gridlore: The Imperial Sunburst from the Traveller role-playing game (Gaming - Sunburst)
[personal profile] gridlore
Every visitor to Capital agrees that the highlight of the visit is the looming mass of the Imperial Palace, a burnished brass sphere a kilometer wide hovering 500 meters over Zhunastu Park. The museums, the precise drill of the Imperial Guard regiments, and the somber remains of the Palace of Martin II which was destroyed in the Civil War, all impress the visitor with the power and legacy of the Emperor of the Third Imperium.

However, 5 kilometers down the Imperial Promenade stands the Moot Spire, a needle soaring 3 kilometers into the sky, by law the only building on Capital allowed to be taller than the Palace. Most citizens understand vaguely that the Moot is where the nobles of the realm meet, but their actual function remains a mystery to most.

Cleon I created the Moot as a way to keep the new nobility under control and in one place. As the Imperium grew, that became impossible as more nobles were required to attend to their own fiefs. The Moot remains of vital importance to the Imperium and Emperor, as it holds two vital powers.

The first power is to confirm the heir to the throne and conduct the ceremonies acknowledging the heir and eventually crowning the new ruler. To this end, the Moot maintains an office that tracks all potential heirs and their place on the Succession List. As of 1115, this list has some 17,000 names on it. The Office on Succession and Continuity scours census data and reports to keep the list as up to date as possible. The Imperial Household also maintains an office that tracks heirs, but their list is much shorter.

The nobles who volunteer for this office take their duties seriously. The monitor the extended Imperial Family for signs that a candidate for the Iridium Throne would pose a danger to the stability of the Imperium. Imperial family members can expect to be asked for interviews, have their actions scrutinized, and their accomplishments judged. Only once in 500 years has the Office had to inform a sitting Emperor that his heir would not be passed by the office. The heir was quietly removed and granted an office in Gateway.

In 654, the Empress Arbellatra issued Imperial Edict 378, which gave the Moot the power to establish a Regency Council in any case where the Emperor died with no clear heir, the heir was below the age of 16, or the Emperor was missing in action but not confirmed dead. The Council is to be made up of the senior noble of each Imperial Sector in residence on Captial, the Second Fleet Lord, and the senior member of the Imperial family not in line to succeed to the throne. The Regency Council is charged with resolving the empty throne as quickly as possible with a legal heir.

(The preceding is part of my annoyance with the whole "Rebellion" in MegaTraveller. The idea that the Imperial government would grind to a complete stop is stupid. Even if Dulinor was able to pull a pistol in the Octagon and kill the Imperial family - and that's another groaner - the Moot would immediately summon a Regency Council and assume command.)

The second official power is to dissolve the Third Imperium. The Moot can, on a three-quarters vote, dissolve the Warrant of Restoration and strip the Emperor of all powers. Obviously, this is an act of last resort and was last invoked as a threat during the Civil War. All analysts and historians agree that this power would only be used if the Imperium was already failing, as a sort of lifeboat measure to allow local governments to bind together for survival.

Never the less, almost every year some noble with an ax to grind introduces a measure to dissolve the Imperium to the Moot. Such measures are usually shouted down in short measure, then a quiet inquiry into why the noble felt such a measure was necessary. The Vilani nobles can be relied on to try to dissolve the Imperium on a regular basis.

Moot spokesmen have denied for years that there are contingency plans locked away for how to assign Imperial assets should the Moot vote to end the Imperium. Rumors continue to fly over secret deals concerning post-Imperial states, re-flagged fleets, and even splinter states having their own governments ready to roll. Every few years someone leaks documents that "prove" the Imperium is about to fail.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about what the Honorable Nobles of the Moot do all day, and who they are.
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gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
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