In my game of Stellaris I have a Pacifist government ethos and it has become a problem because somehow a tiny civilization took over a bottleneck system on my border and it is preventing me from expanding or interacting with other civs. (The only other outlet I have is blocked by a very powerful neighbor.)

The tiny civilization just has one planet and is Belligerent and Pathetic, so there is apparently no way to either ally with it or induce it to attack me. Since I am Pacifist, I can't attack it. It closed its borders to me, so I can't transit the system.

I tried to alter my ethos by embracing a Xenophile faction, but all that did was make me Fanatic Xenophile - Pacifist. From what I understand of how factions work, if I promote a different faction, then it will just me non-fanatic, so I will go to Xenophile - Pacifist - [Whatever the new faction is], and stay Pacifist. Also, it will take 10 years before I can even do this. So 10 years later and I will still be Pacifist and blocked. (There are no militarist factions, so I can't reverse the Pacifism that way).

How can I get out of this trap?

1 Answer 1


There are two practical options:

Use the Impose Ideology wargoal. With the policy Liberation Wars, you can use the Impose Ideology casus belli to declare war. Winning that war will turn the other empire into a friend that shares your ethics, which should get you open borders. You can use that wargoal on a non-hivemind empire with different ethics than you

Get militarist pops. There are a number of factors that boost militarist ethics attraction.

  • Make sure that all pops are eligible for military service.
  • Give your pops the Strong or Very strong traits.
  • Start hostilities with the powerful neighbour.
  • Fight and lose a war against the powerful neighbour. (You get some militarist attraction for fighting a war but even more, if your planets get occupied or you lose the war.)

And a few impractical ones:

  • Building a colossus gives you a CB on everyone.
  • Losing to the Impose Ideology CB shifts your ethics to those of the victor. (The other empire has to pick this CB, which is not guaranteed.)
  • Becoming spiritualist and getting a god emperor through the shroud makes your empire spiritualist authoritarians.
  • The Horizon Signal Messenger event chain can turn your main species into militarists.

And some impractical options for escape:

  • Wait for the caravaneers to make contact and use experimental subspace navigation to jump to the caravansary (also works for other empires if they can get open borders from your neighbours and you can get open borders from them).
  • Research (psi) jump drive and increase your sensor range until you find a system you can jump to. You can then use a gateway to permanently connect the two. You can also use the gateways of empires you have open borders with.

I'm sure there are a lot more options in the impractical category.

  • I thought I could only fight Liberation wars against Gestalt governments. How do I get the Liberation casus belli activated? Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 11:02
  • 3
    @TylerDurden The casus belli is called "Impose Ideology" and should be available, as long as you have the "Liberation Wars" war policy and the other empire has different ethics. I clarified the answer to make this difference clear. You actually can not use this CB on hiveminds as they have no ethics which could be changed.
    – xyldke
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 11:34
  • Well, I did the liberation war, but even though I won all the engagements, it ended in status quo because the Pathetic civ refused to surrender. So, this got me forced open borders but nothing else, so now I have their research ships surveying my empire. How do I force them to surrender? They were at 100% exhaustion the whole time, but my war goals never got much below 50%. From what you are saying my only chance is to grow a militarist faction and promote it? Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 0:42
  • @TylerDurden What did it say was weighing against your war goals?
    – Schwern
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 2:46
  • 2
    @TylerDurden Yes, hover over the X. Stellaris Casus Belli & War Goals - Road To Glory explains. Montu Plays is a good channel to learn Stellaris. Did you completely occupy the system? That is, did you land armies on all their planets? Or did you just knock out their starbase?
    – Schwern
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 2:53

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