Imperial elective is the succession law of the Byzantine Empire and Roman Empire, where the most prestigious and competent candidate is favored. Upon the reigning emperor's death, the candidate with the most points becomes the new emperor.
- Only available to the Byzantine empire and Roman empire.
- Locks itself in: A ruler with Imperial elective succession can only change succession indirectly (e.g. forced to Gavelkind by faction or in exchange for lifting excommunication) or by obtaining another empire (e.g. with a claim or by re-creating the HRE by decision)
- The emperor’s close family members (spouse included), any claimants to the title, the current Marshal , and any commander under the emperor, can all be nominated as successors.
- The emperor, all of his councillors, and all of his commanders are valid electors.
- Commanders can no longer be unlanded, and must be direct vassals.
- Each elector's voting power scales based on their influence.
- Electors will prefer to vote for a competent and prestigious successor.
- A powerful and influential emperor can push through his preferred candidate, even if most of the electors are against it. However, a weak and ineffective emperor will see his voting power decrease significantly.
- The only succession law whereby physical mutilation disqualifies candidates.
- Enables Roman Imperial government.
Valid electors are:
- The emperor.
- The emperor's councilors.
- The emperor's commanders.
Unlike other elective types, the ruler has to curry favor with the most powerful members of his court rather than his vassals.
Valid candidates are:
- The emperor's close family (including spouse).
- The emperor's marshal.
- The emperor's commanders.
- Title claimants.
Mutilated characters are disqualified.
The appeal of candidates is based on many factors, as detailed in the article Succession voting. Voters in Imperial Elective have additional preferences:
- Prefer adults
- Prefer high-martial commanders and marshal
- [Byzantine voters] Prefer Born in the Purple (Byzantine Empire only) or Despot
- [Greek voters] Prefer high-intrigue councilors and minor title holders
- [Roman voters] Prefer high-diplomacy councilors and minor title holders
- Disfigurement gets higher maluses
Emperor's voting power
- Diplomacy skill
- Not Born in the Purple (Byzantine empire only)
- Appointing a marshal or commander with below 10 martial skill, when another candidate has 5 higher martial skill
- Discharging a marshal or commander with 12+ martial skill, except when they are no longer eligible or when immediately moving them to another council or commander position
Vassals' voting power
An elector's voting power scales based on several factors:
- Byzantine honorary titles
- Skill relevant for their council job or commander position
- Bonus for Court Chaplain who is also religious head
- Bonus for spouse of the emperor
Strategies as emperor
Ensure that most candidates are dynastic
Imperial Elective lets you control who the candidates are. Take advantage of this to ensure your dynasty will not lose the election, even in situations where you can't control exactly who gets elected.
- Arrange matrilineal marriages for daughters to ensure grandchildren (future claimants) are dynastic.
- Grant titles to kin, especially those with bloodlines that improve their combat prowess.
- Take care when appointing commanders and marshal. Try to appoint either dynasty members or characters who can't or won't get votes (e.g. few positive traits, disfigured, female).
Certain vassals are disqualified from election, and can thus be appointed as commander or marshal without worry:
- Create merchant republics. They will eventually have +2 martial from the cellar line.
- Create count+ republics. Send your courtiers to be future mayors by matrilineally marrying them into the city.
- Create count+ theocracies. Send your courtiers to be future priests using investiture (Catholic) or order to take the vows.
- Vassalize mercenaries and holy orders. Their leaders tend to be competent.
Note: the game has a certain issue by which you can ultimately bypass the 1/10th limit on vassal republics and theocracies. Game doesn't recognize the limit, when you are ready to give unlanded characters potential republican/theocratic territories. By making a city or temple the top holding of the duchy (and giving out the castle, which you have replaced) and then awarding either the entire duchy or kingdom to an unlanded courtier, will automatically create, respectively, either a republic or theocracy. Therefore, ultimately you can have your entire Empire comprising of vassal Theocracies and Republics, so you will never have to worry about potential non-dynastic succession. This has several downsides, however:
- Republics are relatively impotent when defending their areas from raiders.
- Vassal Republic and Theocracies provide less levies. However, since Imperial government allows you to hold cities too, you can get large amount of levies from your demesne, so this should not be a serious problem.
- This strategy will make every coastal duchy a Merchant Republic (Unless king-tier liege is also a MR, in which case, they will revert to ordinary republics). Increased competition will curb trade power of the patricians, consequently decreasing potential tax income from them.
- Merchant Republics NEVER accept either title revocation or vassal retraction, meaning that you have to go to war in every case.
- Ecumenical Patriarch is more reluctant to excommunicate priests (which includes rulers of theocracies, naturally).
Bestow Byzantine honorary titles to influence the election:
- Give Byzantine titles to dynastic candidates not on the council, so their political skill boosts their electability
- Give Byzantine titles to compliant voters to boost their voting power
- Despot counts the same as Born in the purple and can push a candidate ahead in a close race.
Strategies as the emperor's vassal
- Aim to be the Marshal or a commander: Securing eligibility is the first step.
- Aim to serve on the council: Encourage your liege to appoint you by being competent, or with Conclave, by becoming a powerful vassal. Being on the council makes you an elector and improves your score for Greek and Roman voters. Depending on the position, it may also boost your prestige and keep you out of battles (if you were already a Commander).
- Be on good terms with the electors: Since opinion constitutes part of the points system.
- Befriend the emperor: if you are nominated by the current ruler, other voters who like the emperor are likely to vote for you as well.
- Avoid mutilation: Since it means permanent disqualification (barring supernatural interference). As a Marshal or commander, always be aware of your character's location so as to avoid as many battles as possible.