Synod power of veto

On the PD wiki page for the Synod (History subsection) it is stated that the Synod is able to listen to and veto decisions made by the Senate and Military Council. The IC explanation is that the Synod ensures the virtuous behaviour of the other 2 bodies.

However, it goes on to state that decisions made by the Bourse and Conclave are beyond this jurisdiction. The IC explanation is that previous Emperors had “political views” that prevented it.

So, I was wondering what other (particularly OC) reasons PD could have for this? Surely the Bourse and Conclave also need to be checked for virtuous behaviour? Would it be game breaking if the Synod could veto them too? Can the other bodies affect the Synod in return? Is the veto even a power that gets used much in-game?

I just can’t imagine a solid reason for restraining the Synod from ensuring virtue, amirite?

Its game design, the bourse is meant to be unaccountable to anyone (and does not make decisions as a group anyway) and the conclave is very deliberately a separate pocket chamber of semi accountable magical mayhem, which could quickly become very unfun if the priests decide to veto everything for lols.

It’s also worth remembering there’s an entire mage order who are there specifically to make sure the conclave is acting virtuously, so it’s not like the conclave is completely without guidance.

As with most real life governments, most departments don’t like giving other departments the ability to over-rule them, so IC the reason is probably politics.

OOC I’ve no idea, but I imagine it’s important to remember that PD have often stated that the game is not designed to be perfectly balanced (IC) or maximally efficient. It’s a political pvp game so it needs enough wiggle room for people to upset each other and then have big dramatic confrontations about it.

Where there is the opportunity for corruption or apparent lack of oversight it’s likely to be by design, because it creates more game for the players. One of the changes made to conclave in the past was because everyone was agreeing, and there was not enough corruption and nepotism going on :wink: (or words to that effect. It was a while ago so I can’t remember the original wording)

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A note on the OP: the Synod only gets to veto Senate motions, it can’t veto Military Council decisions.

The main way the Synod can affect the MC is through revocations of generals and more generally by soft power exercises like Inquisitions and Statements of Principle (and maybe the nuclear option of excommunication if a general really honked them off). In practice the biggest influence is more subtle though, as certain priests tend to exercise Right of Witness more often. Those priests might offer the carrot of spiritual guidance/advice or the stick of being able to drag your reputation through the dirt. Knowing those priests are in the room and listening to discussions is a powerful tool, and some priests wield it very cleverly.

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The Synod has held more power in the past, Cardinals used to be able to vote in Senate. So in theory if you wanted the Synod to be able to veto decisions in the Conclave or even Military council all you’d need to do is get it passed in Senate, you’d also need someone on the Throne as it’s a constitutional matter + it would need approval by the constitutional court (the game team checks stuff for play balance). But I know a whole bunch similar powers were suggested in Winds of a Fortune in the last year or two. So hey get campaigning :).

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I mean the Synod has destroyed more Imperial armies than all the Barbarians put together since the game began :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

Citation pls?

I mean its wildly off topic for a tongue in cheek comment but:

The other significant impact of the pilgrimage is the reduction in the ability of the Highborn nation to support a fourth army. The Imperial Senate had approved a fourth army, and plans were already underway to raise the mithril needed to arm and equip it. All of that has had to be abandoned, with so many Highborn citizens committed to the pilgrimage, there simply won’t be sufficient people to support an additional army in the foreseeable future - at least not until Highguard expands substantially.

From https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/A_blessing_in_disguise seems to cover the salient points, the huge amounts of mithril raised did at least go on to help elsewhere. :slight_smile:

While the barbarians have killed 0 armies and one fleet.

With respect, this is blatantly IC opinion and a rich seam for roleplay, so should remain in IC spaces - even with all the :stuck_out_tongue: in the world…

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I agree it is certainly an IC oppinion someone could hold :slight_smile:

I would only clarify that in other nations there’s some sort of ruling group apart from Synod, but in Highguard they’re one and the same. Their National Assembly are considered the representatives of the people, they elect senators, chose Bourse reps, etc etc. And as everyone knows this is the best and most democratic system in the Empire :slight_smile:.

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Technically, this is incorrect. As I understand it, it would be unconstitutional for the Synod to appoint Senators or national Bourse positions.

The congregation-holders of Highguard appoint their Senators and national Bourse positions. It just so happens that the congregation-holders also make up the vast majority of the National Assembly…

But there are important differences - sinecures that provide Synod votes have no impact on Senatorial/Bourse elections, nor do enchantments that affect the productivity of a congregation.

It’s a very technical point, I grant you.

So for the Bourse, the answer is that its functioning is a lot more machinelike than the other organs of state. Money talks, and there are very few things it can talk about. A foundation of the Empire IC is property rights, and a foundation of the game OOC is the unfairness inherent in a market economy. What would the Synod do - reverse the outcome of an auction it didn’t like? OOC it all relies on the in-character money actually being worth something, and that means that the full faith and credit of the state needs to be maintained. So the Synod can’t have too much power to mess up the Bourse or people will abandon the ring in favour of your usual LARP barter.

For Conclave - and I say this as an avid Conclave goer in my day - Conclave is very information-dense. It’s the intersection of roughly speaking six specialist subjects with different modes of operation, reacting to an environment that can change much more rapidly than the religious zeitgeist. You can raise something a minute before the motion deadline, canvass people in the queue to get in, speak well on the floor and have new law by the time it’s finished - and you may need to. The Synod necessarily slows everything down. To get a veto through the Synod is a solid day of hard legwork by you and as much of your network as you can muster. OOC, the powers aren’t a good fit for each other.

The other point is that unlike most of the other arenas of Imperial power, it is somewhere that you can turn with a good speech. You can get a very great deal through Conclave if you can bamboozle a dozen opinion formers, fake a pile of specialist expertise and ride herd on a crowd of a couple of hundred interested observers - Conclave makes mistakes, Conclave can be fooled, and that is part of its charm. Out of character, the Conclave game would be easier and in my opinion less good if bad/hasty/fast-talked decisions enacted at 10pm Friday could be reversed before 9pm Saturday. I think the whole of that part of the game would be distinctly wounded by providing a Backsies option.

In character, of course, magic is a deeply complicated subject, and as mentioned the Order of the Sevenfold Path is absolutely there to make sure that Virtue is considered in magic. And they are right there, part of the action, so they can act fast and call things out as they see them. Part of my old character’s advice to anyone trying to make it in Conclave was to get religion, or pretend to - it’s a major tool in the arsenal of any archmage.

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