A way to be Spiritualist without being forced to send your mechanical Pops to the Gulag

stellaris 3 - A way to be Spiritualist without being forced to send your mechanical Pops to the Gulag

This idea was sparked by my most recent playthrough, when I was playing as a Materialist-Egalitarian-Xenophile empire but pursued the psionics tech tree.

Eventually I successfully pulled The Chosen One. Not long after I got a dialogue option–I can’t remember exactly how it went, but the gist of it was “So you literally have the immortal avatar of a God living among you. You know, we have a civic that reflects that…” It suggested (if I recall correctly) to reform to an Imperial Cult with the Chosen One at its head.

Sounds like a reasonable course for the Empire to take, given the circumstances, so I said yes. Great. Everyone’s happy.

Except the robots.

I had forgotten that Spiritualist empires can’t give AI full citizen rights. So you can probably guess what happened next: AI uprising, shattering of my empire, saved only by the cooperation of my Federation, etc, etc.

I understand that there are game balance considerations for why Spiritualist empires can’t be allowed to lean on robot pops too much. But that doesn’t make it suck any less when you’re forced into this dynamic that, if you want your empire to start moving in a more spiritualist direction, you must betray the trust of every synthetic pop in the empire.


I can think of two possible fixes:


The first fix: Introduce a Spiritualist-only civic that makes it possible to give sapient AI full citizenship rights. Here’s a stab about how that might be done in a balanced way:


Ghost in the Machine:

-Requirements: Spiritualist of Fanatic Spiritualist

-Replaces Roboticist jobs with Technopriest jobs. Technopriests add +1 monthly Synthetic Pop Assembly and +3 Unity

-Spiritualist empires with this civic may use the Full AI Rights policy.

This culture is fascinated with the relationship between cognition and the soul. They believe that there are fewer acts holier than taking bare metal and gifting it with the Divine Spark.


I think this is ultimately a fairly conservative civic. Here’s why:

-Technopriests only have half the robot assembly speed as roboticists (plus a small bonus to Unity, which seemed thematically appropriate), which respects their more ritualistic and less industrial approach to manufacture. This means that their robot population assist will never really be competitive with a Materialist counterpart.

-This civic is effectively dormant unless the correct robotics technologies are already researched, meaning that any advantages gained in the mid- to late-game are partially offset by sacrifices made in the early game.

-Spiritualist empires with full AI rights will still eat the happiness hit from their spiritualist faction. It seems reasonable that spiritualist factions would tend to grow cadres of organic chauvinists, official theology notwithstanding.


If this change were to be implemented, I would suggest that answering “Yes” to the “A Question” dialogue (
cxpwl8wrztq21 - A way to be Spiritualist without being forced to send your mechanical Pops to the Gulag ) might cause the empire to reform with this civic.


The second fix: If the following are true:

-You have the Synths technology -You have Full AI Rights policy selected -You reform your empire to become Spiritualist -Your reformed empire does not have the “Ghost in the Machine” civic, if implemented -Your empire contains at least one mechanical pop -“The Question” dialogue has not been prompted (see above) 


Set some boolean “AI used to be citizens” (or whatever) to true. Immediately prompt “The Question” dialogue. 


This will chain into a second dialogue box. If all the following are true:

-”AI used to be citizens” is true -”The Question” dialogue has been prompted -Your empire does not have the “Ghost in the Machine” civic, if implemented 


Prompt this dialogue:


The Problem of AI

Reports indicate that a recent meeting between ’s highest-ranking theologians nearly came to blows over the question: what will we do about our synthetics?

This tension extends far beyond the ivory towers; throughout the empire there are scattered reports of protesters clashing in the streets about the status of our synthetic populace. The people are struggling to come to a consensus: Are are synthetic neighbors really like us? Do we owe them anything? Or are they just an imitation of consciousness after all?

It seems that a response from the highest levels is warranted.


We have the divine spark; the synthetics do not. They will learn their place.

(AI suffers abridged rights as normal) 

We have chosen a path that our synthetic comrades cannot follow. Perhaps we can part ways peacefully.

(Offload all synthetic pops in the Empire into a vassal state) 

How could we have let hubris lead us to betray our synthetic citizens? This talk of souls was a mistake.

(Lose Spiritualist ethic and return AI rights to full citizenship) 

Perhaps we were too hasty to judge that synthetics don’t have souls….

(if implemented, gain “Ghost in the Machine” civic). 


Anyway. That’s what I got. Thoughts?


Tl;dr: I think it sucks that becoming spiritualist means betraying your synthetic pops and sitting on them until they become angry enough to try and destroy the galaxy. I suggest two (non-exclusive) suggestions to address this: a civic that makes robots more compatible with Spiritualist empires, and a dialogue that allows spiritualist empires to peacefully part ways with their mechanical pops.

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