Nos Astra is the planetary capital of Illium. The current city, prior to the Reaper War, was known as Nos Varda, then a satellite settlement to the west of the original Nos Astra. Due to massive damage sustained during Reaper occupation, the ruins of Nos Astra will not be reclaimed for years, at least. Nos Varda, where Nos Astra's survivors had relocated, was renamed following the end of the war to provide a sense of economic continuity as Illium sought to reclaim its place in the emerging new galactic economy. Extensive new building projects are underway to expand it to a true capital, based around the (somewhat crowded) core city that survived the war, and although the city is not yet as large or refined as its predecessor, the powerful corporations based there have gone to considerable efforts to recreate the impression of sophistication and financial power of their home.

Out-of-character, the renaming and rebuilding serves to make 'new' Nos Astra similar enough to the old that, while Illium was not unrealistically spared the effects of the war, players having experienced Nos Astra in Mass Effect 2 should feel comfotable using that location as a baseline for roleplaying in the new city.


Nos Astra boasts a high standard of living, and amenities for residents and visitors are plentiful - however this comes at a cost, and those unable to afford the central city's luxuries will quickly find themselves relegated to less prestigious outer suburbs. Many businesses maintain informal divisions between their executive classes and the "workforce", limiting access to advancement to those with influential connections.

The city's generally high standard of public safety - more comparable to a Republican world than its Terminus neighbours - is maintained by an extensive and pervasive network of bureaucratic oversight and electronic surveillance, ensuring that should any of the multitude of weapons and other dangerous substances traded through Nos Astra be misused, the Nos Astra Police Department will have detailed records to help identify those responsible. Smuggling and other efforts to avoid the attention of the bureaucracy and NAPD are subject to penalties far harsher than their equivalents in C-Space.


Only a few kilometres west of the site of old Nos Astra, the new city shares many of its geographical features, albeit in a slightly new orientation.

  • The Jade Sea borders Nos Astra to the south. With the old luxury beach resort sites uncomfortably close to the ruins of old Nos Astra, new resorts are under development along the southward-stretching Sannai Peninsula. During the period of relative isolation cased by the post-war relay blackout, the Jade Sea fishing industry was an important source of food, and remains a prominent local industry even now interstellar shipping has resumed.
  • The Gemstone Lakes are to the north-east of Nos Astra. Areas of the Sunder Lowlands directly to the city's north, formerly a protected reserve land, have been opened to development to allow Nos Astra to reconnect with the lakes. In addition to sailing and leisure facilities, the lakes house a small but growing underwater hanar settlement, replacing the suburb destroyed during the war.
  • Several districts in the centre and central-south of the city, which comprised the defended area during the war, are still informally known as Nos Varda. As well as a highly varied concentration of businesses and residential developments - something of a city-within-a-city, due to the area's recent history - Nos Varda contains a segment of the defensive installations and barrier generators used to defend Nos Varda, preserved (despite now being encircled on all sides by urban development) as a monument and tourist attraction. The area also hosts the Sky Cities, a holographic display of Thessian cities and landmarks begun as a memorial after Thessia's fall during the war.
  • Cold Claw is among the easternmost districts of the city, composed of low-rent high-capacity residential units inhabited largely by labourers and indentured servants. Constructed into the side of Cold Claw Gorge as well as on surrounding lowland, the slum district is low-visibility to the more affluent regions of Nos Astra. Conditions in Cold Claw contributed to the Scarletwood riots there.

Businesses & facilities

  • The Dwick Dwickcast Syndykyt, based at 1 Dwickcast Tower, is a media juggernaut based on producing material nobody else would, which against all reason secures continued high ratings and revenue.
  • Areopagus Technology Park is a commercial complex housing various businesses and retail outlets, including Kaga's Mobile Café.
  • Eclipse is one of the galaxy's leading mercenary organisations. Having a long-established presence on Illium, Eclipse agreed to serve alongside the planet's defence forces during the Reaper War. Now a private corporation once more, Eclipse nonetheless enjoys many concessions as payment for the wartime agreement, allowing them to operate with a far greater aura of legitimacy (not always deserved), and effectively operate as a monopoly at the top of the private military sector on Illium.
  • The Helix Arena is a multipurpose sporting and entertainment venue, which in turn is the central stadium of a variable-configuration ELITE-capable racing track. Nos Astra's APU pildavi team, the Nos Astra Pulsars, use the Helix Arena for major matches.


  • Nos Astra employs the Illium-standard Irati VI to provide information to tourists and members of the public.
  • The NAPD uses the TAKIA mech to augment its regular officers; TAKIAs are now a common sight in public plazas and facilities, and perform limited customs duties at the city's spaceports. LOKI mechs, no longer employed by the NAPD, remain a common component of private security forces.

See Also

Nos Astra Police Department Fundraising Gala