Mass Effect: Cortex Plus
The asari, native to the planet Thessia, are often considered the most powerful and respected sentient species in the galaxy, and are known for their elegance, diplomacy, and biotic aptitude. Their long lifespan and history have allowed them to serve as galactic mediators for centuries. While not as physically powerful as other species, their proficiency with biotics makes them dangerous opponents.
A mono-gender race, the asari are distinctly feminine in appearance and possess maternal instincts. Their unique physiology, expressed in a millennia-long lifespan and the ability to reproduce with a partner of any gender or species, gives them a conservative yet convivial attitude toward other races. Favoring compromise and cooperation over conflict, the asari were instrumental in proposing and founding the Citadel Council and have been at the heart of galactic society ever since.
Asari are fierce, graceful warriors. They are incredibly powerful natural biotics. The asari excel at hit-and-run tactics to ruthlessly eliminate their opponents from the battlefield.
Little is known about the batarian homeworld of Khar’shan or its inhabitants, a disreputable race of four-eyed bipeds that chose to isolate itself from the rest of the galaxy. As a result, the species is judged by those whom the Hegemony allows to travel beyond its borders: organized crime enforcers, pirate boarding parties, slaver gangs, and gladiatorial combatants.
Batarians are large brawlers that use nets and spiked weapons to capture targets or to bleed them dry on the battlefield. If an opponent gets too close, the batarian bludgeons them with spiked armor and enforcement gauntlets.
The Drell are a reptile-like race that were rescued from their dying homeworld by the Hanar following first contact between the two. Since then, the Drell have remained loyal to the Hanar for their camaraderie and have fit comfortably into galactic civilization.
The reptilian Drell have dense muscle tissue that grants them surprising, wiry strength. With unique hyoid bones in their throats, Drell can vocalize high-pitched sounds outside of human hearing range. The bones have the added benefit of making drell extremely difficult to strangle. Drell also possess an advanced form of eidetic memory.
Though drell may lack the rugged durability of other races, they are lightning fast and deadly accurate. Drell are to be feared on the battlefield.
Humans, from the planet Earth, are the newest sentient species of notable size to enter the galactic stage and are the most rapidly expanding and developing. They independently discovered a Prothean data cache on Mars in 2148, and the mass relay networks shortly thereafter. It has been noted that humans are unusual in the galactic community because they have far greater genetic diversity compared to other species with more peaks and valleys.
Their devotion to understanding and adapting to modern warfare left the staid Council races stunned. Humanity’s persistence and unflappable spirit has taken them further than anyone in the galaxy could have imagined. Thanks to their efforts in the Battle of the Citadel, humanity has risen to a new level of prominence in the galaxy.
Krogan are large bipeds native to the planet Tuchanka, a world known for its harsh environment, scarce resources, and vicious predators. Until the invention of gunpowder, the leading cause of krogan fatalities was “eaten by predators.” Though slow, krogan can take tremendous damage in combat, allowing them to inflict grievous harm with impunity.
With the help of the Salarians, the krogan were “uplifted” into galactic society, and lent their numbers and military prowess to bring an end to the Rachni Wars. Ironically, after the Rachni were eradicated, the rapidly-expanding Krogan became a threat to the galaxy in turn, starting the Krogan Rebellions and forcing the Turians to unleash the genophage. This genetic “infection” dramatically reduced fertility in Krogan females, causing a severe drop in births secondary to prenatal and postnatal death and, ultimately, population, eliminating the krogan numerical advantage.
Armored like a tank—and as slow as one—an angry krogan has more going for it than the species’ infamous belligerence. It should come as no surprise that a krogan dishes out as much punishment as they’re able to take on the battlefield.
The Quarians are a nomadic species of humanoid aliens known for their skills with technology and synthetic intelligence. Since their homeworld Rannoch was conquered by the Geth, the Quarians live aboard the Migrant Fleet, a huge collection of starships that travel as a single fleet. Quarians have spent centuries at perpetual salvage and ship repair—the survival of their species depends on this technical expertise.
The most distinguishing feature of Quarian biology is their weak immune system, compounded by centuries of living in sterile environments. As a result, all Quarians by necessity dress in highly sophisticated enviro-suits, to protect them from disease or infection if they are injured. Along with their suits Quarians also have extensive cybernetic augmentations integrated into their bodies.
Quarian soldiers are elite specialists with a talent for setting up ambushes and providing cover fire through the use of drones. Their technical wizardry makes them crucial contributors on the battlefield.
The second species to join the Citadel, the Salarians are warm-blooded amphibians native to the planet Sur’Kesh. Salarians possess a hyperactive metabolism that allows them to function on just one hour of sleep a day. They also process information much faster than other sentient races. Unfortunately, their metabolic speed leaves them with a relatively short lifespan; Salarians over the age of 40 are a rarity.
Salarians are known for their observational capability and non-linear thinking. This manifests as an aptitude for research and espionage. They are constantly experimenting and inventing, and it is generally accepted that they always know more than they are letting on. Their powerful intelligence network is spearheaded in the field by the Special Tasks Group (STG.)
Salarian agents specialize in long-range suppression, flanking, and stealth-based combat. These agile combatants are deadly and difficult to detect on the battlefield.
Known for their militaristic and disciplined culture, the Turians were the third race to join the Citadel Council. Originally from the planet Palaven, Turians are best known for their military role, particularly their contributions of soldiers and starships to the Citadel Fleet. They are respected for their public service ethic but are sometimes seen as imperialist or rigid by other races. Turians adhere to a strict moral code: “The needs of the group outweigh that of the individual.”
There is some animosity between Turians and Humans, largely due to the Turian role in the First Contact War. This bitterness is slowly beginning to heal but many Turians still resent Humans, and vice versa.
Discipline is the foundation of Turian society. A turian line never collapses, its troops fall back in order, setting ambushes as they go. You will only see a turian’s back when they are dead. Turians receive the best military training in the galaxy. Their proficiency with a wide range of weapons, as well as their unmatched focus and determination, make up for their lack of speed and agility.
The Volus are an associate race on the Citadel with their own embassy, but are also a client race of the Turians. The Volus homeworld, Irune, has a high-pressure atmosphere that supports an ammonia-based biochemistry. To survive on other planets, the Volus must wear pressure suits and breathers or, when facing combat, specially sealed armor.
Because they are not physically adept compared to most species, Volus mostly make their influence felt through trade and commerce, and they have a long history on the Citadel. However, they have never been invited to join the Council, which is a sore point for many volus individuals.
Not to be underestimated in a fight, the diminutive Volus are cagey support specialists that use the most technologically advanced power armor credits can buy.