Like every other expansion for Stellaris, Overlord adds tons of new content and mechanics that offer new avenues of galactic conquest for players. These include new negotiation mechanics for subject and overlord Empires, three new Megastructures, and three new Enclaves. However, perhaps the biggest additions with Overlord are the five new Origins to choose from.
Origins determine the backstory of an Empire and its people, allowing for opportunities of early to mid-game role-play. Many are interchangeable and can be selected with little to no changes necessary to the Empire you want to play as. Others can be dedicated to a very specific Empire type, which could be based on its species, government, ethics, civics, and more. Overlord introduces five new Origin options, and each will require radically different strategies and tactics to allow it to survive and thrive.
Slingshot to the Stars
Players with this Origin will start with a ruined Quantum Catapult Megastructure in a neighboring system. The Catapult can be repaired without having to research any technologies. Instead, players must excavate an archeological site within the system after claiming the system and assigning a scientist with a science ship.
Once the Catapult is repaired, the Empire can use it to send ships off to distant star systems in search of habitable worlds to colonize. While normally claiming systems costs more Influence depending on the distance from already claimed territory, this Origin will reduce that cost by 75%. This can allow for Empires to create small, far-flung islands of territory across the galaxy. However, such a strategy can be risky since these pockets might have to operate without direct support from the home world.
The Imperial Fiefdom Origin has players start as an Empire that has already been conquered by an advanced Empire and shares a border with their overlord. If more than one Empire starts with this Origin, they'll all have the same overlord. While it seems like this Origin would present very little chance for an Empire to dominate in the galaxy, this is considered one of the most powerful Origins introduced in the game.
When the game starts, players will immediately be presented with the choice of becoming a specialized subject. These options include Prospectorium, Scholarium, and Bulwark. Becoming the Bulwark is the most desirable since it not only immediately grants the subject Empire five destroyer class ships, but the technology to make more. After roughly 35 in-game years, this Empire will be freed from one of three events that ends the overlord Empire’s hegemony.
As the name suggests, Empires with the Subterranean Origin will start with a society that calls the underground home. Pops will have the unique Cave Dweller Trait, which increases species minimum habitability and increases mineral income from jobs, though pop growth speed is reduced.
There's virtually no cap on how many mining districts one can build on a planet with this Origin, and every three that are built will unlock a new building slot. Since nothing is built on the surface of these planets, a Subterranean Empire will also suffer 75% less damage from orbital bombardment, making these colonies incredibly difficult to lay siege to, much less invade.
The Progenitor Hive Origin is tailored to Empires with a Hivemind society, but it provides players with an evolutionary advantage that increases the overall efficiency of the drone pops and leaders. All leaders will passively gain experience each month. Spawning Pools are replaced with Offspring Nests, offering a powerful defensive army and buffing the worker drones.
Unlike regular Hivemind Empires, the Progenitor Hive allows sectors to be released as subjects, reducing the strain of controlling such vas territory under one flag. One of the biggest additions with this Origin is the ability to construct Offspring Ships and add them to existing fleets, which will improve its combat effectiveness. However, any fleet that doesn't have an Offspring Ship will suffer from a debuff to their sublight speed, evasion, fire rate, and accuracy. This also means that if, all Offspring Ships are destroyed in battle, the rest of the fleet will be at risk of being destroyed.
Teachers of the Shroud
An Empire with Teachers of the Shroud is one which already has knowledge and limited contact with the Shroud. The only prerequisite for this Origin is that the Empire has to be somewhat Spiritualist. Players will start off with contact with the Shroud-Touched Coven Enclave, offering their services.
This Empire's species will start with the Latent Psionic Trait, and the Psionic Theory technology is a permanent research option. The Psi Corps Building for planets can be constructed, as well as a new Starbase building known as the Shroud Beacon, which will create a Shroud Tunnel within the system, allowing for fast travel between systems with a Shroud Tunnel already present.