The inspiration for this is an idea that has repeatedly popped into my head while playing Stellaris, which is what if instead of limiting how many megastructures you can make at once you required an engineer leader to build them? Expanding on this one thought I decided to think about how leaders could be made more interesting and cherished.
First is to consider the possibilities for leader categories. Currently there are six. They are ruler, governor, envoy, scientist, admiral, and general. I would change those categories to be academic, diplomat, engineer, and soldier. Rulers and governors would be drawn from the other leaders and leader pools based upon the government type. For example a technocracy could only allow researchers to be governors and rulers. You'll see how those categories work as you keep reading. When a leader is assigned to a temporary project they will return to their permanent job after the project is complete. If that job has already been reassigned they will simply become free for assignment when the temporary project is complete. We'll get to some jobs that our leaders could take in a little bit.
Second from a gameplay perspective we don't expect to have a lot of leaders. We may have more planets than leaders for example. With this in mind we should expect a leader to be a significant investment with a significant return. Currently leaders are extremely cheap. Considering what leaders are used for it's important to notice that they don't represent only an individual. They also represent their team, which could be quite large. I would say 50 influence, 100 energy, 0.2 influence upkeep, and 5 energy upkeep would be slightly better. The influence cost and increased upkeep would make leaders more of a tradeoff while the low upfront cost would still keep them obtainable in the early game. Adding influence would represent the clout needed to bring this person on board with the rulers vision, and since influence is limited it also represents the limited ability of an empire to expand cohesively. A ruler can only keep together a team so large. Note that any numbers listed are just guesstimates at to what would be a good balance. Obviously anything here, being just a fun thought experiment, could be tweaked. At the start of the game you would only start with 2 leaders, besides the ruler, a governor for your home sector and a research coordinator, so the upkeep cost would be minimal. Two changes would allow you to start with less leaders. First, leaders would no longer be assigned to each research area and the associated penalty would be no more. There would be a research coordinator that would give empire bonuses to research though, and some more specialization could be had from another leader you would get later. The second change that allows the number of starting leaders to be reduced is that a leader would no longer be required to survey systems. However, as you'll see below, if you choose to assign a leader to a science ship there will be advantages. Below are some jobs ideas.
Foreman: Each sector may have a foreman assigned to it. Build speeds are drastically reduced with a foreman. Particular district and building costs and speeds may be improved depending on the trait of the engineer.
Terraformer: Archology and terraforming projects would require an engineer to be assigned during the duration. Different engineers would take different amounts of time to complete the project.
Architect: Engineers can be assigned to construction ships. A construction ship with an engineer is able to upgrade space stations, build megastructures, and repair megastructures. There is no limit to how many megastructures you can build at one time or how many starbases you can have. There will need to be some balance to starbases because of this. Module numbers would be 0, 1, 2, 4, and 6 for each respective starbase level. Building numbers would be 0, 0, 1, 2, and 4 for each respective starbase level. An engineer is not needed to add a starbase module or building or to construct a mining station or research station.
Caretaker: All megastructures except habitats require one engineer to operate them properly. Without the engineer the megastructure will operate under severe penalties.
Governor – Is not its own leader type. Rather these two positions can only be filled from certain other leader types, based upon the government type. The possible governor traits would be different depending on what leader type filled the position. For example a diplomat would be more likely to have a trait that increases unity while an academic is more likely to have a trait that increases research.
Ruler: Rulers do not cost influence. Type may be restricted by the government type. I would love to see rulers have more of an impact on empires. Elections should have consequences. For example traits could limit policies or unlock possible new edicts. Did that xenophobic bigot just take over your country? Say goodbye to cooperative diplomatic stances.
Governor: Sector governors have general bonuses and unlock planet specialization within their sector. Depending on their traits they may have unique specializations available to them. Sectors should require a governor in order to upgrade planetary administrations to planetary capitals or greater. Planetary capitals or greater will be downgraded to planetary administrations if a sector is left without a governor for 5 years. Not having a sector governor should also impose a significant -30% governing ethics attraction and +10% empire sprawl from the sector, which is immediate. These things would make areas without a governor a little more at risk of rebellion later in the game.
Commander: Each empire can have one soldier assigned as commander. The commander gives empire wide military bonuses depending on their traits. It can also open up or limit war doctrines.
General: Each sector can have one soldier assigned as general that gives military bonuses within that sector, such as ship and army starting experience, starbase power, ship and army build time, ship and army build cost, fleet hyperjump time, defensive army damage, etc. The bonuses depend on the traits of the soldier. Admiral: Each fleet may have an soldier attached to it that gives bonuses.Colonel: Each army may have a soldier attached to it that gives bonuses.
Research Coordinator: Each empire could have one academic assigned as a research coordinator. Each research area would have two options and one pick at a time by default. This academic would give an extra research option per area making it the standard three options and one pick. It could also grant empire wide research bonuses based on its trait. For example it could increase research from research stations.
Scientist: Each sector could be assigned an academic. This will typically give an extra option for a particular research area, increase the chances that certain research fields show up, and increase the research for that area from their sector. This would all depend on their traits.
Archeologist: An academic would be required to excavate an archeological site. Different academics may be better at different archeological sites.
Explorer: General surveying of systems, to find standard resources and habitable planets, would require a science ship but not a leader. You can also send ships to unsurveyed sectors, but this would not give you intel on resources or habitability. Each system and planet would have hidden resources which would only be revealed to an individual empire via anomalies, which could only be discovered and investigated by a science ship with an academic assigned. Research ships with an academic would spend a set amount of time per stellar feature surveying. If an anomaly exists they would not find it 100% of the time. Some anomalies may be less likely to be found than others. The traits of the academic and research level would affect the chances different anomalies are found. Resurveying a planet would allow another chance to find undiscovered anomalies. Finding something from an anomaly only reveals the discovery to the empire that found it. Other empires would still need to find and research the anomaly to be aware of the discovery. This would make surveying a task that is beneficial through the entire game, with the more rare anomalies, including discovery of some archeological sites, being found later in the game on second or third pass throughs with higher level academics.
Ambassador: Each empire can have one diplomat assigned as its ambassador. Ambassadors give empire wide diplomatic bonuses and are required to initiate most diplomacy. Note that some empires will not need ambassadors and will therefore get to put more leaders elsewhere.
Envoy: Leaders could be assigned to improve or harm relations between different empires. When undertaking diplomacy projects, such as forming a defensive pact, forming a research agreement, integrating subjects, etc you would be prompted and required to assign leaders in order to continue. These projects would take various amounts of time before being completed and put into effect, during which the assigned leader would be unavailable. The more envoys you assign the quicker the project will be completed. Influence costs for diplomacy would need to be balanced. Again, murderous empires would not need envoys and could therefore spend their resources on other leaders.
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