Mass Effect: Stardust
Spectres are agents from the Office of Special Tactics and Reconnaissance and answer only to the Council, stationed on the Citadel. They are elite military operatives, granted the authority to deal with threats to peace and stability in whatever way they deem necessary.
They operate independently or in small groups. Some are empathetic peacekeepers, resolving disputes through diplomacy. Others are cold-blooded assassins, ruthlessly dispatching problem individuals. All get the job done, one way or another, often operating outside of the bounds of galactic law.
The Spectres were founded after the salarians joined the Council. For many years, they operated in secrecy, as back-room “problem solvers”. Only after the Krogan Rebellions did their activities become publicized. Assignment of a Spectre is less contentious than military deployment, but makes it clear that the Council is concerned about a situation.
(PCs can determine how much of the “common” knowledge of the Spectres (legends, unverified claims or rumors, etc) they know with an “Easy” Lore or Underworld Knowledge skill check or an “Average” Space: Citadel Knowledge skill check. PCs can determine how much of the “hidden” knowledge of the Spectres (verified details of covert Spectre operations, names or actions of specific, living Spectres, etc) they know with a “Daunting” Underworld or Space: Citadel Knowledge skill check)
To be a Council Spectre is to be considered among the galaxy’s military elite. Jobs beyond the ability of others are granted to Spectres, as well as privileges unprecedented among almost all sentients in civilized parts. To be a Spectre is to be the best.
As such, in order for a PC to gain the status of a Spectre, they require several things:
- sufficient political sway with their government to receive sponsorship,
- involvement in an event of sufficient importance which they helped solve in a manner that the Council would approve of,
- a sufficient number of successful missions completed alongside a currently active Spectre (essentially a “ride-along”, where the Spectre works with the Spectre candidate on several missions, appraising their skills and passing along a yes/no recommendation to the Council upon completion of their time together),
- and XX experience points to spend on their qualification as a Spectre.
Being appointed a Spectre carries many perks for both the Spectre PC and their crew:
- the Spectre PC gets access to the Spectre Agent specialization talent tree, which they can spend XP in to improve their current abilities (and learn some unique abilities as well),
- PCs can make purchases at a discount in Citadel Space (as well as getting access to rare or restricted weapons),
- PCs are given access to more difficult jobs which in turn pay much better,
- PCs can walk in all Citadel Space restricted areas with weapons (including on the Citadel itself),
- PCs are considered at or above the authority of law enforcement in Citadel Space and allied systems,
- PCs are considered representatives of the Council’s will in almost all manners during appointment,
- Lastly (and possibly most important), PCs who become Spectres have their Obligation reduced by 15, both due to granted funds by the Council allowing payment toward debts and their profile increasing (meaning unsavory hangers-on may fade into the background).
PCs should be aware that their public persona’s exposure will increase substantially if they become Spectres, and some areas of the galaxy will react to their presence with more hostility than they would a simple merc (particularly the Terminus Systems).