Asari is a Race in Mass Effect. Asari come from the planet Thessia, and are often regarded as the most influential species in the galaxy. Races in Mass Effect have their own agendas, culture, religion, ways to govern etc. Since Commander Shepard is inevitably Human, the approach of the other Races towards Humanity is most of the time visible for the player.
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. Each Asari can attune her 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 1000 years, passing through three stages of life. In the Maiden stage, they wander restlessly, seeking new knowledge and experience. When the Matron stage begins, they 'meld' with interesting partners to produce their offspring. This ends when they reach the Matriarch stage, where they assume the roles of leaders and councilors.
Asari have a robust cellular regenerative system. While they do not heal faster than other species, Asari are known to reach 1,000 years of age.
Although Asari have one gender, they are not asexual. An Asari provides two copies of her own genes to her offspring. The second set is altered in a unique process called melding.
During melding, an Asari consciously attunes her nervous system to her partner's, sending and receiving electrical impulses directly through the skin. The partner can be another Asari, or an alien of either gender. Effectively, the Asari and her partner briefly become one unified nervous system.
This unique means of reproduction is the reason Asari are talented Biotics. Their evolved ability to consciously control nerve impulses is very similar to biotic training. Asari believe that their offspring acquire the best qualities of the "father" from the melded genes, but evidence is anecdotal.
Asari pass through three climacteric life stages, marked by biochemical and physiological changes. 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.
While each stage of life is marked by strong biological tendencies, individuals do make unexpected life choices. For example, there are Maidens who stay close to home rather than explore, Matrons who would rather work than build a family, and Matriarchs who have no interest in community affairs.
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.
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.
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.
Asari Military 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 be only 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 guerilla strikes.
As a popular Turian saying puts it, "The Asari are the finest warriors in the galaxy. Fortunately, there are not many of them."
Asari Notes and Tips
- Notes and tips go here