Powers of the Imperial Military Council
Of all the great political bodies of the Empire, the powers of the Imperial Military Council are the most focussed. The Council's constitutional role is to fight the Empire's wars and its powers are focussed totally on this goal.
During the meetings at Anvil, the Empire has the opportunity to intervene in the ongoing campaigns that the armies are fighting. These interventions are critical to the fortunes of the campaign and the ability to intervene in this way is the Empire's greatest tactical asset. The goal is for the heroes of the Empire, who are gathered together at Anvil, to commit themselves to a single pitched battle with the Empire's enemies at the most pivotal point and thereby turn the tide of war in the Empire's favour.
The opportunities to intervene are prepared for the generals by the civil service who make extensive use of day and night magic divinations and collate numerous military intelligence reports to assess the most effective locations to strike.
Usually, however there are more opportunities to strike, than there are chances to use the Sentinel Gate. When this occurs, the military council must choose which opportunities to take. If the council cannot reach a consensus, then the Military Council most vote. In this case, each member of the Council has a single vote with ties being decided by The Throne (The Throne may vote and break a tie). Deadlock has only ever occurred once in the history of the Empire - during an interregnum - and the outcome was determined by drawing runes from a bag; since then common sense has reigned.
Once the battle opportunities are chosen, each nation must decide which battle they wish to support. The portal is not powerful enough to allow the transport of all the Imperial Heroes, so only the very best of each nation attend Anvil and the nations have to choose which battle they will fight.
Because of the nature of the magic involved, a nation must take the field together. The only exception is for bands with a magic standard that carries the Mercenary Banner enchantment. The members of this band can choose to fight with their nation or instead fight a different battle with their banner. Other than this, the nation's heroes take the field together.
The Imperial Civil service use day magic to calculate what distribution of nations may travel on each battle. They give this information to the generals and they discuss amongst themselves which nations will fight on which battles. These discussions are often heated, but are usually resolved sensibly - the generals know from bitter experience that political maneuvering that is too overt can damage a nation's morale if they are sent to fight in a battle in which they have little interest. As a result the council tries to find the best allocation for all.
If they cannot agree an allocation by the time a decision must be made, then the matter is put to a vote, with each member of the Military Council present receiving a single vote (ties are decided by The Throne).
Choosing a Field Marshal
After the nations have been allocated to battle then the Military Council must choose a single individual to act as Field Marshal, the overall battlefield leader for that battle. Like the issue of nation support this is often incredibly contentious; consensus is the ideal and is often reached, but if it cannot be generally agreed upon, then all suggested candidates are put to the vote.
The Field Marshal has the ultimate authority for determining the plan for the battle and the responsibility for winning the battle opportunity for the Empire. The Marshal has the responsibility to report to the Senate on the conduct and outcome of a battle, including any exceptional actions undertaken by individuals or banners under their aegis, as well as explaining any failures that took place.
Imperial magistrates may condemn a character to military penal service in the Empire's armies. These individuals are legally bound to fight with their nation and are expected to be given direct orders by the generals in every battle that they fight. Military penal service is instead of the death penalty so it is considered appropriate to give them high risk orders appropriate to their status and they can be legally executed for disobeying these orders.
If a character or group sentenced to military penal service performs exceptionally well over a prolonged period of time it is possible for the Military Council to vote to grant them a pardon them for their crimes.
An Imperial title appointed by the Military Council is elected by simple majority of any members of the Military Council who are eligible to vote and are present when the election takes place. Appointments are added to the agenda by the Herald. Each General may nominate an eligible candidate. If there is only one candidate then they are appointed to the title, if there is more than one candidate then a vote is called. It is customary to carry out the election with a show of hands at a Council session. A national position appointed by the Military Council follows the same process, but only the generals of that nation are allowed to vote.
To The Victor
When the Empire captures a Territory, the victorious armies also capture a number of personal resources. Some are simply pass into the records of the civil service, to be given to new citizens, or passed to others on receipt of the usual 2 crown fee Others have already been improved by their original owners, or are of particular historic interest, or are notable for some other reason.