A young Prince whom I tutored once asked me whether it was right to covet a neighbors province? I answered that, while the Bible tells us that to covet thy neighbors wife be a sin, a province is to a ruler not as a wife is to a husband. The church is the wife of the Prince, and the territory be their joint custody. Therefore, if the marriage between the ruler and the church be rotten, the care of the custody be lessened, and a more benevolent Prince may rightfully claim to take charge of that which the prior parent had left neglected under incompetent care.
If the Young Lord heed this advice, He shall be rewarded with legitimacy, in the eyes of all who wish to grace their names by the sound of unison with him who succeeds on the field of battle.
Alas, when the province in question be under the protection of the Holy Roman Emperor of all the Germans, the question of might and that of right may present itself in need of a different kind of consideration.
In fact, the mother church being wed by nature to the Roman Empire in its Holiness, the Emperor yet being a temporal Prince among others, the Empire, within its jurisdiction, has seen fit to order thus the legitimate ownership of all the territory, that in each province, there shall at all times be one, and no fewer, and no more, but exactly one legitimate owner, at all times, and for all times, in perpetuity.
Be a land then conquered by one who is not considered that legitimate owner, be it even that the legitimate owner is no more, and has expired this world, returning home to Our Lord, nonetheless the Empire in its infinite justice and wisdom will insist that he be the rightful owner thereof, being that land heretofore referred to.
But My Young Liege may ask, is there no way for the Empire to find that it had erred?
And to this I can answer him, yes. If My Liege be the victor of a campaign of conquest, and be he so fortunate as to have, an integral claim of core over the province what he conquered, he shall be rewarded with the justification of appeal to the Reichstag, being the assembly of All the Estates of the Empire, who find the legitimate owner in their resolutions.
Ah, but my Young Liege insist that I get to the point? And drop the curly language? And, in fact, concern myself with the ways of obtaining and holding on to territory not claimed by us in a legitimate …
… yes, yes, of course, I shall be concise.
There.Unlawfully Held Territory in the Empire
What the Illegal Owner may do
As long as you are not the legitimate owner of a province, you are subject to penalties that mostly affect only that province, locally. The stronger your claim on the territory, the lower the penalties.
Provinces you hold as a lien; in custody; by right of conquest from Heathens; or for which you have received amnesty, are never subject to these penalties.
a) Return the Province, or…
You can wait for your claim to increase, thus lowering the penalties. But you may not want to wait that long. If you ever feel that the burden of owning illegal territory is becoming too much, you can declare to the Reichstag your resolution to give it back to its legitimate owner (“Return Illegally Held Land”). This will restore all your illegal provinces to their rightful owners (except those under lien, custody, amnesty, or right of conquest).
Alternately, you can give the province to the Imperial Demesne (“Give a Province to the Demesne”), a territory that belongs directly to the Empire, and is under the administration of the current Emperor (thus, it changes hands, whenever a different country assumes the Emperor’s crown). This is only an option if there is an exceptionally gifted Emperor, or a powerful Empire. If you have several provinces that could be turned over to the demesne, you must choose one by event. Once the Reichstag has approved your petition, the province in question will immediately be turned over to the Emperor.
b) Legalize It!
Once your core claim is integral, you can petition the Reichstag to declare you the new legitimate owner of that province (“Petition for Legitimate Ownership”). If approved, this will make you the new legitimate owner of all your integral cores in the Empire, except those held in custody or as a lien. The catch is that you can only make this petition, if all your illegal provinces in the Empire are integral cores – as long as there is just one left that is of a lesser degree of legitimacy, you will not even see this option listed.
If the Empire has created a High Court (Reichskammergericht), there will be a way to legitimize even a province where you have a core claim of central or less (“Petition to Legitimize Ownership”). If you have several provinces that are not integral cores, you must choose one by event, before the Reichstag will make up its mind. The higher your core claim, the more likely the Reichstag will be to approve your petition. If approved, you will become the legitimate owner of the province you chose. As an added bonus, your core claim will increase by one level (for instance, from peripheral to central).
c) Ask for a Lien
If there is an exceptionally gifted Emperor, or if the Empire is Powerful, you may petition to be granted a province as a lien (“Ask for a Lien”). As the lien holder, you no longer have to worry about any penalties for this province (other illegal provinces still come with penalties, however). The downside is that a lien will expire after ca. fifty years. Once it does, the province will join the Imperial Demesne, and you must return it to the Emperor.
d) Take Custody
This option is only available, if the Empire has adopted a policy of Religious Unity in response to inter-confessional strife. If you country shares the official faith, and a province you conquered is populated by heretics, you may petition the Reichstag to take custody of any such provinces under your control (“Claim Custodianship of Heretic Provinces”). If custody is granted, you are expected to make a concerted effort to convert these provinces to the true faith. Once you succeed, or if you fail to do so within ten years, you must return the province.
e) Enjoy Amnesty
This rare option will only become available, if you have conquered a province that the Empire considers to have a legitimate owner, but which had been removed from Imperial Jurisdiction by a previous owner (“Restore Imperial Jurisdiction”). If you promise to place such provinces back under Imperial Jurisdiction, you will be allowed to keep them, indefinitely, as if you were the legitimate owner.
e) Claim the Right of Conquest
This equally rare option applies to provinces that the Empire considers to be under Imperial Jurisdiction, but which had been conquered by a Heathen country. If you re-conquered such provinces from their previous, Heathen owner, you may announce to the Reichstag your intent to claim them by right of conquest (“Claim the Right of Conquest”). If the Reichstag accepts your claim, you will be free from sanctions for these provinces, and you may eventually be able to become the legitimate owner.
What the Reichstag may do
a) Issue a Ban
At any time, no matter what Imperial Institutions have been created, the Reichstag may vote to place the Imperial Ban on a country holding territory illegally (excluding provinces under lien, custody, amnesty, or right of conquest).
If you are the one who initiated ban proceedings against another country (“Issue Imperial Ban”), you will first have to decide which country shall be the target of a ban (in case there is more than one that holds illegal territory).
If you are the target of ban proceedings, you will have a chance to use diplomacy to try and influence the vote in your favor, preventing a ban – but the same diplomatic means are also available to the country that initiated the vote.
Being placed under Ban carries a heavy penalty. The specific effects depend on whether your country is a member state of the Empire. Non-members will feel the sting of the diplomatic pressure, but have less to fear, internally. Member states will be more strongly affected, but will also gain prestige, as they are suddenly talked-about at Europe’s courts.
b) Call the Reichsexekution
Reichsexekution is the legalized use of force against a country found by the Reichstag to be in violation of Imperial Law. To be “placed under Reichsexekution” means to be declared in violation of Imperial Law. Once you have been placed under Reichsexekution, the Emperor, and many other countries besides him, can claim a casus belli against your nation for the purpose of conquering from you all illegally held territory, and returning it to its rightful owners.
The Reichstag can place under Reichsexekution a country currently under an Imperial Ban, if the institution of the Reichsexekutionsordnung (Imperial Force Law) has been created (petition “Reichsexekutionsordnung”).
If you are the one who initiated Reichsexekution proceedings against another country (“Allow Use of Force”), you will first have to decide which country shall be the target of these proceedings (in case there is more than one currently placed under a Ban).
If you are the target of Reichsexekution proceedings, you will have a chance to use diplomacy to try and influence the vote in your favor – but the same diplomatic means are also available to the country that initiated the vote.
c) Censure the Emperor
If the Emperor, himself, is guilty of illegal occupation of territory in the Empire, the Reichstag may censure him. If a motion to “Censure the Emperor” is passed, the Emperor may yet decide to redeem himself, by returning all illegally held land to its rightful owners. Otherwise, he will face worse consequences in the future.
d) Demand the Emperor’s Abdication
In the worst cases, where an Emperor has consistently flaunted Imperial Law, the Reichstag may demand that he give up the Imperial Crown. If a motion to “Demand the Emperor's Abdication” is passed, the Emperor will not be given an option – he will lose the crown. If you are the Emperor, it is best not to let it come to this.
What the Emperor and the Conveners of Imperial Circuits may do
a) Issue a Ban
If the Empire has passed the Reichsexekutionsordnung, the Emperor may issue a ban against a country by issuing a national directive, without even consulting the Reichstag. He may also be able to do this, if the Empire is Powerful, or if he has an hereditary title to the Imperial Crown.
Either way, he may only issue a Ban, if he is at least Respected, and if the Empire is at least Competent. In addition, any of the following will block the Emperor’s ability to issue a Ban:
- The Bundesakte (Act of Confederation) is in effect
- The illegally-held province for which a country is to be placed under the Ban is located in an Imperial Circuit with an active Convener; unless the Empire is at least Strong
- The Reichstag is currently voting on a petition to “Issue Imperial Ban” or “Allow Use of Force”
The Convener of an Imperial Circuit may issue a Ban by national directive, if a province in his Circuit is illegally occupied; and only against a country occupying a province in his Circuit. If the Empire is Powerful, or the Emperor is hereditary, the Convenvers will not be allowed to issue Bans, unless the Bundesakte (Act of Confederation) is in effect. A Convener can also never issue a Ban against a country that enjoys higher prestige than he.
b) Call the Reichsexekution
An Emperor who is admired or beloved can place a banned country under Reichsexekution, if the Empire has passed the Reichsexekutionsordnung, and the Empire is at least Capable. If the Reichsregiment or the Bundesakte is in effect, however, the Emperor loses this right.
A Convener with at least Remarkable prestige may also call the Reichsexekution by national directive, against a banned country illegally occupying a province in his Circuit. The passage of the Landfriedensordnung (Peace of the Realm) disables this ability, unless the Bundesakte (Act of Confederation) is in effect.
c) Send the Imperial Army
If the Empire is at least Weakened, the Emperor may send the Imperial Army to illegally-held provinces whose owner has been placed under Ban or Reichsexekution. He can give the order for troops of the Imperial Army to invade that province by sending a spy (the feared Darth Pretzel, and other Imperial Agents, are usually the ones tasked with such delicate missions).
A Convener can send the Imperial Army to a province in his Circuit, as well, by using a spy mission. The passage of the Landfriedensordnung (Peace of the Realm) disables this ability, unless the Bundesakte (Act of Confederation) is in effect.
What the Rightful Owner of an Illegally Occupied Province may do
a) Appeal to the Reichstag for Restitution
If someone illegally occupies a province of which we are the rigthful owner, we can petition the Reichstag to “Demand Restitution” of that province to us. If the institution of the Reichsgesetzbuch (Law Code) has been created, it is easier to initiate this petition.
If the Reichstag passes our petition, the illegal occupier will be asked to return the province to us. If he refuses, he will be placed under Imperial Ban, without further proceedings.
b) Appeal to the Reichskammergericht
Once an Imperial High Court (Reichskammergericht) has been created, we can appeal to that chamber to decree the restitution of one of our provinces. If the court finds in our favor, the province will be returned to us without further appeal; if it finds against us, however, the illegal occupier will become the new rightful owner. While it is easy to bring a case before the High Court, this chamber has a reputation for taking a long time to make decisions. During that time, no one can initiate Reichstag proceedings in regard to that province.
– if all legal and diplomatic means have been exhausted, there may be a war fought with the purpose of restoring territories to their rightful owners.
The Emperor can use the war aim “Restore [Province]” to restore individual provinces to their legitimate owners, if the institution of the Reichsexekutionsordnung (Force Law) has been created.
Which provinces may be targeted depends on the degree of legitimacy of the occupier’s claim, and on the institutions of the Empire:
Against provinces that are not an Integral Core of the illegal occupier, the Emperor and the local Convener, in whose Circuit the province is located, may always use this war aim.
If the illegal owner has been placed under Reichsexekution, the Emperor and the local Convener can use this war aim, even if the province is an Integral Core of the occupier.
If the institution of the Landfriedensordnung has been created; and if the Bundesakte has not been passed, the local Convener may never use this war aim, but the Emperor may always use it, independent of the core level of the occupier. Provinces held under lien, custody, right of conquest, or amnesty, are never subject to this war aim.
Once a country has been placed under Reichsexekution, the war aim “Reichsexekution” can be used against it, as soon as the Ban against it has expired. This gives the country a grace period of ten years to give in, and avoid military action, by petitioning to the Reichstag to “End the Reichsexekution”. If approved, this petition allows the petitioner to capitulate with honor, returning all illegally held land to the rightful owners.
If the country placed under Reichsexekution does not give in, the Emperor and any Convener may declare war with the war aim “Reichsexekution”. If the authorities of the Empire are victorious, the defeated offender must return all provinces to their legitimate owners – even those held under lien, custody, right of conquest, or amnesty.
If the institution of the Landfriedensordnung has been created; and if the Bundesakte has not been passed, Conveners may not use this war aim.
Now, if it pleases my liege, I shall take my leave and let him, in his endless mental capacity, figure out the meaning of all that I imparted. Fair ye well. (Aside: Cretin!)