is a consciousness, every life within it is an aspect of the greater whole, and death is a merging of one's spiritual energy back into greater universal consciousness. Siarists don't specifically believe in reincarnation; they believe in spiritual energy returning to the universal consciousness upon death will eventually be used to fill new mortal vessels.
Siari became popular after the asari left their homeworld and discovered their ability to 'meld' with nearly any form of life. This ability is seen as proof that all life is fundamentally similar. Siari priestesses see their role as promoting unity between disparate shards of the universe's awareness.

Before the rise of siari pantheism, asari religions were as diverse as their political opinion. The strongest survivor of those days is the monotheistic religion worshiping the goddess Athame. Like the asari, the goddess cycles through the triple aspects of maiden, matron, and matriarch. Asari often swear "by the goddess", though this may be a cultural legacy rather than reflecting an individual's belief.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass Effect Species Info.   Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:30 am

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 sterilised 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 - shown by the cooperation of the two races on the construction of the SSV Normandy - but many turians still hate humans, and vice versa.

Appearance:
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 (see below). Turian features are avian, making them resemble humanoid birds or raptors. In Mass Effect: Revelation, David Anderson claimed that turians reminded him of the evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs.
Since the Unification War, turians normally wear elaborate facial tattoos marking which colony they originate from, though it is not known which markings distinguish which colony. These are usually white - particularly on turians with darker carapaces - but can be 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 (note that Saren Arterius does not bear any facial markings). It is also a slang term for politicians.
Turians are also recognisable by their voices, which have a distinctive 'flanging' effect.

Biology:
Turians exhibit the characteristics of predators rather than those of prey species (compare to krogan biology). 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 seem capable of ripping flesh. Their slender bodies also seem to suggest that they are also capable of moving at high speeds.
The turian homeworld, 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 colouration, 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 turian mechanic Lilihierax on Noveria uses the idiom, "if you can polish enough gizzard". This suggests that the turians have a digestive system similar to birds and reptiles on Earth, some of whom swallow stones to help break down harder foods in the stomach.

Government:
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.

Economy:
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. It is not unknown for volus manufacturers to produce cheap knock-offs of turian equipment.


Culture:
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 rivalling this position). Since their culture is based on the structure of a military hierarchy, changes and advances accepted by the leadership are quickly adopted by the rest of society 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.

Religion:
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.

Military:
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. 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.

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.


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.
These colonies were run by local chieftains, many of whom 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. The Hierarchy itself appears to have withdrawn; although turians must have run across asari and salarian explorers before the Krogan Rebellions, there was no official "first contact" until 700 CE.

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.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass Effect Species Info.   Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:35 am

Salarians

The second species to join the Citadel, the salarians are warm-blooded amphibians with a hyperactive metabolism; salarians 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.

Appearance:
The salarians are a bi-pedal race of aliens, with tall, elongated bodies suited for their high metabolism. Their heads are tall and thin, with horn-like appendages protruding from the top of their skulls. Their 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. Their eyes are not brightly colored, and they appear to have no iris, making their eyes more like those of an amphibian's than a mammal's.

Biology:
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.

History:
On their first three interstellar colonies, the salarians planted the settlements named Aegohr, Mannovai, and Jaëto; according to Kirrahe those settlements "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 were later hunted down, leaving only relics behind.

It has been revealed that the salarians played a significant role in the evolution 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.

Culture:
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. Even Schells rejected a cheating device that used 'brute force', spending five years to refine it into a more sophisticated, undetectable system
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. As a salarian information broker told David Anderson in Mass Effect: Revelation, "Your species has been transmitting data across the extranet for less than a decade. My species has been directing the primary espionage and intelligence operations for the Council for two thousand years."

Unusually this information broker was female. 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 the Omega Station near Shelba.

Government:
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; 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.

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.

Military:
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 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. Their powerful intelligence network is spearheaded in the field by Special Tasks Groups (STG) who monitor developing situations and take necessary action, usually without the shackles of traditional laws and procedures. 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 inspired, and provided the template for the Council to establish their SPECTRE program immediately afterwards.

In every war the salarians have fought, they struck first and without warning. For the salarians, to know an enemy plans to attack and to 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.

Religion:
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. Liara T'Soni comments that many salarians believe in a wheel of life -- what humans term reincarnation.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass Effect Species Info.   Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:39 am

Humans

Humans, from the planet Earth, are the newest sentient species of notable size to enter the galactic stage and are arguably the most rapidly expanding and developing. They independently discovered a Prothean data cache on Mars in 2148, and the mass relay networks shortly thereafter.

History:
In 2148, human explorers on Mars uncovered a long-ruined Prothean observation post, with a surviving data cache that proved Protheans had studied Cro-Magnon humans millennia ago. While religions tried to assimilate this discovery into their doctrine, a global rush began to decipher the petabytes of data from the outpost. Discovering information on a mass relay orbiting Pluto, explorers managed to open the Charon Relay and discovered it led to Arcturus. With the help of the fledgling Systems Alliance, humans expanded to other systems, opening any mass relays they could find.
Humans first came to the attention of the galactic community after a brief but intense conflict with the turians, known by humans as the First Contact War, begun in 2157. The conflict began when the turians attacked a human fleet attempting to activate a mass relay (illegal under Council law) and then occupied the human colony of Shanxi.

Led by Admiral Kastanie Drescher, the Second Fleet then launched a massive counter-attack, which caught the turians by surprise and expelled them from Shanxi. The conflict caught the attention of the Citadel Council, which wasted no time brokering a peace, thus introducing humans to the galactic community. As a consequence of the Alliance's swift and decisive action during the First Contact War, the Alliance became the representative and supranational governing body of humanity. Since then, humans have rapidly risen in prominence.

Biology:
Humans have a fairly robust physiology. Their internal makeup and reproductive processes are typical of most bipedal mammals, and their size and proportions give the appearance of being strong, fast and agile. In comparison to the Council races, humans are roughly physically on par with turians (as very fit humans can punch them over and even throw them off the ground unassisted), and less agile than asari (whom they closely resemble), though fit human males are likely to be stronger than the average asari. Humans would appear on average to be stronger than salarians but not as fast, due to the extremely elevated metabolisms of the latter. Like most organic races, humans are also capable of producing biotic individuals but there is a high risk of medical complications. It is worth noting that humans have far greater genetic diversity than other species.

Humans can live to about 150 years, and recent medical advances have eradicated almost all known diseases that afflict them. However, as humans only emerged on the galactic stage within the last thirty years, it is highly likely that the introduction of new technology into their society will greatly increase their average lifespan. Humans reach physical maturity at eighteen years of age, at which point they have usually finished their academic education and either directly enter the workforce or begin training for a profession.

Galactic Relations:
Humans, represented by the Systems Alliance, have had an embassy on the Citadel since 2165. While the humans lack a seat on the Citadel Council, some other species dislike their sudden ascendancy compared to their status as relative newcomers on the galactic stage. Some species feel that humanity is overly expansive in its colonization efforts and aggressive attempts to get a seat on the Council. It took other species centuries to achieve what humanity has done in decades.

Humans have also been doing what the Council could not: colonize planets in the Attican Traverse, the Skyllian Verge and along the borders of the Terminus Systems, all volatile regions where the Council has little authority. Human forces came into minor conflicts with the batarians over the Verge, which the batarians had been attempting to colonize themselves. When the batarians asked the Council to declare the Verge a "zone of batarian interest" they were refused; in response the batarians became a rogue state, blaming humans for depriving them of valuable resources, and human-batarian relations have been hostile ever since.
Unlike many species in Citadel space, humans have no close allies among the other races, though they are trade partners with the turians and asari. Without alliances or key political positions, humans have had to follow the edicts of the Council without having much influence on their decisions. Human ambassadors have been pushing to induct a human into the Spectres, the Council's elite operatives, as the first step to getting a seat. Once humanity does get a seat, they will be able to influence the Council's rulings, protect their own interests and have a say in the governing of Citadel space.

Humans are generally seen to be intelligent, aggressive, highly adaptable and thus, unpredictable. They have a powerful desire to advance and improve themselves, and do so with such assertion that the normally staid Council races have been taken aback by their restlessness and relentless curiosity. Their economy, while much smaller than any of the Council races, is very powerful relative to their size, and their military prowess is amongst the greatest in the galaxy, as evidenced by their ability to defeat the turians in the First Contact War. This is a subject of concern for many races, who fear the consequences if another human-turian conflict breaks out.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass Effect Species Info.   Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:44 pm

Citadel Races (races found within Council controlled space)

Drell

They possess a somewhat lizard-like in appearance and a rasping effect to their voices similar to the vocal flanging of the turians.

History:
The drell ancestors emerged from dry, rocky deserts on the barren world of Rakhana. Eight centuries ago, the already-arid drell homeworld began its swift descent into lifelessness due to disastrous industrial expansion. At the time, the drell lacked interstellar flight capacity, and with their population bursting at 11 billion they faced certain doom. It was around this time that the hanar made first contact with the drell race. In the following ten years, the hanar would transport hundreds of thousands of drell to the hanar world, Kahje. The remaining billions left on Rakhana would perish on their dying planet, warring against each other for diminishing resources. The drell now thrive co-existing with the Hanar and have been a part of the galactic civilization for roughly two centuries.

Society:
Most drell are content to live on Kahje. They are afforded every opportunity to thrive by the hanar, yet some outsiders and even some hanar regard the drell as second class citizens. However it is quite the opposite, they have integrated themselves into every level of hanar society as respected, productive citizens, so much so that many have embraced the hanar Enkindlers now. Others tend to believe in the asari philosophies. Many of the older traditions of the drell have begun to die out with the younger generation now, because they no longer believe the old ways of their ancestors can help them now with so many other ways to interpret one's place in the universe. Among their ancestral beliefs was a polythestic religion which included at least three gods; Amonkira, Lord of Hunters, Arashu, Goddess of Motherhood and Protection, and Kalahira, Goddess of Oceans and Afterlife.

Those who leave Kahje tend to be adventurers. These solitary drell travelers often seek out new species elsewhere, and in turn adopt that species' culture. Such drell number in the thousands, and are scattered across the galaxy, tending towards quiet, integrated lives.

Biology:
Drell are omnivorous reptile-like humanoids with an average lifespan of 85 galactic standard years. Drell appearance is very similar to asari and humans, but their muscle tissue is slightly denser than that of humans, giving them a wiry strength. Many of their more reptilian features are concealed, however one unique characteristic is the hyoid bone in their throats, which allows them to inflate their throats and produce vocal sounds outside of the human range. They also have two sets of eyelids, like crocodiles. Drell possess the ability to shed tears.

Because the drell ancestors emerged from arid, rocky deserts, the humid, ocean-covered hanar homeworld of Kahje proved tolerable only when the drell stayed inside a climate-controlled dome city.

The drell possess eidetic memory, an adaptation to a world were they must remember the location of even necessary resource (vegetation, drinkable water and prey migration paths) across vast distances. The memories are so strong that an external stimulus can trigger a powerful memory recall. These recalls are so vivid and detailed some drell may mistake it for reality. Thane Krios, for example, remembers every assassination he has ever performed and can describe them in flawless detail, and says he prefers to spend a lonely night with the perfect memory of another. This process can be involuntary.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass Effect Species Info.   Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:47 pm

Elcor

The elcor are a Citadel species native to the high-gravity world Dekuuna. They are massive creatures, standing on four muscular legs for increased stability. Elcor move slowly, an evolved response to an environment where a fall can be lethal. This has colored their psychology, making them deliberate and conservative.

Elcor speech is heard by most species as a flat, ponderous monotone. Among themselves, scent, extremely slight body movements, and subvocalized infrasound convey shades of meaning that make a human smile seem as subtle as a fireworks display. Since their subtlety can lead to misunderstandings with other species, the elcor often go out of their way to clarify when they are being sarcastic, amused, or angry.

Biology:
Elcor evolved on a high-gravity world, making them slow, but incredibly strong. Their large, heavy bodies are incapable of moving quickly, but they possess a rather imposing stature and immense strength, as well as thick, tough skin. They move using all four limbs to support and balance their massive bodies. Given their method of communication, they likely have highly-attuned olfactory senses.

History and Culture:
Like Earth's dinosaurs, prehistoric elcor travelled across Dekuuna in large tribal groups. These groups were likely led by the oldest and most experienced elcor. This may have later developed into the elcor culture of Elders, whose wisdom could keep the tribe safe provided they followed the correct guidance (see below).

According to their ambassador, the elcor were just making their first forays into space travel when the asari made contact with them. With their help, the elcor discovered the closest mass relay and, within a single lifetime, had established a regular trade route to the Citadel. The elcor quickly became one of the more prominent species in Citadel space, though they still have to share an embassy with the volus.

Elcor usually prefer to stay on their colonies rather than travel in space, which may be why few elcor are seen on the Citadel or on other worlds. Possibly because of their size or evolution in the open air, the elcor find the necessary confines of space travel uncomfortable. Evolving in a high-gravity environment where a fall could be lethal has made elcor psychology deeply cautious and conservative. Their culture is built on small, tight-knit groups, and their conservative nature means the elcor government is extremely stable.

Politics and Economics:
The elcor follow the recommendations of their Elders, who spend years poring over ancient records of jurisprudence to determine the precedent that should be followed in any given situation. The Elders record closely argued and minutely detailed instructions on what course to follow in any theoretical crisis. These are filed away in huge libraries of data discs and consulted at need. This makes elcor policies very predictable, provided one has done a great deal of research.

The elcor economy is small, only slightly larger than the Alliance's, but extremely well developed. They see no point to rushing things, and are fond of making thorough, century-long development plans. They don't need to trade for any resource - they have all they require to supply their own needs, and trade only in finished goods. Any attempt to embargo their space would be fruitless.

Military:
Because their slow, conservative psyche is not suitable for making the spur-of-the-moment decisions necessary in combat situations, the elcor rely on sophisticated VI combat systems. These war machines can choose between thousands of gambits developed and polished over centuries by elcor strategists.

The slow speed and immense size of the elcor makes them easy targets. Fortunately, their durable hide allows them to shrug off most incoming fire. Elcor warriors don't carry small arms; their broad shoulders serve as a stable platform for the same size of weapons typically mounted on Alliance fighting vehicles.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass Effect Species Info.   Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:49 pm

Hanar

The hanar are a species resembling Earth's jellyfish and are one of the few non-bipedal Citadel races. Hanar are known for their intense politeness when speaking, and their strong religious beliefs regarding the Protheans, whom they refer to as "the Enkindlers".

Biology:
The hanar 'stand' slightly taller than a human, although most of their height is in their long tentacles which have three fingers at the base. However the invertebrate, water-native hanar cannot support their own weight in normal gravity. When interacting with mainstream galactic society, they rely on contra-gravitic levitation packs that use mass effect fields. Their limbs can grip tightly, but are not strong enough to lift more than a few hundred grams each.

It is not known if hanar have more than one gender, or are asexual (as some jellyfish species are). Despite evolving in water, hanar also appear able to breathe air, or use technological means to enable this.

Culture:
The hanar homeworld, Kahje, has 90% ocean cover and orbits an energetic white star, resulting in a permanent blanket of clouds. Due to the presence of Prothean ruins on Kahje, many hanar worship them, calling them the "Enkindlers". Hanar myths often speak of them as an elder race that uplifted and civilized them by teaching them language.

The hanar communicate using sophisticated patterns of bioluminescence - which other species need machine assistance to translate (though many drell apply genetic modification to their eyes in order to perceive higher frequency flashes which allows them to understand the hanar)- and speak with scrupulous precision and excessive politeness. Most hanar take offense at improper language, and must take special courses to unlearn this tendency if they expect to deal with other species.

The hanar have two names, a 'face name' and a 'soul name'. The face name is used as a general label for use by strangers and acquaintances. The soul name is kept for use among close friends and relations, and tend to be poetic. For example, a Hanar known for its cynicism may take the name that means "Illuminates the Folly of the Dancers." Hanar never refer to themselves in the first person with someone they know on a face name basis: to do so is considered egotistical. Instead they refer to themselves as "this one," or the impersonal "it."

Economy:
Few hanar are willing to deal with other species. Economic contacts are limited to a handful of trade stations on their borders. Due to this self-imposed isolation and the unique physiology of the race, their economy is small and isolated from the rest of the galaxy. Few standard technologies (designed for bipedal and fingered species) are available in their space, and they produce very few goods that are usable by others. However, in Mass Effect: Revelation, Edan Had'dah had a liking for hanar-produced liquors.

Political Factors:
The hanar government is known as the Illuminated Primacy. Other races sometimes see the hanar as elitist snobs because of their intolerance for 'incorrect' speech (and occasionally refer to them derisively as 'jellies'). The hanar are also known to become vocal if their religious rights appear threatened in any way, which occasionally causes clashes with other Citadel races. A hanar on the Presidium steadfastly defends its right to preach about the Enkindlers even when a C-Sec officer asks it to leave, and Commander Shepard hears a news story on the Citadel about the hanar blockading a Prothean ruin being excavated by the salarians.

If the hanar have an embassy on the Citadel, it is not accessible in the game. According to gossip between a salarian and a turian in the Council Chambers, the hanar are considered likely prospects for a Council seat in the near future, though what great deed the hanar did for the Council to warrant consideration is not revealed.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass Effect Species Info.   Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:08 am

Volus

The volus are an associate race on the Citadel with their own embassy, but are also a client race of the turians. They hail from Irune, which possesses a high-pressure greenhouse atmosphere able to support an ammonia-based biochemistry. As a result, the volus must wear pressure suits and breathers when dealing with other species.

Because they are not physically adept compared to most species, volus mostly make their influence felt through trade and commerce, and they have a long history on the Citadel. However, they have never been invited to join the Council, which is a sore point for many volus individuals.

Biology
The volus homeworld Irune features an ammonia-based ecology and a gravitational field 1.5 times that of Earth, as well as a high-pressure atmosphere. This is reflected in the physiology of the volus themselves. The volus are unable to survive unprotected in an atmosphere more suitable to humans and other carbon-based lifeforms, and as such require protective suits capable of providing the proper atmosphere, as well as being pressurized to support the volus. Traditional nitrogen/oxygen air mixtures are poisonous to them, and in the low pressure atmospheres tolerable to most species, their flesh will actually split open.

History
The volus were the third race to post an embassy to the Citadel after the asari and salarians, in exactly 200 BC (according to Citadel records accessed through Avina, outside the Embassies). The volus' mercantile prowess made them instrumental in developing a stable galactic economy. They authored the Unified Banking Act, which established the credit as the standard currency of interstellar trade, and the volus continue to monitor and balance the galactic economy even today. After first contact with the turians during the Krogan Rebellions in the first millennium AD, the volus petitioned for client status within the Turian Hierarchy.

Despite their important contributions to the Citadel and galactic society, they have never been offered a seat on the Council. This is a source of anger for some volus, particularly the volus ambassador Din Korlack. Council races need to have provided some extraordinary service to the Citadel, such as the turians' military support during the Krogan Rebellions. Council races also need to provide fleets, resources, and economic aid in case of disaster, none of which the volus are capable of.

Recently, the volus (through the Turian Hierarchy) have been negotiating with the Systems Alliance over colonisation rights to Patavig. These negotiations have been running smoothly thus far.


Culture
Volus culture is dominated by trade, whether it be of land, resources, or even other tribe members. The volus have a reputation as traders and merchants, and many, such as Barla Von, work as some of the best financial advisers in Citadel space. Because the volus are not physically adept, they tend not to be very violent, and can even seem overly-pacifistic and cowardly to other, more militant species. Their inability to provide adequate soldiers for themselves and the Citadel is a primary reason for not yet being inducted into the Council.
Volus have two names but no family names. According to volus sensibilities you cannot own a person, so using a family name would essentially be laying claim to their offspring. Possibly because of their tribal origins, volus tend to refer to members of other races by their source world rather than species name (i.e. 'Earth-clan' instead of 'human').

Government
The volus government is known as the Vol Protectorate. Rather than being a fully sovereign government in its own right, the Protectorate is a client state of the Turian Hierarchy. In return for falling under the protective umbrella of the turian military, the volus pay a tax to the Hierarchy, as well as deferring to the turians in all foreign policy matters and providing auxiliary troops to the turian armed forces. They still maintain an embassy on the Citadel, making them an associate species of the Council, though they currently share their embassy with the elcor.

Military
The volus are not physically cut out for combat, be it a full-scale war or even a bar room scuffle. As such, they are highly dependent on the turians for defense, although the volus themselves do provide some auxiliary troops to the Hierarchy. The volus will support the turians in any war they might pursue, and the turians will support the volus in any war they might pursue.

Possibly for this reason, volus weaponry tends to be utilitarian rather than high-grade. Some volus manufacturers specialise in cheaper, lower-grade copies of expensive turian equipment.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass Effect Species Info.   Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:16 am

Non-Citadel Space

Batarians

A race of four-eyed bipeds, the batarians are a disreputable species that chose to isolate itself from the rest of the galaxy. The Terminus Systems are infested with batarian pirate gangs and slaving rings, fueling the stereotype of the batarian thug. It should be noted that these criminals do not represent average citizens, who are forbidden to leave batarian space by their omnipresent and paranoid government.
Despite several disagreements with the Citadel and simmering hostility toward humans, most batarians prefer profitable pursuits such as drug running and slave grabs to out-and-out warfare. They have a reputation for being shrewd businessmen and merchants, though in more lawless regions of the galaxy like Omega, negotiations with a batarian are likely to be conducted at gunpoint.
Their homeworld is called Khar-shan.

History
In the early 2160s, humans began to colonize the Skyllian Verge, a region the batarians were already actively settling. The batarians asked the Citadel Council to intervene and declare the Verge an area of "batarian interest." When the Council refused, the batarians closed their Citadel embassy and severed diplomatic and economic relations, becoming an inward-looking rogue state.

Money and weapons funneled from the batarian government to criminal organizations led to many brutal raids on human colonies in the Verge, culminating in the Skyllian Blitz of 2176, an attack on the human capital of Elysium by batarian-funded pirates and slavers. In 2178, the Alliance retaliated with a crushing assault on the moon of Torfan, long used as a staging base by batarian-backed criminals. In the aftermath, the batarians retreated into their own systems, and are now rarely seen in Citadel space.

Culture
Batarians place an extremely high value on social caste and appearance, and overstepping your place is frowned upon. Casting aspersions on the monetary worth of a social better is considered a serious insult. Batarians strongly believe that species with less than four eyes are less intelligent; they often gain the upper hand in inter-species arguments because other races find it difficult to know which eyes to focus on when speaking to them.
Body language is an important part of batarian society. For example, tilting one's head to the left is a sign of admiration and respect. When a batarian tilts his head to the right it is a sign that he is (or considers himself to be) superior to the one that the gesture was directed at. Therefore this gesture can also be interpreted as an insult.

The rest of the galaxy views the batarians as an ignorable problem. Their government is still hostile to the Systems Alliance, but beneath the notice of the powerful Council races. It is not known what the average batarian thinks about their enforced isolation, as the Department of Information Control ensures that only government-approved news enters or leaves batarian space. Given the batarian government's oppressive ideals, it is speculated their supreme leadership is autocratic or totalitarian in nature. The batarians blame humanity for their troubles and claim they were forced to fend for themselves, despite the fact that their exile is largely self-imposed.

However, the batarians still provide up-to-date glossaries and linguistic rules to the rest of the galaxy (allegedly so they can continue distributing propaganda). Possibly due to the prevalence of batarian criminal gangs, batarian languages have become lingua franca in the Terminus Systems.

The batarian government is called the Batarian Hegemony.

Military
Little is known about the batarian military other than the fact it is largely nationalized; most batarian military hardware is produced by an institution called Batarian State Arms.

The batarian fleet is known to operate at least one dreadnought (as a non-Citadel race, they are not bound by the Treaty of Farixen and may have more). They also field smaller vessels, including the Hensa class of cruisers. However, given one member of this class -- later obtained by the quarians and refurbished as the Idenna -- was twenty years old in 2183, the batarians may have retired the Hensa class from active service by this time.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass Effect Species Info.   Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:45 am

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 homeworld, 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 they were discovered by the salarians 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 (see below). Unfortunately, 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' all but sterilized the entire krogan species.

Biology
Due to the brutality of their surroundings, natural selection has played a significant role in the evolution of the species. 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. Younger krogan have yellow or green markings on their hides. These markings darken to brown or tan over time, showing their age.

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 systems are capable of serving as back-ups in the event of damage to the primary biological structures. (This also means, as Garrus Vakarian indicates in conversation with Commander Shepard, male krogan have four testicles.) 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.

History
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 other planets in Citadel space to colonise, 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. Wrex comments disdainfully that clubs, bars and brothels often try to hire krogan bouncers, reducing his people to some kind of status symbol.

Despite an announcement about failed, krogan-funded research into the genophage, which can be heard while on a Citadel elevator, most krogan have not worked toward a cure as they are more interested in combat than science. Unless one is discovered and used, the extinction of the krogan seems inevitable.

In Mass Effect 2, Morln Solus explains that the krogan are in fact evolving to undo the damage of the genophage. To prevent overpopulation, Morlin's STG team created and applied a new genophage, which he claims will keep the populaion down but still allows for a viable population, indicating the krogan race isn't as doomed as they believe.

Culture and Government
The harsh krogan homeworld 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. Young krogan undergo a rite of passage that is overseen by a shaman respective to the clan the krogan wishes to join. This rite consists of battling various wild fauna, ending with an encounter with a thresher maw. Merely surviving for five minutes is considered proof of worthiness. Killing the thresher maw increases the initiate's prestige and standing. Membership of a clan allows a krogan to own property, join the army and apply to serve under a battlemaster. Krogan have powerful territorial instincts which serve them well in combat, but can create problems; when traveling on starships, for example, krogan find sharing quarters nearly impossible.

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. 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.

Military Doctrine
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.

The krogan serving with Saren's forces appear to be returning to the old style of mass attritional combat. They also work in close cooperation with supporting geth units, who fill in the roles occupied by combat drones in other armies.

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.

Religion
Krogan do not have strong religious beliefs, likely a result of evolving on a world where every day is a struggle for survival. 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.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass Effect Species Info.   Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:51 am

Quarian

The quarians are a nomadic species of humanoid aliens known for their skills with technology and synthetic intelligence. Since their homeworld 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, the geth gradually became sentient, rebelled against their quarian masters and drove them into exile. Now the quarians wander the galaxy in a flotilla of salvaged ships, secondhand vessels, and recycled technology.

History
The quarians were always a technologically capable species, who created the geth to be nothing more than labourers and tools of war. The quarians kept their programming as limited as that of any VI, nothing close to an AI, remaining mindful of the Citadel Council's laws against artificial intelligence. But as the quarians gradually modified the geth to do more complex tasks, developing a sophisticated neural network, these changes altered the geth to such an extent that they became sentient. One day, a geth unit began asking its overseer questions about the nature of its existence. The quarians realised they had made a terrible mistake. Now that the geth were sentient, the quarians were effectively using them as slaves. It was inevitable the geth would turn on them.

Panicked, the quarian government ordered an immediate shutdown of all geth, hoping to strike the first blow, but they had underestimated the power of the neural network and how intelligent the geth had become. Their servants defended themselves, resulting in a war that cost billions of quarian lives and drove them from their homeworld. After being refused aid from the Citadel Council, the quarians fled in the Migrant Fleet while the geth took over their systems. Soon after, the Council stripped the quarians of their embassy, effectively cutting the quarians out of Citadel politics as a punishment for their actions. Ever since, the quarians have devoted all their skills and resources to preserving their species aboard the Migrant Fleet.

The quarians have since been struggling to survive. While most of their efforts have been to surviving and maintaing their species, another major concern is to find new ways of combating the Geth and even potentially reclaiming their home world.

Biology
Quarians are generally shorter and of slighter build than humans. They dress in a scavenged assortment of materials, hiding their faces behind visors, goggles, or some other breathing apparatus. Quarian immune systems were weak in the first place due to a biosphere in which pathogenic microbes were comparatively rare, and over the generations 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 still refuse to remove their suits as to not take the risk. Due to this practice, as well as cultural and behavioral factors, many people believe that the quarians are cybernetic, a blend of machine and biology that can survive for a time in the vacuum of space. Contrary to this belief, quarians are capable of removing their masks, but they must take antibiotics and herbal supplements in order to do so safely, though even then there are inherent risks.
Quarians have an endoskeleton, lips, teeth, and two eyes with eyelids and tear-ducts. (Ascension p. 235) Females have mammary glands. Quarians may have evolved along similar lines as Earth's higher primates, much as Australia's koalas developed like Africa's leaf-eating prosimians: a phenomenon called convergent evolution.

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 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. Their clan name is after the apostrophe in their first name (e.g., Tali's clan name is Zorah). A quarian's 'surname' refers to which ship they were born on, or, after their Pilgrimage, which ship they chose to join.

Politics
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. Tali says glumly that when she arrived on the Citadel, C-Sec hauled her in for a long interview before they let her wander around.

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. As Tali demonstrates, the quarians have developed an imperfect technique for recovering data from geth memory cores. 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.

Economy
The quarians have a very different economic system from the rest of the galaxy. While credits influence what is available in Citadel space, credits are 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

Law and Defense
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, repeated violent episodes, and sabotage against vessels, food stores or the Liveships themselves. Quarians practice capital punishment for one crime - as Tali tells Commander Shepard, mutiny or hijacking starships is punished with execution.

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.

Culture
One of the factors of life aboard the Migrant Fleet is population control. It is illegal for quarian families to have more than two children to maintain zero population growth - unless the restriction has been lifted to keep numbers stable - so families tend to be small. Along with the fact each quarian relies on the others for survival, this means the bonds between quarians tend to be very strong, compared to a more individualistic race like the krogan. Loyalty, trust and cooperation between quarians are essential for the survival of their species.
Quarians enjoy storytelling, and hold dancers in high esteem. Some ships from the Fleet linger in orbit over planets used as drive discharge sites, to sell refreshments, supplies or trinkets made by their children to passing crews.

Young quarians go on a Pilgrimage as a rite of passage, leaving the Flotilla to look for resources, information or supplies that will be useful to the rest of the fleet. This discovery is presented to the captain of the ship they wish to join as a gift upon the quarian's return. As well as proving they are a productive member of society, this ensures that the quarians maintain genetic diversity by not intermarrying with the crew of their 'home ship'. It is also seen as an opportunity for quarians to experience life outside the Migrant Fleet, to appreciate their own culture. Tali says that though quarians spend their whole lives on the move, "we never leave home".

Aboard ship, quarians are used to dealing with cramped conditions. It is not uncommon for all family members to share a small living space. Quarians place low value on personal possessions, evaluating objects by their usefulness, and often barter items that are not being used to the rest of the crew via their ship's trading deck. Even when at home, quarians wear their environmental suits at all times, partly out of caution and partly as a psychological reaction to the lack of personal space. Because their suits make it harder to identify individuals, quarians have developed the habit of exchanging names whenever they meet.

Their technology and relations to synthetic life have had a profound effect on quarian culture. As a result, in contrast to other races, quarians are reluctant to trust virtually - or artificially - intelligent machines, but they are also far more likely to treat them as if they were living beings.

Religion
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.

Language
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 insults.

nedas -- nowhere
tasi -- no-one
vas [ship-name] -- crew of
nar [ship-name] -- child of
keelah - exclamation, the quarian deity
keelah se'lai - saying, might (due to the apostrophe possibly indicating verb-noun conjugation) mean something like "Go with God." or "God is great."
bosh'tet - curse/insult

Quarian names are comprised of three parts - the quarian's given name and clan name, 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, Tali goes by 'nar Rayya' because she has not completed the Pilgrimage which would allow her to join a quarian crew, and goes by the name of her birth ship, the Rayya. Feda'Gazu vas Idenna goes by the name of her ship Idenna; the 'vas' indicates she has completed the Pilgrimage and was accepted into the Idenna's crew. The full names of quarians resemble names of German royalty in pre-world war one time, such as Clause von Straffenburg, which means the name as a quarian name of Tali'Zorah vas Neema.

In certain formal situations, quarians appear to use both their adult ship and childhood ship-for instance, "Tali'Zorah vas Neema nar Rayya."
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