Ethics

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This article has been verified for the current PC version (3.6) of the game.
Ethics types interface

Ethics – sometimes called Ethos – are the guiding principles of an empire and its people and determine an empire or pop's favored courses of action and responses to situations. Empires and individual populations don't always align ethically, and this can cause internal strife in large nations. AI empires follow the same ethics rules and their behavior is heavily dependent on the ethics they follow. Naturally, a Militarist Xenophobe alien empire will react very differently to the player than a Pacifist Xenophile. AI empires will, however, compromise on their ethics if circumstances are dire enough, for instance, if threatened with imminent conquest.

Every empire except Fallen Empires must have either three moderate ethics or one fanatic and one moderate ethic, or be Gestalt consciousness.png Gestalt Consciousness. Fallen Empires have only one fanatic ethic. Pops have only one moderate ethic each.

Empire ethics[edit | edit source]

Each empire has 3 ethic points which must all be spent. Moderate ethics cost 1 point and fanatic ethics cost 2 points. Thus an empire can have either one fanatic and one moderate or three moderate ethics. Gestalt consciousness.png Gestalt Consciousness is the "ethic" for hive mind and machine empires without individual agency; it costs 3 ethic points and requires either the Utopia.png Utopia DLC or the Synthetic Dawn.png Synthetic Dawn DLC.

An empire's ethics often determine which options are available for events, policies, and many other actions. As a result, ethics choices have a greater impact on game experience than simply the bonuses and maluses listed on this page.

There are 4 ethic axes present:

  • The Authoritarian-Egalitarian axis looks at whether the empire's political power belongs in the hands of the few or the many.
  • The Materialist-Spiritualist axis looks at whether the unknowns of the universe can be explained by science or the existence of something greater.
  • The Militarist-Pacifist axis looks at whether the empire's military should be used offensively or strictly defensively.
  • The Xenophile-Xenophobe axis looks at whether alien species and cultures should be embraced or distrusted.
Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist
  • Monthly unity +20% Monthly unity
  • Mod country edict cost.png −20% Edict cost and upkeep
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Veneration of Saints edict
  • Can build Temple buildings
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Citizen Rights AI policy
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • Our science has proved that Consciousness begets reality. We regard with patience the childlike efforts of those who delude themselves it is the other way around, as they play with their blocks of 'hard matter'.
Fanatic Militarist.png Fanatic Militarist
  • Mod country influence gain mult.png −20% Claim influence cost
  • Mod ship fire rate mult.png +20% Ship fire rate
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon policies.png Can use the No Retreat War Doctrine
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Defensive Wars policy
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • The ability to project force is of paramount importance. The only way to preserve our way of life is to make sure everyone shares it; willingly or not...
Fanatic Xenophobe.png Fanatic Xenophobe
  • Mod country starbase influence cost mult.png −40% Starbase influence cost
  • Mod pop growth speed.png +20% Pop growth speed
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Fear Campaign edict
  • Purge.png Can Purge and Displace aliens
  • Slavery.png Can enslave aliens
  • Slavery.png Can use Livestock slavery
  • Diplomacy opinion.png Decreased Opinion with alien empires
  • Species right citizenship.png Cannot grant aliens Full Citizenship
  • Military Service Cannot grant aliens Full Military Service
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Refugees Welcome species policy
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Proactive first contact stance
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • Any alien influence must be ruthlessly quashed. Only by staying pure, and true to ourselves and the planet that gave us life can we guard against insidious Xeno plots. Even mastery over the Alien might not be enough to guarantee our own safety...
Spiritualist.png Spiritualist
  • Monthly unity +10% Monthly unity
  • Mod country edict cost.png −10% Edict cost and upkeep
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Veneration of Saints edict
  • Can build Temple buildings
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Citizen Rights AI policy
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • There are those think it behooves us to remember how tiny we are, how pointless our lives in this vast uncaring universe... What nonsense! The only truth we can ever know is that of our own existence. The universe - in all its apparent glory - is but a dream we all happen to share.
Militarist.png Militarist
  • Mod country influence gain mult.png −10% Claim influence cost
  • Mod ship fire rate mult.png +10% Ship fire rate
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon policies.png Can use the No Retreat War Doctrine
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • The only true virtues are courage and discipline, and channeled properly they can overcome any obstacle. Therein lies true strength; force withheld, a promise made.
Xenophobe.png Xenophobe
  • Mod country starbase influence cost mult.png −20% Starbase influence cost
  • Mod pop growth speed.png +10% Pop growth speed
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Fear Campaign edict
  • Purge.png Can Purge and Displace aliens
  • Slavery.png Can enslave aliens
  • Slavery.png Can use Livestock slavery
  • Diplomacy opinion.png Decreased Opinion with alien empires
  • Species right citizenship.png Cannot grant aliens Full Citizenship
  • Military Service Cannot grant aliens Full Military Service
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Refugees Welcome species policy
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Proactive first contact stance
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • The stakes could not be higher as we reach into the vast uncharted expanses of the galaxy, for we are gambling with the very survival of our species! Never trust the alien; its false smile hides an unknowable mind...
Fanatic Authoritarian.png Fanatic Authoritarian
  • Monthly influence +1 Monthly influence
  • Pop cat worker.png +10% Worker job output
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Information Quarantine edict
  • Species right living standards.png Allows Stratified Economy Living Standards
  • Slavery.png Can enslave aliens
  • Must use ImperialAuth dictatorial.png Autocratic authority
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • A single voice, a single throne, a single state. It is the solemn duty of the masses to obey those enlightened few who have been charged with the great responsibility of leadership.
Authoritarian.png Authoritarian
  • Monthly influence +0.5 Monthly influence
  • Pop cat worker.png +5% Worker job output
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Information Quarantine edict
  • Species right living standards.png Allows Stratified Economy Living Standards
  • Slavery.png Can enslave aliens
  • Cannot reform into or start with Auth democratic.png Democratic authority
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • A strong, guiding hand is essential to the success of any civilization - the alternative would be anarchy and chaos. It is the duty of the state to steer its citizens towards the paths that are the most productive
Gestalt consciousness.png Gestalt Consciousness
  • Mod country war exhaustion.png −20% War exhaustion gain
  • Monthly influence +1 Monthly influence
  • Encryption +2 Encryption
  • No.png Cannot change ethics
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Must use Auth hive mind.png Hive Mind or Auth machine intelligence.png Machine Intelligence authority, and cannot change authority
  • Menu icon policies.png Can use the No Retreat War Doctrine
  • Menu icon factions.png Factions cannot form
  • Gestalt Pops cannot survive in empires with a different authority
  • Gestalt Pops are not affected by happiness
  • Gestalt Pops use Pop cat simple drone.png Menial Drone and Pop cat complex drone.png Complex Drone strata
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • We reach into the void.
The vast expanse becomes us.
Egalitarian.png Egalitarian
  • Mod pop happiness.png +25% Faction unity gain
  • Pop cat specialist.png +5% Specialist job output
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Encourage Political Thought edict
  • Species right living standards.png Allows Utopian Living Standards
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Capacity Boosters policy
  • Cannot reform into or start with ImperialAuth dictatorial.png Autocratic authority
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • Any society that does not embrace equality between its members - where an individual can rise to any position with enough hard work - is not only deeply unfair, but ultimately counterproductive.
Fanatic Egalitarian.png Fanatic Egalitarian
  • Mod pop happiness.png +50% Faction unity gain
  • Pop cat specialist.png +10% Specialist job output
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Encourage Political Thought edict
  • Species right living standards.png Allows Utopian Living Standards
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Selected Lineages or Capacity Boosters policy
  • Must use Auth democratic.png Democratic authority
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • Beware always those who would be despots, under the false presumption that their desires and agendas are somehow more imperative than those of their fellows. A society that does not see to the needs and rights of all of its members is not a society - it is a crime.
Xenophile.png Xenophile
  • Mod trade value mult.png +10% Trade value
  • Available envoys +1 Available envoys
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Land of Opportunity edict
  • Diplomacy opinion.png Increased Opinion with alien empires
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use No Refugees policy
  • Species right population controls.png Cannot use Population Controls Enabled species rights
  • Purge.png Cannot Displace aliens
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Aggressive first contact stance
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Hunted or Extermination pre-sapients policy
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • There exists, in all of us, a deep-seated fascination for the unknown. An adventurous spirit that rejects the familiar and glories in the unfamiliar, whatever - or whomever - it may be.
Pacifist.png Pacifist
  • Empire sprawl.png −15% Empire size from pops
  • Mod planet stability add.png +5 Stability
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Peace Festivals edict
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Unrestricted Wars policy
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Unrestricted Studies policy
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot engage in Indiscriminate Orbital Bombardment
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Aggressive first contact stance
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • Conflict as a means to an end is a ridiculous concept. It is by nature destructive, destroying what was to be obtained or giving room to grow that which was to be destroyed.
Materialist.png Materialist
  • Mod pop robot upkeep mult.png −10% Robot upkeep
  • Mod country all tech research speed.png +5% Research speed
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Species right living standards.png Allows Academic Privilege living standards
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Outlawed AI policy
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Outlawed Robotic Workers policy
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • As we reach for the stars, we must put away childish things; gods, spirits and other phantasms of the brain. Reality is cruel and unforgiving, yet we must steel ourselves and secure the survival of our race through the unflinching pursuit of science and technology.
Fanatic Xenophile.png Fanatic Xenophile
  • Mod trade value mult.png +20% Trade value
  • Available envoys +2 Available envoys
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Land of Opportunity edict
  • Diplomacy opinion.png Increased Opinion with alien empires
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use No Refugees policy
  • Species right population controls.png Cannot use Population Controls Enabled species rights
  • Purge.png Cannot Displace aliens
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Aggressive first contact stance
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Hunted or Extermination pre-sapients policy
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • If there ever was such a thing as an absolute moral imperative, it would be to explore the cosmos and embrace all within it. We were never meant to journey alone.
Fanatic Pacifist.png Fanatic Pacifist
  • Empire sprawl.png −30% Empire size from pops
  • Mod planet stability add.png +10 Stability
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Menu icon edicts.png Can use the Peace Festivals edict
  • Menu icon policies.png Must use Defensive Wars policy
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Unrestricted Studies policy
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot engage in Indiscriminate Orbital Bombardment
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Aggressive first contact stance
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • As civilized beings, the end of all armed conflict should be our primary concern. War is an evolutionary dead end, as futile as it is wasteful.
Fanatic Materialist.png Fanatic Materialist
  • Mod pop robot upkeep mult.png −20% Robot upkeep
  • Mod country all tech research speed.png +10% Research speed
Menu icon policies.png Principles0
  • Species right living standards.png Allows Academic Privilege living standards
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Outlawed AI policy
  • Menu icon policies.png Cannot use Outlawed Robotic Workers policy
Menu icon policies.png Description0
  • Although it hurts, we must grow up and put aside our outdated notions of morality. There is no 'divine spark' granting special value to a living mind. No object has any intrinsic value apart from what we choose to grant it. Let us embrace the freedom of certitude, and achieve maximum efficiency in all things!

Pop ethics[edit | edit source]

Each pop in an empire will embrace a single, moderate ethic, which determines the Faction a pop will eventually join. At the start of the game the population's ethics will match the empire ethics but as an empire grows its population will become more diverse in its views and wants. Each ethic has an attraction value for each pop in an empire depending on both the empire's situation and their own situation.

Over time, the ethics of the pops will drift in such a way that it roughly matches the overall attraction of that value. For example, if the materialist attraction sits at 10% for decades, it's likely that after that time, around 10% of all pops will be materialist. There is some random factor so it's likely never going to match up perfectly, but the system is built to try and go towards the mean, so the more over-represented an ethic is compared to its attraction, the more likely pops are to drift away from it and vice versa.

The following attraction factors are valid for each ethic:

  • +2 if the empire has the ethic in moderate form
  • +3 if the empire has the ethic in fanatic form
  • +2 if the empire does not have the ethic and the Faction representing it has formed
  • +0.5 if the leader of the Faction representing the ethic is the empire ruler
  • +2 if the empire is a subject loyal to an overlord that has the ethic

Each ethic has its own multitude of factors that will increase or lower its attraction.

Ethic Attraction Requirement Attraction Ethic
Authoritarian.png
Authoritarian
2.00 Pop has Job noble.png Noble job 0.10 Egalitarian.png
Egalitarian
1.50 Member of a Federation hegemony.png Hegemony 1
1.50 A pop of this species is enslaved. Ignores robot Pops. 1
1.25 Pop is Decadent.png Decadent 0.50
1.25 Authority is Imperial Imperial 0.75
1.25 Pop has Stratified Society living standards and is not worker 1
1.25 A pop from another biological species is enslaved. Unless a pop of this species is also enslaved. 1.50
1 Pop does not have Full Citizenship 1.25
1 Is in Defense Pact, Commercial Pact or Federation with a Egalitarian.png Egalitarian or Fanatic Egalitarian.png Fanatic Egalitarian empire 1.50
1 Any non-subject Egalitarian.png Egalitarian or Fanatic Egalitarian.png Fanatic Egalitarian empire has migration access 2.00
0.75 Authority is Auth democratic.png Democratic 1.25
0.75 Pop has Social Welfare, Utopian Abundance or Shared Burden living standards 1.25
Materialist.png
Materialist
2.00 Pop is Trait mechanical.png Mechanical 0.25 Spiritualist.png
Spiritualist
1.50 Member of a Federation research.png Research Cooperative 1
1.50 Pop is Trait cybernetic.png Cybernetic 1
1.33 Research Agreement with a Fanatic Materialist.png Fanatic Materialist or Materialist.png Materialist 1
1.25 Citizen Rights Artificial Intelligence policy 0.75
1.25 Origin is Origins mechanist.png Mechanist 1
1.25 Pop is not a robot but Robot pops live on the planet 1
1.25 Pop has trait Natural Engineers.png Natural Engineers 1
1.25 Pop has trait Natural Physicists.png Natural Physicists 1
1.25 Pop has trait Natural Sociologists.png Natural Sociologists 1
1 Has Tech psionic theory.png Psionic Theory technology 1.10
1 Pop is Trait psionic species.png Latent Psionic 1.10
1 Pop is Trait psionic species.png Psionic 1.20
1 Has Ap mind over matter.png Mind Over Matter ascension perk 1.50
1 Has Tradition psionics psionic assimilation.png Great Awakening tradition 1.50
1 Has defense pact, commercial pact or Federation with a Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist or Spiritualist.png Spiritualist 1.50
1 Non-Subject Fanatic Spiritualist.png Fanatic Spiritualist or Spiritualist.png Spiritualist empire has migration access 2.00
0.10 Pop has Priest Priest, Job priest.png High Priest, Prosperity Preacher Prosperity Preacher, Job death priest.png Death Priest or Job mortal initiate.png Mortal Initiate job 1
Militarist.png
Militarist
3.00 Planet is occupied 1 Pacifist.png
Pacifist
2.00 Pop has Job duelist.png Duelist job 0.10
2.00 Another empire controls a planet the empire was the original owner of 1
2.00 At war 1
2.00 Recently lost a war 1
1.50 A neighbor is hostile, domineering or a rival 0.50
1.50 Member of a Federation military.png Martial Alliance 1
1.25 Pop has Job soldier.png Soldier job 1
1.25 A neighbor is a rival and has Superior relative power 1
1.20 Pop is Very Strong.png Very Strong 1
1.10 Pop is Strong.png Strong 1
1 Has Civic fanatic purifiers.png Fanatic Purifiers civic 0.50
1 Has Unrestricted Wars policy 0.75
0.75 Has been at peace for over 20 years (After year 2250) 1.33
0.75 Has been at peace for over 40 years (After year 2250) 1.33
0.75 Has been at peace for over 60 years 1.33
0.75 Has been at peace for over 80 years 1.33
0.75 Has been at peace for over 100 years 1.33
0.75 Pop is Weak.png Weak 1.10
0.33 Has Civic inwards perfection.png Inward Perfection civic 1.50
Xenophile.png
Xenophile
2.00 Pop is not enslaved and a sapient free alien pop is on the world 0.50 Xenophobe.png
Xenophobe
2.00 Pop is an alien, does not have full citizenship and is not enslaved 1
1.50 Allows alien leaders 0.75
1.50 Non-subject alien empire has migration access 0.75
1.50 A Charismatic.png charismatic alien pop is on the world 1
1.33 In a defensive pact, commercial pact or Federation with an alien empire 1
1.10 World has a Xeno-Outreach Agency holding 1
1 A Repugnant.png Repugnant alien pop is on the world 1.50
1 A Noxious Noxious alien pop is on the world 1.50
1 Pop is not enslaved but an alien is enslaved on the world 2.00
1 In a defensive war against an alien empire 3.00
0.50 Pop is Trait necrophage.png Necrophage 1
0.50 Has Civic inwards perfection.png Inward Perfection civic 1.50
0.50 An alien empire has enslaved a pop of the empire's primary species 2.00
0.35 Encountered a Civic fanatic purifiers.pngCivic devouring swarm.pngCivic machine terminator.png Genocidal empire 3.00
0.33 Has Civic fanatic purifiers.png Fanatic Purifiers civic 1.50
0.25 An alien empire has committed genocide on the empire's primary species 4.00

Governing ethics attraction[edit | edit source]

Governing ethics attraction is a modifier that attracts pops towards the primary ethics of an empire rather than unrelated ethics. As the factions corresponding to the governing ethics tend to have more faction approval, having pops match those ethics to join those factions is desirable. The main factor that determines governing ethics attraction is the Mod pop happiness.png happiness of pops – each point of happiness above or below 50 adds the same amount of governing ethics attraction. In addition, an empire's governing ethics attraction can be affected by the following:

Source Mod pop government ethic attraction.png
Empire capital.png Empire Capital +100%
Menu icon edicts.png Hearts and Minds ambition edict +100%
Ap one vision.png One Vision ascension perk +50%
Trait clone soldier.png Clone Soldier species trait +50%
Trait clone soldier ascendant.png Clone Soldier Ascendant species trait +50%
Menu icon edicts.png Information Quarantine edict +50%
Conformists.png Conformists species trait +30%
Diplomatic stance isolationist.png Isolationist diplomatic stance +25%
The Greater Good The Greater Good tradition +25%
Sb deep space black site.png Deep Space Black Site starbase building +25%
Trait primitive.png Conservative species trait +25%
Leader trait psionic chosen one.png Chosen One ruler trait +20%
Origins one the shoulders of giant.png Full Circle empire modifier +20%
Trait clone soldier descendant.png Clone Soldier Descendant species trait +20%
Building Memorialist monuments on Tomb World or Relic World +20%
Leader trait psionic leader.png Psychic ruler trait +10%
Origins one the shoulders of giant.png Spurred by the Past empire modifier +10%
Deviants.png Deviants species trait −15%
Building Disinformation Center holding −25%
Consumer goods.png Minor Consumer Goods Deficit −25%
Consumer goods.png Major Consumer Goods Deficit −50%
Consumer goods.png Severe Consumer Goods Deficit −75%
Consumer goods.png Catastrophic Consumer Goods Deficit −100%

Changing ethics[edit | edit source]

Empire ethics can be changed once every 10 years by embracing a Menu icon factions.png faction. Embracing a faction causes an ethic shift towards the faction's ethic – adding it or increasing it into fanatic. Whenever an empire shifts its ethics, all other empires in communication receive a notification. Other ethics are demoted or removed to maintain the total ethic points at 3, using the following rules:

Situation Example
Ethics Shifts to Result
Shifting to a new ethic Fanatic Militarist.pngMaterialist.png Authoritarian.png Militarist.pngMaterialist.pngAuthoritarian.png
Militarist.pngMaterialist.pngUnknown.png
Shifting to an existing ethic Militarist.pngFanatic Materialist.png Militarist.png Fanatic Militarist.pngMaterialist.png
Militarist.pngMaterialist.pngUnknown.png
Shifting to an opposite ethic Fanatic Militarist.pngMaterialist.png Pacifist.png Pacifist.pngFanatic Materialist.png
Militarist.pngFanatic Materialist.png
Militarist.pngMaterialist.pngUnknown.png Pacifist.pngMaterialist.pngUnknown.png
Unknown.png means the ethic with the lowest attraction

An effective tactic to ensure a particular ethic has the lowest attraction, and thus will be removed, is to suppress it and promote other factions while the game is paused, shift ethics and then undo the suppression and promotions before unpausing.

References[edit | edit source]


Game concepts
Exploration ExplorationFTLAnomalyArchaeological siteRelicsPre-FTL speciesFallen empireEventsSpaceborne aliensGuardiansMaraudersCaravaneers
Celestial bodies Celestial bodyColonizationTerraformingPlanetary featuresPlanet modifiers
Species SpeciesTraitsPopulationPop modificationSpecies rightsEthics
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Diplomacy DiplomacyRelationsGalactic communityFederationsSubject empiresIntelligenceAI personalities
Warfare WarfareSpace warfareLand warfareStarbaseShipShip designerCrisis
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