The Milky Way is populated with dozens of races. Some are valued members of Citadel space, working to build a better galactic community; others are lawless, caring nothing for the Citadel Council's edicts; a few are outcasts, but all are unique.
Humans, from the planet Earth, are the newest sentient species of notable size to enter the galactic stage and are the most rapidly expanding and developing. They independently discovered a prothean data cache on Mars in 2148, and the mass relay networks shortly thereafter.
Humans share the following species traits:
Ability modifiers: +2 to a single chosen ability. Humans are quick to adapt, and can excel at almost anything they do.
Medium Size: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Speed: Human base speed is 6 squares.
Bonus Trained Skill: Humans are versatile and accomplished at many tasks. A human character chooses one additional trained skill at 1st level. The skill must be chosen from the character's list of class skills.
Bonus Feat: Humans gain one bonus feat at 1st level
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.
Asari share the following species traits:
Ability modifiers: +2 wisdom, +2 charisma, -2 strength. Asari are graceful and wise, but their bodies are weaker than most races.
Medium size: As medium creature, asari have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Speed: Asari base speed is 6 squares.
Bonus feat: All asari are biotic by nature, and gain the Biotic Potential feat as a bonus feat.
Council prominence: Due to the reputation of asari in the galaxy many individuals more willing to go along with their ideas. An asari may use their highest mental ability score as a modifier for Persuasion rolls.
Mixed heritage: Due to their parents often being from different races, an asari may take feats that have a requirement of either asari or the other parent's race. The race of the other parent must be determined at character creation and cannot be changed.
Ardat-Yakshi Heritage (feat)
Prerequisites: Asari who has an asari as both parent races.
Benefit: You carry the rare genetic mutation of the Ardat-Yakshi. You gain a +2 bonus on Persuasion, Deception and Use Biotics checks.
When you are mating with a target, during each round of mating you must use your Use Biotics check to attack the target's Will. If the check succeeds, the target moves -1 step down the condition track (but is often unaware of the fact until it is too late). If you kill a target this way you gain a +1 bonus to all ability scores for 24 hours. This effect can stack with itself.
In addition, you gain access to [mind-affecting] biotic powers.
Note: A player should consult their GM before acquiring this feat, and it should always be subject to GM approval.
The second species to join the Citadel, the salarians are warm-blooded amphibians native to the planet Sur'Kesh. Salarians possess a hyperactive metabolism; they think fast, talk fast, and move fast. To salarians, other species seem sluggish and dull-witted, especially the elcor. Unfortunately, their metabolic speed leaves them with a relatively short lifespan; salarians over the age of 40 are a rarity.
Salarians are known for their observational capability and non-linear thinking. This manifests as an aptitude for research and espionage. They are constantly experimenting and inventing, and it is generally accepted that they always know more than they are letting on.
Salarians share the following species traits:
Ability modifiers: +2 dexterity, +2 intelligence, -2 strength. Salarians are quick thinking and agile, but lack physical strength.
Medium size: As Medium creatures, salarians have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Speed: Salarian base speed is 6 squares and a swim speed of 4 squares.
Hyperactive metabolism: Due to their metabolism, salarians only need 1 hours of rest per day. This does not give them the healing benefits of 8 hours of rest in only one hour, only mitigates the need for 8 hours of sleep. Natural healing still works as normal.
Amphibian: As amphibious creatures, salarians cannot drown in water. In addition, a salarian may choose to take 10 on Swim checks even when distracted or threatened.
Photographic memory: Salarians may choose to reroll any Knowledge check, but the result of the reroll must be accepted even if it is worse.
The quarians are a nomadic species of humanoid aliens known for their skills with technology and synthetic intelligence. Since their homeworld Rannoch was conquered, the quarians live aboard the Migrant Fleet, a huge collection of starships that travel as a single fleet.
Approximately three hundred years before the events of Mass Effect, the quarians created the geth, a species of rudimentary artificial intelligences, to serve as an efficient source of manual labor. However, when the geth gradually became sentient, the quarians became terrified of possible consequences and tried to destroy their creations. The geth won the resulting war and forced their creators into exile. Now the quarians wander the galaxy in a flotilla of salvaged ships, secondhand vessels, and recycled technology.
Quarians share the following species traits:
Ability modifiers: +2 intelligence, +2 charisma, -2 constitution. Quarians are highly intelligent and very social (despite prejudice), but suffer from frail bodies.
Medium size: As Medium creatures, quarians have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Speed: Quarian base speed is 6 squares
Weak immune system: The Fortitude defense of quarians is reduced by 4. This is in addition to the racial constitution penalty, but does not affect the quarian's damage threshold. In addition, all quarians must wear environmentally sealed suits. If not, they risk infection (see: sidebar) every hour.
Mechanical expertise: A quarian may choose to reroll any Mechanics check, but the result of the reroll must be accepted even if it is worse.
Adaptive mechanic: A quarian may use their Mechanics skill in place of Use Computer when using Tech powers.
Sidebar: Quarian infections
Quarians without suits are vulnerable to infections. For every hour a quarian is exposed to unsterilized air, make an attack roll (1d20+10) against the quarian's Fortitude defense. If the attack succeeds, the character moves -1 persistent step down the condition track. This attack occurs again each hour the quarian is exposed to unsterilized air. Treating the infection requires a successful DC 15 Treat Injury check.
If a quarian decides to allow their suit to join up with another quarian's suit, both are attacked by the infection. After the initial attack, whether it was successful or not, the quarians in question do not suffer from further infection risk when joining suits again.
Known for their militaristic and disciplined culture, the turians were the third race to join the Citadel 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 – as shown by the cooperation of the two races on the construction of the SSV Normandy – but many turians still resent humans, and vice versa.
Turians share the following species traits:
Ability modifiers: +2 constitution, -2 charisma. Turians are tough, but make for bad diplomats and entrepreneurs.
Medium size: As Medium creatures, turians have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Speed: Turian base speed is 6 squares.
Bonus proficiency: Due to mandatory military training, all turians gain Weapon Proficiency: Rifle. A turian with the feat from their class gains no other benefit.
Protective exoskeleton: Turians gain a +5 racial bonus to Fortitude when resisting the effects of radiation.
Discipline: Turians are extremely disciplined, gaining a +2 racial bonus on Will defense.
Military training: Due to their military background, a turian may choose one of the following bonus feats: Grand Army of the Republic Training (CW), Separatist Military Training (CW), Republic Military Training (Kotor), Sith Military Training (Kotor), Galactic Alliance Military Training (Leg), Imperial Military Training (Reb) or Rebel Military Training (Reb). The turian must meet the prerequisites for the feat.
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). Ironically, after the rachni were eradicated, the rapidly-expanding krogan became a threat to the galaxy in turn, starting the Krogan Rebellions and forcing the turians to unleash the genophage. This genetic "infection" dramatically reduced fertility in krogan females, causing a severe drop in births secondary to prenatal and postnatal death and, ultimately, population, eliminating the krogan numerical advantage.
Krogans share the following species traits:
Ability modifiers: +2 strength, +2 constitution, -2 intelligence, -2 wisdom. Krogans are strong and sturdy, but lack the sophistication of other races.
Medium size: As Medium creatures, krogans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Speed: Krogan base speed is 5 squares. Krogan aren't as fast as the other races.
Additional organs: Due to their redundant organs, krogans gain Improved Damage Threshold as a bonus feat. In addition, krogans regain hit points at double the normal rate.
Shoulder hump: A krogan can survive without food or water for days equal to their constitution modifier.
Tough skin: Krogans have a +1 natural armor bonus to their Reflex and Fortitude defenses. Natural armor stacks with armor bonuses. Krogans also gain +2 bonus to defenses against natural hazards (radiation, poison, extreme cold or heat, etc).
Blood rage: See rage (core rulebook, p. 32)
Natural weapons: Krogan have a natural weapon in form of the hard headplate. When a krogan makes an unarmed attack, it may chose to use its natural weapon, which deals 1d6 kinetic damage. Treat the headbutt as a two-handed weapon for feats and determining damage bonuses from strength. A krogan is always considered armed with its natural weapons.
The drell are a reptile-like race that were rescued from their dying homeworld by the hanar following first contact between the two. Since then, the drell have remained loyal to the hanar for their camaraderie and have fit comfortably into galactic civilization.
Drell share the following species traits:
Ability modifiers: +2 dexterity, +2 wisdom, -2 constitution. Drell are agile and insightful, but lack the staying power of other races.
Medium size: As Medium creatures, drell have no special bonuses of penalties due to their size.
Speed: Drell base speed is 7 squares. Drell are quicker on their feet than most common races.
Photographic memory: Drell may choose to reroll any Knowledge check, but the result of the reroll must be accepted even if it is worse.
Low-light vision: Drell ignore concealment (but not total concealment) from darkness.
Heightened awareness: A drell may choose to reroll any Perception check, but the result of the reroll must be accepted even if it is worse.
A race of four-eyed bipeds native to the world of Khar'shan, 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.
Batarians share the following species traits:
Ability modifiers: +2 strength, +2 constitution -2 charisma. Batarians are strong of physique, but gruff and do not trust the other races.
Medium size: As Medium creatures, batarians have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Speed: Batarian base speed is 6 squares.
Brutal reputation: Batarians who are trained in Persuasion gain a +5 racial bonus to checks made to the Intimidate use of the skill, or to otherwise demoralize or force surrender (such as the Demand Surrender or Weaken Resolve Noble talents), but take -5 to the Change Attitude use of Persuasion and other positively affecting Persuasion uses.
Quadruple eyes: Batarians may choose to reroll any Perception check made, but the result of the reoll must be accepted even if it is worse.
Bonus trained skill: A batarian character chooses one additional trained skill at 1st level. The skill must be chosen from the character's list of class skills.
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.
Volus share the following species traits:
Ability modifiers: +2 intelligence, +2 charisma, -2 dexterity. Volus are sharp and charismatic, but are quite clumsy.
Small Size: As Small creatures, volus gain a +1 size bonus to their Reflex defense and a +5 size bonus on Stealth checks. However, their lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of Medium characters.
Speed: Volus base speed is 4 squares.
Master negotiator: A volus trained in Deception, Gather Information or Persuasion gains Skill Focus for up to two of the respective skills as bonus feats.
Pressure suits: Volus must wear a pressurized suit in order to survive on most atmospheres. If the suit is ever taken off, a volus's skin starts cracking, eventually splitting open and killing the volus. For every minute outside of their suit, make an attack roll of (1d20+10) versus the volus's Fortitude defense. On a hit, the volus moves -1 step down the condition path.
A volus who moves down on the condition path due to damage is attacked once by a (1d20+10) attack against Fortitude or move down the condition path 1 additional step.
Known for their unique biology and aggressive behavior, the vorcha of Heshtok are a primitive race that live among the galaxy's darker and more dangerous locations, such as Omega. Many vorcha are trained by the krogan Blood Pack as mercenaries due to their savage nature and adaptability to different environments. The rest of galactic civilization regards them as pests and scavengers, and their presence is generally seen as a blight.
Vorcha share the following species traits:
Ability modifiers: +2 strength, +2 dexterity, -2 intelligence, -4 charisma. Vorcha are quick and strong, but have lesser mental capacity than other races.
Medium size: As Medium creatures, vorcha have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Speed: Vorcha base speed is 7 squares. Vorcha are quicker on their feet than other races.
Regenerative cells: Vorcha have fast healing 2 and a natural DR 2/-. This DR stacks with other sources. A vorcha can also regrow lost non-essential limbs and physical structure in 1d10 minutes. At the end of that time, all persistent penalties associated with the loss of the limbs are removed.
Resilience: Vorcha gain a +3 racial bonus to Fortitude defense.
Savage: Survival and Endurance are always class skills for vorcha.
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".
Ability modifiers: +2 dexterity, +2 wisdom, -2 strength, -2 constitution. Hanar are weak physically, but their appendages are dextrous and their minds are sharp.
Medium size: As Medium creatures, hanar have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Speed: Due to their lack of legs, hanar do not have a base speed on ground. Instead, they have a swim speed of 8 and a hover speed of 4 that is gained through a contra-gravitic levitation pack that all Hanar have.
Bonus trained skill: Hanar are all impeccibly polite, and have Persuasion as a trained skill.
Aquatic: Hanar are native to aquatic environments, and can breathe in water for an unlimited amount of time.
Tentacle limbs: Instead of having arms or legs, Hanar have six tentacle-like appendages. These limbs are impractical for most uses, and Hanar take a -2 penalty to any task made for races with opposable thumbs, including attacking with both ranged and melee weapons. Weapons can be custom fitted to suit a Hanar wielder with no extra cost, but it takes up a modification slot.
The tentacles grant a +5 bonus on all Grab and Grapple attempts. If the Hanar manages to deal hit point damage through grappling or is grabbing an unarmored target, it can make a Constitution based attack (Con bonus + BAB) against the target's Fortitude defense each round it maintains the conditions (damage or grabbling an unarmored target). If the attack hits, the target moves -1 step down the condition track. A target moved to the end of the condition track by the poison is immobilized, but not unconscious. The poison can be treated with a successful Treat Injury check with a DC of 10 + the hanar's Con bonus and BAB.
To compensate for the lack of "normal" limbs, all Hanar are able to use the Move Light Object use of the Use Biotics skill without training.
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.
Ability modifiers: +4 strength, +4 constitution, +2 wisdom, -4 dexterity. Elcor are large, tough and considerate, but their significant bulk impedes their movement and flexibility.
Large size: As Large creatures, elcor gain a -1 size penalty to their Reflex defense and a -5 size penalty on Stealth checks. However, their lifting and carrying limits are twice of those of Medium characters.
Speed: Elcor base speed is 3 squares. Elcor are slow and lumberous when moving.
Quadrupedal: Elcor walk on all four limbs, and as such double their carrying limits (in addition to the size bonus) and have a +5 stability bonus to resist being knocked prone. However, this also means that elcor are unable to use their arms in physical activities. To accomplish many things in regular life, elcor use the assistance of VI programs.
In combat, elcor can outfit their backs with a weapon's platform. Any weapon can be placed onto an elcor's back, but requires a modification slot to be used. A weapon placed in this way is always considered braced for purposes of autofire. Sophisticated VI programs are used to operate the weapon.
VI assistance: Elcor equip themselves with VI programs that allow them to use things such as computer terminals or firing weapons. Instead of using their dexterity modifier for ranged attacks and the pilot skill, an elcor may opt to use its intelligence modifier.
The geth ("Servant of the People" in Khelish) are a race of networked artificial intelligences that reside beyond the Perseus Veil. The geth were created by the quarians as laborers and tools of war. When the geth became sentient and began to question their masters, the quarians attempted to exterminate them. The geth won the resulting war, and reduced the quarians to a race of nomads.
The history of the geth's creation and evolution serves as a warning to the rest of the galaxy of the potential dangers of artificial intelligence and to the legally enforced, systematic repression of artificial intelligences throughout galactic society.
Geth themselves do not occupy permanent bodies, but can be loaded into various types of platforms (described below). Each platform shares common geth traits, and has additional modifiers based on their platform.
All geth platforms share the following species traits:
Droid traits: All geth are droids, and have the droid traits (with the exception of behavioral inhibitors) as presented in the SWSE Core Rulebook, page 187.
Ability modifiers: +2 intelligence, -2 charisma. Due to being machines, geth are highly intelligent, but lack understanding of societal norms. Geth lack a constitution score, and their platform alters their physical scores.
Bonus trained skill: All geth are trained in Use Computer.
Linked consensus: Geth automatically succeed in the Aid Another action when aiding other geth, and grant an additional +2 bonus on the check or roll.
Bonus proficiency: All geth do not require Exotic proficiency with the Geth Pulse Rifle, Geth Plasma SMG, Geth Spitfire, Geth Plasma Shotgun and Javelin.
Bonus equipment: Unless otherwise stated, all geth are built and equipped with a Plasteel shell (+2 armor), heuristic processor, internal comlink, locked access, vocabulator and 2 hand appendages. Most geth are also equipped with a self-destruct system.
Ability modifiers: +2 dexterity.
Medium size: As Medium droids, trooper geth have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Locomotion: Troopers are walking droids with a base speed of 6 squares.
Bonus equipment: Trooper platforms do not start with any additional equipment. The platform is used for a wide variety of tasks, and is equipped for the task at hand.
Ability modifiers: +8 strength, -2 dexterity.
Large size: As Large droids, juggernaut geth gain a +8 bonus to strength, -2 to dexterity (already noted), a -1 size modifier to Reflex, -5 size modifier to stealth checks, +10 extra hit points, +5 size bonus to damage threshold, and their carrying capacity is doubled. Equipment and upgrades for juggernauts cost twice the regular amount.
Locomotion: Juggernauts are walking droids with a base speed of 5 squares.
Bonus equipment: All juggernauts are built and equipped with durasteel plating (+6 armor) and hardened systems x2
Ability modifiers: +16 strength, -4 dexterity.
Huge size: As Huge droids, armature geth gain a +16 bonus to strength, -4 to dexterity (already noted), a -2 size modifier to Reflex, -10 size modifier to stealth checks, +20 extra hit points, +10 size bonus to damage threshold, and a 5x carrying capacity.. Equipment and upgrades for armatures cost five times the regular amount.
Locomotion: Armatures are quadrupedal walking droids with a base speed of 4.
Bonus equipment: All armatures are built and equipped with two extra legs, durasteel plating (+6 armor), hardened systems x2, a siege pulse cannon and a mass accelerator machine gun. They do not start with any hand appendages.
Ability modifiers: -4 strength, +4 dexterity.
Tiny size: As tiny droids, bomber geth gain a -4 penalty to strength, +4 bonus to dexterity, +2 size modifier to Reflex, and have half the carrying capacity of a medium sized creature. Equipment and upgrades for bomber geth cost five times the regular amount.
Locomotion: Bombers are hovering droids with a base speed of 6.
Bonus equipment: Bombers do not start with any hand appendages.
Ability modifiers: +4 dexterity, -2 strength
Medium size: As Medium droids, hopper geth have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Locomotion: Hoppers are walking droids with a base speed of 7.
Bonus equipment: All hoppers are built and outfitted with jump servos, and magnetic hands and feet.
Sidebar: Unique geth platforms
Players may customize their geth platform further. In most cases, use the Trooper platform for the base for any custom made geth.
It is advised to allow only the trooper platform for PC geth customization and play, as the other platforms may cause imbalances in the group.