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 the magical resources of the entire Empire, and has 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 people of the Empire; preventing the misuse of magic to damage 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 that are distributed to each Conclave order via their grandmaster.
The Conclave also acts to direct magical research in the Empire. The Conclave appoints the Dean of the Lyceum, a prominent post that has has access to the resources needed to research new rituals in the span of years rather than the decades that would be required for a magician working alone.
Mages 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 life. The Urizen passion for magic caused many Urizen magi to attend and speak at the first Conclave meetings, even though the nation did not formerly join the Empire until after the death of the first Empress. In many ways the structure and arrangement of the Conclave reflects how the early Urizen would have chosen to rule the entire Empire, had they been given a free hand in such matters. Instead the design and creation of the Conclave was as imagined, but its remit was heavily constrained; the powers of the Conclave deal only with magic and the use of magic in the Empire.
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.
The official business of the Conclave takes place at the Conclave sessions - which are always held in the Hall of Worlds. The Conclave normally has a single session each evening during any Imperial summit. The agenda for these sessions is managed by the civil service but items can be added to the agenda by any individual in exchange for a mana crystal. Agenda items are divided into two types; addresses - an opportunity for individuals to provide Conclave members with information; and declarations - which allow Conclave members to vote on issues of policy.
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. 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.
Most members of the Conclave choose to join a Conclave order. These are political bodies with clear philosophies about how magic should be used. Joining an order allows an Imperial magician to unify their voice with other like-minded magicians as well as giving them influence over how the Conclave expends the magical resources it accrues.
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 if they wish to do so. Members of an order elect a grandmaster who provides leadership and direction to the order. Most Imperial magicians who attend Conclave sessions regularly choose to join an order, but it is not mandatory and some individuals prefer to remain independent of any political affiliation, the better to influence all of them.
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 with a mana crystal for every minute spent talking. 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.
Any Imperial citizen can add an address or a declaration to the agenda for a Conclave session, if they provide a mana crystal, they need only find a suitable civil servant to do so. However there is rarely any value in doing so unless you can be physically present to speak on the matter.
- Conclave session
- Conclave order