Ethos

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This article is considered accurate for the current version (1.6) of the game.
Ethos types interface

An ethos (also called ethics) is considered the sum of all beliefs and ideals that a given group of people have. It is responsible for their favored courses of action and responses to situations. Ethos has a profound effect on options available during the game. For instance, diplomatic options with alien species are affected by Ethos, as are some options for dealing with anomalies. As a result, Ethos choices have a greater impact on game experience than the bonuses and maluses listed on this page.

Empires and individual populations don't always align ethically which can cause internal strife in large nations. AI species follow the same Ethics rules and their behaviour is heavily dependent on the ethics they follow. Naturally, a Militarist Xenophobe alien empire will react very differently to the player than a Pacifist Xenophile. AI empires will however compromise on their ethics if circumstances are dire enough, for instance if threatened with imminent conquest.

Every empire except Fallen Empires can have three basic ethics or a fanatic and a basic ethic. Fallen Empires have only one fanatic ethic. Pops have only one ethic each. Empire ethos can be changed once every 20 years by embracing a faction.

Ethos types[edit]

Every empire is limited in the amount of ethos it can possess. In general it's possible to either have three different moderate ethos types or one fanatical ethos and one moderate one.

By default each ethic is neutral which provides no bonuses nor maluses. Each "step" into a given ethos costs one point and will lock/unlock different government types as well as specific bonuses and possibly maluses. Investing two points into one type results in a more "extreme" version of an ethos that even more warps your government's political persona in that specific direction, for better or worse.

As well, ethics exist and are propagated on the population level, with each individual pop unit in your empire having the capability to have, develop, and deviate from your starting ethics. The numerical modifiers affecting the probabilities and likelihoods of this happening are detailed in the specific pop ethic weights tables for each dichotomous relation.

Authoritarian - Egalitarian[edit]

The authoritarian - egalitarian dichotomy looks at the worth of an individual.

Authoritarians believe that power should be concentrated in the hands of a few individuals whose rule should be entrenched by a strong social hierarchy and limited political freedoms. Authoritarianism is not diametrically opposed to democracy, as both forms of government tend to have some form of submission to authority. The difference occurs in that egalitarians prefer to divide responsibility for decision making among as many individuals as possible, where authoritarians prefer to concentrate such responsibilities into the hands of a sole individual or a few. The political belief in who should hold power naturally has societal implications: authoritarians, believing power should be concentrated into the hands of a few, would seek to install strong social hierarchies and limit the social mobility of individuals to preserve that structure. Social stratification, on the other hand, would be a concept abhorrent to egalitarians- in fact such a concept is perhaps the antithesis of egalitarianism, which seeks to eliminate such hierarchies.

Following these beliefs, authoritarians cannot have Auth democratic.png Democratic authority, while egalitarians cannot have ImperialAuth dictatorial.png Autocratic authority. Fanatic authoritarians and egalitarians go further and require ImperialAuth dictatorial.png autocratic and respectively Auth democratic.png Democratic authority. Authoritarians also have the ability to displace pops, where instead of being purged, pops are deported and forced to flee, either to other empires or perhaps to unclaimed planets. In game, authoritarians have access to caste systems, where all pops working on tiles producing either minerals or food are enslaved, meant to imitate the rigid social hierarchies that typify authoritarian societies. Egalitarians, on the other hand, believing in equality, have access to the "Utopian Abundance" living standard, increasing happiness at the expense of increase consumer goods use, and their fanatic counterparts go further and disallow "Impoverished Conditions" for pops.

Type Effects Ethos principles Description
Fanatic Authoritarian.png Fanatic Authoritarian
  • -50% Influence.png Resettlement Cost
  • -20% Mod pop slavery tolerance.png Slave Unrest
  • Must have ImperialAuth dictatorial.png Autocratic authority
  • Allows Caste System species policy
  • Can Displace aliens
A single voice, a single throne, a single state. It is the solemn duty of the masses to obey those enlightened few who have been charged with the great responsibility of leadership.
Authoritarian.png Authoritarian
  • -25% Influence.png Resettlement Cost
  • -10% Mod pop slavery tolerance.png Slave Unrest
  • Cannot use Auth democratic.png Democratic authority
  • Allows Caste System species policy
  • Can Displace aliens
A strong, guiding hand is essential to the success of any civilization - the alternative would be anarchy and chaos. It is the duty of the state to steer its citizens towards the paths that are the most productive
Egalitarian.png Egalitarian
  • +15% Mod pop happiness.png Faction Influence Gain
  • -10% Consumer goods.png Consumer Goods Cost
  • Cannot use ImperialAuth dictatorial.png Autocratic authority
  • Allows Utopian living standards
Any society that does not embrace equality between its members - where an individual can rise to any position with enough hard work - is not only deeply unfair, but ultimately counterproductive.
Fanatic Egalitarian.png Fanatic Egalitarian
  • +30% Mod pop happiness.png Faction Influence Gain
  • -20% Consumer goods.png Consumer Goods Cost
  • Must have Auth democratic.png Democratic authority
  • Allows Utopian living standards
  • Cannot have Poor living standards for citizens
Beware always those who would be despots, under the false presumption that their desires and agendas are somehow more imperative than those of their fellows. A society that does not see to the needs and rights of all of its members is not a society - it is a crime.
Pop Ethic Weights
Authoritarian.png Authoritarian                 
Factor Requirement
2.00 Has totalitarian faction and is not Authoritarian.png Authoritarian or Fanatic Authoritarian.png Fanatic Authoritarian
1.50 Leader of the totalitarian faction is the ruler
2.00 Has Authoritarian.png Authoritarian
3.00 Has Fanatic Authoritarian.png Fanatic Authoritarian
1.25 Is Imperial Imperial
0.75 Is Auth democratic.png Democratic
0.25 Pop is enslaved
1.50 Pop is Decadent.png Decadent
1.50 A pop of this species is enslaved
1.25 A pop from another species is enslaved. Unless a pop of this species is also enslaved
0.75 Pop has good or utopian living standards
Pop Ethic Weights
Egalitarian.png Egalitarian                 
Factor Requirement
2.00 Has progressive faction and is not Egalitarian.png Egalitarian or Fanatic Egalitarian.png Fanatic Egalitarian
1.50 Leader of the progressive faction is the ruler
2.00 Has Egalitarian.png Egalitarian
3.00 Has Fanatic Egalitarian.png Fanatic Egalitarian
0.75 Is Imperial Imperial
1.25 Is Auth democratic.png Democratic
1.50 Is in a federation or has a defensive pact with a Egalitarian.png Egalitarian or Fanatic Egalitarian.png Fanatic Egalitarian
2.00 Has migration access with a Egalitarian.png Egalitarian or Fanatic Egalitarian.png Fanatic Egalitarian
0.50 Pop is Decadent.png Decadent
1.50 Pop does not have full citizen or full cast system rights.
4.00 Pop is enslaved
1.50 Is not enslaved but another pop on the world is.
1.50 Pop has good or utopian living standards

Xenophobe - Xenophile[edit]

The xenophobe - xenophile dichotomy looks at the acceptance of foreign species.

Xenophobes consider that different species would introduce foreign ideas and thoughts that could destabilise and, in the end, destroy the empire or, at the very least, its cultural and genetic identity. In contrast, Xenophiles believe that society would grow stagnant without different concepts and moralities and are thus considered staunch believers in unity by diversity. Xenophobes are particularly keen on enslaving aliens, though will never accept them as equals while Xenophiles prefer making alliances viewing all organics as equal.

Type Effects Ethos principles Description
Fanatic Xenophobe.png Fanatic Xenophobe
  • +30% Influence.png Rivalry Influence Gain
  • +30% Planet border extrusion.png Border Range
  • Can Purge and Displace aliens
  • Can Enslave aliens
  • Decreased Opinion for other species
  • Cannot give aliens Full Citizenship
  • Cannot allow aliens Full Military Service
  • Cannot use Refugees Welcome species policy
Any alien influence must be ruthlessly quashed. Only by staying pure, and true to ourselves and the planet that gave us life can we guard against insidious Xeno plots. Even mastery over the Alien might not be enough to guarantee our own safety...
Xenophobe.png Xenophobe
  • +15% Influence.png Rivalry Influence Gain
  • +15% Planet border extrusion.png Border Range
  • Can Purge and Displace aliens
  • Can Enslave aliens
  • Decreased Opinion for other species
  • Cannot give aliens Full Citizenship
  • Cannot allow aliens Full Military Service
  • Cannot use Refugees Welcome species policy
The stakes could not be higher as we reach into the vast uncharted expanses of the galaxy, for we are gambling with the very survival of our species! Never trust the alien; its false smile hides an unknowable mind...
Xenophile.png Xenophile
  • +25% Trust growth Trust growth (empire modifier)
  • -25% Influence.png Diplomatic Influence Cost
  • Increased Opinion for other species
  • Cannot use Full Native Interference policy
  • Cannot use No Refugees species policy
There exists, in all of us, a deep-seated fascination for the unknown. An adventurous spirit that rejects the familiar and glories in the unfamiliar, whatever - or whomever - it may be.
Fanatic Xenophile.png Fanatic Xenophile
  • +50% Trust growth Trust growth (empire modifier)
  • -50% Influence.png Diplomatic Influence Cost
  • Must always give aliens Full Citizenship
  • Increased Opinion for other species
  • Cannot use Full Native Interference policy
  • Cannot use No Refugees species policy
If there ever was such a thing as an absolute moral imperative, it would be to explore the cosmos and embrace all within it. We were never meant to journey alone.
Pop Ethic Weights
Xenophobe.png Xenophobe                 
Factor Requirement
2.00 Has supremacist or isolationist faction and is not Xenophobe.png Xenophobe or Fanatic Xenophobe.png Fanatic Xenophobe
1.50 Leader of the supremacist or isolationist faction is the ruler
2.00 Has Xenophobe.png Xenophobe
3.00 Has Fanatic Xenophobe.png Fanatic Xenophobe
0.75 Has migration access to xeno empire
0.75 Allows alien leaders
3.00 Is defending against a xeno empire
2.00 A xeno empire has enslaved your primary species
4.00 A xeno empire has committed genocide your empires primary species
2.00 This pop is not enslaved but a xeno is enslaved on the world
0.50 This pop is not enslaved and a free xeno is on the world
2.00 A Repugnant.png Repugnant xeno is on the world
0.75 A Charismatic.png charismatic xeno is on the world


Pop Ethic Weights
Xenophile.png Xenophile                 
Factor Requirement
2.00 Has xenoist faction and is not Xenophile.png Xenophile or Fanatic Xenophile.png Fanatic Xenophile
1.50 Leader of the xenoist faction is the ruler
2.00 Has Xenophile.png Xenophile
3.00 Has Fanatic Xenophile.png Fanatic Xenophile
1.50 Has migration access to a xeno empire
1.50 Allows alien leaders
1.50 Has the fanatic purifiers civic
1.33 Has a federation or defensive pact with a xeno empire
0.25 A xeno empire has committed genocide against your empires primary species
0.50 A xeno empire has enslaved a pop of your empires primary species
2.00 Pop is a xeno, does not have full caste or citizenship and is not enslaved
2.00 Pop is not enslaved and a free xeno is on the world
0.25 A Repugnant.png Repugnant xeno is on the world
1.50 A Charismatic.png charismatic xeno is on the world

Militarist - Pacifist[edit]

The militarist - pacifist dichotomy looks at the merit of war.

Militarists consider aggression as the only needed form of diplomacy required and wars are thus viewed as a tradition. In contrast, pacifists believe that violence breeds even more hatred and that friendly cooperation between different empires brings forth more long-term benefit than undignified bloodshed.

In mechanical terms, only Militarists get access to the strongest type of orbital bombardment and have strong advantages when it comes to war. Pacifists on the other hand can't harmfully interact with primitive sentients, they get a bonus for being at peace. Fanatical Pacifists can't declare unrestrictive war on others.

Militarists and Pacifists will have a hard time allying with each other due to -20 "differing war philosophy" modifier. For non-militarists offensive wars incur a -10% Diplomacy war.png war happiness penalty which is added to the pacifist penalty from being at war where applicable.

Type Effects Ethos principles Description
Fanatic Militarist.png Fanatic Militarist
  • +20% Mod army damage mult.png Army Damage
  • +20% Mod ship fire rate mult.png Fire Rate
  • Can use the Full Orbital Bombardment policy
  • Has reduced War Demand costs
The ability to project force is of paramount importance. The only way to preserve our way of life is to make sure everyone shares it; willingly or not...
Militarist.png Militarist
  • +10% Mod army damage mult.png Army Damage
  • +10% Mod ship fire rate mult.png Fire Rate
  • Can use the Full Orbital Bombardment policy
  • Has reduced War Demand costs
The only true virtues are courage and discipline, and channeled properly they can overcome any obstacle. Therein lies true strength; force withheld, a promise made.
Pacifist.png Pacifist
  • +20% Unity.png Monthly Unity
  • +2 Mod country core sector planet cap.png Core Sector Systems
  • Cannot use Unrestricted Wars policy
Conflict as a means to an end is a ridiculous concept. It is by nature destructive, destroying what was to be obtained or giving room to grow that which was to be destroyed.
Fanatic Pacifist.png Fanatic Pacifist
  • +40% Unity.png Monthly Unity
  • +4 Mod country core sector planet cap.png Core Sector Systems
  • Must use Defensive Wars Only policy
As civilized beings, the end of all armed conflict should be our primary concern. War is an evolutionary dead end, as futile as it is wasteful.


Pop Ethic Weights
Militarist.png Militarist                 
Factor Requirement
2.00 Has imperialist faction and is not Militarist.png Militarist or Fanatic Militarist.png Fanatic Militarist
1.50 Leader of the imperialist faction is the ruler
2.00 Has Militarist.png Militarist
3.00 Has Fanatic Militarist.png Fanatic Militarist
0.75 Has been at peace for over 20 years
0.75 Has been at peace for over 40 years
0.75 Has been at peace for over 60 years
0.75 Has been at peace for over 80 years
0.75 Has been at peace for over 100 years
2.00 Pop has citizen rights or can be military leader and is in a war
2.00 Pop has citizen rights or can be military leader and has recently lost a war
1.50 Pop has citizen rights or can be military leader and a neighbor is hostile, domineering or a rival
2.00 Pop has citizen rights or can be military leader and has lost a world they originally own to another empire
1.20 Pop is Strong.png Strong
1.40 Pop is Very Strong.png Very Strong
0.75 Pop is Weak.png Weak
3.00 Is not controlled by your empire
Pop Ethic Weights
Pacifist.png Pacifist                 
Factor Requirement
2.00 Has prosperity faction and is not Pacifist.png Pacifist or Fanatic Pacifist.png Fanatic Pacifist
1.50 Leader of the prosperity faction is the ruler
2.00 Has Pacifist.png Pacifist
3.00 Has Fanatic Pacifist.png Fanatic Pacifist
0.75 A neighboring empire is hostile, domineering, or rival of this empire
1.33 Has been at peace for over 20 years
1.33 Has been at peace for over 40 years
1.33 Has been at peace for over 60 years
1.33 Has been at peace for over 80 years
1.33 Has been at peace for over 100 years
1.50 Pop has citizen rights or can be military leader and no neighbor is hostile, domineering, or a rival

Materialist - Spiritualist[edit]

The materialist - spiritualist dichotomy looks at the nature of being and reality in general.

Materialists disregard superstition, considering that life has no intrinsic meaning outside of their own reality and that the only true purpose is what they make of it. In contrast, spiritualists believe that consciousness surpasses materiality and that their temporal, corporeal bodies, subjected to the vicissitudes of the universe, are only a means towards a greater end: To improve themselves spiritually in anticipation of their future ascension to higher planes of existence.

Materialists get useful bonuses to all research output, and receive no penalty to happiness for employing certain technologies. Spiritualists, while having lower Mod pop ethic shift.png ethics divergence and unrest, will suffer happiness penalties for adopting policies involving the use of robotics or genetic enhancement of leadership. Materialists are unable to access psionics research by default, while Spiritualists have the same issue with robotics (though both can still obtain them as research alternatives by employing a scientist with the proper expertise).

Type Effects Ethos principles Description
Fanatic Materialist.png Fanatic Materialist
  • -20% Unknown.png Robot Maintenance Cost
  • +10% Mod country all tech research speed.png Research Speed
  • Can use Full AI Rights policy
Although it hurts, we must grow up and put aside our outdated notions of morality. There is no 'divine spark' granting special value to a living mind. No object has any intrinsic value apart from what we choose to grant it. Let us embrace the freedom of certitude, and achieve maximum efficiency in all things!
Materialist.png Materialist
  • -10% Unknown.png Robot Maintenance Cost
  • +5% Mod country all tech research speed.png Research Speed
  • Can use Full AI Rights policy
As we reach for the stars, we must put away childish things; gods, spirits and other phantasms of the brain. Reality is cruel and unforgiving, yet we must steel ourselves and secure the survival of our race through the unflinching pursuit of science and technology.
Spiritualist.png Spiritualist
  • -10 Unrest.png Unrest
  • +15% Unknown.png Governing Ethics Attraction
  • Can research Psionic technologies
  • Can build Temple buildings
  • Must use AI Outlawed policy
There are those think it behooves us to remember how tiny we are, how pointless our lives in this vast uncaring universe... What nonsense! The only truth we can ever know is that of our own existence. The universe - in all its apparent glory - is but a dream we all happen to share.
Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist
  • -20 Unrest.png Unrest
  • +30% Unknown.png Governing Ethics Attraction
  • Can research Psionic technologies
  • Can build Temple buildings
  • Must use AI Outlawed policy
Our science has proved that Consciousness begets reality. We regard with patience the childlike efforts of those who delude themselves it is the other way around, as they play with their blocks of 'hard matter'.


Pop Ethic Weights
Spiritualist.png Spiritualist                 
Factor Requirement
2.00 Has traditionalist faction and is not Spiritualist.png Spiritualist or Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist
1.50 Leader of the traditionalist faction is the ruler
2.00 Has Spiritualist.png Spiritualist
3.00 Has Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist
1.50 Has Tech psionic theory.png Psionic Theory
1.33 Has mind over matter ascension perk
1.33 Has transcendence ascension perk
0.50 Has ai full rights
1.50 Has federation or defensive pact with a Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist or Spiritualist.png Spiritualist
2.00 Has migration access with a Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist or Spiritualist.png Spiritualist
0.10 Pop is a robot
0.50 Pop is not a robot and a robot is on the world


Pop Ethic Weights
Materialist.png Materialist                 
Factor Requirement
2.00 Has technologist faction and is not Materialist.png Materialist or Fanatic Materialist.png Fanatic Materialist
1.50 Leader of the technologist faction is the ruler
2.00 Has Materialist.png Materialist
3.00 Has Fanatic Materialist.png Fanatic Materialist
0.50 Has Tech psionic theory.png Psionic Theory
0.75 Has mind over matter ascension perk
0.75 Has transcendence ascension perk
1.25 Has AI full rights
1.33 Has a research agreement with a Fanatic Materialist.png Fanatic Materialist or Materialist.png Materialist
5.00 Pop is a robot
2.00 Pop has cybernetic
2.00 Pop is not a robot and there is one on the world
1.25 Pop has trait Natural Engineers.png Natural Engineers, Natural Sociologists.png Natural Sociologists or Natural Physicists.png Natural Physicists

Hive Mind[edit]

In addition to the Advanced Civics, those with the Utopia expansion also get access to a unique Authority with a highly unique playstyle: the Hive Mind. Hive Minds are species where the individuals are all part of the same, vast, psionically linked consciousness. The Immortal Hive Mind rules absolutely over the population of non-sentient worker drones, using sentient 'Autonomous Drones' (Leaders) to extend the reach of its will. Picking the Hive Mind Authority requires the Hive Mind Ethic and each can only be picked together with the other: With only one, vast and linked consciousness, the guiding values of a Hive Mind is whatever the Hive Mind player wants it to be. They have their own set of Civics that can only be used by Hive Minds, and cannot use any non-Hive Mind Civics.

All Pops from the founder species of a Hive Mind will have the Hive-Minded trait. Hive-Minded Pops are not affected by Happiness and will never form Factions, allowing Hive Minds to completely ignore internal politics... though this comes as a cost, as they also cannot benefit from the Influence boost and other benefits provided by happy Factions in a regular empire. As Hive Minds rely completely on their ability to communicate psionically with the drone population, they are also unable to rule over non Hive-Minded Pops, and any such Pops in your empire will automatically be killed over time and processed into food to feed the Hive. Similarly, Hive-Minded pops that end up in non Hive Mind empires will be cut off from the Hive and will perish over time. The only way to integrate Pops between Hive Minds and non-Hive Minds is to use the Biological Ascension Path to unlock advanced gene modding and modify them by adding or removing Hive-Minded. However, Hive Minds can still coexist with other species: They have full access to diplomacy and can have non-Hive Mind subjects (and can be ruled over as subjects in turn), though non-Hive Mind empires tend to be somewhat distrustful of Hive Minds on first contact.

While Hive Minds are psionic by nature, the way they function and their connection to the Shroud is radically different from that of regular psychics, making them unable to follow the Psionic Ascension Path. Furthermore, Hive Minds are deeply biological entities, and fundamentally incompatible with the Synthetic Ascension Path. They are however perfectly suited for the Biological Ascension Path, and can make use of it to assimilate other, non-Hive Mind species into the Hive as described above.

Type Effects Ethos principles Description
Hive-minded.png Hive-Minded
  • +1 Influence.png Monthly Influence
  • +20% Unity.png Monthly Unity
  • +10% Mod habitability.png Habitability
  • +25% Mod pop growth req.png Growth Speed
  • Must use the Hive Mind authority
  • Hive Mind rulers are Immortal
  • Hive-Minded Pops are not affected by Happiness and will not join Factions
  • Hive-Minded Pops cannot survive in non-Hive Mind empires
  • Non Hive-Minded Pops cannot survive in Hive Mind empires
  • Must use AI Outlawed policy
  • Cannot follow Psionic or Synthetic Ascension Paths
  • Can genetically modify species to become Hive-Minded if Biological Ascension Path is completed
We reach into the void. The vast expanse becomes us.

Pop Ethos[edit]

Each pop in an empire will now only embrace a single, non-fanatic ethic. At the start of the game the population will have only the ethics that you picked in species setup, but as an empire grows its population will become more diverse in its views and wants.

Each ethic has an attraction value for each pop in an empire depending on both the empire's situation and their own situation. For example, enslaved pops tend to become more egalitarian, while pops living around non-enslaved aliens become more xenophilic and pops living around enslaved aliens more xenophobic. Conversely, fighting a lot of wars will increase the attraction for militarism across your entire empire, while an alien empire purging pops of a particular species will massively increase the attraction for xenophobic for the species being purged.

Over time, the ethics of the pops will drift in such a way that it roughly matches the overall attraction of that value. For example, if the materialist attraction sits at 10% for decades, it's likely that after that time, around 10% of all pops will be materialist. There is some random factor so it's likely never going to match up perfectly, but the system is built to try and go towards the mean, so the more over-represented an ethic is compared to its attraction, the more likely pops are to drift away from it and vice versa.

References[edit]


Game concepts
Governance EmpireGovernment typesPoliciesEdictsLeaderFactionsPopulation
Exploration ExplorationMapSpeciesAnomalyEventsFTLFallen empirePre-FTL speciesSpaceborne aliens
Colonization ColonizationCelestial bodyEconomyBuildingsTechnologyConstructionSpaceportFleet
Diplomacy DiplomacyTradeSubject empireAlliances and federationsAI personalities
Warfare WarfareSpace warfareLand warfareOrbital bombardmentMilitary stationShip designer
Others EthosTraitsTerraformingGenetic modificationSlaveryCrisisPreset empiresEaster eggs