Detailed Faith System Outline

stellaris 5 - Detailed Faith System Outline

I’ve seen a few people both on the forums and the reddit requesting and brainstorming ideas for religion systems. A lot of the ones I’ve seen have been very interesting and well thought out, but always full of people casting them down for one reason or another, which is understandable; after all, this game is already full of unbalanced systems, and the last thing it needs is another one which will only make things worse.

After playing a couple games and looking at what the game already has going on and what else could be fit in, I eventually brainstormed up the Faith system outlined in this post, something that operates almost entirely on the pop level and hopefully somewhat represents how religions and faiths spread in real life. Since the next big DLC after Federations is likely to be something addressing internal politics, this would probably be good to get out there since the faith of an empire is a pretty big contributor to real-world politics.

Basic Rules

At the beginning of the game, depending on your choice and diversity of ethics, up to 3 faiths will generate in your empire. Fanatic Purifiers and Fanatic Spiritualists will only start with 1 faith, along with empires with civics that otherwise imply a state religion such as Exalted Priesthood, Imperial Cult, and Gospel of the Masses. Hive Minds/Machine Intelligences will never produce faith, and are pretty much entirely exempt from this system. (Rogue Servitors do host independent-thinking pops, and while a faith may spread amongst them they will never affect the operations of the empire, due to their mandatory pampering.)

One of these beginning faiths will always be a "Major Religion,” having the larger portion of your empire following it, between 30% and 60% per. The other faiths would simply be "Minor Beliefs." A final portion of your population (size depending on ethics) would be "Non-Spiritual" and would not belong to any faith, not influencing or being influenced by any faith.

A Major Religion will always be the largest faith in the empire, not counting Non-Spiritual pops. This is separated from the State Religion, which will always be the same unless the religion dies or is manually changed.

Creating a Major/State Religion could potentially be a part of empire creation, along with the option to let them all be randomized or the option to have a wholly or majorly Non-Spiritual empire.

Spiritualist pops will always belong to a faith, while Materialist pops have a higher chance of starting off/remaining Non-Spiritual. All pops will somewhat prefer a faith originating from their home empire/species. Xenophobes would almost never follow alien faiths, while Xenophiles will be slightly less averse to the idea. Non-enslaved Gospel of the Masses pops will always follow the State Religion.

The maximum amount of faiths in a galaxy is the amount of active empires (not counting Fallen Empires and Marauder empires) x 3. Only five faiths can spawn from a single empire at a time; for an empire to spawn another, one must die.

Empires with a State Religion will always have their Spiritualist Ruler-strata pops following that religion.

How They Work

A faith has a few stats that they keep track of: Origin, Doctrine, Appeal, Popularity, and Pursuit.

When a faith is created, either at the beginning of the game or after the fact, its Origin is written and cannot be changed. Origin basically keeps track of what empire the faith originated, the planet it came from, and what species created the faith. This mainly influences the Appeal of the faith to other pops, but also controls what Doctrine the faith can be, as some ethics cannot produce some Doctrines.

The Doctrine of a faith, along with its Pursuit, is the meat of how the faith interacts with your pops and your empire. Each Doctrine has modifiers that it applies to either its pops or the empire that they reside in. These modifiers scale with the Popularity of the faith in an empire. The Doctrine also affects what pops the faith will Appeal to, along with what Pursuits it can have.

Detailed info on the types of Doctrines are below.

Appeal, as a percentage, is how appealing the tenets of the faith would be to any individual pop in the empire. The Appeal of a faith to a pop is almost entirely dependent on the pop itself: its ethic, its species, where it originated, etc.

Simply, If a faith appeals to a pop enough, and the pop does not have a current faith whose appeal exceeds it, then the pop will switch to that faith. More info on how faiths spread below.

Popularity is calculated on an empire-by-empire basis, and goes up depending on the amount of pops in an empire that follow the faith, as a percentage. 0% means no pop in your empire follows the faith, and 100% means every pop that can follow the faith, does. No empire will start the game at 100%, but it will be easier to achieve it for some than others.

Popularity will affect the Main Religion of an empire at x1.25.

Finally, the Pursuit of a faith can be described as a goal that it wants its members to achieve, and is the part of a faith that is the most influenceable by the governments lording over them. A Pursuit can only belong to a faith if it has the appropriate Doctrine, and similarly to Doctrines has effects that trigger if specific circumstances exist.

More info on Pursuits in the below section.


A faith’s Doctrine does not change once the faith is created, and represents the core belief of the faith. Each Doctrine has a boon and a malus that they grant on the empire, whose effects get more intense the more Popularity a faith has in the empire.

The Doctrine a faith has depends highly on the ethic of the pop that spawned it, less so the overarching ethics of the empire that contains them. Some ethics are more likely to spawn some Doctrines, while others simply cannot spawn them.

Here is a detailed list of potential Doctrines:

  • Conquest: Focused on the taking of foreign territory for glory.
    • Likely: Militarist, Xenophobic
    • Unlikely: Xenophilic
    • Impossible: Pacifist
    • Boon: Each pop grants some extra Naval Capacity, as long as they are not exempt from Military Service, between 0.1 and 1 per pop depending on Popularity.
    • Malus: Each pop generates some Threat toward neighboring empires, going up depending on Popularity.
  • Crusade: The faith focuses on quashing lesser faiths inhabiting the galaxy.
    • Likely: Militarist, Xenophobic, Spiritualist
    • Unlikely: Pacifist
    • Impossible: Xenophilic
    • Boon: When a pop is converted to this faith in the galaxy, each pop generates a bit of Unity for their empire, moreso with higher Popularity in their empire.
    • Malus: If there are pops of other faiths on their planet, pops following Crusade faiths have less happiness, rising to a -50% malus at maximum Popularity.
  • Peace: The faith focuses on maintaining order.
    • Likely: Pacifist, Xenophilic
    • Unlikely: Militarist
    • Boon: Each pop following this faith grants a little pop growth speed to its planet, up to +1% at maximum Popularity.
    • Malus: If a pop following this faith is not exempt from Military Service, it will detract a bit of fire rate from your ships during offensive wars, also scaling with Popularity.
  • Coexistence: The faith focuses on harmony between its followers and the world surrounding them.
    • Likely: Pacifist, Xenophilic, Egalitarian.
    • Impossible: Xenophobic
    • Boon: The more Popularity the faith has, the less Food and Consumer Goods upkeep the pop has.
    • Malus: Worker-strata pops following the religion have lower output as they seek to work without exploiting the planet.
  • Supremacy: The faith focuses on the subjugation of lesser beings.
    • Likely: Authoritarian, Xenophobic
    • Unlikely: Pacifist, Egalitarian
    • Boon: When Specialist and Ruler pops follow this faith, the Workers beneath them have increased output depending on the Popularity.
    • Malus: Pops on the planet following this faith produce less Amenities, even less so with higher Popularity.
  • Transcendence: The faith focuses on self improvement either bodily or spiritually.
    • Likely: Spiritualist, Materialist
    • Unlikely: Xenophobic
    • Boon: Pops of this faith have increased job output that scales with the faith’s Popularity.
    • Malus: If this faith is Popular, the empire they reside in produces less influence, up to potentially 2 less per tick at maximum Popularity.
  • Worship: The faith focuses on the worship of a supreme or otherworldly being.
    • Likely: Authoritarian, Spiritualist
    • Unlikely: Egalitarian
    • Boon: Each pop following the faith grants a small XP boost to leaders, scaling with Popularity.
    • Malus: Similarly, they also increase the price and upkeep of those leaders.
  • Passing: The faith focuses on preparing its followers for their next life/afterlife/reincarnation.
    • Likely: Spiritualist
    • Boon: Pops are slightly happier when following this faith. This does not scale with Popularity.
    • Malus: None.
    • Can act as a bit of a buffer faith to prevent other faiths with negative effects from spreading amongst your population.
  • Purity: The faith focuses on purity of the species against that which would corrupt it.
    • Only appears in Fanatic Purifier empires.
    • Functionally similar to Passing.
  • Hedonism: The faith focuses on material delight and the enjoyment of utopia.
    • Only appears in Fallen Empires.
    • Has no effect.

I have intentionally left out percentages and exact effects for most Doctrines; I’m only putting together a concept right now and I'm bad at balance heheheh


Every pop has their own appeal toward different faiths, which depend on the pop’s origin, strata, and ethic. High Appeal means a certain modifier makes the pop more likely to take up the faith. Low appeal means a certain modifier makes the pop less likely to consider it. No Appeal means the pop will never take up the faith while it has its current modifiers. Pops will always have slightly less appeal to faiths whose Origin is from a different species, or an empire that they aren’t currently living in.

  • Conquest.
    • High Appeal: Militarist, Xenophobic pops
    • Low Appeal: Xenophilic pops, Empires other than the one the faith originated in
    • No Appeal: Pacifist pops
  • Crusade.
    • High Appeal: Militarist and Xenophobe pops in Spiritualist empires
    • Low Appeal: Pacifist pops
    • No Appeal: Xenophilic pops
  • Peace.
    • High Appeal: Pacifist and Xenophilic pops
    • Low Appeal: Militarist pops, Authoritarian pops
  • Coexistence.
    • High Appeal: Pacifist, Xenophilic, and Egalitarian pops, and pops under Environmentalist empires
    • Low Appeal: Militarist pops
    • No Appeal: Authoritarian pops
  • Supremacy.
    • High Appeal: Authoritarian pops
    • Low Appeal: Pacifist pops, Slaves, Workers
    • No Appeal: Egalitarian pops
  • Transcendence.
    • High Appeal: Spiritualist or Materialist pops, depending on the faith’s origin
  • Worship.
    • High Appeal: Authoritarian pops under Spiritualist empires
    • Low Appeal: Egalitarian pops
  • Passing.
    • Low Appeal: Materialist pops
  • Purity.
    • No Appeal: Pops of a different species to the faith’s origin
    • Note: Xeno faiths will never spread to fanatic purifier pops
  • Hedonism.
    • Does not spread, and even begins to die off if the Fallen Empire awakens.


Pursuits function similarly to a faction’s Issues, being things that your pops want that will give you bonuses if fulfilled. However, instead of these bonuses solely being happiness, followers of the faith will give you potentially more meaningful bonuses if they fit the Pursuit’s needs. Every faith only has a single Pursuit. What Pursuit is applied to a faith depends heavily on the Doctrine of the faith.

When a Pursuit is fulfilled, the pops following the faith will contribute less to negative Stability, and will produce a small amount of Unity every tick. While the Pursuit is not fulfilled, the pop will be ever-so-slightly less happy, and the faith will have slightly less Appeal to pops not following the faith.

  • War.
    • Can only be held by Conquest, Crusade, Supremacy, Passing, and Purity Doctrines.
    • Is fulfilled when the pop is not exempt from Military Service and is in an empire at war with a non-Pathetic empire.
  • Subjugation.
    • Can only be held by Conquest, Supremacy, and Worship Doctrines.
    • Is fulfilled when half or more of the population on its planet is enslaved, or half or more of the Empire’s total population. Non-sapient Robots do not count.
  • Prosperity.
    • Can only be held by Conquest, Peace, Worship, Passing, and Coexistence Doctrines.
    • Is fulfilled when the planet the pop is on is outputting +50 or more Energy Credits per tick, or when the empire is producing +500 or more Energy Credits per tick and has no deficits.
  • Progress.
    • Can only be held by Peace, Coexistence, Transcendence, and Passing Doctrines.
    • Is fulfilled when the planet the pop is on is producing at least 50 science of any category.
  • Comfort.
    • Can be held by any Doctrine except Supremacy and Purity. Will always be held by Hedonism.
    • Is fulfilled when the pop has Social Welfare living conditions or higher and is not employed.
  • Superiority.
    • Can be held by any Doctrine except Peace and Coexistence.
    • Is fulfilled when the empire is Superior to at least half of known empires, including Fallen Empires.
  • Cleansing.
    • Is only held by the Purity Doctrine.
    • Is fulfilled if it is on a planet where Xeno pops are being purged.

How Faith Spreads, Spawns, and Dies

Because we aren’t in the tile system anymore and I can’t just cop out and say “Oh, adjacent pops spread faith to each other,” I had to get a little creative.

Basically, whenever a pop changes happiness, it will check for available faiths, compare its appeal to its own faith to its appeal to available faiths, along with the appeals of its planet-mates, and choose where to go from there. If a different faith is appealing enough to a pop that it would change to it, the pop enters an “Attractive” state to that faith. If it passes all the checks a second time when the pop’s happiness changes again, the pop will officially change to that faith. This, along with a 6-month cooldown between changing faiths, is meant to prevent faiths from constantly being in flux in areas where multiple empires with differing ethics exist.

If there are no valid faiths that a pop can convert to, it can create a faith of its own as long as a few conditions are met, such as them having been looking for a faith for a while, and the faith ‘market’ in their empire not being super saturated.

A pop maintains its faith when resettled, and can be used to artificially spread faiths that the empire deems useful.

Here is a flowchart that describes in-detail how I see faith spreading and being created:

I chose Happiness to be the deciding factor because I feel like it changes just enough to not be insane, while also being manipulable in a way.

If a faith falls to 1 pop following it, it is marked a ‘dead faith’ and the last follower of the faith is marked Non-Spiritual, unless they have the Spiritualist ethic in which case they take up the most popular faith on their planet. If there are no such available faiths, they immediately shift ethic to Xenophobic and become Non-Spiritual.

How a Government Can Manipulate Faith

Because faith effects how pops live their daily lives, a government would obviously be interested in how to manipulate it. And of course, there would be a couple ways.

First, a new species right: “Expression & Speech,” representing the species’ freedom to spread information and ideas. For this, I would want to separate the Political Power modifier from Citizenship, and add it to this. Something like it would probably come in a larger internal politics-based update. It would have a few levels, like all species rights:

  • Complete Freedom: “The ability of sapient beings to voice their grievances and ideas is paramount to the progress of civilization, and this species will not find their situation any different.”
    • All pops have full political power, full research and unity output, full ability to spread faith, and full potential happiness.
  • Controlled Speech: “It is an undeniable fact of life that a sapient being will form opinions on the world around it. It is best that some, however, keep these opinions to themselves.”
    • Pops have about 50% political power, produce only 75% research and unity, have their faiths appeal to other pops less, and have less happiness.
  • Orwellian Silence: “We cannot risk this species corrupting our state with their ideas. They will be watched, and they will be silenced.
    • Cannot be applied to main species.
    • Pops have only 10% political power, produce only 25% research unity, will almost never spread faith, and are quite unhappy.
  • Complete Blackout: “In space, none can hear you scream.”
    • Only applied to pops being purged.
    • Pops have no political power, can not produce research or unity, will not spread faith, and are, well, being purged.
  • Thought Policing: “Looks like you’ve had a bit too much to think!”
    • Unlocked by technology
    • Pops have 50% political power, produce 50% research but full unity, only spread faith with doctrines similar to the empire’s ethics, and only have a slight happiness penalty.

Along with this, because pops take their faith with them when migrated, it is possible to isolate pops of a certain religion on a planet and then take away their migration rights, or to simply not make migration pacts in the first place to prevent xeno faith from spreading into your empire (Although the taking of foreign planets and slaves will provide ways for these faiths to get into your empire anyway.)

Empires with a State Religion (as outlined above) will have access to decisions and an edict that allows them to control the spread of faith:

  • Declare Heresy (Decision): “The lesser faiths on this world are to be marked as heretical false beliefs, to be cast out of our holy lands.”
    • Greatly reduces the appeal of lesser beliefs on a world, while also making pops following those beliefs very unhappy, even for a while after they eventually convert.
  • Hire Missionaries (Decision): “A legion of missionaries will flood this world to spread our holiest gospel. It is up to the citizens to take their word to heart.”
    • Greatly increases the appeal of the empire’s State Religion for a time, even if there are no valid sources of Appeal for the pops.
  • Holy Word Campaign (Edict): “This Edict launches a campaign to spread the word of our faith to foreign worlds.”
    • Greatly increases the appeal of the empire’s State Religion to foreign planets through immigration.

…while other empries will have access to an edict with similar effects to the Expression & Speech species right:

  • Communication Monitoring (Edict): “This Edict initiates protocol for the monitoring of civilian communication channels in response to a real or fabricated threat. This tends to discourage civilians from trading sensitive information across above-water channels.”
    • Ethics Shift Chance: -50%
    • New Faith Appeal: -25%
    • Crime: +5%

Other Effects of the Faith System

If available to, followers of a faith will have higher immigration toward the empire and planet on which it originated.

Priests and High Priests will increasingly spread Appeal for the empire’s Main/State Religion, along with Managers and Executives for Gospel of the Masses Megacorps.

Spiritualists will have a new modifier: +5% and +10% Faith Boon from Popularity for normal and fanatic respectively.

State Religion empires will have the ability to change their state religion at an influence cost, and at the great chagrin of the pops in their empire following the original faith.

If an empire happens to gain a Chosen One, a faith in worship of them will always be generated, and have very high attraction in the empire in which the Chosen One resides. After it reaches a certain threshold, it will then generate the Divine Sovereign event. Following this event will cause the Chosen One's faith to become the empire's Main Religion.

Please let me know what you think of my horrible wall of text. I've been musing over this for a couple days now, and I'm pretty happy with what I've put together.

Source: Original link

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