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Supernatural Templates of Mass Effect Races

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  • Supernatural Templates of Mass Effect Races

    No, the title is very serious.

    My buddy recently came up with an idea to write a fanfic or run a game where Chronicles of Darkness humanity is the group that joined the Citadel Council after having fled Earth post-invasion by otherworldly-that-has-nothing-to-do-with-normal-planets forces. (I'm learning towards an army of Strix or mass breakout of the idigam, but I wouldn't be remiss to the Judges of Duat judging humanity irreparable and letting lose the legions of Slaughterers, or the True Fae deciding "You know what would be really fun? Conquering a fundamentally hostile world and civilizing it!") The result is a much more paranoid species with a great deal of superstitions and fear, as well as a level of sneakiness salarians admire-but also a lot more alien-friendly, as it was essentially humans calling for help (while pretending to be extinct, in case the species who answered were more in the Galactic Empire mold of astropolitics) that led to the resettlement of Earth and saving humanity from becoming a hardscrabble race of Underworld-worshiping space pirates.

    Thing is, though? Who says humanity gets to hog all the shadowy fun?

    We have the elcor as being the most attuned to the hidden side of the world (which leads them to becoming a lot creepier, since they're also a lot more secretive), but I was wondering what kind of monster the other species have, one that ties into their own mythology and culture. What they themselves fear and yet are drawn to. So, I decided to crowdsource it a bit.

    My ideas:

    The Myrmecol: The turians' most notorious type of shapeshifter. Their religion is unknowingly a perfect description of how the Shadow works, and their respect for spirits means that in effect, almost every turian is unknowingly bound to a totem spirit. The myrmecol are an expression of this; the spirit of Palaven's sun grew wroth with the hubris of ancient turian shamans who thought themselves kings of the spirit world, but was impressed by their wisdom and courage when guiding their people. Thus, she cut them into many parts, but then taught the parts how to live separately from the rest of their body and reunite for brief periods. The myrmecol are their descendants, both soldier and squad, and what frightens the turians is that they need no community to feel at peace; each one is a hive mind of various Palaven predators who can walk as a single person, both in perfect order and in perfect self-divided chaos. Their own internal mechanic is attempting to maintain Harmony to prevent their turian egos be overcome by their animal ids, and when they rage it is as a completely amoral swarm with military training.

    The Sur'Zahn: The salarians have a very present knowledge of mortality given how short their lifespans are. The sur'zahn are those who, through dark magic, tell mortality exactly where it can stick its concerns. Their name means "Memory-thirster" in the dominant salarian language, and that's a pretty good descriptor of what they do; they steal the memories of others to extend their own future existence and awaken their own strange mind-twisting and illusionary abilities. In effect, the sur'zahn are the salarian equivalent of vampires, though they aren't undead; they are representatives of the horror salarians have for the idea of losing their minds and memories, as well as the allure forbidden knowledge has for them; every sur'zhan chose their fate, though not all knew what they were choosing.



  • #2
    As a side note, given certain aspects of Geist in 2E?

    Can anyone say: "Sovereign becomes a tad...Vengeful?"


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    • #3
      The Ardat-Yakshi is an obvious template for the Asari.


      Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Leliel View Post
        As a side note, given certain aspects of Geist in 2E?

        Can anyone say: "Sovereign becomes a tad...Vengeful?"
        Funny. I considered the Reapers more akin to the Shan'iatu or the Arisen, minus the whole "leaking Sekhem or Memory". Heck they might be why power is now inversely proportional to memory; the early examples went rouge and trech'd on their creator. Unease Sybaris as indoctrination, with the creepy war cry as Terror Sybaris...

        That works rather well.


        Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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        • #5
          Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
          The Ardat-Yakshi is an obvious template for the Asari.
          Yeah, they're pretty much already vampires. Justicars are basically a third-tier Hunter conspiracy.

          Protheans seem like another possible source for Mummies.

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          • #6
            The morning war is what happens when a demon's plan to make hell on Earth goes horribly right

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            • #7
              Biotics should be a template.


              Mechs: Because even the Chronicles of Darkness needs robot fights.
              DarkFrame: Crossover setting that puts Chronicles of Darkness in the far future that is Warframe.
              Monarch: The Endless You are an alien ruler, charged with maintaining a people who you shape to suit your needs.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
                The Ardat-Yakshi is an obvious template for the Asari.
                Reviving this to say that I've been giving this whole alternate setting some thought, and to be honest? I think Ardat-Yakshi illustrate a point; this is a setting where everyone needs to grapple with mysteries, and humans are not that unique. The Ardat-Yakshi were exactly like human vampires, in that asari did not want to admit they existed to themselves and helped hide their very being until forced to acknowledge that yes, some of them are born as demons who can drain power and life from those they link with. Ironically, the asari are also a species that accepts Supernatural Merits as a way of life most easily (salarians loathe the unpredictability of the occult and have a cultural aversion to anything except the most physical and testable, and turians have a very stringent idea on what is good magic and bad magic; if it's not healing, divination, communing with the dead/spirits, or abjuring against malign influence, it's bad until proven otherwise).

                Though, I have also come up with the idea of geth choristers and cabalists; models built to channel the hive mind through mystical artifacts for various effects, and a colossal sticking point for quarians, who want very badly to believe geth have no souls. To manipulate magic and come up with the occult requires a soul. Bringing them up with quarians (or most other sentients) is ask for a lesson in goalpost-moving. Or for the more open-minded, becoming very unnerved on how the geth soul works.

                EDIT: I'd also say changelings are fairly universal. True Fae are equal-opportunity psychopaths.
                Last edited by Leliel; 10-12-2018, 06:58 PM.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Leliel View Post

                  Reviving this to say that I've been giving this whole alternate setting some thought, and to be honest? I think Ardat-Yakshi illustrate a point; this is a setting where everyone needs to grapple with mysteries, and humans are not that unique. The Ardat-Yakshi were exactly like human vampires, in that asari did not want to admit they existed to themselves and helped hide their very being until forced to acknowledge that yes, some of them are born as demons who can drain power and life from those they link with. Ironically, the asari are also a species that accepts Supernatural Merits as a way of life most easily (salarians loathe the unpredictability of the occult and have a cultural aversion to anything except the most physical and testable, and turians have a very stringent idea on what is good magic and bad magic; if it's not healing, divination, communing with the dead/spirits, or abjuring against malign influence, it's bad until proven otherwise).

                  Though, I have also come up with the idea of geth choristers and cabalists; models built to channel the hive mind through mystical artifacts for various effects, and a colossal sticking point for quarians, who want very badly to believe geth have no souls. To manipulate magic and come up with the occult requires a soul. Bringing them up with quarians (or most other sentients) is ask for a lesson in goalpost-moving. Or for the more open-minded, becoming very unnerved on how the geth soul works.

                  EDIT: I'd also say changelings are fairly universal. True Fae are equal-opportunity psychopaths.

                  I would say that you don't reveal or treat the geth as "machine magic" for the most part, atleast early on. More specificially, up until a big reveal, make everyone think the Geth are actually using an advanced technological artifact with "seemingly" magic abilities. Give it at least a "mundane" explanation so that it isn't "obvious" that it is real magic. Mystery is only mystery if there are more than one truly valid answer.



                  On that note: is vampirism "universal"? As in, could a human vampire turn a Salarian and vice versa?


                  Do you have any idea for alternative supernaturals for different races?


                  Mechs: Because even the Chronicles of Darkness needs robot fights.
                  DarkFrame: Crossover setting that puts Chronicles of Darkness in the far future that is Warframe.
                  Monarch: The Endless You are an alien ruler, charged with maintaining a people who you shape to suit your needs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Almarck View Post
                    On that note: is vampirism "universal"? As in, could a human vampire turn a Salarian and vice versa?


                    Do you have any idea for alternative supernaturals for different races?
                    Hm. I'd say that souls generally aren't that different between species, because there's a few reasons why everyone is humanoid and at most has four eyes or walk on knuckles. So vampires are pretty much universally recognizable as similar types of being; a salarian who hears about Earth bloodsuckers immediately thinks "Oh! It's a sur'zahn, except it drinks blood, not thoughts."

                    Of course, vampires ain't exactly lacking in diversity, so that may not be that helpful.

                    I'm thinking of alternate versions of shapeshifters and Bound right now.


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                    • #11
                      "Does this unit have a soul?"

                      Bound Geth?


                      Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                      Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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                      • #12
                        If it were me doing this, I'd say that the Awakened are universal, but that the Paths that we know are uniquely human. Other species likely have very different experiences with the Supernal Realms. I could see there being an Asari 'Path of Eternity' with Mind and Time, as well as a Turian with Matter and Spirit. Also, Quarian Mages using Life to repair their immune systems is a cool idea; I kind of like the thought that Quarian Mages place a lot of emphasis on Gross Arcana in general.

                        If I were to do anything involving Reapers, I'd likely tie them in with the God-Machine. I mean, there's a buttload of overlap there and it feels like a fit.


                        Raksi plays Peek-a-boo for keeps. ~ nalak42

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                        • #13
                          Hmm, now I'm stuck wondering about this. I find myself considering what sorts of Mage Orders could be in Mass Effect's galaxy. For one, there's the question of whether any of the human Orders we know have managed to survive so long.

                          Assuming the Pentacle survived, there's the issue of how they adapt to the interstellar community. The Silver Ladder believes that Magic is Humanity's Birthright; so do they expand their definition of 'human' in response to finding other species capable of Awakening or double-down their support for humanity? If they go with the latter, do the other Diamond Orders follow their example or do they fully embrace the new way of things?

                          I'd have the Seers of the Throne and Exarch worship as a galactic phenomenon, though they might have other non-human specific names. One possibility could be that the various extraterrestrial Exarch cults never unify like the Seers did, meaning that the Krogan Mages who devote themselves to the General might not recognise those who devote themselves to the Ruin as part of the same Order, let alone their human equivalents.

                          Then, of course, there's the matter of what other species' Orders could be like. I could definitely see a unique Sect forming from the mingling of Asari, Salarian and Turian culture; maybe a sort of 'Shadow Council'. Meanwhile, other species have their own semi-Nameless Orders that stand apart; a Drell/Hanar Order dedicated to uncovering and preserving the magical traditions of the Enkindlers, a Volus Order the treats magic as a commodity to be bought and sold.

                          Bluh, this is probably getting a bit off topic.


                          Raksi plays Peek-a-boo for keeps. ~ nalak42

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                          • #14
                            Hey, Leliel's the one that brought up which species likes which Supernatural Merits. That's much more a social issue.

                            For shapeshifters, spitballing in no particular order, I'd posit Elcor have a shapeshifter that has a smaller, relatively more nimble form. Perhaps something serpentine, avoiding falling in their homeworld's high-gravity environment. Asari have those hair tentacles, making me think an aquatic shifter could fit. Or maybe something insectoid, tapping into the Asari maturation cycle a bit. Or combine for Asari mantis shrimp! Salarians could have an avian shifter; they've got the high metabolism and quick movements already, just jack that up even more. Vorcha could exemplify their status as "vermin" even more by having a rat-analog shifter. (Sidenote: Vorcha are noted as being able to adapt to any environment they live in. So, why not have Vorcha adapted to the Underworld, Shadow, Astral or Hedge?) Geth could easily slide in a Transformers model. Krogan shift into Thresher Maws. Drell, Hanar and Batarians I'm having trouble thinking of, while Quarians and Volus would run into trouble with environmental suits. But Quarians would have a real gift for tech spirits (maybe sharing a friendly one with their suits), while Volus could economize the Shadow with pacts.

                            I'm not that familiar with Bound, so if you're looking for outright variants, I might not be the best source. Bound and society I'll take a crack at. Bound depends on if Geist are limited to Bargaining with their own species only (the Binding requires a resonance between the ghosts that can be thrown off by differing species, among other factors), or if anything is up for grabs. Asari with their breeding practices could be a loophole in the former case, the direct descendant of an alien counting as that species. What leaps out at me is a hive-souled Salarian, ritualistically Bound to multiple Geist. Their mortality rates are higher due to lifespan, and it gives them access to multiple sources of information. Turians and their meritocracy brings up the question of if an astute Geist Bound to a lower-ranking individual can move up to their former position easily. The Compact between Hanar and Drell may well veer into this territory, with Drell serving beyond the grave, or Drell taking on Hanar Geist for the long-dead to experience a different sort of life. Batarians might have a culture that elevates Tyranny over Synergy. Quarians are either cut off from the Mourning War dead, or actively suppress those that discover the Quarian sympathizers for the Geth. The Geth may well share Quarian sympathizer dead among their programs as equals in the Consensus. Krogan probably have the most Bound of any species, as they have plentiful fodder for Geist, and plenty of death-seeking living.
                            Last edited by KageMCS; 10-27-2018, 09:18 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Do salarians tend to die of age-related infirmities? If they do i think that a shorter lifespan might mean comparatively less opportunities to create the traumatic death necessary to create a ghost


                              A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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