|Leader||Arch-Chancellor Moriarty I (in a ceremonial and powerless role)|
|Headquarters||Senatorial Forum, City of Regalia|
The Regalian Senate was a short-lived, deliberative and legislative assembly that replaced the Arch-Chancellery in the Regalian Empire’s state governance. The Senate came into existence after the Drachenwald Crisis, an event that caused the death of a large majority of the high ranking nobility, including Chancellor Norn I, creating a power vacuum that the rebelling barons used to force a Constitutional Monarchy onto the Regalian Empire. The Senate was vastly unpopular among the commoners and eventually fell apart under the wave of ultra-nationalism that surged in the Empire after the Chrysant War.
The Regalian Senate disbanded in 291 AC, and is not an existing organization.
The term Senate is derived from the Dressolini word “senecce”, which roughly translates to “Elder Ones”. Senators are similarly referred to as Elders in this language, these terms deriving from the of the “Ethos of Senecce”, which was written by a Dressolini scholar.
The Regalian Senate finds its origins in the aftermath of the Drachenwald Crisis. While initially a minor revolt within the House van Sherburne’s core provinces, the Crisis eventually engulfed the entirety of Dragenthal, including the major trade artery of the Schoenn River. The escalation of the rebellion prompted Arch-Chancellor Norn I to send a coalition army to crush the rebellion, which initially saw great success for the State. However, the decisive Battle of Lausitze saw the van Sherburne and State Armies defeated, the Arch-Chancellor killed in battle, and the heads of several noble families captured by the Baron’s Coalition. When the Regalian State refused to accept the demands of the Barons, each day of deadlock saw the Barons execute another of their prisoners. After two weeks of executions, the State acquiesced to the rebels, thus ending the Crisis.
Among the list of demands by the Baron’s Coalition was the creation of the Regalian Senate, which was staffed by representatives of the various parts of the Empire. Each province had its representative, supported by various agents of the ruling families and the cities, as well as the clergy. All in all, the Senate counted 323 members in the assembly, all of whom were housed in the city. From the very beginning, the Senate was a hugely expensive drain on the Imperial Treasury. To uphold the standard of living of 323 representatives due to their new political status was almost as draining as one hundred Chancellors and twice the cost of the Imperial household. On top of this, the Senate proved utterly incapable of handling state matters. Representatives voted with their own interests at heart, causing almost permanent deadlocks in every major decision the Senate had to make. As the chaos progressed, the Senators started uniting into interest groups that constantly competed for political power within the Senate, starting bogus votes and undermining one another in public affairs. Shortly before the Chrysant War, Senators were frequently assassinated or forced to step down to put new puppet Senators in place. The Senatorial Forum became a cutthroat place of intrigue where the running of the Empire was a secondary concern to gathering wealth and power for oneself. Throughout this period, the Emperor could not act without the Senate’s consent, and the Arch-Chancellor was degraded to a ceremonial rubber stamp on Senate votes that did pass while lacking the authority to veto or curb the worst of the Senate’s decisions.
The Senate slowly collapsed through skillful maneuvering of Emperor Justinian II and Arch-Chancellor Moriarty I, both supported by the Dragons Faction. The Emperor used a strategy of divide and appeal, highlighting the rifts among the various factions, and then appearing as the better alternative by appealing to everyone’s personal interests. His popularity soared during the Chrysant War, causing many Factions within the Senate to unite behind the Emperor as a symbol of Regalian pride. Following the war, with the new assembly almost unanimously in support of the Emperor, the Emperor proposed a bill that gave him back his unlimited power that the Senate had originally taken away. The Senate approved and the first law the Emperor put in place was to disband the Senate utterly and to reinstate the powers of the Arch-Chancellor in 291 AC. Thus came an end to almost 19 years of a more democratic, though much more corrupt and nepotistic, Regalian Senate.
Becoming a Senator was not as democratic as some supporters would have argued. While some provinces did indeed elect their local representative, most Senators were simply appointed by the group they represented. While some groups such as the noble houses and clergy simply sent their heads of household or successors, others such as the guilds and cities sent the ones who had the most political connections and favors to trade. All of these groups together caused the Senate to be filled with altruists, special interest groups, and political cronies.
While initially the Senate was 323 different representatives collectively deciding on state policy, various factions began to arise that pooled members into voting blocs. Below is a list of some of the most prominent Factions during the reign of the Senate:
- The Iron Bulwark Faction included Regalian nationalists and jingoists who argued for greater military expansion and the subjugation of foreign states to the Regalian Empire. They were the leading faction behind the declaration of war against the Essa Empire.
- The Dragon Faction included intellectuals and scholars, who were seen as the core supporters of the Emperor and Arch-Chancellor during the Senate’s reign.
- The Ithanian Lobby was composed of representatives from the Ithanian Hivres, who desired more Ithanian-leaning policies in the wider Empire.
- The Red Faction included populists and power mongers, many of whom were members of the Barons Coalition.
- The Barons Faction included the remaining members of the Barons Coalition, who aimed to increase the power of lower nobility at the expense of their higher-ranked peers. They often voted alongside the Red Faction in a quid-pro-quo arrangement.
The Senate was arguably the main factor that caused the continuation of the Regalian Pessimism, a period of a couple of dozen years where civilian and military morale was at an all-time low. During the functioning of the Senate, bread prices quadrupled, diseases frequently ravaged the city unchecked, and public spending crippled the economy until the Chrysant War offered enough looted gold from the Essa Empire to make up for the losses. The Senate gave ordinary Regalians the first taste of democracy in a somewhat limited form, and immediately soured the experience to the point of strengthening the monarchist tendencies of the Empire. The Senate also awakened old memories of the utterly corrupt Aldermen of the Regalian Kingdom, causing dissent within the population of the city itself that could have eventually boiled up to another rebellion if the Emperor hadn’t put an end to the Senate. In the present day, few Senate decisions are spoken about positively.
- Justinian II used his strategy in the Regalian Senate to begin laying the foundations of the Regal Culture, as the disunity of the political factions was nearly identical to the cultural divisions also plaguing the heart of the Empire.
- Senator Uldr von Kreplichtenberg was so incredibly overweight a crane had to be built from one of the windows to hoist him into the building. He subsequently died in the 54th assembly from a heart attack during the session.
- A few senators from the Dragons and Red faction proposed beneficial laws for the people. Unfortunately these were often ignored or bogged down in paperwork.