Warhammer: Chaos Rises
The Empire is the largest and most powerful nation of the Old World. It is located east of Bretonnia, south of Kislev and north of Tilea. The current Emperor is Karl Franz I, who was elected and crowned in 2502 IC.
The Empire was founded 2,500 years ago, by Sigmar Heldenhammer. At its founding, the traditional territories of the tribes unified by Sigmar were formalised as the imperial provinces. Following the passing of Sigmar, the system of Electors was established, with the provincial rulers entitled to elect a new Emperor from among themselves.
Although the Emperor is both head-of-state of the Empire and commander-in-chief of its armies, the real power within the Empire is held by the 10 Elector Counts, of which the Emperor is one.
Upon the death of an Emperor the throne does not automatically pass to his heir. An election is held with 15 Electors, 10 of which are Elector Counts. Each of them casts a vote, and the candidate with most votes becomes Emperor.
The Emperor is largely the leader of the Elector Counts, who are extremely powerful and independent. His power is severely limited by the inability of enforcing his edicts within the semi-independent provinces, as the Elector Counts can effectively choose to largely ignore most of his edicts.
A wise emperor will realise that trying to subdue the Elector Counts through force and/or threats is a very dangerous errand, which all too easily ends up in open rebellion and civil war. Gaining their respect and loyalty through example and fair leadership tends to be the best solution.