Inspired by a short story posted on HFY. Warning, spoilers for the below story are inevitable in order to have a discussion about said crisis idea. TLDR of the story at the bottom.
A technologically advanced empire is discovered in a single system. Be it a lack of imagination or divergent technological progression they have yet to discover FTL travel, but one thing is certain: their tech level is otherwise overwhelming.
They are fascinated by the new arrivals and highly interested in exchanging a random late game tech for FTL tech.
If a deal is made their is a 60% chance the empire will join the galactic stage as a fanatic pacifist and a 40% chance radicalist elements will cause the empire to go into an imperial fervor demanding a percentage of alloy production from nearby empires.
If no deal is made there is an 80% chance FTL tech will proliferate at some point in the next 25 years anyways (be it from spying/private enterprise/renewed interest) and said empire will go into an imperialist fervor demanding a percentage of alloy production.
In the meantime you can attempt to invade them like any other empire but you'll find that they have mastery of their system with a powerful bastion.
The idea to balance this early game crisis (within 40-60 years of the game) is that although this empire is capable of fielding battleships they have a very limited industrial capacity and thus can only field several (the exact amount is open to discussion). High evasion corvettes and bastions placed at the right choke points will allow you to weather this storm.
Similar to awakened empires and the great khan this event does have built in fail safes. A lack of success will eventually cause the empire to become inwards perfectionist with fanatic pacifism and too much success will cause administrative headaches that force the empire to stop expanding and instead consolidate the territory and tributaries it already has similar to the khan event.
Your input is welcome.
TLDR of the Road Not Taken story: Turns out FTL travel is easy but acquiring it discourages the conditions that cause technology to progress, vice versa, not acquiring FTL tech causes a nation to develop technology to better cope with "playing tall."
© Post "Early Game Crisis/Event: The Road Not Taken" for game Stellaris.
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