A character who holds one of certain Imperial titles - such as a senator, cardinal, or archmage may appoint another character to act as their proxy in their absence. Proxies are not uncommon as those with influence and power in the Empire are often absent due to being called away to war or unable to attend Anvil due to matters at home. The role of proxies has been codified under Imperial law and follows simple rules.
Appointing a Proxy
There is no required process for appointing a proxy - the most common method is to provide a proxy with a document signed by the character that explicitly grants the named bearer the power of proxy, but this is not obligatory. Some prefer to introduce their proxy in person to their peers and personally vouch for their status. Most Imperial citizens expect someone who is acting as a proxy to be able to produce a signed statement of their authority, but this is only relevant if they are challenged.
Powers of a Proxy
A proxy has the full legal power of the office they have assumed. It is not possible to limit the power of a proxy, you cannot restrict the powers available to them nor direct the way they must act or vote. A proxy who bears a document granting them power of authority for a senator but only if they vote for a given motion will be reminded by the Speaker that they have the full powers of their senator and that the restriction has no legal standing of any kind. The only limitation is that a proxy may not appoint another citizen to act as their proxy.
The proxy is treated exactly as if they were the citizen for whom they stand. This may have legal consequences - for instance if a proxy for a senator raises a motion in the Senate - then that senator is considered to have raised that motion and they may not then raise another motion that weekend.
Although a citizen may not legally constrain or direct the actions of their proxy it is still customary to hold them responsible for the consequences of their proxy's decisions - after all they chose the proxy.
Only the holder of an Imperial title may appoint a proxy, members of representative bodies like the Synod and the Conclave who do not hold an Imperial title cannot appoint a proxy to vote. Likewise, citizens who are voting on the appointment of a title in the Senate or Bourse cannot appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf.
A senator who appoints a proxy is still forbidden from entering the Military Council, as is their proxy.
The Throne is prohibited from appointing a proxy - the powers of the Empress may only be wielded when the occupant of the Throne is personally present.
Imperial Generals do not have the power to appoint a Proxy, since the special responsibilities of their position led to the development of the role of adjutant instead. Adjutants differ from proxies in that they retain the powers of the general should the general perish, although the adjutant's term does not persist beyond the general's tenure if the general leaves office for other reasons, such as revocation or a writ of excommunication.
A proxy must be an eligible candidate for the position they are assuming - a Dawnish senator can only appoint a Dawnish citizen to act as their proxy. A proxy is considered to be an Imperial title in its own right, one that is conferred at the point where you accept the position. This means that you cannot accept a position as proxy for an Imperial title if you already hold another title, nor can you agree to be proxy for two different Imperial titles. For example, a Dawnish senator could not accept a position as proxy for a member of the Bourse without first resigning their position as senator.
It is uncommon but not illegal to appoint more than one proxy, but only one character can act as your proxy at a given time - the power cannot be shared. In addition it is illegal for them to act as your proxy at the same time that you are exercising the legal authority of your office. In practice this situation is rare, but can arise with titles such as the Warmage that grant legal rights in more than one political chamber.
Challenging a Proxy
Any citizen may challenge a proxy at the point where they attempt to wield the power of their office. If the authority of an individual is challenged, then the magistrates will investigate the matter, with the assistance of the relevant civil servants.
If the proxy is attempting to exercise the powers of their office in a chamber, such as the Senate, Military Council, or Conclave, then they are entitled to make a short presentation of the evidence of their appointment. After the evidence is considered then a vote is taken by those present in the chamber who are eligible to vote whether or not to recognize the proxy. It is publicly considered unvirtuous to vote on political lines rather than on the basis of the evidence presented. Assuming the powers of a proxy without the authorization of the title holder is illegal - the individual is usually guilty of impersonating an official of the state and subverting the processes of the agencies of the state. Punishment is usually assessed against the degree of self-interest demonstrated by the proxy and the damage incurred by the state as a result.
Surely the most infamous rejection of a proxy took place in the Imperial Senate during the reign of Empress Giselle in 343YE. Ymma Eyebiter, senator for Hahnmark successfully challenged the power of a young woman standing as proxy for Alvaro i Guerra, senator for Madruga despite the fact that Alvaro was present in the chamber to testify for his paramour during the challenge. Alvaro's testimony was garbled and he struggled to stand to deliver it due to his intoxication, allowing Ymma to convince the chamber that his evidence could not be taken at face value due to inebriation. Ymma was widely reviled for her actions, but in the resulting disgruntlement, the Wintermark senators were able to push through several controversial motions limiting the power of the Bourse.
It should be noted that even if a proxy is successfully challenged and the magistrates determine the individual is guilty of criminal offences, the actions they took up until challenged will not be rendered obsolete and still be considered valid. The Civil Service will not retroactively undo the actions of citizens for a successful challenge.
Challenges to a proxy are not subject to veto by the Throne or the Imperial Synod.
Removing a Proxy
The only sure-fire way to remove your proxy is to attend a session in person. A letter to indicate the removal of authority can easily receive short shrift - especially if the proxy retains their own physical statement of power signed by you. The proxy may still be challenged, and countervailing letters will undermine their authority; but many chambers would rather retain the abilities of a useful member who has proven their wisdom and worth than accept an unknown proxy from an individual who cannot put their affairs in order. Only the physical presence of the actual incumbent ensures the automatic removal of a proxy.
Proxies in Play
- It is not possible to register your proxy with Profound Decisions.
Proxies are intended to reflect the fact that many players are not able to attend every Empire event, or may be unable to play for part of an event they are attending. We don't want players to be excluded from holding positions of authority in the game simply because they cannot guarantee to be able to play for all of every event for real world reasons. To this end the rules presented here are intended to be flexible and allow for the broadest possible access to the game.
The rules are also intended to allow players to perpetrate a range of political actions and responses using the legal status of proxies. You cannot register your proxy with Profound Decisions nor is it acceptable for a player to try to communicate out-of-character information to indicate that they are a genuine proxy. Any attempt to do so will result in the civil servants refusing to accept that player as proxy. Establishing or undermining the authority of a proxy must be left entirely in the hands of the players to be established by their roleplaying.
A Senator may appoint a proxy to exercise any of their powers.
Generals do not appoint proxies as they have adjutants.
Most of the work of the Synod is undertaken by priests and may therefore not be proxied. The Imperial Titles which are appointed by the Synod may appoint a proxy.
The Conclave is open to all Imperial mages and most of its business is undertaken by them. The Imperial Titles which are appointed by the Conclave may appoint a proxy.
Although receipt of Bourse resources is a power of the title holder, the wains (or rings of Ilium) are distributed directly 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, but should instead transfer any resources from their inventory before the event.
Proxies in Downtime
- It is not possible to appoint a proxy to operate in your place in downtime.
A proxy exists to give a player who cannot attend an event a chance to allow another character to act in their steed, as well as to present various opportunities for political conflict. If your character has a campaign position that grants them some additional powers or abilities in downtime, then you can still make use of these, regardless of whether you attended the event.