The Golden Wastes
The Empire is not just a state, it is the domain of the universal sovereign. True, it does not rule all men, but all other states are legally inferior to it and owe it vassalage, honor, or tribute in some form or another. There are no rival claimants to the title of Emperor. The Empire is a monarchy. For better or worse, the world government is under the direction of a single man. It has been borne by those viewed by most of their subjects as a hated and foreign tyrant, but then it has also been held by legitimate and well-loved rulers. Having ruled the bulk of mankind for two thousand years, both the empire and the emperor has an unquestioned legitimacy – it is simply accepted by the people that this is how it should be.
The ruler is of course the Emperor, but depending on the dynasty may hold a specific title such as Maharaja or Great Shah. In this, the fifth dynasty, the Empire is lead by the Great Khan, descendant of the mighty barbarian warlord that purged the world of the vampire menace.
Traditionally the Emperor has always been one of the Hieron since Sikander the Great. Even though the original Great Khan was a mere human, it was a term of the Hieron Clansrat’s acceptance of him as Emperor that he and his heirs marry into the Hieron bloodline in order to be recognized. Still, the lack of Hieron patrimonial descent has created tension among the more conservative of the Hieron.
The Hieron Clansrat
The Clansrat is the assembly of the ancient Hieron Patrician families. It is a legacy of the Hieron from their old demiplane realm before it was destroyed in the Doom. The Hieron assemble to determine general policy for their race. Agendas are kept very general and vague, but the Hieron enjoy order and have always preferred some sort of coordination to guide them. Nowadays, the main function of the Clansrat is to elect the Emperor. During normal dynastic succession, the election is predictable although there have been several surprises over the century.
The Imperial Seat
Over the course of the centuries there have been five dynasties, and each dynasty has had its own Imperial Seat: the center of power where it is based. The Imperial Seat of the Fifth Dynasty is Angara.
The Subsidiary States
The world is too vast to be ruled directly by any one man. There are other ancient centers of civilization: the large tributary states to the Imperial Seat called Dominions. These are lead by the Palatines: local rulers who act in the name of the Emperor.
The Palatines owe direct allegiance to the Emperor, but the bureaucracy there answer to the Palatine. In order to insure loyalty to the Emperor, there are Imperial Legates who act as quasi-ambassadors from the Imperial Seat. In addition, the Emperor grants additional lands and titles to prominent nobles to ensure their loyalty to the Imperial state. And of course, there is the Imperial Army, the various magical regalia of the Emperor, and the loyalty of the worldwide diaspora of the Hieron.
Offices and Titles of the Empire
The Empire has a large bureaucracy dedicated to providing law and preserving order throughout the realms of men.
- Keepers of the Crown
The Emperor does not rule all the realms of men. There are many small states, especially in the frontier, which are independent, but accept the Emperor as their suzerain. While they do not have ephors, they are expected to pay tribute to the Emperor on an annual basis. If the Emperor is displeased with the conduct of these states, he will send a Polemarch along with one or more legions to persuade their rulers. When imperial authority is weak, many states will cease sending tribute.
Not all barbarians are at war with the Empire. Some are allies. These federated tribes hold special status within the Empire. In return for fighting alongside the Imperial Legions, the Great Khan pays them gold, awards their chieftains, and recognizes their claims to land. Often the tribes will send hostages with the Imperial Court to insure loyalty.