Paradox has done an amazing job of allowing players to recreate their favorite sci-fi factions in Stellaris. Selecting the correct civics, traits, or even origins can tailor your game for this exact purpose.
A unique and interesting way to play the game is by playing as a necrophage. This is a special origin in the game that makes your species a parasitic entity that takes over pops for control.
Recommended Read: What Is the Best Species in Stellaris?
Playing as a necrophage is a little bit different from playing any other type of empire that exists in the game, and this guide will help make sense of all the new mechanics players need to know to be successful as a necrophage empire.
To play as a necrophage in Stellaris, you create a ruler species and a host species during empire creation. Then, during gameplay, you will need to obtain different pops, which can be hosts for your necrophage species.
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How to Play As a Necrophage in Stellaris
Necrophages are not all science fiction gobbledygook, as they do, in fact, exist in our own world.
A necrophage is any organism that gets food from dead biomass; vultures, maggots, and other insects are all examples of necrophages.
In Stellaris, the necrophage origin makes your species a parasite that takes control over the host and acts as a vessel for furthering the species. Again, this exists in our own world; the Cordyceps fungus made famous in The Last of Us games, does this to insects.
If you struggle to imagine what a necrophage species may be, there are some amazing examples in fiction you can use to spark your imagination.
The Brain Slugs from Futurama, the Goa’uld from Stargate, and even Venom from Spider-Man are all good examples of a necrophage.
Playing as a necrophage is a game of two halves. There is the creation phase and the gameplay phase.
Creating a Necrophage
The first and most important part of playing as a necrophage is selecting the necrophage origin. Without this, your empire will never be one.
After selecting this, you will notice a new trait in your main species called necrophage.
This trait provides:
- 50% reduction in pop upkeep
- Leaders will live a whopping 80 more years
- 5% increased production in specialist and leader jobs
- 10% reduction in worker job output
- 50% reduction in pop assembly speed
- 75% reduction in pop growth speed
Options will now become available for you to design a host species, called a prepatent species, in the game.
These exist to one day become hosts for your ruler species, carry out the worker jobs, are your ground soldiers, and make up for your necrophages weaknesses.
This mechanic is very similar to the Servilles origin, in which you have a symbiotic relationship with a weaker species that also originated in your home world.
Example Build of a Necrophage Empire
Here is a powerful build you can try out if you are struggling to think of your own.
For starters, you should choose to be a lithoid. This gives you the lithoid trait, which synergizes so well with the necrophage trait to the point where I would consider it a broken combo.
An extra 50 years of life and 50% habitability will carry your leaders and regular pops to new heights.
When it comes to ethics, government, and civics, you can take pretty much whatever you like. I recommend a militarist and spiritualist empire with imperial authority.
For civics, take distinguished admiralty and reanimators to add to that necroid feel. What is important about this build are the species traits.
This build lives and dies by some clever usage of negative traits that will have literally no impact on you. For your main species, take slow learners and fleeting.
Your species is so long-lived due to the lithoid and necrophage traits that these will not hinder you in any way.
For positive traits, take intelligent because why would you ever not? Then traditional, for extra unity, and nomadic. Nomadic will help reduce the cost of moving your ruling pops to newly conquered worlds.
For your prepatent species, they can be any biological species you like. You have three negative traits: slow learners, fleeting, and jinxed. These traits all affect leaders, which this species will never be, so they are all free points.
The positive traits are rapid breeders and very strong. This allows you to speed up their production, and you get bonuses for their output on their worker jobs.
Feel free to edit this build as you see fit to accommodate your own play style.
Playing As a Necrophage in Stellaris
For the most part, playing as a necrophage is not all that different from playing as any other empire. You are still trying to create a flourishing space empire and defend yourself from the threats the galaxy has in store.
Where necrophage is different is that you have one master species, which presides over all the other species in your empire.
The game enables you to do this with some special buildings, actions, and a few perks that come with the necrophage origin.
By default, habitable worlds will spawn close to your home world. This allows you to get a good start on creating a multi-planet empire.
If you have the necrophage origin, these inhabitable worlds are instead populated with pre-FTL civilizations, primitive aliens, if you will.
What are these aliens great for? Well, they would make perfect hosts for your necrophages to use to grow their population. They should make easy prey for your empire. You can abduct the pops or invade.
How do You Make More Necrophage Pops
One of the most important buildings that only necrophage empires have access to is the chamber of elevation. This special building will have your prepatent species working as necrophytes.
The necrophyte job produces unity and amenities, which is very nice on its own. What also happens is that every ten years, there is an uplifting ritual that takes place. This ritual converts the necrophyte pop into one of your necrophage pops.
Due to all the substantial negative modifiers, you get to pop growth as a necrophage, this is the best way to create more of the ruling class.
You can build these on multiple planets, allowing you to produce more necrophages on any world you take over.
If your empire uses slavery, these pops also make amazing hosts for your empire. Making the slave market a very valuable commodity for necrophages.
This is everything you need to know about how to play as a necrophage in Stellaris. As you can see, the game does not change all that much. The new mechanics can be a bit obtuse to get your head around at first, as the game does not explain them very well.
If you have any questions or suggestions for this guide, please let us know in the comments section below. As always, have fun playing as a necrophage in Stellaris.