If I rule for a thousand years I would never question the existence of your loyalty, Senator Holberg. I merely wonder to whom you have given it.

Varkula, The Throne


The Imperial Senate is the most powerful of all the great bodies of the Empire and their powers are the most flexible and wide ranging. The legal powers of the Imperial Synod and the Imperial Conclave are clearly defined and tightly constrained in the range of things they can directly accomplish. The Imperial Military Council and the Imperial Bourse are flexible but their focus is much more constrained. Only Senate has the power to make law and it is the Senate that chooses an Empress and the Senate that controls the balance of power between the houses.

The powers of the Senate are employed using either a Senate motion or a Senate announcement. Only a member of the Senate with the right to propose a motion may raise motions on the Senate floor. Some of the powers of the Senate may be delegated to the holder of an Imperial title to carry out. Any Imperial title that has had Senate powers delegated to it may employ those powers by making a suitable announcement during a session.


Changes to Imperial Law

The Senate has the power to introduce new laws or to change existing laws. As with other motions, changes to the law are subject to scrutiny by the Constitutuonal Court. A proposal may be consistent with the Constitution or inconsistent with the Constitution. In the latter case the motion is described as having constitutional implications.

  • A motion that is consistent with the constitution can be passed by majority vote of the senators present.
  • A vote that has constitutional implications requires the approval of two-thirds of all current senators in the Empire and must be authorized by The Throne and approved by three senior Magistrates.

Any character may discuss a proposed motion with the Constitutional Court to try to find a way to make it consistent, or stop it being inconsistent with the Constitution. They will offer advice as best they can. There is no right of appeal however, as the members of the court are NPCs. Their decisions are made in the interests of keeping the game enjoyable, they are not made so as to create plot when players disagree with them.

Where a motion with constitutional implications is passed and ratified, the civil service will amend their interpretation of the constitution as necessary and add any relevant notes to the commentary.

Imperial Titles

Only the Senate has the power to create new Imperial titles.


No citizen may claim The Throne without the approval of the Senate. Selection of an Emperor or Empress is one of the most important responsibilities of the Senate. Election to the Throne requires the Senate to pass a constitutional vote. If successful, the individual becomes emperor or empress once their coronation is complete.

In addition to appointing The Throne, the Senate may be called upon to make appointments of various national or Imperial titles. For example, the general of an army is normally appointed by unanimous vote of the senators of that nation - if they cannot agree then the appointment is made by simple majority of the Senate.

Conclave Orders

The Senate can create a new Conclave order or dissolve an existing one. This is always a constitutional vote. A newly created order requires a clear statement as to its purpose and attitudes to magic, and a symbol similar to those possessed by existing orders that is used with the Arcane Mark ritual. If an order is dissolved, the contents of its vault are redistributed among the remaining orders.

This power is usually used at the instigation of the Conclave.


The Senate is responsible for relations with foreign powers. It has the power to issue a formal declaration of war or peace, as well as extending legal protection to envoys and representatives of barbarian powers for short periods to allow diplomacy to take place.

Declaration of War

The Senate can declare war on any foreign power. Any foreign powers, nations or tribes that the Empire is at war with are considered to be barbarians. Barbarians are not protected by Imperial Law and are considered enemies of the Empire, so it is illegal to trade with them.

Declaration of Peace

The Senate can also end to a state of war. External powers that the Empire is not at war with are classed as foreigners; it is legal to trade with them and their rights are protected by Imperial Law.


The Senate can create an Imperial title to grant authority to a citizen to negotiate on behalf of the Empire with representatives of a foreign power. An ambassador with this power is automatically created if the Senate builds an embassy.


Imperial Treasury

The Senate receives taxes drawn from every territory in the Empire, along with the money raised from the auction of Imperial Bourse seats and such donations as may be made by private citizens from time to time. This great wealth forms the Imperial treasury. Much of the wealth is pre-allocated to pay for the armies and fortifications that defend the empire, however senators can pass motions that call for one-off or regular disbursements from the Imperial treasury.

A senator can raise a motion to have treasury funds assigned to almost any project. Such a motion will usually include wording that indicates what the money is for. Although this direction does not carry legal standing - it cannot be enforced by a magistrate, it may be used by the Synod to judge if the money has been well spent. The funds might be used for anything - buying medical supplies for an upcoming battle; purchasing mithril to improve all the mana sites in Dawn; constructing a set of magic standards for the armies of Varushka; funding a project, scheme or group, or any number of other examples.

The most common disbursements are for one-off payments to pay for commissions and regular payments that form a stipend as part of the creation of an Imperial title


Only the Senate has the power to authorize a new commission.

Historical Research

The Senate can order rudimentary historical research on a chosen subject.



A territory is conquered at the point where half or more of the regions in that territory are under Imperial control. When a territory is conquered it must be assigned to a nation of the Empire by a vote in the Senate, before it can legally be considered part of the Empire. Until 379YE it was understood that it would be unconstitutional for the Senate to reassign a territory. Once a vote had been passed then the status was fixed and could not be changed while the territory remains part of the Empire. However, this is no longer the case and territories may be reassigned by use of a motion of relinquishment and then a motion of assignment. A national bourse seat in a territory that is assigned will automatically transfer to the nation receiving the assignment and will be appointed by the bourse mechanisms laid down for that nation.

In practice competing claims are exceptionally rare and only Holberg has ever been successfully contested, so the motion is normally more formal than political. Traditionally a senator from the Imperial nation that is laying claim to a territory will propose the motion and take the opportunity to deliver a suitably portentous speech.


If an asset that produces ilium, mithril, weirwood or white granite is in a region that is conquered by the Imperial armies - the asset is subject to a vote of allocation. Control of the asset is vested in the Imperial Bourse - as prescribed by the Imperial Constitution but the vote determines whether the asset will be a national asset or an Imperial asset.

Imperial assets are auctioned to the highest bidder - with the money raised being added to the Imperial treasury. Any Imperial citizen may bid for such a position - although as with any position, an individual citizen can only ever hold one title.

National assets are appointed by the bourse mechanisms laid down for the nation in which the territory is located. Only an Imperial citizen of the nation in which the territory is situated may be selected to hold that title. If the asset is in imperial control but the territory has not yet been conquered by the empire, then it can be allocated to any nation and will be appointed according to that nation's mechanism.

The only way for a new vote of allocation to take place is if the resource is lost and then later reconquered. At this point the former status of the resource is irrelevant and a new vote of allocation is needed. Any senator may raise a vote of allocation, although if the motion calls for the resource to be national then it is traditional for the senator whose territory the resource is located in to raise the motion.

A vote of allocation does not arise for a bourse asset in a territory that is relinquished and re-assigned, the asset remains national or Imperial (see assignment above).


Following the historic events of 379YE, the Constitutional Court did not disallow a motion passed by the Imperial Senate for Wintermark to relinquish control of Skarsind (with the intention that it become a homeland for the Imperial Orcs who were still without any territories of their own at that time). Although magistrates are clear that they are not bound by precedent, currently it is clearly possible that such a motion could be permitted to pass in the future.

The motion to relinquish Skarsind required the unanimous approval of all the senators of Wintermark (who controlled the territory at that time), and is eligible for veto by Assembly of the Nine, the General Assembly or the Wintermark National Assembly. That motion is considered to be a constitutional change and requires ratification by the Throne.

If successful, a motion to relinquish control of a territory would mean that the territory was treated as if it had been newly conquered. Once the motion is ratified by the Throne, the Senate would then have to pass a separate motion of assignment to choose an Imperial nation to assign the territory.


A motion may call for the abrogation of most previous Senate decisions. If the vote is successful, then the motion is nullified in the most effective way possible. A change to the law would be repealed, a title created would be dissolved, a war declared would be cancelled.

Abrogation cannot reverse time, resources expended on a commission that is abrogated are lost. The powers of a title are lost when the title is dissolved but previous uses of those powers are not unwound. A foreign power might be placated by the abrogation of a declaration of war - but they are not likely to forget that it happened.

Territorial motions (allocation and assignment), disbursements and appointments cannot be abrogated.

Further Reading

Core Brief

Additional Information