Mass Effect: Mass Effect Race Tropes
aka: Mass Effect Races
This page is for listing the tropes related to the many species in the Mass Effect
universe, each with their own
For the pages listing tropes related to specific characters in the trilogy, see the Mass Effect Character Index
This page includes significant
spoilers, and some are by their nature unmarked. Read at your own discretion.
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Citadel Council Races
If you want a problem shot, ask a turian...Homeworld:
The third race to join the Citadel Council. The Turian Hierarchy is a very organized and militant society. Every physically and mentally-sound turian is either a soldier, a retired soldier or training to be a soldier. This has resulted in the Turian Hierarchy having the largest military force in the galaxy. Turians were the first alien species that humanity encountered. Unfortunately, this encounter took the form of the First Contact War. Although the other two Council Races managed to end the war diplomatically, human-turian relations are still rocky.
Turians are available for multiplayer, and can use the Sentinel
classes. The Retaliation DLC also adds Ghost Infiltrators
, Havoc Soldiers
, and Saboteur Engineers. The Reckoning DLC adds Cabal Vanguards
- Alien Blood: Blue.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Their homeworld, Palaven, has a weak geomagnetic field, meaning it gets bombarded by more solar radiation than comparable planets like Earth or Thessia. How did Palaven's life adapt? It evolved a semi-metallic carapace.
- The amino-acids on which life on their planet are based are incompatible with those of most other species. Alcoholic beverages that would merely seem strong to most races would in fact kill a turian. They also have allergic reactions to most non-turian food due to the amino-acid incompatibility.
- Badass Army: They have extremely disciplined armies, the largest fleet of warships (well over 10,000), the most dreadnoughts (39), and a proud military tradition. They also have by far the largest military in the known galaxy, except for maybe the geth.
- They were able to hold their own against the krogan empires in a decades-long war of attrition at a time before the genophage when the krogan were actually breeding faster than the other races. They also managed to take down the fleets of krogan dreadnoughts with cruisers and frigates, which required a lot of expertise and production capability.
- "Reaper troop transports have dumped hordes of husk to capture Palaven's inhabitants, but met with little success. Reaper capital ships are destroying city after city. But much of the turian fleet is still operable, and the citizenry is heavily armed. The turians refuse to be intimidated." To put this perspective, the turians are holding their own (even if it's just barely) against the largest part of the Reaper fleet assigned to any individual planet, which they sent in knowing the power of the turian fleet. They even managed to destroy a few Sovereign-class capital ships in the opening attack (contrast the humans and asari who got completely curbstomped in a few hours once the Reapers committed their forces.) They are the only race who actually manage to fight the Reapers on even terms (even if it was still a Hopeless War); the Reaper attacks on Earth and Thessia quickly turn into routs.
- Of note is that every turian who is of age and is of sound mental capability is a soldier. Military service is mandatory across the entirety of their space. If that turian can walk and talk, that turian is trained to fight.
- Of particular note is the Armiger Legion. Every member has a Power Fist, consumable packs that grant borderline invincibility, the best weapons in the empire, and a jetpack.
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Though many aliens seem to have trouble with human metaphors, turians in particular struggle with the concept fullstop. Even Garrus has a problem with 'em. Although they are intrigued by how humans have a way with words.
- This actually leads to some rather clever Fridge Brilliance when you consider that they are primarily a military-based culture, so making sure that their orders were given clearly is the best way a turian can count on their subordinates to properly do their job. In comparison, humans have a tendency to give orders while using slang, shorthand and metaphor whilst on the battlefield, which would naturally be very confusing for an outsider try to figure out. Add to the fact that humans seem to be the only culture in the setting who developed non-verbal hand signals to give commands, you could argue that the turians have every right to believe the way humans communicate is completely insane!
- Bottled Heroic Resolve: The DLC turian classes have a "Stimulant Pack" power that boosts shields and weapon damage.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Humans and turians fought a war that led to humanity's entering the greater galactic population. Humans call it the First Contact War. Turians call it the Relay 314 Incident. Somewhat subverted as well, as the turians admit that it was the only true military opposition they had faced in over a millennium.
- If Shepard takes actions to help out turians in trouble in ME1, the news in ME2 will indicate that the turians are starting to make overtures for a better diplomatic relationship with humanity by atoning more fully for the above incident.
- Colony Drop: The turians frequently employ this tactic as a solution to deal with ground-forces, notably seen in the First Contact War and casually suggested by Garrus to take out the enemy geth on Rannoch, much to Tali's horror.
- They were also frequently the victims of this during the Krogan Rebellions. The krogan had a habit of smashing moons into turian planets. It just made the turians angry.
- Combat by Champion: One of the traditional ways turians can resolve large-scale conflicts: a duel between chosen representatives of each party. Parodied during a certain Cerberus Daily News story covering the War on Taetrus. A turian general and a leader of the rebel group Facinus got into a sword fight to decide the fate of Taetrus. When the rebel leader lost, very obviously photo-shopped images started surfacing the next day showing the general cheating in the duel. Facinus used these images as an excuse to declare war anyway.
- Combat Pragmatist: In a way. In their culture, every turian serves in the army for a while after they reach puberty. Therefore, any population center with adults is considered a military installation. They are... reluctant to abandon this mindset when facing other species. To give an example, during their siege of Shanxi, the turian fleets bombed entire city blocks from orbit simply to take out individual fireteams.
- As revealed in the third game, they also hid a massive bomb on Tuchanka as a backup plan in case the genophage didn't work.
- Conscription: At 15, turians begin a compulsory term of military service for an unknown length of time, at the end of which they decide whether to remain with the military or become a civil servant.
- Defeat Means Friendship: The turians absorb any conquered enemies (both turians and other races) into their ranks as supplementary units. While these units are rarely treated as anything more than infantry or cavalry, at the conclusion of a successful term of service, they are then granted full turian citizenship, with all rights and responsibilities thereof.
- Determinator: A popular saying goes: "You will only see a turian's back when he's dead."
- Do Not Go Gentle: They take this attitude more than any other race in the Reaper War.
- The Empire: Some random turians even call it The Empire by name, but it's far more benevolent than usual.
- Facial Markings: See Tribal Face Paint.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: They're about halfway between space Prussians and space Romans with some Confucianism thrown in for flavor.
- Literally in this last case - since making peace with the humans, a small but growing number of turians have taken up Confucianism.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: They're the fighter to the asari mage and the salarian thief.
- Four-Star Badass: Many examples. The Cerberus Daily News brought turian General Partinax to the fore, who dueled Facinus leader Kihilix Tanus. His record is surviving seven duels, 5 to first blood and 2 to the death. The codex also references Admiral Coronati, who managed to defeat the Reapers in a fight above Palaven using relatively primitive dreadnoughts by using the Reapers' massive size against them.
Codex: Knowing that the Reapers' weapons had a longer effective range than any of his own, Coronati made a short, daring FTL jump—landing his dreadnoughts in the middle of the Reaper fleet. The dreadnoughts then turned to line up their main guns on the Reapers, which also needed to turn to fire on the turians. This ploy used the Reapers' size against them—because they could turn faster, and their concentrated firepower downed several Reaper capital ships.
- Godzilla Threshold: Mass Effect 3 reveals that their use of the genophage was this; despite all the military might of the turian empire, the krogans were winning the war, having pushed the line all the way to one of Pavalen's moons.
- Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: Turian biotics are subject to much suspicion and mistrust by other turians and are taken out of normal military service and placed into special cabals. As a result of this stigma in society, some biotics decide to opt out of continuing to serve in the military after their mandatory service period has ended, to become mercenaries where their talents can be better appreciated and utilised.
- Honor Before Reason: Turians are noted to have very heavy social stigma against avoiding personal responsibility. A turian may choose not to advertise that they committed a crime, but would likely admit to it if directly questioned.
- Hover Tank: They have one, the Jiris. It can traverse any terrain, has powerful kinetic barriers, and has a cannon that shoots homing missiles accurately for over 20 kilometers. Unfortunately, it never comes up in the game, only being referenced in Cerberus Daily News. It saw heavy use during the War on Taetrus.
- Humanoid Aliens
- Humorless Aliens:
- Compared to most other species, anyway. Turians take discipline and protocol very seriously. Most of the funnier turians (like Garrus) are considered atypical of the species. The fact that turians are uptight fighting machines is one of the reasons the First Contact War was considered one of the worst ways for the human race to become introduced to Council Space.
- Although they are just as likely to be Comically Serious Deadpan Snarkers. There's a reason why a certain dancing turian is so hilarious and memorable. And they do have jokes.
- Wrex once said, regarding Garrus, that it was just his luck he happened to know the one turian in the galaxy who thinks he's funny.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Turians take the most direct approach to a problem. They won't hesitate to shoot someone or commit genocide if that's what it takes to end a threat permanently.
- See the running quote for Renegade Shepard's succinct view.
- Good Republic, Evil Empire: Averted. The turian government is an interplanetary empire, yet it's not evil at all and is a well respected ally of many republics.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Often come across as this. Despite all their friction with humanity, after Earth is invaded by the Reapers, they are the first to step up in 3 to offer military aid.
- And the first willing to end the genophage, despite them being the ones who ultimately decided to use it.
- Lawful Stupid: In-Universe, their adherence to following rules lead to their brief war with humanity. Part of the resentment felt by humans is because, while they understand that they were simply enforcing galactic law, the turians never bothered to fire a warning shot or even explain that activating dormant Mass Relays was a felony, before they opened fire on them and proceeded to occupy one of their colonies.
- Masculine Lines, Feminine Curves: Perhaps to give them contrast with species like the asari, the turians tend to favor more straight lines in the The Aesthetics of Technology, their ships and weapons being particularly angular. Even the turians themselves have a kind of "edged" look to them, with their thin frames and semi-rigid plates on their skin. Yes, even the females, as shown in the third game's Omega DLC. In their case, they don't have long fringes; instead, their faceplates have more elaborate edges.
- The McCoy: To the asari Kirk and salarian Spock.
- Mirror Chemistry: The majority of the galaxy is based on levo-amino acids, whatever other differences they have. The turians and quarians are the only ones with dextro-amino-based biology. This caused them a lot of trouble during the First Contact War. Since the food on the human colonies they conquered were levo-amino-based, they had to ship in their supplies from the Hierarchy, eventually making their position untenable.
- The Needs of the Many: Turian philosophy is entirely based around this. The turian species as a whole always comes before the turian individual.
- Not So Different: Fought a war with humanity when the two species first met and were the most anti-human of the three council races, but compare the stories of how the two races got their council seats...
- Only Sane Species: During the Reaper invasion, they're the only ones who aren't unhelpful (asari and salarians), fighting one another (quarians and geth, krogan with themselves), hindering the war effort (hanar, the salarian government), or decimated (asari, batarians, rachni).
- And it makes perfect sense given their strong militaristic culture mixed with incredible discipline in contrast with the krogan's strong warrior culture with no discipline.
- That said, they keep a bomb in Tuchanka secret and send in a squad to discreetly remove it rather than face krogan backlash. If Shepard doesn't do the mission to remove it, krogan war assets take a significant hit.
- Planet of Hats: Turians are renowned for and proud of their strict adherence to duty and protocol, and the fact that every member of their species has once served in the military. However, some turians are outliers. Some turians are funny, laid back, pacifists, hate red tape, and everything in between.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Inverted. They're the most militaristic Council race by far, but they place heavy emphasis on discipline, so it's more accurate to call turians a Proud Soldier Race. It offers a Deconstruction of the trope as well: the much more proud, physically dangerous and violent krogan were defeated by the much-better organized, no-nonsense turians. It also provides an extra nuance to the issue of the genophage: if it wasn't deployed, the turians would've had to commit genocide.
- Their national anthem, fittingly enough, is entitled "Die For The Cause".
- Putting on the Reich: Subverted, most of the societal values and attitudes detailed for turians seem to be based off old school Prussian values rather than Nazi influence.
- Religious Bruiser: They named the standard assault rifle of their military the Phaeston, after the turian spirit of creation.
- Shoot the Dog: The salarians developed the genophage, but struggled with the moral dilemma of whether to use it to end the Krogan Rebellions. The turians unleashed the genophage instead, ending the Rebellions.
- Space Police: The fact that they have the largest fleet in the galaxy (that includes the geth) make them the official peacekeepers of Council Space.
- Space Romans: Even their names sound Roman.
- Super Drowning Skills: Apparently turians are poor swimmers, according to Garrus in Mass Effect 3. Makes sense considering the metal skin and apparent lack of body fat.
Garrus: It's a lot of flailing and screaming punctuated by brief moments of drowning.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: See a Colony Drop as a perfectly legitimate form of warfare. Humanity vehemently disagrees.
- Tribal Facepaint: The markings on turian's faces are worn to signify the home colony that s/he is descended from, a tradition that began in the aftermath of the Unification War, when several colonial chieftains decided to break away from the Hierarchy to wage a particularly bloody war between themselves, shortly after their race ventured into space. While the Hierarchy restored the peace, many turians chose to adorn themselves with their colonial markings out of nationalistic pride.
- On a more lighthearted note, the term "barefaced" has entered turian vernacular to mean someone who is untrustworthy. As such, it's typically used to refer to politicians.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: While there is still some tension with humanity due to the First Contact War, both races seem to actually get on with each other far better than they do with the salarians or asari. Both governments also are mentioned as having worked together quite well when building the original Normandy, and nowadays the turians see humans as worthy opponents (see below), despite the fact that only 3% of their eligible population serve in the Alliance Navy. The turians know that if more humans served in the military, they'd be practically unstoppable.
- Potentially become this with the krogan in the 3, though the krogan are naturally still bitter about the genophage. Primarch Victus hopes that the Reaper War will make them Fire-Forged Friends; the odds of this happening are better if Wrex is still alive.
- Worthy Opponent: What they (grudgingly) consider the humans. The First Contact War (which they refer to as the Relay 314 Incident) gained the respect of the turians due to the resourcefulness and unconventional tactics of humanity. This has become Friendly Enemy with some Teeth-Clenched Teamwork by the time of Mass Effect 1, and by Mass Effect 3 the two races are basically Vitriolic Best Buds.
....if you want a problem talked to death, ask an asari....Homeworld:
One of the two founding races of Citadel Space alongside the salarians and the most powerful and widespread race in the galaxy, the asari often take the role of diplomats. They are a long lived (lifespans generally covering a millennium) mono-gendered race, but are seen as female by other species. Asari reproduce by linking their nervous system to another sentient being of any race. The linking helps to randomize the asari's DNA while encouraging positive traits from the "father" species to manifest in the offspring (supposedly), which is always another asari. Partnerships of two asari are looked down upon by most of the species now as they believe it restricts genetic diversity (not to mention that asari born from such a relationship can be Ardat-Yakshi, a very dangerous mutation). Their government is a loose federation of nation-states collectively known as the Asari Republics. All asari have biotic ability, but require training to use it effectively.
Asari are available for multiplayer in 3, and can use the Adept
classes. The Resurgence pack adds the Justicar Adept
class, and the Retaliation DLC adds Huntress Infiltrators
and Valkyrie Sentinels.
...if you want a NEW problem, ask a salarian....Homeworld:
The second race to discover the Citadel and one of the two founding members of the Citadel Council. Their metabolism is much faster than those of other species; on the one hand, this means they're the second shortest-lived sentient beings in the galaxy after the vorcha. On the other, they waste a lot
less of their lives sleeping. They also have "reproduction contracts" instead of marriages (which Mordin attributes to an inability to sustain courtship emotions). Similar to the asari, the salarian government is collection of clans, families, fiefdoms and duchies collectively referred to as the "Salarian Union". The Council based the Spectre program off the salarian Special Tasks Group, although the Spectres aren't as well-funded — you don't see STG operatives buying their own weapons.
Despite being outnumbered nine-to-one by the males, female salarian "dalatrasses" (clan/family leaders) wield the most political power on their home-world.
Salarians are available for multiplayer, and can use the Engineer
- Alien Blood: Green.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: Averted. The salarians have a nasty habit of trying to groom primitive races as quick fixes for their problems, which they call "uplifting". This leads Mordin and Padok to argue they should have such a rule, but they seem to be in the minority - see Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
James: These lizards like playing God, huh?
EDI: The salarians appear to have learned nothing from the Krogan Rebellions.
- Asexuality: Most of them are asexual, except in regards to the asari. As for how a species can survive despite being mostly asexual, it's because they're a haploid species. Unfertilized eggs laid by their dalatrasses (read: family matriarchs) are born as males. Fertilized eggs are born as females. Siring them is dealt with in a business/political agreement fashion ("Reproduction Negotiations"). As such, the majority of the population are males.
- Badass Army: The salarian military is basically the pragmatic in the galaxy, with loads of dreadnoughts and the best stealth technology. Of particular note is the Salarian Special Task Group, a special forces organization so badass that they are what inspired the Spectres. Their doctrine is actually very similar to humanity's, albeit larger and more advanced: a relatively small volunteer force that relies on crippling the enemy before the war begins instead of slugging it out (humans cripple the enemy during the war; salarians would rather ensure the war doesn't happen).
- Combat Pragmatist: They consider declarations of war to be superfluous and stupid. When they attack, it is without warning and after as much time as feasible gathering intelligence and undermining the enemy.
- They also consider very few measures to be out-of-bounds. One of their research facilities in the third game shows that they were researching altering varren (Tuchanka wolves) to be even more powerful, violent, and fast-breeding so they could be dropped onto enemy planets to completely wreck the ecosystem and attack civilian populations. A throwaway note on one planet suggests they're observing certain areas in the Terminus Systems, and any individuals who have the idea of uniting the warring pirates and slaving bands always die mysterious and untimely deaths.
- Their reliance on their intelligence networks turned out to be a devastating weakness when the Reapers attacked, as the salarians' entire doctrine lay in destroying the enemy before conflict even began. Since they didn't virtually own the Reapers' communications network nor could prepare for or target their weaknesses prior to the unexpected attack, the salarian military was left at a severe disadvantage. However, none of that changes the fact that the salarians still do have one of the largest and most advanced navies in the galaxy.
- Basically, they are all about avoiding having to actually fight the enemy unless necessary, though they are capable fighters when it comes down to it thanks to their huge military, advanced technology, and super power status.
- Explosive Breeder: It goes unremarked, but, as the in-game codex notes, they are "haplo-diploid oviparous amphibians". In other words, female salarians lay dozens of eggs automatically once a year, and they don't need sex to make them hatch; sex merely determines whether or not the eggs will hatch into more females, who will lay more eggs. Salarian worlds are invariably densely populated as a result — theoretically, salarians can actually outbreed the krogan. This may explain why the salarian homeworld has much more people than the turian or asari ones, even though the salarians have managed to spread out their population into the colonies; there's just that many of them.
- Fatal Flaw: For all their intelligence the salarians' relatively short lifespans appear to make them very shortsighted when it comes to decision making on a galactic scale. Uplifting the krogan without taking into account the long term consequences of their birth rate, especially when freed from the natural mortality rate of Tuchanka. Creating the genophage but not expecting the turians to use it without their permission. Worse still it seems they feel the yahg are a great new prospect for uplifting into galactic society. Anyone familiar with this race can see the glaring flaws in that strategy a mile away.
- For those who don't know the yahg? We see only two specimens. One manages to escape in the midst of a Cerberus attack, slaughtering better armed, trained, and equipped soldiers with nothing but its bare hands. The other managed to take over the job of Shadow Broker and has been running the gig from behind the scenes for years... and still manages to be a very difficult fight, despite being an intellectual.
- The Federation
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: The thief in the asari-turian-salarian trio.
- For Science!: Practically the salarians hat, though it's heavily lampshaded that this often doesn't turn out so well.
- Frogs and Toads: In the same family, though they have more in common with newts or salamanders. Warm-blooded, intelligent, bipedal, upright-standing ones.
Javik: The lizard people evolved?
Liara: I believe they're amphibian.
Javik: They used to eat flies...
- Gender Rarity Value: Females are rare, influential, and extremely well-protected, due to the reasons listed under Asexuality. You will never see a salarian female in a combat role unless things are very dire.
- The Greys: Or at least the closest equivalent in the Mass Effect setting.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Justified, since males vastly outnumber females, and due to Gender Rarity Value and simple statistics male salarians are far more likely to be casualties in combat.
- Motor Mouth: A few of them. At the very least they talk faster than most other species.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: One of their hats, apparently. Since salarians are hyper-active and have shorter lifespans, they think more for the short term (in contrast to the asari, who think so long-term that they sometimes seem complacent or wishy-washy).
- Case in point, the first few thousand years of galactic war were continuously their fault. They activated the relay which brought the rachni to the universe and started the Rachni Wars; they then uplifted the krogan to defeat the rachni; then they sterilized the krogan in order to stop the Krogan Rebellions. Mass Effect 3 then shows that they were planning to secretly uplift the yahg. There is absolutely no way that could possibly have ended well.
- See the running quote for Renegade Shepard's succinct view.
- Not So Different: The basis of salarian civilization; males compete for the right to sire progeny on females, and females barter breeding rights as the source of their authority. Doesn't that sound just like post-genophage krogan?
- Hell, as noted above, salarians are just as much Explosive Breeders as the krogan were before being infected with the genophage.
- Except they aren't nearly as hard to kill as the krogan and have much shorter lifespans even if they aren't as reckless as krogan.
- Overly-Long Name: Salarians always introduce themselves shorthand. A salarian's full name includes their personal name, family name, and the city, district, country, planet, star system, and star cluster of their birth.
- Photographic Memory: As well as bolstering their skill as spies, it helps them keep track of their enormous extended families.
- Planet of Hats: Salarians aren't very durable or long-lived, but they are expert at covert operations and intelligence gathering. They also tend to be strictly pragmatic and amoral. But Mordin and Maelon alone are perfect examples of how widely this can change and vary.
- The Spock: To the turian McCoy and asari Kirk.
- Stealth in Space: All salarian ships are equipped with the same stealth technology as the Normandy, even their dreadnoughts.
- Sticky Bomb: They manufacture a pistol for their special forces called the Scorpion that shoots blue sticky grenades. Salarian Infiltrators in multiplayer are also fond of them.
- Underestimating Badassery:
- Other species tend to do this. As Mordin points out, while the salarians aren't physically imposing as the other races, their sheer aptitude for stealth and subterfuge, combined with their reputation as "easily dismissable", means that no-one ever sees them coming.
Mordin: Advantage of being salarian. Turians, krogan, vorcha, all obvious threats. Never see me coming.
- It is also worth pointing out that the salarians were the ones who began the Citadel's Spectre program and formed its first operatives, with the structure of the Spectres being based on a looser pattern of the salarian STG. Those who underestimate the salarians clearly have no knowledge of Citadel history.
- Indeed, the Citadel Archives reveal that the first Spectre was a salarian operative, recruited from prison, due to using 30 civilians as live bait in order to flush out the assassin they were chasing.
- Weak, but Skilled: Salarians are hardly the strongest or toughest species out there. However, thanks to their accelerated metabolism, they can be quite quick in combat, described as "like a cat" by David Anderson who witnessed a salarian Spectre in a Bar Brawl. They extend this to strategic doctrine in warfare as well; the salarians will hit their enemy hard in the places they are most vulnerable before an opponent has an opportunity to respond because they have spent that much time and effort analyzing them first.
- We Are as Mayflies: With a lifespan of around 40 years, they are shortest-lived of the powerful species.
- The Worf Effect: The STG is said (and in the first game, shown) to be a Badass Army with some of the best technology and training in the galaxy, comparable to the Spectres (except they don't have to buy their own gear). However, by the time of Mass Effect 3, Cerberus manages to sneak onto Sur'Kesh undetected and surprise and stomp out an entire base of STG guards with only moderate casualties, with only Shepard being able to help repel them. Campbell even says that, due to Cerberus' technology, the salarians may as well have been throwing rocks.
- Worf Had The Flu: However, this is due to the salarian preference to end a war before their enemy even knows that it has begun. They were completely blindsided by the Reapers, meaning most of their traditional tactics didn't apply and they didn't expect Cerberus to suddenly get a major technological advantage due to being augmented by salvaged Reaper tech from the Collector Base.
- Also, the STG may be good... but they aren't frontline soldiers. The scene where they attack Saren's base on Virmire in ME1 was noted to be extremely unusual for them. Also, take into consideration that Cerberus has the schematics for the original Normandy SR-1 and the Normandy SR-2 which were highly advanced stealth vessels. It's not out of the question that such tech was used to sneak in.
....But if you want a problem fixed, ask a human.Homeworld:
The most recent species to enter the galactic scene. Humans are a bipedal race originated from Earth. They are the most culturally and genetically diverse of all of the species in the series. On Earth itself, humanity is still very much divided, with major powers including the The United North American States
, The People's Federation of China
, and the European Union
, but they all agree to project themselves as one faction to the galaxy through the Systems Alliance. They have advanced in galactic politics more quickly than other races, leading to a belief that humans are all impatient bullies. This advancement coupled with humanity's penchant for devising innovative ideas has led to humanity being considered to be something of a Wild Card
; they are going to change the galaxy, but no one is certain how so.
Humans are one of the races available for multiplayer, and are the only one with access to all the classes and a customizable gender. The Rebellion Pack DLC adds the Ex-Cerberus Vanguard and Adept
, and the Earth Pack adds N7 special forces characters for all of the classes, each with unique movesets and abilities. Additionally, the Reckoning Pack adds the Talon Mercenary Engineer
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Well, space aircraft carrier. The Alliance was the first known military in galactic history to deploy carriers. They quickly became popular among other races after their introduction.
- The Alliance: The Systems Alliance, of course.
- Ambition Is Evil: Invoked. Humanity's hat is hyper-ambition. A lot of the aliens you meet don't seem to appreciate the fact that they've been grabbing all the power on the galactic stage in the last forty years, when most other races take centuries to do so.
- Appeal To Tradition: DO NOT try this on humans. Humanity is unconcerned with how long you've been here, how many generations you've done this, or whose "turn" it is to get their due. All humanity cares about is: how can we get this done, or tell us who won't let us do it, so we can kick their ass.
- Arch-Enemy: With the batarians. The Hegemony and the Alliance have been engaged in a proxy war for years in the Skyllian Verge, with Alliance Marines facing off against batarian paramilitaries (like Balak's group), with various warlords and pirate bands being backed by both sides to fight the other. The batarian pirates who attacked Mindoir are an example of a Hegemony-backed band, whereas Lord Darius's gang is an example of an Alliance-backed band. Mass Effect 2 also reveals that the Hegemony is just itching for an excuse to start a war with humanity. As of the third game, this would have probably already happened after the destruction of one of their mass relays and the resultant death of over 300,000 batarians, if they weren't unfortunate enough to end up as the Reapers' first victims.
- Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Other races are quietly terrified that this might happen, given that the humans were able to gain the full attention of the turians, having never fought them before, with such a small percentage of humanity's population in the military. Many say that if the turians and humans ever got into a long war with each other, it would wreck a significant portion of the galaxy.
- Used as a Batman Gambit by Udina's predecessor, Ambassador Goyle, in the book Mass Effect: Revelation. When an illegal Alliance operation is uncovered, the Citadel Council prepares to sanction humanity back into the Stone Age. Realizing that this would doom humankind to a fate much like the quarians or the krogan (the entire species reduced to a punchline and unable to do anything significant in Council Space for hundreds—if not thousands of years), Goyle boldly states that if the Council does this, the Systems Alliance will declare war on all Citadel Space. She was aware that humanity wouldn't ever win such a suicidal war, but that if humanity devoted a lot of their resources towards militarization they could inflict enough damage on Council space that the Council just wouldn't see fighting them as worth it.
- This was also something humans were doing in ignorance during the First Contact War. They fought the turian forces deployed to Shanxi to a standstill and were gaining ground. However, the turian military was orders of magnitude bigger than humanity's (not that humans knew that at the time) and were preparing to route considerable reinforcements to the Shanxi theater when the Citadel Council intervened and prevented the war from escalating.
- Badass Army: The Alliance military is very small, both on the ground and in space, compared to the other Council races, but an emphasis on maneuver warfare, flexibility, and innovative tactics and technology enable them to match larger and more established militaries, like the Batarian Hegemony.
- Berserk Button: After an asari witnesses Shepard's angry reaction to "Indentured Servants" being sold on Illium, it's heavily implied that humans are well known for having a no-tolerance approach to slavery. Most races seem to be under the impression this is due to the batarian slave-raids on their colonies, apparently unaware that the majority of human history has given them strong reasons to hate slavery.
- Though this reaction could also be particularly understandable for Shepard if s/he has the right background.
- Bizarre Baby Boom: Biotic abilities in humans only began to manifest after several starship "accidents" in the 2150s accidentally exposed pregnant women to Element Zero in-utero. As such, most of the first generation of human biotics are only around 30 years old.
- Bullying a Dragon: The Batarian Hegemony's paramilitary attacks on the Alliance are seen as this by some, but in truth the higher military officials know that a war with the batarians is risky for both sides. More specifically, both sides know that humanity would almost definitely win, but it would be incredibly costly.
- Combat Pragmatist: The war doctrine of the Alliance is to quickly cut behind the enemy and destroy key installations, supply lines, and command centers. They're very big on offense; colonies only get token garrisons, but anyone who attacks will have the force of the galaxy's sixth largest navy coming down right on their heads.
- Likewise, their defense strategy boils down to having their Fleets positioned at key nexus points in the Relay Network, so should one of their colonies get attacked, The Cavalry will never be more than a jump or two away.
- Determinator: Lampshaded by the various races, that despite overwhelming odds, humans never give up. Turians are excessively disciplined and krogan are outright stubborn, but humans have an uncanny ability to pull off the impossible.
- The Empire: Subverted. Aliens fear this from the humans as a whole, but it never really gets as far as they think.
- Expanded States of America: The United States has been expanded and renamed the United North American States. It now also encompasses Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands.
- United Europe: It's mentioned that Europe is also politically active, apparently having become one Nation-State.
- Faceless Goons: The standard uniform in the Alliance includes a helmet that completely obscures the wearer's face. Justified in that all Alliance soldiers wear Power Armor and are expected to be able to fight in hostile environments.
- The Federation: Back on Earth, there's the United North American States and the European Union. There's also the Chinese People's Federation, but it's not clear if they really are a federation or just a People's Republic of Tyranny.
- Fantastic Rank System: The ranking system of the Systems Alliance differs slightly from any modern one. While the Marines are no longer independent of the Navy, they like to keep some of their own ranks out of tradition.
- Several ranks may look like real-world equivalents, but they really are not. For instance, Kaidan Alenko goes from "Staff Lieutenant", which in US military equivalent ranks would be O-3 (at most), second lowest of the six commissioned officer ranks. to "Major", which is O-4 in USA ranks. Except it isn't in Mass Effect: it's essentially what Colonel is today (O-6).
- Humanity Is Infectious: While there are naturally some exceptions, for the most part, humanity has easily adapted to the galactic scene, showing great enthusiasm and expressing a desire for a deeper role in galactic politics and in protecting it from threats.
- Humanity Is Superior: Averted early in the series, discussed in the middle, then thoroughly subverted at the end. Starting out, humanity is a middle power in Mass Effect; they impressively outclass several pre-established powers militarily, economically, and population-wise, such as the batarians and hanar. However, they aren't even in the same league as the other three Council races. After the first game, humanity becomes a lot more involved in interstellar politics and appears to be on their way to forming a human-centric regime. However, after Earth is attacked, humanity desperately has to seek allies from the other species, with most of the final war assets coming from those species.
- Humans Advance Swiftly: Humanity had access to mass effect technology for only seven years and only a few colonies before making disastrous first contact with the Turian Heirarchy. Despite this early misstep, they continued on to become a major political force in the galaxy and subsequently gained a seat on the Council, only 26 years from initial first contact. To put the extent of this achievement into perspective, it often takes centuries for most races to even reach a lesser status. This comparatively absurd advancement speed with little sign of slowing is part of the reason most races are quietly terrified of the potential of humanity.
- Humans Are Average:
- Physically, humans are the middle ground in almost every way compared to other species, which has proven to be an advantage of sorts. Thane's dossier reveals humans are generally easier to assassinate than asari or turians, and Grunt counts them as less hardy than quarians, which may or may not be because of the quarians' environment suits. In fact, in multiplayer, humans are the only species that can play any class.
- Mordin reveals in the second game that humans have the most genetic variability in the Galaxy, meaning it's nearly impossible to predict where they can fall on the the biological bell-curve, compared to those of other species. If it weren't highly unethical, this would make them wonderfully valuable as a test group for medical experiments.
Mordin: Biotic abilties, intelligence levels. Can look at random asari, krogan, make reasonable guess. Humans too variable to judge. Outliers in all species, of course. Geniuses, idiots. But human probability curve offers greater variability.
- Turns out, the Reapers agree.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: The most despicable and feared terrorist organization in the galaxy (Cerberus) and the largest N.G.O. Superpower criminal empire (Blue Suns) are both human organizations (though the Suns have some major batarian influence as well). It puts a bit of a drain on their reputation, especially since Cerberus was formerly an Alliance black ops organization.
- Humans Are Leaders: This is how they see themselves, anyway. And it's embodied by Ambassador Udina and the Illusive Man in the negative sense, and Admiral Hackett and David Anderson in the positive sense, and Commander Shepard can fall anywhere between them on the scale.
- Humans Are Special: Played straight early on, deconstructed later. In the context of the series, humanity did gain political power rather quick, but that's mostly due to Shepard being Shepard.
- Humans Are Warriors: Human military tactics are considered rather unpredictable by the standards of the other races. Pound-for-pound, humans rival the batarians in might, but lack the sheer brute force of the krogan, the discipline and power of the turian navy, the skill of the asari, or the savvy of the salarians. However, humans are unmatched in maneuverability, flexibility, VI and drone support, and individual initiative. Human tactics are focused around striking high-priority targets and supply lines rather than wars of attrition. In short, humans are well-known for achieving more with less.
- Humanity Is Insane: Most of the other races tend to have this view.
- Jack of All Stats: According to various comments from other races. They are also the only species able to use every class in the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.
- Actually averted on a grand scale. Humanity is not good at everything and terrible at nothing; there are some things that humanity is obviously terrible at when compared to other races (their economy is one of the weakest in Citadel Space, for example) and some things they are better at.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Depending on the ending in the first game. Despite being, for better or worse, an ambitious and warlike race, humans come to the rescue of the Citadel and prevent a return of the Reapers. Whether this means saving the entirely alien Council from the jaws of certain death and becoming a part of the wider community, or sacrificing them in favor of fighting Sovereign, is entirely up to Shepard.
- Mecha-Mooks: The codex says that the Alliance makes heavy use of drones to compensate for their lack of numbers compared to other species, ranging from flying tripod machine gun turrets to eight foot tall YMIR Mechs with a machine gun and rocket launcher combo to the anti-tank rocket drones to VI-piloted deep space fighters. In the various Alliance bases gone wrong that Shepard has to come to clean up, there are always huge amounts of mechs and drones there to defend it. In some cases, the mechs and drones are what killed everyone in the base.
- Moral Myopia: Some humans express outrage over the Council not intervening to help them, whereas, as Bethany points out in the third game, they would likely abandon Thessia if it were being invaded by the Reapers.
- Planet of Hats: When the galaxy was handing out hats, not only did humans knock it to the ground and stomp over it, they then fired a mass accelerator round at the hat shop to serve as an example. What makes humans special is that they refuse to be marginalized or held back in any way, and that scares the races and makes them question the hats they've been wearing for centuries or even millennia. But this, of course, means that humanity's "pseudo-hats" are ambition and defiance.
- Semper Fi: The Marines have completely replaced the army.
- Super Soldier: By our standards, every Alliance soldier is this. They wear power armor, have deflector shields, receive cybernetic implants and gene therapy, and carry automatic coil guns and rocket launchers, both of which have unlimited ammo. But in the galaxy of Mass Effect, this is just standard stuff.
- The Alliance has their own even-more-super soldiers in the case of the N7 classes. Not exceptionally skilled normal soldiers that become N7s, like Shepard or the base multiplayer characters, but the specialized ultra-elite units that are only playable in multiplayer. They include a biotic ninja who can explode things incredibly rapidly and teleport, an invisible cyborg with a monomolecular blade that can shoot lasers, a human tank equipped with very heavy Power Armor which includes a shoulder mounted missile launcher, a wrist mounted grenade launcher, and enhancements for whatever weapon he happens to be holding, and more.
- Tank Goodness: The Mako is called a tank by marines, despite technically being an Infantry Fighting Vehicle. But naming aside, it is a fine piece of work; a powerful cannon, a coaxial machine gun, great speed, powerful shields that recharge, room for an equipped fireteam, and it can be dropped from hundreds of meters in the air on to a planet. Plus, like all Mass Effect weaponry, it has effectively unlimited ammo.
- Unusual Euphemism: Relative to other races. Humans have a tendency to talk in a lot of slang, shorthand, as well as use metaphors. This leads to some Blunt Metaphors Trauma from fellow races like the turians, who are utterly perplexed by their manner of speaking and use of bizarre idioms.
Like shooting fish in a barrel! Garrus:
Old human saying! Like fish! In a! Barrel! Javik:
Though I do not understand why [Zaeed] keeps "damning" his god.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With the turians. There might be tension, but these two societies have more in common with each other than with the salarians or the asari. They even co-designed the Normandy with the turians. And when the Reapers hit, the turians are the first of any species to offer military aid to humanity.
- We Are as Mayflies: Humans in this setting are lucky to break one century, but can reasonably live for as long as a hundred and fifty years. The trope is played straight with asari and krogan, who both live to be over 1,000 years. It's averted with most other species, who have similar lifespans, and with the salarians, whose fast metabolisms gives them maximum lifespans of just 40 years. Even worse are the vorcha, who can count themselves lucky to see 20.
- Wild Card: Given the relative newness of humanity on the galactic stage, most races aren't really sure how to predict human behavior.
Citadel Associate/Client/Protectorate Races
Overpopulation left the drell planet polluted and starved of resources before the species had even developed fusion power. The hanar saved hundreds of thousands of them as their world died; in gratitude, many drell choose to serve the hanar in some fashion under "The Compact", becoming part of the Illuminated Primacy. Do not
compare this with slavery within drell earshot: "Anyone can refuse to serve. Few do. We owe our existence to the hanar. We are proud to repay the debt."
Unfortunately, the transition hasn't been seamless. The drell are built for a world where water is in short supply, but it rains every day on the hanar homeworld. Their lungs can't handle the moisture, and a terminal disease known as "Kepral's Syndrome" often occurs in late adulthood.
Drell are available for multiplayer, and can use the Adept
classes. Retaliation adds Assassin Infiltrators.
- Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: To the hanar.
- Child Soldiers: Thane recalls beginning his training as an assassin at age six and getting his first kill when he was twelve.
- Fragile Speedster: Relative to the other races. They're quick on their feet even without Charge and can use martial arts and acrobatics at short range, but their barriers are the weakest of any class, and they have the third lowest health behind the geth and volus.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: The male versions of the species were specifically designed to be the Spear Counterparts to the asari. We never see the females.
- Guttural Growler: We meet all of three drell (four including the multiplayer), all male, and they all have raspy voices.
- I Owe You My Life: The compact between the drell and hanar was formed after the hanar saved as many drell as possible from their dying homeworld.
- Kill 'em All: If Shepard fails to stop the indocrinated hanar in Mass Effect 3, the drell are most likely among those exterminated when the hanar homeworld Kahje falls to the Reapers, leaving both races extinct.
- Photographic Memory: Though they can't always control them. When they're concentrating, they're fine. But when idly recalling memories, they'll often get locked into PTSD-style flashbacks. Depending on the memory, it can be a good thing. Or a very not good thing. Like the day you met your wife. Or the day you got shot in the knee. Some also decide to abandon the present and live in the past.
- Servant Race: Willingly serve the hanar, though they certainly don't see it that way.
- Undying Loyalty: To the hanar.
- Walking the Earth: Many drell who do not choose to join in the Compact instead opt to wander around the galaxy, partaking in other cultures and species.
- We Are as Mayflies: Drell on Kajhe, given as much medical attention as the hanar can grant them, have an average life span of eighty years. For comparison, thanks to their own medical advances the average human, turian, batarian, or quarian life span in the Mass Effect universe is one hundred and fifty. However, this might be due to being ill-suited to the moist environment of Kahje, which commonly leads many drell to suffer Kepral's Syndrome. In a more arid environment, it's possible that their life expectancy is much longer.
The hanar, who refer to their government as the "Illuminated Primacy", live in the oceans and communicate through bio-luminescence, which makes adapting to galactic society more of a challenge for them. Other species mainly know them as "those excessively polite jellyfish who worship the Protheans." They also saved the drell from total extinction nearly a century pre-series.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Their hat is being excessively polite, and they can't even hold guns. So you wouldn't think they'd be dangerous combatants, right? Well, according to certified Badass Zaeed Massani, they can be deadly if they manage to get those tentacles around your throat. Furthermore, they're literally out of their element when dealing with most people since they're an aquatic race. On their homeworld, they're predators.
- Lampshaded In-Universe with the movie series "Blasto: the Hanar Spectre," itself an Ascended Meme from the BioWare fandom.
Blasto: This one doesn't have time for your solid waste excretions (opens fire).
- Addressed by Shepard, who is amazed to learn that the hanar often train drell to serve as their assassins.
Shepard: The hanar? Excessively polite, worship the Protheans? They don't seem like the type...
- In the "Citadel" DLC, we do get to see a hanar holding guns. For a movie, sure, but still.
- Combat Tentacles: Zaeed had to wear a neck brace after tangling with one.
- Elite Army: Sort of. They don't really have an army; just a bunch of special forces and assassins in the form of the drell. They are known to possess at least one fleet, but this fleet is small and weak compared to a turian, salarian, human, or asari fleet.
- It's revealed in the third game that their planet relies mostly on automated defenses.
- They can only move on ground through the use of special fields that hold them up. In their native oceans, however, they can apparently move with astonishing speed and agility.
- Kill 'em All: If you failed to save Kahje in the Hanar Diplomat side quest in Mass Effect 3, a news report will inform you that the planet quickly fell to the Reapers and they exterminated its entire population. Made worse when you realise that, due to their Undying Loyalty to the hanar, the drell living on Kahje most likely remained to fight alongside them, leading to their race becoming extinct as well.
- Thank the Maker: The Hanar worship the Protheans as Gods, whom they refer to as "The Enkindlers", believing they were the ones who gifted them with the gift of consciousness and speech. Possibly confirmed by Javik in 3, who notes they probably could have taught them to speak better.
- Third-Person Person: The hanar uniformly refer to themselves as "this one" when speaking with others unless (we are told) they're very close — or, as in the case of Regards the Works of the Enkindlers in Despair — they're being very rude.
The volus tend to be great businessmen and run many of the galaxy's wealthiest corporations. Their skin cannot withstand the types of atmospheres that other species live in, so when not on their worlds they wear exosuits which cover their entire bodies. Although the volus were the third species to discover the Citadel, their small military has led to them being denied a seat on the Council because they are unable to make the contributions to galactic security that are expected of the Council races. To compensate for their small military, the volus have become a client race of the Turian Hierarchy, officially dubbing themselves the "Vol Protectorate", lending their economic know-how to the turians in exchange for turian protection.
Retaliation makes them available for multiplayer and adds volus Adepts
, Mercenary Sentinels
, and Protector Vanguards
- Badass Adorable: Thanks to Retaliation. There's something hilarious about watching tiny mole-people kick ass alongside the rest of the galaxy. It's probably not as funny for their enemies.
- The Chew Toy: Mass Effect's designated go-to's for comic misfortune. They just look goofy; about half a human's height but easily twice the width, round enough to roll, with little slot-mouths, and some peculiarity of their suit-design ensures their faces have dangling artificial "jowls" that cause them to look perpetually comically glum. Their peculiar need to breathe in between words doesn't help any.
- The Clan: Their entire society descends from this type of culture. Their name for themselves is "Vol-Clan."
- They also refer to others in this fashion, notably calling the quarians "Clanless," implying that their understanding of Clan is tied to Homeworlds. Friendlier or more considerate volus call them Migrant-Clan or Star-Clan.
- Clingy Costume: Not only do they live in ammonia-heavy atmospheres, they also live in high-pressure environments. So without the suits, not only will they suffocate, they'll burst.
- Cool Starship: The volus navy has only one dreadnought. But as it turns out, they don't really need any more than that: said dreadnought is also one of the single most advanced warships in the galaxy, outfitted with a spinal Thanix cannon and armed with enough firepower to reduce a planet to ashes three times over. You can recover this dreadnought in Mass Effect 3 and add it to your war assets.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Quite a few of them. Their culture is primarily mercantile and they essentially created (and run) the Citadel economy, so they almost literally wrote the book.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: They view themselves as The Chew Toy of the galaxy, and with some reason. Despite being one of the first races to inhabit the Citadel thousands of years ago, they're extremely annoyed humans were given a Council seat in only three decades. With their physical weakness off-planet, being forced to wear pressure suits off their homeworld, and their Vader Breath Verbal Tic thanks to their rebreathers, they get treated like crap as well. This, despite being the main merchant class of the galaxy.
- In fact, when visiting the Council for the first time, a turian and salarian will be discussing the volus clinging to the coattails of the humans if they get a Council seat, and the salarian states the hanar and the elcor, in that order will be joining the Council before the volus do. Talk about Hilarious in Hindsight.
- Explosive Decompression: Justified; since the volus come from a very high-pressure world, exposure to atmospheres that other races find comfortable will cause them to burst like some species of Earth's deep-sea fish.
- The Faceless: By necessity. We have less idea what they look like than we do the quarians.
- Fantastic Racism: The volus descend from a clan-like culture, something they take very seriously. Due to the quarians being exiled from their world by the geth, some volus have taken to insulting refer to them as "Clan-less."
- Though more considerate volus have been seen to refer to them as "Migrant-Clan" or "Star-clan."
- Gadgeteer Genius: Their secondary hat. Perhaps the biggest conglomerate in the galaxy, Elkoss Combine, is volus-ownednote , and it specializes in reverse-engineered cheap alternatives to a vast variety of products. Two war assets you can acquire in Mass Effect 3 are a highly modular volus fabrication system and a team of Elkoss Combine engineers skilled at reverse-engineering things.
- Glass Cannon: They have some powerful abilities in multiplayer, but can't take that much damage (in fact, they have the lowest health). As such, their melee's are actually a Cloaking Device and an Instant Shield.
The elcor are natives of Dekuuna, a world with incredibly high gravity. As a result of living on a world where even falling down can be lethal, the elcor have developed a very patient culture. The elcor speak in monotones, but use scent and subtle facial cues to indicate the tone of what they are saying. Since other species cannot perceive these cues, elcor who frequently interact with other species are trained to prefix their speech with an emotive indicator.
The krogan originated on the Death World
of Tuchanka, which made them an extremely resilient — and violent — species. These traits have caused them to have a very troubled relationship with the other Council species; the physiology which makes them so difficult to kill (which includes, among other things, duplicate and even triplicate organs and redundant vital systems) made them crucial to ending the Rachni Wars, but once they were allowed to settle other planets, their population exploded and they began moving in aggressively on worlds already settled by other species, leading to the Krogan Rebellions and the introduction of the genophage
. Most krogan encountered around the galaxy are hired thugs of one brand or another.
Krogan are available for multiplayer, and can use the Sentinel
classes. The Resurgence pack adds Battlemaster Vanguard
, Retaliation adds Shaman Adepts
, and Reckoning adds Warlord Sentinels
- Alien Blood: Orange.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: A poster child for this Trope. According to Eve and Mordin, the krogan would have been a whole lot more peaceful had they been allowed to advance scientifically at their own pace, instead of being "uplifted" by the salarians to fight in a nasty war.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: They were strong enough to wage war on the rest of the galaxy 1,200 years ago, but that was back when they had an empire of hundreds of planets and fleets of dreadnoughts. Many krogan still seem to think that they are living in those days and that the only thing stopping them from conquering the galaxy is the genophage — not their disunity, or their lack of industrial capacity, or their lack of fleet, or them not having any territory other than a burnt-out husk of a planet that keeps trying to eat them. Mordin shows concern in his loyalty mission that if the genophage is cured, the krogan will try to get "revenge" on the Council and end up getting wiped out by the turians and humans for their trouble.
- Badass Army; Even with the genophage wrecking their numbers and their homeworld in a state of Fallout-style post-apocalyptic decay, the krogan are still able to field an army that makes the other species' contributions look meager. This is exemplified in the War Assets in 3: a unified krogan force under Wrex, with Eve keeping them under control, can contribute more to your ground assets than any other race, even the geth. They're also the only race that takes the "Army" in Badass Army completely literally. Unlike the humans or turians who have a Badass Space Navy, the krogan military is entirely based on ground troops, as their fleet was decommissioned at the end of the Krogan Rebellions.
- Badass Preacher: The krogan Shamans, who endure trials that most races would consider too brutal even for special forces training (or even more significantly, trials considered brutal even by krogan standards, simply because they must fully prepare themselves for their role as a guardian of their sacred traditions and rites. They are available as biotic specialists in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, and are the most robust out of all the adept-class characters.
- Berserker: This is what happens when a krogan enters "Blood Rage". They basically switch to a primitive, instinctual mindset driven to kill or destroy whatever's near them with little friend or foe recognition. It's explained that this is a result of their redundant biological systems — when a krogan's life is endangered enough that a secondary system becomes necessary, their body "reboots" itself for a moment and the rush of blood and adrenaline causes them to go berserk.
- The Clan: Like the volus, they have a tribal clan culture, though based less around barter and more around murder.
- Colony Drop: Abused this tactic frequently during the Krogan Rebellions. Particularly large asteroids even rendered several turian planets completely uninhabitable.
- Combat Pragmatist: When they started to lose the Krogan Rebellions, due to the superior navy fielded by the turians, they resorted to just throwing asteroids at turian colonies. Cheap, effective, and it didn't require anything more expensive than a bunch of pissed off krogan with fusion torches. Use of these as weapons were banned by the Council races, but the krogan didn't have a problem with it.
- Their weapons are very clearly designed for utility and brute power, fitting their culture. Their guns are heavy, ugly, blocky, crude, and have high recoil, but they will kill what they're pointed at in short order.
- Crazy-Prepared: The krogan created the Graal Spike Thrower as a shotgun specifically designed to hunt Thresher Maws, possessing blades that can cause massive internal damage should the wielder be swallowed alive. Only the krogan would design a shotgun entirely around the eventuality of being eaten alive and wanting to take your devourer down with you.
- Death World: They come from one.
- Dying Race: Unless someone turns the genophage around. In the third game, you can do just that, or only make the krogan think you did.
- Elite Mooks: Every krogan ever encountered who's not a boss.
- Enemy Civil War: Tuchanka is constantly locked in warfare between clans. Political borders on Tuchanka are determined solely by the range of a clan's artillery weapons and the strength of their defense cannons.
- Exotic Equipment: To quote Garrus:
Garrus: Some krogan believe that testicle transplants can improve their virility, counteract the genophage. It doesn't work, but that doesn't stop them from buying. Ten thousand credits each, that makes forty thousand for a full set. Someone's making a killing out there.
- Explosive Breeder: Part of their evolutionary response to Tuchanka. Once taken out of those conditions, their population exploded. Hence the genophage, which causes miscarriages and stillbirths in 99.9% of pregnancies.
- Extreme Omnivore: Krogan find just about anything appetizing, and can and will eat anything that has the slightest amount of nutrition. Regardless of whether or not it's stopped moving. Or if it can talk. Except ramen. They can even eat food that's only meant for turians and quarians, and all that'll do is give them diarrhea.
- Hell, even turian food, which is known to kill levo-amino-acid-based races, just gives them the runs.
- Fluffy Tamer: Much like the human domestication of wolves over time into dogs, the krogan have (mostly) tamed the varren found on Tuchanka. We see in the second game, they use them for pit-fighting and as guard dogs. Indeed, it's mentioned that the varren named Urz at the Urdnot camp is a former pit champion, yet, feed him and he will follow Shepard around like an overgrown puppy.
- Averted with Kalros. The krogan aren't stupid, they know to stay the hell away from "the mother of all Thresher Maws".
- Giant Mooks: Though they aren't technically much taller than a human or asari, and this height is from the humps on their backs — their heads are actually a good level lower than those of humans and asari, leading to many conversations where krogan look up to talk to other people, they are a lot bulkier.
- Godzilla Threshold: Moral and ethical questions aside, the krogan certainly pushed this during the Rebellions. Despite all the might of the turian empire, the krogan were actually winning the war before the genophage was used, having pushed the lines all the way to one of Palaven's moons.
- Conversely, the decision to cure the genophage in the aftermath of the Reaper invasion also qualifies. Nearly everyone (barring the salarian dalatrass) sees another future krogan expansion as an acceptable risk; being better to fight alongside them and die at their hands tomorrow, than fight without them and die today.
- HAD to Be Sharp: Well, they did evolve on a Death World. This explains their incredibly resilient biology, as well as the fact that every profession, from engineers to diplomats to scientists to shamans, go about their business with warrior and survivalist mindsets.
- One thing pointed out on the game's wiki is that krogan have eyes on the sides of their heads. Predator species (felines, canines, monkeys... humans) have forward-facing eyes for better focus and depth perception, which helps in the hunt - estimating distances to pounce and such. Prey species (bovines, equines, rodents, etc) have side-eyes, which sacrifices focus for much better peripheral vision so they can see any predators coming and flee. Let's repeat: krogan are Tuchanka's equivalent of rabbits. Well, when your planet's deadliest predators are massive acid-spitting Sand Worms... everything is prey.
- Hand Cannon: The only krogan pistol we see, the Executioner, only holds one shot per 'clip' but does more damage than most sniper rifles. Justified, because it's designed by krogan to kill other krogan.
- Healing Factor
- Immortality Begins at Twenty: They mature fast, and age very slowly. We don't even know what the natural krogan lifespan is, other than the fact that they can easily outlive asari. The only reason there aren't more ancient krogan around is that they tend to meet violent ends.
- Immortal Procreation Clause: Their complete disregard of this, coupled with their naturally aggressive natures, is what led to the Krogan Rebellions.
- In Love with Your Carnage: As a proud race of warriors, it should come as no surprise that various Krogan often express respect and admiration towards Shepard's prowess as a soldier and talent for raw destruction.
- Kill It with Fire: The best way to take down a krogan enemy in-game is with incendiary ammo or a fire based ability. It stops them from regenerating, and burns through the armor they're quite likely to have.
- Klingon Promotion: The preferred method, even among their scientists.
- Krogan Scientists Get No Respect: Aside from Warlord Okeer and Clan Urdnot's resident scientist, krogan scientists are actually so rare that most races doubt they exist, if they even consider krogan intelligent enough to have scientists at all. It's a peculiar self-enforced variant as well. The Urdnot scientist under Wrex complains endlessly that he's forced to waste his time on "things that don't explode" like agriculture, medicine, transport...
- The Clan Urdnot Mechanic says that he gets very little respect from people, even though at the end of the day somebody has to maintain all the guns.
- Lightning Bruiser: In the first game, almost all krogan enemies were this. In the second game, they lose the "lightning" part and quite a bit of the bruiser, becoming much slower and weaker. In the third game, the krogan multiplayer characters, especially the Battlemaster, play this straight again.
- Magic Knight: Krogan battlemasters have biotic abilities such as Warp and Barrier while still retaining the healing factor, durability, and brute strength of normal krogan.
- It's mentioned that biotic abilities amongst krogan were somewhat rare even before the genophage. Any krogan you encounter who has biotic power (such as Wrex) is most likely over a thousand years old, making them a particularly Elite Mook.
- Nail 'Em: One of their shotguns, the Graal Spike Thrower, shoots spikes that cause bleed damage and decapitate people with headshots.
- One-Man Army: Any krogan warrior is dangerous, but krogan battlemasters in particular are, alongside asari commandos, arguably the deadliest fighters in the entire galaxy... with the exception of Shepard. The two times you hear about a fight between an asari commando and a krogan battlemaster, one ended in a drawnote and the other killed both.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Pretty much fit squarely within the Blizzard Orc mold in everything but appearance.
- Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Krogan weapons are all very boxy. Most notably the Claymore shotgun, which looks like a brick with a trigger.
- Planet of Hats: Due to living on a Death World, the krogan have grown to be proud Social Darwinists. Unfortunately, this also gave them the circular logic of thinking that anything that's destroyed/killed must have been weak, or else it wouldn't have been destroyed. Along with their extremely tough physiques, this callous attitude towards violence and death made them perfect shock troops against the rachni, but served them badly in relation to the rest of the galaxy. They've spent thousands of years paying the price for it, and Wrex and/or Eve are the only ones who seek to change it.
- It also contributed greatly to their fall. After their defeat in the Krogan Rebellions, they began subconsciously seeing themselves as weak, and so made no effort to build themselves back up until a few influential krogan snapped them out of it.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Deconstructed Trope. The krogan are all afflicted with a Sterility Plague, but their culture hasn't adapted; rather than work to overcome the genophage and preserve krogan lives, they just keep hiring themselves out as mercenaries and engaging in civil wars. Thusly, they are slowly but surely dying out.
- The krogan built devices known as "Maw Hammers" whose entire purpose is to summon thresher maws. Let me repeat that to make it clear: they built devices to summon thresher maws so they could fight them.
- Moreso, surviving against a thresher maw is part of their adulthood rite. If they actually manage to kill it, they are considered highly skilled. Mind you, the rite of adulthood is surviving the thresher maw attack. No one has actually killed one in a rite ever since Wrex had his rite, and that was just a little less than a thousand years ago (at least until Grunt did with Shepard as his battlemaster).
- Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": Several krogan characters can be heard laughing gleefully as they kill an enemy. Krogan Player Characters in multiplayer are no exception.
- The Reptilians
- Ragnarok-Proofing: Their architecture is built with this in mind. Justified as it's mentioned that the reason why hospitals on Tuchanka are built like bunkers is because of the tendency of injured krogan to enter Blood Rage, which makes them literally destroy anything in their path.
- Shepard and team encounter ancient temples and underground tunnels in 3 which have remained remarkably well preserved for nearly a thousand years or more. Most party members are naturally quite taken aback about how impressive the ancient krogan's engineering prowess was.
- Clan Urdnot's base of operations seems to be an old nuclear missile silo. It's remarkably well-preserved considering that the nuclear war that nearly wiped out the krogan occurred over 2000 years ago! And given all of the various rubble strewn around, one seriously doubts that anyone has been maintaining it for this long either.
- Rite of Passage: In order to determine their worthiness to a clan, all krogan must undergo a trial when they reach adulthood. Clan Urdnot's rite, at least, involves killing things. Lots of things. And then surviving five minutes of a thresher maw spitting acid at you (unless you're so badass you actually kill it).
- Shotguns Are Just Better: They certainly seem to think so. If you encounter a krogan enemy, there is a 95% chance that it is wielding a shotgun.
- Fridge Brilliance when you realize that because their eyes are set wide like on a prey animal, they lack the ability to focus over long distances, which makes shotguns, with their short range effectiveness, the most practical weapons of choice for them.
- Plus they are tough enough to just charge straight into the thick of things, and they are just as likely to punch/headbutt enemies.
- Smarter Than You Look: Self-destructive tendencies aside, the majority of the krogan run into in the series come off as just as intelligent as — sometimes even more so than — any other species in the galaxy, despite being stereotyped as brutes with less than average intelligence.
- Spare Body Parts: They have two, three or four of damn near everything important (that includes nervous systems and testicles), which is what makes them so hard to kill. Wrex makes an offhand comment about how great a redundant nervous system is when told how Shepard got spaced, only to be told humans don't have them.
Wrex: Oh. That must have been painful, then.
- Stay in the Kitchen: A somewhat complicated case. Female krogan are not warriors. They have to breed if they're fertile; if they aren't, they're Cannon Fodder. Some clans even share their females. But unlike other examples, this is not because of misogyny as such. Thanks to the genophage, a fertile female is the most valuable resource of the krogan, followed only by a healthy baby krogan, and the krogan would much rather see a thousand males dead than one fertile female risked in battle. In fact, it's implied in 3 that the krogan society was a matriarchy instead of a patriarchy before the genophage reduced them near extinction; and there are one or two mentions of Shiagur, a female Battlemaster who parleyed her fertility into an enormous, ferociously loyal army of children and lovers under her command, and pursued a very successful career in piracy. Upon her death at the hands of a turian, krogan all over the galaxy swore blood oaths against the crews involved. Several thousand of those turians died in open combat or assassination in the name of Shiagur.
- Tank Goodness: You see krogan vehicles are all over Tuchanka. One in particular, the Tomkah, is a huge IFV that's referred to as a tank. It makes the Mako look puny in comparison, probably because it's meant to carry krogan. Note that just because it's heavily armed and armoured, this doesn't mean it's any more durable against an attack by Thresher Maws. If anything, it's a great supplement of iron for their diet.
- The use of tanks is somewhat understandable, since Tuchanka is populated by constantly warring tribes who like to mark their borders by the range of their guns, has undergone several nuclear wars and plagued by burrowing thresher maws. Their roads clearly aren't going to be well-maintained. It's likely most of the roads are millennia old and likely only see a road-crew to patch the worst of the damage, once every few centuries.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Krogan weapons tend to be this when used on other species, like humans, because they were designed to kill other krogan. For example, there's the Striker, an automatic krogan assault rifle that shoots explosive shells.
- Turtle Power: To continue the animal theme (turians are birds, salarians are frogs), krogan resemble bipedal tortoises.
- True Companions:
- Undying Loyalty: To humanity, and Shepard in particular, if Shepard chooses to cure the genophage in 3. Wrex vows that Shepard's name will now mean "Hero" in their language and expresses near the end of the game, that since Earth is basically ruined, that the krogan would willingly offer space on Tuchanka for refugees. This is particularly telling since as Explosive Breeders, the krogan are going to be hard pressed for space as it is! They also give the largest amount of military forces in the game outside of the Alliance.
- Use Your Head:
- How krogan show dominance. It is also their melee attack in multiplayer. It's not uncommon to see krogan players headbutting each other between waves.
- Also justified. The krogan have large chitinous plates on their heads to absorb impact. These start out as lots of separate little plates on krogan youth, which expand and calcify into one large rigid plate after the krogan becomes an adult. It's also said that losing the plate is the one thing krogans truly fear above all else.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Can become this with the turians in the third game under the right conditions, but these include curing the genophage.
- Warrior Poet:
- Krogan Shamans, who command a lot of respect for being the ones who keep their spirituality and traditions alive.
- The krogan ruins encountered in the third game show that the krogan were once artistic. Their works are blocky, but highly coloured and indicative of a strong aesthetic sense, reminiscent of ancient Egyptian art.
- Blue Rose of Illium
- Zerg Rush: Traditional krogan tactics were built on attritional mass-unit warfare - foot-soldiers equipped with cheap, rugged gear to overwhelm the enemy with sheer numbers.
The keepers are an insectoid race that inhabit the Citadel. They do not acknowledge the other species and all they do is maintain the Citadel, which they seem to understand better than anyone else who lives there. It is generally believed that the Protheans created them, but no-one knows how they sustain themselves or where they even get the materials for their repairs.
- Alien Blood: When one is shot dead by Saren, a black liquid can be seen oozing from its body.
- Beneath Notice: Absolutely nothing is known about them, but, like the Mass Relays themselves, they're so useful no one seriously questions their origins.
- Demoted to Extra: Barely appear in the second and third games.
- Dissonant Serenity: They ignore everything around them and only focus on keeping the station running. In the third game, one of them continues going about its job while surrounded by mangled up human bodies.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: What makes them really effective plot-wise is that the player is trained just like the rest of the galaxy to forget all about them. They appear in only one time-consuming sidequest and are little more than background. It makes The Reveal so much more personal: you, the player, were just as fooled as everyone else.
- Infinite Supplies: No-one is quite sure how they are about to scrounge materials for maintenance of the Citadel. However, it's common knowledge that the Keepers will recycle any dead bodies left lying around into the station's protein vats, the source of most of the food on the Citadel. Bon appetit.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: Attempts to examine them too closely will cause them to vaporize themselves. This is to prevent anyone from discovering their true nature. One salarian manages to build a scanner that can examine them without triggering the mechanism, and he more or less deduces their origin — long after Shepard found out the hard way, of course.
- Shmuck Bait: Their entire purpose. They were designed to look friendly and benign and help other organic species feel right at home on the Citadel without taking the time to study it or learn how it works. All so the Reapers could use the Citadel to invade when the harvest began.
- Slave Race: Hinted at. Their origins are never made clear, but there's in-universe speculation they went through the same process as the Collectors.
- Spanner in the Works: Over time, they eventually stopped responding to the Reapers and responded only to the Citadel. Once the Prothean scientists on Ilos woke up, they sabotaged the Citadel so that it wouldn't respond to the Reaper sentinel left behind (Sovereign), giving the current cycle a slim fighting chance that probably no cycle before had... thus preventing the Keepers from turning the Citadel into the Reaper Front Door.
The quarians were a former associate-level member of the Citadel, until their AI servants, the geth, overthrew them when the quarians attempted to exterminate them following the realization they were gaining true sentience. With all their worlds taken from them, the quarians were left homeless, with the surviving population living aboard the traveling Migrant Fleet. Life on the flotilla has taken its toll on them; the sterile environment has caused their already-finicky immune systems to atrophy, rendering them almost entirely trapped within their environmental suits.
the Migrant Fleet is not part of the Citadel, they still have to abide by Citadel laws while in Citadel space, which is why they stay out of Citadel territory if possible. Historically, the Citadel in general and the Council in particular have sided against the Migrant Fleet in legal matters, which has not improved relations much.
Quarians are available for multiplayer, and can use the Engineer
classes. The Rebellion Pack adds male quarians (with entirely different movesets) for the same classes, while Retaliation adds a (Male) Marksman Soldier.
- Alien Blood: Averted (it's red)
- Alien Hair: The only alien species, in fact, to apparently have hair.
- Badass Army: The quarian fleet is the largest in the galaxy and has surprisingly advanced weaponry (though not advanced armor). In the third game, it's even stated that they could give the turian fleet a run for their money. They end up providing potentially the largest Fleet asset contribution (either they or the geth, depending on what your decision in the Heretic Base in the previous game was) of any species and the third highest assets overall, behind the krogan and humans, assuming you destroyed the heretics at least.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Quarian immune systems have always been weak, because they evolved to assimilate and co-opt foreign microbes rather than to fight them off as in other species.
- Bizarre Baby Boom: Inverted. Ever since they were forced to live in environment suits, the number of quarian biotics has become incredibly rare. Any accident that could lead to a suit rupture and expose a child to Element Zero in-utero would likely kill the mother from infection, long before they could ever come to term.
- Bubble Boy: They have to stay in their environmental suits at all times or risk getting very sick. In fact, Shala'Raan actually mentions that quarian children do indeed spend the first few years of their lives in bubbles, before they receive their first environment suit.
- Cincinnatus: The Migrant Fleet technically exists under a state of emergency martial law (as it has been for centuries) but in practice most decisions are handled by an elected civilian council, both on the level of individual ships and on the level of entire sectors of the fleet in a federal-type government known as the Conclave. However, the Admiralty can invoke a deliberate override of anything the Conclave chooses as an exercise of emergency powers, but are required to resign from their positions immediately after the emergency has passed, or face arrest and prosecution if they refuse to do so. This helps keep the otherwise unrestricted exercise of power in check. So far, the Admiralty override has only been invoked four times in the three centuries of the fleet's existence.
- Clingy Costume: Oh good God, is this justified.
- Cyborg: According to Harbinger, but it is unknown to what extent.
- The Engineer: All quarians are skilled mechanics. You'd be too if you spent your entire life on a salvaged starship where neglecting maintenance could potentially kill you and everyone you know.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Thanks to a combination of their immune systems and general biology, everything made of levo-protein will trigger potentially severe allergic reactions. And anything dextro can make them extremely sick if not prepared properly.
- The Faceless: Until the third game.
- Fantastic Racism: By many people in the galaxy towards them, and by some quarians towards the geth.
- Fighting For A Homeworld: What this means to the quarians varies from person to person. Most want to actually go back to Rannoch, but they'd be satisfied with a planet to at least have a temporary settlement on. Which the Council keeps denying them.
- The quest for their homeworld is fueled by it being far harder for them to adapt to a new planet than to re-adapt to Rannoch.
- Gas Mask Mooks: Every quarian combatant is technically this, including squadmate Tali'Zorah. Also subverted since they're good guys and there are several named ones with distinct personalities.
- Gender Is No Object: The only species besides humans to give both genders equal face time. The challenges of Fleet life make sexism a luxury they can't afford.
- Until the turian female classes were introduced, they were also the only non-human species that can be played as both genders in multiplayer.
- Generation Ships: The Flotilla has been voyaging the stars without a port for over three hundred years, having departed Rannoch in Earth year 1895 CE.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Apparently their appearance underneath their environment suits. Javik mentions that even in his Cycle, the ancient quarians were seen as attractive by most species. If Tali is romanced by a male Shepard, you are given a picture of her as proof]].
- Hartman Hips: The females have them. As a Spear Counterpart, the men all have an exaggerated coat hanger physique.
- Humanoid Aliens: Although they're bipedal, stand upright and use two appendages like all other species. Under their masks (Or at least Tali's), they have human-like hair, finger nails, and even tan skin. About the only known discernible cosmetic differences are their cybernetic implants, three-fingered hands, strange necks, and glowing eyes.
- Ill Girl: The entire species. Their immune systems are incredibly weak; even a small breach to their environmental suit can cause serious illness and major suit damage (or removal without large amounts of preparation) can very easily cause their death.
- In Mass Effect 2, it is explained that, unless the germs are from turians (since they share a similar biology), they cannot get sick by other races' germs. What they suffer is actually an allergic reaction to those germs, not sickness. Given enough long-term exposure to build up an immunity, their systems can adapt to practically anything.
- If a male Shepard romances Tali, she mentions in the third game that her immune system has adapted to them enough that she barely gets a reaction anymore, despite being out of her suit.
- Due to having their immune systems stunted by being on the Flotilla for three centuries, it's mentioned that even if they retook Rannoch, it would take their people over a generation to be able to walk on their own homeworld without their environment suits. Subverted if you make peace with the geth and choose either the Synthesis or Control endings. The geth upload to the quarians' suits to mimic various diseases and illnesses, without actually getting them sick. As a result, the quarians will be able to adapt within months or years, rather than decades.
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Tali mentions that quarians don't like the silence, finding vessels with quiet engines, such as the Normandy to be rather unnerving. This is because on the Flotilla, most of the ships are salvaged and can be up to a few centuries old, so the crew is constantly surrounded by the noise of old engines, life-support systems, gravity drives, etc. For a ship to be quiet means that something, somewhere, has broken down and is about to go horribly wrong.
- Lightning Gun: Their contributions to the Reaper War include a selection of anti-synthetic weapons designed by Admiral Xen, namely the Arc Pistol, Reegar Carbine, and Adas Anti-Synthetic Rifle. They're also very effective against organics.
- Made of Iron: Quite surprisingly. It's mentioned by Grunt at one point that humans, salarians and turians are all physically rather frail in comparison to the krogan. Quarians on the other hand, are actually tougher.
- Also, Mass Effect 3 reveals that the Widow was originally a quarian weapon. You know, the Widow, the gun that has such powerful recoil that a human would break their arms trying to use it. It makes sense, by extension, that in the second game, the only other squadmate that can wield the weapon is Legion, a geth.
- Though any hole in their suit poses a high possibility of catching a deadly (to them) infection. They have antibiotics and other things to compensate for that, so the chance of one dying from a single hit is actually incredibly low.
- Mirror Chemistry: The other "dextro" species besides turians.
- Multicultural Alien Fleet: Despite being the smallest and most confined species introduced so far (with a few exceptionsnote ), the quarians also have the greatest cultural diversity (traditions, accents, etc.).
- Never Live It Down: In-Universe, everyone calls them out on creating the geth.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Their decision to wipe out the geth led to them losing their homeworld. Their decision to attack the geth again in Mass Effect 3 ends up doing critical damage to both one of the most powerful Reaper-opposed military forces in the galaxy as well as damaging their own fleet heavily, weakening both sides and depleting resources that they seriously needed for the greater war.
- Properly Paranoid: The quarians are extremely defensive of the civilian fleet and the liveships; if they can't determine the nature of an incoming ship, they will hit it with everything available.
- Racial Remnant: The quarians believe very strongly in maintaining their culture from before the war.
- Red Shirt Army: The quarian marines (excepting Mauve Shirt Kal'Reegar and squadmate Tali'Zorah) don't seem to fare too well against a good Zerg Rush of geth, mechs, or varren.
- Justified and brought up by Shepard. Their weak immune systems mean that it is nearly impossible for them to participate in a long, drawn-out, ground engagement. Even a minor wound could end up being fatal. Therefore, they don't have as much preparation for them. When combat seems unavoidable the quarians tend to just bomb everything from orbit and then send in a few squads of marines to mop up anything the bombardment did not get. They also lack ground vehicles and are very few in number, so any kind of occupation, even of a single large city, is out of the question.
- Averted in Multiplayer, largely due to Gameplay and Story Segregation. It's possible to solo a Platinum runthrough with a quarian.
- Rite of Passage: The Pilgrimage. When a quarian comes of age, they leave the Flotilla to try and find something of value to the fleet. When they return, they are considered adults and can choose the ship they want to be part of.
- Robot War: They tried to shut the geth down before they could start one... and got exactly what they were trying to prevent. Whoops.
- Short Range Shotgun: The Reegar Carbine (which is classified as a shotgun) essentially creates a cone of death five feet in front of you but is useless past that range.
- Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: The Migrant Fleet is the largest fleet in the entire galaxy, comprising of 300-year-old quarian vessels that escaped the Geth Uprising, as well as vessels they've salvaged or purchased from alien species.
- Talking Lightbulb: The lights on their mouthplates.
- Terminally Dependent Society: Most of their food comes from a few agricultural liveships at the heart of the Flotilla. The quarians are very paranoid about their well-being, to the point that they're armed with dreadnought-class weapons.
- Terrified of Germs: Because their immune systems evolved to assimilate foreign microbes, not resist them. To the point where they have to wear their environmental suits on their own ships.
- Veganopia: Averted, in that the quarians keep to a largely vegan diet, not because of any moral qualms, but out of pragmatism. To keep the Migrant Fleet self-sufficiently fed, food production needs to be as space- and resource-efficient as possible, and thus it is almost exclusively done via high density hydroponics. However, quarians are perfectly willing to eat meat if they can find some that they can digest, often trading for it when the Migrant Fleet passes by turian worlds with meat produce to spare. Some quarians are known to binge on this meat when they get it, usually contracting some mild germs in the process. Like a hangover in humans, this is considered by the quarians to be the price one pays the next day for an evening of over-indulgence.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: See Robot War.
A species whose formal political entity, the Batarian Hegemony, has separated from the Citadel Council due to perceived favoritism toward humanity during territorial disputes. Their society is caste-based (including slaves), and the Hegemony is also known to condone and support illicit terrorist activities against Citadel and other states, particularly the Alliance.
The Resurgence Pack makes batarian Sentinels
available for multiplayer, Retaliation adds Slasher Adepts and Brawler Vanguards.
- Alien Blood: Averted; they have red blood, identical to that of humans.
- Always Chaotic Evil: There aren't many who like them, to put it mildly, and the Hegemony does nothing to dispel this notion. Batarian slavers/pirates/spy rings come up more often than those of any other species, with only a handful of vaguely sympathetic ones on Omega. It takes the refugee influx due to the Reaper invasion for Shepard to meet ordinary civilians.
- It's explained in the second and third game that part of the reason they are so hostile to humans is because their government repeatedly instills it upon them in propaganda that Humans Are Bastards and to blame for every problem they've had since their withdrawal from the Galactic community. If Paragon Shepard interacts with some batarians on Omega, one of them will comment that he didn't know that such a thing as "human nobility" existed.
- Blatant Lies: Read the planet description for their homeworld in the third game. According to the government, it has a population of twelve billion (making it the most populated planet in the galaxy), a flourishing art industry, and an economy to rival the Asari Republics.
- Butt Monkey: They live under an oppressive regime, their decision to sever ties with the Council has supposedly led to a poor economy, a disproportionate number of Renegade choices involve killing them, in the Arrival DLC, Shepard is forced to destroy a system of 300,000 batarians to delay the Reaper invasion and the Hegemony was the first casualty of the Reaper invasion. Even joining in the fight against the Reapers hasn't helped their reputation. As seen here Alliance soldiers don't warn batarian allies of ambushes by Banshees and conveniently "forget" that medi-gel works on them. When informed of this, one Alliance lieutenant thanked them for the reminder, and said they would provide injured batarians any needed medi-gel, right after they finish using it on injured soldiers of other species, including the robotic geth.
- This◊ little tidbit is rather telling, too.
- Enemy Mine: With humanity in the third game.
- The Empire
- Extra Eyes: Batarians have four eyes, one pair where a human would have theirs, and a slightly smaller pair higher up on the forehead. This makes it difficult for other species to know where to look when talking to them.
- Fantasy Axis of Evil: Humanoid.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: They have more than a few similarities to North Korea and the worst aspects of Red China.
- Fluffy Tamer: Much like the krogan, they seem to have domesticated varren. Unlike the krogan, however, their varren appear much more feral.
- Hegemonic Empire: You'll notice that there are a ton of criminal groups are either backed or led by batarians, from mercenary bands like the Blue Suns to random pirate crews and slave traders. This is apparently their way of trying to take control of the Terminus Systems while still maintaining plausible deniability, though they aren't above simply sending their own soldiers to do the dirty work, like Balak's forces.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The batarians stole the Leviathan of Dis, resulting in the bulk of their higherups being indoctrinated years before the Reapers finally show up, which means their entire leadership basically gives in without a fight.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much:
- You can meet individual batarians who can be reasoned with on Omega in Mass Effect 2. Sure they're trying to kill you before you talk them down, but that's more due to panic and paranoia, since their government repeatedly instills upon them that Humans Are the Real Monsters. It does not help that the plague does not affect humans, making it plausible that they started it in the first place. Should a Paragon Shepard save the life of dying batarian and later keeps their word that they will let a group of batarians go, even after they took Mordin's assistant hostage, the batarians remark that they didn't know humans were capable of mercy and understood the concept of honour.
- In Mass Effect 3, the fall of the Hegemony has led to non-criminal batarians fleeing their worlds en-masse. It turns out that without the Hegemony looking over their shoulder, they actually aren't that different from other species. In fact, it's implied that they are actually an incredibly spiritual people.
- They're not just spiritual, a few of them are also willing to help humanity. While travelling on the Citadel, you can see one batarian consoling a grieving human female, another making friends with a very talkative French human male, and a third, Bray, Aria's lieutenant, outright tells Shepard that there's at least one batarian who doesn't want them dead.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Leviathan of Dis was a Reaper corpse. If the batarians hadn't stolen it, the Council would have had actual evidence of the Reapers and Shepard could have goaded them into actually preparing for the invasion after Sovereign was destroyed.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: On the other hand, the Leviathan was able to indoctrinate basically all of the Hegemony's leadership caste, so, by stealing it, they unintentionally prevented the Reapers from arriving to a galactic Council already indoctrinated to their will.
- Not So Different: When the non-criminal batarians are forced to flee their homeworld en masse due to the Reaper invasion, they come in contact with humans. As it turns out, the majority of batarians really aren't that bad, and are very similar to any of the other species, even implied to be an incredibly spiritual people.
- Power Fist: The "enforcement gauntlet" used as the batarian omni-blade.
- The Remnant: The remains of the batarian military will gladly join Shepard's side in Mass Effect 3 if s/he convinces their acting leader to join the Citadel.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Imagine a human with yellow skin, needle-like fangs in their mouth, ridged foreheads, prominent diagonal "strut-like" designs on either side of their mouth, four sets of nostrils, and four eyes. That's basically the design of the batarians.
- Retcon: Before Bring Down the Sky is downloaded, their codex entry in the first game shows them looking more like four-eyed salarians.
- Spikes of Doom: In the multiplayer for the third game, two of the batarians' special combat skills are Blade Armour and Ballistic Blades.
The vorcha are a short-lived (they're lucky to live to 20
) species with the ability to adapt to any condition or climate at least once in their lives. Disorganized and frequently savage - vorcha who grow up in violent situations inevitably adapt to violence themselves - the stereotypical vorcha is a brute whose only skills are taking life. Most people consider them to be little more than talking vermin and they are usually only seen as cannon fodder for mercenary groups such as the Blood Pack.
The Rebellion Pack makes vorcha Sentinels
available for multiplayer. Retaliation adds the Hunter Engineer.
- Adaptive Ability: The Vorcha possess non-differentiated cell clusters allowing them to adapt to new environments quickly.
- Alien Blood: Averted (they have red blood).
- Asskicking Equals Authority:
- Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted. The majority of vorcha encountered prior to Mass Effect 3 are enemies (almost all of vorcha enemies worked for the Blood Pack, but there was also a semi-independent group on Omega that worked for the Collectors). While a product of their biology, this is as much cultural as genetic - vorcha tribal cultures communicate through violence and a primitive hierarchical pecking order, which adapts each generation to thrive within these conditions and leaves them ill-suited for much other than scavenging or mercenary work. Literally every other species in the galaxy looks down upon them; even the quarians (themselves frequently the victims of Fantastic Racism) will very deliberately differentiate themselves from vorcha, or use racist expressions. However, many vorcha lead relatively peaceful lives; a vorcha "socialized" from a young age can be a well-balanced, contributing member of society, as one asari charity discovered. Unfortunately, these projects are imperialistic, and the most noteworthy time asari and vorcha collaborated on a joint-effort colony, population expansion ultimately sabotaged the educational programs of successive generations and the planet fell into chaos.
- Once the Reaper War begins, vorcha take up arms to defend the galaxy like anyone else, as shown in certain war assets and their playable multiplayer characters, and several groups of vorcha, most notably the Void Devils fighter squadron, play celebrated roles in its defense and the Crucible project. You can overhear a friendly conversation between a poorly-spoken but intelligent vorcha and an Alliance Infiltrator who are getting on quite well.
- The planet description for their home world also mentions that the Reapers showed up and started orbital bombardment on their cities and cut off their water supply. The vorcha proceeded to not give a shit, promptly ignoring the burning cities and adapting their bodies to get moisture from food.
- At least one is even an actor in a film! You hear audio snippets of him, and it's possible you get to meet him or a different actor in the Citadel DLC (on the one hand, his character dies in the previous movie, on the other, the production values of Blasto are laughably bad).
- Mordin mentions "asari-vorcha children have an allergy to dairy". Asari-vorcha offspring.
- According to Kaidan, the vorcha have their own mafia.
- Beneath Suspicion: A group of vorcha on Omega abuse this in 2, in order to pin the plague on Omega as an attack by humans, playing on everyone's belief that the vorcha simply aren't intelligent enough to pull off that kind of espionage. Part of it is true, since no one believes the vorcha could even make such a virus. They didn't consider the possibility of them contracting out.
- Cannon Fodder: Treated this way by the Blood Pack's krogan leaders.
- On Tuchanka in 2 there's a chief scout who talks about the Blood Pack, and how every member of it is part of one of the krogan clans. If the vorcha members are pointed out, he says the vorcha are like the varren, except they can use guns and don't crap on the floor as often.
- Explosive Breeder: Another trait that they definitely share with the krogan.
- Fantasy Axis of Evil: Savage. Kind of like the krogan: very brutal, expendable, ugly, and resilient, but they take less bullets to put down, lack the krogan's long lifespans, and aren't seen as very bright.
- Fantastic Racism: Most people consider vorcha little more than vermin. They do little to help their own image.
- Healing Factor: They can adapt to almost anything, and heal themselves mid-battle.
- Kill It with Fire: The Blood Pack vorcha troops in Mass Effect 2 are the ones who use the heavy weapons, namely rocket launchers and flamethrowers. In Mass Effect 3's multiplayer, the vorcha commandos use omni-tool mounted flamethrowers that are extremely effective at short range.
- Also one of the best ways to kill them, as incendiary attacks disable their regeneration.
- Mooks: Most of the vorcha encountered in the series are Blood Pack mooks. Ironically, by the time of the third game, the vorcha brought in as enslaved troopers have largely taken over the Blood Pack, since the krogan have been returning to Tuchanka in droves.
- Mordor: Their homeworld, Heshtok, whose hellish environment played a large part in the vorcha evolving their natural adaptability.
- Their homeworld is described by an Alliance official like this: "You can make your own Heshtok in two steps: take hell, then add vorcha."
- No Indoor Voice: Vorcha tend to scream at the top of their voice rather than simply speak.
- Ultimate Life Form: Amusingly, the Vorcha actually fall under this category, as because of their natural ability to perfectly adapt to new environments within a single generation, their species hasn't had to evolve at all in millions of years.
- We Are as Mayflies: Twenty-year lifespans. It's mentioned in Leviathan that "socialized" young vorcha can become very skilled, adept employees, but their lifespans are so short that companies don't find the investment that appealing. On one planet a burgeoning vorcha civilization was overthrown from within because the birthrate outstripped the speed the new generations could be educated.
- Wolverine Claws: How they use omni-blades in multiplayer.
- World of Ham: Presuambly the vorcha home world, given how all of the vorcha encountered so far have silly high pitched voices, speak in a grammatically incorrect way (even the intelligent ones), and can't seem to stop screaming.
- You No Take Candle: How they tend to speak. This is more a product of their outcast status and upbringing than innate stupidity; some vorcha can be as well-spoken as any other species, i.e. Grell, the vorcha who takes over the Blood Pack in ME3. Nonetheless, most people assume it's a product of stupidity, though all the vorcha Shepard talks to understand what is being said to them, and some can be reasoned with.
The rachni were an insectoid race who attempted to invade Council Space approximately 2,000 years before the start of the series. They were defeated only when the salarians recruited the krogan, who proceeded to hunt the rachni into extinction. In Mass Effect 1
, Shepard discovers an attempt to bring the rachni out of extinction.
- Alien Blood: Bright green.
- Bee People
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The Rachni War was prompted by a "sour note" from space that drove them mad. Everyone, in-universe and out, assumes this meant the Reapers — until the Leviathan DLC revealed that it may have been the titular Leviathans that did it.
- If you spared the rachni queen, she gets enslaved by the Reapers in ME3. However, this time around she's fully aware that she's being controlled and is not happy about it, to say the least; she'll aid you against the Reapers if you free her.
- If you didn't spare the queen, the Reapers will create an artificial version; unlike her natural-born counterpart, she's thoroughly indoctrinated and will betray you if you free her.
- Cosmic Plaything: First, the Protheans used them as living weapons. Then either Leviathan or the Reapers pushed them into a war that drove them to the brink of extinction, their survival hinging on the decision of a single human a thousand years later. If spared, the Queen still gets captured and experimented on by the Reapers, her survival in the hands of the exact same human.
- Endangered Species: They were actually thought extinct before a single queen egg was found. Shepard gets to decide whether or not to finish the job.
- Genetic Memory: Queens apparently carry all the memories of previous queens with them. Which is why Saren revived the rachni queen: her ancestors found the Mu Relay, which led to Ilos.
- Good All Along: The rachni are remembered for causing the bloodiest war in the history of the galaxy. Turns out, they're naturally peaceful. War wasn't their choice, though they're perfectly willing to fight for some payback.
- In Leviathan, it's subtly hinted that Leviathan might have been influencing them.
- Hidden Depths:
- Hive Caste System: We've got workers (small exploding suicide bugs), soldiers, (bigger acid-spitting bugs), brood warriors (even bigger acid-spitting bugs with biotic powers) and the queen (freaking huge bug, combat capabilities unknown, whom we very fortunately do not have to fight).
- Slave Mooks: Bring Javik on the rachni mission and he'll explain the Protheans used them as this. Talk to him afterwards and he'll provide more detail - they bred the rachni to be smart, vicious and powerful, then burnt entire planets when they became uncontrollable. Leviathan may have been preparing them as anti-Reaper weapons before they encountered the salarians as opposed to them being used by the Reapers themselves.
A race of synthetic constructs created by the quarians. Designed as Virtual Intelligences due to the threat of a Robot War
, the quarians were not content to let well enough alone, and tinkered with the geth software enough to accidentally turn them into true AI. The quarians attempted to shut down their creations before they became sentient, due to both the Council's laws against AI experimentation and the concern that they'd be keeping living beings as slaves. The attempt failed, and the geth retaliated militarily, and eventually pushed the quarians off the homeworld of Rannoch, not to mention their colonies. Afterwards, the geth avoided contact with the rest of the galaxy, and killed anyone who entered their territory. In Mass Effect 1
, the geth ally with the rogue Spectre Saren Arterius to attack Council Space.
The Resurgence Pack DLC makes geth Engineers
available for multiplayer. Retaliation adds the Trooper Soldier
, and the Reckoning Pack adds the Juggernaut Soldier
- Abnormal Ammo: A lot of their weapons. Their sniper rifle shoots a stream of molten metal, their shotgun shoots cluster rounds of superconducting projectiles, their heavy machine gun and submachine gun shoot clusters of donut-shaped superconducting toroids, and their Colossi shoot exploding energy balls to complement their anti-personnel machine gun. Their assault rifle on the other hand shoots relatively normal projectiles, except they're encased in a phasic envelope.
- Arc Words: A 330 year Book End — the first recorded geth to begin to achieve sentience asks "Do these units have a soul?" The first sapient geth, Legion, asks the same question of itself. Tali answers in every decision branch, "Yes."
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Initially played straight; their sentience resulted in a very bloody war with their creators, and the first time they reappeared after that, it was to attack the galaxy at large and aid the Reapers in their conquest. Eventually, though, it was revealed that the geth didn't fight offensively until they concluded there was no alternative, they spent three hundred years carefully avoiding antagonizing the galaxy, and the huge force that attacked the galaxy was a group of 'heretic' dissidents. That constitutes five percent of their population. And all the rest want to do is be left alone to build their Dyson Sphere.
- And in the third game, things get a lot more complicated. Their Dyson Sphere is destroyed by a fleet of quarians pushing to take Rannoch back from the geth, resulting in them looking to the Reapers for enhancements to help them survive. Those enhancements are powerful enough that they endanger the entire quarian race, and Shepard intervenes just in time to potentially prevent both races from annihilating each other.
- Alien Blood: Not technically, but they do have a white fluid that seems to serve the same purpose.
- Alien Invasion: In the first game, the heretic geth invasion of Council space was basically this. While all the Council races are from different planets, the geth were a completely outside and unfamiliar force, with their hivemind and advanced technology. Downplayed in 2, where the Alliance has hunted down the majority of the heretics, who are reduced to raiding colonies and ships for the Reapers.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: The geth enforce this on themselves as they believe all species should self-determinate.
- The fact that every known species outside the Perseus Veil had dismantle-on-sight laws regarding A.I. probably didn't help.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: If the quarians are allowed to kill the geth, the quarians in particular celebrate it as a perfect victory. Also, Garrus, Joker, Javik, and James go out of their way to say what a good decision it was.
- Arachnoid Aliens: Their Armature and Colossi platforms. Their ships also look rather insect-esque.
- Asteroid Miners: Most geth are stored in space stations and the majority of their material resources come from asteroids. They only maintain a few platforms planetside to maintain the environment there.
- The Atoner: The geth as a whole give off this vibe. They outright state that they hold no ill will against the quarians, are actively repairing damage to Rannoch from the Morning War, and should peace be negotiated, they actively assist the quarians with adapting to living on Rannoch, going so far as to integrate with quarian suits.
- Badass Army: The geth have engineered every mobile platform to be capable of combat if needed, and they have some of the most advanced technology in the galaxy. If their support is secured in Mass Effect 3, then they can (if the heretics were reprogrammed in ME 2) end up contributing more assets to the push on Earth than any other species, save for the krogan and humans.
- Book Ends: The conflict between the geth and the quarians started when a geth asked its quarian mistress if it had a soul. During the concluding climax of the conflict between the geth and the quarians, Legion will ask Tali the same question as a last appeal to reason. Tali answers "yes".
- Bystander Syndrome: Per their Heroic Neutral personality, they don't see the heretics (read: a massive army following an Eldritch Abomination on his trail of genocide) as a big problem, and let them leave without any issue. That is, until they get word that the heretics might be threatening them with a virus that would force them all to worship the Reapers.
- Cannon Fodder: Sovereign regards them as such. It's hard to blame him.
- Cannot Tell a Lie:
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Some of their platforms are given distinct colors to distinguish them from one another. Moreso in Mass Effect 3, where there are are only five geth enemies but they are all uniquely colored. Geth troopers are grey, geth rocket troopers are white, geth pyros are yellow, geth hunters are black, and geth primes are red.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Gets turned on them in Mass Effect 3, when a quarian surprise attack takes out a good chunk of their forces and blows up their Dyson Sphere. After this, they go to the Reapers for help and agree to help the Reapers kill all organics to save themselves. They then briefly turn the war around, but after Shepard destroys their dreadnought flagship the war grinds to a stalemate. Depending on Shepard's actions, either the quarians or geth can be curbstomped by the other side to the point where they are completely wiped out, or both sides can be convinced to stop fighting.
- Cyber Cyclops: All platforms (even the Colossus) until the third game, which introduces three-eyed Primes.
- Deal with the Devil: They ally with the Reapers in the third game to save themselves from a quarian attack.
- Death by Irony: Think about the geth decision to ally with the Reapers. Essentially, they gave the Reapers a massive boost military power, via submitting their entire race to indoctrination, just so they could live as Reaper slave soldiers rather than get slain by the resurgent quarians. Even then, the Reapers probably would've wiped them out anyway. In the Destroy ending, however, the geth end up being the only race to be wiped out, rather than the only one to survive as they originally intended. Doubly ironic since this is after they abandon their original philosophy due to the necessary expediency of Reaper upgrades.
- Degraded Boss: Inverted. Geth Colossi were encountered several times in the Mako in the first game in fortified geth positions, and they were fairly easily dispatched. In the second game, there's only one Geth Colossus, but you fight it on foot while it's backed by a platoon of geth infantry, and while it can regenerate its shields. It's the boss on Tali's recruitment mission.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: The geth are the only known species to have actually spoken with the Reapers and then been allowed to go about their business. However, this is a ruse: the Reapers converted a minority of them to their cause and had aims of brainwashing the rest.
Hailing from Parnack, the yahg are known for their violent and aggressive nature. Consummate predators, the yahg possess unrivaled perceptiveness and mental adaptability. Discovered by the Citadel Council in 2125 CE, the yahg were unceremoniously barred from interaction with Citadel space after massacring the Council delegation.
As the yahg have yet to achieve interstellar spaceflight, Parnack goes unmolested during the Reaper invasion, and Admiral Hackett notes that they could end up running the next galactic cycle if everything else goes south. Given how dangerous they are now, the Reapers could seriously have their work cut out for them if the yahg had an additional fifty thousand years of advancement.
- Always Chaotic Evil: As far as the in-universe Codex is concerned, anyway.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Goes hand in hand with Authority Equals Asskicking.
- Badass: The average yahg is bigger and more vicious than a krogan. The few yahg we see are good examples.
- Blue and Orange Morality: As a species built around a pack-like mentality, equality is an insult to them.
- Extra Eyes: Yahg have four pairs of eyes, each designed to track and predict the movements of prey.
- Fatal Flaw: These guys are immense control freaks. It works for their packs, but in the face of foreign affairs...
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: We only know of their existence because the Shadow Broker is one of them, completely throwing all other theories on his identity out the window. Another yahg appears on Sur'kesh in the third game in the STG complex, where much fun is had with discussing the species' previous appearance.
There goes the next Shadow Broker
Could've sworn he was muttering "T'Soni!"
the whole time. Liara: Not funny!
- Klingon Promotion: It's a tenant of the yahg pack-like mindset, evidenced by the Shadow Broker killing and replacing his predecessor.
- Large and in Charge: Based on how they tend to look, it's easy to assume that their pack leaders all fit the description.
- Living Lie Detector: Due to a keen sensitivity to light and movement, the yahg can easily read the body language of any species, which did not end well when their first encounter with the rest of the galaxy was a group of politicians and diplomats.
- Passing the Torch: It is discussed in 3 that, since the Reapers are not attacking them due to not being advanced enough, the yahg may become the leaders of the next cycle if they lose the war. Which wouldn't be an exaggerated leap: they've nearly completed their first spaceship.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The most psychotic example in this series, by far. They make the krogan look like cuddly puppies.
- Undying Loyalty: Yahg society is built around a pack mentality. A group of yahg will not cooperate until a single leader has attained dominance through either social maneuvering or brute force. Once the leader is established, the defeated yahg do not hold a grudge and former rivals serve their new superior loyally.
The Collector Base
An enigmatic race from beyond the Omega-4 Relay, an unmapped relay from which no non-Collector vessel has ever returned. They've been around for centuries, yet only a few have ever seen them in person and many don't even believe they exist. They offer highly advanced technology in exchange for genetic samples from different species - and by 'samples', we mean living victims who are never heard from again.
In the aftermath of Sovereign's attack
, they begin abducting entire human colonies for an unknown purpose.
They return as adversaries in Mass Effect 3
in the Retaliation Multiplayer DLC, and the Reckoning DLC adds the Awakened Collector Adept
- Alien Blood: Yellow.
- And I Must Scream: Their fate, having been transformed from Protheans.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Scions have several exploitable weak points that are extremely helpful when fighting them. Praetorians do too, but they're protected by armored plates that have to be shot off. The Collectors' large heads also make that a pretty obvious spot to shoot.
- Back from the Dead: Return in Mass Effect 3 as a multiplayer enemy faction. Justified as the Reapers likely have cloning technology.
- No One Could Survive That: They were presumed to have been soundly defeated, if not wiped out entirely, with the destruction of the Collector Base.
- Bee People
- Cannon Fodder: According to Harbinger.
- The Collector: Named as such by other species, noting the purpose behind their rare visits.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Of course, the Reapers only added the cybernetics after the indoctrination reduced them to zombies.
Mordin: Mental capacity almost gone, replaced by overworked sensory input transfers... transferring data to masters. No glands, replaced by tech. No digestive tract, replaced by tech. No soul - replaced by tech!
- Degraded Boss: There are more Praetorians in a single bronze level of Mass Effect 3's multiplayer then there were in all of Mass Effect 2. Subverted in that they didn't really get any weaker; if anything, they got deadlier.
- And they get more supporting troops than before.
- Evilutionary Biologist: The entire species.
- Eye Beams: Praetorians use them.
- Fantasy Axis of Evil: Fallen. They are former Protheans, after all.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Some of their weapons. Two examples are seen through the series. In Mass Effect 2, the Collector Particle Beam is a heavy weapon that ignores shields, firing a continuous beam. In the third game, the Collector Sniper Rifle uses a continuous beam for anti-materiel attacks.
- Giant Enemy Crab: The Praetorian, which is also a Spider Tank. But considering it is made from Collector DNA combined with human DNA powered by a bunch of husks in a crab-like armored shell, the distinction between a mechanical and organic being is blurred.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: Insectoid wings.
- Henchmen Race: To the Reapers]].
- Heel-Face Turn: Awakened Collectors, who were a small number of Collectors that survived being cut off from Harbinger's control by the Leviathans' control spheres and regained their self-awareness.
- Hero Killer: Not only do these guys destroy the old Normandy and kill Shepard at the very beginning of Mass Effect 2, but if you screw up really bad on the Suicide Mission, everyone on the team, including Shepard him/herself, will die to them.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In the third game, the Praetorian's instant-kill grab involves skewering their poor victim on no less than three of their legs before smashing their head in with the beak-like protrusion on what could tentatively be called the Praetorian's face.
- Insectoid Aliens: They even build their vehicles with this in mind; a Collector Cruiser looks like a giant termite hill from the outside and a bee hive from the inside. The Praetorian on the other hand looks like a giant crab.
- Lightning Bruiser: Praetorians in the third game are much faster than the one in 2 and just as deadly. Particularly their possessed variants, which are by far the most durable enemies in the entire game.
- The Man Behind the Man: Harbinger is this to the Collector General, who is simply a proxy.
- Mooks: Though, unlike most examples of this trope, they are most definitely a threat to the main characters.
- Airborne Mooks: They have insect-like membranous wings which deploy from their backs and flap at high speed to allow them to leap over obstructions and descend heights easily.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Harbinger will sometimes directly control individual Collectors, turning them into one of these.
- Elite Mooks: Guardians, Assassins, and Captains.
- The entire faction in the third game. Every enemy is stronger than their equivalents of the other factions even without possession. They do have less troops per wave to compensate, but they still spawn just as many Scions and Praetorians as other factions get their equivalents.
- Giant Mook: Praetorians.
- Mook Maker: Captains in the third game can create Seeker Swarms which will seek out players to inflict damage and disable powers briefly.
- Mook Mobile: Their Oculus fighters. The Normandy dispatches them pretty handily in the run to the Collector Base. However they are shown to be effective against other fighters or normal frigates.
- Also, the Mook is the vehicle: in the eye of the Oculus is a Collector that has had it's body stripped to just the nervous systems, and suspended in a gel, to prevent damage against the unforgiving elements.
- People Puppets: Harbinger treats them as such.
- Slave Mooks: The entire race.
- Super Powered Mooks: "Possessed" enemies.
- No Body Left Behind: A Collector who is possessed has all its implants put into overdrive mode, which burns out the Collector quickly but increases its power while active. After the possessed Collector is destroyed, the body melts as the implants finally give out.
- No Mouth: The Reapers removed their mouths entirely.
- Organic Technology: A lot of their technology, like the Praetorian (a flying light tank crab looking thing with dual lasers that appears to be made of a bunch of husks in an armored shell) and the four weapons we see of theirs.
- Our Zombies Are Different: They're essentially slightly more intelligent versions of Prothean husks, being able to use weaponry instead of charging straight at the enemy like they did in Javik's flashback.
- The Reveal: They are (or were) the Protheans.
- Sculpted Physique: Their exoskeletons give them this appearance, being hard and only articulating at the joints. Downloadable Content for Mass Effect 2 and the base-game of Mass Effect 3 reveals this to not be a simple natural exoskeleton, but rather an unusual suit of Organic Powered Armor, albeit one permanently integrated into the host. The technology to make it can actually be recovered from Collector facilities and with some modification be made to accommodate a human.
- Sealed Army in a Can: They've been around for almost 50,000 years. The Reapers just tried to use the more disposable heretic geth mooks first so they could have a back-up plan in case that failed.
- Shrouded in Myth: By the beginning of Mass Effect 2, little is known about the Collectors. They come out of the Omega-4 relay once in a very long while, and the trade small examples of extremely advanced technology in return for living specimens of sentient races, who are never heard from again. No ship which attempts to follow them back through the Omega-4 relay has ever returned.
- Slave Race: To the Reapers.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Collector Sniper Rifle in the third game is basically a Collector Particle Beam with a scope. This is probably intentional.
- Took a Level in Badass: Scions in 3. Not only are they faster and more durable, but instead of having a slow shockwave cannon, they have a powerful energy gun that fires explosive shots with unerringly perfect accuracy in three round bursts. Said shots do more damage than even the Atlas Mech's rockets, making them extremely deadly; no class in the entire game can survive a single burst (and they only survive that much because the way the shield and health gates work in Mass Effect 3 no ranged attack can kill in less than three hits). They also gain a one hit kill melee attack.
- And when possessed, they also gain a cluster grenade attack ideal for flushing players out of cover.
The Protheans were once the galaxy's dominant species. They are believed to have built the Mass Relays and the Citadel. However, they mysteriously vanished approximately 50,000 years before the series started.
- Ancient Astronauts: They had a research outpost on Mars, and tagged and studied ancient humans before their destruction. There are also a large number of Prothean structures on the hanar homeworld, who fervently believe that they were uplifted by the Protheans. The asari are also worshipping them without even realizing it.
- Asshole Victim: They were mostly wiped out by the Reapers, with the few survivors being corrupted into Collectors. Ironic, given the Protheans' imperialistic attitude towards the other sentient species in the galaxy at the time of their empire, whom the Protheans assimilated or annihilated. And in some cases ate.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: According to Javik, they firmly believed this. He claims that the Protheans would have gladly served any race that proved itself capable of conquering them, but no-one ever did.
- Benevolent Precursors: In a scenario similar to the Forerunners, but these guys are much more sympathetic. Except, unlike the Forerunners, they didn't make the relays, the keepers or the Citadel. The Reapers did, and the Protheans just inherited the tech from whatever their precursors were, and so on.
- Subverted when 3 reveals that they were actually a conquest-driven, imperialistic culture that enslaved other races; while the hanar worship them as "the Enkindlers" who gave them sentience, it's doubtful that this was done for magnanimous reasons or even on purpose.
- They were especially benevolent towards the asari. Bring Javik to Thessia and it turns out that nearly all of the Athame doctrine is based off of acts Protheans performed on the behalf of primitive asari. Asari could not count past their toes, and Protheans "took pity" on them and taught them mathematics. "We didn't want you to starve," so they taught agriculture.
- Cthulhumanoid: There are statues with this theme on Ilos, and so it was speculated that they looked like this. Jossed by Mass Effect 2, which revealed they were actually more insectoid-looking, as seen in the presence of the Collectors. Mass Effect 3 shows us an actual Prothean; he looks even more human-like than the Collectors did, but he's still not comparable to the statues. It also reveals that Ilos was built on the ruins of the Protheans' predecessors, the Inusannon, so it's likely statues of them. Javik also mentions that as the Empire grew several different member races came to adopt the name Prothean as their own, so it may have been one of those races.
- Did Not See That Coming: Javik admits that the Protheans intended for the asari to lead the fight against the Reapers in the next Cycle, so he's rather taken aback to discover humanity is the one leading the charge.
- The Empire: The Protheans were not a single race — they were a single empire.
- Fantastic Anthropologist: The Protheans studied most lesser races in the galaxy, trying best to determine who would inherit the next Cycle, or who would be a slave in their own.
- Fling a Light into the Future: Surviving Prothean scientists sabotaged the keepers in order to keep them from signalling the Reapers to come. In addition, the Protheans as a whole tried uplifting the then-primitive asari to lead the next cycle against the Reapers. In this case, it... backfired.
- They also left messages intended to warn the next cycle about the Reapers... unfortunately, the messages were largely incomprehensible for the much simpler senses of humans and any other existing races.
- Futuristic Pyramid: The Protheans constructed several pyramid structures on various worlds.
- Higher-Tech Species: Even considering the fact that they didn't build the Mass Relays or the Citadel, their technology level is still far beyond that of any known race in the galaxy, having things like particle weaponry, telepathy, and their own miniature mass relays. This is true even in the current cycle, where the Reaper invasion has been delayed by several centuries and the various civilisations have had more time to advance.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: They uplifted the rachni to function as living weapons, always selecting the most vicious and warlike queens for their breeding program, until the predictable happened and they had to burn 200 worlds to take control of the situation.
- I Have Many Names: Inverted. The Protheans were actually an empire, which took in promising species. Over time, every species in the empire became known as Prothean.
- Intrigued by Humanity: While the Protheans were betting on the asari to become the dominant power in the Galaxy in the next Cycle, the Prothean Orb on Eletania and the Mars Archives seem to imply that they had become somewhat interested in humanity as well. Liara mentions in the third game that the Protheans were apparently conducting research, attempting to chart how intelligent humans might become.
- Might Makes Right: Sincerely believed this. Javik is utterly confused why humans are attempting to diplomatically negotiate with the other races to create a Badass Army, instead of simply forcing them to comply.
- Although he later also admits that this approach made the Protheans far too uniform and stagnant in their military doctrine, which made them easy prey for the Reapers.
- Mundane Made Awesome: According to Javik, Protheans liked passing time by having hours-long staring contests.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Javik reveals that they were much more imperialistic than anyone suspected. Those who did not want to be part of their empire were free to resist, and the Protheans were such firm believers in Might Makes Right that they would have followed any who won. None did. Javik talks about 'servant races' but also says that in time other species in their Empire also came to call themselves Protheans.
- Ragnarok-Proofing: Not all of it survived, but a impressive amount of their tech still works fifty thousand years after the fact.
- Reforged into a Minion: A species-wide example.
- Serious Business: Javik claimed that gambling was punishable by death within their empire. They also apparently passed the time via staring contests. That lasted for hours. Granted, it is Javik who makes that claim.
- The Social Darwinist: According to Javik, this was the philosophy of Prothean civilization in general on a species-level; they called it the "Cosmic Imperative". The strong thrive, the weak die or are enslaved. Although there's a slight caveat in that Javik lived his whole life in the ruins of his empire's Reaping, the fact that his empire was a Space Rome that enslaved other species says something.
- Space Romans: Even more so than the Turians.
- Spanner in the Works: During the final years of the Prothean's existence, they groomed asari with intelligence, biotics, and knowledge, placing all their hopes on them leading the galaxy against the Reapers. They never considered that they would WITHHOLD the technology so they could become the most superior race, and only reveal the information when the Reapers are knocking on their door.
- Stop Worshipping Me: The Protheans uplifted many species, which led to them becoming worshipped by the hanar as "the Enkindlers" and the asari as the Goddess Athame. Javik's reaction upon learning this is not one of amusement.
- Super Senses: The Protheans have an ability to process information so advanced it leans into Psychic Powers. The pinnacle of this is the fact that, through a touch, they can actually read genetic information, absorbing memories and knowledge. Javik uses this to instantly become familiar with the current situation of the galaxy, by touching Shepard.
- Suspended Animation: How the Protheans attempted to survive unnoticed on Ilos until the Reapers had returned to dark space. Only twelve scientists survived. In the "From Ashes" DLC for Mass Effect 3, only one Prothean is still alive after 50,000 years, and is a potential squadmate.
- Theme Naming: They apparently liked to name their virtual intelligence programs names that started with the letter V; Vigil, Victory, and Vendetta.
- Unreliable Narrator: Most of the information we have on the Protheans comes from a shell-shocked former soldier after three centuries of an unending, nightmarish war with an enemy that was simultaneously technologically superior beyond belief and unbound by even the least shred of morality who is also by his own admission being influenced by the pheromones of an angry young krogan who went through krogan rage-puberty in the room he's staying in. Not to mention his penchant for outright making up "facts" about the Protheans as a joke, meaning pretty much everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt.
We impose order on the chaos of organic evolution. You exist because we allow it, and you will end because we demand it.Homeworld:
A race of machines who are believed to have hunted the Protheans to extinction. Shepard discovers that the Reapers are about to return and spends the trilogy trying to stop them.
- Abusive Precursors: Good Lord yes! They hold the current page quote. As for why, well, specifically developing galactic races to be wiped out and harvested is plenty bad, don'cha think?
- Zigzagged: They consider the self-destructiveness of galactic life to be inevitable, choosing instead to genetically preserve previous civilizations. In rather horrifying ways.
- Ambiguous Robots: They detest organic creatures and seem mechanical in nature. Until you take their construction methods into account.
- And I Must Scream: Several of the nasty fates they have in store for the galaxy, from turning people into husks, to Indoctrination, and the fate of the humans kidnapped by the Collectors for the human Reaper.
- Animal Motif: The Reapers look suspiciously like a techno-organic version of the reaper cuttlefish.
- Lampshaded in the third game. Apparently this was the form of their creators.
- Assimilation Plot: How new ones are made.
- Appropriated Appelation: As Sovereign puts it, what various races chose to call them is irrelevant; it won't stop them from descending upon your world and harvesting your civilisation til there is nothing left.
- Villain Override: The closest they get to fighting Shepard in person... until the third game.
- Walking Tank: Destroyers become this whenever they decide to start walking on the ground to support the husks. They're a lot more powerful than the usual Walking Tank, possessing armor thick enough to make them nigh invulnerable to ground fire and highly resistant to even orbital bombardment, plus a main gun that can kill 500-meter-long shielded warships with a few seconds of continuous fire. Needless to say, infantry, armored vehicles, and aircraft are instantly destroyed just by being grazed by the gun's beam.
- Wave Motion Gun: The main gun of a capital Reaper is a spinal-mounted gigantic death beam hitting with the force of 450 kilotons of TNT per shot that accelerates molten metal at a significant fraction of the speed of light... every five seconds. It far and away outclasses any weapon on any other species' ships. To put that into perspective: that's over thirty times as destructive as the Hiroshima bomb.
- Weaksauce Weakness: It's a rather minor one, all things considered- especially given all their other tremendous advantages. But if you pay attention, you'll notice that the Reapers' targeting systems are, essentially, farsighted. This is why council fleets engage them at such(relatively) close range. If you pay attention when Kalros fights the reaper destroyer, you'll notice that the destroyer never actually connects with it's main gun.
- We Have Reserves: Billions of husks, most often used to overwhelm enemy ground forces with sheer numbers. The Reapers themselves use more "smash through anything in their way", since they're effectively invincible unless you bring a hell of a lot of firepower to bear on one.
- Worthy Opponent:
- They have come to see Shepard as "an annoyance". Considering how massive their egos are, this is pretty much the highest possible praise they could give an enemy.
Dying Reaper: Harbinger speaks of you.
- Leviathan notes that Shepard is "an anomaly," the only being in history that the Reapers have ever feared.
- They will also turn their guns from entire armies and fleets to target Shepard alone.
- Zerg Rush: While they don't do this with their ships (instead using them as support) the husks that they use just throw themselves at the enemy in massive numbers until the enemy is defeated.
A relatively newcomer race on the galactic scene, who made first contact with the asari in 2184. During the Reaper invasion, they retreated to their homeworld, destroying their more advanced technology in the hopes that the Reapers would possibly spare them.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Are an Avian species, who have to wear environment suits to interact with aliens, ever since it was discovered they accidentally spread a form of the H7N7 avian flu-virus (a reference to "Bird flu") to one of the diplomatic delegations they were invited to.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Eighteen months after they first discovered alien life in the Galaxy, the Reapers invade. The Raloi immediately throw up their hands and say this is not their fight, retreating back to Turvess, where they destroy all their advanced technology, in an attempt to make the Reapers dismiss them as a pre-spaceflight race.
- The Unseen: They are mentioned in both the second and third game, but never actually seen.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never learn their fate.
Warning: Walking Spoiler
: Unknown, currently 2183 Despoina
Mysterious creatures, one of which is apparently powerful enough to kill Reapers. They're eventually revealed to be the creators of the Catalyst, and by proxy the Reapers.
- Admiring the Abomination: Inverted. The Leviathan are Eldritch Abominations who admire Shepard for being the first thing in any Cycle that the Reapers have actually been afraid of.
- A God Am I: Definitely consider themselves to be God-like, referring to themselves as the "Apex of Organic Evolution".
- Always a Bigger Squid: Leviathan represents this to the Reapers.
- Badass Bystander: The Leviathan clearly have a lot of power at their disposal, but have not intervened during any of the previous Cycles, due to not believing it possible to stop the Reapers, nor caring enough about the "lesser races" to try.
- Bigger Bad: Even more so than the Catalyst, whom they created. They have every intention of regaining their control of the galaxy once the Reapers are defeated. Which probably won't spell well for the rest of the galaxy.
- Brainwashed: Evidently, the Reapers didn't pull indoctrination out of thin air. Leviathan indoctrination needs a constant transmission to maintain control over their victims, channeled through odd spheres. Destroy the spheres and the victims regain their minds. Until they come near another sphere. On the other hand, it's apparently powerful enough to override the Reapers' control of the husks. It seems less harmful to the indoctrinated subjects than the Reaper version, assuming Leviathan doesn't decide to kill them or put them in comas, but it's noted of one scientist who was indoctrinated that she "retains most of her mental faculties."
- The Codex says, after Shepard speaks with them, that they are having the Citadel races spread those sphere-things deep in Reaper territory, so they can use their mental domination on Reaper forces and sabotage them.
- Leads to fairly interesting results when they attempt to brainwash Collectors: most of them died, and the survivors actually regained their sentience.
- Eldritch Abomination: To an even greater extent than the Reapers.
- Enemy Mine: With the entire galaxy. The Leviathans are helping the galactic effort not because they are turning over a new leaf, but because they were there first, and the Reapers took what they deemed to be rightfully theirs.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: People who were controlled by the Leviathan describe a sensation of being somewhere dark and cold. It's likely a side-effect of the Leviathan physically residing in the deepest reaches of ocean worlds.
- Happiness in Slavery: What they see enthralling lesser species as. As long as they pay "tribute", the Leviathans will "care for them".
- Hoist by His Own Petard: They created an AI to preserve their slave species, with absolutely no restrictions on how (ultimately resulting in the creation of the Reapers). As a direct result of this self-centered attitude, they found themselves to be the first species to be harvested.
- It's All About Me: The Leviathans still believe that, being the first, 'apex' society, the galaxy belongs to them.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Creepy Aquatic Apex-Race: They built the intelligence that built the Reapers due to concerns about difficult synthetic-organic relations. Said intelligence promptly deduced a flawed solution, turned on them, built Harbinger, and started the Reaper cycles.
- No Name Given: Even if they do agree to help out, they are reluctant to share any information about themselves with the other species, including whatever the true name of their race is. The galaxy seems to have settled on calling them "Leviathans" for lack of any other name.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: They make it very clear that the only reason they're joining the fight is for revenge. They'd personally prefer to have remained staying hidden, but unfortunately that's no longer an option.
- Not So Different: They have a lot of similarities to the Reapers, except they demand "tribute" from lesser races instead of harvesting them. Indeed, the Reapers' physical shape came from them (though the Leviathans are huge, they aren't nearly as gigantic as Sovereign-class Reapers).
- Orwellian Editor: The Leviathan periodically use their thralls to erase any evidence that might lead the Reapers to learn of their continued existence.
- Precursors: They kind of straddle the line between Abusive Precursors and Neglectful Precursors: On the one hand, they enslaved pretty much the entire galaxy in their heyday and are responsible for the Reapers, but on the other hand, according to them, their subjects were granted a fair amount of autonomy so long as they paid "tribute" to the Leviathans and properly venerated them. The fact that enough of their slave races ended up building artificial intelligences that would ultimately wipe them out for the Leviathans to notice supports their side of the story somewhat, but that doesn't make the prospect of them ruling the galaxy again any less sinister. They also created the Catalyst to try and solve this issue for them, so their tributes wouldn't be disrupted. Unfortunately, their creation decided they were part of the problem, and was true to its directive to preserve organic life at any cost, by making them into the first Reaper.
- Pride: Their belief that they were superior to the extent that they believed that the problems of the "lesser races" could never harm them directly has led to much of the series' conflict.
- Racial Remnant: Shepard only sees three of them.
- The Remnant: They once ruled a powerful empire that covered the entire galaxy. After the Catalyst turned on them, what's left of them is now in hiding at the bottom of an ocean.
- Recursive Precursors: The Leviathans were the first spacefaring species in the galaxy, if not the universe.
- Revision: Not a hint of their existence was alluded to before the Leviathan DLC came out, yet they actually fit quite snugly into the canon. Their existence revamps things such as the Rachni Wars (though this is only ever a theory in-universe) and the Leviathan of Dis, but without contradicting anything other than in-universe theories that were, for obvious reasons, incomplete.
- Justified in-universe as they are actively using their thralls to erase any evidence of their existence, explaining why we've never had any hints of their existence beforehand. On the other hand, their methods could also suggest that maybe we did and we just don't remember anymore!
- Ultimate Life Form: Consider themselves to be such, with their "apex of organic evolution" opinion of themselves. It is not without some justification, considering their power and the fact that they have survived this many cycles at all.
- Vestigial Empire: Averted. They had one, but have been having thralls slowly disassemble it over the eons to conceal traces of their existence. Thanks to the memory blackout feature of their mind control, this is supremely effective.
- Walking Spoiler: Hell, even giving them their own entry is spoileriffic, since everyone assumes the Leviathan is just another Reaper until Shepard actually finds them. And once they start talking, well, then it's no-holds-barred revelations. This actually opens plot-holes depending on where in the game you play the DLC, since it means Shepard is desperately trying to find answers the Leviathans already gave him and acts surprised when the Catalyst gives much of the same information.
- Shepard's confusion on meeting the Catalyst is mitigated if the Extended Cut is installed and Shepard has finished the Leviathan quest already. When the Catalyst brings up who created it and why, Shepard will immediately make the connection to the Leviathans and the Catalyst will confirm it. Little other than that is changed though.
- What the Hell Are You?: Leviathan initially states their intention to keep Shepard for study, having become interested in finding out why the Reapers are so terrified of this Puny Earthling.
A race of one billion who, in order to escape from their dying sun, had downloaded their consciousnesses into cyberspace aboard a spaceship. They were in search of a new power source when they stumbled upon salarian space and entered negotiations.
The precursors to the Protheans, from at least one cycle before them.
- Cthulhumanoid: Javik confirms in the third game that the ancient statues on Ilos actually depicted the Inusannon.
- Great Offscreen War: Fought the Thoi'han over colonisation rights to Eingana, with debris from the battle still littering the planet's surface 127,000 years later.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Element Zero from the drive cores of their ships (along with their enemy) ended up raining down over Eingana, poisoning the local environment and causing multiple extinction events, as well as causing the indigenous wildlife to begin manifesting biotic abilities. As a result, colonisation of Eingana is now impossible for anyone without a strong death wish.
- Recursive Precursors: Inhabited the galaxy over 127,000 years previously until they became extinct, most likely having been wiped out by the Reapers. The fledgling Prothean race would later discover the ruins of their colony on Ilos, revealing to them the secret to mass effect technology.
Thane: There are tales about such things among my people - devices buried on distant worlds that turn the finders into abominations.
Non-sapient synthetic creatures that are created using the bodies of organic beings. They are of Reaper origin. Husk is both the name of the 'generic' human zombie enemy and a general term for Reaper-fied organics.
- Action Bomb: Abominations. In Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, it is shown that the detonator for their explosion resides in their heads. Thus, killing Abominations with either an anti-material shot to the head, or via a bladed strike to the neck will prevent them from detonating. Killing them any other way triggers the explosion.
- Arm Cannon: Scions in 2 and 3. Cannibals, batarian-human hybrids from 3. Adjutants from Omega.
- Body Horror: All of them, often mixed with Mix-and-Match Critters, as mentioned below.
- Husks and Abominations are formed from humans who have had their internal organs all replaced by cybernetics by dragon's teeth, with the latter exploding upon getting close to foes. Cerberus troopers in 3 are much the same, but more intelligent.
- Scions are combinations of three human Husks fused together around a single biotic Arm Cannon. A blue sac over the same shoulder as the cannon holds redundant organs and element zero sources for their weapon.
- Collectors are Protheans that had a complete genetic rewrite, including three fewer chromosomes, reduced heterochromatin structure, and elimination of useless "junk" sequences. Due to the extensive amounts of cybernetics, they lack many of their organs, and are essentially clones, with whether or not they even have any remaining gender unknown.
- Marauders are husks of turians with armor plates grafted on and lenses embedded in their faces.
- Brutes are formed from krogan, but with a turian head attached for intelligence. Due to the aversion of No Biochemical Barriers, the krogan levo-DNA clashes with the turian dextro-DNA, meaning that the entire creature would die very painfully if the cybernetics were not in place.
- Banshees are naked, asari Husks of those who are or have a predisposition to be Ardat-Yakshi. Due to the nature of asari sex, their creation could technically be considered a whole new meaning of Mind Rape.
- Cannibals are batarian husks (with an Arm Cannon made out of a human corpse) who eat their allies to regain health.
- Synthetic Harvesters are, as their name implies, Huskified Harvesters, though they also have added head-mounted cannons.
- Ravagers are mobile turrets formed from rachni. Notably, concept art included a human husk corpse on the back, but BioWare decided that was too disgusting.
- Swarmers appear to be spider-type robots made from rachni workers.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: To create a husk, organics are impaled on spikes which releases nanobots that converts organic materials into synthetic ones. Usually though, they're already dead, though the rush of adrenaline in their final moments of consciousness is enough to speed up the nanobot's processes.
- Zigzagged if the Synthesis ending is used, since they become sapient, possibly immortal beings again. Hopefully, the human Husks in such creatures as the Praetorians and Scions (and the arm cannons for Cannibals, which are fused to a human husk) are extricated, or it'll be a double dose of Body Horror on the level of The Human Centipede.
- Cthulhumanoid: Adjutants
- Cybernetics Will Eat Your Soul: Luckily, most Husks are already dead pre-Huskification.
- Glowing Mechanical Eyes
- Grenade Launcher: The Cannibal's Arm Cannon, in addition to shooting what appears to be red flechettes in the place of bullets, can also fire frag grenades. Unlike most examples of this trope, the grenades still take a few seconds to detonate after they land.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Cannibals replenish health by eating corpses, friend or foe.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How they are made, and how Banshees will kill anyone within arm's reach.
- Instant Armor: Cannibals are capable of spontaneously growing armored plates by consuming the bodies of other husks. Marauders are capable of applying instant armor to several other husk types, causing the targeted husk to float up in their air and channel some kind of nano-paste onto them which grows into more of those armor plates.
- Mooks: In all three games (though only the basic husk in the first game, plus Collectors in the second):
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Banshees, husked Ardat-Yakshi, in Mass Effect 3. They have Biotic barriers and armor instead of health which makes them immune to a lot of biotic effects, they can Flash Step, and they also have the ability to grab people and subsequently impale them with their hands, resulting in instant death. Sometimes they will stand still and briefly appear to charge up, after which they will scream and release an attack that covers a surprisingly large area. Finally, they throw powerful projectiles that move slowly but track their target. Have fun.
- Praetorians and Scions in the third game multiplayer as well.
- Elite Mooks: Marauders. Husked turians, they have kinetic barriers and a turian assault rifle, and also tend to buff nearby foes as well.
- Giant Mook: Scions. Also a Boss in Mook Clothing. In Mass Effect 3, Brutes fill this role; they're huskified krogans with a turian head for higher intelligence. Scions, however, return in Retaliation for multiplayer.
- Heavily Armored Mook: Marauders are capable of turning husks and cannibals into these.
- Kung-Fu Proof Mook: Banshee barriers are capable of negating powers.
- Mini Mook: Swarmers.
- Night of the Living Mooks
- Mix-and-Match Critters: It's not uncommon for certain husk variants to be comprised of more than one individual, sometimes not from the same species. Scions are 3 human husks fused together. As noted above, cannibals are batarian-human hybrids while brutes are krogan-turian hybrids.
- Ominous Walk: Banshees will engage in this when not teleporting around.
- The Reveal: In Mass Effect 2, it's revealed that the geth didn't create husks - the Reapers did. As the first game did allude to the possibility husks were not geth technology, Shepard and his/her crew merely had their suspicions confirmed come the sequel.
- Teleport Spam: Banshees will do this almost constantly while "charged", screaming as they do so. Their power will eventually wear down, restricting them to an Ominous Walk, but eventually they will get a surge of power back and do it all over again.
- Villain Override: When the Collectors return in Mass Effect 3, Harbinger has extended his control to their unique husks. Possessed Scions fire grenades, while Abominations explode with about three times the force.
- The Virus: Adjutants are capable of turning victims into more of them.
- There is some implication that the Banshees can do the same to asari.
- Was Once a Man: Or whatever other species (plural or singular) they came from.
- Zerg Rush: When you consider that the Reapers can produce essentially unlimited numbers of these things, their use of this tactic is not surprising. Garrus even respects the Reapers for employing this tactic, saying that it puts down any local resistance, you'd never run out of cannon fodder, and for every soldier you gain, your opponent loses two: the guy you converted, and his buddy when he can't pull the trigger.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Well, they're mechanical, for one thing. The creation process is taking (preferably living) organic beings and impaling them on spikes, which slowly replaces tissue with machinery. They start out as somewhat standard zombies (albeit with electrical attacks), but Mass Effect 2 and especially Mass Effect 3 features tons of varieties with neat abilities like exploding, having guns built into their arms, and being very durable.
Unknown, possibly TuchankaTuchanka's
ultimate predator, thresher maws are enormous subterranean creatures that spend their whole life eating or searching for something to eat. Thanks to their method of reproduction (spores that can survive in space), they've made it to plenty of other planets. In the Sole Survivor background, Commander Shepard was the Sole Survivor
of a thresher maw attack triggered by a particularly nasty Cerberus cell.
- Degraded Boss: Inverted. In the first game you killed almost a dozen of them in various sidequests. In the second, there's only one Thresher Maw, but you don't have the Mako to help you fight it, so it's a boss fight.
- Not to mention the MASSIVE one seen in the third game, which is strong enough to kill a Reaper Destroyer.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The first time one is encountered in the first game can be like this.
- Horse Of A Different Colour: Javik regrets that in this Cycle, they are now too big to ride anymore.
- Kaiju: Kalros especially.
- Monster Progenitor/Mother of a Thousand Young: The legendary Kalros, said by Eve to be the mother from whom all thresher maws spawn. This is probably just legend, but she sure made mincemeat out of that Reaper Destroyer. From the sound of things, Our Heroes seemed to just expect it to distract the Reaper, not outright kill it.
- Sand Worm: Javik's line about riding them seems to be a Shout-Out to Dune.
- Timed Mission: On Grunt's loyalty mission in the second game, you have to survive a thresher maw attack for five minutes. Or you can just kill it.
- Worm Sign
Virtual Intelligences (VIs)
Thank you for using Avina! Have a pleasant day.
Not a "species" in and of themselves, VIs are complex quasi-intelligent (but not truly sentient) computer programs often used to drive user interfaces; the ones most commonly seen throughout the franchise are humanoid, although Avina is asari in appearance, and Vigil is of Prothean origin. They can play a number of roles, usually serving as information access points, data analyzers, system monitors and optimizers, and distress beacon maintainers/interface points. True AIs are highly regulated or illegal in Citadel space; a VI might seem
intelligent or sentient, but it's an illusion of clever programming.