Etatia is an elective empire in the west of the Old World, north of the kingdom of Vaquero and south of the Staten. It is a vast feudal nation that imagines itself the heir to a much older empire of the same name.
The Empire is made up of over a hundred Imperial Provinces ranging in size from independent cities to counties, duchies, and minor kingdoms. The chief requirement is that the territory answer to no feudal lord other than the Emperor.
The Imperial Provinces are organized into half a dozen administrative Imperial Circles for the purposes of defense, gathering taxes, and organization within the Assembly. There is no internal Circle organization or hierarchy. These are, incidentally, the basis for our campaign map development.
The head of each principality is entitled to vote in the Assembly, the chief legislative body in the Empire. Each Imperial Circle’s provinces vote and act as a block within the Assembly. Other Assembly members include the Pontifex of each god’s priesthood and the Grand Master of the different knightly orders. These members do not belong to specific Circles; their votes are “loose” and they are highly courted to vote alongside a given Circle.
The primary duty of the Assembly is electing a new Emperor from among their number when one is required. They also pass the various laws of the Empire, and rule on matters that concern all of them.
Each Circle meets in an great hall in their own territory, each of which is in magical contact with each of the other circles. In most cases the actual members themselves do not travel to these meetings, but send a representative.
Election to the the position of Emperor is for life. In the past, when the position held more power, that might not be terribly long – competition could be fierce. However, over time, the Assembly has gained more and more authority, and at this point the Emperor is mostly a figurehead. The appointment still carries a great deal of prestige, and elections themselves can be fiercely competitive.
The Imperial Concilium
The supreme court in the Empire, the Concilium hears cases between provinces, and any case that it otherwise chooses to weigh in on. It is perhaps well known for the length of time it takes to reach a verdict. The 18 members of the Concilium are advisors appointed by the Emperor, and when an Emperor dies, his Concilium is in turn dissolved. It does not generally hear criminal cases, unless a procedural matter is involved, or a crime has been committed against the Empire itself.
The Imperial Army
The Empire itself has no standing army. When defense against a foe or a military campaign is called for, each principality has a certain military obligation to meet, providing a fighting force to act under Imperial command. These units typically have greater loyalty to their homeland than the Empire as a whole.