With the recent Dick update and the Stellaris Nemesis DLC the duties of Envoys have been greatly expanded. Envoys are part of the Stellaris Diplomacy system. The minimum number of Envoys you’ll typically start a game with is two but there are methods for increasing and even decreasing, that number.
Choose Fanatic Xenophile as an Ethic and Diplomatic Corps as a Civic for Humanoids. This starts the game with 6 Envoys. Hiveminds can choose the Empath Civic for an additional 2 Envoys but the Fanatic Xenophile Ethic is unavailable to them. They can only start with a max of 4 Envoys.
You can get additional Envoys through buildings, civics, ethics, edicts, megastructures, traditions, Federations, and Ascension Perks. Depending on the type of empire you have not all these options will be available, and they probably won’t be in almost all cases.
In my current game I’m playing a custom empire, “The Terran State” and I started with 4 Envoys, which gave me enough Envoys to handle the First Contacts, Improve or Harm relations between empires, and to set up Spy Networks. It sometimes took some juggling between tasks, but the number was adequate and was worth the trade-off of having a stronger military instead of more Envoys. By the time the Galactic Union was established I had increased the number of envoys available to me by 1 by unlocking Federations in the Diplomacy tree. I was able to assign an Envoy to represent my interests there as a result.
A Stellaris Building That Adds Envoys
The Embassy Complex Building adds 1 Envoy, upgrading it to a Grand Embassy Complex will add another Envoy. This building can only be constructed on the capital world of an empire and it must have a Planetary Capital built before the Embassy Complex can be upgraded to a Grand Embassy Complex. All three buildings are unlocked through Society Research. Xeno Diplomacy unlocks the Embassy Complex, Xeno Relations unlocks the Grand Embassy Complex, and Colonial Centralization unlocks the Planetary Capital.
Stellaris Civics and Ethics That Add Envoys
You can modify an empire at the start of the game to maximize available Envoys. Some of them can be changed during the course of the game, and at least 1 civic will actually decrease the number of available Envoys.
At the start of the game Humanoids can increase their available Envoys by 2 with the Fanatic ethic and by another 2 by choosing the Diplomatic Corps civic, for a total of 6 Envoys at the start of the game. The Fanatic Xenophile ethic will also increase the empire’s trade value by 20% and cost 2 ethics points. The Diplomatic Corps civic will also increase diplomatic weight by 10% and costs 1 civic point.
Hiveminds don’t have the Diplomatic Corps available plus they can’t choose the Fanatic Xenophile ethic but they can choose the Empath civic to increase their Envoy count by 2. This also increases their diplomatic weight by 10% and costs 1 civic point.
Megacorps have the Fanatic Xenophile Ethic available but not the Diplomatic Corps or Empath civic available, they will need to choose the Public Relations Specialist civic instead. Same as the Diplomatic Corps and Empath Civics, this also adds 2 Envoys and provides a 10% boost in Diplomatic Weight. It also cost 1 civic point.
You can also change ethics during the game, see my change ethics page for all the details. You can also used the customized menu at the top of the page to find all the Stellaris articles on this site.
Stellaris Edicts That Add Envoys
Edicts are policies an empire can enact. Some are for a certain amount of time while others are active until cancelled. All have a cost of some type. All the listed Edicts are not available to all empires.
- Diplomatic Grants adds1 Envoy until cancelled. It also increases Diplomatic Weight by 10%. The base cost is 80 influence.
- Bureau of Espionage adds 1 Envoy until cancelled and it has a base cost of 160 Influence. This Edict also reduces the operation difficulty of your spy operatives by 2 and increases your base Intel by 10.
- Enhanced Surveillance enhances your counterespionage efforts plus it adds 1 Envoy until the edict is cancelled. It also increases Encryption by 1 and the Authoritarian Ethics attraction increases by 25%. The drawback is that your empire’s happiness takes a hit of 10%. The base cost for this Edict is 160 Influence.
- Observation Instinct increases Envoys by 1. It also reduces Operational Difficulty by 2 and raises Base Intel by 10. There are no negative drawbacks to this Edict, the base cost is 160 Influence.
- The Covert Analysis Algorithm has the same effects as the Observation Instinct Edict.
All Stellaris Federations Can Increase Available Envoys
All Federations can provide an additional envoy to the President’s empire once a specific level is attained.
The Galactic Union, Hegemony and Trade League each add 1 Envoy to the Federation President’s empire at level 2. The Martial Alliance adds 1 Envoy to the Federation President’s empire at level 3 and the Research Cooperative adds an Envoy to the Federation President’s empire at level 4.
You can learn the pros and cons to each type of Federation at this page on my website.
A Stellaris Megastructure That Increases Envoys
The megastructure Interstellar Assembly is focused purely on diplomacy. The Consul Ring (stage 2) provides an empire with an additional Envoy, when it is completed at stage 4 an empire gains 1 more Envoy for a total of 2. Each level the Interstellar Assembly is increased by also increases Diplomatic Weight by 10% per level.
Need more Megastructure info? Take a look at my Megastructures page.
A Stellaris Tradition That Provides An Additional Envoy
The only Tradition that provides an additional Envoy is the Diplomacy Tradition. Unlocking Federations in that tradition tree gives you an additional Envoy who can be assigned to represent you in the Federation if you want.
A Stellaris Civic That Decreases Envoys
If you want to decrease the number of available Envoys and are comfortable with a lot of restrictions you can choose the Inward Perfection civic, which reduces the number of available Envoys by 1. This civic also provides a lot of gains. By choosing that civic you get a 20% gain in monthly Unity, a 10% gain in population growth speed, one more available edict, and population happiness is increased by 5%. Your Encryption also goes up by 1 but in addition to losing an Envoy you also lose 1 point in Codebreaking.
Restrictions for this ethic are many. You cannot have any Rivals, Defensive Pacts, Migration Treaties, Research Agreements, Commercial Pacts, Guarantee someone’s independence, can’t belong to a Federation, can’t Infiltrate Primitives, can’t have forced subjects, and can’t use the Unrestricted Wars policy, which is a pretty exhaustive list. Be sure when selecting this because once you have it you can’t get rid of it.
A Stellaris Ascension Perk That Adds Envoys
The Shared Destiny Ascension Perk allows your empire to “remain loyal” to anyone who has served you. It adds 2 Envoys to your empire, plus you can integrate subjects at half the cost of Influence, plus you get an increase of 100 when it comes to trust from your “loyal” subjects.
Recalling Envoys In Stellaris
Recalling Envoys depends on the task the Envoy has been assigned. If the Envoy is harming relations, improving relations, is assigned to represent you in a Federation or the Galactic Community then the Envoy cannot be recalled. The Envoy can be reassigned to another task after the Envoy has worked at the current task for 360 days.
If the Envoy is working on a Spy Network or First Contact Investigation the Envoy can be recalled by right-clicking on the Envoy’s portrait when the task screen is open as long as the Envoy is not involved in an ongoing operation.
For example, to recall an Envoy from a Spy Network open the Espionage tab of the Empire you want to recall the spy (Envoy) from and right-click on the Envoy’s portrait. As long as the Spy doesn’t have an ongoing operation the Envoy will be recalled. It would be a good idea to Prepare Sleeper Cells first which will allow the Spy to be reassigned without hurting the infiltration level of the Spy Network.
What Envoys Do In Stellaris And How To Use Them
In Stellaris Envoys are used to harm or improve relations between your empire and another one, to build spy networks, to represent you in a Federation or the Galactic Community and to handle First Contacts for your empire.
Assigning an Envoy to either harm or improve relations and to build a Spy Network all begin by selecting the empire you want to take action on at the Contacts screen. To improve or harm relations you will need to engage in Diplomacy. Once the diplomacy tab is open you can choose either the Harm or Improve Relations button. A list of available Envoys will display, simply select an available Envoy and then click accept. Relations will be harmed or improved on a monthly basis. Relations can be improved by up to 100 or decreased by 100 at 1 point per month.
Assigning Envoys to Federations and to the Galactic Community also works basically the same. Just activate the Federation or Galactic Community screen and then click assign Envoy, select an available one from the list and click accept. Assigning an Envoy to a Federation increases the Federation cohesion by 1 per month. Assigning an Envoy to the Galactic Community adds 10% to your diplomatic weight. Benefits do stack so adding another Envoy will increase your Diplomatic Weight or Federation Cohesion by 20% instead of 10%.
First Contacts is a new feature in Stellaris. When you first meet a new empire, you will know nothing about them, not even what the boundaries are to their empire, and won’t be able to communicate with them. You assign an Envoy to investigate them and similar to the Archaeological system the investigation progresses in stages.
There are sometimes different options you can pursue, like taking hostages and interrogating them. Once the First Contact investigation is finished, you’ll have some basic knowledge about the new empire and will at least be able to communicate with them.
Using A Stellaris Envoy As A Spy
To use an Envoy as a spy you assign the Envoy to build a Spy Network. To build a Spy Network you select the Espionage tab instead of Diplomacy at the empire’s screen. The Spy Network screen looks different from the Diplomacy screen, but it basically works the same way. Clicking on the empty portrait (it has a red exclamation mark in it) will bring up a list of available Envoys, select one and then click accept and your agent will begin building a Spy Network. Encryption affects how fast a spy network will grow. The higher the other empire’s is as compared to yours means your Spy Network will grow more slowly, the bigger the difference the slower the growth.
An Envoy can provide all kinds of information through a Spy Network. You can gain the details about the enemy empire’s government, such has authority, ethics, where the capital is located, what relics it owns and what the empire sprawl is.
Your spies can uncover details about their diplomatic efforts, like what their relative overall power is to yours, their rivalries and any diplomatic pacts they may have. They can also provide military details such as relative fleet power, the location of their starbases, and most importantly details about their military fleets, allowing you to better arm your own fleets in case you have to face them in combat.
Spies can also tell you what the empire’s technological power is as compared to yours and the number of technologies they’ve researched.
You can also get Intel about their relative economic power, intel on their colonies and systems and the location of civilian ships. Envoys acting as spies can also acquire assets, like discredited scholars, to give operations they undertake a better chance at success.
What to Do If A Stellaris Envoy Dies
If a Stellaris Envoy dies you don’t need to do anything. Currently Envoys are automatically replaced and put in the same job their predecessor was doing. No actions are needed on your part.