Suggestion: make the "Shadow Council" Civic in to an Authority

Suggestion: make the "Shadow Council" Civic in to an Authority

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with Megacorp becoming its own Authority and gameplay type in the economy focused DLC of the same name to replace the "Corporate Domination" Civic, I would like to suggest that once an Espionage system is added to the game that some sort of "Conspiracy" Authority to replace, and expand upon the "Shadow Council" Civic.

I've always found the Shadow Council to be a lack luster Civic; the thing it's supposed to represent, an Illuminati style conspiracy controlling the seemingly democratic society from behind the scenes, is represented by a mere reduction in influence cost to picking election winners... and the Civic is clearly visible in the diplomacy screen, sort of defeating the alleged "secrecy" of the shadow council.

instead here's some ideas on how a wider Conspericy Authority could work:

the saying "have your cake, and eat it too" should be the primary draw of playing a Conspiracy; you may look like a Egalitarian Democracy from the outside, and even the inside as well, but in reality are an Authoritarian Dictatorship. Civics for Conspiracies might even give them other opposing benefits along the other Ethos axes held by their citizens, or even an Orwellian Nightmare/Space North Korea option that doesn't hide the truth from outsiders, just their citizens, being something like the Conspiratorial version of Inward Perfection.

However the big downside of a Conspiracy to counter the massive boon of the previous point is that they would need to invest a lot in counter intelligence to help preserve the conspiracy, sense if it is exposed in can result in civil war(where the façade is dropped and you become whatever kind of "normal" empire fits your conspiracy's true nature, and the uprising of citizens either inherit a legit version of the façade, or just make their own government that better fits their Ethos), allies turning against you, enemies taking advantage of those previous two points, and so on.

some ideas for Civics:

"Ignorance Is Bliss": requires Fanatical Spiritualist; the conspiracy is technocratic in nature, it leads and protects the spiritual people of the empire from the depressing truth that the universe is cold and uncaring.

Gives standard Materialist boost to research speed/production, on top of the normal Spiritualist unity buffs and Church buildings.

"Cult of [relevant Shroud entity name here]": no required Ethos; the conspiracy is centered around service to [Shroud entity name here, I'm not familiar enough with Shroud lore to know which one fits best, or if there would need to be a new one created specifically for this Civic], primarily through their blessed Chosen One.

Conspiracy leader gains the Psi and Chosen One traits, and unique events and Shroud interactions(and special alternate Psi Ascension perks to gain excess to Shroud?)

"False Flag Operations": Requires some degree of Pacifist;

enables you to "declare" otherwise impossible wars via Espionage actions that make your target look like the aggressor.

"Artificial Guidance": no requirement; a complex but still rather primitive AI network was developed by the Conspiracy to better manage the ever growing complexity of its web of influence.

Conspiracy leader is replaced by a Machine, Technologies in the Robotics and AI categories also give boosts to Admin Cap. if the conspiracy is discovered its 'loyal' systems will be converted into either a Rouge Servitor, or Driven Assimilator, based upon it's previous Ethos and civics

"Reluctant Tyranny": Requires some degree of Egalitarian; it is true that democratic systems of government make the people happier then any other, but democracy is flawed to the point of uselessness, therefore it sadly falls to the conspiracy to preserve the illusion of democracy for the benefit of the people, while also providing them with a government that actually works.

gives +5% happiness, and Ethos(meaning Egalitarian and whatever else you picked, not what the conspiracy hypothetically actually is) attraction.

"Orwellian Ministry": Requires Fanatic Authoritarian; can not be voluntarily changed to or from after game start

-??% cost for Espionage actions, special "Ministry of Truth" themed building that boosts a planet's stability or greatly reduces crime(or both?)

"Purity Through Subversion": requires not being any degree of Xenophobe; while eliminating threats to our species is an important task for the empire, the common citizen's moral objections often get in the way, so doing so in ways that do not look like "genocide" is vary important.

enables planetary edicts that will trigger events to vary slowly purge Xenos POPs without the normal opinion malice, as well as Species rights/statuses that will greatly diminish POP growth rates in proportion to what it would normally be.

"(I've got no clue what to name this one)": requires some degree of Xenophobe; while the common citizen fears the alien, we know they can, and will, be valuable members of our communities. we will do what we must to protect these citizens from our unsavory lessers, at least until we can make them see the error of their ways.

+25 opinion, Xenophobe faction has slightly different demands in order to make keeping Xeno POPs in your empire without triggering a civil war/tanking the economy due to low happiness easier.

thoughts and criticisms for this Idea?
 

Ikael

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Shadow Council looks like a prime candidate to expand into its own authority type once the diplomacy + spyionage rework arrives, in the same way that Megacorporations changed from being a regular civic into a full flegded authority type.
 

Calvax

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There's certainly things here that I'd love to see in the game, like false flag espionage options, but I really don't see the need for this to be its own government type. Megacorp is a different government type because it has some fundamentally different mechanics; as a megacorp you're partly a non-state actor, setting up branch offices throughout everyone else's territory. That's a mechanic that makes sense and is distinct enough to warrant a gov type rather than a civic IMO.

Shadow council as presented here would play exactly the same as anyone else, it would just unlock some unique political options and a few civics that can only be taken along side it. I'd rather see internal and external diplomacy massively expanded upon so that various political related civics can work to make the current government types play and feel different, rather than inserting a government type for every variant of an existing government.
 

Cat_Fuzz

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I'd argue that Fuedal Realm would be a more likely candidate for a diplomacy expansion, given the internal workings of such a system, plus with PDS
CKII history, it's a natural step for them.

I do think Shadow Council could do with more than just a reduction in Election influence cost - maybe an edict duration benefit or something, but I don't know if it warrants a new authority type given that a shadow council works in any of the pre-existing contexts.
 
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Commodus

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Not sure about being it's own Authority but getting reworked to a more unique, playstyle-type Civic I would support for sure (same for feudal realm).
 

GloatingSwine

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I’m not sure this really fits Shadow Council as much as it would fit the creation of an authority that represents a state where the intelligence service has functional control of the government.

Something like the Tal’Shiar or Obsidian Order. (Or Stasi).

The problem with fleshing out that idea at this stage is that you want to decide what’s in base layer espionage before you decide how to make a government form whose hat is double espionage.

You don’t want to build up options for this that might fit better in general espionage systems then have to do the work all over again from a new baseline.
 

WhapXI

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Not sure about being it's own Authority but getting reworked to a more unique, playstyle-type Civic I would support for sure (same for feudal realm).
Agreed. A civic for non-egal oligarchies, but like a big one a la Despoilers and Inward Perfection.

Maybe something like reduced influence from factions but greater political power for ruler strata.

Maybe some smaller bonuses from completing mandates but big penalties from failing to complete them. Big unrest if The People(TM) find out the truth.
 

BlackUmbrellas

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I can see where you're coming from, but I disagree- Shadow Council is better as a civic.

The mechanical benefit is simply to give you much greater control over elections- that's a useful niche to fill, and making it into its own Authority kind of runs counter to the idea that its all "behind the scenes".
 

Me_

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I think there is plenty of potential in making some Civics into Authorities. I'm not sure it's this one, but I would like to at least see it become more impactful than a simple -x% of something.
 

Kernog95

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It is true that, RP-wise, the Shadow Council does not have a lot of impact. However, it can also refer to uber-powerful lobbies for democracies, or a host of very influencial families for an dictatorial/monarchic regim.

Still, I find these ideas very good in their concept, and their execution. I think we could simplify this by keeping Shadow Council, by giving it a new name and couple of minor edits in the toolbox, and add a Secret Cabal civics, which would go like this:

Quote:
The opinions of our people, while deserving of mention, are naive at best. We saw the truth of the Universe, and found answers at odds with our own beliefs. We took the hard decision to go in opposition with these beliefs, for the sake of our people.

Conditions
Empire must not be a Gestalt or a Hive mind
Empire must not have the following civics: barbaric despoilers, inward perfection, synchretic evolution, (basically, incompatible with any civic which brings an important change in gameplay)
Empire must have at least one fanatical ethic

Effects
The bonus effects of the Empire's fanatical ethos are reduced by 50%
Empire ethics attraction -50%
The ethic penalties on the opinion of foreign empires towards your empire are reduced by 75%
(edit): policy restrictions of your fanatical ethos are lifted
 

Flame13223

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The ideas sound good but not sure if a whole new megacorp style governing body is the best way to do it.
 

Rip Off Productions

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I'd argue that Fuedal Realm would be a more likely candidate for a diplomacy expansion, given the internal workings of such a system, plus with PDS
CKII history, it's a natural step for them.

I do think Shadow Council could do with more than just a reduction in Election influence cost - maybe an edict duration benefit or something, but I don't know if it warrants a new authority type given that a shadow council works in any of the pre-existing contexts.
The problem with fleshing out that idea at this stage is that you want to decide what’s in base layer espionage before you decide how to make a government form whose hat is double espionage.

You don’t want to build up options for this that might fit better in general espionage systems then have to do the work all over again from a new baseline.
Sure, Feudal empires also need a lot of work, however they are something of a go-to example of a gameplay type that needs new in-depth features, hence why I chose to make this suggestion on a different Civic I feel needs such attention.

and yeah, coming up with ideas for how Conspiracy gameplay would work without the general Espionage system that would be shared by all empires, I just wanted to get this Idea out of my head and in text.


I can see where you're coming from, but I disagree- Shadow Council is better as a civic.

The mechanical benefit is simply to give you much greater control over elections- that's a useful niche to fill, and making it into its own Authority kind of runs counter to the idea that its all "behind the scenes".
Sorry, I failed to explain that I picture that Conspiracies would have a 4th tab on their government screen(and perhaps all government types would have a 4th tab; faction/party/voter registrations in democracies, chains of command in dictatorships, family lines in Imperial empires, stockholders in Megacorps, and Royal/Vassal court for Feudal) that would represent the Conspiracy's real leadership, while the normal leadership tab presents the façade you show to your citizens and the rest of the Galaxy; your figurehead leaders that harmlessly move in and out of office because they don't have real power, Civics are falsely labeled based on what Civics you actually have(such as "Ignorance is Bliss" appearing to be "Exalted Priesthood", or "Reluctant Tyranny" looking like "Idealistic Founding", and so on)
 

Flame13223

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I would actually love other conspiracies to be in-game too, I mean some are already in like indoctrination is available for primitives but I wish it was an option as espionage actions for planets too.

Or even hidden invasions like, you land disguised troops that are inactive on a planet and cannot be seen by the empire and then you can spring a trap the moment you declare war to capture the planet. It would probably have to be balanced so that the project is long or maybe it requires migration treaties or something.
 

Sinister2202

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Shadow council cannot be its own authority, because it applies to all types of regular authorities except imperial. It makes sense for most types of government to have its own shadow council that influence elections. But that's all they really do, which is to influence elections in their favor while they hide behind and enjoy their newfound powers. A government based on shadow council doesn't make sense, because if shadow council authority existed, they wouldn't be shadow council anymore. They'd pretty much influence and puppeteer themselves.

I would imagine shadow councils only exist where there is opportunity. Imperial based government has no opportunity for them because they cannot influence who the emperor picks as the next in line, since it's family-based.
 

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Shadow council cannot be its own authority, because it applies to all types of regular authorities except imperial. It makes sense for most types of government to have its own shadow council that influence elections. But that's all they really do, which is to influence elections in their favor while they hide behind and enjoy their newfound powers. A government based on shadow council doesn't make sense, because if shadow council authority existed, they wouldn't be shadow council anymore. They'd pretty much influence and puppeteer themselves.

I would imagine shadow councils only exist where there is opportunity. Imperial based government has no opportunity for them because they cannot influence who the emperor picks as the next in line, since it's family-based.
I think we have different opinions on what a "Shadow Council" is representing, they don't manipulate the public image of the government, becouse they are the true government who create the illusion of the one citizens believe they live under, the ones they manipulate are their citizens, in order to better control the masses who would otherwise disobey:


 

Sinister2202

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I think we have different opinions on what a "Shadow Council" is representing, they don't manipulate the public image of the government, becouse they are the true government who create the illusion of the one citizens believe they live under, the ones they manipulate are their citizens, in order to better control the masses who would otherwise disobey:


Sure, but in Stellaris's case, it's about influencing votes. Also in Stellaris's case, the government one believes they live under IS the government.
 

Kayden_II

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Sorry, but the "shadow council" isn't really one of my candidates, which should be handled as an own authority ...
(If any, I would consider something like "anarchy" ("rule of no-one / nobody") as such a candidate since I think, that this fits more into the line of the other ones aka "monarchy / dictatorship" ("rule of 1"), "oligarchy" ("rule of a few"), "democracy" ("rule of all") and "hive mind" / "machine intelligence" ("rule of all, but emerged into a single consciousness")) ...

But what I admit is, that some of the civics rather deserve a "better" spot ...
(Fanatic purifiers / devouring swarms / determined exterminators + barbaric despoilers + etc. pp) ...
I'm also not that on board, that this upcoming MegaCorp-Authority deserves to be handled as, ..., right, ..., an own authority ...
I would rather handle this stuff with a more "layered" authority-system like this ...
L-AS.png
So basically, 01. you choose your ethic(s), so that 02. the first layer of (chooseable) main-authorities becomes available, so that 03. the second layer of (chooseable) sub-authorities becomes available, so that 04. the ordinary (but finally chooseable) civics become available ...
(It's not in my pic, but the barbaric despoiler is something what I could imagine as a sub-authority for my (mentioned) "anarchy"-main-authority) ...
+
(At least for me, this makes the authority-/ and civic-system way more clear) ...
+
(This opens up a ****-load of possibilities to implement a zillion of additional (ordinary) civics since something like the fanatic purifiers / devouring swarms / determined exterminators aren't (ordinary) civics anymore, so that (like in the upcoming case of the MegaCorp), ..., yeah, ..., you can implement a zillion of (ordinary) civics EXCLUSIVELY for them)
 
Last edited:

Mastikator

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It would be sweet if Shadow Council did more, like allowing you to pick leaders with a "connected" leader trait that did something useful and allowed you to enact an extra couple of edicts that could for example reduce the loss of stability from unhappy rulers (because the shadow council is controlling the rulers)

I don't agree that it should be its own authority, it makes no sense, the shadow council is a council that manipulates an existing power structure, it is not a power structure.