This article is for the PC version of Stellaris only.
An ethos (also called ethics) is considered the sum of all beliefs and ideals that a given group of people have. It is responsible for their favored courses of action and responses to situations. Ethos has a profound effect on options available during the game. For instance, diplomatic options with alien species are affected by Ethos, as are some options for dealing with anomalies. As a result Ethos choices have a greater impact on game experience than the bonuses and maluses listed on this page.
AI species follow the same Ethics rules and their behaviour is heavily dependent on the ethics they follow. Naturally, a Militarist Xenophobe alien species will react very differently to the player than a Pacifist Xenophile. AI species will however compromise on their ethics if circumstances are dire enough, for instance if threatened with imminent conquest.
Every empire is limited in the amount of ethos it can possess. In general it's possible to either have three different moderate ethos types or one fanatical ethos and one moderate one.
By default each ethic is neutral which provides no bonuses nor maluses. Each "step" into a given ethos costs one point and will lock/unlock different government types as well as specific bonuses and possibly maluses. Investing two points into one type results in a more "extreme" version of an ethos that grants further bonuses and potential greater maluses.
Collectivist - Individualist
The collectivist - individualist dichotomy looks at the worth of an individual.
Collectivists consider that an individual should cooperate with the the rest of the society in order to benefit society as a whole. In contrast, individualists believe that an individual should be the master of their own destiny and pursue their own goals, dreams, and ambitions.
Collectivists focus on pursuing one common goal while the individualists focus on attempting to coexist while each pursuing their own. As such, even though collectivists empathise "the need of many" they do not deal well with democracy and lean towards autocracy (aren't self-centred enough to reject autocracy, aren't chaotic enough to deal with democracy). Meanwhile, even though individualists empathise the "radiant genius of individuals", they don't deal well with autocracy and instead lean towards democracy (aren't driven enough to reject democracy, aren't compliant enough to to deal with autocracy).
In mechanical terms, collectivists tolerate the idea of slavery, while individualists do not. Collectivists consume less Food, while individualists gain bonuses to Energy production and suffer more ethics divergence, resulting in more factions in mid to late game. Each of the two also have access to unique colonization technologies (determined by the ethos of the scientist employed), with collectivists focusing on reducing ethics divergence even further, and individualists focusing on more rapid expansion.
Xenophobe - Xenophile
The xenophobe - xenophile dichotomy looks at the acceptance of foreign species.
Xenophobes consider that different species would introduce foreign ideas and thoughts that could destabilize and, in the end, destroy the empire or, at the very least, its cultural and genetic identity. In contrast, xenophiles believe that society would grow stagnant without different concepts and moralities and are thus considered staunch believers in unity by diversity. Xenophobes are particularly keen on enslaving aliens, though will never accept them as equals.
Militarist - Pacifist
The militarist - pacifist dichotomy looks at the merit of war.
Militarists consider that aggression is needed to obtain what is required and wars are thus viewed as glorious. In contrast, pacifists believe that violence breeds hatred and that friendly cooperation between different empires brings forth more long-term benefit than undignified bloodshed.
It is important to note that pacifists are also restricted in their policies: they cannot employ anything beyond the lightest type of orbital bombardment, and are unable to invade or even (peacefully) settle upon the worlds of primitive sentients for direct study.
Militarists and Pacifists will have a hard time allying with each other due to -20 "differing war philosophy" modifier.
|Fanatic Militarist||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...|
|Militarist||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.|
||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.|
||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.|
Materialist - Spiritualist
The materialist - spiritualist dichotomy looks at the nature of the being and reality in general.
Materialists disregard superstition, considering that life has no intrinsic meaning outside their own reality and that the only true purpose is what they make it. In contrast, spiritualists believe that consciousness surpasses reality and that their temporary, mortal bodies, subjected to the cruel and hard reality of the universe, are only a means to improve themselves spiritually in anticipation of their future ascension to higher planes of existence.
Materialists get useful bonuses to all research output, and receive no penalty to happiness for employing certain technologies. Spiritualists, while having higher base happiness, will suffer happiness penalties for adopting policies involving the use of robotics or genetic enhancement of leadership. Materialists are also unable to access psionics research by default, while Spiritualists have the same issue with robotics (though both can still obtain them as research alternatives by employing a scientist with the proper expertise).
As your population settles foreign worlds, individual POPs might break away from the dominant ethical beliefs of your empire. They might opt for ideas that are directly counter to your prevailing ethical program, or might take a stand on issues for which your empire has not made any ethical choice. This is called Ethical Divergence. If a pop has a net positive ethics divergence, they are more likely to stray away from the empire's ethos, while a net negative ethics divergence makes pops more likely to convert to the empire's ethos, if they do not already match it. At the moment, and confirmed by Dev Diary #33, ethos go towards neutrality, instead of diverting to new ethos.
Ethical Divergence is much more likely in an Individualist society, and species with the Conformist trait are much less likely to diverge. In many ways, Ethically Divergent Pops are similar to aliens that have migrated to or been conquered by your empire in that they are likely to be less happy than your core population and are more likely to start a faction or agitate for autonomy or independence.
Note: Ethical divergence affects only Pops. It will not change the Ethos of your Empire, which is maintained as a baseline for the divergence to act relative to.
|Lythuric Atmospheric Manipulator||Strategic|
|Grand Mausoleum||Ethos & Government|
|Virtual Combat Arena||Ethos & Government|
|Ministry of Benevolence||Ethos & Government|
|Orbital Mind Control Laser||Spaceport|
|Reassembled Ship Shelter||Capital|
|Joyful||90 or greater||-20%|
|Happy||80 - 89||-10%|
|Content||50 - 79|
|Unhappy||35 - 49||+10%|
|Angry||20 - 34||+20%|
|Outraged||19 or less||+30%|
|Frontier Commissars||New Worlds||"Studies indicate that strict social control may be integral to the continued resilience of young colonies."|
|Theocratic Republic||"This government is a spiritualistic form of democracy, where a religious council supervises the democratic process and serves in an advisory role."|
|Theocratic Oligarchy||"This government is a spiritualistic form of oligarchy, where a divinely guided council made up of clergy controls the state. No division exists between the state and the dominant organized religion."|
|Conformists||These people always seek consensus and are more likely to conform to the governing ethics.|