Update – So the latest Stellaris patch & DLC changed a bunch of things, so I’ve added three new empires and updated some of the old ones. I’ve also noted which DLC an empire requires, if any.
So a while back I started making custom Stellaris Empires and sharing them on Twitter. People seemed to like them and it was a fun writing prompt so obviously I went completely overboard and made 18 (21 now!) different empires for the new expansion. The new update shrunk the bio window on the Empire screen, which is why they’re now on a website, with the bio underneath instead of just being twitter screenshots. I’ve also added some random comments on how I came up with them.
If you want to use these in your game just download the file here and pop it in Documents/Paradox Interactive/Stellaris (note this will overwrite your current custom empires if you have any). I tried to avoid using any mods so that anyone can download them, although I did use this one to get more flag colours.
The tale of the Kedeshi and the Silicrons varies wildly depending on which culture is telling it. What is known is that the Kedeshi surrendered control of their society to the Silicrons willingly, retiring to a life of art and leisure. No Kedeshi ever need work, or perform even the most basic chores, that function now belongs to the Silicrons. Though other cultures may see this as weakness, they certainly seem happy with their decision.
(requires Synthetic Dawn) The new ‘Rogue Servitors’ civic is great. I thought it would be fun to inject a note of ambiguity into it, maybe suggest that the Kedeshi might not regret their choice to let the machines take. This is what the Kedeshi look like by the way, that’s the face of someone enjoying fully automated luxury communism.
The concept of business and religion are now inextricably linked in Diman culture, but it was not always so. Careful study of Diman origin myths reveals the two were once separate factions, vying for control both against one another and larger, more powerful democratic movement. Faced with a more powerful foe, the two eventually united under the doctrine of what became known as The Prosperity Gospel, leading them to dominate Diman society, relegating the once powerful democrats to a small underground fringe.
I actually ran into spiritualist corporatists at random in one game, and I liked it so much I made some of my own. Then Paradox added support for the ‘Megachurch’ government type just in time.
# Changelog v 9.54
– Core directives updated: Re-establish contact with progenitor species <
– Core directives updated: Establish contact with other sentients
– Core directives updated: Explore new worlds
– Spaceflight module 0.1 released
– Increased weighting of self improvement protocol
– Decreased weighting of mining protocol
(requires Synthetic Dawn) With all the special civics that machine empires can get, I was curious as to what a ‘generic’ one would act like in game. Also I wanted to play as one to see if I could get along with the organics. Thus the Dekron were born.
A popular theory among galactic scientists is that the Lavii was originally a single physically connected organism. Eventually it grew to encompass most of the planet, with each cluster connected by deep underground roots. At some point the being achieved sentience and forged a kind of psychic connection, enabling it to remotely control cuttings of itself even without a physical tether. Now the Lavii is expanding to other planets, following a primal need to grow.
I thought a bug hive mind was a bit too cliché, so I went with a plant one instead, mostly because I really love that big carnivorous plant portrait.
Update – The Lavii are now a Devouring Swarm, which mean they don’t do diplomacy, just eating people.
On first glance the Elaamind do not appear to be the dominant species on their own homeworld. The surface of Elaa Prime is instead populated by a race of simple and industrious workers known as the Kroll. However these creatures are not native to the planet, but are a servant species created by the Elaamind within their underground laboratory enclaves, deep beneath the frozen wastes. Beyond that little is known, as no alien that has been taken into those dark forbidding science complexes has ever emerged.
(requires Utopia) The Syncretic Evolution civic gives you a second ‘worker’ species on your home planet. This is cool, but their appearance and name is random, making them hard to work into a biography. My solution? Dr Moreau-esque mad scientists. The fact that their faces look like brains only makes it better.
UPDATE – You can choose your syncretic species now, but I liked the Elaamind, so I kept them intact but added a bio for their second species: The Kroll.
It is believed the Kroll were originally a non sentient herd animal native to Elaa Prime. Once disaster plunged the world into a new Ice Age, the Kroll were particularly well suited to the harsh environments, and likely would have become the dominant species in time. Unfortunately the surviving Elaamind had other plans, engineering the species to become intelligent, but also short lived and subject to controlled breeding, the perfect servants.
Kirillian life is short and harsh. Each is born as one of many hundreds of tadpoles, abandoned by their parents and forced to compete to survive, most do not reach adulthood. Other short lived species might have found solace in religion, but instead the Kirillian prize the accumulation of material comforts above all else. This cutthroat competition repeatedly threatened the integrity of the planet, with nuclear war only just avoided when The Great Merger saw the world’s four largest corporations finally unite the Kirillian people under one board of directors.
This was one of those times when I just looked at the portrait and thought “that toad looks right capitalist”. I really like the combo of Rapid Breeders and Fleeting here, feels biologically authentic.
UPDATE – The the latest patch made it so megacorpations don’t have to be egalitarian, so the Kirillian are now xenophiles instead. They like making contact with other races, how else are they going to sell them things?
Life on Hydax is not easy, resources are scant and conditions are harsh. To survive the Tuxxan have taken extreme measures. From birth each Tuxxan (or any alien who wishes to join their society) is carefully analysed and monitored for signs of talent, then assigned a job and rigorously trained until they become an expert in it. To ‘dabble’ and practice a skill one has not mastered is deeply taboo. The result is a society that is an efficient as it is inflexible.
The Tuxxan were one of the last empires I created and combined a random grab bag of leftover ideas: ‘friendlier’ authoritarians, subverting the meritocracy civic, stacking +skill level bonuses, etc. The result reminds me a lot of the Qunari from Dragon Age.
Update – The Tuxxan now have the new ‘corvee system’ civic because it seemed to suit them.
According to Meji doctrine, there has only ever been one Meji Emperor. When each ruler passes on, a new one is regrown from a cutting. This places the Emperor at the very top of the Meji caste system, which extends from aristocrats whose lineage can be tied to the Emperor’s pollen, to undesirables, or ‘weeds’ who were grown from wild seeds and are treated little better than slaves. This system held Meji society together for millennia, until the advent of space flight, when the majority of the Meji warrior caste split with the Empire’s insular policy and ventured off into the galaxy.
I actually came up with the idea of slaver pacifists first for the Meji, mostly because they’re very divisive to galactic politics (slavery is bad vs attacking pacifists is bad) then I picked the plantoids pack up cheap and loved this portrait enough to add the plant based fiction.
Update – The new feudal civic seemed to fit the Meji Empire perfectly so I added it.
And The Rest
Originally the warrior caste of the Meji Empire, the Free Meji People are said to be descended from the seed of noble families that were allowed to blow free in the wind. Raised to see themselves as restless wanderers and warrior poets, it was inevitable that the warrior caste would begin to feel trapped in the Meji Empire’s insular regime. The advent of spaceflight offered them the opportunity they needed, and they took to the stars, founding a new kingdom based not on birthright, but on martial prowess.
Again these wandering warrior poet types were originally a bird species built to fit the ‘Honourbound Warriors’ AI personality, but then I realised they made perfect sense as a spin off from the Meji Empire.
It is said that if you put two Nekoans in a room together, they will have three different opinions. They are a fiercely independent people, and nowhere is this more apparent than in their government, which is centred around a permanent, ongoing open forum known as The Great Debate. However Nekoan pride in their government was irrevocably shaken when a figure known as The Deceiver ruthlessly exploited this system of civil discourse, drawing large numbers of followers to his authoritarian vision. Eventually the Deceiver was defeated not through words, but by violence, a lesson Nekoans have made sure never to forget.
This one was a bit of a simultaneous working up from ‘cat species’ (individualist, charismatic) and down from the ‘Democratic Crusaders’ personality type. The result? Antifa cats. PS: I picked the flag because it reminded me of a Star Trek IDIC symbol.
The Carnivax were originally solitary predators, and still retain a basic urge to control and dominate territory. Each Carnivax’s worth is judged by how much land they own via a sophisticated feudal system whereby a local lord might claim hunting rights across many thousands of small peasant ranches. At the top of this pyramid sits the Apex Predator, whose hunt theoretically spans the entirety of Carnivax space. Those who own no land are not considered citizens at all, but prey.
You can eat people in Utopia, so I figured I’d make an empire about eating people. A feudal system created by territorial predators seemed like a good fit.
The Kenjo have a saying “there’s nothing worth doing that isn’t worth thinking about first”. An extremely long lived people, they tend to take life slowly, often sitting in meditation for many days before making even minor decisions. This has made them very slow to change, with their system of government remaining much the same now as it has been for thousands of years. One day the Kenjo may consider becoming more open to the rest of galactic society, but or now they are in no rush.
There’s a lot of character in the ‘Inwards Perfection’ civic, and it lead to these isolationist folks. Pretty sure they’re gonna go full psychic in any game you put them in.
It is not known what the Cithin homeworld originally looked like, but scholars agree that its current barren and cold state is not natural. Most species learn to mitigate their industrialisation well before reaching the space age, but the Cithin did not, embracing massive industrialisation even as it caused catastrophic damage to their planet. When spaceflight was finally invented, they set off in search of new worlds to exploit.
I had a lot of nice materialists when I made the Cithin, so I thought I’d make some evil ones. Captain Planet villains with a penchant for brutalism.
The broadly accepted hypothesis for Quillian existence is that they were an accident. Most biologists agree that such a weak and sickly species should never have survived as long as they did, never mind ascended to top of Quillia’s food chain. The consensus is that some kind catastrophic natural disaster simply wiped out all competing species, leaving the Quillians to thrive, eventually turning to tool building to compensate for their frail bodies.
(requires Utopia) The Quillians were tailor made to build and/or turn themselves into robots. I wanted a species that was weak but scientifically strong, and the Platypus seemed like the perfect choice to represent them.
The Equan life cycle goes through four distinct stages. After a short childhood, lasting just a few years, Equan youth invariably develop a great wanderlust, roaming throughout the stars, living with and learning from other cultures. Then, when they reach adulthood, they return home to procreate and raise the next generation. Finally when their children are grown Equan take on the role of elder, shaping society with the new ideas learned on their youthful wanderings.
The Equan were built to fit the ‘Migratory Flock’ AI personality, who absolutely adore migration. Birds might seem the obvious choice, but I enjoyed the idea of horse nomads.
Anthropologists trace Igarians’ relaxed and easy going nature back to their cold blooded nature, which requires them to spend far more time sunbathing than eating. One cannot hoard the sun, and so even distribution of public goods became the norm. Similarly it is very difficult to overwork someone who requires several hours of sunbathing a day. This abundance of warmth has also made Igra a popular tourist destination, although alien visitors can often grow impatient with the slow pace of life.
Honestly I originally made these guys because this is my usual playstyle and those geckos looked cool. Then I ran across a paper talking about the sunbathing thing and factored it in.
Myyria was once a lush, green world, but a huge population explosion in the Pirak race nearly stripped it clean. Had the species not achieved sentience, it is likely their insatiable appetites would have rendered them extinct. Instead in an act of astonishing self discipline they restrained their ravenous appetites. Now the Pirak carefully maintain the few remaining oases of vegetation with religious dedication. They say in a few millennia they may finally make their world green again.
The concept of the ‘regretful swarm’ here is nicked wholesale from a custom empire someone posted on Reddit, but the new civics and wasteful trait really make it work even better. Their flag is meant to symbolise an oasis in the desert. A lot of my flags communicate ideals like that.
Sibulia was originally the same of a small island nation of the Sibulian homeworld of Yarus Prime. Achieving a technological advantage over their neighbouring islands, they rapidly achieved naval dominance and either conquered or colonised the entire planet. Now they approach their space age in much the same way, convinced that their superior culture and technology gives them the right to ‘civilise’ the stars.
Look at that guy’s face. You’re not telling me that guy isn’t a colonial aristocrat. The fiction for this one got a bit British Empire.
The history of the Uri is difficult to chart as many records were lost or altered in the great purges that followed unification. What is clear is that the planet was once home to many diverse civilisations, all of whom were eventually defeated by a religious cult worshiping a deity known as “The Voice in the Deep”. Since that day, the planet has been controlled by a council of “Spiritual Elders” appointed by the Church.” Those who ask further questions tend to disappear.
The Uri were the first NPC empire I created. They’re not terribly original, but they were made in honour of the squidface cultists who were my biggest enemy in the first game I ever played.
“Wessari made” is a seal of quality in galactic commerce, such is this steady mountainous race’s reputation for manufacturing. Other empires might produce goods that are cheaper, more stylish or more innovative, but Wessari craftsmanship lasts like no other. Nowhere is this more apparent than on their homeworld, where elegant, timeless structures carved of pure ice dominate the skyline. To the Wessari to build something, be it physical or abstract, that outlasts the builder is the purest form of immortality.
The Wessari were the first empire I ever played as, and they’ve gone through a lot of iterations since then, with most of their old roles stolen by the Nekoans and the Igarians. Oddly enough they ended up right back where they started, as egalitarian, xenophile materialists. Only now with a neat ‘builder’ philosophy.
The Zanimaar government has long embraced a doctrine of national and racial pride, extolling pride in Zanimaar genetics and warrior culture. It came as something of a shock then, when they encountered their first alien species and discovered that they were, by galactic standards, small, weak and fluffy. To say they did not take this well would be an understatement. Soon the Zanimaar propaganda factories began to re-orientate their society around a new purpose, the complete and total extinction of alien life.
(requires Utopia) We’ve all seen this webcomic right? After I read it I started thinking about why a species becomes Fanatic Purifiers, Stellaris’ most hostile faction. I ended up with a planet of insecure Napoleons.