From humble roots as a mercenary kingdom on the Black Sea, the Imperial Commonwealth has risen to become the most powerful nation in the world. Some say it rules the world, others say it simply influences governments and ignores people. Regardless, any successful rebellion must, someday, confront the Imperial Commonwealth.
Sometime during the 22nd Century, a band of raiders on the plains of the Ukraine found an ancient cache of weapons. They used their find to capture several cities along the coast, including the city of Odessa. Several years of infighting later, the cities came out as the Kingdom of Odessa, under the rule of King Sergei Drakulic.
The Kingdom of Odessa became a mercenary kingdom, hiring out troops and officers to nearby nations. A regiment here, a general and his staff there. Troops and officers served across several continents. Men seeking fame and fortune would come joined the Odessan regiments, who accepted recruits from dozens of cultures and trained them well.
At the same time, the kingdom became a common place for fleeing individuals to find safety, from deposed princes to out-of-favor scientists. Originally a source of revenue, over the centuries this became a pool of talented individuals that allowed the kingdom of Odessa to maintain a higher level of technology and sophistication than most kingdom’s its size.
The Odessa League
The kingdom of Odessa came to dominate the northern shore of the Black Sea, with all the nearby regions effectively under Odessan control through one means or another. Purchased politicians, Odessan bodyguards, and economic controls kept a dozen kings subordinate to Odessan wishes.
Although this benefits almost everyone, there was a small but strong faction of nobles who wanted complete independence from Odessa. These nobles caused significant trouble during the later 24th century, threatening hegemony.
As a result, King Anton II of Odessa formed the Odessan League, an economic and security organization with Odessa at its head. In response to common internal and external threats, the military and security forces of the league were integrated into one community. The troublesome nobles were quickly disposed of.
The Black Sea Commonwealth
The Anatolian War broke out in 2406, when the Anatolian Sultanate attempted to exert influence over the succession in the Rumano-Hungarian Kingdom. The Odessan League and the Confederacy of the Caucasus were soon drawn in.
The three year war ended with a resounding victory for Odessa. Not only was the Anatolian Sultanate defeated, but both Rumano-Hungary and the Caucasus became subordinated to Odessa. Odessa completed their victory by roping Anatolia to them as well, becoming the Black Sea Commonwealth, with Odessa in control of all four nations.
The new commonwealth soon found itself in conflict with neighbors. Longstanding relations with the Polish Monarchy drew attention north, while increased piracy on the Mediterranean in the west and attention from Persian and Arabian states in the south drew even more.
The new Commonwealth dealt with each threat through military action, covert operations of dissidents and operatives, and political maneuvering. The Commonwealth grew, both from acquiring additional territory for their member states and adding new states.
The Imperial Commonwealth
When the Commonwealth grew to more than a dozen members, the Assembly of Kings introduced a resolution elevating the King of Odessa from the title of First King to the title of Emperor, and relabeling the Black Sea Commonwealth to an Imperial Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth found itself in a constant state of warfare, waged with a mixture of military ability, re-discovered technology, and sophisticated intelligence. Some states fell to armies. Others found their leaders replaced or coerced into submission. Separatist and rebellious movements that had fallen to the wayside were re-invigorated, distracting governments at the most devastating times.
In 2471 the Imperial Commonwealth finished the last of its wars of conquest. The world was, nominally, under the control of the Great Emperor.
At the top of the government is the Great Emperor, Tiheam I, Unifier of the World. He commands the militaries and governments of the world.
The world is divided into the Margravedoms, regions under the guidance of a Margrave. The Margrave is the military commander of the forces watching over the subordinate nations, ambassadors to the kings, and coordinators of economic activities.
The closest thing to a legislature in the Commonwealth is the Assembly of Kings. Made up of twenty-five kings, the Assembly receives rules and proclamations from the Emperor and writes the laws as needed to make the Emperor’s wishes into reality.
Early on, the Imperial Commonwealth established the system of Imperial Standing, a designation for all subordinate governments that defines their relationship with the Commonwealth.
Unorganized Territories: Unorganized territories are large areas that do not have a governing body. These may be large areas of wilderness (deserts and jungles), regions of nomadic activity, or areas of numerous city-states. Unorganized Territories have no ruler, but do have an Imperial Commissioner assigned to observe.
Imperial Dominion: An Imperial Dominion is an area that exists under direct Imperial Control. An Imperial Dominion may be declared over a particularly important geographical position (the Suez Canal, for example), as a punishment for resisting Imperial control (the Atlantic Dominion), or to obtain land for the Margravedoms. Imperial Dominions are under the control of a Proconsul or a Margrave.
Minor Associated Power: A Minor Associated Power is a state with little economic, political or strategic importance. Such a kingdom may have few resources and low population, or may have significantly powerful subversive movements that lead to civil unrest. Margraves have low expectations for Minor Powers.
Major Associated Power: A Major Associated Power is an established state that is able to participate in international politics without issue. Many Major Powers are states that voluntarily joined the Commonwealth without requiring conquest, or submitted to Imperial Rule and worked hard to prove themselves.
Allied Power: Allied Powers are states that have proven themselves committed to the Commonwealth and are granted extensive authorities and privileges (access to technology, favorable trade agreements, etc). Most Allied Powers are some of the oldest members of the Commonwealth, or have contributed immensely to the Commonwealth’s campaigns.
Unlike most nations, the Imperial Commonwealth does not elevate families to nobility, only individuals. The ennoblement is done through membership in the Orders of the Imperial (military) Cross or the Commonwealth (civilian) Cross.
The title given with the awarding of the cross remains to long as the cross is not revoked. Along with the title comes one year of income from estates around the Commonwealth, enough to enrich any individual for the rest of their lives.
The Imperial Commonwealth military is a descendent of the mercenary forces that brought the Odessa League to power. The ranks in particular still carry that influence. The military is divided into five branches, each largely identified by their uniform colors.
The Army of the Imperial Commonwealth is the largest, formed into dozens of armies and reserve armies scattered across the globe. Their organization is practiced at accepting levies and auxiliaries from subordinate kingdoms. The Army’s color is Red.
The Navy of the Imperial Commonwealth controls the seas, operating from more than a dozen facilities. They operate a large array of ships, from sailing frigates to steam aircraft carriers. The Navy’s color is Blue.
The Aviation Service flies the aircraft. Probably the smallest of the branches (see Scouts, below), it maintains a high level of technological knowledge. The Air Service’s color is White.
The Materials Administration is responsible for supporting the other branches. From logistics to medical services, communications to administration, the MAIC provides all but the front line and branch specific support. The Material’s Administration’s color is Green.
The Scout Service of the Imperial Commonwealth is the most secretive branch. Its size and composition is unknown. The Scouts serve as the special operations branch, from intelligence gathering to unconventional support to separatist movements to strikes and raids on enemy installation. The Scouts color is Black.
The Imperial Commonwealth supports itself through taxing trade and production. Much of this is done through money, but levies of coal, wood, people or other resources are also given.
In addition, the Imperial Commonwealth controls the advanced technologies of the world; aircraft, ships and other devices must be purchased from the central government, or at least licensed and allowed.