In order to represent the struggles an empire will face in attempting to maintain control over a diverse population, Stellaris includes a system where units of an empire's population can support factions. Factions are political parties and took over nearly all the Pop happiness modifiers.
- 1 Pops supporting Factions
- 2 Faction Properties
- 3 Factions
- 4 References
Pops supporting Factions
Only Pops that are fully sentient can support factions. That excludes any pre-sentients and any Robot below Synth level. Pops with Nerve-Stapled trait or Culture Shock Modifier are also excluded. A pop can only support one Faction. Pops that are Enslaved or being Purged can not join Factions, however either option will cause a rather high level of Unrest by itself, making it a "de facto" Faction that is likely always unhappy.
Every Ethic has at least one Faction and every eligible pop of that Ethic may support it. This is very positive if the faction is happy, but can lead to massive Unrest if it is unhappy.
As a Pop has to have the fitting Ethics to support a Faction, Ethics attraction plays a major role in Faction strength and distribution. Both systems interact to a degree.
Remember: First Ethics, then (maybe) Faction support.
Every faction has all of these properties. Happiness and size/support are usually the most important figures to keep in mind.
There is at least one Faction for every Ethic. However, there might be multiple Factions for some Ethics to better allow divergent playstyles (a militant and pacifist Xenophobe Faction, is the original canonical example).
Each Faction has a Happiness Rating. This is derived from its issues, with a major modification if the Faction is suppressed or supported.
Faction Happiness is the base happiness for every supporting Pop. As such, an unhappy Faction with a lot of supporters will cause considerable Unrest, while happy Factions with a lot of supporters will cause happiness derived production bonuses. Starting with 60% Happiness a faction will also produce Influence (see Effects).
How many Pops currently support that Faction. Happy Factions should ideally contain 100% of the population, making them effectively your "loyalist" Factions. This and Happiness will directly translate to Unrest across the Empire as well as the Faction Effects.
How many Pops in your Empire could support this Faction (meet all the requirements).
Ideally size and Attraction are equal at all times for Happy Factions. If attraction is higher, that either means some Pops that could join this Faction did not do so yet (they might have just recently converted) or are tied up in another Faction. There is currently no know case of Conflicting Factions - even Isolatinist/Supremacist Xenophes are clearly divided by species lines unless the empire is Pacifistic.
This is not to be mistaken with Ethics attraction.
Issues directly translate to happiness: the more issues that are Fulfilled, the happier the Faction. By their nature opposing Ethic Factions have opposing issues, making it impossible to make all Factions happy. An issue can be either fullfilled or not fullfilled. In either case it might produce a happiness penalty (red), a happiness bonus (green) or be neutral (yellow). Many issues have requirements before they can appear, making it sometimes hard to know what will please a faction beforehand.
As they can only have two states, issues come in a few common shapes that can each only have two of the above states:
- Positive issues will be green if fulfilled, yellow if not fulfilled.
- Negative issues will be red if not fulfilled, yellow if fulfilled.
- Extreme issues will be red if not fulfilled, green if fulfilled.
- Timed issues belong into one of the above, but rely on having a timed country flag.
- Stacking issues are a set of Positive issues. There are 2 or more "levels" to fulfilling these issues. Usually the higher level is the same basic mechanic/check, but with a higher threshold. Fulfilling one level will unlock the next one (i.e., being 10, 20 and 50 years at peace; having 1, 3 or 5 Non-Aggression Pacts with neighbors). The levels will usually provide +2%, +3% and +5% happiness which will stack for a total of +5% or +10%. However, sometimes unrelated issues share these numbers too.
A faction needs at least 60% Happiness to provide Influence for the Empire, at which point the gain is 2 Influence base. Any effect that affects "+X Max Influence from Factions" will apply to that base value, potentially increasing the income for Factions drastically. This base value is then multiplied by the support. Higher happiness will not produce more Influence (confirmed up to 95%).
i.e. a 60% Happy Faction with their Ethic being embraced by 90% of the pops, but only 66% in support of the Faction, will provide 2 Base Influence times 66% = 1.32 Influence.
Every Faction has a leader. That one will be drawn randomly from the Leaders already hired or hireable in the empire, but often with weighting towards certain leader classes and towards/against Xenos. Rulers can become the Leaders of Faction or already be before they become Ruler. If the Ruler of the Empire is also the Leader of a Faction, the Attraction for the Faction and the Factions Ethics will also increase.
Actions the player can do to deal with the Faction:
- Embrace Faction this allows the player to change their empire Ethics one step towards that Faction's Ethics. The action is expensive (250 influence), has a 10 year lockout, requires at least 20% Faction support. It will make this Faction Happy (+20%) but all others Unhappy (-10%).
- Suppression this allows the player to suppress the Ethic behind the Faction, which will in the long run eliminate that Faction. This costs 1 Influence per month and makes all related Factions unhappy. It will stop if the Faction is eliminated.
- Support this allows the player to increase Attraction for the Factions Ethics. This can be useful in preparation of an Ethics switch. It can not be applied to a Factions whose Ethics is already among the governing Ethics and any Faction whose Ethics becomes a ruling one will have their Support canceled automatically.
- For any of the Terms used, please see Game Terms.
- Guiding Ethics: The Primary Ethics of the Faction. A Faction can have only one Guiding Ethics.
- Requirement: The requirements that must be fulfilled before the Faction can appear at all in the empire. Standing requirement is not being a Hive Mind Empire. There must be at least 5 possible supporters (Attraction Number) for the Faction to spawn or maintain itself.
- Supporter Requirements: Which requirements a pop Unit must met, in order to be able to support this Faction. Standing requirements are: Not Enslaved, not Being Purged, not under Culture Shock and not having the Nerve Stapled Trait. Usually also the proper Ethics must be met. However each faction can override these requirements freely.
- Attraction: How attractive the Faction is to join (as opposed to a equally eligible Faction). Base values are: 100. x1.25 if Leader is Ruler. x0.75 if no Leader. Special Factors as noted below.
- Leader: How the weighting for choosing the Faction Leader works. The base value is 100 for every class of leader, including the current Ruler.
- Guiding Ethics: Militarist
- Requirement: Encountered another species.
- Supporter Requirements: Militarist
- Attraction: default; x1.25 with Citzenship Rights
- Leader: default
|Aggressive Diplomacy||Communication with a non-Vassal Default Empire||Unrestricted War policy Flag||0||–10|
|Subjugation||Communication with a non-Vassal Default Empire||Taking a planet from and/or making a subject of any empire as a result of a peace deal (remains fulfilled for 20 years)||+10||0|
|Border Expansion||Always||Establishing a new frontier outpost (remains fulfilled for 20 years)||+5||0|
|Local Rivalry||3+ Communications||1 Neighboring Rival||+2||0|
|Neighborhood Rivalries||3+ Communications; 1+ Neighboring Rival||2 Neighboring Rivals||+3||0|
|Galactic Nemeses||3+ Communications; 2 Neighboring Rivals||3 Neighboring Rivals||+5||0|
|Strong Alone||1+ Communications||Not in Federation||0||–25|
|Imperial Hegemony||3+ Communications||Being an Overlord||+5||0|
|Leviathan Slayer||Leviathan DLC. Contact with any Guardian Country||Kill a Guardian||+10||0|
Summary: The Militarist Path, requires eternal Warfare or at least Rivalries and subjects. Up to +40 Happiness, but 25 of that requires timed flags from actions or DLC making only +15 passively sustainable. Requirements are easy to meet, the Failure conditions are easily avoided but do define the Diplomatic game to a large degree.
- Guiding Ethics: Xenophobe
- Requirement: Encountered another species
- Supporter Requirements: Xenophobe. Is either not the Owner Species or Empire is Pacifist
- Attraction: default; x1.5 if Xenophobe. x0.25 if Militarist
- Leader: default
|Stalwart Defense||Communication with a non-Vassal Default Empire||Not having Unrestricted War Flag||+5||–15|
|ISOLATIONIST_NO_AGGRESSIVE_WAR||3+ Communications. On attacker Side of a War||Is neither attacker in a war, nor joined one as an attacker||0||–10|
|ISOLATIONIST_NO_DEFENSIVE_WAR||3+ Communications||joined a war as defender||0||–5|
|Restricted Movement||3+ Communications||Neither a Migration Pact with another Empire nor Refugess allowed||0||–10|
|Non-Aggression Pact||3+ Communications||1+ Non-Aggression pact with Neighbors||+2||0|
|Non-Aggression Covenant||3+ Communications, 1 Non-Aggression pact with Neighbors||2+ Non-Aggression pacts with Neighbors||+3||0|
|Non-Aggression Protocol||3+ Communications, 2 Non-Aggression pacts with Neighbors||3+ Non-Aggression pacts with Neighbors||+5||0|
|Peace||1+ Communications||> 9 years of peace||+2||0|
|Extended Peace||1+ Communications, > 9 years of peace||> 24 years of peace||+3||0|
|Peace Everlasting||1+ Communications, > 24 years of peace||>49 years of peace||+5||0|
Summary: The Pacifist Xenophobe Faction somehow manages to be more pacifist than even the pacifists themselves. If the Empire is not Pacifist, only Xenophobe Xenos can join this Faction - the primary species is excluded. That makes it a important problem for conquering Xenophobes that are not enslaving or purging all Xenos. Bonus goes up to +25, but 10 of that is a waiting game ruined by any war declaration and actually getting enough neighbors for the Non-Aggression pacts might be a bit of a game of luck or require serious expansion. The 1.6 allowance for limited Liberation Warfare, but this faction is unhappy the moment one even so much as reacts to a Defensive Pact or Federation.
- Guiding Ethics: Egalitarian
- Requirement: Encountered another species OR Planetary Unification Technology
- Supporter Requirements: Egalitarian
- Attraction: 150 Base. x1.25 if Leader is Ruler. x0.75 if no Leader. x0.25 if not Owner Species 
- Leader: 100 Base. x0 for Ruler in Imperial Authority empire
Summary: Up to +20 bonus, but past +15 requires Research to unlock. If you have this Faction as Authoritarian, take special care not to give in to the Caste System ban - that will add even more people to that Faction, making it impossible to control while also ruining a core of your Authoritarian Attraction. A big danger is the Heir joining this Faction. Egalitarian Ethics are relatively hard to avoid and easy to maintain if you engage in any Diplomacy with Egalitarians.
- Guiding Ethics: Pacifist
- Requirement: Encountered other Species OR Planetary Unification Technology
- Supporter Requirements: non-Fanatic Pacifist
- Attraction: Default. x1.5 if either Pacifist. x1.25 if not Owner Species 
- Leader: 100 Base. No modifiers
Summary: Up to +24 Bonus, but Liquidity can be very hard to acquire early game, looking at the budget - dropping below it could have a runaway effect. Strategic Resources are another concern: considerable research and space or treaties will be needed to satisfy these high demands. But once one has fulfilled the Tradition and Resources needs, this faction will stay happy even while during defensive wars. However they will get angry at being on the attacker side of any war.
- Guiding Ethics: Xenophobe
- Requirement: Encountered another Species
- Supporter Requirements: Xenophobe AND Country not Pacifist AND Owner Species
- Attraction: default
- Leader: 100 Base. x0.5 if Scientist. x0 if not Owner Species. x0 if Default Robot Pop (not Uploaded Synth)
Summary: The aggressive Xenophobe Faction exists in two modes: If you are a Fanatical Purifier or if you are not. Only the Genetic and Leviathan Slaying conditions are shared resulting in a variance of -5 to +15.
Fanatical Purifiers just get +20 flat.
Non Fanatical Purifiers will have issues until they conquered another Species (or start properly) and pick Domination as 1st Tradition. However they can get up to +27 flat, but 10 of that requires being at war.
If the empire is a pacifist this Faction will not spawn - instead everyone can join the Isolationist one. If the Empire is not Pacifist, Xenophobes will be split between Supremacist (Owner Species) and Isolationist (not Owner species).
- Guiding Ethics: Materialist
- Requirement: One from each of the following two groups:
- Group 1
- Group 2
- Supporter Requirements: NOT Spiritualist. Either Materialist OR Robot Pop
- Attraction: 150 Base. x1.25 if Leader is Ruler. x0.75 if no Leader. x2 if Robot Pop
- Leader: default
Summary: Technologists have some of the most complicated Requirements, but they are all designed to unlock some of the issues. The Mechanists Civic will fulfill most of this out of the gate. Up to +32 Bonus, but the requirements might make it hard. The +15 from the Robots might be the easiest to get, but the two Communication based ones can be conflicting: The more people you know, the more likely you know someone that is better in Technology - especially as you will likely aid fellow materialists in their Science. The intention is probably they they even out to +0 with a potential for +5.
- Guiding Ethics: Authoritarian
- Requirement: Planetary Unification Technology or Encountered another Species
- Supporter Requirements: Authoritarian
- Attraction: 150 base. x1.25 if Leader is Ruler. x0.75 if no Leader. x0.25 if not Owner Species
- Leader: 100 Base
Summary: Of the Authority Related Issues, only the Imperial can be fullfilled and appear at the same time. The other issues are there for penalty only and their bonus is only there for Information Purposes. Being Subject can never be unfullfilled in 1.6.0. With Imperial Authority, Slavery and Harmony as first pick, +12 is possible for the get go. Another +10 can be aquired during play, allowing Dictatrial Authrotiy without going under +10.
- Guiding Ethics: Spiritualist
- Requirement: Encountered another species AND either:
- Supporter Requirements: Spiritualist. Not a Robot Pop.
- Attraction: 150 Base. x1.25 if Ruler is Leader. x0.75 if no Leader.
- Leader: 100 Base. x0 if buildable Robot (not Uploaded)
|Life Organic / Empty Shells||Robotic Workers Technology||Having no Robot Pops||0||–10|
|No Synth Rights||Synthetics Technology||Not Policy AI Full Rights||0||–20|
|Pious Polity / Secular State||Always|| Government Type is from this list:
|Unhallowed Ground||Surveyed Tomb World||No Colony on a Tomb World||0||–10|
|Peopling Paradise||Surveyed Gaia World||Colony on a Gaia World||+5||0|
|Blessedly Unblissed||Subdermal Stimulation Technology||No Pop under Chemical Bliss Living Standarts||0||–5|
|Psionic Pursuit||Utopia DLC. Any Ascension Perk or Ascension Perk Slot unlocked||Has Ascension Perk Mind over Matter||+10||0|
|Flesh is Strong||Having the Ascension Perk The Flesh is Weak||Not Having completed the Special Project 'The Flesh is Weak'||+3||–30|
|Homogeneity||Always||> 24% of Pops in your empire are normal Spiritualist||+5||0|
|Embattled Minority||Always||> 9% of Pops are Spiritualist||0||–10|
|Shrouded Boon||Positive Shroud outcome (Boom or Success)||Positive Shroud outcome (Boom or Success)||+5||0|
|Shrouded Blight||Negative Shroud outcome (Curses or Fail)||Negative Shroud outcome (Curses or Fail)||0||–5|
Summary: The requirements might be surprisingly hard to fulfil and like Materialist, any Faction enabling requirements also unlocks issues. +10 can be done with just the Government and Population, but being non-Fanatic makes the pop part somewhat harder to maintain. +5 from Gaia World might be acquirable. In Utopia the shroud related features add a variance of +5 to +15, which would allow adding Enslaved Synths at -10.
If you (somehow) have Spiritualist Robot pops they are barred from this Faction and the Materialist Faction equally.
- Guiding Ethics: Xenophile
- Requirement: Encountered another Species
- Supporter Requirements: Xenophile
- Attraction: 150 Base. x1.25 if Leader is Ruler. x0.75 if no Leader. x2 if not Owner Species
- Leader: 100 Base. x0.5 if Scientist. x2 if not Owner Species
Summary: This faction can not be happy without having alien Empires contacted and even reaching +10 is hard early game. While lacking Diplomacy Tradition is not penaised, it allows +13 and can be a important early factor. Various timed Flags can amount to +20, but at least one Primitive should be left unenlightened.
- Comment says "Should really check for citizenship instead". Might be subject to change