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A brief introduction to the Imperial Succession Trials

Author
Ahman Nahrid
Societas Imperialis Sceptri Coronaeque
Khimi Harar
#1 - 2015-09-10 07:56:17 UTC  |  Edited by: Ahman Nahrid
A brief introduction to the Imperial Succession Trials

Authored by Ahman Nahrid
Reviewed by Samira Kernher


This article seeks to serve as an introduction into the proceedings of the Imperial Succession Trials, and their historic context.

The Succession Trials are an ancient tradition, decreed by Imperial Law. Upon the death of the Emperor, the Succession Trials provide an opportunity for the Royal Heirs to prove their loyalty to the empire and their ability to govern. The Trials themselves usually take place across several weeks, and could theoretically take any form as decided by the Theology Council. Due to the contemporary challenges faced by the Empire, the Succession Trials have in recent generations taken the form of a martial tournament.

While historically such martial Succession Trials have involved the Royal Heirs directly, dueling to the death or committing Shatol’Syn immediately upon defeat, it has since become common practice for the Heirs to choose a champion to represent them during the trials. Indeed, the selection of a Royal Champion takes great consideration on the Heir’s part, for a champion must not only display exceptional prowess in combat but also true loyalty, piety and decorum, as the champion’s words and actions reflect directly on the Heir himself. Even if his champion earns him the Imperial Throne, a champion who did so by cowardly or underhanded means, or who has displayed behavior unfit for one chosen to represent a Royal Heir, is likely to start the new Emperor off with a considerable penalty in political capital. As such, the selection of a Royal Champion is considered an indicator of the ability and prestige of the Heir.

The Succession Trials themselves vary greatly in execution and rules. Highly controversial at the time, though fitting the liberal policies of the late Emperor, the Heidaran VII succession trials allowed each Amarran citizen to vote on the selection of Royal Champions. The trials themselves centered around organized frigate duels. Each Heir selected a champion and three wingmen to enter an arena of 40 cubic km, bordered by warp-scrambling and stasis webifier pylons, while forbidding the use of sensor dampeners and energy neutralizer modules. There they engaged in a tiered elimination tournament.

To be chosen as champion of a Royal Heir is an exceptional honour. While mere participation in the succession trials often sees a champion rise to the height of social standing, at least for some time, to earn an Emperor his throne yields exceptional rewards. For example, in honour of his victorious champion, Ecliptical, Doriam II renamed the fourth planet of Kor-Azor Prime “Eclipticum”, and likewise renamed the planet's moons after Ecliptical’s wingmen.

While the cluster awaits the decision of the Theology Council on the exact rules of the coming Succession Trials, it is thus far known that loyal capsuleers shall be allowed to offer their service as champion to the Heir of their choosing. Though the exact rules in terms of ships, modules and tactics permitted remains open to speculation, perhaps a greater question lies within the development of DUST implants and the templars it has spawned. Will the Theology Council follow previous Trials and base the Succession Trials as a starship-based tournament? Or shall the Council seek to determine the Heir’s affinity for this new form of warfare and instead decree a planetary tournament? Or perhaps a combination of both?
Luna Hanaya
Imperial Academy
Amarr Empire
#2 - 2015-09-10 12:19:20 UTC
Thank you, milord, an excellent summary.

I can say, that I would feel way more safer if the trials would happen planetside this time, taking into account risk of intervention of drifter heathens. I don't want to make any assumptions, but I think that it would be safe as well if Heirs would commit Shatol'Syn personally instead of using space ships.

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Lunarisse Aspenstar
Societas Imperialis Sceptri Coronaeque
Khimi Harar
#3 - 2015-09-10 15:18:19 UTC
Thank you Neophyte Nahrid and Lieutenant Kernher, excellent work.
Hibou Heluene
University of Caille
Gallente Federation
#4 - 2015-09-10 15:46:40 UTC  |  Edited by: Hibou Heluene
Your introduction is appreciated, M. Nahrid.

Since my acquaintance with the laws of Amarr is rudimentary at best, I can only express my skepticism toward a system of succession wherein capsuleer use of force determines the voice of God in the cluster. To say that 'God stood with the victor' serves as an a posteriori justification for a might-makes-right policy of rule.

I would hope that the Theology Council considers a method that might better inspire faith outside the Empire's borders, but perhaps in this period of instability they will opt for the orthodox approach.
Merdaneth
Angel Wing.
#5 - 2015-09-10 16:56:32 UTC
Hibou Heluene wrote:

Since my acquaintance with the laws of Amarr is rudimentary at best, I can only express my skepticism toward a system of succession wherein capsuleer use of force determines the voice of God in the cluster. To say that 'God stood with the victor' serves as an a posteriori justification for a might-makes-right policy of rule.


Consider it a contest. Like a sport match.

Most of sport matches also involve use of force.

Certainly for capsuleers, a death is of no more inconvenience than a bruise is for an athlete.
Hibou Heluene
University of Caille
Gallente Federation
#6 - 2015-09-10 18:42:05 UTC
Your analogy is apt, M. Merdaneth, but I wonder if that does little to convey the gravity of the situation to people such as myself.
Kade Jeekin
Masuat'aa Matari
Ushra'Khan
#7 - 2015-09-14 10:33:31 UTC
Perhaps a more expedient method, based on the last succession, would be that all of the heirs carry out simultaneous Shatol’Syn in front of the Theology Council and the one that comes back from the dead be crowned Empress?
Nicoletta Mithra
Tekaima Community of New Eden Pilgrims
Khimi Harar
#8 - 2015-09-14 12:11:12 UTC  |  Edited by: Nicoletta Mithra
Hibou Heluene wrote:
Your introduction is appreciated, M. Nahrid.

Since my acquaintance with the laws of Amarr is rudimentary at best, I can only express my skepticism toward a system of succession wherein capsuleer use of force determines the voice of God in the cluster. To say that 'God stood with the victor' serves as an a posteriori justification for a might-makes-right policy of rule.

I would hope that the Theology Council considers a method that might better inspire faith outside the Empire's borders, but perhaps in this period of instability they will opt for the orthodox approach.

It's not about an a posteriori justification for a might-makes-right policy of rule at all. This is gravely misconstruing the situation. God stands with the righteous and in this case it is about right choice: Yes, from our perspective it seems like the main part of this is capsuleers fighting each other. But it's not. And much less it's about capsuleers fighting to the death: I think no shooting of capsules is required to win.

Anyhow, this is not so much about capsuleers fighting each other, as I said, but about the choice of the Heirs. An Emperor has to have the ability to chose the right people for a task and so the challange is in choosing a champion who has both knowledge of the art of podpilot versus podpilot combat, as well as the qualities that make him a good choice for that position in the eyes of God, that is - beyond competence in fighting - ethical qualities and possessing the right reasons to fight.

All this is about a right-makes-might policy of rule: Right choice of the right person for the matter at hand makes might. That you construe it the other way around seems to stem from the mistake to think of martial competence as might. It is not, let me tell you, and whoever thinks so is a fool. All true might is a result from righteous action in fear of God.

That doesn't mean that competence isn't a factor: But that a competent man is able to act in both righteous as well as vile ways and even in more vile ways than an incompetent man, means that its role is merely one of the material - not the resulting form. Or to put it differently: Competence only determines how efficient we are in action, not whether it's righteous or not and thus whether it leads to might or not. To think that the vile man can be mighty means to confuse might with brute force and violence. The latter two, though, are fickle things and will never be the stable foundation that true might is.

Also, whether combat by champion will be the only competition in the succession trials is entirely open at this point. I'm also not sure how you come to believe that reducing the trials to that is in any way 'orthodox'. It's not about an 'orthodox' or 'unorthodox' decision here, really.
Hibou Heluene
University of Caille
Gallente Federation
#9 - 2015-09-14 18:23:43 UTC  |  Edited by: Hibou Heluene
Nicoletta Mithra wrote:
All this is about a right-makes-might policy of rule: Right choice of the right person for the matter at hand makes might. That you construe it the other way around seems to stem from the mistake to think of martial competence as might. It is not, let me tell you, and whoever thinks so is a fool. All true might is a result from righteous action in fear of God.

Mme. Mithra, I appreciate the entirety of your more pointed and nuanced explanation of the Succession. For one such as myself, it is highly instructional. I will only respond that, pertaining to the passage quoted above, I consider it no small marque of distinction to be called a fool by one so lost in an oubliette of circular logic.

May the cycle of violence continue to serve your interests.
Nicoletta Mithra
Tekaima Community of New Eden Pilgrims
Khimi Harar
#10 - 2015-09-15 15:36:14 UTC
Cpt. Heluene,

I'm quite sure you'll have a hard time in actually pointing out where I commit to any circular logic and even more so where I commit to the fallacy of comitting to a circulus in probando or a petitio principii.

If you look at what I say, you will come to find that the conclusion of any argument I give will not be found in the premises - at least not unless you you give my words the rather intellectually dishonest treatment of biased interpretation rather than interpreting them - as should be good practice - based on the principle of charity.

Also, I didn't call you a fool, unless you commit the mistake of confusing competence with might: That is if what seems to me to be the case, actually is the case.

That said, by how you depict your impression that my arguments are instances of circular reasoning as fact and how you generally seem unwilling to accept what people state as observations as anything but statement of fact, I'm drawing the conclusion that you're not here for conversation and understanding, but rather - merely - to reaffirm and propagate your viewpoint as fact, regardless of any argument or fact presented.

That's a pity, really.

Regards,
N. Mithra