A new feature introduced in NSC 5.0 allows the player to summon their own Guardian/Leviathan (if they have purchased the Leviathans DLC). The AI will not use this feature.
IMPORTANT: For those of you using Playable Guardians Standalone, the entirety of this guide still applies, although certain things may be named differently. For example, the “NSC Features Menu” mentioned below is the “Playable Guardians Menu” in the standalone version. The guide should still work and be clear for all players, whether you use NSC Main or Playable Guardians Standalone.
How Playable Guardians Works
At the beginning of your campaign, after you hit “begin,” you received a pop-up notice, informing you that all Playable Guardian controls have been moved to the NSC Features Menu. Because of this move of the controls, all players who have the Leviathans DLC will automatically have Playable Guardians on at the start of the campaign. If you do not wish to deal with Playable Guardians during your campaign, you must make sure the feature is turned off in the NSC Features Menu. It’s a simple button push.
After deciding if you want Playable Guardians or not, you realize there are currently zero Guardian systems in your galaxy (except Enclaves that retain their original spawn values). In order for any to appear in your galaxy, you must go into the NSC Features Menu and spawn them in yourself. This is done in the NSC System Spawn Control Center. The first option will be the “Guardian Universal” options: if you want all Guardians to spawn in with a 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% chance. The next option in this menu will be “Guardian Individual.” This will lead you to a chain of messages that will ask you, individually, if you want a 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% spawn chance for each Guardian in alphabetical order. This allows you to, for example, choose 100% chance for the Ether Drake, 50% chance for the Automated Dreadnought, and 0% chance for the Hive Asteroids.
This sort of spawn control can be used throughout the game, meaning you can spawn in any Guardian system (outside of Enclaves) at any time with any spawn chance you want.
IMPORTANT: If you what to use Playable Guardians at all you must spawn in at least one Guardian so you can defeat it and claim it as a Playable Guardian. If you do not spawn in any Guardian systems, Playable Guardians will not work. Or even if you don’t want Playable Guardians but just want some Guardians to face, you must spawn them in yourself.
Once all that is complete, you play the game as you normally would, until you find a Guardian. Almost all Guardians have to be killed in order to unlock their “playable” counterpart. There is one exception and one notice for this “rule:” The exception is the Technosphere is the only Guardian that can be acquired “peacefully”… by assisting it with it’s calculations (you can also “hack” the Technosphere with the appropriate special project or you can simply destroy it as well to unlock it), and the notice is that in order to unlock the Enigmatic Fortress, you must successfully complete the vanilla Enigmatic Fortress event chain to unlock the Playable Guardian version.
After killing (or helping/solving) the Guardian, you should receive a pop-up message about building/growing your own. At this point, if it’s your first defeated Guardian, you will immediately get the option to receive it or “get another.” If you choose to receive it, you will either immediately receive a special project in your situation log to “build/grow” it, or if it happens to be the Automated Dreadnought, Ether Drake, or Wraith, you will have a second window appear offering you different color schemes for these Guardians. Select the one you desire, then you will receive your special project in the situation log.
If you choose “another” Guardian, whether or not you actually “have” another, you will be lead to the Playable Guardian Repository. It “holds” all the Guardians you have defeated and have “earned” their Playable Guardian versions. If it’s your first Guardian, only one will appear in the listing, as the options unlock only as you defeat the Guardians yourself. As you continue to find and defeat Guardians, the listing will grow, to a max of 8 Guardians (assuming you grab the Carrack Pirate Galleon – the Hive Asteroids are not a Playable Guardian). Select any of the Guardians listed to receive it as your next Playable Guardian.
Also inside the Playable Guardian Repository is an option that will be there no matter how many Playable Guardians you have earned; the postpone option. This option, like the choice to activate/deactivate Playable Guardians in the NSC Features Menu, is here for your choice and convenience. The postpone option allows you to hold off on making a choice on a Guardian for a time between 1 and 50 years. This can be used if you don’t want the Guardian you just unlocked because you’re seeking another first, or perhaps you don’t want to deal with a Playable Guardian at this time.
Once you have a Guardian and have researched its special project, it will appear around your current capital. Playable Guardians always spawn around your current Capital without exception. A day or two after it appears around your capital (due to the game coding catching up), you’ll receive a notice that your Guardian has been built/grown and is ready for your commands. Your Guardian costs no upkeep whatsoever, however it will cost you 50 naval capacity points to maintain, so bare this in mind when playing. Your Guardian will remain with you until it dies, at which point, you will receive a notice of it’s death/destruction and then have the Playable Guardian Repository pop back up for you to select your replacement Guardian from any you have defeated up until this point, or again, you can postpone/disable the feature at this time.
For balancing reasons as well as gameplay, I have coded this feature to allow only one Playable Guardian at any given time and each “Playable” Guardian is not as powerful as their original vanilla counterparts. Why? Well, if I were to give any half-skilled player a Guardian that powerful they could probably conquer half the galaxy with just that Guardian. For those of you worried it’s not going to be powerful enough to be fun, don’t worry, they are still more powerful than almost any ships I know of (the NSC Flagship & ISB Ragnarok I think are the only ships with comparable durability/power). For those of you using mods that increase the game’s difficulty, like ISB Balance, unfortunately I cannot assume that everyone else has that level of difficulty. You choose to use the mod for the difficulty, and I’m sure you can adapt to it.
Will I ever allow more than one Guardian? How come I can actually get more than one if this is true?
For the first question, probably not, at least normally. This is why I gave the console commands for those willing to cheat, which can be found at the bottom of this post. The coding making sure there is only one Guardian is built into the main coding of the mod. Even if I took the time to remove it, I would have to setup another system around giving the player more Guardians, including removing the “free upkeep” feature. For the second, I said you can only get one Playable Guardian, as in, from this mod. At max, you can have 3 Guardians; a Playable Guardian from this mod, the Automated Dreadnought, & the Baby Drake. Of course, the latter two cannot be regained, unlike the Playable Guardians. For those of you who are looking for loopholes, there are some loopholes! I didn’t close all the loopholes, so for the clever player who can find them, you can have (at least for a time) more than one Playable Guardian, however, the mod is coded to not let you back into the Playable Guardian Repository until you have ZERO Playable Guardians left.
This finally leads me into the new Guardian created for Playable Guardians, the Carrack Pirate Galleon. This one automatically spawns in regardless of Playable Guardian and Guardian System Spawn chance choice, because I personally view it as the “final boss” for the Pirate Culture in your game. You will not find the Carrack Pirate Galleon in your game at the start. In order to unlock it and make it appear, you have to find the “Pirate Home System” (where the vanilla Pirate Galleon is) and attack the fleets in that system. Unfortunately, due to oddities in Paradox’s coding, it should be that you have to defeat all 3 fleets in order to unlock the Carrack Pirate Galleon, however, I was lucky to manage to get it setup as it is now, so please bare with it if it doesn’t happen quite correctly. You will receive a pop-up message about a “new system” discovered thanks to some panicked pirates (this message will appear to ALL players in multiplayer, and even to the singleplayer if the AI attacks the Pirate Home System first). It will appear near the Pirate Home System, and you can go there to defeat the Carrack Pirate Galleon. Personally, I would suggest you have 3 transports and a general on standby… if you miss your window, you cannot have it!
The Pirate Carrack Galleon will automatically join you regardless of if you have a Playable Guardian currently active, and is the only “normal” exception to the one Playable Guardian rule, and this Guardian can also be replaced through the Playable Guardian Repository like any other Guardian.
Multiplayer Games Have Slightly Different Functionality!
Multiplayer games function slightly different than singleplayer games. At the beginning of the game, all players will receive the Playable Guardian flag and each player will have the opportunity to go into the NSC Features Menu and deactivate the flag if they don’t want it. Now, in order to avoid coding errors and extra Guardian systems being spawned from multiple players, one player will be chosen to decide the Guardian System Spawn Chances part. I strongly suggest coordinating with fellow players via voice-over or multiplayer chat on how to proceed. Unfortunately, Paradox has not given modders any means of identifying the host, so it could be any player. If I ever get a means of identifying the host, I’ll fix this, but there is nothing I can do about it right now.
“If I have to defeat each Guardian myself to unlock it, how do all of us in multiplayer get the same Guardian if there is only one?”
Excellent question, one I had to ponder while making this. Despite the fact you can now spawn multiple inside the NSC Feature Menu, I still wanted a safeguard. What happens is if anyone defeats a Guardian (this applies to singleplayer as well if the AI beats you to killing a Guardian), the game will automatically search for any human players who have Playable Guardians active who haven’t defeated said Guardian, and if it finds anyone, the game will spawn in a new system for that Guardian. This means, if even two people in multiplayer have Playable Guardians active, both should get the opportunity to defeat it, even if one player defeats it 5 times or the AI gets the Guardian at least once. This also means that after your first system spawns at the beginning of the game, you don’t have to worry about spawning in more than one Guardian system type at any given time until you just “want to have fun” with more systems.
If you have an error where the safeguard doesn’t kick in or a Guardian system never appears, you can use the NSC System Spawn Control Center to fix this.
As I stated before, ALL players in multiplayer will receive the message about the newly discovered Pirate System to get to the Carrack Pirate Galleon, however, only one player can have the Carrack Pirate Galleon, assuming that one player can get it in time. I currently have no means of “transferring” the Pirate Galleon to another player if both players meet in battle, having them dual to see who can grab it first. I’m not sure if I will add such a feature, but it is a possibility.
Playable Guardians Standalone is meant to be balanced in the fact that it fixes many issues with vanilla Guardians and allows the player to enjoy them without making it super easy. There really isn’t any way to perfectly balance this out without more control over Stellaris base combat (individual ship & weaponry targeting for instance), however, if anyone has suggestions on ways to make the Playable Guardians more balanced (against each other, normal Guardians, etc), I’m happy to listen, although I promise nothing.
As for adding/subtracting Playable Guardian features, I am open to any and all suggestions, but given maintaining this feature is already a task and I have put many hours of work into it, I will not add/remove features because someone thinks the feature should/shouldn’t have something. If I find merit in the suggestion (add or remove), I will consider it, and I’m open to any constructive criticism as to how I can improve any Playable Guardian feature currently present.
Save Game Compatibility:
With the release of NSC 6.0 (and Playable Guardians Standalone 2.0), the mods now include an event that checks every month after game launch if the mod was applied to a game that previously didn’t have either NSC Main or Playable Guardians Standalone. If it determines that the save game in question didn’t have either mod, it will automatically apply all flags and features that are required for the basic functioning of the mod (for NSC Main this includes other things for other features of the mod).
IMPORTANT: It is still NOT recommended that your run NSC Main and Playable Guardians together, as both do the same thing in slightly different ways, and even mod switching can cause issues.
IMPORTANT 2: While NSC Main and Playable Guardians Standalone are NOT compatible, NSC Streamlined and Playable Guardians Standalone are. NSC Streamlined is setup to support Playable Guardians Standalone if both mods are active at the same time. If not, none of the “support” will ever appear in a NSC Streamlined game. Therefore, this combination is available to NSC Streamlined users who wanted Playable Guardians but not the other features offered by NSC Main.
In summary, this means that both NSC Main and Playable Guardians Standalone should be 100% compatible with any saved game that didn’t previously have either mod active. The one note I would point out here is that if NSC Main or Playable Guardians Standalone were not active at game start, then there is a random chance that a vanilla designed Guardian System could have spawned into your galaxy, and this should be noted when you are spawning in NSC’s/Playable Guardian’s versions of the Guardian systems as you wish from the Mod Menu.
More Than One Playable Guardian: Console Commands
This post and listing below allow any Player to get multiple Playable Guardians through the use of Console Commands within conditions as laid out in this post.
To be clear, I made it so that you could only get one Playable Guardian at a time because it was not only easier to code it that way, but it also provided some sort of balance to a feature that could get out of control fast. However, there were already a few ways to get more than one. I only blocked Playable Guardians from having more than one at any given time, therefore, you could technically have 3 if you include the vanilla Automated Dreadnought and the Baby Drake, but those final two could not ever be replaced. Also, a clever player could technically get one of each of the Playable Guardian types if he is careful and patient, but not be able to replace any of them until he/she was back down to zero Playable Guardians.
With this in mind, the only acceptable compromise I’ve found was “lowering” the restrictions on the spawn events so that players, who are willing to use console commands, could have what they wanted without compromising the Playable Guardian mod for those who don’t wish to cheat.
However, it is important to remember that I re-lacked the restrictions, NOT removed them. What this means is, all I’ve done is removed the requirement to defeat the Guardian before you can console command any of that Guardian type in. You need to understand and accept the following to use these console commands at all:
- You must be the original country you started as. If you console command you’re way to another country, you cannot use these console commands.
- You must have Playable Guardians activated for your country in order to use the console commands. If you turn Playable Guardians off at any point, these codes will not work.
- When you type in the console command for a Guardian, it will always appear at your Capital, NOT wherever your mouse cursor is pointed. This is part of the base coding to spawn the Guardian, and I’m not changing it.
- Remember that the more Guardians you spawn, the higher the amount of fleet capacity you will use. All these Guardians are 50 fleet capacity points whether they are gained “normally” or through “cheats,” therefore, keep this in mind as you’re spawning your Guardian fleets.
- Another reason I didn’t make more than one Playable Guardian at a time truly possible is because due to their size, even if you have better formation spacing (which this mod provides), it still means that you really cannot put a lot of Guardians in the same fleet because they will all fly inside each other due to their size. Please keep this in mind as you plan how to use your multiple Playable Guardians.
Now, with all this understood, here is what you really wanted: the Console Commands to immediately spawn any of the Playable Guardians around your Capital. Remember to type these in EXACTLY as you see them listed:
- Vanilla Colored Dreadnought: event NSC_guardian_automated_dreadnought.101
- Alternative Colored Dreadnought: event NSC_guardian_automated_dreadnought.102
- event NSC_guardian_dimensional_horror.4
- event NSC_guardian_enigmatic_fortress.11
- Red Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.101
- Orange Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.102
- Yellow Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.103
- Chartreuse Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.104
- Green Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.105
- Aquamarine Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.106
- Cyan Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.107
- Azure Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.108
- Blue Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.109
- Violet Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.110
- Magenta Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.111
- Rose Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.112
- White Ether Drake: event NSC_guardian_ether_drake.113
- Regular Pirate Galleon: event NSC_guardian_pirate.101
- Carrack Pirate Galleon: event NSC_guardian_pirate.102
- event NSC_guardian_stellarite.4
Technosphere, aka Infinity Machine
- event NSC_guardian_technosphere.4
- Red Wraith: event NSC_guardian_wraith.101
- Orange Wraith: event NSC_guardian_wraith.102
- Yellow Wraith: event NSC_guardian_wraith.103
- Green Wraith: event NSC_guardian_wraith.104
- Blue Wraith: event NSC_guardian_wraith.105
- Violet Wraith: event NSC_guardian_wraith.106
- White Wraith: event NSC_guardian_wraith.107