Charles Lewis wrote:I don't think Morale should be tied to Carrying Capacity - then small worlds have an additional penalty (besides being small)
That's a good point.
That leaves Morale still being tied to Census, because I don't think we can get by with having Morale being a free-floating stat that isn't tied to something. Otherwise you end up with the opposite problem, with it taking the same amount of Morale drop to coup a large colony as it does an outpost, which makes scaling effects almost impossible.
Another option would be to treat the Morale/Census relationship as an inverse of the Damage/Defense Rating relationship. A colony could have a maximum Morale equal to twice its Census; if Morale is equal to or greater than Census, it is in Good Order and everything functions normally. If Morale is less than Census but greater than 0, then the colony is in a state of Unrest, and all output is halved. Finally, if Morale is 0, then the colony is in Rebellion and stops producing anything.
This pattern is a more "natural" progression from 1E, and is more of a compromise than anything else. Even a 1 Census colony would then have a maximum Morale of 2. That insulates it a bit from sudden Morale loss. The insulation gets even better for larger colonies, which does have the downside of making large colonies have insanely high Morale -- which could be a real problem should Morale ever hit those maximums. Of course, if the rules state that you just gain 1 Morale when landing Census and lose 1 Morale when they leave (in order to keep people from just juggling Census for Morale boost), then you are ensured that a new colony will always be on the line between Good Order (need a new name for this one, don't we?) and Unrest. That leaves the player to run propaganda campaigns against the colony to increase Morale up to the maximum. So a 3 Census colony might start with 3 Morale, but player interactions (both friendly and hostile) can adjust it from there on a span from 0-6.
Also, in reference to Propaganda Intel Missions, the difficulty level for these will be set to Census... I think. I have a not here some place. I think it was Census and not Morale, and if we do go with expanded Morale values it would definitely have to be Census. Using Census as the base difficulty would allow a player to increase the Morale of their smaller colonies for affordably, especially since Intel Points will be persistent and not transient as in 1E.