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Each of the Virtue assemblies is represented by a single cardinal, who work together with the Throne to form the Assembly of the Nine.


Each of the eight virtue assemblies appoints a cardinal to represent and lead them. They are generally referred to as "Cardinal of (Virtue)" or "Cardinal of The Way". Together with The Throne, they form the Assembly of Nine, arguably the most important assembly of the Synod.


A cardinal is assumed to provide leadership to the priests and pilgrims who follow their virtue. They are expected to be well versed in matters of virtue and The Way so that they can speak with authority on matters of doctrine. Prominent citizens who are guilty of breaking the law but believe their actions were rooted in virtue will often request a cardinal to plead clemency on their behalf, so a familiarity with the law may prove helpful.

As a member of the Assembly of Nine, a cardinal can wield considerable influence over the politics of the Empire. In particular the Assembly has the power to veto any constitutional motion passed by the Imperial Senate. This allows the Assembly to uphold their constitutional obligation to "ensure the virtuous behaviour of the Empire".

The cardinal is empowered to appoint their virtue's gatekeeper, an important position that controls the distribution of true liao.

Having a beard doesn't make you wise.

Marcher Proverb


Member of the Assembly of Nine

Each cardinal is a member of the Assembly of the Nine. As with all priests, they can raise a single judgement each summit with any one of the assemblies to which they belong. Every member of the Assembly of Nine may cast a single vote on any judgement brought before the Assembly. Unlike the General, virtue, or national assemblies the size of the congregation a Cardinal has does not change their votes in the Assembly of Nine - each Cardinal (and The Throne) has one vote.

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Each cardinal is appointed by one of the Virtue assemblies.

Further Scrutiny

A normal judgement requires at least three hours of scrutiny before the voting can be counted. If a cardinal is not satisfied that there is sufficient time for an issue to be considered then they may instruct the civil service to push back the voting deadline for the judgement to allow further scrutiny. Each cardinal may use this power once per summit, but only on a judgement submitted by a member of the Synod. They may not delay a judgement submitted by the Tribune of the Synod.

Judgements submitted by the Tribune of the Synod may not be extended nor may a judgement be delayed beyond the end of the current summit in which it was submitted. This power must be used before the judgement reaches its deadline - once that deadline is passed it cannot be changed. A judgement may still pass with primacy at any time, regardless of any change of deadline.

The limitation on this legal power is on the title, not the occupant. If a new citizen is elected to the title, they cannot use the ability that summit if it has already been used.

Appoint the Gatekeeper

Each of the seven cardinals of virtue are responsible for appointing the gatekeeper of their assembly. The cardinal is entitled to appoint a new gatekeeper at any summit where they are elected or re-elected. Once chosen, the cardinal has no formal power to influence the gatekeeper who may only be revoked by formal judgement by the appropriate assembly of the Synod.

The gatekeeper is an important position, entrusted with choosing who will receive True Liao. It is traditional for the cardinal to appoint a citizen from another nation to be the gatekeeper of their Virtue wherever possible. This practice is considered important to ensure that the gatekeeper is able to act independently of the cardinal. Cardinals who ignore this custom risk censure by the rest of the Synod.

The Cardinal of The Way does not appoint a gatekeeper. Instead, they are responsible for appointing the Conscience of the Senate.

Virtuous Appointments

Some cardinals are also responsible for appointing other titles, such as the Curator of the Printer's Guild Museum, a sinecure appointed by the cardinal of Prosperity.

Where a cardinal is responsible for appointing a title, that title can be reappointed whenever a new cardinal is chosen.


Cardinals and Preaching
A cardinal must be a member of the assembly they lead. This means that if a cardinal changes assembly (such as by preaching in downtime) they immediately forfeit the title.

Each cardinal is appointed by the appropriate virtue assembly. Only a member of the virtue assembly can serve as its cardinal. Selection is by a judgement of appointment raised by the Tribune in the standard manner.

The laws for Imperial elections state that, if eligibility to vote in an election is restricted in some way, then you cannot vote if you were eligible to vote in an equivalent but different election in the last twelve months. For example, if you were eligible to vote for the Cardinal of Prosperity at the Winter Solstice - and you change faith to be part of the Ambition assembly - you cannot legally vote for the election of the Cardinal of Ambition until twelve months have passed from the date of the first election.

The elections for the cardinals are considered to be legally equivalent positions restricted by virtue. This means that if you change your virtue assembly then you must abstain from voting in an election if it occurs less than four events after the previous election in your previous virtue assembly. If you are in any doubt about your eligibility then you should consult the Tribune, or Merlot the civil service overseer of elections who can advise you.

The judgement to appoint a cardinal will typically close at 18:00 on the Saturday of the summit. These times may differ if an unscheduled appointment is required but there are always at least three hours for nominations and three hours for voting. After that time, the candidate with the most support is declared cardinal.

A cardinal serves until the next election for the title. A cardinal can be revoked by the General Assembly, or by the appropriate virtue assembly.

Reappointment Schedule Virtue
Winter Solstice The Way & Prosperity
Spring Equinox Ambition & Vigilance
Summer Solstice Courage & Wisdom
Autumn Equinox Loyalty & Pride


The current cardinals are listed below - see the individual pages for a full election history for each position.

Further Reading

Core Brief

Additional Information