Stellaris

An Alternative to the Shroud

stellaris 3 - An Alternative to the Shroud
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A few years ago I was in a discussion about how the shroud felt a little too dark for my taste. In every science fiction univers religion gets shafted as the big evil bad guy. So I got thinking, what would a "brighter" alternative to the Shroud be? Here is my idea:

The Eternal Throne(mentioned in the unbidden crisis)

So this starts just the same way as any spiritual ascending, with a psionic empire taking the trancendence perk. But rather than only one option you have this message:

"We have done it, our minds have gazed beyond the mortal veil, before us lies two distinct visions, one a deep sea of etherial mysteries, the other is a narrow shining path. Our telepaths say the visions are distinct, we must choose one."

Choosing the etherial sea is the shroud. Choosing the brilliant path takes you to a different destiny.

So, the brilliant path introduction would look something like this:

"In our minds eye, the vision appears, it is the brilliant path, a place all our people know, we have seen it in our dreams. Ahead lies a light, and from that light a million voices call. Or is it one voice?"

"The combined strength of out telepaths is required to take even one step, but the path calls to us. The voices speak aloud to us, the voice of the divine? Or the ancestors? Perhaps both. "There is strength in unity…" it speaks. "If you would walk the path, unite the children of creation."

Then the task would be to convert a certain number of Pops to the spiritual ethic. By any means.

The brilliant path would operate in a linear fashion, but give rewards to a player for accomplishments made as the move along the path. Objectives could be: Converting to the faith Creating Gaia worlds, Uplifting species Defeating dimensional horrors Sacrificing wealth or influence Defeating crisis events

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Each benchmark in the path would lead to exponentially increasing benefits, increasing population growth, powerful weapons and shields technology, and FTL akin to what the shroud offers. But also access to life creation abilities and special terraforming options. Such as a "Elysium World" like a Gaia world on steroids, with other added bonuses. Later on, access to "angelic" armies and ships.

As you approach the end of the path, the balancing factor would be this:

You receive a message: "On (world name) thousands dissappear in a brilliant flash, their shining forms flicker and then ascend skyward and vanish. (Leader) spoke of leading his flock farther along the path than we had yet trod, it seems they may have gone before us. Even so, their absence is already felt, as the jobs and services they filled are now vacent."

As you get to the later stages of the path, pops will start ascending more and more rapidly, prompting you to complete your path to Godhood more and more quickly.

At the end of the path, the whole race ascends:

"Our telepaths have led our spiritual consciousness to the final steps of the path. Before us lies the eternal throne. Yet, we do not find the divine, the throne lies empty. Centuries ago, this revelation would have shattered us. But now we have come to understand. The throne is for us."

After completing the ascending, you empire would become beings of pure energy, with pure energy ships. Akin to the unbidden. However you would have the ability to rapidly terraform world's and the ability to seed new life and guide them in a manner similar to protectorates. You would gain extremely fast FTL technology and the ability to "harvest" planets like the unbidden and other extra dimensionals. If you so choose.

At this stage you are akin to a god, sew wrath or life as you please.

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That's my idea, I would love to hear your thoughts.

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