I remember before crusade, I was running GRM. This gave pirates survey ships, and the ability to scavenge ships. I actually had a game where they managed to carve out a rather large empire, occupying several planets. I find them, I begin conquering them, and I notice they build weird stuff. Their primary building (maybe only? I don't remember) was this ideology event building that gave 10 food and 10 wealth to the colony, and they just spammed it on all their planets. Surely they didn't find so many of these, right? And there's also how pirates have a tech tree, which I'd have previously assumed to be generic, but this raises some interesting questions.
What did the pirate tree look like pre-crusade?
What about now?
What about the Dreadlord tech tree?
Is there some way to activate them for player use?