- March 17, 2012
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Playable Races #1: Asari
General: 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 Council. An all-female race, the asari reproduce through a form of parthenogenesis. They can attune their nervous system to 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 1,000 years, passing through three stages of life. 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.
Culture: 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 an 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.
Government: 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 millennia-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.
Miltary Doctrine: 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 only be 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 professionals. The average asari huntress is in the maiden stage of her life and has devoted 20–30 years to studying the martial arts. Asari choose to be warriors at a young age, and their education from that point is dedicated to sharpening the 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 service. 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 guerrilla strikes. As a popular turian saying puts it, "The asari are the finest warriors in the galaxy. Fortunately, there are not many of them."
Religion: 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 the greater universal consciousness. Siarists don't specifically believe in reincarnation; they believe that spiritual energy returned 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 "meld" with nearly any form of life. This ability is seen as proof that all life is fundamentally similar. Siari priestesses see their role as promoting unity between the disparate shards of the universe's awareness.
Before the rise of siari pantheism, asari religions were as diverse as their political opinions. The strongest survivor of those days is the monotheistic religion worshiping the goddess Athame. Like the asari, the goddess cycles through the triple aspects of maiden, matron, and matriarch.
- +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, -2 Strength
- Medium: As medium creatures, asari have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Normal speed: Asari have a base speed of 30 feet.
- Diplomats: All asari start with a +2 bonus to Diplomacy.
- Biotic Blast
- available a number of times per day equal to the Asari’s Charisma modifier + ½ her level (with a minimum of 1)
- Casting Time: 1 standard action
- Components: V, S
- Range: long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
- Target or Targets: see text
- Duration: concentration (up to 1 round/level) or instantaneous; see text
- Saving Throw:Will negates (object) or none; see text;
- Spell Resistance: yes (object); see text
- Description: You move objects or creatures by concentrating on them. Depending on the version selected, the spell can provide a gentle, sustained force, perform a variety of combat maneuvers, or exert a single short, violent thrust. Sustained Force: A sustained force moves an object weighing no more than 25 pounds per character level up to 20 feet per round. A creature can negate the effect on an object it possesses with a successful Will save or with spell resistance. This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration. The weight can be moved vertically, horizontally, or in both directions. An object cannot be moved beyond your range. The spell ends if the object is forced beyond the range. If you cease concentration for any reason, the object falls or stops. An object can be manipulated as if with one hand. For example, a lever or rope can be pulled, a key can be turned, an object rotated, and so on, if the force required is within the weight limitation. You might even be able to untie simple knots, though delicate activities such as these require DC 15 Intelligence checks. Combat Maneuver: Alternatively, once per round, you can use your biotics to perform a bull rush, disarm, grapple (including pin), or trip. Resolve these attempts as normal, except that they don't provoke attacks of opportunity, you use your caster level in place of your Combat Maneuver Bonus, and you add your Charisma modifier in place of your Strength or Dexterity modifier. No save is allowed against these attempts, but spell resistance applies normally. This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration. Violent Thrust: Alternatively, the spell energy can be spent in a single round. You can hurl one object or creature per character level that are within range and within 10 feet of each other toward any target within 10 feet per level of all the objects. You can hurl up to a total weight of 25 pounds per character level to a maximum of 325 pounds. You must succeed on attack rolls (one per creature or object thrown) to hit the target with the items, using your base attack bonus + Charisma modifier. Weapons cause standard damage (with no Strength bonus; note that arrows or bolts deal damage as daggers of their size when used in this manner). Other objects cause damage ranging from 1 point per 25 pounds (for less dangerous objects) to 1d6 points of damage per 25 pounds (for hard, dense objects). Objects and creatures that miss their target land in a square adjacent to the target. Creatures who fall within the weight capacity of the spell can be hurled, but they are allowed Will saves (and spell resistance) to negate the effect, as are those whose held possessions are targeted by the spell. If a telekinesed creature is hurled against a solid surface, it takes damage as if it had fallen (1d6 points/10 feet).