The Imperial Bourse is the economic hub of the Empire. Its role is to ensure the prosperity of the Empire and to provide access to much needed resources to those who can afford them.
Role within the Empire
The Bourse is designed to ensure that ilium, mithril, weirwood and white granite are directed to where they can provide the most economic benefit, rather than being assigned by political or military patronage. Merchants bid for a position on the Bourse and those that are successful gain control of one of the Bourse positions that control production. It is then left to them to sell the resources at whatever price they can. Although there are frequent accusations of profiteering, when the market functions as intended it ensures that significant sums of money are paid to the Bourse for use by the Empire.
Decisions within the Bourse are taken by auction, with members placing money in the Bourse coffers to register their support for or against a motion. Such auctions are rare however, most of the Bourse activity is economic in nature and takes place without central organisation. The money collected by the Bourse, as part of the process of selecting members and making decisions becomes the property of the Empire.
The Bourse has gained other roles over the years, such as operating the public auctions. The public auction is open to anyone present; most goods sold are herbs, mana crystals, resources, building materials and occasionally even Ilium are sent to the Bourse by Imperial citizens who want a good price for their goods but have neither the inclination nor the time to attend the meetings at Anvil.
There are over a score of different Bourse positions, the majority of which are auctioned off once a year. Although a citizen may bid for as many positions as they choose, an individual can only hold one Imperial title. The auction itself uses an open bidding system and payments must be made immediately.
There are a handful of Bourse positions which are not auctioned off. These positions reflect the relative economic wealth and priorities of nations like Varushka. As a result, these resources are controlled by vote of members of that nation based on what resources they control. These positions are identified separately below.
You can find details of who holds which seat here.
Elections and Appointments
During each season, all the Bourse Seats (both Imperial and National) that produce a single material are re-elected or re-appointed. During the event that a seat is due to be re-elected, the current holder does not receive any materials. Once the seat has been re-elected, the new holder receives that season's production, and secures the production until the next time the seat is due to be re-elected.
- Weirwood seats are re-elected at the Winter Solstice.
- Ilium seats and the Master of the Imperial Mint are re-elected at the Spring Equinox.
- White Granite seats are re-elected at the Summer Solstice.
- Mithril seats are re-elected at the Autumn Equinox.
Losing the title
When a Bourse seat holder loses their title, then they receive back any money they paid for the seat - in proportion to the number of seasons of production remaining. If there are two seasons production left, they get half their money back.
The seat is auctioned off again - and the refund is paid to the seat holder after the auction is concluded. Any shortfall is taken from the Imperial treasury, any excess is added to it. There is no refund payable if a title is resigned.
The wains (or rings of Ilium) are distributed directly to title holders each season and once received function as personal property which must be transferred between individuals like any other item. If a title holder will not be present at a summit, they may not appoint a proxy to collect Bourse resources at Anvil.
Mithril, weirwood and white granite are essential to the prosperity of the Empire and its citizens. Deposits of these materials tend to be large but few in number so they are carefully protected. Ilium is also rare and almost priceless due to its arcane powers. When the Empire was formed control of key supplies of these materials was placed in the control of the Bourse; it was explicitly designed to keep control of these precious materials out of the direct control of the Empress and the Senate.
Over time the role of the Bourse has grown, its members instituted a private auction to give them access to some of the most valuable items in the Empire. This was so successful it was eventually copied and a second public auction was introduced to allow citizens of the Empire to sell basic goods at the Bourse. The private auction has suffered in recent years for various reasons and lapsed towards the end of 380YE.
Powers and functions
Control of Ilium and Building Materials
Mithril, weirwood and white granite are essential to upgrade a personal resource to make it more productive. They are also needed for the large projects authorized by the Senate such as the creation of new armies or the building of bridges and fortifications. Ilium is used by artisans and magicians to make rituals and enchantments permanent. Each Bourse member has control of a single resource, for a single year (unless they are replacing an existing position which has become vacant). They can dispense this resource as they choose.
Operation of the Public Auction
Although not formally one of the powers of the Bourse, the public auction takes place in the Bourse and is operated by the civil servants who run the Bourse. The auction is open to all and supplies of herbs, mana crystals, resources, minor magical items and small lots of weirwood, mithril and white granite are auctioned to the highest bidder. It is relatively rare, but not unknown for more valuable items like Ilium, true liao or powerful items to appear in the public auction. Details of the lots are posted in the Bourse one hour before the auction begins.
Auction of Appointments
Over the years the Bourse has helped to create various minor Imperial positions and officers to help the Empire function. Individuals are appointed to these positions by auction - Bourse members commit funds in support of their preferred candidate. The candidate that receives the most support is appointed - and all bids by their supporters become the property of the state.
Imperial and National Bourse Positions
Imperial Seats on the Bourse are assigned to the highest bidder. These positions are available to any citizen of the Empire who does not already control an Imperial title or position. This means that members of the Synod, military or senate can bid for one of these Imperial Bourse position, but must resign their position if they are successful.
National Seats on the Bourse, by contrast, can only be filled by a citizen of the appropriate nation. In addition they are not auctioned off, as Imperial Bourse positions are, but voted upon by resource owners from that nation. The larger the personal holding an individual has, the more votes they can allocate in support to a candidate. The voting for national Bourse positions is handled by the civil servants in the Bourse. National Bourse positions are otherwise identical to Imperial Bourse positions.
All mithril seats are re-elected during the Autumn Equinox.
Imperial Mithril Seats
There are five Imperial Bourse Seats that produce mithril.
- The Singing Caves in Mournwold produce 28 Imperial wains of mithril every season.
- The Fortress of Salt in Temeschwar produces 25 Imperial wains of mithril every season.
- The Brilliant Star in Redoubt produces 24 Imperial wains of mithril every season
- The Great Mine of Briante in Kahraman produces 22 Imperial wains of mithril every season.
- The Great Pits of Ennerlund in Holberg produce 27 Imperial wains of mithril every season.
National Mithril Seats
There are three National Bourse Seats that produce mithril.
- The Eternal Shafts of Time in Karov produce 27 Imperial wains of mithril each season. Control of the Shafts is assigned to whichever Varushkan candidate receives the most support from Varushkan owners of mine resources.
- The Legacy in Spiral produced 22 Imperial wains of mithril each season. The Legacy is assigned to whichever Urizen candidate receives the most support from Urizen owners of mana sites.
- The Pride of Ikka's Tears in Sermersuaq produces 15 Imperial wains of mithril each season. Control of the Pride of Ikka's Tears is assigned to whichever Wintermark candidate receives the most support from Wintermark owners of military unit resources.
All weirwood seats are re-elected during the Winter Solstice.
Imperial Weirwood Seats
There are six Imperial seats that produce weirwood.
- The Golden Trees of Seren in Miaren produce 28 Imperial wains of weirwood each season.
- The Hunt of Alderei the Fair in Volodmartz produces 26 Imperial wains of weirwood each season.
- The Heartwood of the Great Vale in Hercynia produces 25 Imperial wains of weirwood each season.
- The Weirwater Vales in Weirwater produce 23 Imperial wains of weirwood each season.
- The Canterspire Circle in Morrow produces 22 Imperial wains of weirwood each season.
- The Great Forest at Reikos in Reikos produced 25 Imperial wains of weirwood each season.
National Weirwood Seats
There is one National weirwood Bourse Seat.
- The Thimble in Therunin produces 24 Imperial wains of weirwood each season. Control of the Thimble is assigned to whichever Navarr candidate receives the most support from Navarr owners of herb garden resources.
White Granite Seats
All White Granite Seats are auctioned or appointed during the Summer Solstice.
Imperial White Granite Seats
There are four Imperial Seats that produce white granite:
- The Damation Cliffs in Kahraman produce 27 Imperial wains of white granite every season. Following the reclamation of Kahraman, following the Autumn Equinox 380YE, the Damation Cliffs are ready to be allocated by the Senate.
- The Night Quarry in Miekarova produces 26 Imperial wains of white granite every season.
- The Arratan Gamble in Tassato produces 25 Imperial wains of white granite every season.
- The Sutton Stone Quarries in Upwold produce 23 Imperial wains of white granite every season.
National White Granite Seats
There are three National Seats that produce white granite.
- The Granites of Veltsgorsk in Volodmartz produce 26 Imperial wains of white granite every season. Control of Veltsgorsk is assigned to whichever Varushkan candidate receives the most support from Varushkan owners of forest resources.
- The Brilliant Shore in Skarsind produces 26 Imperial wains of white granite every season. Control of the Brilliant Shore is assigned to whichever Imperial Orc candidate receives the most support from Imperial Orc commanders of military unit resources.
- The Vigilant Swan in Reikos produces 25 Imperial wains of white granite every season. Control of the Vigilant Swan is assigned to whichever Highborn candidate receives the most support from Highborn owners of congregations.
All ilium seats are re-elected during the Spring Equinox.
Imperial Ilium Seats
There are two Imperial Seats that produce ilium.
- Syrene's Wisdom in Casinea produces 7 rings of ilium each season.
- The Scorrero Nets in Feroz produce 5 rings of ilium each season.
National Ilium Seats
While in theory there are four National ilium Bourse seats, the Stonefield Ice Caves has been ceded to the Thule and is not in Imperial hands. All ilium seats are re-appointed during the Spring Equinox. Bourse seats that are allocated on the basis of raids conducted by military units, privateering by fleets, or similar are based on the total effective size of all the contributing resources over the last four seasons.
- The Steel Fist provides 8 rings of ilium each season. it is appointed by the Imperial orc legions who provide assistance to Imperial armies on campaign.
- The Broken Shore Bounty provides 7 rings of ilium each season. It is appointed by the Freeborn fleet captains who engage in privateering in the Bay of Catazar.
- The Regario Dossier provides 4 rings of ilium each season, along with an annual report relating to the activities of foreign powers. It is reserved for the League citizen who presents the largest bid.
- The Gift of the Dwindling Star provides 4 rings of ilium each season. It is appointed by Varushkan owners of mines and forests.
- The Stonefield Ice Caves provided 5 rings of ilium each season. It was allocated to whichever Wintermark military unit performed the biggest raid against the barbarian orcs. The Stonefield Ice Caves are not currently in Imperial Hands, having been ceded to the Thule.
Other Bourse Seats
These appointments come with a Seat on the Bourse, but are not tied directly to the production of mithril, weirwood, white granite, or ilium.
The Master of The Imperial Mint
The Master of the Imperial Mint is a Bourse Seat reserved for the citizen of the League who presents the largest bid. The Master does not receive an income of Bourse resources, but is privy to privileged information about the Imperial economy and has powers to speak and address the Imperial Senate.
Castellan of Spiral Castle
Until 368YE, the Castellan of Spiral Castle is a Bourse Seat held by a Dawnish citizen, appointed with the support of Dawnish military units. The Castellan has powers to order the resupply of Imperial armies stationed in Weirwater. The Seat spent many years vacant, but a new Castellan has recently been appointed following the return of Castle Spiral to the mortal world.
A number of other titles are also appointed through the Bourse. Any title that has economic power or responsibilities is likely to be bound to the Bourse. Unless the position includes administration of a supply of mithril, weirwood, white granite, ilium, or says otherwise, it does not bring with it a seat on the Bourse. The appointment of all these titles is organised and processed by the civil servants attached to the Bourse.
A list of other titles bound to the Imperial Bourse can be found here