The Mage Imperium was a semi-theocratic mega-state founded some 12,000[CONFIRM] years before the present.
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The Imperium began as covenant between the goddess Adalna and her priests, who used their psionic talents to commune directly with her, exploiting unprecedented weaknesses in The Partition to receive her guidance. This manifested in visions of new and extraordinary etheric technologies, and the oracles swiftly spread their knowledge to a new class of scholar-rulers, the Mage Princes.
The foundation of the Imperium devolved into civil war and, ultimately, near total mutual annihilation by its ruling Mage Princes some 2,000 years later.
The Seer Crisis Edit
The following is taken from a secret political primer, "The Mage Prince," written at the twilight of the Imperium:
'The Seer Crisis,' as it has been deemed, slowly germinated from the first seeds of rumor a decade ago, but the last few months have brought a more immediate threat to Imperial stability. Grand Admiral Horatio has died at the age of 112. As Horatio shared the title of Grand Admiral with several other appointees and governed the Navy largely through informal channels, there is no official line of succession. The remaining Grand Admirals are largely men of Horatio’s generation, the youngest being 100 years of age. With a hoary and decrepit elite echelon, the Navy has no clear leadership, and the Seer Council is now too weak to impose a central authority.What remains is a large and disorganized Imperial Navy whose official command structure has been overtaken by a parallel system of obligations and hereditary loyalties. As the Imperium grew, frontier worlds increasingly supplied the ships and resources for warfare, and it became an expectation that hereditary governors would also provide captains and generals from their own families. Navy Careerists are perhaps even more tightly knit, loyal not to siblings, cousins and parents in the aristocracy but to the officer class as a distinctive social caste, one with interests that may run counter not only to the Seer Council but to the Mage Prince elite.
The following is also taken from the political primer, "The Mage Prince":
1. The Seer Council: The Seers are psionics who claim to hear and interpret the will of the Imperium’s patron deity, Adalna. Each layer of government has at least one seer attached to it, vetted and appointed by a Seer of superior rank. The Seer Council nominally rules the Imperium, but it is increasingly isolated from daily administration. Seats on the council are not strictly hereditary, but several great families have contributed a very high number of Seers. As the power of the position has waned, however, the Diet (see below) has become an increasingly attractive position for dynastic jockeying.
2. The Imperial Diet: Essentially an advisory board to the seer council with increasingly significant executive powers in its own right. The Diet consists of representatives from various academies on Aeldrum and across the Imperium. It is in no way democratic or representative of the worlds of the Imperium, meant truly to be a technocratic rung of government assisting the Seer Council (though that hardly stops influential families from stacking the Diet with relatives and puppets).
3. The Imperial Navy: Nominally subservient to the Seer Council, the Navy has increasingly become a pillar of government in its own right. As the Imperium grew and became increasingly decentralized, the Navy received ever great latitude in establishing and maintaining bases, shipyards, academies, even research labs. Naturally, administrative authority over materiel production followed. At present, the Navy controls perhaps 20% of the Imperium's economic activity, and ambitious captains instigate border wars in the hopes of subjugating foreign worlds and being charged with administering them.Further out from the core of Aeldrum and her immediate subjects, however, centralization breaks down. Often, the only connection back to Aeldrum is the network of naval bases and tithing centers managed by the Navy and Diet. Hence, expanses of dozens or even hundreds of worlds are often administered by "sector governors." As planetary and multi-planetary colonial governments became increasingly hereditary, these vast sectors were devised as a middle layer of government to restore Imperial oversight and manage the enormous task of securing and defending the frontier. Predictably these rapidly became hereditary as well. The Imperium of today is a wheezing, corrupt engine in which every dimension of government has been carved out by various dynasties. Civil service is a family business, and it is jealously guarded.