Statement of principle
The assemblies of the Imperial Synod have the ability to make statements of principle. These are public declarations with the support of an assembly of the Synod on a matter relevant to the spiritual well-being of the Empire.
Statements of principle have no authority in law. However, they are a means by which the Synod can recognize a virtuous act, warn citizens of potential peril or attempt to apply encouragement, or shame, to a public figure or group. Most statements are primarily of interest to the well-connected citizens of the Empire who attend the summits at Anvil. However significant statements, especially those passed with a greater majority by the General Assembly, may have influence right across the Empire.
A judgement of principle may legally be raised by any assembly of the Imperial Synod. However it is expected that the issue at hand will be relevant to the members of the assembly judging it. For example a Statement of Principle decrying the actions of Highborn generals is likely to carry the most moral weight if passed by the Highborn Assembly.
A statement of principle never has a direct legal consequence regardless of the wording. The Synod may judge a statement of principle calling for the creation of an inquisitor or an auditor - but that does not cause the creation of a new Imperial title. The statement carries moral imperative, not legal force. Only the Imperial Senate can create new titles or change the law.
Some assemblies have specific powers to raise statements of principle with special effects. For example, the Assembly of Nine can direct the Silent Bell, while the Prosperity Assembly maintains the Roll of Benefactors, and the Wintermark national assembly can raise a statement of principle to add a name to the Chronicle of Heroism. Several of these abilities require a Greater Majority to be effective.
A statement of principle only requires a lesser majority to pass.
The primary significance of a statement of principle lies in the discussion and debate which attends the Synod as they judge the issue and decide whether to pass the statement or reject it. A statement of principle is published and recorded along with other judgements, regardless of whether it passes or fails, so that anyone who is interested can see the outcome of that discussion.
In most cases it is only those citizens of the Empire that are concerned with the business of the Synod who pay attention to these principles. A statement of principle is an important mechanism that enables the Synod to demonstrate a unified view to other houses such as the Senate, but judgements that pass with a lesser majority are not widely discussed outside Anvil - they are largely a matter for those who attend Anvil to consider.
When a statement of principle passes with a greater majority, the civil service ensure that it is communicated throughout the Empire to every priest of the Way who leads an appropriate congregation. A greater majority in favour of a statement conveys an incontrovertible message that is listened to by all.
A statement of principle passed with a greater majority by a national assembly will be communicated to every congregation in that nation. With the clear backing of the spiritual leaders of that nation it may have a profound effect on the attitudes and endeavours of the citizens of that nation. A similar statement passed with a greater majority by the General Assembly resounds across the entire Empire and will always have an effect of some kind. Such statements are also communicated to priests of the Way who tend to congregations in foreign nations.
Traditionally statements passed by the Assembly of the Nine have not had a significant impact beyond Anvil. Following the Severin encyclical, there has been an increased interest in statements of principle raised by the Assembly of the Nine. For the foreseeable future, any statement of principle by the Assembly of the Nine that achieves a greater majority will be as likely to generate a clear effect as a similar statement raised by a national assembly - but with a much wider reach.
Statements passed with a greater majority by a virtue assembly are communicated to congregations of that virtue across the Empire, but it is rare for them to produce a clear effect, as the faithful who are influenced are more dispersed.
Due to their shared faith, the priests of the Sumaah Republic pay particular attention to statements of principle by the Synod. There are priests who support congregations that follow the Way in many foreign nations, and they tend to look to either the Empire or Sumaah for guidance on religious matters. A statement of principle by the General Assembly, especially one that achieves a greater majority, may impact relations with these foreign congregations.
Anger without power is folly.Marcher Proverb
A statement of principle passed with a greater majority by the General Assembly will always have an effect on the game setting. The Synod represents the moral leadership of the Empire - and when it speaks with a clear voice, then citizens of the Empire will respond to that. Exactly what form the response will take is impossible to predict - but the response will often be tailored in terms of an opportunity, usually presenting a choice for the Synod at the following event. The effects of that opportunity will be clear - and characters can then choose if they wish to follow through.
Statements of principle passed by a national assembly are less certain - some will have an effect, some will not. It is very rare for statements of principle passed by a virtue assembly to have a significant effect, as the most ardent followers of that virtue are dispersed throughout the Empire. Statements passed by the Assembly of Nine or that pass with a lesser majority will never have an effect beyond Anvil.
Long experience has shown that it is impossible for the civil service to predict the effects of a statement of principle passed with a greater majority. They will refuse all requests for a prediction - as they are categorically unable to provide one. This is because our plot team will not decide on the response to a statement of principle at the event where it passed. A statement cannot have an effect until it is communicated to the Empire beyond Anvil, so we will always make use of the time presented to carefully consider the reaction of Imperial citizens and decide on the best outcome for the game.
While a statement of principle of this kind is guaranteed to have an effect, this will not always be a benefit. The play-balance of game effects are as likely to be negative as they are positive. For example a statement of principle passed with a greater majority of the Marcher assembly urging all Marchers to support the war in the Mournwold might result in a plot opportunity for the Marcher Assembly to create a penalty for all Marcher armies and military units that don't fight in the Mourn. The Marchers, inspired by the leadership of their Synod use rough music and shunning to punish those who disobey the clear will of the Synod.
Statements of principle exist to allow player-characters to unite the citizens of the Empire behind an in-character cause. The wording of a statement of principle is absolutely crucial in determining the flavour and detail of a response. We will determine the outcome of any plot opportunity based on the wording of the judgement. An effective statement of principle will be clear and lay out a strong proposal that characters in the Empire can support or follow.
While we encourage anyone writing a statement of principle to be clear in the intent - it is not helpful to try to dictate what the outcome should be. A statement of principle should state what citizens of the Empire should do - attempts to state what should happen as a result of those actions will be ignored. As a player you represent the moral and civic leadership of the Empire - you get to say what the leadership of the Empire does - but you don't get to say what the outcome is. The weal or woe of any action is decided by us.
For example, a statement of principle by the Marcher assembly calling for Marcher citizens to use rough music and shun any Marcher who does not contribute to the fight against the Jotun in the Mournwold is perfectly clear. If this passes with a greater majority then we will consider some form of wind of fortune that offers penalties for any Marcher army or military unit that does not support the will of the assembly. But a statement of principle by the Marcher assembly calling for Marcher citizens to use rough music and shun any Marcher who does not contribute to the fight against the Jotun in the Mournwold thereby resulting in a 25% bonus to the fighting strength of the Marcher army next season will lead to certain disappointment.
- The Judgements of the Synod
- Synod Positions
- Religious Crime
- Imperial Theology