Mass Effect: From the Ashes

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Mass Effect: From the Ashes
Mass effect logo.jpg
Game Time
The Citadel and Galactic Governance
Council Races Factbook
Rise of Corporations · Rise of Dragons
The Matrix · Technological Advancements
House Rules · Character Gen Rules

Campaign Premise

Because there are cyberpunk, sci-fi, and transhuman themes for what I'm envisioning with this, I present two options for how a Mass Effect campaign with these elements might play out.

Standard Shadowrun

Because this game is explicitly drawing from Shadowrun to underpin many of the thematic elements in this Mass Effect Alternate Universe (AU), one (relatively) straightforward campaign would be a Shadownrun-type campaign. Players would play shadowrun agents meeting Johnsons to pay the bills, whether through espionage, assassination, theft, kidnapping, or any number of illegal or quasi-legal activities.


A second campaign premise would be to use the background created here, including the Shadowrun elements, but turn it to an exploratory campaign. This campaign would have more elements from Stargate or Eclipse Phase, but having characters become explorers. In this version of the setting, one needs to remember that much of the galaxy is still unexplored and unclaimed even by the current powers. The Mass Relays allow jumps to selected systems and nearby stars, but this creates a high-speed transportation system between pockets of civilization in the galaxy.

In this scenario, a number of new mass relays have been re-opened leading to the discovery of a series of 'gates' functioning on a similar system to mass relays, but on a smaller scale. The origin of these gates is shrouded in even deeper mystery than the Protheans. Preliminary study estimates that they were constructed by a highly advanced civilization millions of years ago. Despite their advances, they perished during the Reaper culling phase in their cycle. Left behind was a series of smaller, mostly planet-based gates to completely untouched and undiscovered worlds. Players would play characters who go through and become gate explorers, or at least associated in some way to gate exploration.

Another alternative is premised on some leaked Mass Effect 4 information, where humanity (and others?) are somehow exploring the Andromeda galaxy and encounter new enemies and studying long-dead enemies for technology and clues in that galaxy. So far it's unknown how people are getting there.

The structure, control, and organization of these gate exploration gigs and the societies formed around it will draw heavily from Eclipse Phase.

Character Generation

The Shadowrun 5th Edition rules will be used with numerous House Rules to better model the Mass Effect universe

Mass Effect Setting Updates

This is a Mass Effect game using the Shadowrun 5th edition rules as a base, set in 2237 CE, or 50 years after the end of the Reaper War. The galactic landscape has changed dramatically and looks suspiciously like the Shadowrun setting -- great disparities across cultures, balkanized power bases, and the rise of corporations as powerful and nearly sovereign force. Some elements remain familiar, but time has marched on so has the galaxy.

Shepard and Mass Effect 3 Ending

Commander Alexandra Shepard of the System Alliance Navy, Spectre, and galactic war hero did not survive the Reaper War. She and a few small groups of allied forces (both regular military and insurgent "N7" teams) were among the few to reboard the Citadel to position and power the Crucible that ultimately defeated the Reapers.

The Citadel and Galactic Governance

The reformed Citadel Alliance is now the pan-galactic forum for civilizations to air their grievances and form consensus to solve large problems.

Council Races Factbook

Fifty years after the Reaper War, many changes have occurred to the races of the galaxy. A primer on what's changed on each of the Council races.

Rise of the Corporations

One of the largest changes is the rise of the corporate autonomy after the Reaper War. Corporations now exert tremendous influence in daily life, the Matrix, and politics at all levels. This coincides with the Shadowrun's canon of outsized corporate influence and flavours this version of Mass Effect heavily.

Ten Corporations have risen above the rest and command massive portions of galactic economy. They are also all members of the Corporate Court.

Rise of the Dragons

Coinciding with the rise of corporate power, numerous powerful individuals have also exerted influence in the world. Some do so openly, some from the shadows. These individuals have been named 'Dragons' to represent their massive amount of influence. Nearly 20 are known to be 'Great Dragons' who govern systems, mega-corporations, or pan-galactic criminal syndicates.

The Matrix

After the Reaper War, the galactic communications infrastructure was rebuilt from the ground up due to the Reaper destruction of virtually all comm buoys that facilitated commerce and communications. Corporations were uniquely positioned to 'assist' and setting up the 'new extranet', now called the Matrix, was one of the reasons they were able to leverage so many concessions from galactic governments. The structure of the Matrix is similar to the Shadowrun 5th edition description, including the prevalence of wireless tech, multiple 'grids' and corporate control.

Technological Advancements

These are advancements in technology that have occurred since the Reaper War. One of the most significant is the development of the muse, an implanted AI that serves as personal assistant and companion.


In addition to the galactic powers, numerous other factions have emerged from the ashes of the Reaper War and begun to exert themselves.