The Depraved Spectators once believed that the galaxy was a vast and bloody arena, where each living thing competed in an endless glorious battle to refine themselves and prove which of them are worthy to exist and which of them are not. Over the many ages, this ideology has degenerated somewhat – They still view the galaxy as an arena, but they no longer consider themselves as participants in its endless battle. Instead, they have become spectators, idly watching the other races battle each other as a way of staving off the boredom of eternity. As such, they want to see a lot of fights, and specifically a lot of good fights. – Watching an empire that controls half the galaxy stomp minor powers and primitive worlds over and over again is just tedious.
Aside from obviously liking Militarists more and Pacifists less, the Depraved Spectators have an +20/40/100 "respects hostility" bonus towards non-Pacifist Xenophobes, non-Pacifist Fanatic Xenophobes, and Genocidal empires, respectively. Additionally, they have a -40 "boring and overpowered" opinion penalty towards empires to whom all neighbouring empires are Inferior or Pathetic, and a +40 "plucky underdog" opinion bonus towards empires to whom all neighbouring empires are Superior or Overwhelming.
The Depraved Spectators may ask you to do any of the following:
(Request) Declare a rivalry against an evenly-matched non-Genocidal neighbouring empire of the Spectators' choice.
(Request) Send an insult to an evenly-matched neighbouring empire of the Spectators' choice who is not already Rivaling or Hostile towards you.
(Request) Enter into a Defensive Pact with an empire who has a rival with more fleet power than them.
(Demand) Leave your Federation and any Non-Aggression Pacts you are in, and declare war on an evenly-matched non-Genocidal neighbouring empire of the Spectators' choice. (Unless you are a lesser member in a Hegemony, in which case the war you are forced into is the Secession war.)
Unlike other Fallen Empires, the Spectators will make requests of Genocidal empires as well. Also, unlike other Fallen Empires, they are allowed to give gifts to empires that are at war, and will give gifts related to warfare (ships, minerals and energy, or a rare tech) to an empire that is at war with a much more powerful foe, even if the Spectators don't have the Patronizing attitude towards them.
Additionally, the Depraved Spectators may unexpectedly declare a special kind of Humiliation war against any empire that borders them that isn't already at war, even if they haven't refused a demand or otherwise upset them. Instead of using their normal fleets to fight this war, they will instead use an event-spawned fleet that is slightly more powerful than all the fleets of the targeted empire combined. Surrendering immediately or soon after the war begins will give the Spectators a -200 "Cowards" opinion penalty towards the target empire and allow them to use their Punishment CB on them once the truce is up. Conversely, ending the war (whether by winning, losing, or a white peace) after both the Spectators and the target empire have reached 20% War Exhaustion will give the Spectators a temporary +200 "proved themselves" opinion bonus towards the target empire. However, if the target empire not only wins but actually takes territory from the Spectators, neither bonus will apply. (Instead they're just angry about the systems they lost, like a normal empire would be.) Another empire taking advantage of this war to attack the target empire will give the Spectators a -200 "Opportunists" opinion penalty towards the offender and allow them to use their Punishment CB on them.
Losing a Punishment war against the Spectators will have the same effects as their Demand, plus the standard execution of your leader. Of course, as you just lost a war with a Fallen Empire, you are much more likely to also lose the war the Spectators force you into.
When the Depraved Spectators Awaken, they become the Dark Hunters. (I'm indecisive about the name, since it doesn't really fit the pattern of other Awakened Empires – It's a reference to the "Hunters in a Dark Forest" theory about relations between alien civilizations. I also considered "Galactic Winnowers" or something like that.) The recent humiliations the Hunters have suffered at the hands of the upstart lesser races have reminded them that they are not mere spectators, but a combatant in the great galactic battle unto themselves. As such, they are not only permitted but obligated to attack the other races with their full might, so they might prove which of them deserves to exist and which of them does not.
The special vassal type of the Hunters is the "Aspirant". Aspirants have relative freedom compared to other vassal types, able to engage in diplomacy and build starbases freely, and only have to contribute a percentage of their Alloys and Naval Capacity to their overlord. However, all Aspirants are locked into a state of total war with all other Aspirants, which can only be ended in a Status Quo peace if the Aspirant is independent of the Hunters or fighting a war of independence against the Hunters. As such, the only way for an Aspirant to be at peace is to be the only subject of their overlord.
There should obviously be a Pacifist Fallen Empire type to contrast the Spectators, but I can't think of any ideas that don't overlap conceptually with the Observers. Maybe the Pacifists could get the Observers' dislike of war and conquest while the Observers could be reworked to be more focused on stopping atrocities, protecting primitives, and gaining xeno pops for their "preserves"?
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© Post "Concept for a Militarist Fallen Empire – The Depraved Spectators" for game Stellaris.
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