So, after my first very successful game as an Inward Perfection empire, I played some Authoritarians in a crowded galaxy, and after carving off a roughly 'fair' slice of the pie (small empire, space-wise; I was stuck close to the core… but I have over a dozen planets in that tiny space) and having an annoying time with unrest on my seized worlds, I decided to start making some Vassals. I sort of knew going in that there was a nice benefit to settling status quo in a broadly successful war of Subjugation: the new empire created as your Vassal will have your ethics, meaning they won't be disloyal little brats.
The first thing I discovered is that a totally occupied empire won't submit to become a vassal if they have allies still in the war. That's fine, time to pull out the easily accepted Status Quo peace!
When it fired, though, I noticed that my former rivals still existed. They had one system — their capital system! (or what was their capital system at the start of the war; I'd taken their homeworld in my first war of conquest) I knew I had taken the planet early, but I had gotten some weird messages from the system towards the end of the war so I assumed they had somehow flipped the starbase without me noticing.
My next Vassalization war was set to be against a very annoying blob of an Evangelizing Zealot empire. The thing was, while they owned a TON of space, they were Life Seeded — one planet only. I captured that planet, and enough of the space around it to earn a status quo peace (still miles off of achieving war goals). Since I was a fanatic materialist, this suited me just fine; an empire that shared my ethos would be way more useful than spiritualists that would forever resent their robot overlords. I'd reformed into the Feudal System, so any empty space they left could be reclaimed.
This is when I learned that my old rival hadn't taken back their capitol star base in the previous war — Status quo was accepted, and my new vassal formed in the shape of a doughnut.
Wait, a doughnut?
The capitol hadn't flipped. My 'new empire' existed for one processing tick before its map color went shock white and, on the next, it vanished, leaving a gaping wound of unclaimed stars in the empire I'd attacked. I realized pretty quickly what must have happened — the game won't let you exploit it by destroying and replacing an empire with a Vassalize Status Quo — they always keep their capitol, even if they hold onto no other systems.
I actually like this touch, both because my scheme, in retrospect, seemed rather like abuse of the rules, and because it would seem to make sense. After all, they didn't really cede to my demands to serve, so why would they bend the knee? Especially more totally than if they had surrendered.
That's all from me, just thought I'd share a fun little discovery.
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