Sunday, 29 April 2012

Mass Effect Races 2

THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD...BUT WHILE THERE'S MOONLIGHT AND MUSIC AND LOVE AND A PERFECT PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY...

PART 2: DRELL

Hello there, Toolbox 24 here for another dose of Mass Effect. This weekend, I'm focusing on the Drell.

As ever, if you want any more information on anything that you've read here, please visit the Mass Effect Wiki.

I mentioned in my last blog, that this race (to look at anyway) was the favourite race of my oldest daughter Roxy. Who immediately pointed to the picture of the Drell on the Mass Effect Wiki. I believe her stance however also shifted slightly towards the Volus - who again will be mentioned in a future blog.

Drell

The drell are a fascinating race, in my opinion one of the more fascinating races, in Mass Effect. This might be because their history isn't as expanded as a lot of the others, and also because the main drell in the game is a total legend.

There is more information in the in-game Codex of course and through conversing with Thane in ME2, but not a lot of people do that unfortunately.

The drell are a reptile-like race, who originally came from the arid, mostly desert world of Rakhana. About 800 years before the events of the game (in the 1300's, when we were still on horseback and an advanced weapon for us was a longbow) the drell were still stuck on their homeworld of Rakhana, and had not yet developed space-flight. This was quite the problem for the drell because they had heavily industrialised their planet and had depleted the vast majority of its natural resources. This problem was again compounded by the 11 billions inhabitants of their world. Heavy overpopulation and lack of resources meant that their world would have started to resemble something like Mad Max - I presume. Nations warring over dwindling supplies of water and food, not to mention any remaining oil.

Fast forward 600 years (1900's while we were taking our first steps towards the moon), and those 11 billion drell have dwindled and dwindled down, and are killing each other over something as simple as a glass of clean water.

Enter the hanar, another race (which will be touched on) who discovered Rakhana in this state, and knowing that it wouldn't be very long until the drell became extinct decided to offer as many of them as they could refuge on their homeworld of Kahje. The hanar could only rescue 375,000 drell, and the others had to be left behind - presumably to slowly die from the elements.

The hanar welcomed the drell to their homeworld, and by saving their race, formed what is known as the Compact between the 2 races. Essentially, the hanar are floating jellyfish, with limited capabilities of which I will go into more in another blog post, and the drell are enlisted from an early age to train to do things that they cannot do or find very hard to do. Since it is an honour for the drell to do this, very rarely do any drell refuse.

Drell now tend to stay on Kahje, not very often leaving the planet - although those that do, tend to be the more adventurous type. Drell are an established member of the galactic community, and a recognised Citadel race - meaning they come under the protection and jurisdiction of the Council.

Unfortunately, the rescue by the hanar brought with it it's own set of complications. The world that the drell came from was naturally arid, but the opposite can be said of the hanar homeworld - it is pretty much all water, 90% of the surface being covered in the wet stuff. This constant exposure to such a humid and wet environment has had it's effect on the drell, creating the disease Kepral's Syndrome - the biggest killer of drell on Kahje. Basically the moistness of the air erodes the lungs ability to take in oxygen, and this disease spreads out to the other organs slowly shutting down the host's systems.

A very interesting facet of the drell is their perfect photographic memory, something that I suppose explains the big red writing at the head of the blog. Due to them having to remember so much vast expanses of land to find vegetation, fresh water sources and prey migration paths, they evolved to develop a perfect memory. The memory is so vivid however, that external stimulous can trigger a strong memory recall - whether the individual wants it to or not. Thane mentions that he prefers to spend lonely nights with nothing but the perfect memory of another.

Finally a little word on their religion, the drell are especially religious and their religious structure is polytheistic, meaning they have multiple gods for various reasons. The 3 that are mentioned in the games are:
  • Amonkira - Lord of Hunters
  • Arashu - Goddess of Motherhood and Protection
  • Kalahira - Goddess of Oceans and Afterlife

The drell believe in this religion that their souls and bodies are seperate, that their soul merely uses the body as a vessel, and the 2 combined are a Whole. When a drell is particularly injured or sick, or when they suffer from a severe emotional trauma, they are then no longer Whole, and need to heal to regain that status. However, due to their small population and experience of other cultures, a lot of drell have adopted other religions, like the hanar's belief in the Enkindler's (the protheans, more on another blog) and the asari philosophies.

Notable Drell
Thane Krios - Thane joins the party in Mass Effect 2 as a squad member after the mission Dossier: The Assassin. As the dossier suggests, he is an assassin - perhaps the greatest alive. Firstly, his voice is so cool, all drell have that slightly guttural way of talking, but his sounds that much cooler than the other 2 drell in game. Anyway, we find Thane on what was to be his final kill, a nasty piece of work asari who you come across in a minor side mission in the first game, and who seems to be out for herself and nothing but evil. He reveals that he has Keprals Syndrome, and says "the universe is a dark place, I'm trying to make it a little brighter before I die". Although an assassin, he takes his religion very seriously, and prays for help on the hit and for forgiveness afterwards, and when talking about his career as a hitman, he merely shrugs this off, saying that his body was trained from a young age to kill, that his body is just a tool, basically saying that if somone shoots a man, you blame the person holding the gun, not the gun itself - this stems from the philosophy that the soul and body are separate, and that the soul doesn't shoulder the responsibility of what the body has done. Thane reveals that he has a son, and is a widower. His wife was killed by hitmen taking revenge on him for a hit, and due to his work, he wasn't there enough for his son. His loyalty mission is to stop his son from killing a racist politician on the Citadel, to prevent his son from walking down the same path he did, he fears his son has become disconnected, that he isn't Whole. When you find his son, Kolyat, he is about to kill the politician, and you have to try and talk him around - not easy because now Kolyat doesn't want to know his father - in a nod to Harry Chapin, the achievement for completing this mission is called "Cat's in the Cradle" about a father who has no time for his son due to work, but deeply regrets this and wants to make amends when the son is grown up, only to find that now his son doesn't want to know him. We find Thane in Mass Effect 3 (as long as he survived the Suicide Mission at the end of ME2) in a hospital, having entered the latter stages of Keprals Syndrome, he is at peace with his imminent departure from life and when your squadmate Ashley/Kaiden is in the hospital he vows to watch over them for you. When the Cerberus coup takes place, he finds it deep within himself to fight back and does so with such swiftness and tenacity, that he even manages to fight off the almost indestructible Kai Leng enough for him to want to run instead of fight. Not before Leng impales him with his sword. This is the final straw for Thane, who after the coup is back in the hospital, and lying on his deathbed with (if the loyalty was passed) his son Kolyat. I can honestly say that Thane's death was one of the most emotional scenes I've witnesses in any game, and rates very high among emotional, tear-jerking scenes from film, TV and literature.

Kolyat Krios - Thane's son (left), who finds himself on the Citadel taking a contract to kill a politician, cashing in on his father's name and repuation. Thane along with Shepherd steer him from that path, and he finds himself taking a more religious path as per Thane's wishes. Kolyat is there at the end for Thane, and finishes his prayer for him, just prior to him passing away. Kolyat reveals to Shepherd that Thane's final prayer was for Shepherd, as he had already found peace with himself.

Feron - Feron is an associate of Liara T'Soni, who helped recover Shepherds corpse. He was however double dealing between Cerberus and the Shadow Broker, but eventually sided with Liara and Cerberus, preventing the Shadow Broker from obtaining the Commander and being captured, thus saving Liara's - and Shepherds - life. After the Broker captured him, he held him in a torture chamber for 2 years. The machine he was hooked up to (right) dealt out electric shocks, but at the same time medical care to prevent him from dying. After Liara became the Broker, he stayed with her to help set her up as the new Shadow Broker.

Well that was my run down on the Drell and their notable characters in the game. I hope you enjoyed the read and will join me for the next post on the turians.

See you soon!

Toolbox 24