gridlore: The Imperial Sunburst from the Traveller role-playing game (Gaming - Sunburst)
[personal profile] gridlore
Still thinking about a revised Third Imperium for Traveller, and making it "crunchier" and a better setting with more holes and internal conflicts. This is definitely going to be a "weak Imperium" build, as a strong Imperium simply clamps down on too many opportunities for things to go pear-shaped. So today, I'm going to look at the man at the top, the Emperor of the Third Imperium.

There's an old saying in the Imperial corridors of power; "the Counts make plans for the next year, the Dukes make plans for the next decade, the Archdukes make plans for the next century, and the Emperor makes plans for dinner." Although a bit over the top, the truth of the matter is that the Emperor is too far removed from his empire to really have that big an influence on matters popping up in systems that can be months away from Captial. This is why the Imperium has become decentralized, looking to the Imperial hierarchy more for support than real-time leadership.

But in a very real sense, the person of the Emperor is the Imperium, and all authority flows from the commands given by him or his predecessors. Those commands come in several forms.

Imperial Edicts are the most formal and powerful of the Emperor's commands. An Edict is law and will be enforced throughout the 11,000 worlds of the Imperium without question. In the Imperium's 1,100 year history, fewer than 400 Edicts have been issued. Over a hundred were issued by Cleon I and Artemsus in the first century of the Imperium, and these Edicts defined and shaped the state and how it was to be run.

Second in precedence are Imperial Commands. These are orders from the Emperor that directly address issues facing the state. A command might be issued to a Sector Duke to mobilize his military forces to support another sector or a command that a former Count-Elector is an Enemy of the Imperium and is to be found, captured, or killed. Commands are less formal than Edicts and expire once they have been carried out.

Warrants, Patents, and Charters are the next level of Imperial command. These are grants of authority from the Emperor to groups or individuals to carry out duties or activities. Every noble family has an Imperial Patent of Nobility and when a new person ascends to a position as Count-Elector or Duke, the Emperor will confirm their position with a new Patent. Any corporation seeking to do business on an interstellar scale will seek out a Limited Imperial Charter (LIC) which gives the company assurances of Imperial protection.

Warrants are a special case, as they directly give the holder the power to act for the Emperor. Many Warrants are limited in scope. Every naval officer holds a Warrant confirming his commission and allowing him to act for the Emperor inside Naval regulations and orders. Some Warrants have been vaguely worded due to Captial not having a good idea of what was happening.

This is is how Norris, Markgraf-Elector of Regina, was able to proclaim himself Erzherzog of Deneb. He had a Warrant in his possession which granted him full Imperial authority to take any steps needed to secure the Spinward regions of the Imperium from further threats. Norris decided that a united Domain under his leadership was the best answer to that. Strephon is still fuming over that trick.

It must be noted that many of these orders are first issued in the field, as it were, and sent to Capital for the Emperor's approval. This can take years for minor patents and commissions, so the standard has been to assume assent unless otherwise told.

Lastly, comes the Emperor's wishes or desires. These are minor commands that generally are used for issues inside the palace or dealing with the pomp and ceremony that surrounds the Imperial Household. The Emperor might state "It is the desire of the Emperor that Flumb fruit no longer be allowed inside the palace, or at any event attended by His Majesty." Wishes and desires are common when arranging large social events and ceremonials. It is commonly known that many of these orders come from the Imperial Family's large social staff and the Emperor considers such "mindless details" boring.

Day-to-day, the Emperor is a busy man. He is constantly dealing with reports of issues inside and outside his realm and tasked with decisions that can send thousands of warships into a battle or affect the economies of a hundred worlds. Luckily, just down the Promenade from the floating sphere of the Imperial Palace is the towering Moot Spire, where hundreds of nobles work to keep the Emperor informed and plot to keep him focused on their problems.

I'll cover them next.

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gridlore

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