Extra-Statal Entities

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Paul93

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Since its first release internal politics in Stellaris has been improved, but despite developers' efforts it remains quite a shallow thing. It is not only a matter of gameplay but also of immersion, I think: even in the most machiavellian government system (like, for example, a monarchy with cutthroat politics civic) the State sovereign power works totally undisturbed from special interests groups (aside from a couple of easy-to-deal-with political factions). So, here is my proposal: EXTRA-STATAL ENTITIES

These extra-statal entities are powerful organizations that share a cospicuous fraction of wealth and power inside the empire. There are four types of such entities:
-corporations: planetwide rich enterprises that control an important fraction of the market
-families: aristocratic dynasties whose authority and respect are second only to that of monarch
-chuches: vast spiritual hierarchies that oversee the righteousness of their believers
-institutions: important scientific or policy-making organizations
Chance to spawn, for each type, depends on ethics and civics of empire. So, for example, families will appear only if authority is oligarchic or imperial and more often if aristocracy civic has been picked. Churches will never spawn in materialist empires and rarely appears unless large swaths of population become spiritualist and so on.
Usually a given empire starts with a couple of these entities and during the game other will spawn. There is no hard limit but the odds should be calibrated so that no more than a dozen of these exist in late game for large empires. The total number should depend on the extension of empire as well on the level of political fragmentation. Moreover, these entities are not "immortal", so a corporation can disappear after 6-7 decades if not properly financed and a family can be estingushed after sufficient dispossessions and assassinations.

Being more specific, each entity has:
-a leader (not drawn from the standard leader pool)
-a leaning ethic (though most of these entities are very pragmatic in respect of their objectives)
-a specific level of relation with government (0-100)
-a specific level of strength (0-100) (when reach 0 disappears, when high the entity becomes more and more bully with the government)
-controls* some assets (stations, planets, slave pops etc...) inside the empire
-can be contacted separately from the official government by another empire (this is a very important point, as introduce a mechanic totally nonexistent today in the game: covered sabotage or influence of another empire)

*Not a sector-like control. The player actually has full and direct control over entities' properties. For example, a planet controlled by a noble family is flagged as controlled and, if things don't go bad, nothing change in respect with a normal "crown-controlled" planet.

The idea is not entirely dissimilar of that behind the vassals in CK2 or the estates in EU4. If you give them control over an asset they provide a bonus (e.g. giving a spaceport to a corporation grants bonuses for the ships produced here -less cost or plus x% in HP or something similar-) but force the player to maintain an high enough level of relation with said entity. Such relations go up when players meets the extemporaneous requests of entities (in form of small quests or an event where one can choose to give or not some resources) or bestow control over more assets and go down otherwise.

Every type of entity can be divided in subtypes on the basis of area of interest.

Corporations:

shipbuilding
desire: spaceports and mining stations
bonus: bonus to ships built in their spaceports
possible quests: building a given ship, building a given module on their spaceports ecc...
if angered: sudden slowered (halted in worst case) ship production, can surrender spaceports to an enemy empire given a proper offer (remember that entities can be contacted by foreign empires!)

mining
desire: mining stations and mining networks/power plants on planets
bonus: no maintenance costs for their assets or increased productivity, private colony ships are free and near-istantaneously available but building on colonized planets become a property of the corporation
possible quest: obtain other strategic resources, expand the empire to a given star system
if angered: can reduce production, in worst cases can seize control of their planets and cede them to the best offer

private military

desire: fleets and armies
bonus: reduced upkeep, special combat bonuses
possible quest: aggressive actions against other empires
if angered: can increase (instead of reducing) fleets and armies upkeep, can seize control of controlled fleets and armies (in the second case, can seize control of a planets) and cede them to the best offer

Families:

feudal
desire: hydroponic farms and mining networks on planets
bonus: reduced upkeep for buildings, reduced consumer goods consumed
possible quest: pick a certain protege as leader, activate a given planetary edict
if angered: can try a coup d'etat to seize the crown using their planet-demesne

mercantile
desire: mining stations and fleets
bonus: a strategic resource, reduced upkeep for fleets
possible quest: establish trade routes with other empires, ammass a given value of wealth
if angered: can sell their minerary products to the best offer

slaver
desire: slaves on planets
bonus: increased slave production and lowered unrest
possible quest: strip citizenship rights to a given species, enslave a given non-FTL species
if angered: can sell slave armies to enemies

Institutions:

scientific
desire: reserach stations, research labs on planets
bonus: increased scientific output
possible quest: investigate a given anomaly, research a given technology
if angered: halt labs and research stations, sell techs to enemy empires

policy-making
desire: unity-output buildings and administrative buildings on planets
bonus: increased unity or influence generation
possible quest: obtain a given migration treaty, adopt a given policy, activate a given edict
if angered: drain influence and unity (instead of producing them), can sell the election of a given faction to enemy empires

charitable
desire: hydroponic farms, power plants on planets
bonus: increased happiness, reduced consumer goods consumed
possible quest: allow a given refugee pop to reside, offer donations to lesser empires
if angered: decreased happiness and increased unrest, until revolution and creation of an independent empire

Churches:

They function in a different way: there are no fixed subtypes, instead every church represent a specific religion. Spiritualist pops can adhere to a church (in a fashion inversely proportional of happiness -so adhering to a church is not automatic as adhere to a faction-) and every church give a special bonus. On the other hand, chuches have similar quests (including realize a special type of building -Temple- that do not produce anything aside increasing relations with the church that has requested it) and satisfying a church immediately dissatisfies the others (if more than one is present). This should create an interesting mechanism for spiritualist emipires, that now must defend their "main" church against thee heresy representedd by other possible churches. So, spiritualism and religion cease to be a vague concept and become solid political matter.



Other important things related:

-aside from the possible quests suggested above, it should be added a flood of events that model interactions with entities
-an entity can trascend the borders of its home empire: neighbouring empires can give some assets to a foreign entity to obtain a favor from it (generally some sort of damage to the host government) but the destiny of bestowed assets will depend on the relations between said entity and its sovereign government... so it is a gamble that can be twisted around such a foreign empire)
-the leaning ethic of a entity has some influence in relation with the home government and other governments (so is very unlikely that an egalitarian charitable istitution will cooperate with an authoritarian slave foreign empire) but should be considerd that entities are not political parties and have a very pragmatic course of action
-desires of entities are somewhat overlapped, so in many situations favoring an entity will displease at least another entity
-an empire can have multiple entities of the same type and this is possible because every kind of entity allows for different bonuses (each shipbuilding corporations give a particular bonus to ship built in their respective spaceports! Obviously, in the galaxy can be somewhere another shipbuiling corp with the same bonus...)
 

Red192

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-a specific level of strength (0-100) (when reach 0 disappears, when high the entity becomes more and more bully with the government)
What does this factor depend on?
 

Paul93

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Honestly, I've only superficially thought about it.

This spectrum (0-100) can be divided into four regions: disloyal, disconent, content, loyal. Without modifiers, the base level can be just above the threshold between discontent and content. At this point, two types of modifiers can be applied:
-fixed modifiers that depend on the fraction of desired assets owned by the entity
-time-vanishing modifiers that depend on quests, casual events and some actions that a player can choose (for example, a plain corruption in enery credits or something similar)
All in all, a system similar to that used for relations between governments. This should be modeled in such a way to stress the pragmatism and the self-interest of these entities. So, less static modifiers than factions, in order to create a continuous challenge for the player who makes use of them.
 

Red192

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Well, the general idea looks cool, but how the player will relationate with this private? I'm speaking about the interface, have you thinked about it?
 

Paul93

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Yeah! I'm not an expert of graphics but I think that should be two interfaces, one in the foreign relations menu for foreign entities (given that you can interact only with those of your neighboring empires it should not be a very long/difficult to navigate... at least, not worse than the normal foreign relations menu) and another in internal politics menu (so to speak, next to that of factions or leaders) and not entirely dissimilar to that of factions (so, the list of entities that are quartered in your empire).
 

Red192

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Perhaps a relation with the leader as a diplomacys view, it seems cool for some flavor text ;)
 

Purussaurus

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This idea has potential.
 

Paul93

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Thanks! :) I've tried to think about something that should not need too much reprogramming but nevertheless attempt to expand an area of the game that is fairly lacking. I usually play as egalitarian and the only problem on this side that I've encountered in my playthroughs is a little loss of influence when the fifth faction forms (aka when two opposite factions are surely present and so become impossible to satisfy both).
 

Red192

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I usually play as egalitarian and the only problem on this side that I've encountered in my playthroughs is a little loss of influence when the fifth faction forms (aka when two opposite factions are surely present and so become impossible to satisfy both).
This problem is universal in realy: egalitarian, militaristic, xenophobic.... all the way to play is lacking in internal politic "problems to solve", but the most great missing feature is also the totaly lack of casuality in this playthrouth: when you chose a path, in 90% of the case you folow this path, unless you exactly choose to change for boring or RP. There are no problem that impose the player to recalculate the route, for example:

I begin as a play as Egalitarian democracy, but in the mid-game, some event chain, some bad going war, some unlucky economy chooise, impose me to swicth in Autoritharian empire, because my peaple unstopable and rapidly swith ethics.

Actualy there is no way that the player begin such event chain, lose multiply war, and above the all: that make bad economy chooise (mainly because there is no chooise in economy, no uncalcolate risk)

I suggest you to see this suggestion thread that i did:
Major Mandate
 

Paul93

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This problem is universal in realy: egalitarian, militaristic, xenophobic....

For sure, but it is related in particular to the egalitarian way of play. In fact, the main source of unrest (and therefore unrest-related events such as the rise of a given non-governing ethic) are slaves... so if there are no slaves, you can be pretty sure that no serious problems will ever rise. If you upset a large enough faction, lower the living standards and carefully avoid happiness-producing buildings, you can trigger such events in an egalitarian empire too, but it is a very unusual way of play...

I suggest you to see this suggestion thread that i did:
Major Mandate

Just read it, a very interesting suggestion :)
 

Red192

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well, i support this idea, i add it in my suggestions thread ;]
 

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Thank you :)

Thinking more about it, this mechanic should integrate pretty well with overhauled sectors. Instead of see sectors only as a way to reduce the micromanagement produced by a large, late-game empire, they could become the places where most of the influence of the Entities manifest. A mod yet exists that allows to create different types of vassals and this sort of thing could be integrated in the game allowing players to create different types of sectors, transforming them from a forced autopilot to a full-blooded CK2-style mechanic.
 

Red192

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Thank you :)

Thinking more about it, this mechanic should integrate pretty well with overhauled sectors. Instead of see sectors only as a way to reduce the micromanagement produced by a large, late-game empire, they could become the places where most of the influence of the Entities manifest. A mod yet exists that allows to create different types of vassals and this sort of thing could be integrated in the game allowing players to create different types of sectors, transforming them from a forced autopilot to a full-blooded CK2-style mechanic.
I think the biggest stellaris weight currently is the IA, Which prevents the creation of deep mechanics in certain areas such the sectors...
I think it was in the design from the very beginning that the sectors did not merely have a purely anti-micromanagement function, But that they were a source of problems and deep imperial management. But when it was obvious that there was no time to create an IA able to handle them, they cut short

I hope that they can develop more in these terms, i personaly think that sector need:
self-appointed leaders for democracies, ambitious vassals for empires, self Claims for indipence and power, own ideologies, Various levels of freedom ecc...
I explained these things in a thread

As far as the entity is concerned: Seeing that we are talking about real lobbies, it is natural that they point to the control of the central government, or at least in the area where they are headquartered....

And this could be a nice addition: each organization has a headquarters (pinnacle as a planetary modifier) that is born primarily in the capital, And with less probability (30%) in the planets of the sectors. In this case here also try to buy some political leaders in their area
 

Nakanja

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Pretty cool idea. Maybe they could combine it with the enclave station system; treat them as the headquarters stations of entities that are independent. New ones that form during the game could also become independent if they outlive the empire that created them, they grow much more powerful than it, or their relations get bad enough. Then there could be something like a church or corporation forming a new empire similar to a merc company getting land in CK2. Those space pirates and their stations could also become extra-statal entities, which would generally be nuisance but there could be some way to support them and direct them against your enemies.
 

Purussaurus

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I think the biggest stellaris weight currently is the IA, Which prevents the creation of deep mechanics in certain areas such the sectors...
I think it was in the design from the very beginning that the sectors did not merely have a purely anti-micromanagement function, But that they were a source of problems and deep imperial management. But when it was obvious that there was no time to create an IA able to handle them, they cut short

I hope that they can develop more in these terms, i personaly think that sector need:
self-appointed leaders for democracies, ambitious vassals for empires, self Claims for indipence and power, own ideologies, Various levels of freedom ecc...
I explained these things in a thread

As far as the entity is concerned: Seeing that we are talking about real lobbies, it is natural that they point to the control of the central government, or at least in the area where they are headquartered....

And this could be a nice addition: each organization has a headquarters (pinnacle as a planetary modifier) that is born primarily in the capital, And with less probability (30%) in the planets of the sectors. In this case here also try to buy some political leaders in their area
Very good, Red.
 

Paul93

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Pretty cool idea. Maybe they could combine it with the enclave station system; treat them as the headquarters stations of entities that are independent. New ones that form during the game could also become independent if they outlive the empire that created them, they grow much more powerful than it, or their relations get bad enough. Then there could be something like a church or corporation forming a new empire similar to a merc company getting land in CK2. Those space pirates and their stations could also become extra-statal entities, which would generally be nuisance but there could be some way to support them and direct them against your enemies.

Precisely :)