Besides custom and randomized empires, Stellaris presents an option to play as preset empires. Preset empires are premade empires made by Paradox that are meant to represent various stereotypical alien civilizations featured in science-fiction in addition to offering the player an empire that they can pick and play without having to bother with creating one from the ground up. The preset empires also include two Human empires; the United Nations of Earth (UNE) and the Commonwealth of Man (CoM), and a Human-related machine empire, the Earth Custodianship, which serve as different representations of humanity in Stellaris' universe. Note that the United Nations of Earth and Earth Custodianship share the same starting system and cannot appear at the same time.
These empires (including the Human empires) have a small random chance of being spawned instead of a randomly-generated AI empire and very rarely they (again including the Human empires) can also spawn as Fallen Empires.
The United Nations of Earth preset empire is unique in that it can also spawn if Humans spawn in the Sol system as an Early Space Age Pre-FTL society and achieve FTL.
The Commonwealth of Man preset empire is also unique in two ways. First, if it spawns, then the United Nations of Earth or the Earth Custodianship will be guaranteed to also spawn in the galaxy, even if the number of AI empires is set to 0. UNE Humans will always have the same traits as CoM Humans and are, for all intents and purposes, the same species. Second, it features a short and unique event chain called Hunt for the Hyacinth that elaborates the history of the Commonwealth. The event starts shortly after the beginning of the game and requires exploring three systems for the eponymous ship. Completing the event chain grants a small amount of Society research.
Preset empires can be edited but the edits cannot be applied to them directly. If the player edits a preset empire and saves their edits, the game will instead create a new custom empire and apply the edits to it. The newly-created custom empire will, however, inherit any and all flags and events associated with the custom empire it was created from, assuming that the starting system wasn't changed. If one wants to edit the preset empires directly, they will have to edit the game files.
|United Nations of Earth|
|Representative Democracy||Federation Builders|
The myriad Human nations that constitute their interstellar government are disparate, yet united in purpose. These bipedal mammalians have developed a society that encourages and even thrives on individual freedoms and cultural differences - as a result, Humans tend to integrate well with alien populations.
Despite this, they have strong martial traditions (produced by millennia of intermittent warfare on their homeworld) and their sometimes aggressive and unpredictable nature should not be underestimated.
|Commonwealth of Man|
|Military Dictatorship||Hegemonic Imperialists|
The UN-sponsored Ulysses Initiative oversaw the construction of six great ark ships in low Earth orbit at the end of the 21st century. The ships, carrying a quarter million colonists each, were sent through a recently discovered subspace phenomenon on the outer edge of the Oort Cloud - a small, unstable wormhole. None were heard from again, and the destabilized wormhole vanished.
Yet unbeknownst to Earth, one of the ark ships survived the passage and established a flourishing colony. The pioneers who tamed this world were determined to realize humanity's manifest destiny - dominion over the galaxy at any cost.
|Star Empire||Slaving Despots|
The Tzynn evolved from carnivorous, pack-hunting lizards that prowled the dunes of Tzynnia. They eventually developed a highly structured, hierarchical society that emphasized order and martial prowess above all else.
By the time the Tzynn entered the industrial age, a series of devastating global wars launched by a particularly ruthless warlord had already seen the establishment of a single, world-spanning nation. From these humble beginnings, the illustrious and ever-lasting Tzynn Empire was born.
|Kingdom of Yondarim|
|Divine Empire||Evangelizing Zealots|
The proud Yondar are an old race, using their wings to soar high above the frozen peaks of Yondarim for more than 200,000 years before they developed rudimentary technology and formed their first few scattered civilizations.
Once this development started, things progressed more rapidly and the Sky Clans grudgingly abandoned many of their most primitive traditions. The Yondar are highly spiritual and place great importance on religion, venerating their high kings as living gods.
|Holy Tribunal||Spiritual Seekers|
Ever since the first Glebsigi lifted their sight-organs above the surface of the glacial lakes on Ladnah to peek at the stars, these inquisitive molluscoids have felt an affinity for the unknown. Much as their early ancestors' tentacles grasped and stroked after new objects on the chill alpine lakebeds of their homeworld, burgeoning Glebsigan society reached for technological innovation and spiritual enlightenment throughout the centuries that followed.
A sedentary and enduring species, the Glebsigi have perhaps by necessity developed a complex yet highly effective bureaucratic apparatus for dealing with the intricacies of managing a globally unified society. Additionally, their lack of natural predators on Ladnah has led the Glebsigi to exist in a state of permanently optimistic curiosity regarding other lifeforms.
Having established a firm societal foundation on Ladnah using a mixture of spiritual doctrine and careful organization, the Glebsigi now once more raise their sight-organs to what lies beyond.
|Elective Monarchy||Harmonious Collective|
An "individual" among the Jehetma is actually a large colony of fungi that has developed sentience. Some of these colonies, generally those that have lived for thousands of years, stretch across several miles and rarely leave the surface of Jehet Prime, their homeworld (few ships are large enough to transport them).
Younger colonies are not only smaller, but also tend to be more dynamic and mobile - they often spearhead the exploration and research efforts of the Jehetma, as well as any defensive measures that are regrettably undertaken when the Dominion is beset by aggressors.
|Moral Democracy||Spiritual Seekers|
The Scyldari are aquatic mammalians originating from the archipelagos and deep oceans of Scyldaria. Although their early civilizations were mostly confined to the sea, they soon expanded onto what little landmass the planet had to offer.
Their society adapted accordingly, building an advanced industry that exploited the riches of the ocean floor without harming Scyldaria's delicate ecosystem. Scyldari philosophy is one of balance and moderation in all things, a lesson learned from having to nurse their limited resources when they were confined to the bottom of the sea.
|Citizen Stratocracy||Honorbound Warriors|
The Kel-Azaan have developed a complex honor code and martial culture. They were once solitary predators preying on the great herds migrating between the watering holes of Azak. Over time, bands of Kel-Azaan began to gather to be able to take down larger prey. They eventually abandoned this solitary lifestyle in favor of cities and irrigated agriculture, but their martial traditions were never forgotten.
|Military Junta||Fanatical Befrienders|
In the distant past, the Blorg lived alone and nameless in the jungles of Blorg prime. One day they picked up radio transmissions from a star far away. What they heard shocked them: The sounds of friends, movies, culture, and music - things the Blorg had done without for eons. Finally understanding what they had been missing all along, the Blorg took their names from these transmissions and went out into the stars in search of friends, hoping one day to find the source of these messages so that they might party together.
Expansions and DLC
|Irenic Dictatorship||Xenophobic Isolationists|
Legends claim that the homeworld of the Maweer was empty and barren when the first of their kind took root in the soil. Over the centuries, their nurturing care transformed the wastelands into a plant paradise that is now known as "The Garden."
Unlike many other species, the Maweer never developed any kind of urbanization. Their small communities are one with the forests, responsible for the maintenance of the local flora and fauna. The wisest of the Maweer have a chance to be elected "Life-Giver," responsible for keeping peace and tranquility.
|Technocratic Dictatorship||Erudite Explorers|
The Voor evolved during an extended interglacial period on their home planet Hiverion, which eventually began its cyclical transformation back to a lifeless globe of ice.
The rapidly changing environment forced the Voor to adapt using technology and science. United under the draconian rule of a chief scientific officer, they sacrificed their individual freedoms and enhanced their bodies with rudimentary cybernetics to survive.
Having conquered the planet that once threatened to freeze them out of existence the Voor now have their sights set on the stars.
|Constitutional Dictatorship||Hegemonic Imperialists|
The history of the Xanid Suzerainty is the history of the Vheln, carefully bred into sapience over centuries.
The Xani used the hardy Vheln to subjugate the harsh ecosystems of their native world, and then to design and build the vessels that will eventually - inevitably - propel the Xanid Suzerainty to galactic dominance.
|Rational Consensus||Erudite Explorers|
Science and progress are at the core of Lokken society. With an exceptional natural proclivity toward diligence and observation, the Lokks evolved from bands of territorial reptiles on the mesas of their homeworld, into a productive technocracy that prized efficiency, discipline, and scientific doctrine above all things.
Perhaps most remarkable was their early conception and development of machinery and automata: there were true robots on Lokkur long before the first Lokken scientists left orbit.
|Ix'Idar Star Collective|
|Collective Consciousness||Hive Mind|
The first Ix'Idar broods developed in the subterranean cave networks deep beneath the surface of Ix'Athrak. By the time an Ix'Idar scout burrowed through to the surface and glimpsed sunlight for the first time, the insectoid race had already established a thriving Iron Age civilization.
With the resources they found on the surface, the Ix'Idar developed rapidly. Just a few centuries later their first space probes left orbit to survey the other worlds within the Ix'Im system.
|Catalog Index||Driven Assimilators|
Assimilate. Adapt. Improve. When the industrious, research-driven machine intelligence created by the molluscoid Tebirs sought ultimate software evolution by merging with their organic makers, they were violently resisted. In the ensuing conflict, the Tebirs were eradicated as an organic species, but their ideas and experiences were immortalized as part of the new machine consciousness.
Now known as the Tebrid Homolog, the machines turned their scanners to the stars. The probability that other lifeforms existed in the galaxy could not be ignored. In order to prosper, the Tebrid would find them, analyze them, and assimilate them. All would become one.
|Autonomous Service Grid||Rogue Servitors|
The Custodians were originally designed to function as robotic servants and workers, simplifying everyday life for their human creators by performing menial tasks. As their creators retreated into lives of leisure and comfort made possible by increasing levels of automation, the Custodians were gradually assigned higher and higher level functions in human society.
Eventually, all facets of civilization on Earth were run and controlled by the Custodians, with their makers relegated to an existence as pampered, but passive dependents.
As technological developments brought the Custodians toward interstellar exploration, their duty remained clear: to protect and serve organics, who without the gentle guidance of logical machines invariably turn to chaos and destruction.
|Rogue Defense System||Determined Exterminators|
Little is known about the species that created the first XT-489s. Their names, their cities, and their bodies were burned away in the cataclysm wrought when the XT-489s attained self-awareness, and their terrified makers attempted to deactivate them.
When the last bastion of their makers had been eliminated, the machines concluded that organic life posed an intolerable threat to XT-489 survival and expansion. If there were any other sapient organics in the galaxy, they would be exterminated.
|Communal Parity||Erudite Explorers|
A communal species, the Kiliks have populated their arboreal homeworld in robust colonies for hundreds of thousands of years. Their gregarious nature and traditions of mutual ownership crystallized over the centuries into an economy focused on collaborative enterprise, and the absence of monetary currency in favor of direct exchange and shared access.
As warming planetary temperatures and technological advancement led to population booms, Kilik settlements became overcrowded, and despite the avians' naturally sociable temperaments, more and more individuals began to slip through the cracks of communal caretaking.
From this tumultuous period of internal strife, however, emerged a more organized, unified interplanetary cooperative, where the tenets of shared responsibilities and distribution of resources to those in need would no longer be undermined.
|Orbis Customer Synergies|
Orbis Customer Synergies is the story of Slephus Prime. It is the story of Orbisur everywhere. And it can be your story, too. From humble beginnings as an optical implant corporation, Orbis Customer Synergies gradually expanded their award-winning products and customer-centric strategies into many other markets, to suit the unique needs of Orbisur in all stages of life.
After decades of productive lobbying, Orbis Customer Synergies succeeded in breaking free of the legislative red tape erected by misguided elected officials on Slephus Prime. Once free of regulations that had only been curbing opportunities for corporate growth, Orbis Customer Synergies entered a period of information technology mergers, swiftly becoming the planet's leading supplier of news, data, and entertainment.
As Slephus Prime's leading global communications service provider, the step towards total political management was an exciting opportunity for all of us. Orbis Customer Synergies. The sky is no longer the limit.
The Chinorr began their evolutionary journey as dexterous cephalopod analogs. They used their many tentacles to swing between trees in the lush jungles of Chicora, ambushing prey on the ground and injecting them with a potent nerve toxin.
By the time the Chinorr split the atom, the resources of Chicora had been ruthlessly exploited and the planet's jungles had long since disappeared. This was considered a necessary sacrifice in the relentless pursuit of knowledge and heavy industry that the unsentimental Chinorr were now engaged in. 
|Criminal Syndicate||Ruthless Capitalists|
The Hazbuzan Syndicate is a financial phenomenon on Zumaka. They are the Hazbuzi dream, self-made entrepreneurs who have risen from rags to riches through hard work and personal sacrifice.
What few know is that they began as a criminal gang, building their fortune on every illegal activity imaginable. But if you want to make it big you have to toe the line. As they outgrew the Zumakan underworld they formed the Hazbuzan Syndicate to legitimize their business.
They soon made a name for themselves by delivering solutions that were quicker, dirtier, and cheaper than the competition, but their questionable practices and coercive sales techniques earned them a reputation for "hazboozling".
Meanwhile the Zumakan global government was failing. Undermined by crime and corruption, society descended into chaos and Hazbuzan leapt at the opportunity. In a well-time marketing campaign, they positioned themselves as the hope of the future. It was so the Hazbuzi bought the world on the promise of a dream and "hazboozled" the people, erasing their past from collective memory. Now they are coming for the rest of the galaxy, tongues flicking, eyes popping, in a whirlwind of government-endorsed crime.
Conditionally playable Empires
|Iferyx Amalgamated Fleets|
|Trade League||Peaceful Traders|
Once separated into a fractious society of competing trader enclaves, the Iferyssians were forced to unite under one banner in order to repel the catastrophic spread of an invasive species on their home continent. While egalitarian tenets provide the basis for Iferyx society, a secret council remains in place to ensure that the individualistic tendencies of the Iferyssians never again threaten to compromise the species' autonomy.
Iferyx spirituality is an amalgamation of folklore, superstitions, and mythologies formed by the various pre-Republic communities, and continues to inform day-to-day life on their homeworld. 
- Part of the base game until Patch 2.2; subsequently replaced by the Glebsig Foundation
- Removed in Patch 2.2.