Mass Effect: (xbox360)FAQ/Walkthrough

Mass Effect: (XBOX360) faq/WALKTHROUGH


This FAQ is about Mass Effect's codex. The codex is one of the selections
in Mass Effect's pause menu and as you progress through the game you
will get more entries in it. The Codex entries fill you in on the backstory
of the Mass Effect Universe. This guide contains what is in all of these
codex entries and will soon contain where to unlock them.


You may contact me at sagarabnave111@gmail.com but only for the
following things.



Version Number: 1.0
Date Added: 11/26/07
What's New: Everything.

Version Number: 1.9.2
Date Added: 01/11/08
What's new: Added a couple missing how to get's.


-Aliens: Council Races
-Aliens: Extinct Races
-Aliens: Non-Council Races
-Aliens: Non-Sapient Creatures
-Thresher Maws
-Citadel and Galactic Government
-Citadel Council
-Citadel Space
-Humanity and the Systems Alliance
-First Contact War
-Systems Alliance
-Planets and Locations
-Planets: Feros
-Planets: Ilos
-Planets: Noveria
-Planets: Virmire
-Region: Terminus Systems
-Uncharted Worlds
-Ships and Vehicles
-FTL Drive
-Military Ship Classifications
-Space Combat
-Vehicles: M35 Mako
-Computers: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
-Computers: Virtual Intelligence (VI)
-Element Zero ('Eezo')
-Mass Effect Fields
-Mass Relays
-Weapons, Armor, and Equipment
-Body Armor
-Kinetic Barriers ('Shields')
-Mass Accelerators
-Small Arms
-Personal History Summary
-Aliens: Council Races
-Asari: Biology
-Asari: Culture
-Asari: Government
-Asari: Military Doctrine
-Asari: Religion
-Salarians: Biology
-Salarians: Culture
-Salarians: Government
-Salarians: League of One
-Salarians: Military Doctrine
-Salarians: Special Tasks Group
-Turians: Biology
-Turians: Culture
-Turians: Government
-Turians: Military Doctrine
-Turians: Religion
-Turians: The Unification War
-Aliens: Extinct Races
-Protheans: Beacon
-Protheans: Cipher
-Protheans: Data Disks
-Protheans: Mars Ruins
-Aliens: Non-Council races
-Geth: Armatures
-Geth: Hoppers
-Krogan: Biology
-Krogan: Culture
-Krogan: Genophage
-Krogan: Krogan Rebellions
-Krogan: Military Doctrine
-Quarians: Economy
-Quarians: Government
-Quarians: Law and Defense
-Quarians: Migrant Fleet
-Quarians: Pilgrimage
-Quarians: Religion
-Citadel and Galactic Government
-Citadel Conventions
-Citadel Station: Citadel Security Services (C-Sec)
-Citadel Station: Presidium Ring
-Citadel Station: Serpent Nebula
-Citadel Station: Statistics
-Citadel Station: Wards
-Treaty of Farixen
-Humanity and the Systems Alliance
-Genetic Engineering
-Human Diplomatic Relations
-Systems Alliance: Geological Survey
-Systems Alliance: Military Doctrine
-Systems Alliance: Military Jargon
-Systems Alliance: Military Ranks
-Systems Alliance: N7
-Terra Firma Party
-Planets and Locations
-Stations: Arcturus Station
-Stations: Gagarin Station
-Ships and Vehicles
-FTL Drive: Appearance
-FTL Drive: Drive Charge
-Space Combat: Combat Endurance
-Space Combat: General Tactics
-Space Combat: Planetary Assaults
-Starships: Crew Considerations
-Starships: Cruisers
-Starships: Dreadnought
-Starships: Fighters
-Starships: Frigates
-Starships: Heat Management
-Starships: Sensors
-Starships: Thrusters
-Vehicles: Combat Drones
-Weapons: Ablative Armor
-Weapons: Disruptor Torpedoes
-Weapons: GARDIAN
-Biotics: Biotic Amps
-Biotics: Life as a Biotic
-Biotics: Training
-Communications: Administration
-Communications: Methodology
-Credits ('Creds')
-Weapons, Armor and Equipment


--Aliens: Council Races--

The three most politically important species in the galaxy.


The asari were the first species to discover the Citadel. When the salarians
arrived, it was the asari who proposed the establishment of the Citadel
Council to maintain peace throughout the galaxy. Since then, the asari have
served as the mediators and centrists of the councils.

An all-female race, the asari reproduce through a form of parthenogenesis.
Each asari can attune her nervous system to a that of another individual of
any gender, and of any species, to reproduce. This capability has led to
unseemly and inaccurate rumors about asari promiscuity.

Asari can live for over 1000 years, passing through three stages of life. In
the Maiden stage, they wander restlessly, seeking new knowledge and
experience. When the Matron stage begins, they 'meld' with interesting
partners to produce their offspring. This ends when they reach the Matriarch
stage, where they assume the roles of leaders and councilors.


The second species to join the Citadel, the salarians are warm-blooded
amphibians with a hyperactive metabolism. Salarians think fast, talk fast, and
move fast. To salarians, other species seem sluggish and dull-witted.
Unfortunately, their metabolic speed leaves them with a relatively short
lifespan, salarians over the age of 40 are a rarity.

The salarians were responsible for advancing the development of the primitive
krogan species to use as soldiers during the Rachni Wars. They were also behind
the creation of the genophage bioweapon the turians used to quell the Krogan
Rebellions several centuries later.

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 then they let on.


How to get: This entry is given after your very first conversation with Joker
and Kaiden. It is impossible not to get it.


Roughly 1200 years ago, the turians were invited to join the Citadel Council
to fulfill the role of galactic peacekeeper. The turians have the largest
fleet in Citadel space, and they make up the single largest portion of the
Council's military forces.

As their territory and influence has spread, the turians have come to rely on
the salarians for military intelligence and the asari for diplomacy. Despite a
somewhat colonial attitude towards the rest of the galaxy, the ruling
Hierarchy understands they would lose more than they would gain if the other
two races were ever removed.

Turians come from an autocratic society that values discipline and possesses a
strong sense of personal and collective honor. There is lingering animosity
between turians and humans over the First Contact War of 2157, which is known
as the "Relay 314 Incident" to the turians. Officially, however, the two
species are allies and they enjoy civil, if cool, diplomatic relations.

--Aliens: Extinct Races--

Spacefaring species that went extinct thousands of years before the present.


How to get: Ask the Captain at the very beginning of the game before you go
to Eden Prime about them.


Fifty thousand years ago, the Protheans were the only spacefaring species in
the galaxy. They vanished in a swift 'galactic exitinction'. Only the legacy
of their empire remains. They are believed to have built the mass relays and
the Citadel, which have allowed numerous species to explore and expand
throughout the galaxy.

Prothean ruins are found on worlds across the galaxy. While surprising intact
for their age, functioning examples of Prothena paleotechnology are rare. Time
and generations of looters have picked their dead cities and derelict stations

Some believe the Protheans meddled in the evolution of younger races. The
hanar homeworld of Kahje for examploe, shows clear evidence of Prothean
occupation. The presence of a former Prothean observation post on Mars has
caused a rebirth of 'interventionary evolutionists' among humans. These
individuals believe the god-myths of ancient cilivizations are misremembered
encounters with aliens.


How to get: Talk to the VIs on the Citadel


Though now extinct, the rachni once threatened every species in Citadel space.
Over 2000 years ago, explorers foolishly opened a mass relay to a previously-
unknown system and encountered something never seen before or since: a species
of spacefaring insects guided by a hive-mind intelligence.

Unfortunately, the rachni were not peaceful, and the galaxy was plunged into a
series of conflicts known as the Rachni Wars. Attempts to negotiate were
futile, as it was impossible to make contact with the hive queens that guided
the race from beneath the surface of their toxic homeworld.

The emergence of the krogan ended the Rachni Wars. Bred to survive in the
harshest environments, the krogan were able to strike at the queens in their
lairs and reclaim conquered Council worlds. But when the krogan fleets pressed
them back to their homeworld, the rachni refused to surrender, and the krogan
eradicated them from the galaxy.

--Aliens: Non-Council Races--

Spacefaring species without hte political power to set galactic policy.


How to get: I don't know if it will be the same for everybody but for me
when I returned to the Citadel for the first time after I left and entered
the C-Sec accademy I was contacted by a Marine about a girl who was found that
was taken by slavers on Mindoir. As soon as I was contacted about this quest
It was added to the Codex.


In the early 2160s, the Alliance began aggressive colonization of worlds in
the Skyllian Verge, much to the dismay of the batarians who had been
developing the region for several decades. In 2171, the batarians petitioned
the Council to declare the Verge a 'zone of batarian interest.' The Council
refused, however, declaring unsettled worlds in the region open to human

In protest, the batarians closed their Citadel embassy and severed official
diplomatic relations with the Council, effectively becoming a rouge state.
They instigated a proxy war in the Verge by funneling money and weapons to
criminal organizations, urging them to strike at human colonies.

Hostilities peaked with the Skyllian Blitz of 2176, an attack on the human
capital of Elysium by batarian-funded pirates and slavers. In 2178, the
Alliance retaliated with a crushing assault on the moon of Torfan, long used
as a staging base by batarian-backed criminals. In the aftermath, the
batarians retreated into their own systems, and are now rarely seen in Citadel


How to get: Talk to the Elcor diplomat in the Embassies and ask him about
his people.


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

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

Dekunna's high gravity impedes mountain formation. Most of the world consists
of flat, open plains, which prehistoric elcor wandered across in small family
bonds. Modern elcor still prefer open sky, and can become restless and
uncomfortable on long starship journeys.


How to get: You will get it when you first meet Ashley.


The geth are a humanoid race of network AIs. They were created by the quarians
300 years ago as tools of labor and war. When the geth showed signs of self-
evolution, the quarians attempted to exterminate them. The geth won the
resulting war. This example has led to a legal, systematic repression of
artificial intelligences in galactic society.

The geth possess a unique distributed intelligence. An individual has
rudimentary animal instincts, but as their numbers and proximity increase,
the apparent intelligence of each individual improves. In groups, they can
reason, analyze situations, and use tactics as well as any organic race.

Geth space is located at the trailing end of the Perseus Arm, beyond the
lawless Terminus Systems. The Perseus Veil, an obscuring 'dark nebula' of
opaque gas and dust, lies between their space and the Terminus Systems.


Talk to the Hanar Merchant on Noveria, also I hear you can also get this
on the Citadel.


The hanar are a Citadel species known for excessive politeness. They speak
with scrupulous precision, and take offense as improper language. Hanar that
expect to deal with other species take special courses to help them unlearn
their tendency to take offense at improper speech.

All hanar have two names. The Face Name is known to the world; the Soul name
is kept for use among close friends and relations. Hanar never refer to
themselves in the first person in conversation with someone they know on
a face name basis. To do so is considered egotistical, so instead they refer
to themselves as 'this one,' or the impersonal 'it.'

Their homeworld, Kahje, has 90% ocean cover and orbits and energetic white
star, resulting in a permanent blanket of clouds. Due to the presence of
Prothean ruins on the world, many hanar worship them, and hanar myths often
speak of an elder race that civilized them by teaching them language.


How to get: Talk to the VIs on the Citadel.


When the asari discovered the Citadel, they also discovered the keepers, a
docile multi-limbed insect race that seemingly exist only to maintain and
repair the great Prothean station.

Early attempts to communicate with or study the keepers were failures, and it
is now illegal to interfere with or impede keeper activity. Because they are
completely non-threatening, keepers have become virtually invisible to
everyone else. Similarly, they seem indifferent to other species, expect for
their tendency to help new arrivals integrate themselves into the Citadel.

No matter how many keepers die due to old age, violence, or accident, they
maintain a constant number. No one has discovered the source of new keepers,
but some hypothesize they are genetic constructs: biological androids created
somewhere deep in the inaccessible core of the Citadel itself.


The krogan evolved in a hostile and vicious environment. Until the invention
of gunpowder weapon, 'eaten by predators' was still the number one cause of
krogan fatalities. Afterwards, it was 'death by gunshot'.

When the salarians discovered them, the krogan were a brutal, primitive
species struggling to survive a self-inflicted nuclear winter. The salarians
culturally uplifted them, teaching them to use and build modern technology so
they could serve as soldiers in the Rachni War.

Liberated from the harsh conditions from their homeworld, the quick-breeding
krogan experienced an unprecedented population explosion. They began to
colonize nearby worlds, even though these worlds were already inhabited. The
Krogan Rebellions lasted nearly a century, only ending when the turians
unleashed the genophage, a salarian-developed bioweapon that crushed all
krogan resistance.

The genophage makes only one in 1000 pregnancies viable, and today the krogan
are a slowly dying breed. Understandably, the krogan harbor a grudge against
all other species, specially the turians.


Driven from their home system by the geth nearly three centuries ago, most
quarians now live aboard the Migrant Fleet, a flotilla of fifty thousand
vessels ranging in size from passenger shuttles to mobile space stations.

Home to 17 million quarians, the flotilla understandably has scarce resources.
Because of this, each quarian must go on a rite of passage known as the
Pilgrimage when they come of age. They leave the fleet and only return once
they have found something of value they can bring back toe their people.

Other species often tend to look down on the quarians for creating the geth
and for the negative impact their fleet has when it enters a system. This has
led to may myths and rumors about the quarians, including the belief that
under their cloths and breathing masks, they are actually cybernetic
creatures: a combination of organic and synthetic parts.


The volus are a member species of the Citadel with their own embassy, but they
are also a client race of the turians. Centuries ago, they were voluntarily
absorbed into the Hierarchy, effectively trading their mercantile prowess for
turian military protection.

Irune, their homeworld, lies far beyond the normal life zone of its star.
However, the world has a high-pressure greenhouse atmosphere that traps
enough heat to support an ammonia-based biochemistry. As a result, the volus
must wear pressure suits and breathers when dealing with other species as
conventional nitrogen/oxygen air mixtures are poisonous to them, and in the
low pressure atmospheres tolerable to most species, their flesh will actually
split open.

Volus culture is tribal, bartering lands and even people to gain status. This
culture of exchange inclines them to economic pursuits. It was the volus who
authored the United Banking Act, and they continue to monitor and balance the
Citadel economy.

--Aliens: Non-Sapient Creatures--

Common non-sapient life-forms.


How to get: You will get it when you first encounter them on Eden Prime.


After the geth secure a location, they round up and impale dead and living
bodies on mechanical spikes. The spikes rapidly transform these victims into
withered husks, extracting water and trace minerals and replacing them with

The cybernetics re-animate the lifeless flesh and tissue, transforming the
bodies into mindless killing machines. Some Alliance soldiers refer to the
husk-generating spikes as Dragon's Teeth, a reference to the mythological
berserkers who sprang up from the earth wherever the teeth of the dragon Ares
were planted.

Dragon's Teeth and husks bear little resemblance to other pieces of geth
technology. No one is sure why a synthetic race would bother to drain the
miniscule amount of recoverable resources from organic corpses, though the
value of reusing them as shock troops is obvious.

~Thresher Maws~

How to get: I got it during the UNC: Missing Marines quest on the planet
in the Sparta System of Artemis Tau that you can land on. When you find
them on the planet you will be attacked by one.


Thresher maws are subterranean carnivores that spend their entire lives
eating or searching for something to eat. Threshers reproduce via spores
that lie dormant for millennia, yet are robust enough to survive prolonged
periods in deep space and atmospheric re-entry. As a result, thresher spores
appear on many worlds, spread by previous generations of space travelers.

The body of a thresher never entirely leaves the ground; only the head and
tentacles erupt from the earth to attack. In addition to physical attacks,
threshers have the ability to project toxic chemicals and emit bursts of
infrasound as a shockwave weapon.

The Alliance first encountered threshers on the colony Akuze in 2177. After
contact was lost with the pioneer team, marine units were deployed to
investigate. The shore parties were set upon by hungry threshers, and nearly
the entire assault force was killed. Alliance forces recommend engaging
threshers with vehicle-mounted heavy weapons.


How to get: On Feroes, either when you first encounter them or before if
you talk to one of the colonists about Varren Meat.


Varren are omnivores with a preference for living prey. Originally native to
the krogan homeworld of Tuchanka, they are, like most life from Tuchanka,
savage, clannish, and consummate survivors. They are pack hunters when
vulnerable prey is readily available and become scavengers when outnumbered or

Their supreme adaptability, vicious demeanor, and rapid breeding cycle have
made them ubiquitous and dangerous pests on many worlds. Virtually everywhere
the krogan have been, varren infestations have followed, wreaking havoc with
the native ecology.

The krogan have had a love-hate relationship with varren for millennia,
alternately fighting them for territory and embracing them as treasured
companions. To this day, krogan raise them as beats of war. A common subgenus
of varren has metallic silver scales, leading to the rather unusual nickname

--Citadel and Galactic Government--

A massive space station that serves as the political and economic capital of
galactic culture.


The Citadel is an ancient deep-space station, presumably constructed by the
Protheans. Since the Prothean extinction, numerous species have come to call
the Citadel home. It serves as the political, cultural, and financial capital
of the galactic community. To represent their interests, most species maintain
embassies on the Presidium, the Citadel's inner ring.

The Citadel Tower, in the center of the Presidium, holds the Citadel Council
chambers. Council affairs often have far-reaching effects on the rest of the
galactic community. Five arms, known as wards, extend from the Presidium.
Their inner surfaces have been built into cities, populated by millions of
inhabitants from across the galaxy.

The Citadel is virtually indestructible. If attacked, the station can close
it's arms to form a solid, impregnable shell. For as long as the station has
existed, an enigmatic race called the keepers has maintained it.

~Citadel Council~

How to get: Automatically once you go to the Citadel for the first time.


The Council is an executive committee composed of representatives from the
Asari Republics, the Turian Hierarchy, and the Salarian Union. Though they
have no official power over the independent governments of other species, the
Council's decisions carry great weight throughout the galaxy. No single
Council race is strong enough to defy the other two, and have a vested
interest in compromise and cooperation.

Each of the console species has general characteristics associated with the
various aspects of governing the galaxy. The asari are typically seen as
diplomats and mediators. The salarians gather intelligence and information.
The turians provide the bulk of the military and peacekeeping forces.

Any species granted an embassy on the Citadel is considered an associate
member, bound by the accords of the Citadel Conventions. Associate members may
bring issues to the attention of the Council, through they have no input on
the decision. The human Systems Alliance became an associate member of the
Citadel in 2165.

~Citadel Space~

Citadel Space is an unofficial term referring to any region of space
controlled by a species that acknowledge the authority of the Citadel Council.
At first glance, it appears this territory encompasses most of the galaxy. In
reality, however, less then 1% of the stars have been explored.

Even mass-effect-FTL drive is slow relative to the volume of the galaxy. Empty
space any systems without suitable drive discharge sites are barriers to
exploration. Only the mass relays allow ships to jump hundreds of light years
in an instant, the key to expanding across an otherwise impassable galaxy.

Whenever a new relay is activated, the destination system is rapidly
developed. From that hub, FTL drive is used to expand to nearby star clusters.
The result is a number of densely-developed clusters thinly spread across the
vast expanse of space, connected by the mass relay network.


How to get: Talk to Dr. Chakwas about 'The Spectres' or just during your
conversation with Captain Anderson and Nihilus.


Spectres are agents from the Office of Special Tactics and Reconnaissance and
answer only to the Citadel Council. They are elite military operatives,
granted the authority to deal with threats to peace and stability in whatever
way they deem necessary.

They operate independently or in groups of two or three. Some are empathetic
peacekeepers, resolving disputes through diplomacy. Others are cold-blooded
assassins, ruthlessly dispatching problem individuals. All get the job done,
one way or another, often operating outside of the bounds of galactic law.

The Spectres were founded after the salarians joined the Council. For many
years, they operated in secrecy, as back-room 'problem solvers.' Only after
the krogan Rebellions did their activities become publicized. Assignment of a
Spectre is less contentious than military deployment, but makes it clear that
the Council is concerned about a situation.

--Humanity and the Systems Alliance--

The Alliance is the government and military of humanity beyond Sol.


How to get: Go and examine Earth


The homeworld and capital of humanity is entering a new golden age. The
resource wealth of a dozen settled colonies and a hundred industrial outposts
flows back to Earth, fueling great works of industry, commerce, and art. The
great cities are greening as arcology skyscrapers and telecommuting allow
more efficient use of land.

Earth is still divided among nation-states, though all are affiliated beneath
the overarching banner of the Systems Alliance. While every human enjoys longer
and better life then ever, the gap between rich and poor widens daily. Advanced
nations have eliminated most genetic disease and pollution. Less fortunate
regions have not progressed beyond 20th century technology, and are often
smog-choked, overpopulated slums.

Sea levels have risen two meters in the last 200 years, and violent weather
is common due to environmental damage inflicted during the late 21st century.
The past few decades, however, have seen significant improvement due to recent
technological advances.

~First Contact War~

How to get: Keep talking to Ashley after each mission. Eventually you will get
this one. Also you can get it through talking to Navigator Pressly about the
'Turian Spectre'.


Humanity's first contact with an alien race occurred in 2157. At that time, the
Alliance allowed survey fleets to activate any dormant mass relays discovered, a
practice considered dangerous and irresponsible by Council-aligned races. When
a turian patrol discovered a human fleet attempting to activate a relay, they
attacked. One human vessel survived, retreating to the colony of Shanxi.

The turians followed, quickly defeating the local forces. Shanxi was occupied,
the first - and, to date, only - human world to be conquered by an alien
species. The turians believed the handful of ships they defeated represented
the bulk of human defenses. So they were unprepared when the Second Fleet under
Admiral Kastanie Drescher, launched a strong counteroffensive, evicting them
from Shanxi.

The turians mobilized for full-scale war, drawing the attention of the rest of
the galaxy. The Council quickly intervened, forcing a truce. Fortunately for
humanity, the First Contact War was ended with a diplomatic solution.

~System Alliance~

How to get: This entry is given after your very first conversation with Joker
and Kaiden. It is impossible not to get it.


The Systems Alliance is an independent supranational government representing
the interests of humanity as a whole. The Alliance is responsible for the
governance and defense of all extra-solar colonies and stations.

The Alliance grew out of the various nation space programs as a matter of
practicality. Sol's planets had been explored and exploited through piecemeal
nation efforts. The expense of colonizing entire new solar systems could not
be met by an one country. With humans knowing that alien contact was
inevitable, there was enough political will to jointly fund an international

Still, the Alliance was often disregarded by those on Earth until the First
Contact War. While the national governments dithered and bickered over who
should lead the effort to liberate Shanxi, the Alliance fleet struck
decisively. Post-War public approval gave the Alliance the credibility to
establish its own Parliament and become the galactic face of humanity.

--Plants and Locations--

The Milky Way galaxy contains 200 to 400 billion stars, most with a host of

~Planets: Feros~

How to get: Talk to the captain about Feros when you are about to leave the


Feros is a habitable world in the Attican Beta cluster. Two-thirds of the
habitable surface is covered with the ruins of crumbling Prothean
megatropolis. In the millennia since the Prothean extinction, the ruins have
been picked over by looters many times.

Feros was considered a poor prospect for colonization, as little open ground
remains for agriculture. The only sizeable fresh water sources are the poles,
which are tapped by the decaying Prothean aqueduct system. The dead cities,
while in good condition considering their antiquity, are of uncertain
stability. Ground level is congested by a dozen meters of fallen debris, and
the air is fouled by dust.

In 2178, the human ExoGeni Corporation announced its intention to place a
permanent colony on Feros, to thoroughly explore the ruins. The pioneer
settlement was placed on the upper levels of the several intact skyscrapers,
using the surviving Prothean aqueducts and rooftop hydroponics gardens to
support the population.

~Planets: Ilos~

How to get: Get to Ilos in the main story


Like the ancient human city of Troy, Ilos is a world known only through
second-hand sources. References to Ilos have been found at several other
Prothean Ruins, though direct study of the world is unlikely to occur.

Ilos lies in a remote area of the Terminus Systems only accessible by the
legendary Mu Relay. Four thousand years ago, the Mu Relay was knocked out
of position by a supernova and lost. Since then, Ilos and its cluster have
been inaccessible.

Occasionally, a university will organize an expedition to chat a route to
Ilos using conventional FTL drive. These never get beyond the planning
stages due to the distance and danger. The journey could take years or
decades, passing through the hostile Terminus Systems and dozens of
unexplored systems.

~Planets: Noveria~

How to get: Talk to the captain about Noveria when you are about to leave the


Noveria is a cool, rocky world, with most of its hydrosphere locked up in
massive glaciers. A privately-chartered colony world, the planet is owned by
Noveria Development Corporation holding company. The NDC is funded by
investment capital from two dozen high technology development firms, and
administrated by an Executive Board representing their interests.

The investors built remote hot labs in isolated locations across Noveria's
surface. These facilities are used for research too dangerous or
controversial to be performed elsewhere, as Noveria is technically not part
of Citadel space and therefore exempt from Council law.

By special arrangement, Citadel Special Tactics and Reconnaissance agent have
been granted extraterritorial privileges, but it remains to be seen how
committed the Executive Board is to that principle. Given its unique
situation, it is understandable that Noveria is often implicated in all manner
of wild conspiracy theories.

~Planets: Virmire~

How to get: When the council tells you about the quest to go there.


Virmire is a lush world located on the frontier of the Attican Traverse. Its
vast seas and orbital position on the inner life zone have created a wide
equatorial band of humid, tropical terrain. Only the political instability of
the region has impeded efforts at colonization.

Many times, the Citadel has opened negotiations to settle Virmire with the
various criminal gangs and petty dictatorships in the nearby Terminus Systems.
All fell apart due to internal power shifts within the opposing parties. The
Citadel has written off the colonization of Virmire as impossible without
significant political change.

The Terminus powers themselves are unlikely to ever settle Virmine. Most lack
the resources to support settlement of a virgin world, finding it more
expedient to steal from their neighbors than build for themselves.

~Region: Terminus Systems~

How to get: You can get it while talking to the Captain and Nihilus at the
very beginning of the game on the Normandy before the cutscene where you go
to Eden Prime.


The Terminus Systems are located on the far side of the Attican Traverse,
beyond the space administered by the Citadel Council or claimed by the humans
Systems Alliance. It is populated by a loose affiliation of minor species,
united only in their refusal to acknowledge the political authority of the
Council or adhere to the Citadel Conventions.

Their independence comes at a price; the Terminus is fraught with conflict.
War among the various species is common, as governments and dictators
constantly rise and fall. The region is a haven for illegal activities,
particularly piracy and the slave trade.

At least once a year, a fleet from Terminus invades the nearby Attican
Traverse. These attacks are typically small raids against poorly-defended
colonies. The Council rarely retaliates, as sending patrols into the Terminus
Systems could unify and disparate species against their common foe, triggering
a long and costly war.

~Uncharted Worlds~

There are between two and four hundred billion stars in the galaxy, and less
then 1% of them have ever been visited or had their systems properly surveyed.

Humanity's early expansion into the Attican Traverse was haphazard; a
desperate race to claim habitable planets where populations can be economically
settled. Ignored in the wake of this land grab were thousands of
less hospitable worlds, each potentially rich with industrial resources. The
wealth of entire solar systems remain untapped, waiting for corporate survey
teams or independent pioneers to discover and exploit them.

This, however, is not an easy task. In addition to the environmental hazards,
the fact that uncharted worlds are largely ignored makes them popular bases
for criminals, revolutionaries, cults, and others who wish to remain unnoticed
by galactic society.

--Ships and Vehicles--

The technologies of space travel and surface mobility.

~FTL Drive~

Faster-than-light drives use element zero cores to reduce the mass of ship,
allowing higher rates of acceleration. This effectively raises the speed of
light within the mass effect field, allowing high speed travel with negligible
relativistic time dilation effects.

Starships still require conventional thrusters (chemical rockets, commercial
fusion torch, economy ion engine, or military antiproton drive) in addition to
the FTL drive core. With only a core, a ship has no motive power.

The amount of element zero and power required for a drive increases
exponentially to the mass being moved and the degree it is being lightened.
Very massive ships or very high speeds are prohibitively expensive.

If the field collapses while the ships moving at faster-than-light speeds,
the effects are catastrophic. The ship is snapped back to sublight velocity,
the enormous excess energy shed in the form of lethal Cerenkov radiation.

~Military Ship Classifications~

Larger warships are classified in one of four weights:

FRIGATES are small, fast ships used counting and screening larger vessels.
Frigrates often operate in wolf-pack flotillas.

CRUISERS are middle-weight combatants, faster than dreadnoughts, and more
heavily-armed then frigates. Cruisers are the standard patrol unit, and often
lead frigate flotillas.

DREADNOUGHTS are kilometer-long capital ships mounting heavy, long-range
firepower. They are only deployed for the most vital missions.

CARRIERS are dreadnought-sized vessels are also carry a large amount of

Smaller vessels are exclusively used in a support role to the warships during

FIGHTERS are one-man craft used to perform close-range attacks on enemy ships.

INTERCEPTORS are one-man craft optimized for destroying opposing fighters.


The Normandy is a prototype starship, developed by the human Systems Alliance
with the assistance of the Citadel Council. It is optimized for scouting and
reconnaissance missions in unstable regions, using state-of-the-art stealth

For most ships, the heat generated through standard operations is easily
detectable against he absolute-zero background of space. The Normandy,
however, is able to temporarily sink this heat within the hull. Combined with
refrigeration of the exterior hull, the ship can travel undetected for hours,
or drift passively for days of convert observation. This is not without risk.
The stored heat must eventually be radiated, or it will build to levels
capable of cooking the crew alive.

Another component of the stealth system is the Normandy's revolutionary
Tantalus drive, a mass effect core twice the standard size. The Tantalus drive
generates mass concentrations that the Normandy 'falls into', allowing it to
move without the use of heat-emitting thrusters.


How to get: At the end of Feros.


Sovereign is the flagship of the rogue Spectre Saren. An enormous dreadnought
larger than any other ship in any known fleet, Sovereign is crewed with both
Geth and krogan. At two kilometers long, its spinal-mounted main gun is likely
capable of penetrating another dreadnought's kinetic barriers with a single

How Sarren acquired this incredible warship is unknown. The prevailing opinion
is that Sovereign is a geth construct, while others believe it is a Prothean
relic. Its design, however, hints at a more alien and mysterious origin.

The attack on Eden Prime demonstrated Sovereign's ability to generate mass
effect fields powerful enough to land on a planetary surface. This implies it
has a massive element zero core, and the ability to generate staggering
amounts of power.

~Space Combat~

Ship mobility dominates space combat; the primary objective is to alight the
mass accelerator along the bow with the apposing vessel's broadside. Battles
typically play out as artillery duels fought at ranges measured in thousands
of kilometers, though assault through defended mass relays often occur at
'knife fight' ranges as close as a few dozen kilometers.

Most ship-to-ship engagements are skirmishes between patrol vessels of cruiser
weight and below, with dreadnoughts and carriers only deployed in full-scale
fleet actions. Battles in open space are short and often inconclusive, as the
weaker opponent generally disengages.

Once a ship enters FTL flight the combat is effectively over; there are no
sensors capable of tracking them, or weapons capable of damaging them. The
only way to guarantee an enemy will stand and fight is to attack a location
they have a crested interest in, such as a settled world or a strategically-
important mass relay.

~Vehicles: M35 Mako~

How to get: Examine the Mako on the Normandy.


The 'Mako' infantry fighting vehicle was designed for the System Alliance's
frigates. Through the interior is cramped, an M35 is small enough to be
carried in the cargo bay and easily deployed on virtually any world.

With it's turreted mass accelerator and coaxially-mounted machine gun, the Mako
can provide a fire team with weapon support as well as mobility. Since
Alliance marines may be required to fight on any world, the Mako is
environmentally-sealed and equipped with microthrusters for use on low-gravity

The Mako is powered by a sealed hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell, and includes a
small element zero core. While not large enough to nullify the vehicle's mass,
the core can reduce it enough to be safely air-dropped. When used in
conjunction with the thrusters, it also allows the Mako to extricate itself
from difficult terrain.


The everyday pieces of technology that support modern lifestyle.


Biotics is the ability of rare individuals to manipulate dark energy and
create mass effect fields through the use of electrical impulses from the
brain. Intense training and surgically-implanted amplifiers are necessary for
a biotic to produce mass effect fields powerful enough for practical use. The
relative strength of biotic abilities varies greatly among species and with
each individual.

There are three branches of biotics. TELEKINESIS uses mass-lowering fields to
levitate or impel objects. Mass-raising KINETIC FIELDS are used to block or
pin objects. DISTORTION uses rapidly shifting mass fields to shred objects.

Most organic species are capable of developing biotic abilities, though there
are risks involved. Biotics are the result of in-utero exposure to element
zero. This usually causes fatal cancers in the victim, but in rare cases it
coalesces into nodules within the fetus's developing nervous system.

~Computers: Artificial Intelligence (AI)~

Keep talking to Tali after each main mission and eventually you will get it.


An artificial intelligence is a self-aware computing system capable of
learning and independent decision making. Creation of conscious AI requires
adaptive code, a slow, expensive education, and a specialized quantum computer
called a 'blue box'.

An AI cannot be transmitted across a communication channel or computer
network. Without its blue box, an AI is no more than data files. Loading these
files into a new blue box will create a new personality, as variations in the
quantum hardware and runtime results create unpredictable variations.

The geth serve as a cautionary tale against the dangers of rouge AI, and in
Citadel Space they are technically illegal. Advocacy groups argue, however,
that an AI is a living, conscious entity deserving the same rights as organics.
They argue that continued use of the term 'artificial' is institutionalized
racism on the part of organic life, the term 'synthetic' is considered the
politically correct alternative.

~Computers: Virtual Intelligence (VI)~

How to get: Talk to the VIs on the Citadel about VIs.


A virtual intelligence is an advanced forms of user interface software. VIs use
a variety of methods to simulate natural conversation, including an audio
interace and an avatar personality to interact with. Although a VI can provide
a convincing emulation of sentience, they are not self-aware, nor can they
learn of take independent action.

VIs are used as operating systems o commercial and home computers. Menial VI
'agents' are also available. Agents are compact and specialized. Some serve as
personal secretaries, filtering calls and scheduling meetings based on user-
defined priorities. Other are advanced search engines, propagating themselves
across the extranet to collate user-requested data.

Commercial VIs in a variety of stock personalities are available at any
software retailer. Boutique firms and hobbyists also build unique VIs to
personal specification. Although software emulation of living personalities is
illegal, reconstructions of famous historical figures are common.

~Element Zero ('Eezo')~

How to get: Examine the element zero core of the Normandy in the engine room,
you have to look up directly at it.


When subjected to an electrical current, the rare material dubbed element zero,
or 'eezo', emits a dark energy field that raises or lowers the mass of all
objects within it. This 'mass effect' is used in countless ways, from
generating artificial gravity to manufacturing high-strength construction
materials. It is most prominently used to enable faster-than-light space

Eezo is generated when solid matter, such as a planet, is affected by the
energy of a star going supernova. The material is common in the asteroid debris
that orbit neutron stars and pulsars. These are dangerous places to mine,
requiring extensive use of robotics, telepresence, and shielding to survive the
incredible radiation from the dead star. Only a few major corporations can
afford the set-up costs required to work these primary sources.

Humanity discovered refined element zero at the Prothean research station on
Mars, allowing them to create mass effect fields and develop FTL travel.

~Mass Effect Fields~

How to get:


Element zero can increase or decrease the mass of volume of space-time when
subjected to an electrical current. With a positive current, mass is
increased. With a negative current, mass is decreased. The stronger the
current, the greater the magnitude if the dark energy mass effect.

In space, low-mass fields allow FTL travel and inexpensive surface-to-orbit
transit. High-mass fields create artificial gravity and push space debris away
from vessels. In manufacturing low-mass fields permit the creation of evenly-
blended allows, while high mass compaction creates dense, sturdy construction

The military makes extensive use of mobility enhancing technologies, with
mass effect utilizing fighting vehicles standard front-line issue in most
military forces. Mass effect fields are also essential in the creation of
kinetic barriers of shields to protect against enemy fire.

~Mass Relays~

Mass relays are feats of Prothean engineering advanced far beyond the
technology of any living species. They are enormous structures scattered
throughout the stars, and can create corridors of virtually mass-free space
allowing instantaneous transit between location separated by years or even
centuries of travel using conventional FTL drives.

Primary mass relays can propel ships thousands of light years, often from on
spiral arm of the galaxy to another. However, they have fixed one-to-one
connections: a primary relay connects to one other primary relay, and nowhere
else. Secondary relays can only propel ships a few hundred light years,
however they are omnidirectional: a secondary relay can send a ship to any
other relay within its limited range.

There are many dormant primary relays whose corresponding twins have not year
been located. These are left inactive until their partner is charted, as
established civilizations are unwilling to blindly open a passage that might
connect them to a hostile species.


Omni-tools are handheld devices that combine a computer microframe, sensor
analysis pack, and manufacturing fabricator. Versatile and reliable, an omni-
tool can be used to analyze and adjust the functionality of most standard
equipment, including weapons and armor, from a distance.

The fabrication module can rapidly assemble small three-dimensional objects
from common, reusable industrial plastics, ceramics, and light alloys. This
allows for field repairs and modifications to most standard items, as well as
the reuse of salvaged equipment.

Omni-tools are standard issue for soldiers and first-in colonists.

--Weapons, Armor, and Equipment--

Advances in technology have made individual soldiers more dangerous and
survivable than ever before.

~Body Armor~

How to get: You can get it by opening the crate near the dig site on Eden


Combat hard-suit use a dual-layer system to protect the wearer. The inner
layer consist of fabric armor with kinetic padding. Areas that don't need to
be flexible, such as the chest or shins, are reinforced with sheets of
lightweight ablatic ceramic.

The outer layer consists of automatically-generated kinetic barriers. Objects
traveling above a certain speed will trigger the barriers reflex system and be
deflected, provided there is enough energy left in the shield's power cell.

Armored hard-suits are sealable to protect the wearer from extremes of
temperature and atmosphere. Standard equipment includes an onboard mini-frame

and a communications, navigations, and sensing suite. The mini-frame is
designed to accept and display date from a weapons' and sensing suite. The
mini-frame is designed to accept and display date from a weapon's smart
targeting system to make is easier to locate and eliminate enemies.

~Kinetic Barriers ('Shields')~

How to get: On Eden Prime investigate Jenkin's body after he is killed by the
Geth. This has to be done before the Geth attacking Ashely are killed.


Kinetic barriers, colloquially called 'shields', provide protection against
most mass accelerator weapons. Whether on a starship or a soldiers' suits of
armor, the basic principle remains the same.

Kinetic barriers are repulsive mass effect fields projected from tiny
emitters. These shields safely deflect small objects traveling at rapid
velocities. This affords protection from bullets and other dangerous
projectiles, but still allows the user to sit down without knocking away their

The shielding afforded by kinetic barriers does not protect against extremes
of temperature, toxins, or radiation.

~Mass Accelerators~

A mass accelerator propels a solid metal slug using precisely-controlled
electromagnetic attraction and repulsion. The slug is designed to squash or
shatter on impact, increasing the energy it transfers to the target. If this
were not the case, it would simply punch a hole right through, doing minimal

Accelerator design was revolutionized by element zero. A slug lightened by a
mass effect field can be accelerated to greater speeds, permitting projectile
velocities that were previously unattainable. If accelerated to a high enough
velocity, a simple paint chip can impact with the same destructive force as
a nuclear weapon.

However, mass accelerators produce recoil equal to their impact energy. This
is mitigated somewhat by the mass effect fields that rounds are suspended
within, but weapons recoil is still the prime limiting factor on slug


How to get: Investigate the Medi-Gel dispencer in the doctor's area.


Medi-gel is a common medicinal salve used by paramedics, EMTs, and military
personnel. It combines several useful applications: a local anesthetic
disinfectant, and clotting agent all in one. Once applied, the gel is designed
to grip tight to flesh until subjected to a frequency of ultrasound. It is
sealable against liquids - most notably blood- as well as contaminants and

The gel is a genetically-engineered bioplasm created by the Sirta Foundation,
a medical technology megacorp based on Earth. Technically the medi-gel
violates Council laws against genetic engineering, but so far, it has proved
far to useful to ban.

~Small Arms~

All modern infantry weapons from pistols to assault rifles use micro-scaled
mass accelerator technology. Projectiles consist of tiny metal slugs suspended
within a mass-reducing field, accelerated by magnetic force to speeds that
inflict kinetic damage.

The ammo magazine is a simple block of metal. The gun's internal computer
calculates the mass needed to reach the target based on distance, gravity, and
atmospheric pressure, then shears off an appropriate sized slug from the
block. A single block can supply thousands of rounds, making ammo a non-issue
during any engagement.

Top-line weapons also feature smart targeting that allows them to correct for
weather and environment. Firing on a target in a howling gale feels the same
as it does on a calm day on a practice range. Smart targeting does not mean
the bullet will automatically find the mark every time the trigger is pulled;
it only makes it easier for the marksman to aim.


--Personal History Summary--

Background Profile for Commander Shepard.


Your profile depends on the options you choose at the beginning of the game.

One of the first three (Earthborn, Colonist, or Spacer) will combine with one
of the other three (War Hero, Ruthless, Sole Survivor) based on what you
picked to become your profile.


You were raised on Mindoir on the fringes of the Attican Traverse. When you
were sixteen, the colony was raided by slavers. The entire settlement was
razed and your friends and family were slaughtered. A passing Alliance patrol
rescued you, but all you loved was destroyed.


You were born on Earth, but you never knew your parents. A child of the
streets, you learned to live by your wits and guts, surviving in the hidden
underbelly of the megatropolises of humanity's home world.


Both of your parents were in the Alliance military. Your childhood was spent
on ships and stations as they transferred from posting to posting. Following
in your parents' footsteps, you enlisted at the age of eighteen.


Eager to find a better life, you joined the Alliance military when you came
of age. You were assigned to the campaign to rid the Skyllian Verge of
batarian slavers and other criminal elements. The final battle came when
Alliance forces laid siege to Torfan, a slaver base built miles below the
surface of a desolate moon. The superiority of the human fleet was wasted in
the assault on the underground bunker, but you led a corps of elite ground
troops into the heart of the enemy base.

Nearly three-quarters of your own squad perished in the vicious close-quarters
fighting... a cost you were willing to pay to make sure not a single slaver
made it out of Torfan alive.

--Sole Survivor--

One of your first missions was an expedition to investigate Akuze, a lush
world on the outskirts of Alliance space that had suddenly dropped out of
contact. Arriving on the surface, your patrol found the settlement intact, but
there were no survivors.

At nightfall, the thresher maws struck - mindless abominations of teeth and
tentacles that rose from beneath the earth. Constant gunfire couldn't drown
the shrieks of your fellow soldiers as they were dragged down to a gruesome

Fifty marines died on Akuze. You were the only one to make it back to the
landing zone alive. A monument on the planet commemorates the massacre, a
grim reminder of the price humanity must pay as they spread throughout the

--War Hero--

You enlisted with the Alliance military and were posted on Elysium. You were
there during the Skyllian Blitz, an attack on the colony by a massive
coalition force of slavers, crime syndicates, and batarian warlords.

You rallied the civilian inhabitants, leading them in their desperate fight
to hold off the invaders. When enemy troopers broke through the colony's
defenses, you single-handedly held them off and sealed the breach.

After hours of brutal fighting, reinforcements finally arrived and the enemy
broke ranks and fled. Because of your actions, Elysium was saved, and you
are regarded throughout the Alliance as a true here.

--Aliens: Council Races--

The three most politically important species in the galaxy.

~Asari: Biology~

How to get: Talk to Liara after each mission.


Asari have a robust cellular regenerative system. While they do not
heal faster than other species, asari are known to reach 1000 years of

Although asari have one gender, they are not asexual. An asari
provides two copies of her own genes to her offspring. The second set
is altered in a unique process called melding.

During melding, an asari consciously attunes her nervous system to her
partner's, sending and receiving electrical impulses directly through
the skin. The partner can be another asari, or an alien of either
gender.Effectively, the asari and her partner briefly become one
unified nervous system.

This unique means of reproduction is the reason asari are talented
biotics. Their evolved ability to consciously control nerve impulses
is very similar to biotic training. Asari believe that their offspring
acquire the best qualities of the "father" from the melded genes, but
evidence is anecdotal.

Asari pass through three climacteric life stages, marked by
biochemical and physiological changes. The Maiden stage begins at
birth and is marked by the drive to explore and experience. Most young
asari are curious and restless.

The Matron stage of life begins around the age of 350, though it can
be triggered earlier if the individual melds frequently. This period
is marked by a desire to settle in one area and raise children.

The Matriarch stage begins around 700, or earlier if the individual
melds rarely. Matriarchs become active in their community as sages and
councilors, dispensing wisdom from centuries of experience.

While each stage of life is marked by strong biological tendencies,
individuals do make unexpected life choices. For example, there are
Maidens who stay close to home rather than explore, Matrons who would
rather work than build a family, and Matriarchs who have no interest
in community affairs.

~Asari: Culture~

How to get: Talk to Liara inbetween main mission.


Because of their long lifespan, asari tend to have a 'long view' not common
in other races. When they encounter a new species or situation, the asari are
more comfortable with an extended period of passive observation and study than
immediate action. They are unfazed that some of their investments or decisions
may not pay off for decades or centuries. Matriarchs can seem to make
incomprehensible decisions, but their insight is evident when their carefully-
laid plans come to fruition. In interstellar relations, this long view
manifests in the unspoken policy of centrism. The asari instinctively seek
to maintain stable balances of economic, political, and military power.

Traditionally, asari spread their influence through cultural domination and
intellectual superiority. They invite new species of advanced development to
join the galactic community, knowing that their ideals and beliefs will
inevitably influence the existing culture.

~Asari: Government~

How to get: You can get it through talking to Liara after each mission.

The asari came late to the concept of world government. For centuries,
their homeworld of Thessia was dotted with loose confederacies of
great republican cities. The closest Earthly equivalent would be the
ancient Mediterranean city-states. Since the asari culture values
consensus and accommodation, there was little impetus to form larger
principalities. Rather than hoard resources, the asari bartered
freely. Rather than attack one another over differing philosophies,
they sought to understand one another.

Only in the information age did the city-states grow close.
Communication over internet evolved into an 'electronic democracy'.
Asari have no politicians or elections, but a free-wheeling,
all-inclusive legislature that citizens can participate in at will.
Policy debates take place at all hours of the day, in official chat
rooms and forums moderated by specially-programmed virtual
intelligences. All aspects of policy are opened to plebiscite at any
time. In any given debate, the asari tend to lend the most credence to
the opinions of any Matriarchs present, nearly always deferring to the
experience of these millenia-old 'wise women'.

Achieving consensus through public debate may take too long in a
crisis. In cases where prompt, decisive action is required, the asari
defer to the wisdom of local Matriarchs.

~Asari: Military Doctrine~

How to get: Talk to Liara inbetween main missions.


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

The average asari huntress is in the maiden stage of her life and has devoted
20-30 years studying the martial arts. Asari choose to be warriors at a young
age, and their education from that point is dedicated to sharpening them mind
and body for that sole purpose. When they retire, they possess an alarming
proficiency for killing.

Huntresses fight individually or in pairs, depending on the tactics preferred
in their town. One-on-one, a huntress is practically unbeatable, possessing
profound tactical insight, a hunter's eye, and a dancer's grace and alacrity.
Biotics are common enough that some capability is a requirement to be trained
as a huntress; lack of biotic talent excludes a young asari from military

While fluid and mobile, asari can't stand up in a firestorm the way a krogan,
turian, or human could. Since their units are small and typically lack heavy
armor and support weapons, they are almost incapable of fighting a
conventional war, particularly one of a defensive nature. So asari units
typically undertake special operations missions. Like an army of ninja, they
are adept at ambush, infiltration, and assassination, demoralizing and
defeating their enemies through intense, focused guerilla strikes.

As a popular turian saying puts it, 'The asari are the finest warriors in the
galaxy. Fortunately, there are not many of them.'

~Asari: Religion~

Talk to Liara inbetween main missions.


The pantheistic mainstream asari religion is siari, which translates roughly
as 'All is one.' The faithful agree on certain core truths: the universe is
a consciousness, every life within it is an aspect of the greater whole, and
death is a merging of one's spiritual energy back into greater universal
consciousness. Siarists don't specifically believe in reincarnation; they
believe in spiritual energy returning to the universal consciousness upon
death will eventually be used to fill new mortal vessels.

Siari became popular after the asari left their homeworld and discovered their
ability to 'med' with nearly any form of life. This ability is seen as proof
that all life is fundamently similar. Siari priestesses see their role as
promoting unity between disparate shards of the universe's awareness.

Before the rise of siari pantheism, asari religions were as diverse as their
political opinion. The strongest survivor of those days is the monotheistic
religion worshipping the goddess Athame. Like the asari, the goddess cycles
through the triple aspects of maiden, matron, and matriarch.

~Salarians: Biology~

Salarians are noted for their high-speed metabolism, which allows them to
function on just one hour sleep a day. Their minds and bodies work faster than
most sapient races, making them seem restless or hyperactive. The drawback of
this active metabolism is a short lifespan of around 40 human years.

The salarians are amphibian haplo-diploid egg-layers; unfertilized eggs
produce males and fertilized eggs produce females. Once a year, a salarian
female will lay a clutch of dozens of eggs. Social rules prevent all but a
fraction from being fertilized. As a result, 90% of the species is male.

Salarians have photographic memories and rarely forget a fact. They also
posses a form of psychological 'imprinting', tending to defer to those they
knew in their youth. Salarian hatching is a solemn ritual in which the clan
Dalatrass (matriarch) isolates herself with the eggs. The young salarians
psychologically imprint on her and tend to defer to her wishes.

During the hatching of daughters, the Dalatrasses of the mother and father's
clans are present at the imprinting. This ensures the offspring have equal
loyalty to both, ensuring the desired dynastic and political unity.

~Salarians: Culture~

The rare salarian females are cloistered on their worlds out of tradition
and respect. Powerful female Dalatrasses are dynasts and political kingpins.
They determine the political course of their respective regions through shrewd
negotiation. Though male salarians rise to positions of great authority in
business, academia, or the military, they rarely have any input on politics.

Due to their method of reproduction, salarians have no concept of romantic
love, sexual attraction, or the biological impulses and social rituals that
complicate human lives. Male-female relationships are rare (due to the
scarcity of females) and more akin to human friendship.

Sexuality is strictly for the purpose of reproduction. Ancient social codes
determine who gets to fertilize eggs, which produces more daughters to
continue a bloodline. Fertilization generally only occurs after months
of negotiation between the parents' clans, and is done for purpose of
political and dynastic alliance. No salarian would imagine defying this

Salarian names are quite complex. A full name includes - in order -
the name of a salarian's planet, duchy, barony, fiefdom, family, and
finally, the given name.

~Salarians: Government~

How to get: On Virmire after talking to the Salarian Commander right before
you go on the main mission.


The salarian government is called the Salarian Union. It is a labyrinthine web
of matrilineal bloodlines, with political alliances formed through

In many ways, the salarian political network functions like the noble familys
of Earth's Medieval Europe. Structurally the government consists of fiefdoms,
baronies, duchies, planets, and marches (colonization clusters). These are
human nicknames; the original salarian is unpronounceable. Each area is ruled
by a single Dalatrass (matriarchal head-of-household) and represents an
increasing amount of territory and prestige within the salarian political web.

Approaching 100 members, the first circle of a salarian's clan comprises
parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, and cousins. The next circle includes second
cousins, etc., and escalates to well over 1000 members. The fourth of fifth
circle of a clan numbers into the millions. Salarian loyalty is greatest to
their first circle and diminishes from there. There photographic memories
allow salarians to recognize all their myriad relatives.

~Salarians: League of One~

How to get: Find one of the League of One Medallions while surveying a planet.


Before they joined the Citadel Council, the salarians' most potent military
tool was a small reconnaissance team known as the League of One. Their primary
training was in espionage and assassination. Never more than a dozen strong,
the team was adept at infiltrating the tightest defenses and eliminating all
necessary obstacles.

Only a few top members of government and military were privy to the League's
identities. League members wore no distinguishing garments, and held no
particular rank. The only evidence of their participation in the League was a
small medallion presented to each member upon induction. This secrecy was
maintained until the formation of the Council.

In an afford to dispel rumors and appease their new asari partners, the
Salarian Union released all classified documents pertaining to the League. The
League of One was suddenly exposed and in danger of being hunted by enemies
of the salarians. Before any harm could be done, the team mysteriously
disappeared. Most assumed this was a convenient lie to help hide their
identities, but a few months later, the inner cabinet was murdered. Though
there was no incriminating evidence, it was clear who was responsible.

Realizing the threat posed by this rogue outfit, the Special Tasks Group
dispatched a team of hunters. When they didn't return, the STG dispatched ten
of its brightest operators with broad discretionary powers. Only two returned;
they reported no evidence of the League.

No further incidents were reported and it was assumed the League was wiped
out. Some recently declassified documents, however, have suggested there may
have been a thirteenth member who eluded the salarian military.

~Salarians: Military Doctrine~

How to get: On Virmire after talking to the Salarian Commander right before
you go on the main mission.


In principle, the salarian military is similar to the Alliance, a small
volunteer army that focuses on maneuver warfare. What differentiates the
salarians is not their equipment or doctrine, but their intelligence services
and rules of engagement. The salarians believe that a war should be won before
it begins.

Conventional wisdom holds that the salarians know everything about everyone, and
this is not far from the truth. In war, the unquestioned superiority of their
intelligence services allows them to use their small military to maximum
effectiveness. Well before fighting breaks out, they possess complete knowledge
of their enemy's positions, intentions, and timetable.

In every war the salarians have fought, they struck first and without warning.
For the salarians, to know an enemy plans to attack and to let it happen is
folly. To announce their own plans to attack is insanity. They find the human
moral concepts of 'do not fire until fired upon' and 'declare a war before
prosecuting it' incredibly naive. In defensive wars, they execute devastating
preemptive strikes hours before the enemy's own attacks. On the offensive, they
have never telegraphed their intentions with a declaration of war before

Biotics are virtually unknown in the salarian military. Those with such
abilities are considered too valuable to be used as cannon fodder and assigned
to the intelligence services.

While capable of defending themselves against most threats, the salarians know
that they are small fish in a universe filled with sharks. As a point of
survival, they have cultivated strong alliances with larger powers, particularly
the turians. Though the relationship between the two species was rocky at first
due to the krogan uplift fiasco, the salarians take pains to keep this
relationship strong enough that anyone who might threaten them risks turian

~Salarians: Special Tasks Group~

How to get: Talk to the Council about them when they are telling you about


Salarian intelligence field agents are grouped into an organization called
Special Tasks Group. STG operators work in independent cells, performing
dangerous missions such as counterterrorism, infiltration, reconnaissance,
assassination, and sabotage.

The STG is a proactive organization, puncturing worrisome trends before they
become movements. At any time, a dozen groups are operating covertly within
the lawless Terminus Systems, sowing dissent among the various factions.
Civilians analysts also note how troublesome 'hinge point' individuals in
Terminus frequently meet unexpected deaths.

STG operators are feared throughout the galaxy for their clear-eyed,
remorseless practicality. They are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve
their mission, even if it kills civilians or results in the team's own
destruction. In many ways, they are akin to the Council Spectres.

~Turians: Biology~

How to get: Talk to Garrus inbetween main missions.


The turian homeworld, Pavaven, has a metal-poor core, generating a weak
magnetic field and allowing more solar radiation into the atmosphere. To deal
with this, most forms of life on Palaven evolved some form of metallic
'exoskeleton' to protect themselves. Their reflective plate-like skin makes
turians less susceptible to long-term, low-level radiation exposure, but they
do not possess any sort of 'natural armor'. A turian's thick skin does not
stop projectiles and directed energy bolts.

Although life on Palaven is carbon-based and oxygen-breathing, it is built on
dextro-amino acids. This places the turians in a distinct minority on the
galactic stage; the quarians are the only other sapient dextro-protein race.
The food of humans, asari, or salarians (who evolved in levo-amino acid-based
biospheres), will at best pass through turian systems without providing any
nutrition. At worst, it will trigger an allergic reaction that can be fatal if
not immediately treated.

~Turians: Culture~

How to get: Talk to Garrus inbetween main missions.


While turians are individuals with personal desires, their instinct is to
equate the self with the group, and to set aside all personal desires for the
good of all.

Turians are taught to have a a strong sense of personal accountability, the
'turian honor' that other races find so remarkable. Turians are taught to own
every decision they make, good or ill. The worst sin they can make in the eyes
of their people is to lie about their own actions. Turians who murder will try
to get away with it, but if directly questioned, most will confess the crime.

Turians have a strong inclination toward public service and self-sacrifice, so
they tend to be poor entrepreneurs. To compensate, they accepted the
mercantile volus as a client race, offering protection in exchange for their
fiscal expertise.

The turian military is the center of their society. It is not just an armed
force; it is an all-encompassing public works organization. The military
police are also the civic police. The fire brigades serve the civilian
population as well as military facilities. The corps of engineers builds and
maintains spaceports, schools, water purification plants, and power stations.
The merchant marine ensures that all worlds get needed resources.

~Turians: Government~

How to get: Talk to Garrus inbetween main missions.


The turian government is a hierarchical meritocracy. While it has great
potential for misuse, this is tempered by the civic duty and personal
responsibility turians learn in childhood.

Turians have 27 citizenship tiers, beginning with civilians (client races and
children). The initial period of military service is the second tier. Formal
citizenship is conferred at the third tier, after boot camp. For client races,
citizenship is granted after the individual musters out. Higher-ranked
civilians are expected to lead and protect subordinates. Lower-ranking citizens
are expected to obey and support superiors. Promotion to another tier of
citizenship. Promotion to another tier of citizenship is based on the personal
assessments of one's superiors and co-rankers.

Throughout thier lives, turians ascended to the higher tiers and are
occasionally 'demoted' to lower ones. The stigma associated with demotion lies
not on the individual, but on those who promoted him when he wasn't ready for
additional responsibility. This curbs the tendency to promote individuals
into positions beyond their capabilities.

Settling into a role and rank is not considering stagnation. Turians value
knowing one's own limitations more than being ambitious.

At the top are the Primarchs, who each rule a colonization cluster. The
Primarchs vote on matters of national import. They otherwise maintain a
'hands-off' policy, trusting the citizens on each level below them to do their
jobs competently.

Turians enjoy broad freedoms. So long as one completes his duties, and does not
prevent others from completing theirs, nothing is forbidden. For example, there
are no laws against recreational drug use, but if someone is unable to complete
his duties due to drug use, his superiors step in. Judicial proceedings are
'interventions.' Peers express their concern, and try to convince the offender
to change. If rehabilitation fails, turians have no qualms about sentencing
dangerous individuals to life at hard labor for the state.

~Turians: Military Doctrine~

How to get: Talk to Garrus inbetween main missions.


Although they lack the brutality of the krogan, the skill of the asari, and
the virtuosity of humans, the turian military has formidable discipline.
Officers and NCOs are 'lifers' with years of field experience. Enlisted
personnel are thoroughly trained and stay calm under fire. Turian units don't
break. Even if their entire line collapses, they fall back in order, setting
ambushes as they go. A popular saying holds: 'You will only see a turian's
back once he'd dead.'

Boot camp begins on the 15th birthday. Soldiers receive a year of training
before being assigned to a field unit; officers train for even longer. Most
serve until the age of 30, at which they become part of the Reserves. Even if
they suffer injuries preventing front-line service, most do support work
behind the lines.

Biotics are uncommon. White admired for their exacting skills, biotics'
motives are not always fully trusted by the common soldier. The turians prefer
to assign their biotics to a specialist teams called Cabals.

Command and control is decentralized and flexible. Individual squads can call
for artillery and air support. They make extensive use of combat drones for
light duties, and practice combined arms: infantry operates with armor,
supported by overhead gunships. Strategically, they are methodical and
patient, and dislike risky operations.

Tradition is important. Each legion has a full-time staff of historians who
chronicle its battle honors in detail. The oldest have records dating back to
the turian Iron Age. If a legion is destroyed in battle, it is reconstituted
rather than being replaced.

The turians recruit auxiliary units from conquered or absorbed minor races.
Auxiliaries are generally light infantry or armored cavalry units that screen
and support the main battle formations. At the conclusion of their service in
the Auxiliaries, recruits are granted turian citizenship.

~Turians: Religion~

How to get: Talk to Garrus between missions.


Although Turians have a strict moral code, their belief in individual
responsibility means that the concepts of good and evil are simply the
individual's choice between egotism and altruism in any given decision. They
have no concept of 'good' deities that encourage noble behavior or 'evil' ones
that tempt individuals to misdeeds.

Turians believe that groups and areas have 'spirits' that transcend the
individual. For example, a military unit would be considered to have a literal
spirit that embodies the honor and courage it has displayed. A city's spirit
reflects the accomplishments and industry of its residents. An ancient tress's
spirit reflects the beauty and tranquility of the area it grows within.

These spirits are neither good nor evil, nor are they appealed to for
intercession. Turians do not believe spirits can affect the world, but spirits
can inspire the living. Prayers and rituals allow an individual to converse
with a spirit for guidance or inspiration. For example a Turian who finds his
loyalty tested may appeal to the spirit of his unit, hoping to reconnect with
the pride and honor of the group. A Turian who wishes to create a work of art
may attempt to connect with the spirit of a beautiful location.

Turians enjoy absolute freedom of religion and can practice whatever appeals
to them so long as it does not impede anyone's ability to perform their
duties. There are many practitioners of the asari 'siarist' philosophy. Since
opening dialog with the human Systems Alliance, some Turians have embraced
Confucianism and Zen Buddhism.

~Turians: The Unification War~

How to get: Find a Turian Emblem while surveying a planet.


At about the time the salarians and the asari were forming the Council, the
turians were embroiled in a bitter civil war. The Unification War, as it
was later named, began with hostilities between the colonies furthest
from the turian homeworld, Palaven.

These colonies were run by local chieftains, many of whom had distanced
themselves from the Hierarchy. Without the galvanizing influence of the
government, the colonies became increasingly isolated and xenophobic.
Colonists began wearing emblems or facial markings to differentiate themselves
from members of other colonies and open hostilities became common.

When war finally broke out, the Hierarchy maintained strict diplomacy and
refused to get involved. After several years of fighting, less and less
factions remained and the Hierarchy finally intervened. By that time, the
chieftains were too weak to resist; they were force to put an end to fighting
and renew their allegiance to the Hierarchy.

Though peace was restored, it took several decades for animosity between
colonists to fade completely. To this day, most turians still wear the facial
markings of their home colonies. As a point of interest, the turian term
'barefaced' refers to one who is beguiling or not to be trusted. It is also
a slang term for politicians.

--Aliens: Extinct Races--

Spacefaring species that went extinct thousands of years before the present.

~Protheans: Beacon~

How to get: Talk to Liara inbetween main missions.


The beacon was a Prothean artifact unearthed on the Alliance colony of Eden
Prime. Its resemblance to the Prothean data banks recovered on Mars provoked
an immediate interest from the Alliance and the Citadel Council. It proved to
be a solid state data storage device, part of a galaxy-spanning comm network
similar to the modern extranet. Intact Prothean 'paleo-technology' is rare; the
beacon seemed to promise another quantum leap of technology, akin to the
discovery of the mass effect drive and relays.

Unfortunately, the beacon also drew the attention of the rouge Spectre Saren
Arterius and his synthetic allies, the geth. A dawn raid by his flagship
Sovereign resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties. The beacon was badly
damaged. The motives behind the attack are still being investigated.

During the recovery operation, the beacon fired a pulse of energy at the
Executive Officer of the Alliance frigate Normandy. Lieutenant Commander
Shepard survived and appears to have suffered no ill effects. Afterwards, the
beacon fell inert. The mechanism appears to be dead.

~Protheans: Cipher~

How to get: At the end of Feros.


The Prothean beacon downloaded its knowledge into Lt. Commander Shepard on
Eden Prime, causing confusing dreams and visions. While the imagery is
becoming clearer with time, the meaning of the beacon communication remains

It has been suggested that Protheean data recording is highly dependent on a
certain point of view, what Carl Jung described as the collective unconscious.
The 'cipher' needed to comprehend the images implanted in Shepard's mind is
the cultural knowledge of a Prothean: the archetypes, biological instincts,
and common experiences universal to the race. Since the Protheans have been
dead for millennia, it may be impossible to acquire this 'cipher'.

~Protheans: Data Disks~

How to get: Find one of them while surveying.


Despite all the evidence confirmed the Protheans, little is known about their
culture and society. From time to time, dig sites will yield new clues, but
after 50,000 years of decay, little of value is unearthed.

Recent research has focused on the discovery of Prothean data discs. On their
own, they are frail and rarely found in one piece. Occasionally, however, an
intact disc will be discovered within a console or reading device.

To date, over three dozen discs have been recovered and few have been restored
to the point where researchers can begin analyzing them. Though it may be some
time before scientists discover a way to transfer the data off the discs, they
are currently considered the most tangible leads for learning more about the
Prothean culture.

~Protheans: Mars Ruins~~

How to get: Examine Mars.


After twenty years of manned research outposts and nearly a century of robotic
exploration, the European Space Agency's Lowell City became the first
permanent settlement on Mars in 2103. Within a decade, the United States and
China had founded permanent settlements, as well.

The south polar region of Promethei Planum developed a 'Bermuda Triangle'
reputation. Satellites detected intermittent mass concentration and magnetic
field shifts. In 2148, prospectors working near Deseado Crater discovered an
underground complex: a Prothean observation post. The odd phenomena were
generated by the operation and discharge of a mass effect core, struggling
to function despite fifty millennia of neglect.

Earth was electrified with the news. Humanity was unequivocally not alone.
While courts battled who owned the ruins, the international scientific
community coordinated a massive effort to access, translate, and interpret
the databanks recovered from the facility.

The facility proved to be a biosciences observation post built when homo
sapiens were first evolving on Earth. While the motives of the Protheans are
not certain, trnslated records indicate that the facility was in regular
communication with automated observation platforms in Earth orbit and the
lunar nearside. The half-dozen mass effect spaceships found in the facility
were presumably used for first-hand observation.

--Aliens: Non-Council Races--

Spacefaring species without the political power to set galactic policy.

~Geth: Armatures~

How to get: When you first encounter them you will get it.


Armatures are quadruped all-terrain heavy weapons platforms, akin to the
armored fighting vehicles of other races. Geth being synthetic intelligences,
armatures are not crewed vehicles, but intelligent entities, capable of
independent decision-making and learning.

Armatures are equipped with heavy kinetic barriers. Their main cannon mounted
on the articulated 'head' turret, appears to be a highly efficient
conventional mass accelerator. It is capable of firing in anti-personnel and
anti-tank modes. Some armatures carry drones into battle, presumable for
reconnaissance purposes. Others host a swarm of insect-sized repair microbots.

~Geth: Hoppers~

How to get: When you first encounter them you will get it.


The geth models collectively dubbed 'hoppers' by Alliance forces are
electronic warfare platforms. They can project electromagnetic radiation
across a broad spectrum as an offensive weapon. They can also perform cyber
warfare attacks against the onboard computers of body armor hardsuits and
weapons, adversely affecting their performance.

The structure of hoppers consist of an advanced and highly elastic artificial
muscle material. This allows a hopper to compress its entire body for powerful
leaps. Hoppers also have thousand of molecule-scale 'barbs' on the surfaces of
their hands and feet, which are used to cling to walls and ceilings. Hoppers
are very difficult to target, leaping from one surface to another in rapid

The quarians have no record of any geth model similar to hoppers. This new
morphotype must have been developed over the last three hundred years by the
geth themselves. This is troubling proof that the geth are continuing to move
towards technological singularity. Experts in synthetic life are intrigued
that hoppers appear to be even more organic then the baseline geth.

The identified subtypes of hopper have been codenamed Sapper, Stalker, and

~Krogan: Biology~

How to get: Talk to Wrex inbetween main missions.


The krogan evolved in a lethal ecology. Over millions of years, the grim
struggle to survive larger predators, virulent disease, and resource scarcity
on their homeworld, Tuchanka, turned the lizards into quintessential survivors.
Perhaps the most telling indicator of Tuchanka's lethality is the krogan eyes.
Although they are a predators species by any standard definition, their eyes
evolved to be wide-set, as any Earth prey species like deer and cattle. Krogan
eyes have a 240-degree arc of vision, better suited for spotting enemies
sneaking up on them than for persuit.

Physically, the krogan are nigh-indestructible, with a tough hide impervious
to any melee weapon short of a molecular blade. While they feel pain, it does
not affect their ability to concentrate. They have multiple functioning
examples of all major organs, and can often survive the loss of one or two of
any type. Rather than a nervous system, they have an electrically conductive
second circulatory system. A krogan can never be paralyzed - they may lose some
fluid, but it can be replaced by the body in time.

The hump on krogan's back stores water and fats that help the krogan survive
lean times. Large humps are a point of pride; being well-fed implies the krogan
is a superior predator.

The most widely-known biological feature of the krogan is their incredible
birth rate and rapid maturity. Once freed from the hostile cauldron of
Tuchanka, the krogan population swelled into a numberless horde. Only the
genophage kept them from out-breeding the combined Council races. Now the rare
krogan females capable of bringing a child to term are treated like strategic
resources: warlords will trade them at diplomacy or (more frequently) fight
wars over them.

~Krogan: Culture~

How to get: Talk to Wrex inbetween main missions.


The harsh krogan homeworld conditioned the krogan psychology for toughness
just as it did the body. Krogan have always had a tendency to be selfish,
unsympathetic, and blunt. They respect strength and self-reliance and are
neither surprised nor offended by treachery. The weak and selfless do not live
long. In their culture, 'looking out for number one' is simply a matter of

After their defeat in the Rebellions, the very concept of krogan leadership
was discredited. Where a warlord could once command enough power to bring
entire solar systems to heel and become Overlord, these days it is rare for
a single leader to have more then 1000 warriors swear allegiance to him. Most
krogan trust and serve no one but themselves.

This solitary attitude stems in part from a deep sense of fatalism and
futility, a profound social effect of the genophage that caused krogan numbers
to dwindle to a relative handful. Not only are they angry that the entire
galaxy seems out to get them, the krogan are also generally pessimistic about
their race's chances of survival. The surviving krogan see no point to
building for the future; there will be no future. The krogan live with an
attitude of 'kill, pillage, and be selfish, for tomorrow we die'.

~Krogan: Genophage~

How to get: Talk to Wrex inbetween main missions.


The genophage bioweapon was created to end the Krogan Rebellions. From the
start, the krogan had overwhelmed the Council. Only timely first contact with
the turians saved the Council races. The turians fought the krogans to a
standstill, but the sheer weight of krogan numbers indicated the war could not
be won through conventional means. The turians collaborated with the salarians
to genetically engineer a counter to the rapid breeding of the krogan.

The genophage virus gained the energy to replicate by 'eating' key genetic
sequences. Every cell in every krogan had to be altered for the weapon to be
fullproof; otherwise the krogan could have used gene therapy to fix the
affected tissues. Once a genophage strain could find no more genes to eat, it
would starve and die, limited spin-off mutation and contamination. This
'created' genetic flaw is hereditary.

The salarians believed the genophage would be used as a deterrent, a position
the turians viewed as naive. Once the project was complete, the turians mass
produced and deployed it. The krogan homeworld, their colonies, and all
occupied worlds were infected.

The resulting mutation made only one in a thousand krogan pregnancies carry to
term. It did not reduce fertility, but offspring viability. The rare females
able to carry children to term became prizes the krogan warlords fought brutal
battles over.

The krogan are a shadow of their former glory. While the Rebellions took place
centuries ago, they are constantly reminded of the horror of the genophage and
of their inability to counter it. The release of the genophage is still
controversial, bitterly debated in many circles.

~Krogan: Krogan Rebellions~

How to get: Talk to Wrex inbetween main missions.


After the Rachni War, the quick-breeding krogan expanded at the expense of
their neighbors. Warlords leveraged their veteran soldiers to seize living
space while the Council races were still grateful. Over centuries, the krogan
conquered world after world. There was always 'just one more' needed. When the
Council finally demanded withdrawal from the asari colony of Lusia, krogan
Overlord Kredak stormed off the Citadel, daring the Council to take the worlds

But the Council had taken precautions. The finest STG operators and asari
huntresses had been drafted into a covert 'observation force', the Office of
Special Tactics and Reconnaissance. The Spectres opened the war with crippling
strategic strikes. Krogan planets went dark as computer viruses flooded the
extranet. Sabotaged antimatter refineries disappeared in blue-white
annihilation, Headquarters stations shattered into orbit-clogging debris,
ramming by pre-placed suicide freighters.

Still, this only delayed the inevitable. The war would have been lost if not
for first contact with the turians, who responded to krogan threats with a
prompt declaration of war. Being on the far side of krogan space from the
Council, the turians advanced rapidly into the lightly-defended krogan rear
areas. The krogan responded by dropping space stations and asteroids on turian
colonies. Three worlds were rendered completely uninhabitable.

This was precisely the wrong approach to take with the turians. Each is first
and foremost a public servant, willing to risk his life to protect his
comrades. Rather then increasing public war weariness, krogan tactics
stiffened turian resolve.

The arrival of turian task forces saved many worlds from the warlords'
marauding fleets, but it took the development of the genophage bioweapon to
end the war. There were decades of unrest afterwards. Rouge warlords and
holdout groups of insurgents refused to surrender, or disappeared into the
frontier systems to become pirates.

~Krogan: Military Doctrine~

How to get: Talk to Wrex inbetween main missions.


Traditional krogan tactics were built on attritional mass-unit warfare.
Equipped with cheap rugged gear, troop formations were powerful but inflexible.
Command and control was very centralized; soldiers in the field who saw a
target contacted their commanders behind the lines to arrange fire support.

Since the genophage, the krogan can no longer afford the casualties of the old
horde attacks. The Battle Masters are a match for any ten soldiers of another
species. To a Battle Master, killing is a science. They focus on developing
clean, brute-force economy of motion that exploits their brutal strenth to
incapacitate enemies with a swift single blow of overwhelming power.

This change of focus from mass-unit warface to maximal efficiency has increased
employment demand in the fields of security and 'muscle for hire'. Due to the
unsavory reputation of the krogan, most of these jobs are on the far side of
the law.

Battle Masters are not 'spit and polish', but they do believe in being well-
armed and equipped, preferably with a gun for each limb. They are callous and
brutal, but methodical and disciplined. They use any means at their disposal to
achieve their goals, no matter how reprehensible. Hostage-taking and genocide
are acceptable means to ensure a quiet occupation with few krogan casualties.

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

Biotics are rare among the krogan. Those that exist are viewed with suspicion
and fear. The krogan see this aura of fear as a useful quality for an officer,
and often promote them. Combat drones and other high-tech equipment are
likewise in short supply.

~Quarians: Economy~

How to get: Talk to Tali inbetween main missions.


The Migrant Fleet has little economic base, operating in a state of perpetual
'hand-to-mouth'. White quarian ships include light manufacturing and assembly
plants, they lack heavy industries such as refining and shipbuilding. The
fleet has tankers for water purification and oxygen cracking, but with the
space-intensive nature of agriculture limits food production. A single
disaster could destroy the fragile balance.

The quarians earn income in creative ways. Because the government is obliged
to provide food, water, air, and medical support for every individual, the
Conclave strategically determines the course of the Fleet to bring in
resources and income. A species who suspects the Migrant Fleet is heading
towards their space often offers a 'gift' of surplus starships, fuel, and
resources to alter course.

As the fleet passes through the a system, swarms of mining vessels work over
asteroids for metals and siliceous materials and cometary bodies for water ice
and organics. Quarian miners are adept at locating and strip-mining space-
borne resources. This sparks conflict with corporations already working the
system. Large mining concerns spend millions on lobbyists and public relations
portraying the quarians as locusts, devouring the resources of a system before
moving on.

The greatest asset of the quarians is their rarified skills. Most are
experienced miners. Due to their life of perpetual salvage and repair, they
are skilled engineers and technicians. More than once, they very corporations
that lobby against the quarians have made back room deals with the Fleet,
arranging for skilled quarians to fill space engineering jobs that other
species would demand higher wages for. Quarians are widely hated among the
working classes. 'The quarians are coming to take our jobs' is a common
response to the Fleet's approach.

~Quarians: Government~

How to get: Talk to Tali inbetween main missions.


Due to the quarians' precarious existence and the need to enforce strict
rationing, government is somewhat autocratic. The Migrant Fleet's operations
are directed by the Admiralty, a board of five military officers who are
advised by a legislative body called the Conclave.

Each vessel in the Fleet has the right to send representatives to the Conclave
aboard the flagship. The number of representatives is based on crew size.
Larger clans, with bigger ships and more votes, form the cores of political
blocs. Opposition comes from the Outriders' Coalition, with delegates from
thousands of smaller ships.

The Admiralty defers to the Conclave's decisions in most circumstances.
However, if all five members agree a Conclave decision jeopardized the
survival of the fleet, and cannot get the Conclave to address their concerns,
they have the right to summarily overturn the legislative decision. After the
Admiralty uses this extraordinary power, they must resign. If the Admiralty
does not step down after using their veto the rest of the military is obliged
to arrest them.

Each ship captain has authority over the vessel, but is advised by an elected
civilian Council, just as the Admiralty is advised by the Conclave. This
relationships may range from cooperation to polite tolerance to outright
hostility, but any captain who overrules his council without good reason is
relieved of command by the Admiralty.

Many quarian ships are owned by clans who pool their resources to purchase
used vessels from private sellers. Large ships are prestigious for big, rich
clans, but a small ship means status for a small clan with enough personal
wealth to afford a private vessel. Clan vessel captains are not subject to
dismissal by the Admiralty; abusive captains are a 'family' problem if they do
not disrupt the operations of the fleet.

~Quarians: Law and Defense~

How to get: Talk to Tali inbetween main missions.


Although the Conclave establishes civil law much as any planet-based democracy,
enforcement and trials are more unique. After the flight from the geth, there
were few constables to police the millions of civilians aboard the Fleet, so
the navy parceled out marine squads to maintain order and enforce the law.
Today, quarian marines have evolved training and tactics akin to civilian
police, but remain adept at combat in the confined spaces of a starship, and
fully under the command of the military.

Once taken into custody, the accused is brought before the ship's captain for
judgment. While the ship's council may make recommendations, tradition holds
that the captain has absolute authority in matters of discipline.

Most are lenient, assigning additional or more odious maintenance tasks aboard
the ship. Persistent recidivists are 'accidentally' left on the next habitable
world. This practice of abandoning criminals on other people's planets is a
point of friction between the quarians and the systems they pass through.
Captains rarely have another choice; with space and resources at a premium,
supporting a non-productive prison population is not an option.

In the early years, many quarians freighters were armed and used as irregular
'privateers'. Civilian ships still show a strong preference for armament,
making them unpopular targets for pirates. Though they have rebuilt their
military, there are still mere hundreds of warships to protect the tens of
thousands of ships. The quarian navy follows strict routines of partol, and
takes no chances. If the intent of approaching ship can't be ascertained, they
shoot to kill.

~Quarians: Migrant Fleet~

How to get: Talk to Tali inbetween main missions.


The Migrant Fleet is the largest concentration of starfaring vessels in the
galaxy, sprawling across millions of kilometers. It can take days for the
entire fleet to pass through a mass relay.

When the quarians fled their homeworld, the Fleet was a motley aggregation of
freighters, shuttles, industrial vessels, and the odd warship. After three
centuries, all have been modified to support larger crews as comfortably as
possible. As the quarians achieved stability, they began weeding out the ships
least suitable for long-term habitation, selling them and pooling the money to
buy larger and more spaceworthy hulls. This process is ongoing, as vessels
wear out and break down.

While some ships enjoy dedicated cabins with full privacy and sanitary
facilities, many more are former freighters, whose cargo bays and containers
are pressurized and divided into family spaces using simple metal 'cubicle'
bulkheads. The quarians enliven these austere space s with colorful quilts and
tapestries, which also help muffle sound.

The day-to-day operation of the fleet - traffic control, station-keeping,
supply distribution, and so on - are under military jurisdiction. Though ship
captains have the authority to deviate from their assigned positions and may
leave the fleet at any time, they are assumed to do so at their own risk. As
the Migrant Fleet moves around the galaxy, many ships split off to persue
individual goals, returning days or years later.

~Quarians: Pilgrimage~

How to get: Talk to Tali inbetween main missions.


When quarians of the Migrant Fleet reach young adulthood, they must leave
their birth ship and find a new crew to accept them as permanent residents. To
prove themselves, they must recover something of value. This is offered to
their prospective captain as proof that they will not be a mere burden on the
shoestring resources of the ship.

This process is called the Pilgrimage. Stripped of ritual, the Pilgrimage is
merely an attempt to maintain genetic diversity within the small, relatively
isolated population bases that make up the Migrant Fleet. If the young stayed
and married within their birth vessel, the risk of inbreeding would increase

Quarians are surgically fitted with their various immunity-boosted implants in
preparation for leaving on Pilgrimage. Having grown within the sterile,
controlled environments of the Migrant Fleet ships, quarians have virtually no
natural immune system.

~Quarians: Religion~

How to get: Talk to Tali inbetween main missions.


The ancient quarians practiced ancestor worship. Even after abandoning faith
for secularism, quarians continued to revere the wisdom of elders. As time
passed and technology advanced, they inevitably turned their knowledge to
preserving the personalities and memories of the elderly as computer virtual
intelligences. These recordings became a repository of knowledge and wisdom,
stored in a central databank and available through any extranet connection.

They held no illusions that this was like a form of immortality; like all
virtual intelligences, their electronically-preserved ancestors were not
truly sapient. This was considered a surmountable problem; sapience could
surely be reduced to simple mathematics.

The quarians began exhaustive research into creating artificial intelligence so
they could learn to escape the bounds of mortality and give their ancestral
records true awareness. Unfortunately, the life the quarians created did not
accept the same truths they did. The geth destroyed the ancestor databanks
when they took over.

The the centuries since they evacuated their homeworld, most quarians have
returned to religion in various forms. Many believe the rise of the geth and
the destruction of their 'ancestors' were chastisement for arrogantly
forsaking the old ways and venerating self-made idols.

Others have a more philosophical outlook, believing their race was indeed
arrogant, but no supernatural agency lay behind the geth revolt. Rather, the
quarians' actions wrought their own doom. Either way, every quarian would
agree that their own hubris cost them their homeworld.

--Citadel and Galactic Government--

A massive space station that serves as the political and economic capital of
galactic culture.

~Citadel Conventions~

These diplomatic talks occurred in the wake of the Krogan Rebellions, as a
response to the destruction of the conflict and an attempt to distance the
Council from the brutal krogan warfare.

The Conventions regulate the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction. A WMD causes
environmental alteration to a world. A bomb that produces a large crater is not
considered a WMD; a bomb that causes a 'nuclear winter' is.

Use of WMD is forbidden on 'garden' worlds like Earth, with ecospheres that
can readily support a population. If a habitable world is destroyed, it will
not be replaced for millions of years. The Conventions do not forbid the use
of WMD on hostile worlds or in sealed space-station environments. Many
militaries continue to develop and maintain stockpiles.

The Conventions graded Weapons of Mass Destruction into tiers of concern. Tier
I is the greatest treat to galactic peace.

TIER I: Large kinetic impacters, such as asteroid drops or de-orbited space
stations. Effectively free and available in any system (in the form of debris
left over from planetary accretion), kinetic impacters are the weapons of
choice for terrorists and 'third galaxy' nations.

TIER II: Uncontrolled self-replicating weapons, such as nanotechnology, viral
or bacteriological organisms, 'Von Neumann devices', and destructive computer
viruses. These weapons can lie dormant for millennia, waiting for a careless
visitor to carry them on another world.

TIER III: Large energy-burst weapons such as nuclear or antimatter warheads.

TIER IV: Alien species deliberately introduced to crowd out native forms
necessary for the hearth of an ecosystem. Ecological tampering can take years
to bear fruit, making it difficult to prove.

~Citadel Station: Citadel Security Services (C-Sec)~

How to get: Talk to the C-Sec Captain about it while on the Citadel.


Citadel Security is a volunteer police service answering to the Citadel
Council. The 200,000 constables of C-Sec are responsible for maintaining
public order in the densely populated Citadel. They also provide pirate
suppression, customs enforcements, and search-and-rescue- throughout the
Citadel cluster.

C-Sec has six divisions:

ENFORCEMENT - Uniformed officers who patrol the Citadel and respond to

INVESTIGATION - Detectives who puzzle out the truth behind crimes and bring
perpetrators to justice.

CUSTOMS - Screen the thousands of passengers and cargo containers that pass
through the Citadel's ports every day.

NETWORK - Deals with "cybercrimes" like identify and copyright theft, hacking
and viral attacks, and illegal artificial intelligence.

SPECIAL RESPONSE - Deals with hostage situations, bombs, and heavily armed
criminals. In the unlikely event that attackers board the Citadel, they are
also the front line of defense, armored with military grade equipment.

PATROL - Naval arm, with ships stationed throughout the Citadel cluster.
Unlike the other divisions, they are rarely seen at the Citadel, nor do they
stay in one place long.

Joining C-Sec is prestigious; applications must be sponsored by a Citadel
Councilor or the ambassador of an associate Council race. Generally,
applicants have many years of distinguished service in the military or police
forces of their nations, but an inexperienced applicant with demonstrable
talent will be fairly considered.

C-Sec and Spectres are often at odds. May C-Sec members, notably the current
Executor Venari Pallin, believe that allowing Specters to be 'above the law'
is a dangerous practice, the actions of Saren Arterius lend credence to this
position. The Spectres, in turn, are aggravated within C-Sec's dedication to
procedure and due process hampers their investigations.

~Citadel Station: Presidium Ring~

How to get: Talk to the Embassy secretary about it.


The Ring is an enclosed loop of park-like space serving as the connection
point for the Wards. The interior walls are lined with the embassies of
influential species and private residences for the galaxies elite.

The Presidium is full of 'open-air' restaurants, bars, and luxurious
meeting areas. Gravity is about 1/3 Earth-normal. A holographic 'sky' is
projected over the 'ceiling' of the ring. unlike the 24/7 bustle of the Wards,
the Presidium maintains a 20-hour day schedule, with a six-hour 'night' where
lights are dimmed and the sky goes through a night cycle.

Offices and residences are often open to the interior. It is not unusualy for
embassies to have no exterior wall at all. This does not cause a crime problem
due to the heavy C-Sec presence and ubiquitous monitoring devices on the
Presidium. Thieves are quickly identified and apprehended.

The Ring is the location of the Citadel's spaceports. Being closer to the
center of the spin, there is less motion for a ship to match, and the reduced
spin gravity makes handling cargo easier. Hundreds of ships pass through the
Citadel every day, and every species with an embassy is granted a private

The Tower, at the center of the Ring, holds the administration of the Citadel
Council. The Tower rises over a kilometer from the ring, appearing to thrust
forward parallel to the ward arms. As the Tower is at the center of the spin
axis, it experiences little centrifugal force. Gravity is maintained using
mass effect fields at a 90-degree angle to the Ring and Wards.

A Consular dock can be found at the base of the Tower. While normally used for
diplomatic couriers and Spectre business, the shuttles docked here can
evacuate the Council government in an emergency.

~Citadel Station: Serpent Nebula~

How to get: Observe the 'view of the nebula' which you can see looking off of
the balcony in front of the med center in the wards.


The Citadel is surrounded by a blue-tinted reflection nebula. The light of the
nebula is actually light from the Citadel, scattered and reflected back at
the station.

At first, the Serpent Nebula was assumed to be made of microscopic
construction debris. Prevailing theory holds the Protheans used molecular
nanotechnology to manufacture the incredibly durable materials used to make
the Citadel. But unlike other nebulae, the Serpent does not dissipate over
time. Therefore, it must be replenished constantly. The current popular theory
is that the non-recyclable waste collected by the Citadel's keepers is somehow
rendered down to the atomic or molecular level, and ejected into the clouds.

The thick nebula resents a navigation hazard. Beyond the relatively clear areas
around the Citadel, electrical discharges are common. These are not blocked by
kinetic barriers, and can severely damage metal-framed starships. In addition,
some dense knots of dust can overwhelm the repulsion of kinetic barriers on
smaller ships. If such a vessel is moving fast enough at the time, the effects
are similar to being hit by a sandblaster.

Attempting to reach the Citadel through open space navigation is unadvisable;
the only safe approach is through the various mass relays that orbit it.

~Citadel Station: Statistics~

Although the Citadel is equipped with mass-effect-generating element-zero
cores, most of the gravity on the station is generated by the centrifugal
force of rotation.

Rotation: 3.5 minutes per revolution
Rotational Gravity in Wards: 1.02 Earth
Rotational Gravity in Presidium: 0.3 Earth
Total Length (Open): 44.7 km
Diameter (Open): 12.8km
Ward Length: 43.6km
Ward Width: 330m
Presidium Ring Diameter: 7.2 km
Presidium Ring Width: 553 m
Exterior Armor Thickness: 13 m
Population: 13.2 million (not including keepers)
Gross Weight: 7.11 billion metric tons
Height of the Presdium Tower: 1047 m

~Citadel Station: Wards~

The majority of the Citadel's population lives in the Wards, the five massive
arms of the station that house the residential and commercial districts. Many
galactic races have established cultural enclaves here. Population density
and cost of living are extremely high, akin to Earth cities such as Hong Kong
and Singapore.

The Wards are open-topped, with skyscrapers rising from the superstructure.
Towers are sealed against vacuum, as the breathable atmosphere envelope is
only maintained to a height of about seven meters. The atmosphere is contained
by the centrifugal force of rotation and a 'membrane' of dense, colorless
sulphur hexafluoride gas, held in place by carefully managed mass effect

The view from the Wards is spectacular. In the background, stars, Serpent
Nebula, and the nearby blue giant called 'the Widow' move across the sky as
the station rotates to stabilize itself. In the foreground, the lights of
buildings and vehicles on the opposing Ward arms perpetually shine. The
Citadel has no real day or night. While the station keeps to standard galactic
time for political functions, business rarely close, and residents acclimate
to sleep and work according to personal need rather than a day-night cylce.

Additions and modifications are constantly being constructed, though they must
stay within certain specifications that will not compromise the operation of
the station. Occasionally, the keepers will descend on an area of the Ward and
move or change the architecture without explanation. Residents have learned to
live with these inexplicable intrusions.

~Treaty of Farixen~

Due to the destructive potential of dreadnoughts, the Council races agree at
the Farixen Naval Conference to fix a ratio of dreadnought construction
between themselves. At the top of pyramid is the peacekeeping turian fleet.
Below the turians are the other Council races, currently the asari and the
salarians. Council associate races are at the bottom. The human Systems
Alliance is part of this last group.

The ratio of turian to Council to associate dreadnoughts is 5:3:1, for every
dreadnought the humans are permitted to build, the asari have three, and the
turians five.

--Humanity and the Systems Alliance--

The Alliance is the government and military of humanity beyond Sol.

~Genetic Engineering~

How to get: Talk to Kaiden inbetween main missions.


In the 22nd century, manipulation of the human genome became commonplace.
Techniques for genetic engineering advanced to the point where the rich could
custom-build fetuses that grew into stronger, smarter, and more attractive
adults. In more permissive regions, custom-designed life forms and 'uplifted'
animals occupied an ill-defined niche between 'property' and 'sapient being.'

Travel to planets with unique forms of life brought an awareness that Earth's
biodiversity could be lost if it spliced and hybridized to gain useful alien
qualities. The Sudham-Wolcott Genetic Heritage Act was passed by the Systems
Alliance Parliament in 2161. It imposed sharp restrictions on controversial
uses of genetic engineering, but provided government subsidies for beneficial

SCREENING AND THERAPY: Most governments provide free assessments and
corrective therapy for genetic diseases in prospective parents. This has
nearly eliminated everything from cystic fibrosis to nearsightedness. The
earlier screening and therapy is performed, the more comprehensive the
results. Though ideally performed on artificially fertilized zygotes in a lab,
procedures are available for embryos in the womb and newborns, out of respect
for personal beliefs.

ENHANCEMENT: Improvements of natural human abilities is legal, but adding new
abilities is not. Treatments to improve strength, reflexes, mental ability, or
appearance are permitted; adding a tail or the ability to digest cellulose is
not. Some genetic enhancement is provided for free to Alliance military
recruits, but the average citizen must pay for the privilege. The process
can take years to reach fruition in an adult.

ENGINEERING: Artificial hybridization of genes from compatible non-human
species with human genetic code is illegal. Creation of designed life is
broadly legal (and mainly used for terraforming and medial applications), but
sentient creatures are heavily regulated, and creation of sapient life is
outlawed by both the Systems Alliance and the Citadel Council.

~Human Diplomatic Relations~

Humanity has encountered many galactic species. Wars have been few, but
mistrust is rife.

Politically, the Alliance is a peaceful trade partner of the TURIANS. As a
practical matter, however, there is simmering antagonism and bigotry between
both populations over the First Contact War of 2157.

Though humans know better than to unconditionally trust and SALARIAN, their
shared restless, reckless ways make them natural allies against the
conservative turians and asari.

The KROGAN have no unified government, but individuals are generally treated
as potential criminals, a reputation most krogan enjoy living down to.

The Alliance has no formal contact with the QUARIANS. Their Migrant Fleet has
not yet passed through any human-settled system.

The batarians are rivals for control of Skyllian Verge. They severed their
treaties with the Citadel to prosecute a colonial conflict against the
Alliance. Officially, there is no war, but neither is there any peace.

~Systems Alliance: Geological Survey~

How to get: Survey a planet with one of these on it and unlock the quest for


As the human race expands its territory and raises the general standard of
living, demand for industrial resources continues to grow. Many planets, moons
and asteroids contain a wealth of resources, but many systems have been barely
charted, let along thoroughly surveyed. Unmanned probes are one solution, but
they are often lost to space hazards, unforeseen circumstances, or theft by

In recent years, AGeS, the Alliance Geological Service, has offered bounties
to private individuals or teams willing to perform mineralogical surveys on
the frontier. This survey data is made publicly available to further corporate
development. Due to the cost of travel and the dangers of operating on hostile
worlds, it is rarely a profitable endeavor.

LIGHT METALS - Metals with low atomic weight are often used in the
construction of spacecraft and vehicles.

HEAVY METALS - Metals with higher atomic weights are used to construct
equipment components. The platinum group elements are particularly useful.

RARE EARTHS - Most useful in this category are radioactives or magnets.

GASSES - Various gasses are required to support all known forms of sapient
life. Some are commonly used as fuel.

~Systems Alliance: Military Doctrine~

How to get: Talk to Ashley inbetween missions.


The Alliance military is of great concern to the galaxy. At first contact with
the turians, they were completely inexperienced. Turian disdain to respect
after the relief of Shanxi, where the humans surprised them with novel
technologies and tactics.

The human devotion to understanding and adapting to modern space warfare
stunned the staid Council races. For hundreds of years, they had lived behind
the secure walls of long-proven technology and tactics. The Council regards
the Alliance as a 'sleeping giant'. Less than 3% of humans volunteer to serve
in their military, a lower proportion than any other species.

While competent, Alliance soldiers are neither as professional as the turians
nor as skilled as the asari. Their strengths lie in fire support, flexibility,
and speed. They make up for lack of numbers with sophisticated technical
support (VIs, drones, artillery, electronic warfare) and emphasis on mobility
and individual initiative.

Their doctrine is not based on absorbing and dishing out heavy shocks like
the turians and krogan. Rather, they bypass enemy strong points and launch
deep into their rear, cutting supply lines and destroying headquarters and
support units, leaving enemies to 'wither on the vine'.

On defensive, the human military is a rapid reaction force that lives by Sun
Tzu's maxim, 'He who tries to defend everything defends nothing.' Garrisons
are intended for scouting rather then combat, avoiding engagement to observe
and report on invaders using drones.

The token garrisons of human colonies make it easy for alien powers to secure
them, for which the Alliance media criticizes the military. However, the
powerful fleets stationed at phase gate nexuses such as Arctutus are just a
few hours or days from any colony within their sphere of responsibility. In
the event of an attack, they respond with an overwhelming force.

~Systems Alliance: Military Jargon~

How to get: On the Normandy examine near the Map of the Galaxy.


ashore - When a ship's crew leaves the vessel, they are 'ashore.' Though
normally used regarding planets, it can refer to boarding a space station.

aweigh - When a ship releases the equipment tethering it to a space station or
surface dock, it is 'aweight.'

aye, aye - The proper way to acknowledge an order. If told to attack the
correct response is 'Aye, aye, sir.' If asked 'Are you proud to be a marine?'
the correct response is 'Yes, sir'.

ASAP - Pronounced 'a-sap,' an acronym of 'as soon as possible.'

belay - Stop, cease.

bridge - The navigation center or a spacecraft, where the steering is done.

captain's mast - Non-judicial disciplinary proceedings by unit commanders.

CIC - Combat Information Center, the command center of a spacecraft. The CIC
is filled with sensor displays to make sense out of the chaos of combat.

DC - Damage Control. The containment and repair of damage to a spacecraft.

ECM - Electronic Counter-Measures used to avoid enemy sensors, from passive
emissions masking to active jamming.

EVA - Extra-Vehicular Activity. Time spent in a pressure suit, outside of a
vehicle, spacecraft, or station.

flank - The flank is the 'side' of a military formation. Since the soldiers
are facing elsewhere, an enemy that can attack on the flank can often 'turn
it' or 'roll it up.'

FNG - 'Freaking' New Guy(s). A derisive term for inexperienced personal.

groudside - The surface of a planet.

helmsman - The crewmember who pilots the spacecraft.

ladar - Light-amplified detection and ranging. An active sensor that bounces
lasers off an object to determine its bearing and distance. Ladar has
sufficient resolution that the data can be reconstructed into an image.

shore party - Spacecraft's crew sent ashore on official business.

silent running - An old submariner's term used aboard the Normandy to denote
when stealth systems are active.

sitrep - Abbreviation of 'situation report,' an evaluation of the current
military situation.

spacer - Someone who has spent most of their life in space.

XO - Executive Officer, the second-in-command of an Alliance warship. The XO
is responsible for administrative and personal matters.

~Systems Alliance: Military Ranks~

How to get: Examine the computer in the Captain's room of the Normandy.


The Alliance uses a modified version of the ranking system that has been used
for hundreds of years. Soldiers are classified into rank-and-file enlisted
personal, experienced non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and specially trained

The divide between naval personnel and ground forces ('marines') is small.
Ground units are a specialized branch of the fleet, just as fighter squadrons
are. This unity of command is imposed by the futility of fighting without
control of orbit; without the navy, any army is pointless. The marines, as
a matter of pride, maintain some of their traditional rank titles; for example,
marines have Privates and Corporals instead of Servicemen.

In ascending order of responsibility, the ranks of the Alliance are:

Serviceman 3rd Class / Private 2nd Class
Serviceman 2nd Class / Private 1st Class
Serviceman 1st Class / Corporal

Service Chief
Gunnery Chief
Operations Chief

2nd Lieutenant
1st Lieutenant
Staff Lieutenant
Lieutenant Commander
Staff Commander
Captain / Major
Read Admiral / General
Fleet Admiral

~Systems Alliance: N7~

The Alliance Military Vocational Code system classifies the career path of all
serving personnel. The MVC consists of one letter and one number. A soldier's
MVC indicates proficiency, not rank. The letter notes career path; the number
indicates level of experience, as indicated by service record, technical
scores, and commendations. All 26 letters are used, and numbers run from 1 to
7. N is the letter code for Special Forces personnel.

~Terra Firma Party~

How to get: In the upper wards, market, area a man will call for it at some
point when you return to the Citadel, for me it was after I completed all
three of the first story planets (Feros, Noveria, Virmine). You can then talk
to him and eventually you can ask him about the party.


Terra Firma is an Alliance political party formed after the First Contact War.
Its policy agenda is based on the principle that Earth must 'stand firm'
against influences. This covers a variety of legislation. Recent activities by
Terra Firma include opposition to a law requiring high school alien language
study, a proposal to increase tariffs on alien imports, and leading a popular
movement to mark the First Contact War as a public holiday.

Though founded by well-meaning individuals who feared the submersion of native
human cultures under a wave of 'alien vogue', Terra Firma's agenda attracts
many jingoists and xenophobes.

~Systems Alliance: Timeline~

How to get: You will get it automatically at the beginning of the game after
you first conversation with Kaiden and Joker.

2069 - Armstrong Outpost at Shackleton Crater becomes the first human
settlement on Luna. It is formally founded on July 24, the 100th anniversary of
the first lunar landing.

2103 - Lowerl City in Eos Chasma becomes the first human settlement on Mars.

2137 - Eldfell-Ashland Energy Corporation demonstrates helium-3 fuel extraction
from the atmosphere of Saturn.

2142 - Construction of Gagarin Station (Jump Zero) begins beyond the orbit of

2148 - Prospectors discover the Prothean ruins at Promethi Planum on Mars.

2149 - Translation of Prothean data leads humans to the Charon mass relay.
Systems Alliance founded to coordinate exploration and colonization of extra-
solar worlds.

2151 - A shipping accident at Singapore International Spaceport exposes
downwind communities to containers of dust-form element zero. Alliance begins
construction of Arcturus Station.

2152 - Roughly 30% of the children born in Singapore after element zero
exposure suffer from cancerous growths. Systems Alliance begins settlement
of Earth's first extra-solar colony world, the planet Demeter.

2154 - Commander Shepard born.

2155 - Systems Alliance occupies completed portions of Arcturus Station as a

2156 - Some children of Singapore exhibit minor telekinetic abilities.

2157 - Turians encounter human explorers; First Contact War. Occupation and
liberation of the human colony of Shanxi.

2158 - Humans learn potential of biotics. An international effort to track
element zero exposures begin. Roughly 10% of exposed children show some sign
of biotic ability.

2160 - Systems Alliance Parliament formed.

2165 - Humans establish embassy on Citadel.

2170 - Batarian slavers attack the Alliance colony Midoir.

2176 - Skyllian Blitz - Pirates and slavers attacked Elysium, the human capital
in the Skyllian Verge.

2177 - Thresher maws devour the Alliance colony of Akuze.

2178 - In retaliation for the Skyllian Blitz, an alliance fleet wipes out an
army of slavers on the moon of Torfan.

2183 - Current date.

--Planets and Locations--

The Milkey Way galaxy contains 200 to 400 billion stars, most with a host of

~Stations: Arcturus Station~

Arcturus Station is the gateway to Sol, a 5-kilometer diameter
'Stanford Torus'-type sapce station at the trainling Lagrange point of the
gas giant Themis. Construction on Arcturus Station began in 2151 and concluded
in 2162. It was inaugurated in 2156, and has served as the military and
political headquarters of teh Systems Alliance from the First Contact War until
the present.

When humanity activated the Charon Mass Realy in 2149, it led to Arcturus, 36
light years from Sol, Earth's sun. Arcturus is the third brightest star seen
from Earth. It is an ancient red giant from the generation born before Sol.
Its worlds are either gas giants or ice chunks. While some rocky debris exists,
the metal content is 25% lower than normal. To build Arcturus Station, metallic
asteroids were towed through the mass relays to the construction site. Many of
these asteroids remain near the station, their mined out areas home to transient

The expense of bringing construct materials into the system was acceptable due
to its strategic value. With three primary mass relays in addition to the
secondary one to Sol, Arcturus is a major communications and military
chokepoint. The Alliance 1st Fleet is based in Arcturus, where it can guard
the gates to Sol and react to incursions in the three connected clusters.
The Station also hosts the Systems Alliance Parliament and the Systems Alliance
Military general headquarters. Its permanent population is approximately

Arcturus is actually from the galactic halo, one of a cluster of 52 stars that
are 'crashing through' the disc of the galaxy. In a billion years, Arcturus
will be sailing through the depths of extragalactic dark space.

~Stations: Gagarin Station~

How to get: Talk to Kaiden inbetween missions.


Gagarin Station is the largest deep space station built by humanity, a
'Bernal Sphere' designed with a 500-meter-diameter habitable area. It was
constructed beyond Pluto, nearly 80 Astronomical Units (12 billion kilometers)
from Sol. Moving crew and materials to this location bankrupted most of the

Gagarin was placed at the inner edge of the 'heliopause' - the point at which
the solar wind can no longer push back the interstellar medium. It was built
to test a number of faster-than-light drive principles that theoretically
could only occur in interstellar space. The station was nicknamed 'Jump Zero',
as it was intended to be the jumping-off point for humanity's expansion into
the galaxy. Shortly after the station was completed, the Prothean ruins were
discovered on Mars, rendering the entire effort moot.

After struggling to make a profit for a decade, Gagarin was sold to the
Systems Alliance in 2159 for a fraction of its construction costs. The
Alliance refurbished it as a research and training center for the recently
discovered biotic phenomenon.

In 2169, the Biotic Acclimation and Training program was shut down and Gagarin
became a general research facility. Its remote location and intentional
isolation from the extranet makes it popular for dangerous research,
particularly in the field of artificial intelligence. Humanity's first stable
AI, the Alliance-sponsored 'Eliza', achieved sapience at Gagarin in 2172.

Today, Gagarin Station has a permanent population of approximately 9000. A
plan has been proposed to move it to the gravitationally stable barycentor
point between Pluto and the Charon Relay allowing it to serve as a gateway
facility between the Sol and Arcturus systems. The high cost of safely moving
it mass has delayed this indefinitely.

--Ships and Vehicles--

The technologies of space travel and surface mobility.

~FTL Drive: Appearance~

New space travelers ask, 'What does it look like outside a ship moving at
faster-than-light speed?' Part of the answer can be seen in a simple pane of
glass. Light travels slower through glass then it does through open air; light
also moves slower in conventional space then it does in a high-speed mass
effect field. This causes refraction - any light entering at an angle is bent
and separated into a spectrum. Objects outside the ship will appear refracted.
The greater the difference between the objective (exterior) and subjective
(interior) speeds of light, the greater the refraction.

As the subjective speed of lights is raised within the field, objects outside
will appear to red-shift, eventually becoming visible only to radio telescope
antennae. High-energy electromagnetic sources normally hidden to the eye
become visible on the spectrum. As the speed of light continues to be raised,
x-ray, gamma ray, and eventfully cosmic ray sources become visible. Stars will
be replaced by pulsars, the acceleration discs of black holes, quasars, and
gamma ray bursts.

To an outside observer, a ship within a mass effect drive envelope appears to
blue-shifted. If within a field that allows travel at twice the speed of
light, any radiation it emits has twice the energy as normal. If the ship is
in a field of about 200 times light speed, it radiates visible light as x-ray
and gamma rays, and the infrared heat from the hull is blue-shifted up into
the visible spectrum or higher.

Ships moving at FTL are visible at great distances, though their signature
will only propagate at the speed of light.

~FTL Drive: Drive Charge~

As positive or negative electronic current is passed through an FTL drive
core, it acquires a static electrical charge. Drives can be operated with an
average of 50 hours before they reach charge saturation. This changes
proportional to the magnitude of mass reduction; a heavier or faster ship
reaches saturation more quickly.

If the charge is allowed to build, the core will discharge into the hull of a
ship. All ungrounded crew members are fried to a crisp, all electronic systems
are burned out, and metal bulkheads may be melted and fused together.

The safest way to discharge a core is to land on a planet and establish a
connection to the ground, like a lightning rod. Larger vessels like
dreadnoughts cannot land and must discharge into a planetary magnetic field.
The ship passes the charge from the drive core to the exterior armored hull,
then dives into the magnetic field.

As the hull discharges, sheets of lightning jump away into the field, creating
beautiful auroral displays on the planet. The ship must retract is sensors and
weapons while dumping charge to protect damage, leaving it blind and helpless.
Discharging at a moon with a weak magnetic field can take days. Discharging
into the powerful field of a gas giant may require less then an hour. Deep
space facilities such as the Citadel often have special discharge facilities
for visiting ships.

~Space Combat: Combat Endurance~

Heat limits the length and intensity of ship-to-ship combat. Starships
generate enormous heat when they fire high-energy weapons, perform maneuvering
burns, and run on-board combat electronics.

In combat, warships produce heat more quickly than they can disperse it. As
heat builds within a vessel, the crewed spaces become increasingly
uncomfortable. Before the heat reaches lethal leaves, a ship must win or
retreat by entering FTL. After an FTL run, the ships halts, shuts down non-
essential systems, and activates the heat radiation gear.

Combat endurance varies by ship design and by the battle's location. Battles
in the deep cold of interstellar space can go on for some time. Engagements
close to a star are brief. Since habitable worlds are usually close to a star,
battles over then are usually more frantic.

~Space Combat: General Tactics~

Shells lofted by surface navies crash back to earth when their acceleration is
overwhelmed by gravity and air resistance. In space, a projectile has unlimited
range, it will keep moving until it hits something.

Practical gunnery range is determined by the velocity of the attacker's
ordinance and the maneuverability of the target. Beyond a certain range, a
small ship's ability to dodge trumps a larger attacker's projectile speed. The
largest-ranged combat occurs between dreadnoughts, whose projectiles have the
highest velocity but are the least maneuverable. The shortest-range combat
is between frigates, which have the slowest projectile velocities and highest

Opposing dreadnoughts open with main gun artillery duel at EXTREME ranges of
tens of thousands of kilometers. The fleet close, maintaining evasive lateral
motion while keeping their bow guns facing the enemy. Fighters are launched
and attempt to close to disrupter torpedo range. Cautious admirals weaken the
enemy with ranged fire and fighter strikes before committing to close action.
Aggressive commanders advance so cruisers and frigates can engage.

At LONG range, the main guns of cruisers become useful. Friendly interceptors
engage enemy fighters until the attackers enter the range of ship-based
GARDIAN fire. Dreadnoughts fire from the rear, screened by smaller ships.
Commanders must decide whether to commit to a general melee or retreat into

At MEDIUM range, ships can use broadside guns. Fleets intermingle, and it
becomes difficult to retreat in order. Ships with damaged kinetic barriers are
vulnerable to wolfpack frigate flotillas that speed through the battle scene.

Only fighters and frigates enter CLOSE 'knife fight' ranges of 10 or fewer
kilometers. Fighters loose their disrupter torpedoes, bringing down a ship's
kinetic barriers and allowing it to be swarmed by frigates. GARDIAN lasers
become viable weapons, swatting down fighters and boiling away warship armor.

Neither dreadnoughts nor cruisers can use their main guns at close range;
laying the bow on a moving target becomes impossible. Superheated thruster
exhaust becomes a hazard.

~Space Combat: Planetary Assaults~

How to get: Talk to Ashley inbetween missions.


Planetary assaults are complicated if the target is a habitable garden world;
the attackers cannot approach the defenders straight on.

The Cidetal Conventions prohibit the use of large kinetic impactors against
habitable worlds. In a straight-on attack, any misses plough into the planet
behind the defending fleet. If the defenders position themselves between the
attackers and the planet, they can fire at will while the attacker risks
hitting the planet.

Successful assaults on garden worlds hinge upon up-to-date intelligence.
Attackers need to determine where the enemy's defenses are, so they may
approach from an angle that allows them to fire with no collateral damage.
Note this is not necessary for hostile worlds.

Once control of orbit has been lost, defensive garrisons disperse into the
wilderness. An enemy with orbital superiority can bombard surface forces with
impunity. The best option for defenders is to hide and collect reconnaissance
in anticipation of relief forces.

Given the size of a planet, it is impractical to garrison entire conquered
worlds. Fortunately, colonization efforts tend to focus on building up a dozen
or fewer areas. Ground forces occupy the spaceports, industrial facilities,
and major population centers. The wilderness is patrolled by unmanned aerial
vehicles and satellite reconnaissance. If a defender unit is spotted,
airmobile rapid deployment units and satellite artillery are used to pin down
and destroy them.

~Starships: Crew Considerations~

Cabins give each individual ten cubic meters of space. On larger vessels
private rooms are common. As ships get smaller, the number of crew packed into
a single wardroom increases. Asari prefer shared spaces even on large vessels
while krogan territorial instinct make it impossible for them to cohabitate
even on the smallest ships.

On smaller vessels, 'hot bunking' is the norm. Crew members are assigned
different watches share the same bunk. When one gets off-duty, he wakes up the
person in the bunk. While that crewman is on duty, the first gets his rack

Spacecraft compartments can be isolated by air-tight doors in case of
decompression. The cinematic version of explosive decompression is fiction;
holed compartments either take enough damage that the occupants are killed
instantly, or leak slowly enough that they are able to reach protective gear.

Compartments are equipped with Emergency Life Supports Apparatus: fireproof
plastic bubbles with air bottles. Small when stowed, ELSA comfortably
accommodate one individual inflated. Damage control procedure cuts off
ventilation to burning compartments. With oxygen to consume, fires die in
seconds. The compartment is re-pressurized afterwards for crew recovery.

Mass effect fields create an artificial gravity (a-grav) plane below the
decks, preventing muscle atrophy and bone lose in zero-gee. Large vessels
arrange there decks perpendicular to their thrust axis. The 'highest' decks
are at the bow, and the 'lowest' decks at the engines. The allows a-grav to
work with the inertial effects of thrust. Ships that can land arrange their
decks laterally, so the crew can move about while the vessel is on the ground.

Warships normally turn off their a-grav systems during combat, reducing heat
generated by systems and increasing combat endurance. To provide a point of
reference for navigating in zero-gee, floors are painted a different color
from the walls and ceiling.

~Starships: Cruisers~

Cruiser-weight starships are the standard combat unit encountered away from
large naval bases, the 'poor bloody infantry' of most fleets. Nimble scouting
frigates have neither the punch of the stamina to stand up to serious combat,
and the mighty dreadnaughts are a strategic resource, carefully hoarded and
committed to the most critical battles.

Cruisers perform routine independent 'show the flag' patrols in settled
systems and lead flotillas of frigates in small engagements such as pirate
suppression campaigns. In major fleet engagements, cruiser squadrons support
the dreadnought battle line by screening their flanks against enemies
attempting to maneuver for a main gun 'bow shot' from their vulnerable

Alliance cruisers are named after cities on Earth.

~Starships: Dreadnought~

The dreadnought is the ultimate arbiter of space warfare; millions of tons of
metal, ceramic, and polymer dedicated to the projection of firepower against
an enemy vessel of like ability. No sane commander would face a dreadnought
with anything less then another dreadnought.

A dreadnought's power lies in the length of it's main gun. Dreadnoughts range
from 800 meters to one kilometer long, with a main gun of commensurate length.
An 800-meter mass accelerator capable of accelerating one 2 kg. slug to a
velocity of 283 km/s ever two seconds. Each slug has the kinetic energy of 38
kilotons of TNT, three times the energy released by the fission weapon that
destroyed Hiroshima.

When used to bombard planets, some of this kinetic energy is lost due to
atmospheric re-entry friction. As a rule of thumb, each Earth-atmosphere of
air pressure saps approximately 20% of a projectile's impact energy.

The turian fleet presently has 37 dreadnaughts; the asari, 21; and the
salarians, 16. Humanity has six, with additional hull under construction at
Arcturus Station. Alliance battleships are named for mountains of Earth.

Everest Class: Everest, Fuji, Elbrus.

Kilimanjaro Class: Kilimanjaro, Tai Shan, Shasta, Aconcagua (under

~Starships: Fighters~

Fighters are single-pilot combat small craft. They are lightweight enough that
they can be economically fitted with powerful element zero cores, making them
capable of greater acceleration and sharper maneuvers then starships.

Kinetic barriers shield changed starship battles from short, vicious
bloodbaths to extended indecisive slugging matches. Only the main gun of a
dreadnaught could punch a mass accelerator slug through the barriers of an
opposing dreadnought. This changed with the development of the fighter-
launched mass disruptor torpedo, a short-ranged weapon that can penetrate
kinetic barriers to destroy their projector assemblies.

Starship GARDIAN defenses must be overwhelmed through swarm tactics. Fighter
groups can take heavy casualties pressing their torpedo attacks home. Once
fighter-launched torpedoes have crippled an enemy's barriers, the mass
accelerator on frigates and cruisers can make short work of them.

Interceptors are a type of fighter optimized to attack other fighters, with no
ability to damage starships. Interceptors are used to screen friendly units
from incoming fighter attack.

~Starships: Frigates~

Frigates are light escort and scouting vessels. They often have extensive
GARDIAN systems to provide anti-fighter screening for capital ships, and carry
a squad of marines for security and groundside duty. Unlike larger vessels,
frigates are able to land on planets.

Frigate drive systems allow them to achieve high FTL cruise speeds. They also
have proportionally larger thrusters and lighter design mass, allowing them to
maneuver more handily. In combat, speed and maneuverability make a frigate
immune to the long-range fire of larger vessels; in the time it takes
projectiles to reach them, frigates are no longer where they were predicted to

In fleet combat, frigates are organized into 'wolfpack' flotillas of four to
six. Wolfpacks speed through enemy formations, hunting enemy vessels whose
kinetic barriers have been taken down by fighter-launched disrupter torpedoes.
The wolfpack circle-strafes vulnerable targets, using their superior speed and
maneuverability to evade return fire.

Alliance frigates are named for great battles in human history.

~Starships: Heat Management~

Dispersal of heat generated by onboard systems is a critical issue for a ship.
If it cannot deal with heat, the crew may be cooked within the hull.

Radiation is the only way to shed heat in a vacuum. Civilian vessels utilize
large, fragile radiator panels that are impossible to armor. Warships use
Diffuse Radiator Arrays (DRA), ceramic strips along the exterior of the
armored hull. These make the ship appear striped to thermographic sensors.
Since the arrangement of the strips depends on the internal configuration of
the ship, the patterns for each vessel are unique and striking. On older
ships, the DRA strips could become red- or white-hot. Dubbed 'tiger stripes'
or 'war paint' by humans, the glowing DRA had a psychological impact on
pirates and irregular forces.

Strip radiators are not as efficient as panels, but if damaged by enemy fire,
the ship only loses a small portion of its total radiation capacity. In most
cases, a vessel's DRA along allows it to cruise with no difficulties.
Operations deep within solar systems can cause problems.

A ship engaged in combat can produce titanic amounts of heat from maneuvering
burns and weapons fire. When fighting in a high heat environment, warships
employ high-efficiency 'droplet' heat sinks.

In a droplet system, tanks of liquid sodium or lithium absorb heat within the
ship. The liquid is vented from spray nozzles near the bow as a thin sheet of
millions of micrometer-scale droplets. The droplets are caught at the stern
and recycled into the system. A droplet system can sink 10-100 times as much
heat as DRA strips.

Droplet sheets resemble a surface ship's wake through water. The wake peels
out in sharp turns, spreading a fan of droplets as the ship changes vectors
and leaves the coolant behind.

~Starships: Sensors~

How to get: Talk to Navigator Pressly about 'stealth systems'.

'Light lag' prevents sensing in real time at great distances. A ship firing
its thrusters at the Charon Relay can be easily detected from Earth, 5.75
light-hours (six billon kilometers) away, but Earth will only see the event
five hours and 45 minutes after it occurs. Due to the light-speed limit,
defenders can't see enemies coming until they have already arrived. Because
there is FTL travel and communications but no FTL sensors, frigates are
crucial for scouting and picket duties.

Passive sensors are used for long-range detection, while active sensors obtain
short-range, high quality targeting data.

Passive sensors include visual, thermographic, and radio detectors that watch
and listen for objects in space. A powered ship emits a great deal of energy;
the heat of the life support systems; the radiation given off by power plants
and electrical equipment; the exhaust of the thrusters. Starships stand out
plainly against the near-absolute zero background of space. Passive sensors
can be used during FTL travel, but incoming data is significantly distorted by
the effect of the mass effect envelope and doppler shift.

Active sensors are radars and high resolution ladars (LAser Detection And
Ranging) that emit a 'ping' of energy and 'listen' for return signals. Ladars
have a narrower field of view than radar, but ladar resolution allows images
of detected objects to be assembled. Active sensors are useless when a ship is
moving at FTL speeds.

~Starships: Thrusters~

How to get: Examine the Normandy's thrusters while on the Citadel docks.


A mass effect drive core decreases the mass of a bubble of space-time around
a ship. This gives the ship the potential to move quickly, but does not apply
any motive power. Ships use their sublight thrusters for motive power in FTL.
There are several varieties of thruster, varying in performance versus
economy. All ships are equipped with arrays of hydrogen-oxygen reaction
control thrusters for maneuvering.

Ion Drives electrically accelerate charged particles as a reaction mass. They
are extremely efficient, but produce negligible thrust. They are mainly used
for automated cargo barges.

The primary commercial engine is a 'fusion torch', which vents the plasma of
a ship's power plant. Fusion torches offer powerful acceleration at the cost
of difficult heat management. Torch fuel is fairly cheap: helium-3 skimmed
from gas giants and deuterium extracted from seawater or cometary bodies.
Propellant is hydrogen, likewise skimmed from gas giants.

In combat, military vessels require accelerations beyond the capability of
fusion torches. Warship thrusters inject antiprotons into a reaction chamber
filled with hydrogen. The matter-antimatter annihilation provides unmatched
motive power. The drawback is fuel production; antiprotons must be
manufactured one particle at a time. Most antimatter production is done at
massive solar arrays orbiting energetic stars, making them high-value targets
in wartime.

The exhaust of fusion and antiproton drives is measured in millions of degrees
Celsius. Any vessel caught behind them will melt like wax in a blowtorch.

Any long-duration interstellar flight consists of two phases: acceleration and
deceleration. Starships accelerate to the half-way point of their journey,
then flip 180 degrees and apply thrust on the opposite vector, decelerating as
they finish the trip. The engines are always operating, and peak speed is
attained at the middle of the flight.

~Vehicles: Combat Drones~

How to get: On the Moon/Luna in one of the Rouge AI areas look in each one
until you can examine one of the large things by the doors where you destroy
the nodes.


Drones are small robots used to support and supplement organic soldiers on
the battlefield. They have no artificial intelligence of any kind, but follow
fixed, minimally adaptive programs. Most varieties employ mass effect
levitation to improve mobility.

All modern armies rely on veritable fleets of drones for routine soldiering
(static garrisons, patrols, etc.). The use of drones in non-critical duties
keeps manpower need down and reduces casualties in low intensity conflicts.
Less advanced races and cultures with less sensitivity to casualties have
correspondingly fewer drones in their inventory. Drones are of little use in
conventional open field battles ,as they are poorly armed and armored.

In addition to combat drones, support drones are used to assit organic units
in the field. Reconnaissance drones are small, stealthy craft that screen
combat units in the field and warn commanders when enemies are spotted.
Electronic Warfare drones supplement battlefield technicians, serving as
mobile jammers and ALINT (ELectronic INTelligence) gathering platforms.
Military and civilian police utilize 'dazzler drones' equipped with powerful
strobe lights to disorient and subdue intruders using nonlethal force.

Drone formations are officially referred to in wings (i.e., 'Deploy the 4th
Assault Drone Wing on the left flank!'). Common soldiers often refer to
friendly formations as flocks and enemy formations as swarms.

~Weapons: Ablative Armor~

How to get: Examine the Normandy's hull while on the Citadel at the docks.


A warship's kinetic barriers reduce the damage from solid objects, but can
do nothing to block GARDIAN lasers, particle beams, and other forms of Directed
Energy Weapon (DEW). The inner layer of warship protection consists of
ablative armor plate designed to 'boil away' when heated. The vaporized
armor material scatters a DEW beam, rendering it ineffectual.

A scaffold was built aroundt he interior pressure hull, with sheets of
ablative armor hung from the structure. Ships typically have multiple layers
of armor seperated by empty baffles, spaces often used for cargo storage.
Cruisers, which lack the internal space to fit dedicated fighter hangers,
store the shipboard fighter complement in the baffles. It is not unknown
for enlisted crew to build illicit alcohol distilleries in some obscure corner
of the baffles, safe from prying eyes.

~Weapons: Disruptor Torpedoes~

How to get: On Noveria after you first encounter the Rachni and go up through
the broken glass you should see a room with a computer it eventually. Examine
the computer when you do.


Disruptor torpedoes are powered projectiles with warheads that create random
and unstable mass effect fields when triggered. These fields warp space-time
in a localized area. The rapid asymmetrical mass changes cause the target to
rip itself apart.

In flight, torpedoes use a mass-increasing field, making them too massive for
enemy kinetic barriers to repulse. The extra mass gives the torpedoes a
very sluggish acceleration, making them easy prey for defensive GARDIAN
weapons. So, torpedoes have to be launched at very close range.

Torpedoes are the main anti-ship weapon used by fighters. They are launched
from point-blank range in 'ripple-fire' waves reminiscent of the ancient
Calliope rocket artillery launchers (thus their popular nickname 'Callies').
By saturating defensive GARDIAN systems with multiple targets, at least a few
will get through.

~Weapons: GARDIAN~

A ships' General ARea Defensive Integration Anti-spacecraft Network (GARDIAN)
consists of anti-missile / anti-fighter laser turrets on the exterior hull.
Because these are under computer control, the gunnery control officer needs to
do little beyond turn the system on and designate targets as hostile.

Since lasers move at light speed, they cannot be dodged by anything moving at
non-relativistic speeds. Unless the beam is aimed poorly, it will always hit
its target. In the early stages of a battle, the GARDIAN fire is 100%
accurate. It is not 100% lethal, but it doesn't have to be. Damaged fighters
must break off for repairs.

Lasers are limited by diffraction. The beams 'spread out', decreasing the
energy density (watts per m2) the weapon can place on a target. Any high-
powered laser is a short-ranged weapon.

GARDIAN networks have another limitation: heat. Weapons-grade lasers require
'cool-down' time, during which heat is transferred to sinks or radiators. At
lasers fire, heat builds within them, reducing damage, range, and accuracy.

Fighters attack in swarms. The first few WILL be hit by GARDIAN, but as the
battle continues, the effects of laser overheat allow the attacks to press
ever closer to the ship. Constant use will burn out the laser.

GARDIAN lasers typically operate in infrared frequencies. Shorter frequencies
would offer superior stopping power and range, but degradation of focal arrays
and mirrors would make them expensive to maintain, and most prefer mechanical
reliability over leading-edge performance where lives are concerned.
Salarians, however, use near-ultraviolet frequency lasers with six times the
range, believing that having additional time to shoot down incoming missiles
is more important.

Lasers are not blocked by the kinetic barriers of capital ships. However, the
range of lasers limits their use to rare 'knife fight'-range ship-to-ship


The everyday pieces of technology that support the modern lifestyle.

~Biotics: Biotic Amps~

Biotics manipulate mass effect fields using dozens of element zero nodules
within their nervous system that react to electric stimuli from the brain.
Amplifiers allow biotics to synchronize the nodules so they can form fields
large and strong enough for practical use. Amplifiers can improve a species
discipline or talent.

An implant is surgically-embedded interface port into which amps are 'plugged
in'. On humans, the implant is usually placed at the base of the skull for
convenient access, though the user must be careful to keep it free of

Implant ports can fit a variety of amps, and there is a growing market for
modifications and add-ons. The finest quality implants and amps are
manufactured by asari artisans, but the Alliance's L3 implants - first
deployed in 2170 - are a significant step forward.

~Biotics: Life as a Biotic~

How to get: Talk to Kaiden after each mission.


Biotics possess extraordinary abilities, but they must live with minor
inconveniences. The most obvious issue is getting adequate nutrition.
Creating biotic mass effects takes such a toll on metabolism that
active biotics develop ravenous appetites. The standard Alliance
combat ration for a soldier is 3000 calories per day; biotics are
given 4500, as well as a canteen of potent energy drink for quick
refreshment after hard combat.

Another issue is electric charge. Electricity accumulated in starship
drive cores must be discharged, and so must the electricity in a
biotic user. Biotics are prone to small static discharges when they
touch metal.

Unfortunately, human biotics also face suspicion and persecution,
beginning with the popular misconception that they can read and
control minds. Biotics symbolize the dehumanization of mankind to
people philosophically or religiously opposed to gene modification
and cybernetics. Militaries are the only organizations that always
welcome biotics, offering them huge recruitment incentives.

~Biotics: Training~

Biotic implants and amplifiers only provide the potential to create coherent
mass effect fields. Whether biotics can actually do so is largely determined
by their training.

Biotics must develop conscious control over their nervous systems, sending
specific electrical impulses to the element zero nodules embedded in their
nerves. They are taught to use their implants and amps with biofeedback
devices and physical mnemonics. Specific gestures or muscle movements fire
the proper sequence of nerves to activate a certain skill.

Conatix Industries pioneered biotic training with the Biotic Acclimation and
Temperance Training program. Although BAaT did not achieve the desired
results, many techniques taught are still used today.

Many human think tanks are trying to develop some from of biotic super
soldier. Most are benign efforts to create more flexible troops. Others,
less publicly known, are unapologetic attempts to create Nietzschean supermen.


Real-time communication is possible thanks to networks of expensive mass relay
comm buoys that can daisy-chain a transmission via lasers.

Comm buoys are maintained in patterns built outward from each mass relay. The
buoys are little more than a cluster of primitive, miniature mass relays. Each
individual buoy is connected to a partner on another buoy in the network,
forming a corridor of low-mass space. Tightbeam communications lasers are
piped through these 'tubes' of FTL space, allowing virtually instantaneous
communication to anywhere on the network. The networks connect across regions
by communications lasers through the mass relays.

With this system, the only delay is the light lag between the source or
destination and the closest buoy. So long as all parties remain within half a
light-second (150,000 km) of buoys, seamless real time communications are
possible. Since buoys are maintained in all traveled areas, most enjoy
unlimited instant communications. Ships only suffer communications lag when
operating off established deep space routes, around uninhabited out system gas
giants, and other unsettled areas.

During wartime, comm buoy networks are the first target of an attack. Once the
network is severed, it can take anywhere from weeks to years to get a message
out of a contested system. In systems where a buoy network has not yet been
built or has been destroyed, rapid communication means ferrying information
through high-speed courier ships and unmanned data drones.

~Communications: Administration~

While comm buoys allow rapid transmission, there is finite amount of bandwidth
available. Given that trillions of people may be trying to pass a message
through a given buoy at any one time, access to the network is parceled out on
priority tiers.

The Citadel Council and the Spectres have absolute priority; if they are using
all the bandwidth, everyone else must wait. Individual governments and their
militaries enjoy the next-highest tier. During wartime, civilian communication
can suffer hours or even days of lag. Intelligence agencies study pin time
through various systems to predict military buildups.

Below the government and militaries, bandwidth priority is sold to the highest
bidder. Meda conglomerates, particularly headline news networks, purchase
higher priority to provide their viewers with timely information and response
capability (for example, financial instructions and investment firms) also
invest heavily in priority access. The funds acquired through sales of
bandwidth are used to maintain and expand the communications infrastructure.

While everyone with a computer has guaranteed free and unlimited access to the
galactic extranet, they are the last in the line for bandwidth and may have to
wait for their requests to be processed. Bandwidth resale corporations use
investment capital to purchase blocks of high priority access, made available
by paid subscription.

~Communications: Methodology~

As the population of the galaxy increases and new worlds are settled, timely
access for home users and frontier settlements with underdeveloped
communications infrastructures is a growing problem. To ameliorate bandwidth
issues, a sophisticated array of data caches and virtual intelligence search
agent programs are available.

When a user submits a query, it is first routed to the data cache, the user's
search agent VI collates mountains of locally-stored data to find the desired
material. If the information is not available locally, the query is passed
along to neighboring systems, and then outward in an expanding network. VI
search agents in those systems replicate the search. If the desired
information is found, it is compressed into a 'burst' file and queued for
transmission to the source system. The burst is assigned a priority based on
the number of queries for it; the greater the number of queries, the higher
the priority.

When a new solar system is first connected to the net, a selection of the most
popular data is installed locally. Though storage hardware is cheat, the
capacity required to hold all the data produced everyday by trillions of
people on hundreds of worlds is not trivial. It's not economical to store
local copies of all the data available on obscure topics just in case.

As colonies mature, older and loss-popular chunks of data filter into them as
a result of queries and are placed in the local archive. Searches for obscure
topics are increasingly likely to produce instant results as the archive

~Credits ('Creds')~

The standard credit was established by the Citadel's Unified Banking Act as
the currency of interstellar trade. The credit, has a managed floating
exchange rate, calculated in real time by the central bank to maintain the
average value of all participating currencies. Some regional currencies are
worth more then a credit and some less.

Hard currency can be stolen or counterfeited, so electronic fund transfers are
the norm. More importantly physical transactions cannot easily be tracked,
making them ideal for tax evasion or the purchase of illegal goods.

When the Alliance joined the Citadel, its various nation treasuries were
linked into the credit network. a human with a bank account of Mexican pesos,
Japanese yen, or Indian rupees can purchase any item priced in credits at fair
market value. All economies participate in the credit network are required to
price items in both local currency and credits.

--Weapons, Armor and Equipment--

Advances in technology have made individual soldiers more dangerous and
survivable than ever before.


How to get: Open an upgrade kit while on Eden Prime. You can get it before you
fight anything.


The development of practical manufacturing omni-tools allow modern militaries
a great deal of flexibility in equipment load-outs. A vast number of field
modification kits, or 'upgrades', are available for common equipment such as
weapons, armor, omni-tools, biotic amps, and even grenades.

An upgrade kit typically consists of less then a dozen unique parts and an
optical storage disc. When loaded into an omni-tool, the OSD provides all
technical specifications required to manufacture the tools and additional
parts necessary to install the upgrade onto another piece of equipment.
Assembly is typically modular, and installation can be completed in less then
a minute.

Since omni-tools are designed to used common battlefield salvage materials
such as plastic, ceramics, and light metals (rendered into semi-molten 'omni-
gel' for quick used), it is quite possible for a trained soldier carrying
upgrade kits to customize gear on the battlefield to fit the current tactical

****** ** ** **
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/** //**//* **///** ******/**///**/ **////
/** /** / /******* **///**/** /** //*****
//** ** /** /**//// /** /**/** /** /////**
//****** /*** //******//******/** //** ******
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-Thanks to me for taking the time to put this together
-Thanks to BioWare for creating this amazing game.
-Thanks to http://www.network-science.de/ascii/ for the various ASCII art
in this guide.
-Thanks to Earl Jenson for his help in sending a couple of missing entries
and several missing locations for various other entries.
-Thanks to Nirvash Type_Zero for the text of the Turians: Religion entry.
-Thanks to Seriphyn for the text of Salarians: Biology, Turians: Religion, and
Space Combat: Planetary Assaults.



This guide is Copyright (c) 2007 ShadowDragon777

This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for
personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or
otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission.
Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public
display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.


www.completemasseffect.com/ - The wiki has permission to link to and use
pieces of this guide in it's various pages.

please notify me at theshadowdragon777@yahoo.com if you see it elsewhere


This is the end of the FAQ, thank you for reading it
and hopefully it was helpful.


Mass Effect: Codex Guide by Shadow.
Version 1.92, Last Updated 2008-01-11 View/Download Original File
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