Character creation in Mass Effect is a combination of the standard found on page 45 of Bulldogs! with elements of the Dresden Files Roleplaying Game. While I like the various power levels presented in Bulldogs! characters in that game start with 10 Aspects which seems a bit excessive to me. I prefer the formula of a High Concept, a Trouble and 5 additional Aspects found in Dresden Files on pages 54-63. Click on the title link above for further elaboration.
The term biotics refers to the ability for some lifeforms to create mass effect fields using Element Zero nodules embedded in body tissues. These powers are accessed and augmented by using bio-amps. Biotic individuals can knock enemies over from a distance, lift them into the air, generate gravitational vortices to tear obstacles or enemies apart, or create protective barriers.
‘Tech’ refers to classes and talents based around reverse engineering or hacking various technologies, including hardsuit systems, weapons, and synthetic enemies like the geth. Tech talents are deployed with omni-tools.
Omni-tools are multipurpose diagnostic and manufacturing tools as well as computers used for a variety of civilian and battlefield tasks, such as hacking, decryption, or repair. Higher-end omni-tools are equipped by Engineers, Sentinels, and Infiltrators to make use of their tech talents and powers. When activated, an omni-tool can appear over either of a person’s forearms and/or hands, or occasionally over both, as an orange hologram.
The Milky Way is populated with dozens of races. Some are valued members of Citadel space, working to build a better galactic community; others are lawless, caring nothing for the Citadel Council’s edicts; a few are outcasts, but all are unique.
Not all races are suitable for play as PCs. Notably the Collectors shouldn’t be allowed at all while Batarians, Elcor, Geth, Hanar, Volus and Vorcha should only be allowed after some careful consideration by the GM and players.
Soldiers are pure combat specialists. No one is tougher or more effective at taking down enemies with gunfire. Soldiers have the most thorough weapons training. High-level operatives are outfitted with ocular synaptic processors that allow them to focus on targets with lethal accuracy.
Armor is protective body covering intended to prevent injury in combat, and is differentiated by species. Turians, krogan, quarians and humans all have specific types of armor; asari use human armor. There are, however, three general armor categories. These rate armor based on the protection it provides. Armor can be customised with upgrades to give better shields or health regeneration, improve cooldown times for tech abilities, or protect against melee attacks depending on individual preference.
Weapons in the Mass Effect universe are micro-scaled mass accelerators, using mass-reducing fields and magnetic force to propel miniature slugs to lethal speeds. Nearly every gun on the battlefield is laden with features, from targeting auto-assists to projectile shavers that can generate thousands of rounds of ammunition from a small, internal block of metal.