Altering the Shroud mechanics so that they are more tangible would make the Psionic ascension path more interesting, immersive, and worthwhile.
A few examples off the top of my head:
- If you have the recently added Death Cult civic, Shroud blessings ought to come from sacrifices. To make it more of a give and take scenario, the Shroud should demand leaders as sacrifices, generals, admirals, governors, etc. Another example for the Death Cult civic would be a ritual summoning, sacrificing 100 (willing) pops, a special project named 'Summoning Ritual' or something to that effect will be available, wherein after a timed project a psionic entity will be summoned. The entity would increase in power every 100 more pops. This would create a very unique roleplay / Empire that does not need to pay for fleets and instead relies on this powerful supernatural entity. Of course the downside is feeding this entity will prevent you from growing a large population in parallel to other empires. A unique mechanic for it would be to swallow up entire worlds for more souls and sacrifices once it reaches a certain level. If Paradox would really love to get crazy, it could even be powerful enough to eventually consume the entire galaxy. A much better "end of the cycle" event, in my opinion.
- If you are a more pacifist type of 'hippie' spiritualist, you could get a special project that would be called something like 'Intensive meditation' where a leader of your choosing becomes unavailable for a certain amount of time. To make it interesting, 3 things may happen. The leader finishes their meditation and achieves a 'higher state of being' that gives them slightly overpowered bonuses to their relevant skillset. They may fail their meditation and be overwhelmed by psionic power, killing them BUT transforming them into some kind of preternatural "force" on a random planet that provides bonuses to defense, happiness, and spiritual ethic attraction. Lastly, they may get a "something is not right" trait, with a lot of fun and creepy events happening eventually leading them being full-on possessed and transforming into a hostile psionic entity. This sounds like leaving it to chance all over again, but it should be trait based. For example a 'maniac' scientist has a higher chance of becoming possessed, a 'righteous' governor has an almost guaranteed chance of 'ascending', a 'maimed' character has an almost guaranteed chance of dying and becoming some kind of "force"
These are just a few examples in my head to make the Psionic ascension path more interesting, give it better roleplaying capabilities.
Tell me what you think, and remember, disagreement is illegal.
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© Post "Shroud blessings / curses should be mission-based rather than left to chance" for game Stellaris.
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