The new Stellaris: Overlord expansion is finally here and brings the largest new batch of Origins the game has seen since Federations. That’s five new Stellaris Origins in total. All of which have a huge impact on how you play the game from the very beginning. As ever, your civilization can rise from a post-apocalyptic past, departing to the stars from a Tomb World. Or maybe you’re like the Quarians from Mass Effect, forever roaming space in orbital habitats, never to inhabit a planet. But Overlord adds things like a Quantum Catapult and psionic overseers to the mix. Our Stellaris Origins guide explains what each of these starting states are — plus the effect they have on your gameplay — and gives some recommendations and tips for each.
A stable planetary unification has allowed this civilization to prosper and grow.
This is one of the most basic Origins available. All it does is give you more pops and some additional districts to start. Pick this one if you just want a boost for your civilization.
Effect: Start the game with an additional 4 Pops and with an additional 2 Districts.
This civilization has been preoccupied with the idea of metallic automatons since the early Steam Age. Although many said it could not be done, the first true robots left the assembly lines long before even rudimentary space flight was achieved.
If you at all plan on going down the robotics line, you might as well start as a Mechanist. It’s almost certain that another species out there will be using robots, inevitably triggering the The Contingency, so it might as well be you, right?
Effects: Start the game with 8 Pops being robots, and with the technology and infrastructure to build more. Robot Upkeep: -5%.
Requirements: Is some degree of Materialist.
A second species forms an integral part of this civilization. They are big, strong, and most of them have the intelligence of a particularly dim-witted child. Ancient wars have culled their species of their most aggressive tendencies, leaving them quite servile.
If you particularly enjoy having more than one species in your empire, now you can start with one! Whether you embrace the species or keep them down all depends on you and your ethics.
Effects: Start the game with 12 Pops being of another, subservient, species.
Requirements: Does NOT have Gestalt Consciousness Ethic. Does NOT have Fanatic Purifiers Civic.
This civilization has evolved in a paradise, possibly designed just for them.
As far as Origins go, this one is about as old as time. What if our civilization was seeded by a more advanced civilization? In Stellaris, this means you start on a Gaia World, great! But it also sets your habitability preference to those types of worlds which makes most of the planets in the game less than ideal for settling. It’s quite similar to the Ocean Paradise Origin in that way. You’ll need to be careful about where you colonize going forward.
Effects: Homeworld is a Gaia World (Size: 25) with several Rare Planetary Features. Habitability preference is set to Gaia World Preference, making other types of planets undesirable.
Requirements: Does NOT have Machine Intelligence Authority.
Baptized by nuclear fire, this civilization has faced total annihilation – and survived. Devastated yet unbroken, they have rebuilt civilization from the ashes of the old world.
This is nearly the opposite of the Life-Seeded Origin. Rather than having a perfect starting world, but few planets to settle, with Post-Apocalyptic you get a bad world to start, but can settle most of the desolate planets in the galaxy. That’s not exactly a common habitability preference, so you should have just about free reign over those types of planets.
Effects: Capital starts as a Tomb World. Gain the Survivor trait, granting: Tomb World Habitability: +70%. Leader Lifespan: +10 Years.
Requirements: Does NOT have Machine Intelligence Authority. Does NOT have Agrarian Idyll Civic.
This civilization once spanned the void, controlling much of the Galaxy. They were eventually defeated and almost destroyed, but after a long period of destitution they are returning to the stars.
Remnant civilizations start off in a Relic World. These rare planets have 80% habitability for all races, but are littered with planetary blockers. You’ll need to clear them in order to actually grow as a species. Throughout the course of the game you can decide to restore to world to an Ecumenopolis, a planet wide city. This process takes 20,000 Minerals, 200 Influence, and 3600 days.
Ecumenopolis planets have 5 percent cheaper districts and have unique foundries, industrial, and research zones. Each provides a 25 percent boost to build speed and a 20 percent reduction to upkeep. Should you restore your planet or not? That choice is up to you.
Effects: Starts with a Relic World as your homeworld. Reclaim your lost glory!
Requirements: Does NOT have Agrarian Idyll Civic.
This civilization inhabits a Ringworld built by unknown forerunners. If it can be understood and fully repaired it will grant them great power.
Prior to the addition of Origins, Ringworlds were incredibly rare. Most of the time you had to get lucky and find one first or fight until you could claim it. Now you can start on one! It’ll still be broken down, but you’ll have a project to continually work on until you can claim the huge bonuses from a complete Ringworld.
Effects: Start with a partially destroyed Ringworld as your homeworld. The Ringworld will start with an Arcane Generator that is able to maintain some of your segments.
Requirements: Does NOT have Agrarian Idyll Civic.
This civilization has made its home in space for as long as it has maintained records – life in a typical planetary environment is anathema to them. They live on three orbital habitats that were only recently united.
Habitats are a huge departure from the normal Stellaris flow. Rather than building districts, you build stations aboard your habitats. The Leisure Station increases happiness and decreases subsequent build time for other Leisure Stations. The Mining Station reduces the cost of Astro-Mining and bumps up the number of minerals from jobs.
Effects: Start with three Orbital Habitats and the technology to build more. Members of your species thrive on Habitats and produce 15% more there. Severe habitability and growth penalties on all normal planets. Hydroponic Farms have +1 Farmer Job.
Requirements: Does NOT have Gestalt Consciousness Ethic. Does NOT have Agrarian Idyll Civic.
A Fallen Empire has meddled in the development of this civilization for thousands of years, guiding them onto a path of their choosing.
Scion is a good Origin for a particularly difficult playthrough. If you’re bad at early game and need time to grow, why not have a Fallen Empire there to defend you? Eventually you’ll grow large enough to challenge them for your own freedom.
Effects: Start as a vassal of a Fallen Empire.
Requirements: Does NOT have Gestalt Consciousness Ethic. Does NOT have Fanatic Xenophobe Ethic.
This civilization has a dormant gateway in their home system – potential technological benefit, or a looming menace?
Gateways are remnants of an old galaxy-spanning network. You’ll need the Gateway Activation technology before you can do anything with the one in your system, along with 6000 Energy and 2500 Alloys. Where does the gateway connect to? You’ll just have to activate it to find out.
Effects: Start with a dormant gateway in your home system.
Tree of Life
This Hive evolved in a symbiotic relationship with a vast Tree. The Tree grants them many benefits, but its loss would cripple them.
The Tree of Life Origin basically asks you to make sure you always have a planet with a Tree of Life on it. Should you struggle with that, and lose access to a fully grown Tree of Life, your entire species will suffer penalties.
Effects: Our Hive gains many bonuses from living on a planet with a Tree of Life present, or penalties if it is absent. Colony ships are more expensive, but will provide new planets with their own sapling.
Requirements: Has Hive Mind Authority. Does NOT have Devouring Swarm Civic.
On the Shoulders of Giants
Due to some unknown past, this civilization has hidden boons in their solar system, placed there by a mysterious benefactor.
The idea behind this Origin is that a past civilization has been in your system. Normally you’d discover these as you explore the stars, but On the Shoulders of Giants ensures there’s one in your home system. Each of these dig sites contains a one-to-six-chapter story to investigate and can provide big bonuses to your empire. This is still perfect for players who like to map the galaxy early on via exploration. It helps incentivize that sort of play very quickly and gives you some nice story to boot.
Effects: Start with an Archaeological Site related to a mysterious benefactor in your home system.
Requirements: Does NOT have Gestalt Consciousness Ethic.
Not native to their “Homeworld,” these Lithoids arrived there when a meteorite slammed into the planet and killed off most of the native life.
More than anything, Calamitous Birth is a good Origin for players truly trying to be rock people.
Effects: Start with a Massive Crater deposit on your Homeworld, giving additional total districts and mining districts. Able to build Meteorite Colony ships which travel at great speed but damage their target planets.
Requirements: Lithoid species type.
This Machine Intelligence has long-since consolidated all resources in their home system into their Capital world, covering it entirely with Machinery.
Machine Worlds can be a pain to build, so why not just start with one? This Origin skips you past the hard work for this particular type of planet.
Effects: Start with a Machine World as your Homeworld.
Requirements: Has Machine Intelligence Authority. Does NOT have Rogue Servitor Civic.
This civilization established early contact with their immediate alien neighbors. Finding strength in their differences, they soon decided to face the future, and whatever it might bring, together.
These next two Origins are for Federation players. If you don’t like having to finagle a federation together, why not just start with one? With Common Ground, you work together as equals.
Effects: Start as the leader of a Galactic Union federation with two additional members. Members will occupy any Guaranteed Habitable World slots near your home system. Start with The Federation tradition unlocked.
Requirements: Does NOT have Gestalt Consciousness Ethic. Does NOT have Xenophobe Ethic. Does NOT have Fanatic Xenophobe Ethic. Does NOT have Barbaric Despoilers Civic. Does NOT have Fanatic Purifiers Civic. Does NOT have Inward Perfection Civic.
This civilization has established early contact with their immediate alien neighbors. Gradually, over the span of a century, they masterminded the birth of an interstellar union in which they would have a dominant role.
With Hegemon, you rule over the lesser members of the union. This is for more politically inclined players that want to dabble with the diplomacy aspect of Stellaris.
Effects: Start as the leader of a Hegemony federation with two additional members. Members will occupy any Guaranteed Habitable World slots near your home system. Start with The Federation tradition unlocked.
Requirements: Does NOT have Gestalt Consciousness Ethic. Does NOT have Xenophobe Ethic. Does NOT have Fanatic Xenophobe Ethic. Does NOT have Fanatic Purifiers Civic. Does NOT have Inward Perfection Civic.
This civilization’s homeworld is highly unstable, and it is only a matter of time before it explodes. Their only hope is to seek refuge elsewhere before it is too late.
The idea of starting on a planet that’s going to explode after a few decades is wild and awesome. Paradox does warn that it’s a particularly challenging Origin, however. Obviously you want to use the bonus resources it produces to find someplace a bit more stable relatively quickly.
Effects: WARNING: Challenging Origin. Your homeworld will explode within 35 to 45 years after the game starts. Valuable resources from the doomed planet’s mantle boost production on the surface. No guaranteed habitable worlds will spawn near your home system.
This civilization originated as a lost and forgotten colony, separated from its homeworld long ago. The struggling colonists endured many hardships before they were able to build up the necessary technological and industrial base that would allow for a return to space.
Again, Stellaris has already had unique events where it was possible for your species to already be somewhere in the galaxy. Lost Colony simply provides another way for this to happen. Not a lot different here besides some events flavor.
Effects: An Advanced Empire of this species is spawned somewhere in the galaxy.
Requirements: Does NOT have Gestalt Consciousness Ethic
This is an almost purely parasitic or zombie-like civilization. Your own Pops will grow and build much slower than other species. However, they’re also much hardier (living +80 years by default). The “prepatent” species is a bit like the Syncretic Evolution Origin. Only these automatically start as slaves — meant to be consumed and transformed into your dominant Necrophage species. This is how you grow your spacefaring zombie horde quickly. Once Pops have been converted, your Necrophage species makes up for its slow breeding and parasitic lifestyle by consuming far fewer resources than normal.
Effects: Can convert Pops of other species to the primary species. Only Necrophage pops may be leaders or take ruler jobs. Start with a number of Pops of a secondary prepatent specifics. Guaranteed habitable planets are instead primitive civilizations.
Requirements: Does NOT have Xenophile Ethic. Does NOT have Fanatic Xenophile Ethic. Does NOT have Fanatic Egalitarian Ethic. Does NOT have Machine Intelligence Authority. Does NOT have Death Cult Civic. Does NOT have Empath Civic. Does NOT have Permanent Employment Civic.
This is basically the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Origin. More specifically, you play clones that were left masterless and in charge of their own destiny. This has major positives and major negatives. Clone Soldiers live fast, die young, and cannot reproduce naturally. Instead, they assemble Pops using Ancient Clone Vat Buildings — of which you can have five at one time. These pump out combat-minded clones very quickly. Clone admirals and armies are both better in combat and leaders get additional traits. Yet those same clone leaders have -40 years on their lifespans.
Effects: Start with 2 Ancient Clone Vat Buildings on your homeworld, producing Clone Soldier Pops. Ancient Clone Vats have an Empire Limit of 5. Clone Army Admirals will grant an additional 25% Ship Fire Rate and 10% reduced Ship Upkeep.
Requirements: Does NOT have Gestalt Consciousness Ethic. Does NOT have Permanent Employment Civic.
Here Be Dragons
This is a fairly simple origin in practice. You begin the game with a Space Dragon nesting around your home star system. This basically means you need to pay tithes to the dragon in the form of early debuffs and negative modifiers. It’s worth it in the long run, though, as pleasing the dragon will eventually start to add buffs to your empire — such as protection of your home system. It’s got a nice bit of visual flair, too since the spacefaring serpent visibly circles your starting area.
Effects: Start with a Space Dragon roaming your home system. The Dragon may protect you from harm, but beware its wrath should you displease it.
Requirements: Does NOT have Fanatic Purifiers Civic. Does NOT have Devouring Swarm Civic. Does NOT have Determined Exterminator Civic.
This is almost the opposite of the previous Origin, in a way. You basically gain major early benefits at the cost of long-term complications. Your empire begins on a wonderful, idyllic planet. But from that point on you will have more trouble colonizing other parts of space if they’re not also wet or oceanic. Though you do get smaller bonuses on those wet worlds as well. Basically? You need to be picky about where you expand, but your central base of power will give you an easy start.
Effects: Homeworld is an Ocean World (size: 30) with rich Food deposits and bonuses to Happiness, Pop Growth Speed, and Output. Guaranteed habitable planets are instead Frozen Worlds.
Requirements: Does NOT have Machine Intelligence Authority.
This is a sort of hybrid between Hive Mind empires and more traditional governments in Stellaris. You have all the usual Hive Mind positives and negatives, but also lieutenants in the form of Offspring Drones (which replace Spawning Drones), Offspring Ships, and Offspring Leaders. These provide strong buffs: like better defensive armies and passive leader XP. Yet your fleets become sitting ducks without an Offspring Ship to lead them. This means you need to congregate your swarms around central powerhouses — which also become prime targets.
Effects: Employ special Offspring Leaders who gain XP passively. Replaces Spawning Pools with Offspring Nests, granting a powerful defensive army and improvements to menial drones. Allows the building of Offspring Nests on Subject worlds. Can release Sectors as Subjects. Construct Offspring Ships to improve the combat effectiveness of other nearby ships. Fleets without an Offspring Ship suffer from the following effects:
- Sublight Speed: -50%
- Evasion: -50%
- Ship Fire Rate: -50%
- Accuracy: -50%
Requirements: Has Hive Mind Authority.
This is an industry-minded Origin that benefits greatly from soaking up more minerals. Your citizens can live nearly anywhere, because the Cave Dweller trait nets you +50% Minimum Habitability. Period. The downside is that everyone is squeezed together underground. This slows down your Biological Pop Growth a bit and makes things feel more crowded (i.e. your Empire Size from Pops is +10% higher than usual, which is typically a bad thing). Yet the more you focus on mining, the more you can build.
Effects: Start with the Cave Dweller trait. Your species constructs underground, leading to a +10% increase in Building and District costs, and -10% build speed. Colonies suffer -75% damage from orbital bombardment. Mining Districts are uncapped, add +2 Housing and every 3 Mining Districts grant 1 Building Slot each.
Requirements: Does NOT have Machine Intelligence Authority.
Slingshot to the Stars
This is the only Origin that starts Stellaris with a Quantum Catapult: an orbital device built around Neutron Stars and Pulsars that lets you launch fleets much farther into space than normal. The Origin technically starts with a unique Ruined Quantum Catapult, meaning you need to begin repairing it first. And even after you do, the Quantum Catapult isn’t 100% accurate by default. It launches your fleet to a star system near your intended destination. Even if you don’t use it this way, though, the device provides several passive buffs. One is that your starbases cost less influence — allowing you to claim territory faster. Another benefit is shorter Missing in Action debuffs.
Effects: Start with a Ruined Quantum Catapult near your home system, and the technology necessary to repair and use it. It will occupy a Guaranteed Habitable World slot. New starbases built in remote systems cost 75% less influence.
Teachers of the Shroud
This is a very story-driven Origin based around an NPC Enclave and the Latent Psionics trait. It basically just gives you a light single-player campaign to follow throughout a typical Stellaris campaign, with buffs largely related to psychic powers unlocked as you progress. You can also build a Shrouded Beacon: a device that lets you warp to the home system of the Shroudwalkers themselves (and their Enclave known as the Shroud-Touched Coven). This Origin is great for players looking for a little more direction and a slightly less sandbox-y experience in their game. The Latent Psionics Trait is also totally free, and provides +5% production to a number of resources, making this a fairly easy opening to the game.
Effects: Gain the Latent Psionics trait. Granted the ability to build a Shroud Beacon on a starbase. Start in contact with the Shroudwalker Enclave.
Requirements: One of the following must be true – “Has Spiritualist Ethic,” or “Has Fanatic Spiritualist Ethic.” One of the following must also be true – “Has species type: Biological,” or “Has species type: Lithoid.”
This is a very unique empire type that’s great for role-playing purposes. It causes you to automatically start the game as someone else’s servant — paying huge tithes to your rulers in exchange for the ability to specialize in particular roles. If you focus on military pursuits, for instance, your research and resources get gobbled up by your overlord instead. All of this builds to you rebelling against them in one way or another. This is also a good introduction to the vassal system from another perspective, which might help you gain a better understanding of how to rule your own subjects in the game.
Effects: Start as the vassal of an Advanced AI Empire (as in a non-player faction; not necessarily a machine intelligence). Gain the option to choose a Specialist Empire vassal type at the start of the game.
Requirements: Does NOT have Inward Perfection Civic. Does NOT have Fanatic Purifiers Civic. Does NOT have Devouring Swarm Civic. Does NOT have Driven Assimilator Civic. Does NOT have Determined Exterminator Civic.