I'm adding the Reapers from the Mass Effect as a threat in my campaign, but I'm not using the galaxy harvesting backstory as presented in the games. The Reapers themselves will essentially be gigantic mechs and transports for the various ground forces presented in this article. (The Reapers will be featured in a different article, since I'm still working on them.) I'm also not calling them Reapers, they are (so far) being called the Nano-Terrors.
(Descriptions largely thanks to the Mass Effect Wiki.)
The Nano-terrors are one of, if not the most, horrifying terrors so far encountered in the galaxy. They are an intelligence seemingly born from a plague of rogue nanobots. These nanobots are beyond anything that has been created by any of the known species, both part of the Galactic Concord and not. The nanobots behind these horrors are not too unlike the nanites driving evolution of life on Fatehpur in the Chisholm system, except these nanites are aggressive and are able to draw in other species into their collective consciousness through infection and completely rewriting vast parts of their genetic code.
No one is sure where or how the nano-terrors come from or came about. It is theorized that they could have been born out of Batarian experiments, though the Hegemony disputes this claim adamantly. Others blame a rogue AI subverting nanobot programming, but even then none of the nanobots studied have shown markers to their original purpose. The most widely accepted theory on the origin of the Nano-terrors lie with the mysterious Collectors, who were the first species to utilize Husks. Although, the technology used to create the Husks utilized by Collectors and those used by the Nano-Terrors appears to be somewhat different, but seeing as how they are the only other species recorded as having used anything like Nano-Terror tech they are a logical candidate.
The other big question is where they acquired their frigate and capital ship-sized starcraft. These robotic constructs not only transport nano-terror units around the galaxy, but are also able to fight in both space and ground conflicts, making them the most versatile spacecraft known in the galaxy. Where did these ships come from? Who is behind their construction and guiding their actions?
Species that are brought into the collective are transformed in ways to terrify those that have not been changed. To date, there have been several different varieties of Nano-Terror encountered in the Batarian Border Zone between the Hegemony and the borders it shares with Asari, Turian, and the Sol Alliance-controlled regions. Although, with the Nano-Terrors’ habit of assimilating any dangerous species, many new varieties could appear at any time.
AB +10 (claws), +12 (energy blast)
Dmg 1d10 (claws) or 2d6 + special (energy blast) or 3d6 (shockwave)
Move 20’ or 60’ Jaunt
Banshees are the corrupted asari often found leading a Nano-Terror strike force. The Reapers create them specifically from asari with active or latent predispositions to becoming Ardat-Yakshi, a rare neurological condition that enhances the asari's psionic power while causing the immediate death of anyone she mates with.
Lumbering as though in constant pain, the emaciated banshees are surprisingly durable opponents. They are devastating psions able to hurl lethal balls of energy and create shockwaves as they regenerate. What Alliance military finds most disturbing is the Banshee's ability to spawn her own warp field and seemingly teleport during combat. Although their wails have no apparent physiological effect, the psychological impact is undeniable.
When banshees die, their Ardat-Yakshi genetics twist against them, causing a biotic implosion to ensure they evade capture as their bodies wither away to dust quickly.
Banshee energy blasts have a range of 100 meters. Since they are slow moving, but hone in on targets, the attack roll when using a energy blast is increased by +2 (factored in above), but the target can make an Evasion save to avoid damage. If a target is hit with an energy blast, he must make a Physical Effect save or be dazed for 1 round. They regenerate 3 hit points per round, and release a shockwave that affects all non-Nano-Terror beings within 30 feet of them after regenerating (and only regenerating) for 2 rounds. They have 15 Psionic Points to use on their Jaunt ability, and these points regenerate at a rate of 1 point per round, even while engaging in other attacks.
Dmg 2d10 (claw)
Move 20’ or 40’ Charge
The brute is a hulking amalgamation of turian and krogan victims of the Nano-Terrors. Because tissue from dextro-protein species like the turians is incompatible with levo-protein species like the krogan, implants regulate the brute's body chemistry to combat organ rejection.
It is the fusion of turian military skill and krogan blood rage that makes the brute such a formidable enemy, capable of destroying armored vehicles to get to the soldiers inside. Troops are advised to keep their distance, and, whenever possible, not engage a brute alone.
Brutes are so heavily armored that they ignore 4 points of damage done from any non-heavy weapon. Plus, their claws are so tough that they can ignore 5 points of armor on vehicles (consider Gravtanks to have 12 points of Armor against Brute attacks).
Dmg 2d6 energy pistols
Cannibals are front-line Nano-Terror units created from corrupted batarians. The nickname refers to their propensity to devour the bodies of fallen comrades. This triggers a biochemical process through which the cannibals simultaneously heal themselves and grow new chitinous armor. The transformation also appears to give cannibals a greater awareness of their surroundings, leading to more strategic behavior and careful use of battlefield cover.
When devouring fallen Nano-terror units, cannibals heal 5 points of damage and add 1 point of armor to their AC. They can do nothing else while doing this, and being attacked does not halt the process. They can only add 4 points of armor by devouring fallen nano-terrors.
Dmg 4d10/4d10 energy cannons
Move 30’ or
The sight of a Harvester in flight nearby is one of the first indications that a Nano-Terror invasion is underway. Their massive wingspan allows them to quickly cover the distance between them and their prey.
In the Harvester's mouth are two heavy guns that fire in an alternating pattern. The Harvester's most fearsome quality, however, is that its appearance guarantees that Nano-Terror ground troops are not far behind.
Dmg 1d4/1d4/1d6 (claw/claw/bite)
Husks are the aggressive, mindless foot soldiers of the Nano-Terror armies. They are created by impaling either living or dead humans (and near-humans) on mechanical spikes that rapidly extract water and trace minerals and replace them with cybernetics. These cybernetics reanimate the lifeless flesh and tissue, transforming the bodies into horrifying killing machines.
The Nano-Terrors use large groups of husks to overwhelm the enemy. The husks' inability to feel pain, as well as their tendency to attack in groups, makes them particularly deadly adversaries.
Dmg 1d4/1d4/1d8 (claw/claw/bite)
Abominations are Husks that are imbued with explosives that go off whenever they are made non-functional, spreading super-hot plasma over a 40’ area for 2d10 damage. Their bite attacks are more deadly thanks to the high temperatures in their bodies making their already sharp teeth exceedingly hot as well.
The only visual difference between a Husk and an Abomination is some of the cybernetic wiring is red in color. Plus, they give off a very perceptible wave of heat to those in melee range.
Dmg 2d10 pulse rifle
Marauders are harvested turians that command and protect other Nano-Terror troops. The lean, armored creatures present a significant threat in and of themselves, but they are especially dangerous when leading a task force.
Alliance marines have observed marauders fortifying husks and cannibals by enveloping them in a ribbon of energy that forms a scabby shell of armor. For this reason, when Alliance soldiers encounter a marauder alongside husks or cannibals, standing orders are to target the marauder first.
If a marauder does nothing else for one round all other Nano-Terror units within 20’ get a +2 bonus to AC until they are damaged. Plus, due to the hive-mind that all Nano-Terrors share, any Nano-Terrors within 50’ of a Marauder have their actions coordinated, granting them a +2 bonus to attack rolls while a Marauder is still in action.
Marauders also have access to the Stealth skill and can use it with a +2 bonus.
Dmg 3d6/3d6 energy cannons
Ravagers are former rachni that the Nano-Terrors have transformed into heavy artillery through a process of implantation and genetic modification. As walking organic turrets, they can sustain and inflict considerable damage.
Ravagers bear egg sacs that spawn swarmers. If the sacs are destroyed, either during combat or upon the ravager's death, their entire contents burst forth to charge the enemy and explode on contact. A dead ravager expels a caustic gas and an acidic puddle.
Alliance scientists have theorized that it is easiest for the Nano-Terrors to maintain control over units of rachni genetic extraction because of the species' neurological predisposition for hive-mind consensus.
Unless targeted by a called shot, there is a 25% chance each time a Ravager takes damage that a swamer sack has burst. Anyone directly adjacent to a Ravager when a swarmer sack bursts suffers 1d6 points of damage from the acid. See the Swarmer entry for details, but each sack holds 3 swarmers. Once 4 sacks have burst, no others will.
Dmg 1d4 (explosion)
Swarmers are synthetic-organic creatures presumably derived from Rachni Workers and mutated by Nano-Terror technology. Swarmers can be spawned by puncturing one of the large orange sacs found on Ravagers or by destroying Gestation Pods.
Swarmers are not generally dangerous on their own. Their only attack method is to leap at foes and explode. Their real danger comes from several leaping at the same foe, which can quickly dwindle armor and health.