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.
Homeworld: Rakhana (original); Kahje (adopted)
The reptilian drell are a client race of the hanar. 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. Drell physiology evolved on a primarily arid world, but most of Kahje gets rained on at least once per day. Their lungs can't handle the moisture, and a terminal disease known as "Kepral's Syndrome" often occurs in late adulthood.
- Bare Your Midriff: Interestingly, there's an in-universe justification. Many drell suffer from a disease called Kepral's Syndrome late in life, hampering their respiratory systems on humid environments. They keep their chests uncovered to minimize restricting their breathing.
- Berserk Button: They are highly offended when people compare their loyalty to the hanar to be akin to slavery.
- 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.
- Dying Race: Due to being forced to live in the watery world of the hanar instead of their desert home, the drell numbers have been suffering from chronic disease (notably Kepral's Syndrome.) The Reaper attacks did not help, and a careless Shepard can actually make them go effectively extinct.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Drell assassins are basically ninjas IN SPACE!, being assassins trained from early childhood and highly skilled in martial arts. Their stealth techniques also seem almost supernatural, which is also consistent with how ninjas are commonly portrayed in fiction.
- 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.
- Gaia's Lament: Because the Drell took to industrial expansion early, their already arid homeworld Rakhana suffered serious environmental damage. By the time they realized it, there was nothing they could do; the topsoil was already depleted and oceans acidified beyond the point of sustaining life. Due to the fact that they didn't yet achieve interstellar flight, their massive population was set to crash around 2025 CE. It was only thanks to the Hanar that 375,000 of them escaped the ensuing war for resources. Today, Rakhana is a cemetery world where only a few thousand Drell still live.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: The male versions of the species were specifically designed to be the Spear Counterparts to the asari. The development team even created the drell by passing around concept sketches of Thane and explicitly asking the heterosexual women in the office which one they found the sexiest. Eventually they settled on a lean, reptilian creature with large soulful eyes, full lips, and a deep, gravely voice. We never see the females in the games (though they are acknowledged to exist, and Thane's wife Irikah does appear in one issue of Foundation comic).
- Guttural Growler: We meet all of three drell (four including the multiplayer), all male, and they all have raspy voices.
- Happiness in Slavery: Defied Trope. The drell are very indignant when people suggest this, insisting they are not slaves. Those who chose to serve the hanar do so of their own volition and are proud to honour the Compact that exists between their people. No one's forcing them to do anything and they can leave the hanar's service at any time, although few do.
- Humanoid Aliens: They look almost as human as they do reptilian.
- Ill Girl: A great many of them are affected Kepral's Syndrome, a lung disease that develops in humid environments, like the hanar homeworld of Kahje.
- 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 on Kahje are most likely among those exterminated when the hanar homeworld Kahje falls to the Reapers. Some drell beyond will survive, however, on other hanar colony worlds, but the majority of their population will be lost forever.
- Legacy of Service: A species-wide one. They serve the hanar out of gratitude for the hanar saving their species from almost certain extinction.
- No Infantile Amnesia: Subverted - Thane (who can recall a bullet-shattered knee) thinks the birth trauma would be too much for them.
- Photographic Memory: Evolving on a planet where resources were scarce and the distance between deposits often days or weeks apart, drell developed a powerful version of perfect recall so that they always knew where to find food or water. Drell can experience memories as if they are happening in the present, all details intact. The only downside is that the drell can't always control these flashbacks. When idly recalling memories, drell can become locked into PTSD-style flashbacks of memories, re-experiencing them as if it were the first time. Drell's memories make them perfect as spies and scholars, and they are passionate lovers due to their ability to vividly recall romantic memories at any time. However, they can also perfectly recall the pain of being shot in the knee, and the loss of loved ones haunts drell for their entire lives. Some drell become so obsessed with their memories that they choose to abandon the present and live in the past — what Thane refers to as "solipsism."note
- Servant Race: To the hanar, although those who do choose to serve them certainly don't see it that way.
- Super Strength: While nowhere near to the extent of krogan, geth, yahg, etc., the codex mentions that they have denser musculature than humans. While admittedly a strong man by the standards of his species, the relatively lean drell Thane can be seen performing numerous feats of superhuman strength. Usually in the form of casually snapping necks without any mechanical leverage.
- The Remnant: The total drell population seems to be a couple hundred thousand in total, perhaps around a million, but this is a far cry from their height of 11 billion two centuries ago. Harbinger even describes them as useless due to their insufficient numbers.
- The Reptilians: They bear a pretty good resemblance to lizards.
- 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 Kahje, 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: they're both strong and poisonous. 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. Also, they are apparently neurotoxic.
- Creepy Monotone: They all have the same voice which never changes its inflection (save one that was indoctrinated, and even then, it was more like a Smug Snake variation of the same monotone). This is because they rely on mechanical translation; their speech is mostly through bioluminescent patterns.
- 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.
- Graceful in Their Element: 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.
- I Have Many Names: Well, two at least. There's one name that they assume with most people, and a Soul Name, which they only tell to people close to them. Soul Names are usually poetic and meaningful to them; they also tend to be almost as long as salarian names.
- Insane Troll Logic: Invoked by the the Indoctrinated hanar in the third game, who believe that since the "Enkindlers" now are the Collectors who worship the Reapers, logic demands that they submit to the Reapers as well.Paragon Shepard: You... Big! Stupid! Jellyfish!
- Kill Em All: For the majority of their population 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 many of the drell being wiped out as well.
- Precursor Worship: Believe the Protheans (whom they call the "Enkindlers") uplifted their species millenia ago.
- Starfish Aliens: Their resemblance to Earth Jellyfish has lead to this being a rather offensive slur.
- 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.
- Acrofatic: In multiplayer the volus combatants prove to be on par with their human comrades in terms of running speed, despite being short and round. They're also capable of combat rolls and dodges, albeit at a slightly reduced speed. They also lack the ability to vault over cover or elevated platforms, although this is likely a consequence of them being divorced from the Take Cover! mechanic.
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Culturally subverted. Their code of ethics dictates that in times of strife and war, all debts will be forgotten. One volus was enraged that several members of his species instead decided to play the trope straight.
- 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: Out of necessity. 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: Due to a clause in the Treaty of Farixan, 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 reportedly 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.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Plucky as they as they may be, Mass Effect 3 shows that volus troops are capable of kicking ass.
- Death from Above: In addition to their Cool Starship, the volus also have an advanced bombing fleet that can be earned as a War Asset in Mass Effect 3 too.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: They view themselves as The Chew Toy of the galaxy, and with fairly good 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, and given that they can't survive suitless in environments tolerable by human standards, we likely never will.
- 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.")
- Flanderization: In Mass Effect 1, the volus might have audible breathers, but it's not very loud, and one can only hear it during pauses in the conversation where the actors likely paused for breath anyway, coming off as a neat attention to detail rather than a goofy character trait. In Mass Effect 2, we start seeing volus characters speak with a nasal voice, and must often pause to take a loud, heavy breath mid-sentence. By Mass Effect 3, this has become their default depiction, where even the volus soldiers in multiplayer prefix all of their lines with a loud "HHHHHK".
- 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 Deflector Shield.
- Heavy Worlder: Irune has a surface gravity of 1.5 g, and an atmospheric pressure of 60.25 atm. As such, it's impossible to visit their world without a pressure suit.
- Lethal Joke Character: Moderate shields, low HP, so short that they just stand behind cover rather than duck, and they trade melee skills for a poor man's cloak and an emergency shield. On the plus side, they can buff everyone's shields and have abilities like Stasis and Recon Mine.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: If they're pushed to fight, they can be quite effective.
- The Medic: Volus classes in multiplayer can restore the shields of nearby allies every few seconds.
- Proud Merchant Race: They basically made the Citadel economy. Their engineers and designers created and are responsible for the security and value retention of the Citadel Credit, a universal currency used even outside Citadel member races' territories.
- In their backstory, their society was organized around this even before they reached space. Their clans would even exchange members through 'sale'. Differing from the usual depiction, this focus on mercantile life leads to an aversion of Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: their business ethics ARE their ethics.
- Space Jews: Far from toydarian levels though.
- Their focus on clans also gives them hints of the "Penny-pinching Scotsman" stereotype as well.
- Talking Lightbulb: Not only that, but they also have lights on their suits where a human would have eyes, which blink periodically as human eyes would. Also, they have a light which lights up whenever they speak, and can change color, from yellow for calm and rational, to red for angry.
- Took a Level in Badass: Prior to their addition to multiplayer, you never even hear of any volus combatantsnote .
- The volus do have a perfectly respectable space-fleet (for a non-council race), and their strong economy means they can afford to equip their ships with all kinds of goodies. For example, the volus were the first Citadel race to deploy a dreadnought armed with magnetohydrodynamic weapons (Thanix cannons). In Mass Effect 3, the volus gift to the cause if they're won over are bombing fleets.
- Vader Breath: Often played for comedy and it sounds more like an exasperated breath.C-Sec officer: I need you to take a deep breath and calm down, sir.
Kor Tun: You're mocking [hhhkkk] me, [hhhkkk] Earth-Clan!
- Voluntary Vassal: To the Turian Hierarchy, offering their mercantile expertise in exchange for turian protection.
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.
- 100% Adoration Rating: In no shortage to their cordial nature and polite attitute, most everyone seems to like the elcor. Even a Renegade Shepard can't help but express fondness for them.
- Alien Arts Are Appreciated: As revealed in Mass Effect Annihilation, the all-elcor performance of Hamlet isn't a one-time joke: as a matter of fact, it's revealed from the book that a sizable amount of elcor are enamored with the play, to the point the elcor representative of the book - a doctor named Yorrik - deliberately eschewed his real name (Naumm) for his new name.
- Bad Liar: Zig-Zagged. On the one hand, the elcor's potentially unconscious tendency to state their emotions up-front usually gives non-elcor an exact idea of the emotion they're feeling, like some elcor stating their clear terror in instances where it isn't favorable of them to show fear. On the other hand, however, this seems to be a limitation of the translators that all species have, which tends to prefix the elcor's emotions automatically without the elcor actually specifying such. Some elcor even go as so far as to hack their translators to get around this issue. That being said, when the automated prefixing is altogether discounted, the elcor are potentially the best liars in the galaxy, as their emotional tells are inscrutable to pretty much everyone except fellow elcor.
- Beware the Nice Ones: They tend to be cautious, polite, and slow. They can also punch holes in bulkheads and make very good bouncers, and their standard armaments would be considered heavy caliber or artillery by other species. The Codex entry simply states they're slow to anger, but when they're pissed, look out. The human at Afterlife in Omega in Mass Effect 2 is walking on thin ice, as the elcor bouncer is the first and only time players see an annoyed elcor. The human wisely decides to back down.Human: Do I have to force my way in?
Elcor Bouncer: With barely constrained menace: Try it.
- In Mass Effect 3, if you help save the survivors of the Reaper attack on Dekuuna, you'll be granted the remnant of the elcor flotilla as a way of saying thanks. Makes you wonder how a species of Gentle Giants can be much help... but then you realize that they have sophisticated AI systems that help them hold their own against much faster species, on top of having Shoulder Cannon-wielding infantry. If an angry elcor is scary, imagine how terrifying an angry elcor with a big-ass, automated minigun strapped to their back would be. The answer: pretty freaking terrifying.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: The elcor are revealed to be Ruminants, as they have at least three stomachs. Interestingly, this hints at them being herbivores than the usual omnivores, as multiple stomachs are an evolutionary process for many herbivores' detoxification systems.
- Cigar Chomper: Apparently, some elcor enjoy a good stogie, as seen by one merchant on Omega.
- The Comically Serious: Pretty much every elcor you meet due to their slow, ponderous delivery and pre-announced emotional state. Note that this is only how they sound to a human: their personality or the content of the speech may not be serious at all.
- Crazy-Prepared: The elcor system of government involves decisions done by tribal elders, who study records left by older generations of elders to find precedent to base their decisions on. Many of these records are simply historical cases, but a great number of them are hypothetical scenarios and responses that the old elders had come up with in case something they thought of that could happen did happen. When not arbitrating a decision, the elders spend their time trying to anticipate future possibilities and writing more records about what should be done in those events. In this way the elcor can respond to situations (relatively) quickly instead of debating the subject for years before figuring out how to go forward (because they already have).
- Creepy Monotone: Only because they don't express emotion through tone of voice.
- Gentle Giant:
- Despite easily being the largest of the Citadel races, elcor have zero desire to start fights with other races, more often then not preferring to conduct their business in peace, though if pushed hard enough, they will get violent.
- The elcor are also the friendliest towards humans, and it seems the feeling is mutual, as even in Mass Effect 1, Shepard can't help but smile and treat the elcor diplomat with genuine fondness.
- Garrus mentions one rather terrifying aversion in Mass Effect 1: an elcor serial killer who dismembered his victim's corpses.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: An in-universe example; see Alien Arts Are Appreciated. In short, a sizable amount of elcor adore Shakespeare's Hamlet, to the point one named elcor deliberately eschewed their old name in favor of a reference to the play.
- Heavy Worlder: A straight example of this trope, which is why they stand and walk on all four of their limbs. This has also affected their psychological development, inclining them to be careful and conservative, carefully considering every action before taking it. This is due to evolving on a world where falling down due to a misstep can result in a serious, potentially fatal, injury.
- I Do Not Speak Nonverbal:
- Long-Lived: Heavily implied throughout the seriesnote , officially confirmed in Mass Effect Annihilation: the elcor are the third longest-living species in the galaxy, being only outranked by the asari and krogan respectively. Indeed, the elcor consider being 100 years old young by their species standards', while 300 is considered old. Justified when you remember the elcor are a species of Heavy Worlders, so unlike the salarians, they don't burn metabolism nearly as fast, hence why they live a lot longer than most other species.
- Mighty Glacier: Due to growing up on a high-gravity but teeming-with-life planet, elcor move slowly and react slowly. They more than make up for it by having enough strength to punch holes through bulkheads, and are one of the few species in which they can shrug off incoming fire with relative ease, owing to their incredibly thick hides and strong muscular structure. Thankfully for everyone involved, however, the elcor are unlike the krogan or yahg in the sense that starting fights is one of the last things on their minds.
- Taken to incredible levels from what we know of elcor soldiers. On top of their natural resilience and strength, they have automated heavy weapons on their back that they control with voice commands. Add this to the fact that the elcor likely have full armor on top of their already-durable hides, and it's probably a good thing Shepard doesn't encounter hostile elcor, for obvious reasons.
- Off Screen Moment Of Awesome: According to the elcor flotilla entry in the War Assets, a soldier elcor might as well be the single-most terrifying thing you'll ever see: their common infantry has Shoulder Cannons as their default weaponry, made even more effective thanks to complex AI. Sadly, you never see any of these elcor combatants, even if you recruit them to the cause in 3.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Shepard asks how many elcor civilians the evacuation teams managed to save in 3, the Diplomat, who prefaced every previous line by stating his current emotion, simply says "Not... enough". It's that obvious how upset he is; specifically, his hesitation to speak. Since elcor emotions are conveyed through pheremones and expressions imperceptible to non-elcor, the fact that Shepard can gauge the ambassador's emotion from vocal inflection alone means that the elcor ambassador had completely broken down with emotion.
- Pheromones: Used to communicate inflection among themselves, hence why they preface their statements with their current emotion when talking to other species.
- Primal Stance: It's not immediately obvious, but the elcor do not have four legs. Their forelimbs are actually arms and have hands, and they walking on their knuckles. This is probably why they move slowly, since to operate things manually, they actually have to rear back on their hind legs, and on a heavy world, this could be fatal.
- Shoulder Cannon: Standard issue for elcor infantry. Justified by the fact that the elcor are knuckle-walking quadrupeds, and while their forelimbs can manipulate objects while stationary, the ergonomics of most species' firearms are very awkward for them to handle, especially while moving. Contrarily, their low heads and stable stance makes their broad shoulders ideal platforms for bearing the weight of weapons which other species would only consider mounting on vehicles. The elcor get around the difficulty controlling and reloading them with Virtual Intelligence controlled servo-harnesses that can be programmed with limited autonomy before combat starts and directed by the elcor's voice-control during combat.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: Justified. See above. This is especially evident in the case of a Deadpan Snarker elcor in Deception.
- World of Ham: Presumably how they view the other races of the galaxy, given they can tell how members of their own races feel just fine.
Homeworld: The Citadel
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.
- Chekhov's Army: Pay no mind to the large army of insect drones making life easy on the Citadel for free. Not until it's too late.
- 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.
- Expy: Of the Kai race from Unreal II: The Awakening, although it didn't turn dangerous, but still instrumental in Reaper's work.
- 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 furniture. 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.
- Insectoid Aliens: The Keepers resemble large green aphids. When the the Collectors are revealed to be re-purposed Protheans, talk turns to speculation over the Keepers original form before enslavement. They may not have even been insectoid once upon a time.
- 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 scientist 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. No one believed him either.
- 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: They are tireless servants to the Citadel, managing the station's general upkeep until they drop dead. They may have been created solely for the purpose of managing the Citadel. While their true origins are never made clear, in-universe they are believed to have went through the same process as the Collectors and were likely one of the first races subjugated by the Reapers.
- Spanner in the Works: Over time, they eventually stopped responding directly to the Reapers and evolved to 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's front door.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Citadel. Even more than the Reapers.