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This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for 2.3.

This article is for the PC version of Stellaris only.

Marauders are nomadic and militant FTL societies that have eschewed planetary dwelling in favor of living on ships and stations, subsisting largely on raiding each other and extorting tribute from settled empires. Marauders are always hostile but will generally not attack empires unless they enter their systems or they are in the process of raiding them. A Marauder empire can be eradicated by destroying all stations and void dwellings in their home systems, but these are well defended and will take a powerful mid to late-game navy to deal with them. In addition to that, destroying a Marauder Empire has a chance to trigger the rise of the Horde (see below). Each Marauder empire holds 3 systems (a home system and two additional systems), with the home system having very large deposits of Energy Credits.png Energy or Minerals.png Minerals. The Marauder systems are populated by Void Dwellings, defense platforms, and the Marauders' fleet(s).


Marauder Home System

Marauders will occasionally set out to raid settled empires they have established contact with. Before raiding, they will offer said empire a chance to pay them off with a hefty tribute (the targeted empires can choose to tribute Minerals.png minerals, Energy Credits.png energy or Food.png food). If they are not paid, the pillaging will begin. While in the process of raiding, they can still be bought off with tribute, but the price is doubled.

Settled empires can also pay the Marauders to conduct a raid on one of their Rivals for 3000 Energy Credits.png energy credits, both diverting their attention and potentially weakening that rival's military and economy. While raiding on behalf of an empire, Marauders are treated as allied and their systems can be traveled through. This form of raid cannot be bought off and while they will always reveal they were paid to raid, they will never tell by which empire. Marauders can only raid one empire at a time but multiple Marauder empires can raid the same target. Marauders will never raid Fallen Empires and will always refuse to do so if asked.

Both forms of raiding involve the Marauders sending a fleet to that empire's territory. The Fleet will attack the nearest colonised Planet, destroying all outposts and mining stations along their path. It can and will path through wormholes, but not activated gates. A fleet on Marauding will go into the orbit of the target planet and either steal some resources depending of the amount of tribute demanded or killing up to 4 biological Pops. They will still be hostile on their way back. Fleet strength depends on the number of years passed and thus facing them can result in a considerable challenge.

Empires can also permanently hire a Marauder Admiral or General for 2000 Energy Credits.png energy credits. Their Leaders start at level 3 and have the Mercenary Warrior trait, granting the following:

  • Admiral: +10% Mod ship evasion mult.png Evasion and Mod ship hull regen.png Fire Rate
  • General: +10% Mod army damage mult.png Army Damage

Once the mid-game year has been reached, the option to hire mercenary fleets of varying sizes will be unlocked. All players will be informed of this change. The chance for one Marauder empire to have mercenaries is rolled yearly and 30 for each Empire/80 for nothing. Mercenary fleets cost a large Energy Credits.png energy up-front payment, and consist of a fixed-size fleet that cannot be split, merged or disbanded, with a leader that cannot be reassigned. The fleet does not count towards Mod fleet size add.png naval capacity and will not cost any maintenance, but will only serve for a period of 5 years, after which the empire will have to renew their contract by paying the full cost again.

Years passed Raiding fleets composition
0-40 6 corvettes
4 destroyers
1 cruisers
40-60 12 corvettes
6 destroyers
2 cruisers
60-80 18 corvettes
10 destroyers
3 cruisers
80+ 24 corvettes
14 destroyers
4 cruisers
Mercenary Fleet Ships Hire Cost
234th Dwamak-Bashers
Armada of the Voidborn
Her Chosen Champions
6 cruisers
8 Destroyers
16 corvettes
9000 Energy Credits.png
Unhinged Screamer Flotilla
Star Rider Flotilla
Order of Eternal Night
4 cruisers
6 Destroyers
12 corvettes
6500 Energy Credits.png
Frenzied Volunteer Squadron
First Storm Wing
Twilight Congregation
2 cruisers
4 Destroyers
8 corvettes
4000 Energy Credits.png

If a Marauder Empire is destroyed while an empire is hiring their fleet, all mercenary fleets will cancel their contracts and join together to attack the vanquisher empire within 5 months. Marauder Refugees will also settle on the planets of the closest empire that has the Refugees Welcome policy.

Marauder Empires are unable to interact with Civic fanatic purifiers.pngCivic devouring swarm.pngCivic machine terminator.png genocidal empires, meaning they cannot make use of their mercenary or raiding services.


While bordering the Marauder Empires is dangerous, some beneficial events might trigger at regular intervals:

  • An abandoned habitat is discovered (+400 Minerals.png Minerals)
  • Border guards secure a Marauder Shuttle (+400 Energy Credits.png Energy)
  • Patrols discover a resource cache (+300 Energy Credits.png Energy and Minerals.png Minerals)
  • Border skirmishes give the empire the Marauder Whetstone modifier (+10% Mod ship fire rate mult.png Fire Rate for 10 years)
  • Border patrols save a Marauder admiral (permanent level 4 admiral with the Leader trait mercenary warrior.png Mercenary Warrior trait or +50 Influence.png Influence if Civic fanatic purifiers.pngCivic devouring swarm.pngCivic machine terminator.png genocidal)
  • A derelict fleet is discovered. It can either be crewed (1 cruiser, 2 destroyer, 4 corvettes) or scrapped (+200 Minerals.png Minerals)
  • Some Marauder pops are expelled from the void dwellings (generates 1 Pop of refugees, if current empire policy allows to accept them). Marauder pops have the Extremely Adaptive.png Extremely Adaptive, Rapid Breeders.png Rapid Breeders, Nomadic.png Nomadic, Trait quarrelsome.png Quarrelsome, and Deviants.png Deviants traits and the Militarist.png Militarist ethic.

The Horde[edit]

The Great Khan

After the Mid-Game year starts, one of the Marauder empires might unify under a Great Khan, an expansionist but ultimately benevolent leader. If the game manages to reach the end game year without the event triggering, it can no longer occur after that. It can happen on its own at any point but there's also a 5% chance for the event to be triggered each time a Void Dwelling is destroyed. Once this happens, the Marauder empire becomes a Horde (labeled as a "Marauder Khanate) and will begin expanding in all directions, invading the systems of any empire that will not submit to the Khan, including other Marauder empires but excluding Fallen Empires.

At any time, it possible for an empire to submit to the Khan and become a Satrapy, a type of subject that has to pay a large part of its income and naval capacity in tribute to the Horde and house a Void Dwelling for both protection and submission, but is otherwise left to do as they please.

AI empires that lose more than two planets to the Horde have a yearly chance to submit, the chance increasing the more planets are lost.

When the Horde forms, all mercenaries hired from that Marauder empire will cancel their contracts and return back home to join it (including hired leaders). The Horde will also create a new fleet every few years, the size of the fleet depending on the Mod fleet size add.png Naval Capacity provided by Satrapies.

The main Horde fleet, called "Chosen of the Great Khan", is led by the Great Khan personally. They start as a level 10 admiral and has the unique "The Great Khan" trait, which gives large bonuses to every possible fleet stat. When the Great Khan's fleet is destroyed for the first time, they will escape the battle and within a year the Khan will return with a second fleet. If the fleet is destroyed again the Khan will make no attempt to escape and will die in that battle. If the Great Khan is not killed in battle, then after 20 years have passed since the rise of the Horde, The Khan may also die by disease or assassination. If neither of these happens, then the Khan will die a natural death between 15 and 45 years after the Horde was created.

Once the Great Khan dies the Horde will become unreachable, leaving an automatic message if diplomatic contact is attempted. All of its fleets will retreat back to within the borders of the Horde's territory and stay there. Within a year the Horde will change into one of the following:

  • If the Horde owns no planets it will turn back into a Marauder Empire.
  • If the Horde owns between 1 and 5 planets it will turn into a strong regular empire.
  • If the Horde owns between 6 and 9 planets it will split into two regular empires that will constantly be at war with each other.
  • If the Horde owns at least 10 planets it will shatter into four regular empires that will constantly be at war with each other.
    • Regular empires (labeled as "Successor Khanates") created from the Horde are Fanatic Militarist.png Fanatic Militarist and Xenophobe.png Xenophobe Hegemonic Imperialists that have the Tech habitat.png Orbital Habitats technology even if Utopia is not installed. They are otherwise identical to normal empires.
    • If the Horde has any satrapies when it turns into a regular empire, the satrapies will turn into vassals and it is very likely that the Successor Khanate will start integrating them shortly afterward.
  • If the Horde owns at least one planet and has at least two Satrapies, then there is a 10% chance it will instead turn into a Federation Builders regular empire (labeled as a "Horde Successor State"). The Horde Successor State will then form a Federation with every former Satrapy, with the Horde Successor State becoming its first president.

The number of ships the Horde will have depends on the game difficulty setting, although the Horde will also spawn new fleets regularly until the death of the Great Khan.

As with Marauder Empires, the Great Khan has no intention of coexisting with Civic fanatic purifiers.pngCivic devouring swarm.pngCivic machine terminator.png genocidal empires and will not offer them to become a Satrapy.


Marauder designs may look similar to Pirate ships but they have much better technology around T3.

Corvette Destroyer Cruiser Galleon Asteroid Outpost Void Dwelling
  • Small 3 Autocannon T2
  • Medium 1 Shield T2
  • Medium 2 Armor T3
  • Auxiliary Afterburners T1
  • Auxiliary Regenerative Hull Tissue
  • Core Hyperdrive T2
  • Core Sensor T2
  • Core Thrusters T3
  • Core Reactor T3
  • Core Combat Computer T2 (Swarm)
  • Large 1 Kinetic T3
  • Small 2 Laser T3
  • Medium 1 Shield T3
  • Medium 2 Armor T3
  • Auxiliary Afterburners T1
  • Auxiliary Regenerative Hull Tissue
  • Core Hyperdrive T2
  • Core Sensor T2
  • Core Thrusters T3
  • Core Reactor T3
  • Core Combat Computer T2 (Picket)
  • Large 1 Laser T3
  • Medium 2 Kinetic T3
  • Small 2 Autocannon T2
  • Medium 3 Shield T3
  • Medium 3 Armor T3
  • Auxiliary Afterburners T1
  • Auxiliary Regenerative Hull Tissue
  • Core Hyperdrive T2
  • Core Sensor T2
  • Core Thrusters T3
  • Core Reactor T3
  • Core Combat Computer T2 (Line)
  • Guided 1 Missile T3
  • Large 4 Laser T3
  • Large 4 Kinetic T3
  • Small 1 Autocannon T2
  • Point defense 3 Flak T1
  • Medium 4 Shield T3
  • Medium 6 Armor T3
  • Auxiliary Regenerative Hull Tissue
  • Core Hyperdrive T2
  • Core Sensor T2
  • Core Thrusters T3
  • Core Reactor T3
  • Core Combat Computer T2 (Artillery)
  • Small 3 Kinetic T2
  • Medium 2 Shield T2
  • Medium 1 Armor T3
  • Auxiliary Regenerative Hull Tissue
  • Core Sensor T2
  • Guided 4 Missile T3
  • Large 3 Plasma Cannon T2
  • Large 3 Artillery T1
  • Medium 3 Kinetic T3
  • Medium 3 Plasma Cannon T2
  • Small 6 Autocannon T2
  • Point defense 4 Flak T1
  • Medium 4 Shield T3
  • Medium 6 Armor T3
  • Auxiliary Regenerative Hull Tissue
  • Core Sensor T2

Stations have around 4k Fleet Power, the primary Fleets around 11k with 8k Galleons. Raiding fleet vary in size based on gameyear, with 4 Tiers (<40, <60, <80, >80) being available.

Defensibly: Excluding a few odd Energy weapons, Marauders focus almost entirely on kinetic and missile weaponry. Accordingly, shields are practically useless.

Offensibly: They rely primarily on their Hull points, then their Armor. A few models have shields on par with their armor, but mostly these can be ignored. There is very limited Point Defense, with a focus to countering strike craft. Due to their low values, it might be best to just punch through shields and armor even with unfavorable weapons (like Disruptors, Cloud Lightning and Arc Emitters) to maximize hull damage.

If the Horde formed nearby and an empire has resources and naval capacity to spare but not enough to fight the Horde then becoming a Satrapy is recommended, as it's only temporary until the Great Khan dies 15 to 45 years later, assuming that they are not killed by another empire. Submitting as a satrapy, however, can be highly dangerous for your independence in the long run, as once the Great Khan dies, the Horde may turn into a regular empire, which will cause all of its satrapies to turn into vassals and allow the former Horde to integrate them. This will necessitate you to declare war on the Successor Khanate to win back your independence to avoid being annexed and given that the Successor Khanate will still retain a large chunk of its (very powerful) Khan-era fleet, this may make it impossible to become independent again.

Game concepts