The Shroud

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The Shroud

The Shroud is a realm of pure psionic energy that existed since the dawn of time. It is the place from where psionic species and individuals draw their power, and a place where those who awakened their psionic potential could see in their dreams. The realm is inhabited by powerful beings of pure psionic energy that can be communed with through great effort.

Accessing the Shroud[edit | edit source]

90 days after the empire has selected the Ap transcendence.png Transcendence Ascension Perk it will receive a special project called Breaching the Shroud that requires 20000 Society research Society Research. Upon completion, the Shroud will be added to the Contacts menu from where it can be entered.

Entering the Shroud requires 1000 Energy.png Energy and adds the Mustering Psionic Strength empire modifier for 5 years, which makes the Shroud unavailable for some time. The R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic reduces the duration of the Mustering Psionic Strength empire modifier to 2.5 years, allowing the Shroud to be entered twice as often.

Shroud visions[edit | edit source]

Upon entering the Shroud the empire will receive a random vision. The outcome of each vision choice is randomized. Each vision also has the option to exit the Shroud if the risk is deemed too great.

Vision Requirements Possible Options
[capital name]... the vision is hazy and indistinct, but there can be no question - it is [capital name], our capital. The great cities look different yet familiar, even through the obscuring wall of flames and smoke. Thousands... no, millions of mutilated bodies litter the streets, all of them [main species name]. The stench of decay is unbearable.

"YOUR FUTURE."

Nothing living remains in the ruins. In the sky above, massive orbital installations, trailing smoke, have begun a slow and inevitable descent towards the planet. Are we witnessing one possible future out of many?

"NOT ONE OF MANY. IT SHALL COME TO PASS. AS SURELY AS THE SUN RISES. IT IS YOUR DESTINY."

The vision ends as quickly as it began, leaving behind a miasma of swirling psychic energies.
Can only happen once
  • Channel the energies into an avatar
    • 35% chance to gain a Psionic Avatar fleet (47.5% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 35% chance to gain a Psionic Avatar army (47.5% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 20% chance nothing happens (5% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 10% chance a hostile Corrupted Avatar guardian appears for 10 years (0% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
  • Boon: Medium Probability of Success
    • 50% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 30% chance nothing happens
    • 20% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
  • Boon: Low Probability of Success
    • 30% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 40% chance nothing happens
    • 30% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
In the deeper regions of the Shroud, a presence suddenly makes itself felt. Visitors, like us - a powerful psionic probe made by minds as utterly alien to us as they are to the Shroud.

A faint image of massive organic beings floating in some kind of thick, gaseous atmosphere while being attended by swarms of smaller creatures flickers briefly into existence as their psychic echo touches our own.
Can only happen once
  • Boon: High Probability of Success
    • 70% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 20% chance nothing happens
    • 10% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
  • Boon: Medium Probability of Success
    • 50% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 30% chance nothing happens
    • 20% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
  • Boon: Low Probability of Success
    • 30% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 40% chance nothing happens
    • 30% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
An endless desert stretches before us. We have been here before.

"Shala'kul milem zunak?"

Something emerges from the sand. It is difficult to see.

"Zharabi, melasuk."

The words are like thunder, spoken by a mouth for which they were never intended. We are compelled to answer.
Can only happen once
  • Shashka malak.
    • 70% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 20% chance nothing happens
    • 10% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
  • Tirit nali dasumara!
    • 50% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 30% chance nothing happens
    • 20% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
  • Kunak de'Kirak.
    • 30% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 40% chance nothing happens
    • 30% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
Suddenly, in a painful moment of clarity, the nature of our existence is laid bare. A multiverse where thousands of galaxies like our own are locked in endless cycles of conflict.

It begins, it ends, and then it begins again. Each time with trillions of lives hanging in the balance.

"So it is," a voice whispers, "and so it shall always be."
Can only happen once
  • Boon: High Probability of Success
    • 70% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 20% chance nothing happens
    • 10% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
  • Boon: Medium Probability of Success
    • 50% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 30% chance nothing happens
    • 20% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
  • Boon: Low Probability of Success
    • 30% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 40% chance nothing happens
    • 30% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
This is a particularly tempestuous region of the Shroud. Massive currents of raw psionic energy is funneled through here, sometimes giving violent birth to semi-intelligent spiritual apparitions.

These confused spirits often clash with one another, unleashing massive amounts of psychic power in battles that can last millennia. In fact, several such duels seem to be taking place right now.

We should proceed with caution.
Not having a Psionic Avatar fleet or army
  • Summon a psionic Avatar
    • 35% chance to gain a Psionic Avatar fleet (47.5% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 35% chance to gain a Psionic Avatar army (47.5% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 20% chance nothing happens (5% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 10% chance a hostile Corrupted Avatar guardian appears for 10 years (0% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
  • Boon: Medium Probability of Success
    • 50% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 30% chance nothing happens
    • 20% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
  • Boon: Low Probability of Success
    • 30% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 40% chance nothing happens
    • 30% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
We are looking down upon our galaxy from far above, at a distance of what must be hundreds of thousands of lightyears. Without warning, the psionic current plunges us down towards the myriad stars at an incredible speed, into the region of space belonging to one of the Fallen Empires - the [fallen empire name].

Stars swish by, then planets, until the vision finally settled on a [fallen empire species name] city. Incredible spires rise towards the sky, aided by anti-grav technology generations beyond our own. The current takes us into such a spire, through wall after wall until we reach a large meeting room of sorts. It is occupied by two [fallen empire species plural], floating comfortably in zero-gravity chairs while conversing with each other in soft voices.

They are oblivious to our presence.
Existing biological Fallen Empire
Can only happen once
  • Reach into their minds in search of secrets.
    • 60% chance to gain a random technology (75% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 40% chance the Fallen Empire gains a temporary −35 Diplomacy opinion.png Opinion for 20-35 days (25% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
In one of the lower planes of the Shroud, we encounter a spirit that has ensconced itself behind some kind of powerful psionic shield.

"Leave."
Psionic Shields Psionic Shields not discovered f
  • Attempt to penetrate the shield
    • 60% chance to unlock the Psionic Shields Psionic Shields technology for research (75% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 40% chance a hostile Corrupted Avatar guardian appears for 10 years (25% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
The concept of time, as we know it, is alien to this part of the Shroud. What can seem like centuries here may equal mere hours or even minutes in the real world. If one knows where to look, it is even possible to glimpse into the future...

Precognition is one of the surest paths to madness for a telepath, so we must use caution.
Tech precognition interface.png Precognition Interface not discovered
  • Meditate here for a moment
    • 60% chance to unlock the Tech precognition interface.png Precognition Interface technology for research (75% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 40% chance to gain the Mustering Psionic Strength empire modifier for 10 years (25% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
A small, flickering star materializes inside the Shroud. It flies past at incredible speed, and for a second, it reveals itself as an alien ship of unknown configuration. Then it vanishes in a cloud of psionic energy as quickly as it appeared.

Can it be? Is it possible to physically enter the Shroud and then emerge somewhere else entirely in normal space?
Tech psi jump drive 1.png Psi Jump Drive not discovered
  • Linger for a while
    • 60% chance to unlock the Tech psi jump drive 1.png Psi Jump Drive technology for research (75% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 40% chance to gain a −20% Mod ship speed mult.png Sublight Speed empire modifier for 5 years (25% with R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
We have found a tiny space within the Shroud that has a concentration of psionic energy that is of a magnitude we have never before seen. Any psychic that managed to successfully tap into this pocket of raw energy would become immensely powerful... but there is only enough for a single individual, and there are risks involved.

There are only three individuals in the entire [empire name] that possess the psionic strength needed to tap into this energy pocket with any hope of survival. Who should it be?
No leader has the Leader trait psionic chosen one.png Chosen One trait
Can only happen once
  • Go with [leader name]
    • 70% chance the ruler replaces the Leader trait psionic leader.png Psychic trait with Leader trait psionic chosen one.png Chosen One
    • 20% chance the ruler dies
    • 10% chance the ruler dies and a hostile Corrupted Avatar guardian appears for 10 years
  • Go with [leader name]
    • 50% chance the leader replaces the Leader trait psionic leader.png Psychic trait with Leader trait psionic chosen one.png Chosen One
    • 30% chance the leader dies
    • 20% chance the leader dies and a hostile Corrupted Avatar guardian appears for 10 years
  • Go with [leader name]
    • 30% chance the leader replaces the Leader trait psionic leader.png Psychic trait with Leader trait psionic chosen one.png Chosen One
    • 40% chance the leader dies
    • 30% chance the leader dies and a hostile Corrupted Avatar guardian appears for 10 years
There is a presence here, occupying this entire part of the Shroud. We have met spirits before, but this is something else, something vastly more powerful... something far more ancient.

It seems unaware of us as of yet. Perhaps it is sleeping. Perhaps we are simply beneath its notice.

Perhaps we should leave.
No Covenant empire modifier
  • Attempt to communicate with the presence (twice more likely to appear with the R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 70% chance to get the option to form a Covenant
    • 20% chance a leader with the Leader trait psionic leader.png Psychic trait dies
    • 10% chance nothing happens
  • Attempt to communicate with the presence
    • 50% chance to get the option to form a Covenant
    • 30% chance a leader with the Leader trait psionic leader.png Psychic trait dies
    • 20% chance nothing happens
  • Attempt to communicate with the presence (twice less likely to appear with the R zro crystal.png Psionic Archive relic)
    • 30% chance to get the option to form a Covenant
    • 40% chance a leader with the Leader trait psionic leader.png Psychic trait dies
    • 30% chance nothing happens
  • [chosen one name] will speak to the presence (requires a leader with the Leader trait psionic chosen one.png Chosen One trait)
    • 85% chance to get the option to form a Covenant
    • 10% chance a leader with the Leader trait psionic leader.png Psychic or Leader trait psionic chosen one.png Chosen One trait dies
    • 5% chance nothing happens
Random generic vision None
  • Boon: High Probability of Success
    • 70% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 20% chance nothing happens
    • 10% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
  • Boon: Medium Probability of Success
    • 50% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 30% chance nothing happens
    • 20% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
  • Boon: Low Probability of Success
    • 30% chance to gain a Boon of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years
    • 40% chance nothing happens
    • 30% chance to gain a Curse of the Shroud empire modifier for 5 years

Boons and curses[edit | edit source]

Boons and curses are temporary empire modifiers that can be obtained by trying to get a boon via the Shroud. Being successful will grant a boon but being unsuccessful will grant a curse. Boons will also please the Traditionalist Faction while curses will displease it while the modifiers last. Boons and curses can grant any of the following:

Boons of the Shroud Curses of the Shroud
  • Mod army morale.png +40% Army Morale
  • Mod ship auto repair add.png +0.5% Daily Hull and Armor Regen
  • Influence.png +30% Empire Influence Gain
  • Mod ship evasion mult.png +30% Evasion
  • Mod ship fire rate mult.png +20% Fire Rate
  • Mod pop government ethic attraction.png +50% Governing Ethics Attraction
  • Mod pop happiness.png +25% Happiness
  • Unity.png +30% Monthly Unity
  • Mod country all tech research speed.png +20% Research Speed
  • Mod planet sensor range mult.png +2 Sensor Range
  • Mod ship shield hp mult.png +50% Shield Hit Points
  • Mod ship upkeep mult.png −30% Ship Upkeep
  • Mod ship speed mult.png +40% Sublight Speed
  • Mod ship weapon damage.png +20% Weapons Damage
  • Mod army morale.png −20% Army Morale
  • Influence.png −20% Empire Influence Gain
  • Mod pop government ethic attraction.png −50% Governing Ethics Attraction
  • Mod pop happiness.png −20% Happiness
  • Unity.png −20% Monthly Unity
  • Mod pop growth req.png −30% Pop Growth Speed
  • Mod country all tech research speed.png −20% Research Speed
  • Mod planet sensor range mult.png −2 Sensor Range
  • Mod ship armor mult.png −20% Ship Armor
  • Mod ship speed mult.png −20% Sublight Speed

A Divine Sovereign[edit | edit source]

If a leader gains the Leader trait psionic chosen one.png Chosen One trait then some years later an event will trigger where the empire will gain the option to reform itself into a Divine Empire, as long as its authority is not already set to Imperial Imperial. Accepting will reform the empire with the following government:

  • Fanatic Authoritarian.png Fanatic Authoritarian
  • Spiritualist.png Spiritualist
  • Imperial Imperial authority
  • Civic imperial cult.png Imperial Cult civic
  • Civic philosopher king.png Philosopher King civic
  • Civic aristocratic elite.png Aristocratic Elite civic
  • Leader trait psionic chosen one.png Chosen One leader becomes the new ruler if not already

The new civics added by the event will override previous civics, including fixed ones like the Civic inwards perfection.png Inward Perfection.

Covenants[edit | edit source]

There are 5 incomprehensibly powerful beings in the Shroud an empire can form a Covenant with given the right vision. Forming a covenant grants a permanent empire modifier but also comes with recurring drawbacks as well as stops you from forming a covenant with the others.

Patron Chance Empire modifier Drawbacks (roughly every 25 years)
Composer of Strands 24.5%
  • Mod pop growth req.png +20% Pop Growth Speed
  • Mod leader age.png +20 years leader lifespan
A species with the Trait psionic species.png Psionic trait gains and/or loses a random trait
Eater of Worlds 24.5%
  • Mod army morale.png +30% Army Morale
  • Mod ship fire rate mult.png +15% Fire Rate
  • 65% chance a planet loses a Pop and gets −20% Mod pop happiness.png Happiness for 10 years
  • 30% chance a planet loses 3 Pops and gets −40% Mod pop happiness.png Happiness for 10 years
  • 5% chance a planet becomes a Shrouded World and the empire gets −30% Mod pop happiness.png Happiness for 10 years
Instrument of Desire 24.5% Mod pop resource output.png +10% Resources from Jobs
  • 40% chance a planet gets +200% Mod pop consumer goods mult.png Pop Consumer Goods Upkeep for 20 years
  • 40% chance a planet gets −100% Mod pop government ethic attraction.png Governing Ethics Attraction for 20 years
  • 20% chance the empire gets −50% Mod pop government ethic attraction.png Governing Ethics Attraction for 10 years
Whisperers in the Void 24.5%
  • Mod country all tech research speed.png +15% Research Speed
  • Influence.png +15% Monthly Influence
  • Mod found encryption key.png +2 Codebreaking
  • 45% chance a Leader with the Leader trait psionic leader.png Psychic trait gains the Leader trait substance abuser.png Substance Abuser trait
  • 25% chance a Leader with the Leader trait psionic leader.png Psychic trait commits suicide
  • 20% chance a planets with at least one Pop with the Trait psionic species.png Psionic trait gets −30 Stability.png Stability for 10 years
  • 10% chance a planets with at least 5 Pops with the Trait psionic species.png Psionic trait loses 1-8 Pops and gets −100 Stability.png Stability for 10 years
End of the Cycle 2%
  • Mod pop resource output.png +100% Resources from Jobs
  • Mod pop resource output.png +100% Resources from Orbital Stations
  • Mod fleet size add.png +100% Naval Capacity
  • Influence.png +5 Monthly Influence
  • Spaceport 1.png +10 Starbase Capacity
50 years after forming the Covenant The Reckoning takes place

The Reckoning[edit | edit source]

The Reckoning will all but end the empire that benefited from the covenant and instantly destroy all its vassals. When the Reckoning occurs, all planets will be depopulated and turned into 'Shrouded Worlds', which become uninhabitable forever. All fleets and ships will be instantly destroyed, all leaders are killed, and all resources from that empire's store will be drained almost completely. Having lost everything, the covenant empire will survive only in the form of a newly colonized planet of survivors, which will start with the default name of 'Exile'. The game will pick any planet with 40% habitability or more, even if it is located within another empire's borders. If that planet is somehow Shroud-Marked, or no planet is otherwise possible, the game is instantly lost.

Every regular empire will gain a −1000 Opinion modifier with the remnant of the Shroud-Marked empire for "bringing the end", with a decay rate of 5 each year.

Every previous colony will spawn a shroud manifestation. Finally, an immensely powerful Shroud entity known as "The Reckoning" - representing the combined essence of all deceased psionic individuals in the former empire that summoned it – will appear over the empire's former capital, and proceed to seek out the remaining life in the galaxy. It normally leaves the exiles for last, and therefore the exile empire should first prioritize surviving against other empires instead and trying to expand if possible.

In this state, one might benefit from the Reckoning, depending on the circumstances. You may be able to conquer the Galaxy and achieve the end year victory if you time it correctly.

As the Reckoning randomly targets worlds to destroy, its power will increase as it consumes more pops (up to 5000 pops). It gains bonuses to hull, shield, fire-rate, damage, and shield regeneration as follows:

Pop.png Devoured pops Health Health Shield Shield Shield Shield regen bonus Attack speed Attack cooldown Damage Damage Other stats
<500 60,000 150,000 100 2.17 4x 600–1400
  • 5x Mod ship speed mult.png Jumpdrive Range
  • 30% Evasion Evasion
<1000 110,000 250,000 200 1.45 4x 900–2100
<2500 160,000 350,000 300 1.08 4x 1200–2800
<5000 210,000 450,000 400 0.87 4x 1500–3500
>5000 260,000 550,000 500 0.72 4x 1800–4200

The Reckoning has relatively low tracking, but its range, firepower, fire rate, health, shields and shield regeneration are massive. Despite all its might, there are still two courses of action that come into a chance of defeating it. One is to wait for it to target an Awakened- or Fallen Empire, another crisis or any strong empire with tough fleets to weaken or even destroy it. The other option is to keep building up for the eventual encounter alone, since The Reckoning will usually leave the exiles for last.

If the exiles have lost everything, they haven't lost their Technologies and Traditions, meaning they can still catch up given enough time to rebuild the economy. It's also possible to trade one-time resources and/or diplomatic favors with the AI empires for monthly resources, just before the Reckoning to occure, since trade deals can't be canceled despite the empires' now −1000 Opinion towards you.

One strategy to defeat the Reckoning in battle is to dodge its attacks using swarms of corvettes and use weapons that can pierce/ignore shields, like Guided Missiles and Hangar Strike Craft. The Reckoning targets random planets in its destructive spree, so the player will have several chances to retreat, rebuild, and come back. The Reckoning will tend to target small ships first and only engage larger ships when all smaller classes are defeated. A combination of two to three dozen carrier battleships with strike crafts – whose weapons bypass shields – and a large swarm of several hundred corvettes with regular torpedoes - who likewise ignore shields - with about 5 repeatable technologies that boost damage output of both systems have a good chance of greatly weakening or even defeating the Reckoning in a single battle.