I guess that with spies out of the way, Paradox will most likely address the next most requested feature, religions.
Here is how I envision it:
There will be a new splat for pops, leaders and empires (spiritualist empires at least), religion. Each religion will have up to three tenets, like CK3 tenets but with a sci-fi spin to it.
Each tenet would afect the pops and leaders that hold that particular religion like a trait. In addition, spiritualist empires would have an state religion, and each tenet would affect the empire with a small bonus. This small bonus will replace the spiritualist usual +10% unity, -5% edict cost. Fanatic spiritualists would double the bonus of the tenets.
Each non spiritualist empire would roll up on the begining of the game three to five religions, and up to 50% of the pops would at random be of one or another religion. In materialist empires, only 25% of the pops would be religious, and in fanatic materialist empires only 12.5%. Non religious pops have a small bonus to research.
Spiritualist empires would have only two religions, the state religion and one heretic sect that share all the state religion's tenets but one, decided at random. All pops would be religious in such empires. 70% would adopt the state religion and 30% the heresy. The heretics would be reduced in 10% for each step towards authoritarian, to a minimum of 10%. They would hate each other guts (unless one of the tenets is Syncretism, more on it later), and some events would pop out based on this rivalry.
Player spiritualist empires would be able to design their state religion on the empire creation menu. And the state religion may be reformed by spending up to 200 influence per changed tenet (Imperial Cult, Exalted Priests or Gospel of the Masses might halve that value).
Empires with different state religions would be at odds with each other, unles their state religion has Syncretism as a tenet (and in practice that means that spiritualists would hate each other guts)
Spiritualists would have a new Casus Belli against empires that does not share their state religion. They would be able to Crusade them. Upon victory, if the loser is not spiritualist, it moves one step towards spiritualism and regardles of previous ethics, the defeated empire adopts the victor's state religion.
Status Quo means that a new empire would be released, with the same civics of the main empire, but one step closer to spiritualism and the crusader's state religion.
Also, spiritualist empires would have some covert operations to flip the religion of some pops in other empires, and the Divine Enforcer Colossus would give the empire state's religion to all afected pops in adition to shifting them to spiritualist.
A Church of the Masses Megacorp that builds a temple on a Branch Office will start to spread it's state religion on the Branch Office's planet. So, subversive cults might start giving some headaches.
The Spiritualist fallen empire would have it's own religion, with crappy tenets (that gives no bonuses), and when it awakens, it would holy war every other empire to adopt this religion as state religion.
And there are the Great Sins. Each Tenet comes with a list of taboos. If you break any of those taboos, you get a massive unhapiness debuff to all pops that follows that particular religion.
|Syncretism||Less unhapiness under a different state religion||Bonus to experience gain||Generate less unhapiness on different religion pops. Empires with different religions have smaller opinion maluses.||Purging Pops. Killing Pops in space bombings. Invading primitives.|
|Astrology||Smaller unhapiness under stratified society.||Scientists, Generals and Admirals gains bonus to sublight speed, as do unmanned science ships, construction ships and colony ships in sectors controlled by Governors with this religion.||Increased hyperlane detection range||Building a Dyson Sphere or a Ringworld. Using a Star Eater.|
|Machine Cult||Bonus to happiness if Cyborg or Synthetic. Roboticists produce robots slightly faster.||Scientists have better chance of getting AI Assistents and Industry techs. Admirals give bonuses to ships with Sapient Computers and Generals gives bonuses to Robot troops. Governors and Rulers improves robot production.||No opinion maluses with materialists and robotic empires due to ethics difference. Can implement AI Full Rights.||Disassembling pops. Destroying Machine Empires (other than Determined Exterminators and the Contingency). Not granting AI Full Rights. Banning robotic workers or artificial intelligence.|
|Reverence of Nature||Small bonus to habitability. Improved happiness if on a gaia planet.||Scientists have better chance to roll terraforming and blocker removing techs, and better chance to find anomalies on habitable planets. Governors and Rulers reduce terraforming and block removing costs||Have a decision to add Terraform candidate to barren planets for 500 influence. Half if fanatic spiritualist.||Cracking or neutron sweeping a planet. Bombing a planet into a Tomb World. Building a Dyson Sphere or a Ring World around a star with habitable planets. Uplifiting prescentients. Building an Ecumenopolis|
|Culture of Martyrdom||Moderate bonus to happiness if at war.||Admirals gives better fire rate. Generals improve morale. Scientists have better chance to roll military theory and ship weapon techs. Governors improve recruiting speed. Rulers improve fleet cap.||Unlocks no retreat war doctrine. Bonus to diplomatic weight due to military power (doubled if fanatic spiritualist).||Surrendering. Appeasing Marauders or Fallen Empires. Using any diplomatic stance other than supremacist if it's available. Not having rivals.|
|Cannibalism||Reduced food consumption. Improved happiness if any pop is under livestock slavery or processing purge on the planet.||Governors improve Livestock production. Admirals improve Nihilistic Acquisition instance bombardment damage. Generals improve troops colateral damage.||Can implement Livestock slavery on all pops regardless of ethics, including the main species. Fanatic Spiritualists can use Processing purge regardless of other ethics. Unemployed pops with citzenship are set to livestock under Slaver Guilds or Indentured Assets Civics if their slavery type is set to livestock.||Not having at least 0.5% (rounded down) of the pops in the empire under livestock or processing. Using any purge other than processing. Using Armageddon Bombardment Stance.|
|Celebration of the Senses||Small bonus to reproduction rate. Bonus to ammenities production.||Smaller chances of bad traits||Chemical bliss live standards maluses are halved. Quartered if fanatic spiritualists.||Having pops under basic subexistence living standards. Having slaves or purges. Destroying Rogue Servitor empires.|
|Asceticism||Reduced ammenities and Consumer Goods consumption||Reduced hiring and maintenance costs. Smaller chance of Corrupt trait in Governors.||Small bonus to energy income.||Having Utopian Abundance or Chemical Bliss living standards. Being vassal to Rogue Servitors.|
|Gnosticism||Improved hapiness if psionic or latent psionic.||Latent psionic species have better chance of generating psionic leaders. Psionic leaders have increased level cap. Psionics is more likely to be rolled as a tech option if the scientist researching society has this religion.||The Shroud cooldown is reduced. Reduced even more if Fanatic Spiritualist.||Choosing any ascention path other than Psionic. Not being on Shroud Cooldown for more than one year after breaching the shroud. Not being attempting to break the shroud as soon as the project is available.|
|Sapient Sacrifice||Active sacrifice edicts improves hapiness.||Cruelty traits (Warlike, Iron Fist, Maniacal, Aggressive, Butcher) are more likely.||Pops sacrificed in Sacrifice Edicts produce Zro after researching Psionics. Better chances of rolling high bonuses on sacrifice edicts.||Not having an active sacrifice edict.|
|Theology of Prosperity||Bonus to trade value||Scientists have better chance of rolling economic techs (techs that improves production). Governors and Rulers are more likely to gain economic traits (Architectural Sense, Industrialist, Investor, Logistic Understanding, Agrarian Upbringing, Architectural Understanding). Admirals improve fleet trade protection. Generals cause less colateral damage.||Merchants produce more unity.||Using Militarized Economy, Closing Borders to non hostile empires, Raiding, Acquiring Tributaries or subsidiaries through war, Closing non criminal branch offices.|
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