Vassal Mods for Stellaris: The Ultimate Collection

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Expanding the reaches of your empire is the main objective during a Stellaris campaign – but there are more ways than one to reach interstellar domination.

Just as you can wage bloody wars and commit genocide on a galactic scale to take over some planets and star systems, you can try a less destructive approach and offer weaker neighbors to become your vassals in exchange for protection.

The subjugation system in Stellaris is a bit lacking to make this mechanic as fun as it could be.

Still, modders have been hard at work improving the game since it came out in 2016 – and a couple mods can make your empire subjugation experience a lot better.


1. Civil Wars

Civil Wars Mod for Stellaris

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Based on our modern understanding of politics and demographics, it’s doubtful that a galactic empire would enjoy the amount of political stability that it does in Stellaris.

For a more realistic experience, this mod makes civil wars and localized rebellions a more common occurrence.

Sometimes, the rebelling party might offer to become your vassal in exchange for a degree of independence.

It makes space politics feel much more dynamic, and it’s a lot of fun.


2. Susvassals – Demand Favors

Susvassals – Demand Favors Stellaris mod

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One of the benefits of looking after a vassal state and guaranteeing their independence (from foreign powers) is getting a bigger voice in the galactic community.

Susvassals – Demand Favors streamlines this process by letting you pass a mandate forcing all of your vassals to owe you 10 favors. These can then be used in the galactic community to make your empire’s voice louder.

Of course, favors are helpful in various other situations, so this mod should open up the possibilities for many new geopolitical strategies.


3. Difficulty Bonus for Vassals

Difficulty Bonus for Vassals Mod for Stellaris

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One of the most frustrating parts about vassalizing another state is how, no matter your difficulty settings, their AI and bonuses are set to the second-to-lowest: Ensign.

This makes this vassal state essentially useless compared to foreign powers if you’re playing on Commodore and above, and it’s a big turn-off that might lead you to ignore vassalization altogether.

Difficulty Bonus for Vassals is a simple mod that adjusts their AI and bonuses to match your chosen settings.

This way, they can actually help out when push comes to shove.


4. Susvassals – Release Capital

Susvassals – Release Capital Stellaris mod

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There comes a time in any overlord-vassal relationship when it’s time to either become unified or part ways.

Usually, I wouldn’t have a problem with letting a single colony earn its independence – especially if I feel the cost of putting down a rebellion just isn’t worth it. But when you consider that they take anything within four hyperlane jumps with them… things start getting a little more complicated.

Susvassals – Release Capital makes independence negotiations more flexible and realistic by allowing you to choose which systems they can keep in addition to where their capital world stands.

You might even leave them locked in a single system if you’re an especially oppressive overlord.


5. Vassals Love Powerful Overlords

Vassals Love Powerful Overlords Mod for Stellaris

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One of the biggest benefits of being someone’s vassal is that you get to be a part of their empire, and therefore, you get their protection from foreign threats.

Normally, Stellaris vassals don’t seem to realize this, and your strength might actually make them dislike you.

With this mod, your vassal states will have the good sense to prefer powerful overlords.

They’ll also like their fellow vassals less, as they force you to spread out your resources.

To balance things out, you’ll also notice they’ll totally hate being turned into a vassal at first – but they’ll come around. They always do…


6. Viable Feudalism & Imperialism – Empire Federation

Viable Feudalism & Imperialism – Empire Federation Stellaris mod

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Feudalism and imperialism are two government types people love to pursue in any game that allows it. After all, they’ve both had a reasonably successful run on Earth.

Stellaris doesn’t make it easy to do this, as your relationship with vassals and other small states surrounding your empire is rudimentary at best.

This mod will give you the tools to expand your sphere of influence by establishing an “imperial federation” of sorts, which uses the vanilla federation system to manage your subjects.

You’ll be able to force anyone in your imperial federation to contribute resources to monumental projects and more easily influence their decisions.


7. Vassals and Tributaries – Exalted Domination

Vassals and Tributaries – Exalted Domination Mod for Stellaris

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The Domination tradition tree in vanilla Stellaris is about making your government more robust and efficient to keep a big empire under control.

With the Vassals and Tributaries mod, it also becomes a must-have to effectively leverage your vassals in your favor.

The mod also introduces several new vassal-overlord relationships. For example, you could keep a Hive Mind around as a pet or regularly harvest the planet’s population for research, enslavement, or just to eat them.


8. Interstellar Incorporated: Space Corp

Interstellar Incorporated: Space Corp Stellaris mod

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Something most global superpowers on Earth have a lot of is gigantic “privately-owned” corporations that willfully contribute to spreading their sphere of influence.

Interstellar Incorporated helps you achieve that level of state and industry cooperation by making diverse corporations spawn as vassals of your empire.

These corporations will have their own ethics and civics based on the citizens that create them, and though they can be a major asset for your empire, they’ll operate mostly independently.

In a cyberpunk turn of affairs, these corporations will create their own military, construction, and research fleets – all in the pursuit of profit.


9. Fatherland: Frontier Worlds

Fatherland: Frontier Worlds Mod for Stellaris

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Fatherland: Frontier Worlds is a vassal-focused expansion to the exceptional Fatherland: Colonial Empires.

Colonial Empires introduces many new “rogue” colony types of disgruntled or just fiercely independent citizens who decide to colonize a planet without your assistance or approval.

On the other hand, Frontier Worlds introduces eager but loyal explorers who set out to spread your rule across the stars by themselves. They’ll still be semi-independent, but they’ll gladly offer to become your vassal states once their colony is up and running.

It’s a great, organic way of getting some new vassals if your empire is doing well – but you need the main Colonial Empires mod too for it to work.


10. Vassals Expanded and Reworked

Vassals Expanded and Reworked Stellaris mod

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The most complete and versatile vassal mod you can get is Vassals Expanded and Reworked.

This introduces novel subject types and many new ways to interact with them.

Instead of just vassals and protectorates, you’ll get access to many new overlord-vassal relationship types based on your empire’s ethics. For example, an authoritarian empire might create Puppet States, while a Hive Mind will see them more as Appendages.

In addition to the twelve base subject types, the mod includes nine types exclusive to corporations, including Devotees to your brand and Subscribers to your media conglomerate.

One of the most prominent features is the possibility of taxing your subjects or declaring proxy wars by making them attack a neighboring country on your behalf.

Galactic geopolitics just got a lot spicier.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.