Manual for Stellar Monarch 2
(updated: 2023.04.21)

Table of Contents:
1. Introduction
2. Quick Start Guide
3. Noble Houses and Politics
4. Characters and the Imperial Court
5. Laws, Edicts and Reforms
6. Finances, Agriculture and Industry
7. Science and Technologies
8. Galaxy and Colonization
9. Aliens and Warfare
10. Rebellion

1. Introduction

You are the ruler of the Empire and the Head of the ruling dynasty. Your goal is to be crowned the Ultimate Ruler. To do so, you need to assure obedience of noble houses and prosperity of the Empire. To be crowned, you need to achieve a certain number of glorious achievements, which are listed under Victory screen.

More importantly, you can’t allow the Empire to fall in the meantime. Which can happen if Terra, the capital of the Empire, is taken over by the enemy or if Stability falls to 0. Note that stability can start to fall if your treasury goes negative (so avoid bankruptcy) and if you take too long to crush a rebellion when it starts.

2. Quick Start Guide

A few tips how to start out at normal (4) difficulty, without extra rules on the default “Enlightened ruler” scenario.

Overall, the challenge is the internal politics within the Empire, finances and industry. If those are handled properly, and you are not too aggressive, aliens should pose no major threat at this point.

It’s recommended to start with those during the first turns:

a) The Imperial Court & Ministers
The first action should be to review your courtiers and ministers. Try to get rid of the Corrupted ones, promote competent, loyal and charismatic and so on. It might be tricky. Note that Emperor focus points needed to make those court arrangements are generated upon each audience. Administrative points are generated each turn (having highly competent courtiers at high places helps).

b) Control finances
Check the Finances/Tax tab. Money could be tight. Consider rising taxes if needed, but before that take a look at Corruption. If it’s too high, you might consider firing some corrupted officials (especially if they are ministers or advisors!). Check competence of the minister of Treasury (extra income) and minister of Justice (corruption reduction), sometimes the solution to financial problems would be to replace those with your best people.
Make sure to check finances as your Empire grows (especially bureaucracy upkeep which can be a major threat long term).

c) Noble Houses
At the beginning it might look good, but soon they will start to cause problems. It’s probably easiest (but there are other viable approaches) to decided that 1-2 houses will be your enemies and that you will not care about relations with them and that you will attempt to reduce their authority and decide on some especially friendly houses who you wish to befriend and strengthen. This of course can change later based on events. Overall, you want those friendly to be strong and with high court presence and those hostile marginalized. That being said, it’s best to not let relations deteriorate to Hostile, since such houses cause extra trouble.

d) Military
Military is pretty straightforward and can be left on default in most cases. After each audience or every two audiences go to Military/squadrons and design (adjust) a new squadron (always using maximum tonnage capacity, some technologies will allow you to extend max tonnage). Note that imperial shipyards always manufacture only the last designed squadron. After that those will be auto manufactured, distributed to fleets, border guard, etc. You also should construct some starbases to have a decent tactical bonus.
If needed you can move some fleets (Military/Fleets) to another border, but the initial setup of fleets should be sufficient for the starting situation.

e) Technologies
Technologies are straightforward as well, there are 5 fields of science, each has 12 tiers of technologies, to unlock a new tier you need to have at least one technology of the lower tier. The recommended approach is to try to reach tier 12 as soon as possible, omitting extra technologies of the lower tiers, but the strategic situation might dictate another approach.
Note that under default rules (unless you selected Total Control ruleset upon game start) technologies are semi randomized.

f) Industry
Go to Industry tab and check your minerals’ availability, if it’s too low consider investing in Minerals refineries (investment) or get technologies which boost refining technology. You can also try to grab mineral rich planets.
Same for food production.

g) Rebellion
Probably, you won’t be able to avoid at least one rebellion in your first play through. You can slow down rebel preparations by selecting anti-rebel events options, keeping loyal couriers, competent Internal Affairs Minister and by maintaining good relations with noble houses. Before the rebellion breaks out, you can prepare by stockpiling extra money, investing in Spec-ops laws and technologies and building a solid buffer of Stability (prolonged rebellion will damage your Stability).
Overall, each rebellion is guaranteed to be crushed, the question being if you ran out of Stability before it happens (letting Stability fall to 0 is an instant game over).

h) Other tips
As the Empire grows, assure proper communication coverage and military bases coverage. Try to prioritize Centralization and Stability since those are the key assets long term. Do not sweat over if you don’t get all the minor mechanics at first, at the normal difficulty it’s perfectly possible to win the game while neglecting some areas (most work decently at the default settings), as long as you maintain and control the big picture from the heights of the imperial throne.

3. Noble Houses and Politics

There are 7 noble houses in the Empire. You are the Head of one of them. Noble Houses are a double-edged sword. On one side they are valuable assets since they provide means to fight off aliens, provide extra legislation, etc. On the other side they can lead the rebellion and attempt to usurp the throne is unhappy or merely too ambitious. The ideal situation is when you have obedient nobles who are also powerful, but usually you can’t afford both. So, another option is to befriend some houses only and strive to make them powerful while marginalizing the hostile houses.

Relations, Opinion, Grudges, Political Agendas
Each house has opinion of the Emperor which is the basis or relations. Every 100 Opinion means 1 relations tier. But things are not that easy in practice because houses can have old grudges which limit the relations regardless of Opinion. In addition, noble houses might have various political agendas, things they desire. Some political agendas are plain bad, like the desire to take over the throne, and can be hoped to be removed via rare audience event options. Other political agendas can be possible to meet, like the desire to have more Ministers under the house control, for an extra Opinion bonus.

Political Marriage
When everything else fails, there is always an option to arrange a marriage between the ruling house and a hostile noble house in order to let all grudges be forgotten. No noble house, no matter how hostile, would pass the opportunity to get married into the ruling dynasty. Provided there are sufficient minor members of the house ready for the marriage.

Every 12 turns (on default settings) there is an audience (there is a progress bar on the interface which indicates how long till the next audience). Upon an audience various personas (imperial officials, nobles, ministers) and aliens appear with their issues. Each presents you a set of options to decide. Additional Emperor Focus points are also generated, and various smaller things happen (like a new squadron design enters production).

4. Characters and the Imperial Court

There are two types of characters, noble born and commoners. Commoners are the imperial officials who can serve as governors, courtiers or officers, some of those might be affiliated with or supporters of a certain noble house. Noble born are part of their noble house.

Characters (noble born):
Each noble born is a member of a noble house and has two statistics Authority and Monarchism. This statistic is added to the total Authority/Monarchism of the noble house (which is listed in full on the Head of their Noble House portrait). Minor nobles (all nobles which are not head of the house or spouse of the head) can be granted up to 3 honorary titles, those titles can further increase their statistics.

Characters (commoners):
Each commoner character has 3 stats: Competence (how skilled the character is at whatever the character is doing), Loyalty (how loyal to the Emperor the character is, this typically affects rebel points generation and likelihood of joining rebels when the rebellion starts), Charisma (how eloquent and popular the character is, the effect depends on position).

Courtiers serve as the leadership of the Empire, working close to the Emperor. From their ranks Ministers and Advisors are selected.

Governors serve as leaders of planets, you generally deal with the at bulk, with few exceptions like governors of megalopolises.

Officers are assigned to specific fleets and serve as Admirals, Vice Admirals and lower rank officials.

Effect of Courtiers and the imperial Court:
All statistics of all Courtiers are tallied up (weighted by rank in position, so those at the top add significantly more) and those are the overall statistics of the Imperial Court which grant various bonuses.

The total court Competence determines Administrative points gain per turn and a bonus to efficiency of all Ministries.

The total court Loyalty affects rebel points reduction.

The total court Charisma determines how happy the population is from the government. It can significantly affect the overall happiness.

In addition, each courtier is a supporter of a certain noble house. This affects the influence of a given house in the Imperial Court and can either improve or hinder Stability depending on the relations with the house. Overall, it’s best to assure friendly houses get the most influence and hostile are marginalized.

Effects of Governors:
The Governor’s Competence grants bonus to cities output and infrastructure points generation.

The Governor’s Loyalty affects grants a bonus/penalty to the planet loyalty.

The average Charisma of all Governors affects happiness bonus from government (similar to Courtiers, but the Governors’ impact is significantly lower).

Effects of Officers:
All officers have their statistics summed up and added to their fleet statistics (Average Officer’s Competence/Loyalty/Charisma). High rank officers impact on the average is higher (as indicated by “Impact” value in the statistic tooltip).

The average Competence of all Officers in the fleet (weighted) affect Tactical Bonus and chance for a positive tactical event during battle (as listed on the Fleet average Competence bar tooltip).

The average Loyalty of all Officers in the fleet (weighted) affect rebel point generation and SpecOps bonus (as listed on the Fleet average Loyalty bar tooltip).

The average Charisma of all Officers in the fleet (weighted) affect the chance for two positive tactical events during battle (as listed on the Fleet average Charisma bar tooltip).

5. Laws and Reforms

Legislation points are generated each turn, the pace is affected by the relations with noble houses (houses with below Neutral relations reduce it, those above increases. Those can be then spent on laws.

There are several laws available, some (the left most column) are persistent and available each game, while the rest (two remaining columns) is semi randomized. To unlock new laws (rows) you need to implement a certain number of lower tier laws.
The cost of laws increases each time you implement a new law.

Reforms are big legislative acts which require noble houses’ support. Those take a long time to pass and provide significant bonuses. Those also increase Centralization and Stability.
While a reform is being implemented, legislation points generation is halved.
It’s best to acquire as high support for a reform as possible before starting it, to reduce the time it is required for it to finish.

6. Finances, Agriculture and Industry

There is the imperial treasury (golden), your house treasury (silver) and treasuries of other noble houses (you don’t have access to those). Imperial treasury is used for most spending. Your house treasury is used to spend on various activities that especially affect your house (it’s like your private money, not under scrutiny of imperial institutions).

The empire gets money from taxes, Trade and a few other minor sources. Long term, the most dangerous is probably bureaucratic upkeep, which increases both over time and as the Empire grows. Also, Corruption has major impact on the income.

Check Quick Start Guide for tips how to control finances.

Agriculture and Manufacturing
Food extraction and processing and Minerals refining are very similar. First raw resource is extracted on planets, then those are processed/refined into final products.

Ships manufacturing
Cities provide manufacturing capacity, which, combined with mineral availability ratio and shipyards efficiency, determine how many new ships are manufactured each turn. Manufacturing of ships is done automatically (those are manufactured in “packs” called Squadrons).

7. Science and Technologies

There are 5 fields of science, each has 12 tiers of technologies, typically around 2-3 technologies per tier. To unlock a new tier, you need to have at least one technology of the lower tier.

Note that under default rules (unless you selected Total Control ruleset upon game start) technologies are semi randomized and hidden (can see only up to 2 tiers above the currently unlocked tier).

Research points generation
Research points are generated each turn by planets, cities, populations, access to various rare space objects (blue suns, black holes proximity). Extra one time research points can be gained via various audience events, expeditions, etc. Overall, a big, healthy and happy Empire will generate more research points.

There are also percentage modifiers to research points generation like certain laws, technologies, Science budget setting.

Field of science prioritization
You can prioritize certain fields of science by assigning laboratories to each field of science on Technologies screen. Each laboratory grants a percentage bonus to the total number of research points generated for this field of science each turn.

8. Galaxy and Colonization

Establishing Outposts
First, you need to establish an Outpost. Those are free, you just need to click on a planet and set “Claim the planet” button and eventually an Outpost will be established (if it’s possible). You can establish an Outpost only on planets adjacent to imperial planets.

When you have an outpost on the planet, it’s considered yours and can be used for further expansion and for warfare, but no resources are gathered yet. To do so, you need to colonize the planet.

Colonization, similarly to outpost, is done automatically, but this time those use limited Colonization ships capacity. So it’s much slower than building outposts.

You can click “Encourage colonization” if you really want to prioritize a certain planet to be colonized before others, but it does not speed things up, it merely says the colonization AI that you want this planet badly.

How planets are prioritized by the auto colonization AI
The colonization AI is pretty smart and takes into account minerals, food, habitability, rare resources, proximity to core planets, proximity to dangerous borders, etc. So usually it will select one of the best planets to colonize. Of course your manual imperial order (Encourage colonization) takes a precedence and overrides all those (but note that if you encourage colonization on several planets the colonizer AI will prioritize among those using the usual criteria).

9. Aliens & Warfare

There are two kinds of aliens, Xeno and Civilized. A good Xeno alien is a dead alien, for Civilized alien, it depends. All civilized races are in permanent total war with Xeno races, those Xenos try to eat civilized aliens and should be eradicated from the galaxy by any means possible. Civilized aliens are humanoids and can be at peace or war with each other. They can also conduct trade.

Basics of Warfare
If you want to conquer a planet, click a planet and then “Claim the planet”. Then go to Diplomacy and declare a war (some races, the Xeno ones, are at war already with you). And that’s it, the initial setup and position of imperial fleets will allow admirals to eventually carry on your order.

In addition, you should:
1) Before conquest, build starbase in proximity of planets you want to conquer (preferably if those target get the “blue” full operational range marker.
2) Go to Military/squadrons and design a new squadron (always using maximum tonnage capacity, some technologies will allow you to extend max tonnage, grab those).
3) Go to Industry tab and check your minerals’ availability, if it’s too low consider investing in Minerals refineries (investment) or get techs which boos refining technology (or colonize planets which are mineral rich).
4) If the conquests progresses slowly, consider moving another fleet to this border and set their focus on “Attack”, this will give your admirals more squadrons to work with.
5) Invest in various combat technologies.
6) Provide enough skilled crew for ships (Space Academy upgrade) or invest in technologies and upgrades which reduce the number of crew needed (and therefore increase the average quality of crew since fewer are needed and therefore best can be selected to serve on imperial ships).

How conquest works:
1) First Admiral of a fleet has to decide to react to the Conquest order, which might take a long time of many other Conquest orders are “waiting”.
2) Fleet Admiral then allocates forces (drawing strategic reserves if needed, which might be denied if there are not enough reserves). The number of forces allocated depends on the power difference % (which you can select on a planet view).
3) Space forces arrive at the planet, and they start fighting enemy space forces.
4) When the attacker has at least 50% of space forces of the defender (quantity only) on orbit, invasion ground troops start to be dropped.
5) When all space forces are eliminated, the attacker “controls orbit”, which increases the pace at which invading ground forces are dropped.
6) When the attacker has more ground troops power than the defender AND controls orbit, the planet is taken over.

Ships manufacturing
Industry provides manufacturing capacity, which determines how many new ships are manufactured each turn. Manufacturing of ships is done automatically (those are manufactured in “packs” called Squadrons), so you don’t need to do anything (other than redesigning the Squadron design from time to time). Only one, the newest, squadron design is being produced. A new squadron design enters production after each audience.

Squadrons command and control
Squadrons being built is not enough. Those need to be commanded and controlled. This is provided by noble houses and some imperial agencies. Excess squadrons for which there is no spare C&C capacity are stored in reserve and activated as needed (due to combat casualties, typically).

10. Rebellion

Not everyone is happy with the rule of the Emperor. Some misguided citizens, lead by disloyal noble houses can start a rebellion. This is a constant threat represented by rebel points. When a certain threshold of rebel points is reached a rebellion will start. While rebellion in itself will not endanger you directly, it needs to be crushed swiftly since a prolonged rebellion will cause Stability drop and eventual collapse of the Empire from within.

Rebels preparation
Rebel points are generated each turn caused by numerous factors. Major of those factors is loyalty of imperial officials, especially high rank ones, noble houses relations and political agendas, planets rebel support. There are also audience events which can add/remove one time rebel points.

How to prevent a rebellion
It might be tricky but doable, depending on the game mode, extra rules selected and the difficulty level. The key factors are promoting high loyalty courtiers to positions of power, appointing a competent Internal Affairs minister and not letting noble houses relations escalate to hostile. Keeping a happy population and decent network of broadcast towers to fight of rebel propaganda could work as well.

What happens when rebellion starts
First, noble houses decide sides. While it’s theoretically possible all houses would stay loyal, it’s very unlikely. Typically at least one house would try to grab the opportunity and attempt to usurp the throne, such house is the leader of the rebellion. Other houses might join rebellion as well. Next, all imperial officials make a treachery test, which is affected by loyalty and if the house they support decided to stay loyal or join rebels. Officials who decide to rebel get a Traitor role. Traitors are quite dangerous to the Empire, especially if they are ministers and even more dangerous if they happen to hold power ministry (War or Internal Affairs). Note that getting rid of officials during rebellion is much more difficult and expensive than under normal circumstances, so sometimes you might even decide to keep them in their position and deal after rebellion.

The overall support of the rebellion, along with difficulty level, determines the starting rebels power. Your goal is to drive this number to 0, when it happens rebellion is crushed. If it takes too long Stability penalty will be applied over time which would lead to collapse of the Empire from within.

Each turn rebels power will be decreased by imperial SpecOps value (so it’s recommended to improve it by passing appropriate laws and researching counter rebel technologies in preparation to the rebellion). In addition, each audience you will be presented with various options which let you accelerate reduction of rebel power.

The Empire will still run as one organism during rebellion. Some planets will join rebels, which would affect the efficiency of the industry and taxes, but overall all planets are still considered imperial planets and are defended by the imperial military from external threats. Military will invoke paragraph 33 of the Great Imperial Charter, since the founders of the Empire prepared for such situation, and will declare they stay neutral and focus on protecting the Empire from aliens, regardless of who rules it at the moment. That being said, having loyalist Admirals on your side can greatly affect the rebellion. In theory, conquest can still progress as usual, but considering the hefty penalty to ships manufacturing (both rebels and loyalists will try to use as much forces as possible for the civil war), it would be unfeasible in practice.

How to crush rebellion
To crush the rebels you need to reduce the rebels power to 0. All other considerations, like who control which planet, is of importance to overall well being of the Empire only and will not directly affect the rebellion outcome. Terra is guaranteed to stay loyal till the last moment, so in theory, one could crush the rebellion even if all other planets joined rebels.

The determining factor is time and Stability. Overall, the rebel power will fall each turn due to SpecOps and thanks to audience events. So, given enough time you are guaranteed to crush them. But the question is how long it will take and if you have enough Stability to survive this. After a few audiences Stability will start to fall due to prolonged rebellion. So, your option is to either end it quickly or to have enough Stability to survive the long rebellion.

How well you can do against rebels is greatly determined by preparations you made before the rebellion. Like SpecOps modifier which can be gained from laws and technologies). Also the starting situation, how many officials and houses decided to join rebels, will greatly affect it.

During rebellion your main tool is audience events, where you will be selecting appropriate actions against rebel forces.

What happens when rebellion is crushed
When the rebellion ends, all rebel noble houses will be summoned to the audience where you can decide their fate. Similarly, a tribunal to judge all traitors will gather. All traitors will be summoned to an audience where you can decide who will be spared and who not.

After the rebellion is crushed, all future rebellions will have a harder time. From now on the threshold of rebel points to start a rebellion will be greatly increased.