Magic is but a tool like any other, what matters is the mind that wields it.
The Conclave is an organisation effectively open to all magicians in the Empire. Members of the Conclave explore, discuss and use magic for the benefit both of the Empire and the magicians themselves. Much of the business of the Conclave is hidden from the eyes of non-Magicians, taking place in the Hall of Worlds. At the same time its influence can be far-reaching - it has access to substantial magical resources and the ability to make decisions about magical matters that are legally binding on Imperial citizens.
Role Within the Empire
The Conclave is charged with oversight of magic across the Empire. Its remit includes encouraging the use of magic in the best interests of the Imperial citizens; preventing the misuse of magic that damages the interests of the Empire; and advising the Imperial Senate, Military Council and Imperial Synod on arcane matters.
It possesses specific powers to promote and protect safe and prosperous use of magic by its citizens, through the use of declarations. The Conclave also controls a pool of magical resources. The most significant of these resources is the Font - a store of crystal mana that the Imperial Conclave can use to support magical rituals. It also has access to supplies of materials and ilium that are distributed to each Conclave order via their grandmaster.
The Conclave is also responsible for overseeing Imperial Lore - the body of shared ritual knowledge available to every magician of the Empire. Not only does the Conclave determine which rituals will become part of Imperial Lore, but it also appoints several Imperial titles that oversee the colleges of magic where new rituals are formulated.
Magi from Urizen were heavily involved in the creation of the Conclave and the power and nature of the body reflects much of their approach to magic and politics. The Urizen passion for magic caused many Urizen mages to attend and speak at the first Conclave meetings, even though the nation did not join the Empire until the reign of Emperor Giovanni. When they did become part of the Empire, their key demand was the Imperial Constitution be updated to include formal recognition of an Imperial Conclave. Rather than being a mere adjunct of the Military Council or the Senate, the Urizen were very clear that it must have equal precedence with those august bodies and with the Synod and the Bourse.
The newly recognised Conclave adopted many rules and procedures that were modelled on Urizen's Grand Conclaves - meetings of arbiters from many spires where important decisions were made on behalf of the nation as a whole. Urizen mages ensured that the body would be arranged along partisan lines, by insisting on the system of Conclave orders that would ensure the Conclave would be an active political body - one that considered the political ramifications of magic - rather than be arranged by magical realm or by nationality as many assumed.
Initially the Imperial Senate was not minded to agree to the creation of the Conclave, though the idea of political rather than purely magical body was particularly well received in the League, the Brass Coast, and Varushka. Urizen mages worked to build support for the new Conclave in every nation, but it was the involvement of the stargazers that proved pivotal. By visiting covens across the Empire sharing some of their own lore, and learning everything they could from their fellow Imperial citizens they helped build support for an independent Conclave. Their idea to create a body of lore that magicians everywhere would have access to was popular with almost every magician, as well as with several influential members of the Military Council. The resulting groundswell of support was impossible for the Senate to refuse.
The first Conclave deliberately chose to hold all their sessions in the Hall of Worlds at Anvil to limit the ability of non-magicians to interfere in their business. The Conclave has always met here although records show that this arcane location changed significantly in the decades that followed the formation of the Empire, growing in size and shape and taking on the form that it assumes today. Unpredictable, seemingly random, changes still occur but most are now cosmetic in nature. Many Conclave magicians subscribe to the idea that the Hall of Worlds adapts to suit the needs of those who meet there, as other chambers in the realms are known to do, reflecting the uses to which it is put.
Any Imperial magician who attends a session in the Hall of Worlds at Anvil is considered to be a member of the Conclave. They are eligible to vote in declarations and to join a Conclave order. Each order is a political body with a clear philosophy about how magic should be used. United around a particular philosophy of magic, each is guided by a grandmaster appointed by the members. Most Imperial magicians who attend Conclave sessions regularly choose to join an order, but it is by no means mandatory.
Membership of the Conclave is a requirement to vote but not to speak. There are strict rules to determine who can speak and when, but any Imperial who is present may be nominated by a grandmaster to speak, provided they pay for their time crystal mana. It is possible for a grandmaster to nominate an eternal or their heralds who are present to speak but only if they have amity.
It is rare for citizens who are not magicians to attend a Conclave session, and being a magician is a legal requirement to vote in declarations or to join an order. It is common practice to assume every citizen present is a magician but magistrates will prosecute any impostors who are uncovered. Any individual who attempted to pass themselves off as a magician without the requisite skill would be guilty of subverting the agencies of the state.
The business of the Conclave takes place at the Arcane Colloquium and the two Conclave sessions, which are all held in the Hall of Worlds. The Conclave normally has a session each evening during an Imperial summit. The agenda for these sessions is managed by the civil service, and is made up of specific declarations. Each grandmaster has the ability to raise a single declaration each session, and certain other titles have a more limited ability to add a specific declaration to the agenda once each summit.
Because of the potential size of the Conclave - which exceeds even that of the Synod - sessions are subject to strict rules that determine who can speak and for how long. These rules are referred to as the three principles; the Principle of Proportions, Principle of Precedence and Principle of Presence. The principles are designed to balance the desire of members to speak with the need to prevent Conclave sessions from becoming unnecessarily long.
The Arcane Colloquium takes place in the Hall of Worlds on the Saturday afternoon of each summit. Unlike the more formal Conclave sessions, the rules of parley are in effect throughout the colloquium.
Civil servants administer the operational procedures of the Conclave, but in practice the chamber is dependent on members to police the rules to keep sessions moving. In return the Conclave provides every member with a vote that allows them to directly influence the decisions that the chamber takes.
There are three philosophical principles that guide the Conclave; precedence, presence, and proportions. Heavily informed by the principles underpinning Urizen's Grand Conclave, they were adapted to the needs of a body drawing its members from all of the Imperial nations. The principles are not strict rules in themselves, but serve as the underlying philosophy behind the processes of the Imperial Conclave, guiding its procedures and ultimately shaping the way that it wields power.
Principle of Precedence
- The size of a Conclave order determines the priority given to them by the Imperial Conclave
The Principle of Precedence states that the size of an order determines the priority given to them by the Conclave. Precedence is established before the beginning of a summit based on the number of magicians belonging to that order who attended Anvil at the previous summit.
If two orders are tied for Precedence at the start of a Conclave session, then the tie is resolved in favour of the oldest Order. The order of establishment, from oldest to newest, runs Celestial Arch, Sevenfold Path, Rod and Shield, Golden Pyramid, Shuttered Lantern, Unfettered Mind, and Silver Chalice
Principle of Presence
- Each magician present in Conclave is entitled to cast a single vote in support or against each declaration
The Principle of Presence states that a magician must be present in Conclave to vote. It is not possible to proxy your status as a member of an order to allow another citizen to vote on your behalf. After the discussion of a declaration is complete, Conclave will move to vote. At that point each magician present is entitled to cast a single vote, regardless of whether they are a member of an order or not. It is not possible to employ a proxy to cast your vote for you, so each citizen present can only cast one vote - their own.
The primary intention is to support the relevance of debate in the Conclave, by ensuring that the outcome of a vote is determined by those magicians present to hear the arguments being put forward. There are always many magicians present in Anvil every summit who have other interests and therefore take little or no interest in the politics of the Conclave. The Principle of Presence ensures that their votes do not influence the outcome of any declaration, since only magicians actually present can cast their vote.
It's one crystal mana for every minute you want to speak, then an additional mana crystal every minute, dear. Which part of that were you having difficulty understanding? I thought you were in the Golden Pyramid?Iñes i Guerra
Principle of Proportions
- Any magician nominated to speak must pay an increasing cost in mana for each minute of Conclave's time that they take up
- The first minute costs one mana, the second minute costs two mana, the third costs three mana and so on
The Principle of Proportions states that if a magician wishes to speak before the Conclave, they must bequeath mana crystals to the Conclave vaults for every minute they speak. The longer they speak, the more mana they must pay.
The cost is one crystal for the first minute, two for the second minute, three for the third and so on. The cost resets each time a speaker is nominated to speak, so if they are nominated to speak again later in the debate the first minute costs one mana and increases from there.
Only crystal mana can be used to make a payment under the principle of proportions. Exotic forms of mana (such as those gained from dealing with eternals), money, or raw materials cannot be used. Magicians with these resources are encouraged to trade them to their fellows for the mana needed to conduct Conclave business.
- Conclave Overview
- Arcane Colloquium
- Conclave order
- Conclave session