Time to add my abysmal suggestion to the sea of ideas which will never be seen by Paradox. But hey, it is fun to think!
You know when is fun? The mid-game. It is when everyone has been discovered but most empires are still under developed. It is the best time for crises. You know what is not fun? Pirates. They serve no real purpose aside from forcing you to move your doomstacks which could be beating up aliens to protect innocent traders. But pirates are cool, and I think they can be worked on and connected to a crisis.
That is where I introduce The Dread Pirate. The Dread Pirate would be a mini-mid-game crisis which would have a chance to spawn instead of some less pirates after the Galactic Market has been created. There would be a little rambling event about the increase of piracy because of trade from the Galactic Market and that it has created a legendary pirate. This Dread Pirate would spawn with a larger-than-normal fleet and seem like a bit of joke at first. But The Dread Pirate would behave differently. Its fleet would move from system to system, plundering them. Each time it loots a system, it's fleet grows slightly, maybe proportionally to the minerals and energy in the system, and builds a slightly-beefier- than-average pirate base to control the system. Eventually, if an empire cannot defeat it, it will grow large enough to raid planets, allowing the fleet to snowball even faster and causing serious damage to the worlds. Of course, the mighty Dread Pirate wouldn't restrict itself to a single empire and would try and roam across the galaxy, using wormholes and L-Gates if they are open. Eventually, the Dread Pirate would die either from old age, losing the flagship (a battleship, titan would be overkill) or from the fleet growing too large and disorganised, resulting in infighting and the Dread Pirate being assassinated (because I guess pirates die the same way as khans?). After the Dread Pirates death, it's fleet would split into several smaller fleets and scatter to the surrounding systems in which strong pirate bases are built. These could have goodies in them, like battleship tech or whatever, but mainly just to represent the disintegrated fleet.
To bring this all back to regular pirates, during (and maybe after) this dreadful fiasco other pirates would be inspired to emulate the Dread Pirate. New pirate fleets would do their current spawning and pirating, but after capturing the system might decide to spread to another system, where it will attack a connected system and spawn a new fleet which would think the same. They don't have to be guaranteed to spread, but could create cute little pirate nests.
This could possibly make the pirates feel a little more alive and a bit more threatening and just freshen up a stale system in the game.
And add a Dread Pirate, because who doesn't want a Dread Pirate?
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© Post "The Dread Pirate! A mini-crisis idea." for game Stellaris.
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