The Empire is one of the largest great interstellar powers. Its high living standards, outlandishly wealthy companies and sophisticated technology and design have made it an attractive place for the wealthy and famous to call home. The Empire has a fascinating political system, rampant nationalism, obsession with wealth projection, and a dark underbelly of legalised slavery.
— The Empire Sourcebook, EDRPG
The Empire, officially the Empire of Achenar, is one of the three major factions in the universe, the other two being the Federation and the Alliance. The Imperial Palace, seat of the Emperor, is situated on Capitol in the Achenar system. The current ruling Emperor is Arissa Lavigny-Duval.
Although a peace treaty has existed between the Empire and the Federation since 2382AD, there have never really been any peaceful relations between these two old enemies. The Empire despises the Federation and everything it stands for, and vice-versa.
The Empire is less technologically dependent than the Federation, choosing to keep and employ slaves for the work which machines would usually perform in other parts of the universe. The Empire is also a proponent of human cloning, a topic which the other factions find abhorrent and have officially banned within their own jurisdictions.
Imperial society is based on a cliens system - much like ancient Rome - and strictly stratified, with people being able to move between strata based on money, patronage and influence. It values both status and honour very highly. Whilst it is acceptable to flaunt wealth, treating people well is a question of honour - and this includes slaves. Having an unpaid debt is seen as utterly dishonourable - an honourable Imperial citizen would sell themselves into slavery to clear a debt they couldn't otherwise afford.
The Imperial Law is seen and enforced by Senators who themselves are above the law. They can order executions, and can even kill people themselves, though sometimes (rarely) they may be held to account for their actions by the Emperor. In the Empire very little is illegal, but many things are frowned upon, like excessive use of narcotics.
Imperial design puts an emphasis on the glamorous, glorious, and aesthetically beautiful, with extravagance in abundance. Everything in the Empire looks impressive, from their cities, to their ships, right down to the clothes worn by Imperial subjects.
Departing the FederationEdit
What is now known as the Empire began around in the middle of the 23rd century, with the architect of peace and an anti-Federation activist Marlin Duval. She had long spoken out against the oppressive Federal administration of the time. Such was her disenchantment that she gathered her family together, along with many supporters, and left the Federation. Marlin led them to a distant star system called Achenar, many light years from Sol, in order to found a new colony based on peaceful ideals. A suitable home was found orbiting Achenar 6, a Class III gas giant, and Achenar 6d was colonised. Now named Capitol, this moon formed the core world of what would later become the Empire.
The colony started off extremely well, and an administrative council was formed with Marlin at the head, in order to fairly distribute power throughout the colony. As the colony expanded, so did the council, with a determination that any and every situation was dealt with via peaceful methods and dialogue. This arrangement worked very well indeed and the colony continued to prosper.
Accusations of GenocideEdit
Imperial historians record that many native species were found on Capitol during colonisation, which the colonists took great care to protect as best they could. Among these species, unbeknownst to the newly-formed republic, were one of the few sapient species to have been encountered by humanity. Imperial scholars have suggested a number of factors led to the extinction of this species, not least of all imported bacteria carried along with the colonists. Within a few short years, this indigenous species had been rendered extinct.
Federal historians, citing Federal decrees of the time, paint a different tale. The official Federal version of events alleges that Capitol was in fact sterilised on the orders of Henson Duval, brother of Marlin Duval, prior to terraforming some years after Marlin's death. Imperial scholars disagree on whether this was due to innocent confusion over misunderstood or misrepresented information, associating plans for the terraforming of nearby world Conversion (a project which would not be completed until 2696) with that of the genocide, or a deliberate political smear campaign based on Marlin Duval's antagonistic relationship with the Federation.
Whether mistakenly or not, the Federation threatened retaliation if this action were repeated, later using this event retroactively as the pretext for a failed invasion attempt in 2324AD which would secure the newborn Empire's standing as a major galactic power.
The Birth of an EmpireEdit
The original government of Achenar was recorded as a democratic republic, elected senators representing the people and a council of high-ranking politicians acting as an executive body for the republic. Marlin Duval, as the founder and a popular political figure, retained a great deal of political power in this period, but enjoyed only a position of influence within the council rather than the absolute leadership of later Emperors.
Some few short years after the founding of the Republic of Achenar, Marlin Duval was killed in a shuttle accident, in which her partner and children also perished. No evidence ever surfaced linking her brother Henson to the incident, but even the most loyal Imperial historians openly accept that the event was suspicious in light of his subsequent actions.
Assuming control of the senate as Marlin's closest living heir, Henson Duval quickly disbanded the ruling council and installed himself as leader of the Achenar system's colonies. Citing the continued threats made by the Federation and their defencelessness in the face of a military invasion, Henson began a campaign of propaganda rejecting his sister's pacifistic ideals. Such was his passion and power of persuasion that he succeeded in converting the capricious colonists to his doctrines in a remarkably short period of time.
Utilising his popularity among the colonists and strong control over the colony's government, Henson declared that control of the colony and any associated systems would pass from father to son. With this declaration in 2314, the Empire as we know it was born.
At this time, the federation continued to invite the colony to accept Federal rule and abandon their fledgeling Empire. Not only were these invitations met with outright refusal, but the Empire also began to approach nearby colonies to recruit them away from the Federation. Most historians agree that this was the catalyst for the Federation's move from diplomacy to military action.
The First Empire-Federation WarEdit
Whether in the face of the Empire's sedition or the stated charges of genocide, the Federation began an armed invasion of the Achenar system in 2324. As the largest power in the known galaxy, the Federation hoped to cow the rebellious system with sheer military might and thus bring them under Federal control.
They arrived to find a fleet of military vessels and defence platforms, designed and constructed in anticipation of just such an armed invasion. It is worth noting that while Achenar did not represent the first system that the Federation had sought to bring to heel through military dominance, the primacy of the Federation had not yet been challenged at this time and historians suggest that the Federation's military may have grown complacent. While sizeable, the Federal fleet of this time was made up of multi-purpose vessels and not the warships employed by the Empire. Outgunned and outmanoeuvred by the Imperial Fleet, the Federation were forced to retreat and accept the sovereignty of the Empire for the time being.
With the Federation embarrassed and the threat of the Federal fleet undermined, many systems flocked to the Empire in the following years. From one system, the Empire had quickly grown to a galactic power in less than a century since its founding.
Recent events - 3300 onEdit
In 3300, Emperor Hengist Duval fell gravely ill, throwing the Imperial succession into question as his son and designated heir, Harold Duval, was widely viewed as unsuitable to rule the Empire. On December 19, Hengist appeared before the Imperial Senate to decree Harold was not of sound mind and could not succeed him to the throne. Senator Arissa Lavigny, Hengist's illegitimate daughter with Florence Lavigny, was touted as likely to be named the next heir, and on December 22, Hengist announced he would marry Florence and thus solidify Arissa's claim; Arissa changed her last name to Lavigny-Duval. Hengist's illness subsequently worsened and he entered a coma, causing the wedding to postponed through July 3301.
Hengist awoke from his coma on July 14, 3301, and rapidly recovered. The wedding was initially scheduled for July 29, then finalized for August 5. Dignitaries from across human space attended the ceremony, including Federal Shadow President Felicia Winters. However, the ceremony was interrupted when Brendan Paul Darius, a high-ranking Imperial official and member of the ultra-traditionalist faction Emperor's Dawn, assassinated Hengist Duval. The Imperial succession was again thrown into question, with Hengist's granddaughter Aisling Duval jockeying for the position. On October 6, the matter was finally settled when Arissa Lavigny-Duval was declared Emperor by a vote of the Imperial Senate, and she was formally crowned on October 18, 3301.
That same month, Senator Denton Patreus waged a military campaign to eradicate Emperor's Dawn. Many Emperor's Dawn bases across Imperial and Federal space were destroyed, and on February 5, 3302, Patreus declared the group had been wiped out. In recognition of Patreus's service, Emperor Arissa promoted him to Admiral of the Fleet, giving him command of the Imperial Navy.
By 3303, tensions between the Empire and the Federation have become heightened as both superpowers have significantly increased military spending and capital ship construction. Proxy conflicts have broken out in the vicinity of the Pleiades Nebula as the Empire and Federation sought to monopolize access to Alien Structures and Meta-Alloys.
On June 19, 3303, following an apparent attack by Thargoids on a Federal fleet, Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval urged her citizens to remain calm and assured them that humanity had overcome seemingly insurmountable odds in the past.
Originally founded by Marlin Duval, who led the colonization of the Achenar system in the mid 23rd century, the Empire is based on a cliens system. Society is strictly stratified, with people being able to move between strata (lower strata particularly) based on money, patronage and influence.
The Empire values both status and honour very highly indeed. So whilst it is acceptable to flaunt wealth, treating people well is a question of honour – and this includes slaves. Having an unpaid debt is seen as utterly dishonourable – an honourable Imperial citizen would sell themselves into slavery to clear a debt they couldn’t otherwise clear.
Law is seen and enforced very differently in the Empire. Senators are responsible for enforcing the Emperor’s laws, but the Senators themselves are above the law. They can order executions, and can even kill people themselves, though sometimes (rarely) they may be held to account for their actions by the Emperor. Some Senators are warlike and may take over systems in the name of the Empire, to get the spoils, and they may get a good deal of support as a result. Some Senators do not tolerate slavery, and regularly speak out against it, but from the basis of honour - not suggesting it should not be legal.
In the Empire, very little is illegal, but many things are frowned upon, like excessive use of narcotics.
Its high living standards, outlandishly wealthy companies and sophisticated technology and design have made it an attractive place for the wealthy and famous to call home. The Empire has a fascinating political system, rampant nationalism, obsession with wealth projection, and a dark underbelly of legalised slavery.
The Emperor is the head of state and head of government of the Empire. Emperors are elected by a vote of the Imperial Senate and serve for life. Traditionally, all Emperors are members of Duval dynasty, which stretches back to the Empire's founding. Hengist Duval, the previous Emperor, also changed Imperial law to allow female descendants of the Duvals to be crowned Emperor, clearing the way for Arissa Lavigny-Duval to be named his heir; Arissa was declared Emperor by a vote of the Imperial Senate following Hengist's assassination, and she is the current Emperor of the Empire.
All Senators and the Emperor can sit in the Imperial Senate, but it is rare that all participate at the same time. The Chancellor is a Senator with additional powers, and he or she runs any debates in the Senate. They are appointed by the Emperor. It is otherwise structurally flat by law, but in practice has power blocks within it, led by the more important/powerful Senators. Not all Senators are equal. There are regular votes on issues of the day, and the Senator’s voting power is the total number of Citizens (in turn represented by Clients, and blocks of Clients by Patrons) they currently represent. They are influenced by their most powerful Patrons – who in turn are not all equal, and Patrons may move their block to another Senator at a whim, particularly if they feel their current Senator is not representing the views of their Clients. Senators can lose Patrons quickly if their actions are unpopular, but bear in mind a Senator sets tax rates and healthcare for all those that support them, so can effectively bribe Patrons to ally themselves with them. The most powerful Senators can have a hundred or more times the voting power than others, and a Senate majority can be just a few of the major Senators, but honour requires that the views of all Senators are listened to politely. Before voting against them.
Historically the Imperial Senate used to always physically sit in the Senate House on Capitol (Achenar 6d). It is near to the Imperial Palace. Technically it still does sit there, but in practice most Senators "sit" virtually by remote projection – though by tradition there are a number of events (like the accession of a new Emperor, and on Empire Day (January 2nd) where it is considered proper and polite to attend physically, where a party atmosphere descends on Capitol as the entourages of each Senator arrive in their finery.
There are Senators that have come up from the Military, or by corporate success – but by the very nature of Patronage, and the cost of the petitions, it can be very exclusive, with family inheritance being important too.
There are no elections, and Senators serve for life unless their title is revoked. A Senator represents a group of Patrons, who in turn represent Clients, and each of those represents a group of Citizens. This representation is public. Anyone can see who is currently supporting each Senator (Patron, Client), and their numbers. There are 1,000 Senators by Imperial Decree, dating back to the first Emperor a thousand years ago. A very popular Patron can petition to become a Senator if he or she thinks they could represent more Citizens than one of the least popular Senators. That less popular Senator the petitioner chooses to target has the opportunity to rally support against the challenger for seven days, but as does the popular Patron, and at the end of that period a decision is made based on their support, and that Patron cannot petition again for 1 Earth year if they are unsuccessful. Similarly a deposed Senator cannot petition to become a Senator again for a year. Posting a petition has a cost (1 Bn CR, paid to the Emperor) to prevent time wasters, which is returned if the petition succeeds. When a Senator dies or chooses to retire, usually their chosen successor takes their Senatorial seat. Most Senators will have such a chosen successor already working closely in their entourage, and familiar and friendly with their most powerful Patrons so continuity is assured; as a result generally their petitions are unopposed. Sometimes multiple petitions are made for the same Senatorial opening, which can happen when a Senator and their entourage dies in the same event, so this is the nearest the Empire gets to an election, with the most popular succeeding in their petition.
A controversial issue can result in a sudden mass realignment of Patrons, but this can happen at any time; the system is pretty dynamic.
Similarly there are not just senatorial petitions as above, but there are petitions for Patrons, Clients, and Citizens. A citizen petition is where a slave or child of a Citizen, or even a foreigner, petitions to become an Imperial Citizen. For children this is a fairly informal process, which is really a coming-of-age party with a brief ceremony at the start, which happens when they reach 21 years old. Apart from the Emperor, royal standing is separate from political standing. Knights, Princes etc exist, and only a few get involved in politics – and then it is mostly by influencing and supporting friendly Senators from behind the scenes, but there is nothing stopping them also becoming Senators.
Effectively all Imperial systems have representation, but indirectly. Every Imperial Citizen has a right to representation by a Client. Every Client has a right to be represented by a Patron, and every Patron a Senator. Senators generally represent power bases – which can be many systems or a specific interest group, and typically many hundred Patrons – though it is up to the Senator how many Patrons they have. There is not a fixed number. So if a system has just one Imperial Citizen living there, they will have representation in the Senate – but most likely only indirectly through their Patrons. It is likely there is a Patron at the head of each of the larger Imperial Minor Factions for example, but not a Senator.
Senators represent their Patrons as they see fit. Senators can also hold other roles, like Admiral of the Fleet, Chancellor, Leader of the House (runs the Senate hearings when the Emperor and Chancellor are not present). Senators can also have private interests, and generally represent one or more Corporations – often with large personal shareholdings in them. They are fully entitled to be biased towards their own interests, and generally do, as long as most of their Patrons hold much the same interests. Senators are above the law, subject only to a decree from the Emperor, and through history it has even been known for Senators to go to battle against each other.
For players to be promoted through the Empire's ranks they must complete missions or other favourable activities with Empire minor factions, and then complete a promotion mission for the Imperial Navy - these are generally named as "Naval Ascension Opportunity" or something similar (as of version 2.1, missions names look like "Imperial Navy Acquisition Contract" or "Courier Job for Imperial Naval Intelligence" or similar, you can find if the mission is a ranking one by looking at the mission details where there will be a "Rank progression" line in the "Additional" section - scroll to the bottom of the details, generally it's the last line).
How much progress one has made toward a rank can be seen in the right HUD panel, in the Reputation section of the Status tab.
There are several types of mission that give Ranks, but Charity Missions are generally viewed as the most useful and fastest. If you cannot find a place to do Charity missions, trading Imperial Slaves for Robigo can increase your rank, although very slowly, and make you a lot of money on the side, as the Faction that issues them are Empire aligned.
(Remember to check which missions come from who, to stop yourself accidentally leveling up, for example, the Alliance.)
- Majestic Class Interdictor
- Imperial Cutter
- Imperial Clipper
- Imperial Courier
- Imperial Eagle
- Imperial Fighter
Permits are required to access certain systems that are otherwise locked out by the computer of your Frame Shift Drive (FSD).
Such permits are rewarded by the controlling faction for that locked system, when you become friendly with that faction, by accomplishing missions such as "Imperial dispatch" and receiving ranks. You can often find that faction on a station outside the main system they control.
Once you have finished several dispatch quests, simply visit the Bulletin Board at any of the faction's stations to accept a job titled "Imperial invitation". Accepting the job automatically adds the permit to your FSD computer.
See also Edit
- ↑ The Empire Sourcebook excerpt
- ↑ http://www.elitedangerous.com/galaxy/gs-empire/
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Galnet News: The Birth of an Empire
- ↑ Newsletter #52
- ↑ Newsletter #22
- ↑ The Empire Sourcebook excerpt
- ↑ In-game Achenar system description
- ↑ Governments and politics in Elite Dangerous by Michael Brookes
- ↑ 1.5 Update