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Might IS Right.
Attributes: Also known as the Warlord or the Conqueror, the Emperor embodies military genius, ambition and Herculean self-confidence. He is an inspired leader capable of incredible conquests, and he is almost always a revolutionary, toppling old orders and establishing new ones that he dominates. Emperors aren’t really politicians: they don’t lead though consensus or by persuading majorities, but by inspiring the masses into obedience or subjugating them with armed might. Neither are they True Kings: the land and the people serve the Emperor, not the other way around. Emperors can be great catalysts for groundbreaking reforms that greatly improve the lives of the people that they rule, but this isn’t their real motivation for doing what they do. Every Emperor seeks a form of immortality by creating a godlike legacy that will cause his name to be revered after his death, and there’s no better way to do this than by winning great victories, conquering nations and founding socio-political orders that will remain unchanged for centuries. It is no mistake that in many cultures Emperors have been regarded as divine: they do a lot to perpetuate the conceit themselves.
Taboos: The Emperor must always be an epic, heroic figure. He must lead from the front in any battle or campaign, and face the same risks as his followers. His mere presence on a battlefield is sufficient, as long as there’s some element of personal risk (“Your Grace, Napoleon has ridden within range. May I have permission to try a shot?”) and no one doubts that he’s in full command of his forces and directing their strategy. He is violating taboo if he is not within sight of at least one battle where his forces are fighting and dying.
Symbols: The most enduring symbols of the Emperor are the laurel wreath, the sword, the eagle and The Emperor card in the Tarot deck. A general’s battlefield uniform is also a potent link to the archetype, and so is any sort of propaganda that enhances the Emperor’s image as an epic figure. The Aeneid may be a classic example, and so is David’s portrait of Napoleon crossing the Alps.
Suspected Avatars in History: Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, Henry V and Napoleon are probably the most famous known Emperors. Kaiser Wilhelm may have been trying, and failing desperately, to channel the archetype, and so may Douglas MacArthur. If the archetype could be stripped of its militaristic trappings and pared down simply to an overwhelming urge to win, a desire to make society reflect its values and an almighty ego, then men like Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch could be Emperors of a new and different sort. If so, a potentially cataclysmic battle for control of the archetype could be imminent. It must be noted that the concept of the ‘militarist’ Emperor is fast fading from the popular consciousness in the First World, dominated as it is by parliamentary democracies and big business, and so an impending battle between a militarist archetype and a ‘civilian’ godwalker is not only possible but very likely.
1%-50%: The Emperor is always a man of the moment. He has an uncanny sense of timing, and with a successful Avatar: The Emperor skill check, he knows exactly when to use his talents to the best effect. A secondary but no less significant use of this power is that it quickly establishes the Emperor’s reputation as someone’s who’s always in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.
51%-70%: Fortune favours the bold, and sometimes it isn’t the Emperor’s brilliance that wins the day so much as his enemies’ lack of it. In every battle or campaign, the Emperor may make a major Avatar: The Emperor skill check, and if it’s successful it counts as a normal failed roll for any minor or significant skill check made by an enemy. A matched success for the Emperor will result in a matched failure for the enemy, just as a critical success will cause a fumble on the other side.
71%-90%: History often judges the Emperor not only on his own merits, but also on those of his most loyal lieutenants – Charlemagne had peers such as Roland (supposedly), for example, and Napoleon had marshals like Soult and Ney. Anyone can command the loyalty of hangers-on and sycophants, but the Emperor knows that the success of brilliant strategies often depends on the skills of brilliant subordinates. Whenever the Emperor meets a potentially valuable aide, a successful minor Avatar: The Emperor skill check allows him to recognise that person’s value, and a successful significant check will give him a chance to recruit them and secure their loyalty. From then on, while total unquestioning obedience isn’t strictly required (in fact it’s often detrimental to the Emperor’s goals), the lieutenant must face a rank-7 Self challenge if he wishes to consciously betray the Emperor.
91%+: The Emperor’s reputation is such that it inspires awe in his followers and ungodly terror in his enemies. Fearing that he simply cannot be beaten, enemies must face rank-9 Helplessness challenges before squaring up against him and would-be traitors face rank-10 Self challenges as they are eaten up by guilt at the prospect of betraying ‘The Great Leader.’
I really like this archetype -- just different enough from the True King and the Demagogue to have its own flavor. Also has good potential for both positive and negative avatars.
M. Norwood | profile | Aug 13, 02 | 9:19 am