Advanced authorities/civics for all ascension paths?

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Ikael

Lt. General
May 6, 2016
1.389
2.128
So with the new Machine Age DLC, synthetic and cybernetic ascensions will get brand new advanced government authorities, which represent the societal changes and impact of undergoing such a momentous transition.

I think that this is a great idea (I am a fan of ascension paths in general after all) and it is awesome to see ascensions "climaxing" into these advanced government forms, which begs the question: Should the other two ascensions also get those?

Psionic ascension has been, until now, the most content-rich one. One can argue that it does not need additional bells and whistles now that it has covenants and Shroud shenanigans and chosen ones and whatnot, but I always found it very unrealistic that your species becoming adept at mind-reading and communing with the afterlife has no social consequences whatsoever as if telepathy would be akin to buying some kind of new iPhone model.

Genetic ascension needs something, badly. I don't know if advanced authorities or civics are the answer, but right now it is the most barebone ascension path. I guess that at some point it will gain more unique traits, far crazier than Erudite or Nerve-stapled, but I also think that genetic mastery opens up some very interesting government possibilities, such as instaurating clone dynasties a la Foundation.

As per usual, I always have many ideas for what would those look like [SNIP]

> Purveyors of harmony (requires pacifist ethoi)
Effectively eliminates both crime and piracy in all your empire
Can't purge nor enslave pops
Eliminates invasion shock penalties altogether
Can't have enforcer jobs nor enforcer-related buildings (they will be shut down upon adopting this civic)
Telepaths in your empire give +5% happiness each instead of providing crime reduction
Warden of Harmony: +2.5% psionic pop output during peacetime or during war against crises per level

"This society has managed to eliminate mental illness and interpersonal conflict thanks to a voluntary telepathic consensus. Nobody feels lonely when everyone is on everybody's mind"

> Gestalt voting (requires democratic authority)

Faction approval generates science in addition to unity
+25% agenda speed and duration
+10% to council legitimacy
Speaker of the collective subconscious: -2% sprawl from pops per level

"This democracy's representatives have a direct connection to the collective subconscious, making them far more attentive to their constituent's demands -even if their citizens are not aware of them yet"

> Into a higher plane
-10% housing, food, amenities, and CG pop consumption in all your empire
Shroud Conduit: -2% Shroud delve cooldown per level

"A sizeable portion of this empire's citizens opt to spend most of their time in the Shroud, enjoying its wonders while keeping their physical bodies in stasis, minimizing their earthly needs"

> Navigator guild
+25% sublight ship speed
+2 trade to merchants
+100% to the sight beyond sight edict effects
Master spicer: +0.3 monthly Zro supply per level

"Space travel is aided in this empire by a powerful guild of Zroni-fueled psionic navigators, which also happens to control key trade routes"

> Schools for the psionically gifted (requires egalitarian ethoi)
Telepath jobs now require +5 energy maintenance
Capital buildings generate +1 telepath jobs per level
Minister of Psionic education: +3.5% XP gain to psionic leaders per level

"Psikers in this empire are aided since their childhood by a network of non-profit educational institutions that help them to control their powers and reach their full personal and psionic potential"

> Psionic knights (requires some degree of spiritualism, can't be genocidal)
Temples generate psionic knight jobs, providing naval cap, unity, and science, as well as special ground units
+100% to ship rank bonuses
+2 encryption
High templar: +2.5% ship weapon damage and +2% ship evasion per level

"Most military functions in this state are carried on by a secretive religious-military order of noble knights that employs their vast psionic talents in the service of their empire"

> Reincarnators
Can build "Soul portals", which provide reincarnation jobs
Reincarnators generate organic pop assembly by consuming copious amounts of unity
Master Spiritfarer: +0.2 society and +0.3 energy to reincarnator jobs per level

"This civilization has perfected the difficult art of finding the souls of the deceased amongst the Shroud, allowing them to recover their beloved ones and beat death itself"

> Mindslaves (requires authoritarian ethoi)
Psionic slave pops generate +0.5 trade value each
Slave pops have no happiness value, pretty much like nerve-stapled pops
Unlock "mind drain" purge (Pop will generate energy & science until it perishes, doubling output if said pop is psionic or latent psionic. Like consuming, this is considered a major atrocity with diplomatic penalties)
Mindtamer in chief: +2.5% slave output per LV

"A mind trapped inside a slave's body is a wasted mind. Let that precious resource be used by their betters instead, so all society can enjoy the fruits of its labor"

> Clone dynasty (requires imperial authority)
Pick one unique clone dynasty trait upon adopting this civic. Your ruler will gain that trait. You will also gain a younger empire ruler "copy" that shares that trait as well (the empire's heir)
Emperor will automatically "retire" (read: they will be phased out) each 25 years into the job (a new younger clone will be auto-generated as well)
Would the imperial heir die, another one will automatically be created from the royal clone vats
Emperors will gain one additional exclusive clone dynasty trait upon ascending to the throne
Imperial Heritage warden: +1% job output in your capital system per LV

"The Royal bloodline is guaranteed by a meticulous process of ever-improving genetic preservation & refinement which will give us the very best possible leader, an eternal leader"

> Bioships
Ships can be built by employing food
Ships regenerate their hull
Chief spaceship breeder: +1% ship hull hitpoints per LV

"MEATSHIPS MEATSHIPS MEATSHIPS"

> Living architecture
Buildings now cost food to be built and maintained instead of minerals and rare resources (!)
Planet devastation effects regenerate at a +100% rate at no cost
Biosculptor: -3% building maintenance cost per LV

"Buildings in this empire are biological living structures able to adapt and self-repair as any other organism would"

> Life-givers (incompatible with relentless industrialists, xenophobes)
Can terraform planets into Gaia with pops on them with no adverse effects with the "install symbiotic biosphere" planet decision
Unlock a special project that will allow you to turn an inhabitable planet into a habitable one with a primitive species on it (can't do more than one of those at once)
+5% diplomatic weight per primitive species or protectorate under your watch
Voice of the planet: +10% terraforming speed and +1.5% pop output in gaia planets per level

"This civilization has concluded that its calling lies on making life flourishing wherever possible now that it has the technological means to do it so"

> Immortality merchants (requires megacorp authority)
All your leaders gain the immortal trait
+30% organic pop growth in colonies with trade or capital designations (including ecumenopolis & habitat ones)
Can sign "immortality pacts" with other organic empires, allowing you to siphon 10% of signatory resources in exchange for giving them these two previous effects
If signatories of the immortality pact want out, they will lose those benefits and have to endure a temporal -15% stability penalty
Unlock "body rejuvenation centers" corporate holdings
Immortality loan financier: +1 trade value on body renewal centers per level

"A corporation with the ability to bestow the gift of eternal youth to any organic species- as long as they are willing to pay the price"

> Genetic tribute (requires either dictatorship or imperial authority)
Unlocks "acquire DNA" cassus belli, allowing you to acquire one of the target's main species genetic trait of your choosing and incorporate it to your own (can only target those empires with genetic traits you can't access)
Vassals now provide social research as part of their tribute
+1 subjects exempt from multiple subjects loyalty penalties
Supreme harvester: +1% resources from vassals per level

"If a vassal owes its life to its lord, why would not owe its genetic material as well?"

> Genetic caste system (incompatible with egalitarianism)
+4 genetic modification points to ruler pops, +2 organic species trait picks to ruler pops(will auto-mod themselves)
+3 genetic modification points to specialist pops, +1 organic species trait picks to specialist pops (will auto-mod themselves)
-2 genetic modification points to your worker and slave pops (will auto-mod themselves if they can't sustain their current trait selection)
Epigenetic Praetor: +1% ruler pop output and +2.5% ruler political power per LV

"It is a self-evident truth that better people ought to acquire better genes, while inferior people do not need most of its DNA code"

> Pod-people
+2 code-breaking
-50% influence costs to espionage operations
Unlocks special espionage operation "DNA harvesting", which allows you to "copy" other foreign leaders and incorporate them into your leader roost
Master mimetic: +10% operation and infiltration speed per LV

"This civilization has developed a technique that allows them to replace key individuals with identical copies gene-conditioned to serve their empire's interests, making them terrifyingly efficient at infiltrating and subverting other empires from within"

But sometimes, less is more. Would you add advanced governments/civics for the other two ascension paths (psionic, genetic), or would you rather develop them in other ways? Or perhaps, should they stay as they are?
 
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As long as the new pop auto modding thing works with bio ascension, I'll be pretty happy with it, but I do agree a clone line imperial authority (sort of like the bio luminary trait) and some kind of radical genetic freedom thing for democracies would both be very cool. Genetic Ascension, like Synthetic Acension, has both the potential to homogenize everyone or let them express their true inner selves no matter how they were born or what the end result is. Representing how either option affects society would be interesting.
 
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Dipping into Psionics again in my most recent playthrough, I feel like some of the novelty is already baked into it with contacting the shroud and patron opportunities. It's not symmetric with authority types, but it is something above and beyond the tradition path of ascensions and unique to it. IDK if symmetric authority availability is the right call in fleshing things out more and adding more flavors
 
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Dipping into Psionics again in my most recent playthrough, I feel like some of the novelty is already baked into it with contacting the shroud and patron opportunities. It's not symmetric with authority types, but it is something above and beyond the tradition path of ascensions and unique to it. IDK if symmetric authority availability is the right call in fleshing things out more and adding more flavors
Psionic can probably mostly be fixed with some buffs to parts of it that fall flat and substantially less RNG. It's also possible that covenants would fit better as government types, rather than just an empirewide effect.

Genetic... I think could do well with, assuming we're aiming for 3-4 variants per ascension:
1. Super-eugenics, where your leaders and ruler are exactly purpose-built on a genetic level (literally just choose their traits on level-up, no negative traits, etc).
2. "One perfect form" genemodding, where you're only allowed to have one species template and all pops get assimilated to it (with a goodly number of bonus trait picks/points, a one-size-fits-all superpop). Basically what a lot of people already currently do, but streamlining the system to be intentional and probably cut some lag from no species variants.
3. Individualized templates that you can set on a per-job basis to assimilate pops working them into particular templates, but relatively few trait picks/points each. Essentially the ideal case for what you could do with it currently, except way less annoying/impossible to manage.
 
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Psionic can probably mostly be fixed with some buffs to parts of it that fall flat and substantially less RNG. It's also possible that covenants would fit better as government types, rather than just an empirewide effect.

Genetic... I think could do well with, assuming we're aiming for 3-4 variants per ascension:
1. Super-eugenics, where your leaders and ruler are exactly purpose-built on a genetic level (literally just choose their traits on level-up, no negative traits, etc).
2. "One perfect form" genemodding, where you're only allowed to have one species template and all pops get assimilated to it (with a goodly number of bonus trait picks/points, a one-size-fits-all superpop). Basically what a lot of people already currently do, but streamlining the system to be intentional and probably cut some lag from no species variants.
3. Individualized templates that you can set on a per-job basis to assimilate pops working them into particular templates, but relatively few trait picks/points each. Essentially the ideal case for what you could do with it currently, except way less annoying/impossible to manage.

I can see patrons kind of going that way of a government type/authority, I do wonder how one would finagle something like a MegaCorp into being being a Shroud Patron Acolyte State (I love Whisperers of the Void and Eater of Worlds and routinely get one or the other on every factor of my empire and am smitten with being their xeno over and over again, why not make it all official like perhaps?). Seems that it would be something unlockable after repeated shows of devotion, ya know?
 
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I can see patrons kind of going that way of a government type/authority, I do wonder how one would finagle something like a MegaCorp into being being a Shroud Patron Acolyte State
Add a fifth patron only for megacorps to make up for the years of being blocked from getting a god-emperor/god-CEO, the Vault of Divinity. It looks like the Divine Treasury, but due to international copyright law, it's not. Still, you should acquire wealth like it is the Divine Treasury (though it isn't).
 
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Psionic can probably mostly be fixed with some buffs to parts of it that fall flat and substantially less RNG. It's also possible that covenants would fit better as government types, rather than just an empirewide effect.

It's not clear the Shroud patrons align with authority types though, e.g. you could be an Instrument of Desire Megacorp, but you could just as well be an Instrument of Desire Democracy. Making the Shroud patron a *civic* though (which can't be reformed out of) would fit very well into the game logic of Stellaris (similar to other special civics like Galactic Sovereign).

Also, it's worth noting that the biggest RNG moment of all when it comes to the Shroud is whether or not your roll Zroni precursors. If Psionic is buffed to be reliably strong without needing the Psionic Archive, it's in danger of becoming OP if you are lucky enough to get the Psionic Archive.

3. Individualized templates that you can set on a per-job basis to assimilate pops working them into particular templates, but relatively few trait picks/points each. Essentially the ideal case for what you could do with it currently, except way less annoying/impossible to manage.

We'll have to see what automodding can do for us here first, I think. A good automodding system + Overtuned would already be quite a bit stronger than what most players do now, even without any additional bonuses.
 
Also, it's worth noting that the biggest RNG moment of all when it comes to the Shroud is whether or not your roll Zroni precursors. If Psionic is buffed to be reliably strong without needing the Psionic Archive, it's in danger of becoming OP if you are lucky enough to get the Psionic Archive.
Sounds like the balance flaw is with the Psionic Archive. XD

I don't feel that psionics needs a buff necessarily (it's actually quite strong for a heavily populated empire). What it needs is more options and more sauce so it doesn't become a pure trait buff, but leads you toward different playstyles (as I see it, right now it's largely a stack of resource boosts as well as access to the best ship components in the game). The shroud covenants, as well as especially non-covenant psionics, could stand a lot more development.
 
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Also, it's worth noting that the biggest RNG moment of all when it comes to the Shroud is whether or not your roll Zroni precursors. If Psionic is buffed to be reliably strong without needing the Psionic Archive, it's in danger of becoming OP if you are lucky enough to get the Psionic Archive.
I actually completely agree, which is why I will take this opportunity to say again that the Psionic Archive should not exist. People say psionic is currently OP because, when you get it, it IS OP. But that's not "psionic is OP," it's "the Psionic Archive is OP," much like when TotS allowed psionics to reliably fully ascend by 2215, the overpowered thing is not actually Psionic ascension.

No precursor should give such a specific and powerful bonus. It necessitates that the thing it benefit be underpowered for the edge-case when it happens, else it be absurdly overpowered when it does... we're currently in the former, we used to be in the latter. The only viable long-term solution is to entirely delete the current PA passive and replace it with something that does not specifically and substantially buff Psionic ascension, leaving Psionic ascension itself underpowered and the relic conspicuously ill-fitting for any other empire to possess.
 
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The only thing that I miss from the psionic ascension is a patron that is not a massive douchebag, or at least, a way to go psionic without submitting to unspeakable eldritch horrors. Right now, the only thing that is remotely "good guys ascending" is the utopian living standards + cyborg combo, and the upcoming democratic advanced authorities. But I won't complain if there are new psionically enabled government forms, either.

As for genetic ascension, the thing is, there are a lot of cool possibilities regarding genetically powered governments. Stellaris is great for simulating different alien societies when creating empires, but I always felt that it was a bit limited when representing their evolution, and the new authorities scratch that itch perfectly. But if they focused more on the already unique parts of genetic ascension (more traits to collect from space fauna, more unique biological traits, auto-modding, etc) I would also be cool with that.

But still, there are a ton of possibilities for far-future governments that the game has only begun to explore.
 
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or at least, a way to go psionic without submitting to unspeakable eldritch horrors
Hey, the Instrument is completely beneficial for your society! You can build a life of wealth and happiness for everyone! ...so long as they know their place, of course.

...

Yeah, the Shroud is fundamentally alien to galactic life and I'd love to see more psi options aside from the covenant, even if my last corp managed a very powerful psychic society for over a century before we hooked up with the Instrument (mostly because the Instrument hates Egalitarians).
 
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I would love to move into higher planes od existance and turn my pops and ships into psionic entities
 
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I do think psionic is ripe for advanced authorities, although I also think the shroud largely needs to be torn down and rebuilt both narratively and mechanically.

One, it’s very clunky. Two, having to rewrite a pile of events is why we don’t have psionic hives, which would be absolutely amazing.

And we can’t make it into something really great without doing some heavy lifting first.

I don’t mind genetic being the “default” ascension, although even there, there’s several really cool directions you could take things in. And we don’t want it to just become a ball of stats to compete for attention.
 
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Hey, the Instrument is completely beneficial for your society! You can build a life of wealth and happiness for everyone! ...so long as they know their place, of course.

...

Yeah, the Shroud is fundamentally alien to galactic life and I'd love to see more psi options aside from the covenant, even if my last corp managed a very powerful psychic society for over a century before we hooked up with the Instrument (mostly because the Instrument hates Egalitarians).

Instrument is I think the least-bad option, at least it doesn't directly cause mass death like the other three. But yes, the degree to which Warhammer 40k has thoroughly poisoned psionic is offputting
 
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Instrument is I think the least-bad option, at least it doesn't directly cause mass death like the other three. But yes, the degree to which Warhammer 40k has thoroughly poisoned psionic is offputting

Telepaths are kind of the opposite of Psykers in WH40k: instead of being chaotic sorcerors, they basically work as Lawful Neutral administrators/enforcers, and your psychic leaders don't succumb to "accidents" just for being powerful psychics. Otherwise though yeah, the Shroud is clearly heavily "inspired" by the Warp in 40k, and Shroud Patrons especially are about as much of a rip-off of the Chaos Gods as Paradox could have got away with without getting sued by Games Workshop.

We could do with a new Stellaris pantheon with a different emphasis: for example, maybe the Patrons could each represent a certain "ethic" (maybe one of the standard ethics, maybe some more exotic ideology). They could have various demands similar to factions, with positive/negative consequences if you satisfy or violate them.
 
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We could do with a new Stellaris pantheon with a different emphasis: for example, maybe the Patrons could each represent a certain "ethic" (maybe one of the standard ethics, maybe some more exotic ideology). They could have various demands similar to factions, with positive/negative consequences if you satisfy or violate them.
They already do that! Each of the four Covenants is linked to a particular ethic that they like and reward, and has specific effects they have on your empire (though "demands" in the FE sense don't exist).
 
They already do that! Each of the four Covenants is linked to a particular ethic that they like and reward, and has specific effects they have on your empire (though "demands" in the FE sense don't exist).

They do but only certain ethics. In particular, having Patrons who specifically prefer Pacifist and/or Egalitarian ethics would go a long way to undermine the "40k grimdark" feel of the current range of standard Patrons. The only one I'd avoid having is a Spiritualist-aligned one, as that would be too easy to reinforce as a psionically-ascended empire.

Demands I feel make for better gameplay than just randomly bestowing boons or curses, because there's player agency involved in whether or not you satisfy the demands. The things they demand can be totally bizarre, inconvenient and/or unpredictable, of course. If they're aligned to an ethic, the "devotees of <patron>" (more interesting names depending on the patron) could replace your standard faction of that ethic, and you have extra incentives to keep them strong and happy. Maybe you could even have heretic cults show up as factions, devoted to shroud entities other than your chosen patron.
 
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Psionic ascension has been, until now, the most content-rich one. One can argue that it does not need additional bells and whistles now that it has covenants and Shroud shenanigans and chosen ones and whatnot, but I always found it very unrealistic that your species becoming adept at mind-reading and communing with the afterlife has no social consequences whatsoever as if telepathy would be akin to buying some kind of new iPhone model.
It obviously needs psionic strike fighters Luke Skywalker style.

And a repeatable psionic tech, such that the sources of increased psionic research speed aren't irrelevant once you've researched the few existing psionic techs.

Now, combine those two ideas, and I'm sure you see what I'm getting at: Repeatable psionic strikefighter tech in society that stacks with the existing fire rate and damage repeatable techs. Not at all overpowered, oh no. :D
 
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It obviously needs psionic strike fighters Luke Skywalker style.

And a repatable psionic tech, such that the sources of increased psionic research speed aren't irrelevant once you've researched the few existing psionic techs.

Now, combine those two ideas, and I'm sure you see what I'm getting at: Repeatable psionic strikefighter tech in society that stacks with the existing fire rate and damage repeatable techs. Not at all overpowered, oh no. :D
As much as it pains me to cede even more of the mechanic to spiritualists/psionics outright, a psionic repeatable that reduces the cost of planetary ascension could be cool.
 
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