Garrus Vakarian, Turian C-Sec Officer

We have the first half of Shepard’s crew from Mass Effect all written up: Kaiden Alenko, Ashley Williams, and Wrex have all been converted for my hack of the Marvel Heroic RPG. Today I continue the trend with one of my favorite characters: Garrus Vakarian.

Garrus is a turian, the first non-terrestrial species to make contact with humans. Humans refer to the the conflict that followed as The First Contact War. Thirty years later, the two species have pooled their resources to make the Normandy SR-1, an advanced stealth cruiser. The turians are a militaristic culture and maintain the largest navy in Citadel space. Military service is mandatory for all turians and many continue their service after the mandatory term is complete. Still others go on to serve as police officers and the Citadel Security (C-Sec) force is comprised mostly of turians.

During his mandatory service in the military, Garrus was recognized as a potential Spectre candidate though he did not go through the advanced training courses after heavy disapproval from his father. Instead he completed his term of service and joined C-Sec like his father before him. Garrus found the rules and regulations placed on C-Sec to be restrictive. His greatest frustration comes when he is stonewalled on an investigation of Saren Arterius following the events of Eden Prime.

Legitimate channels are shut off to Garrus and he can’t complete his investigation. A human Alliance officer by the name of Shepard seems to be investigating Saren, as well.

Garrus Vakarian, Turian C-Sec Officer

Relationships: Shepard D8 – Tali D6 – Wrex D6 – Kaiden D6 – Ashley D6 – Liara D6

Distinctions: Spectre Candidate – Sharpshooter – Damn the Regulations

Sniper Rifle D12 – Stock Strike D6
SFX. Head Shot: Double Sniper Rifle for one action. If the action fails, shut down Sniper Rifle and add a D8 to the Doom Pool. Take an action against the Doom Pool to recover.
Limit. Gear: Shut down CUSTOM SNIPER RIFLE and gain 1 PP. Take an action against the Doom Pool to recover.

Power Set: C-SEC ARMOR
Armor (Durability D8) – Enhanced Strength D8 – Omni-Tool (Tech Control) D8
SFX. Overload: Add a D8 and step up your effect die by +1 when inflicting a tech complication on a target.
SFX. C-Sec Protocols: Step up your effect die by +1 when using Omni-Tool to create tech or computer assets.
Limit. Gear: Shut down C-SEC ARMOR and gain 1 PP. Take an action against the Doom Pool to recover.

Outlook: Paragon D6 – Renegade D10

Combat Master D10, Cosmic Expert D8, Covert Expert D8, Crime Expert D8, Tech Expert D8

Milestone: Paging Dr. Heart
1xp when your training as a cop comes in handy.
3xp when you make inquiries about Dr. Saleon or follow a lead on his location.
10xp when you bring Saleon to justice, whatever you deem justice to be.

Milestone: Turian Rebel
1xp when bureaucracy gets in your way.
3xp when you defy a direct superior.
10xp when you leave an organization rather than be beholden to its rules any longer.

Tomorrow’s installment will be a double feature! I’m going to wrap up the squad mates with Tali and Liara so next week I can get started with the Event.

About PK

PK Sullivan is a game designer and writer living in Chicago.
This entry was posted in Characters, Game Design, Mass Effect, Role Playing. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Garrus Vakarian, Turian C-Sec Officer

  1. Adam Minnie says:

    These look great. I like the new twists on SFX such as Head shot here and others where firearms overheat until you use a melee attack. That’s a great way to pace the narrative for a tabletop version of an RPG with lots of firefights. It really gives a unique FPS feel to what would normally be a comics emulation engine.

    I would suggest giving the milestones’ 10xp triggers an OR option so it really drives a definitive decision point for a sense of closure to the milestone.

    These are great. Keep it up.

    • PK says:

      The SFX and limits is one of the reasons that MHR is such a great fit for Mass Effect. All this stuff is already in the game, I just need to mold the wording around it. I like Headshot because it messes you up on a miss; you lose sight of your target, he closes to melee with you, or some other Bad Thing for a sniper happens. Carnage, for the shotgun wielders, was just too much fun to write. It’s entirely too iconic for me not to use.

      I thought about giving Garrus an assault rifle. After all, he has one in all three games. It just didn’t feel right. It’s not his iconic weapon. All the promotional shots of him have his sniper rifle. When you see him on Omega for the first time, he’s sniping some poor fool merc. When you get to chill with him on the Citadel in ME3 (easily my favorite scene in the entire damn series) you have a shooting contest with him with sniper rifles. So here’s hoping he doesn’t run out of ammo!

      ‘Paging Dr. Heart’ has an implied or. The story line for Garrus is wrapping up the unsolved case. That’s the through line. The drama comes from how he does it. Like in Mass Effect, the choice can be to kill Dr. Heart (believing that the law is insufficiently equipped to deal with him) or to arrest him (recognizing that we need to be better than the enemy).

      ‘Turian Rebel’ doesn’t have an or statement and I’m actually kind of ok with that. The big choice is to leave C-Sec (though I may have to check the lore, Garrus may do that in order to accompany Shepard) because it’s not a good environment for him. Giving that an or statement feels like a cop out; that’s not who Garrus is. When we meet him he’s already on the way out, fed up with the red tape that’s strangling his investigation. The reason I wrote it this way is to encourage players to act the way Garrus does. They get a bonus for telling C-Sec to piss off. The problem, thinking about it, may be that the payoff comes too soon in a campaign.

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  3. Adam Minnie says:

    Excellent, sounds good. I don’t know the IP that closely, so it’s good to hear your attentive considerations about flavor and style.

    What’s great about the weapon power sets is you could theoretically swap them if a player wants to change their style. There’s no reason Garrus’ player couldn’t swap for an assault rifle if desired. The weapon power sets would be great printed out on separate index card-sized bits that could be shuffled around while on the Normandy or at other appropriate times.

    Along with an armory of possible weapon power sets, I’d love to see templates for different species, biotics, and organizational affiliations for generating an original team of ME-style characters.

    • PK says:

      Building established characters is always a delicate dance. I need to stay relevant to the source material while still giving players the opportunity to take ownership of the character. As a huge fan of the Mass Effect series it is important to me that the builds I make for the characters in the games be both fun to play and true to the source.
      Weapon power sets are really cool. It allows for more variance in play styles than the video games. The first gave everyone four weapons: assault rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, and pistol. Each class had a skill for one or more weapons (everyone got pistol, at the least) that dramatically changed the effectiveness of the weapon by altering the accuracy, sway, etc. The shotgun’s carnage ability, for instance, was only available to the Soldier and Vanguard. It multiplied the base damage of the equipped shotgun for a single attack and also functioned as an area attack by exploding on impact. These rules allowed characters to use any weapon but strongly encouraged specializing. Mass Effect 2 changed that so that each class could only equip certain weapons. Everyone got a heavy pistol and heavy weapons. The infiltrator, for example, could equip a sniper rifle, SMG, heavy pistol, and heavy weapon (grenade launcher, missile launcher, arc projector, etc.). This strongly limited players to what sorts of weapons were available but it also took out the skill track for individual weapons. Mass Effect 3 is a combination of the two. There aren’t any weapon skill tracks but players can equip any or all of the weapon types (sniper rifle, assault rifle, SMG, heavy pistol, and shotgun). This iteration featured purchasable upgrades for individual weapons that improve weight, accuracy, clip size, etc. Characters have an encumbrance limit that functions as a multiplier (positive or negative) for power recharge rates; equipping additional weapons adds additional weight, which worsens the multiplier.
      So, all in all, I think the tabletop RPG should take elements from the first and third games. The attack powers from the first game are great and help lend clear variety to game play while being easily replicated with the MHR system. The ability to pick and choose your gear from Mass Effect 3 is a nice bit of freedom.
      My biggest deficiency so far, I think, is that I haven’t done a good job of including shields. Shields play a huge part in the game play but I’ve mostly defaulted to barrier and armor.

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