Synod Career Progression

Hi all!

I’m doing some Empire Wiki research into religious roles. Specifically, I’m trying to get an idea of what a priest’s career trajectory might look like according to the publicly available Synod judgements, however, this has raised a couple of questions:

  1. In what order do the events of the Imperial year occur? (e.g. Winter is the “first” event of the year, then Spring, Summer and ending with Autumn?)

  2. Where the wiki does not give a “competitor” and “votes received” tally for Imperial positions, is it assumed that the position was uncontested?

  3. Are any positions appointed directly by the Civil Service, or are all positions subject to a popular vote?

  4. How long can a position remain vacant for? Fewer than two events? Several consecutive events? Indefinitely?

  5. Is becoming Gatekeeper of X a prerequisite of becoming Cardinal of X? Are other Imperial positions (such as virtue Inquisitor) necessary steps, or are the positions not hierarchical?

  6. Is there a term limit for any positions, or can an incumbent carry on indefinitely, providing they always win the popular vote?

  1. Correct. E1 is Winter, etc, following in the normal order (it is as yet unknown if Corona related delays may alter this)

  2. It might have been or (especially in the early years) it might not have been recorded by the Civil Service correctly.

  3. The only positions appointed by the civil service are those filled by the civil service (i.e. tribune, speaker, etc.) [Namely those roles that exist purely from a game management point of view] Some positions are appointed by other PCs (such as Gatekeeper, etc)

  4. Technically the Civil service will put up a request for an election the next event after a position is vacated or on the season when it is normally elected. If no one got any votes at all I believe it would start again the season after, however I don’t think there are any common exampls of positions (other than the Throne) not being filled.

  5. No, No positions are hierarchical, You can become a cardinal your very first time in anvil (if you manage to get the votes). Note also that while a Cardinal appoints the Gatekeeper they have no power to make them vote or decide in any specifc way.

  6. For the vast majority of positions there are no termlimits, as long as you continue getting elected or appointed you may remain in the position. The only exception that I can think of at the moment is Conscience of the Senate, which you can only hold for a single term.

  1. That is correct, though depending on when events start running again that order may end up shifting.

  2. I think the only case where all the votes for various candidates are published are for Synod votes, no other political body does it. Based on what I can see on the wiki I would assume that if only a single name appears then they are the only person who stood for the position. (“Judgement 29 Autumn 383YE: Asher of the Shattered Tower was appointed with 315 votes” vs. “Judgement 40 Summer 383YE: Rhaego i Zemress was appointed with 210 votes. Yarona of the Chantry received 0 votes”)

  3. The only ‘positions’ appointed by the Civil Service would be other npc Civil Service positions, so not something that could be held by a player. Any position held by a player character will in some way be appointed by other players, whether that be by votes from eligible characters, by bid, or being appointed directly by another titleholder (depending on the title in question).

  4. I don’t think any position HAS to be filled. The Throne was empty for several years, and may end up being empty for several more depending on whether a new candidate gets some momentum going. Most positions don’t tend to stay empty for long because people want to play with them. There have been occasions where unused or redundant positions have been removed, but from what I remember that is usually a matter of ooc game design rather than ic procedure.

  5. I can’t think of any examples of prerequisites. It might help your case when convincing people to vote for you, but it’s not something you must have to be eligible for any position.

  6. In most cases there is no term limit. The one exception I know of is High Bard (which isn’t relevant to the Synod), which is held for one year and can only be held once by any particular person.

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  1. Yes, like that. Winter is the first event.

2: I’m not sure.

3: The Civil Service do not appoint anything except internal NPC-only positions like the Tribunes (who handle Synod vote counts). They are an NPC organisation that is apolitical and serves a gameplay function.

4: I think indefinitely if for some reason nobody votes for anyone ever. But since all it takes is for 1 vote of YES for a candidate to win uncontested, there’s never going to be a realistic case where a Synod election takes place and doesn’t produce a winner. Positions that are appointed by unanimous assent of the Nation’s Senators (i.e. Generals) have remained vacant sometimes, but not for long.

5: No. All positions are an independent vote, taken from any priest who is allowed to vote on that title.

6: No Synod term limits EXCEPT for Conscience of the Senate, which is a one-time only gig.

Just an effort to clarify on Q1:
The imperial year, in terms of its calendar starts between the Winter and Spring events just as our real calendar changes between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. So as far as it currently stands, the next event will be in the Winter of 383, followed by Spring of 384.

So for characters, the Spring Equinox summit is the first of their year while we players use the (usually) coldest event of our year to represent the Empire’s Winter Solstice summit.


You’ve received some brilliant answers already, but I just wanted to confirm that we (the Tribune) haven’t always had a database to record all the votes on - so historically, the individual title records will miss off the details of votes. That database has only been around for the last year or so of play, in fact. I’m less sure when it comes to the individual Judgement records though.

In the Synod, there are a few different ways in which positions are elected:

  • Judgement of Appointment in a Virtue Assembly
  • Judgement of Appointment in a National Assembly
  • Judgement of Appointment in the Assembly of Nine
  • Cardinal Appointment
  • Throne Appointment

The Judgements are all “popular votes”, although only the priests of that Assembly get to vote, and priests have different voting strengths based on various effects.

The Cardinal Appointments take place without a vote, but the Cardinal can only do so if the position has or is about to fall vacant, or if they have just been appointed.

The Throne Appointments also take place without a vote, but currently there’s no Throne to Appoint anyone.

Most Synod positions don’t go vacant for any real length of time - less than an event each, usually. A couple of exceptions - Inquisitor of the Way is the main one, which has been vacant for a couple of events now after the title lapsed and no-one stood for election. This will continue until:

  • Someone actually stands and there’s a clear winner, or
  • The title is abrogated

Some Synod titles have “tenure” - that is, once elected you never need to seek re-election, you hold the position for life, or until abdication/revocation. These are basically all sinecures that grant extra votes rather than powers. Otherwise only the High Bard and Conscience have strict term limits.

There’s not much of a hierarchy as no-one can order anyone to do anything, but Cardinals are the leaders of their Assemblies, have extra powers and sit on the Assembly of Nine, so they can be considered the “highest ranks”. Anyone can go for any title they qualify for (and most of the qualifications are “Imperial Citizen”), but it’s obviously easier to get elected if people already know who you are and like you!

If you’re interested in a Synod title - great! We have a whole bunch up for Appointment at the next event, including:

  • Cardinals and Gatekeepers of Prosperity and The Way
  • Inquisitors of Courage, Wisdom and the Way
  • High Exorcist
  • Voice of Barbs
  • Curator of the Printer’s Guild Museum
  • Liaison to the Temple in Nemoria
  • Speaker of the Highborn Assembly
  • Patron of the Pavilion
  • Basilisk of the Bourse

Candidates should make themselves known to the Tribune of the Synod in the Hub. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you all! Super helpful answers :smiley:

If I may be so bold as to throw in a few more questions?

According to the records on the Wiki, the longest term of any Cardinal was 16 events (whoa!) and the shortest is, of course, 1 event. In fact, 9 out of the 48 individuals who ever occupied the role did so for just one event. Is there a reason behind this? Since Cardinals are elected once annually, surely the shortest term limit is 4 events? On at least 2 occasions, a longer-serving Cardinal has been replaced by someone for a single event, but returned to the position the event after. Were they just keeping the seat warm or smth?

And here’s a fun tidbit I uncovered in my research: The position with the longest total average term length is the Cardinal of Wisdom , with 8 events, making this the most slowly replaced Cardinal. The shortest total average term length is the Cardinal of Prosperity, with 3.8 events, making this the most quickly replaced Cardinal position.

I hope this sort of data-analysis falls within the acceptable OC bounds for discussion. It’s been a LONG dark and I just want to keep the momentum going :sweat_smile:

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There are a few of reasons a titleholder might be replaced early. The character might die, they might get a different title (you can only have one at a time), or they might be revoked because other characters think they aren’t suitable anymore.

As for those 1 season gaps, it might be that the incumbent was unable to attend that event, so their assembly revoked and reappointed the title so that the titles powers could be used, then revoked the replacement next season and reappointed the original person (I’m not 100% if thats how the procedure would work though).

The numbers are also bit skewed by people who got the job at E1, decided they didn’t like Empire and so didn’t come back.

Also boy have some position holders been unlucky in Skirmishes and Battles, with repeated fatalities meaning new citizens were needed :slight_smile: .

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Not necessarily - they might be elected out of cycle.

For example, the Cardinal of Ambition is appointed every Spring Equinox. If the Cardinal dies, is revoked, or abdicates at the start of the Winter Solstice, then there is likely to be an election for a new Cardinal. That new Cardinal will serve until Spring - when there will be a new election. In that case you might have a 3-season Cardinal and a 1-season Cardinal.


I can explain the Prosperity one:

This is a common saying of the Prosperous.

Enjoy the fruits of your labour today; no one knows what the morrow holds.

This is especially true when 2 consecutive title holders die in battle in 2 consecutive events. :P. It was fun while it lasted.