[suggestion] Imperial bureaucratic government - how could it work

Slime99

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J4r9AhQ.png

IDK... ._.
 

riadach

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Should all armies be standing in Byxamtine bureaucracies? Perhaps "imperial merit" could be spent in order to ask the emperor to increase ones retinue cap allowing the existence of powerful armies and the potential for civil war.

Imperial merit should be a direct threat to the emperor. A threshold of 50% could allow a pater familias to start civil wars, 100% (and support from other families ) means palace coup. IM could be gained by family members winning battles, buildings, traits, or organising events/charity to please the populace or pleasing the emperor.

But the emperor could buy down that IM by granting privileges, i.e. promoting family to high office, granting land titles and viceregal status or by even giving title in perpetuity. You could even allow them to war against external enemies (though you get to pick and it will be disastrous for their IM should they lose). The emperor's positive traits and positive actions could also depress the IM of his subordinate houses. Should he win, they lose and should they lose, he wins. An emperor with high IM could chose to revoke privileges but this will increase the IM of the revokees as well.
 
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Slime99

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Should all armies be standing in these bureaucracies? Perhaps "imperial merit" could be spent in order to ask the emperor to increase ones retinue cap allowing the existence of powerful armies and the potential for civil war.
Maybe you could have more votes in law changes if you have a lots of merit, and be able to propose law changes. Also this could determinate/influence who will be the next heir. Maybe you could buy this respect thing we saw on the picture. And if you have more merit than the emperor, he might decrease your merit via excocommunication like decision. IDk, that just sounds cool
 

riadach

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Maybe you could have more votes in law changes if you have a lots of merit, and be able to propose law changes. Also this could determinate/influence who will be the next heir. Maybe you could buy this respect thing we saw on the picture. And if you have more merit than the emperor, he might decrease your merit via excocommunication like decision. IDk, that just sounds cool
I've listed a few more options above.
 

darthfanta

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Should all armies be standing in Byxamtine bureaucracies? Perhaps "imperial merit" could be spent in order to ask the emperor to increase ones retinue cap allowing the existence of powerful armies and the potential for civil war.

Imperial merit should be a direct threat to the emperor. A threshold of 50% could allow a pater familias to start civil wars, 100% (and support from other families ) means palace coup. IM could be gained by family members winning battles, buildings, traits, or organising events/charity to please the populace or pleasing the emperor.

But the emperor could buy down that IM by granting privileges, i.e. promoting family to high office, granting land titles and viceregal status or by even giving title in perpetuity. You could even allow them to war against external enemies (though you get to pick and it will be disastrous for their IM should they lose). The emperor's positive traits and positive actions could also depress the IM of his subordinate houses. Should he win, they lose and should they lose, he wins. An emperor with high IM could chose to revoke privileges but this will increase the IM of the revokees as well.
The problem isn't so much of can the ERE have all standing armies as much as can they afford it.Even in the heyday of the ERE,they couldn't afford an army made up entirely of regulars.The limitanei for example were soldier-farmers and Justinian basically cut the pay of these troops.
 

elvain

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So I finally got back so I could read all the feedback, thanks for it. They are impressive ideas collected there. I will try to answer and show another parts of the concept as soon as possible. But before that, I would do at least one easy reply:
Impressive 4k screenshot!!!!

First of all, I have to say that I love the artwork. :p Simple, clear and effective!
The "artwork" is actually inspired by a thread which was very inspirative for me, about a Steppe DLC.
 

elvain

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Originally I wanted this part to be about evaluation of the concept as it was designed, but there is so much to react that frankly I don't know... This will probably be a mixture of the concept with few answers to your questions and ideas... I especially like the ones from @SeekTruthFromFx and @Silversweeeper

Let's talk more about the Palace:
In the Screenshot you could see 10 bureaucratic families.
The original idea is that there would be 10 such families for empire and 10 for a kingdom, but already when writing the first post I changed my mind into a more dynamic system.
The number of possible bureaucratic families should depend on:
- development of imperial palace (the palace of the imperial family. The question is whether this palace (and family) should be displayed among other bureaucratic families. I think the best would be if the imperial palace would somehow be aside, with separate icon in the upper part of palace view.
- imperial laws - these should determine also other stuff like the possibility to have imperial palaces also in provinces (exarchates) or not. The higher imperial authority, the more bureaucratic palaces should be buildable.
In case of no "provincial" palaces (i.e. no palaces of subordinated viceroys), the imperial palace should enable existence of more than 10 bureaucratic families, which could be solved by simple slider added to the icons, or little smaller graphical display of palaces.
And then there are these interesting ideas:
For example a huge empire would likely need more bureaucrats, and a recently unlanded family might be able to get a palace to still be relevant. I think that having a minimum of say five families + one family per X provinces would be good (or perhaps per duchy the empire has land in), with that number being possible to exceed (though exceeding it should make it harder for the families to stay influential) but never drop below.
In imperial rank (e_) the default should be 7, but depending on laws, it could get to a smaller number, so I agree that 5 is the minimum (5 in a case when the imperial ruling family has its palace placed elswhere). In kingdom tier, the default should be 5 and minimum should be at 4.
Then I really like the territorial dependence, so IMHO if the empire exceeds certain number of provinces (i.e. 30), then there should be one more bureaucratic family for every next 8 provinces... but that's just a wild guess, the number would need to be ballanced.

Each family in the palace window should collect influence - I like the term far better than prestige or respect. The ways how to get more or less influence would need to be described later, since it is large area. But in brief we should keep in mind that there is whole family to gain the influence.
As shown at the screenshot, each family can have different number of offices it can compete for and this depends on development of their palace. The more developed the palace is, the more family members can try to get an office.
The situation inside the family such as who will be the leader and how will succession work will be subject of another chapter.

As mentioned by @SeekTruthFromFx the success in getting the office should depend on both the actual influence and relations.

One tiny thing I guess I should mention already now is that having influential family not being assigned to any office (or rather having the head of influential family not being assigned to any office) is not only something not welcome by the family, but also by the ruler himself. The particular reasons will be explained, but of course that the head of influential family should have means to organize oposition or cliques to acheive his goals and not being given any title means 2 things: 1) he is angry towards the ruler and 2) he isn't employed and thus has more time to organize his intrigues against the ruler, still being able to use the resources collected by the family. But more on this later...

I can see a rather problem with the palaces as a whole: If the capital (or whichever county someone's palace is located in) gets conquered you'd obviously lose the palace. I suppose you could keep the family tied to it around but reset the palace if that happens (simulating the family getting a new palace), though. Of course, the loss of the imperial capital should have a big effect on the empire's overall health, so it being a shake-up would be good.
This is one of things which should IMHO depend on imperial laws. There should be empires (Seljuk or Karling, though the Karlings were not the ideal bureaucratic empire), whose courts and Palaces should be Where the emperor is and thus not entirely tied to a skingle province. At the same time even the other empires should suffer a large boost if their capital and main palace is lost. The institution of palace should after all not be tied to a place/province, but a government type and if the capital is lost, the court could be moved elswhere. But that would mean substantial loss of prestige and influence to all important families and might also lead to a coup. OTOH, since also the bureaucratic families might lose a lot by losing the capital, they should do their best to protect it. After all, if the capital is lost, there is high chance that the least influential families might get eliminated.

Having palaces tied to both the empire and various kingdoms might be good, but the problem is what happens if there are kingdoms that aren't held (at least not by someone in your realm). For example, if the ERE has half of Italy, half of Hungary, a duchy in Croatia, half of Egypt, and a significant presence in Syria (in addition to the fully held kingdoms of Greece (which likely wouldn't have a viceroy), Sicily, Anatolia, Bulgaria, and Serbia) but can't create the kingdom titles, there might still be local palaces in some of these places. I'm not quite sure how to best handle that, though, and not having vassal exarchs able to have their own palace intrigues seems bad, so cutting the local palaces would likely not be good.
This of course depends on the power and abilities of the empire. It would definitely depend not on de jure kingdoms, but on titles actualy held by the emperor. So if the empire conquers a kingdom and the emperor usurps a kingdom title, he can turn it into exarchate or viceroyality, mark or whatever would be the cultural localisation be.

I'm very sorry, but I need to stop now. Hopefully in the following days I will have more time to react to more of the amazing ideas you guys have pointed out here!
 

Bearnest

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There should be empires (Seljuk or Karling, though the Karlings were not the ideal bureaucratic empire), [snip]
That's because the Carolingian Empire was rather a Feudal Empire. This Bureaucratic Empire system should only be achieved after reaching "Imperial Administration", "Max Centralization" and "Duchies Viceroyalties", and even after that, fulfill some other requisites like a certain amount of Prestige, or a certain State Stewardship.
 
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Silversweeeper

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Let's talk more about the Palace:
In the Screenshot you could see 10 bureaucratic families.
The original idea is that there would be 10 such families for empire and 10 for a kingdom, but already when writing the first post I changed my mind into a more dynamic system.
The number of possible bureaucratic families should depend on:
- development of imperial palace (the palace of the imperial family. The question is whether this palace (and family) should be displayed among other bureaucratic families. I think the best would be if the imperial palace would somehow be aside, with separate icon in the upper part of palace view.
- imperial laws - these should determine also other stuff like the possibility to have imperial palaces also in provinces (exarchates) or not. The higher imperial authority, the more bureaucratic palaces should be buildable.
In case of no "provincial" palaces (i.e. no palaces of subordinated viceroys), the imperial palace should enable existence of more than 10 bureaucratic families, which could be solved by simple slider added to the icons, or little smaller graphical display of palaces

In imperial rank (e_) the default should be 7, but depending on laws, it could get to a smaller number, so I agree that 5 is the minimum (5 in a case when the imperial ruling family has its palace placed elswhere). In kingdom tier, the default should be 5 and minimum should be at 4.
Then I really like the territorial dependence, so IMHO if the empire exceeds certain number of provinces (i.e. 30), then there should be one more bureaucratic family for every next 8 provinces... but that's just a wild guess, the number would need to be ballanced.

Each family in the palace window should collect influence - I like the term far better than prestige or respect. The ways how to get more or less influence would need to be described later, since it is large area. But in brief we should keep in mind that there is whole family to gain the influence.
As shown at the screenshot, each family can have different number of offices it can compete for and this depends on development of their palace. The more developed the palace is, the more family members can try to get an office.
The situation inside the family such as who will be the leader and how will succession work will be subject of another chapter.

As mentioned by @SeekTruthFromFx the success in getting the office should depend on both the actual influence and relations.

One tiny thing I guess I should mention already now is that having influential family not being assigned to any office (or rather having the head of influential family not being assigned to any office) is not only something not welcome by the family, but also by the ruler himself. The particular reasons will be explained, but of course that the head of influential family should have means to organize oposition or cliques to acheive his goals and not being given any title means 2 things: 1) he is angry towards the ruler and 2) he isn't employed and thus has more time to organize his intrigues against the ruler, still being able to use the resources collected by the family. But more on this later...

I'm sort of thinking that having a higher baseline than 7 might be good (I know I suggested 5, but on further thought 10 as a baseline might be better). I assume that number was picked due to the number of Conclave council members, but even if that wasn't the reason I think that you always should have more families to please than you easily can deal with, as being able to placate basically everyone (or everyone but one or two families, given that the Chaplain's post might be given to the EP if you are the ERE and that you might want to find a competent and loyal Spymaster rather than putting someone there to shut him up) by putting them on the council (under the assumption that these families would be the bureaucratic counterpart to powerful vassals) would likely make a bureaucratic empire extremely stable, which isn't ideal (blob stability is already rather problematic).

Something that I have realized might be a problem after my last post is the fact that if the palace families are meant to be the most important landed families as well (I'm not sure if that's what you propose or not; if you mentioned something about that I don't remember it) and you are forced to only land them (or heavily penalized for not doing so) you could rather easily end up in a scenario where you are forced to give land to people that it is abundantly clear that you don't can expect loyalty from because you have made enemies of some familes. While I think that landing people and having them turn out to be a problem in the future is good (provided it happens for a reason that makes sense when looking at their traits and your actions towards them and other vassals), ending up in a scenario where you are expected to land your rivals, known traitors, etc. would be bad.

As for the extra family per 8 provinces after the first 30, depending on how many families you want to have around (and the benefits and drawbacks of having more) it might be too much or too little. It certainly is less than one family per duchy, which seems a bit on the small side for me. However, I'm not too concerned about the actual number as long as it is moddable in the end (preferably in detail rather than just globally through the defines, but even defines-only modding is better than nothing).

This is one of things which should IMHO depend on imperial laws. There should be empires (Seljuk or Karling, though the Karlings were not the ideal bureaucratic empire), whose courts and Palaces should be Where the emperor is and thus not entirely tied to a skingle province. At the same time even the other empires should suffer a large boost if their capital and main palace is lost. The institution of palace should after all not be tied to a place/province, but a government type and if the capital is lost, the court could be moved elswhere. But that would mean substantial loss of prestige and influence to all important families and might also lead to a coup. OTOH, since also the bureaucratic families might lose a lot by losing the capital, they should do their best to protect it. After all, if the capital is lost, there is high chance that the least influential families might get eliminated.

I think it makes some historical sense to do that, but the problem with not having location-based palaces and having different kinds of palaces based on culture/liege title/etc. is that upgrading the palaces can get strange (because you certainly can't expand a building if there is no building to expand),culture conversion/gettting a new liege title/etc. would get messy if the upgrades were erased because of that or wouldn't make sense to convert (e.g. if you go from a stationary palace to a moving "palace", your "Bodyguard Quarters II" turning into "Bodyguard Tents II" would be weird), a non-fixed location couldn't really be looted/etc. if something happens to the capital province, and your location possibly changing from e.g. Paris to Rome because the emperor decided to lead an army would get messy (and possibly might put you and your family in a plague province if the AI is feeling particularly stupid that day; sure, it might be historical that you have to go where the emperor goes, but for gameplay reasons it might not work out).

As I mentioned before, I'm somewhat leery of the whole "coup" thing, as while it is historical it might end up being an unfun mechanic if there's no real way of preventing it (and I don't consider "Hope your spymaster is loyal and discovers them first" to be a good amount of prevention, as the outcome would be roughly as bad as if a faction fires and you generally have quite a bit of warning about factions forming).

And yeah, the bureaucratic families should be somewhat more eager to defend the capital than the rest of the empire (unless they have a personal reason not to want to lose some other title), and its loss should be a blow both to the empire as a whole and the families that are based there.

This of course depends on the power and abilities of the empire. It would definitely depend not on de jure kingdoms, but on titles actualy held by the emperor. So if the empire conquers a kingdom and the emperor usurps a kingdom title, he can turn it into exarchate or viceroyality, mark or whatever would be the cultural localisation be.

I must have misunderstood you, then. I thought it was meant to depend on de jure kingdoms held by the emperor and his vassals.
 

omega20056

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Should all armies be standing in Byxamtine bureaucracies? Perhaps "imperial merit" could be spent in order to ask the emperor to increase ones retinue cap allowing the existence of powerful armies and the potential for civil war.

Imperial merit should be a direct threat to the emperor. A threshold of 50% could allow a pater familias to start civil wars, 100% (and support from other families ) means palace coup. IM could be gained by family members winning battles, buildings, traits, or organising events/charity to please the populace or pleasing the emperor.

But the emperor could buy down that IM by granting privileges, i.e. promoting family to high office, granting land titles and viceregal status or by even giving title in perpetuity. You could even allow them to war against external enemies (though you get to pick and it will be disastrous for their IM should they lose). The emperor's positive traits and positive actions could also depress the IM of his subordinate houses. Should he win, they lose and should they lose, he wins. An emperor with high IM could chose to revoke privileges but this will increase the IM of the revokees as well.
The way army power is calculated in CK2 is messed up. If Byzantium has a standing army of 100,000 and the Abbasids have the same, Byzantium will declare war. Historically, this wouldn't have been possible because at least 20,000 men were needed to defend Greece and Sicily, while 60,000 were needed to protect Anatolia from Abbasid raiding. Any kind of campaigning army would have been based upon the tagmata, which, if we are taking about the late 700s or the early 800s, were made up of a maximum of 12,000 men, primarily heavy cavalry and horse archers. You're not going to be conquering Syria and Palastine when you consider that the majority of the Abbasid army is based in Mesopotamia and the Levant. Army calculation is much less of a problem in EUIV because of the presence of army units. The AI understands that it needs to station armies on specific fronts in order to deter enemies. The AI in CK2, meanwhile, will just declare war and lose all of its Anatolian troops. When this happened in reality, Byzantium lost Anatolia. With standing armies the AI should only declare war when it has superiority on the relevant front or it has excess troops.
 

elvain

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Part 3 - Usurpations and other fun activities of bureaucratic families

However, while it is somewhat historical, being able to usurp the title without a war/faction ultimatum seems potentially problematic to me, as it wouldn't be very fun (obviously usurpations shouldn't be fun when they happen to you, but still) if there were ways to lose your primary (and presumably also lesser titles, gold, artefacts, etc., perhaps getting killed/castrated/imprisoned, etc., and possibly suffering further consequences (e.g. finding it nearby impossible to curry favour with the new ruler because you are seen as a threat)) that weren't possible to prevent and that seemingly happened out of the blue. Perhaps there could instead be ways for unlanded bureaucrats to try to divert money to buy mercs/the loyalty of various regiments/etc. so that they could try to take the throne by force (or through threatening the ruler with a faction), but of course a failed attempt would likely end with that family being deprieved of their palace, losing favour, etc. and thus a game over.
I'm sorry for not being clear enough in the first snapshot. It really was just a basic description with some basic points.

Usurpations can happen at different levels of government and as such they will also be watched and awarded. Usurpations of baronies by d_tier viceroys should be relaively common as they were historicaly (at least in the Islamic world) and not always penalized by the central government. At least not immediately. The point is that unles the emperor has high stewardship skill, he shouldn't care much about this kind of usurpations. Who could notice them would be the first minister (chancellor or steward). But we should keep in mind that in bureaucratic empire we can play at various levels of bureaucracy and this kind of usurpations of baronies is one of activities, which can create nice dynamism.
- If such usurpation happens, the ruler may notice it and use it later as some kind of favour or anti-favour for his own needs
- Also at position of first minister or other high-ranking official (k_viceroy), you can put your character in a position where you fight against usurpations, which would gain you Imperial merit, as suggested by @Slime99 . This kind of actions will, however cause negative relations of those who usurped the title, but also those, who have usurped other titles or tend to usurp lands, as well as the whole family which was caught. But this should be one of positive ways how the bureaucrats should be able to build positive relations with the emperor without spending money.

Generaly usurpations can be more or less legal or totaly unjust, depending on circumstances.
1) They can be done via Usurpation CB, which would be one of the unjust CBs - these would be especially used in case of baronies. It would create a massive hit on family's Imperial merit (to be explained later) and also would be awarded by large hit on relations towards the emperor, the chancellor and the steward.
2) or they can be done via appointment CB, which would be a special CB for which a character can ask a member of central government (emperor, his chancellor or steward). This would happen when a the central government decides to take back the office, but its formal ruler denies the request. Then the central power has 2 choices, either to launch a punitive expedition, or to grant Appointment CB to another character and who ever wins the war becomes a feudal vasal of the emperor, holding the province hereditary. The central power (AI) would use it only in cases if it is busy by number of other wars. This CB would increase Imperial merit and Influence, but might cause serious hit in relations towards other bureaucratic families, if the attacked family is their friend.
3) if a landed office is held by one character for more than 15 years and the character holds certain number of lesser titles inside the de jure territory (at least 1/3 of titles under that de jure title), he can usurp it via decision. This is obviously a case of county and higher titles and would naturaly cause a serious hit in Imperial merit, but will give large amount of influence.
4) if a landed office is helf by one character for more than 15 years, he can usurp some of titles below this rank. In case of baronies it would provide only a minor hit in Imperial merit and imperial relations (with emperor, chancellor or steward)

For the Usurpation and Appointment CBs, the character can use mercenary or other armies he could raise inside the empire.

Mercenaries, Advanturers inside the Imperial bureaucratic system
Creating and using these military units should be one of the very commonly used methods to gain money, Influence or Imperial merit. Just like tribal characters can create a mercenary band, so could do minors of bureaucratic families, who don't own any office.
These adventurers or mercenary bands will then appear within the empire and could be hired by anoyone inside the empire - be it various middle or high rank officials, bureaucratic family leaders or the emperor himself. Being hired by the emperor or his ministers means the character gains office and provides Imperial merit each month and also by every positive action in this function.
However, these mercenaries or adventurers could do also other things. Some of them would be favourable by the empire, others not that much. The leaders of these armies can do and/or be used for:
a) small wars and land usurpations (as mentioned above under Usurpation CB) if hired by their own family - the army leader gains prestige, the family only pays small cost for the army.
b) marauding bands which plunder estates of family rivals, the empire, or even neighbouring kingdoms. Each plundered holding provides gold, and depending on the target also influence and imperial merit bonus or malus. - leading such a band costs some money, but much less than mercenaries or even levies and plundering and pillaging should provide gold and therefore could be used as faimly income.
c) fight as mercenaries hired by whoever hires the band. In this case the one who hires the company/army pays the upkeep and the leader and his family has income from that money.
d) holy wars or plundering infidel lands - this is typical for the Ghazi bands in Anatolia and central Asia which were plundering the lands of infidels (from muslim point of view). The upkeep for these armies would be relatively small, their leaders would gain piety and prestige. The profit in Imperial merit and influence should be very small.
e) resources generating raids - this should be possible only if slavery as suggested in the Qabila thread is introduced.

This kind of military bands will sometimes consume, but mostly generate financial income for the families. They usualy won't give you much Imperial merit and only sometimes some Influence, but the money they provide would be at disposal of the entire family (the family leader) and as such could be used for buying offices (tax farming), building up family palace, or building up the province or imperial estates in offices already held by the family, as mentioned by @SeekTruthFromFx

The equivalent dynamic in an imperial bureaucratic government is that you gain power as you get closer to the emperor (or empress as appropriate), but living close to the emperor is living dangerously. In particular, as a minor official you can gain prestige for yourself. If you're a Byzantine official in Athens, leading the procession into the local basilica is the thing that gains you the most prestige. If you're a Byzantine official in Constantinople, leading a procession into Hagia Sophia will be the last thing you do. To change metaphors, the high officials are merely the platform on which the emperor is raised to display his glory to the populace. So higher offices should command higher salaries, but you should be expected to spend your money on the emperor's palace and on things that will bring the emperor prestige to keep him happy. This fundamental trade-off can partly be modelled through events and upgrades to palaces. But I think you basically need for occupants of the higher offices to automatically have a negative opinion modifier from the emperor that grows with their prestige (perhaps based on the ratio of their prestige to the emperor's). But at the same time, if the bureaucrat's prestige falls too low, they risk being ejected from office, and even the game (Game Over). That dynamic could be the key one when playing as an Imperial Bureaucrat. It might be developed by having several tiers of imperial offices, which are (metaphorically) in concentric circles around the emperor. But I don't know whether it makes sense in the Muslim world - that's @elvain's speciality.

Building up imperial property would of course bring one a LOT of Imperial merit and, as pefectly mentioned in quoted post, the Imperial merit would be a crucial gate to get high-ranking imperial offices (but about this I will talk later in detail).

The general rule here should be that if a family gains influence and Imperial merit, it will obviously be both profitable and dangerous. But we should keep in mind that in larger empires there will always be some 10+ families struggling for power with the imperial family being one of them and using the same methods and except few privilegues limited only to the emperor, also the same tools. Just like the families want their power to increase, the emperor wants to both exploit and limit their power. The emperor can hire mercenaries from those families, having a powerfull ally against another powerfull family is a need, so being powerfull AND having good relations with the emperor is often a better way to more power than standing against the emperor. All you need is to wait until the imperial family gets into a crisis (which you can ignite via intrigues)
 

elvain

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Btw, I have thought more about the Palace mechanic and I think the Palace view should be somehow edited.
ETCfzLM.png


First of all you can see that there are no longer copycats using names of other families :D
but more importantly, at the very top there would be 2 possible views, just as I have edited the Qabila view in my other suggestions thread....
You could either view the bureaucratic families of the empire or your own family.

The screenshot of the family view is not done yet, but it will display the offices your family holds and will be the place from which you could turn your offices into family holdings or estates as described above. When I am at estates, I must admit I was inspired about how @Ferrero suggested the family estates to somehow stay aside from what we actually have in game. On the other hand, I must agree with @SeekTruthFromFx at the point that it would require total rework of the fame's mechanics to introduce these family holdings to all other governments (it would totally change the conditions for game over for feudal and iqta governments). I think these family estates would better be limited to the imperial government and the limited number of bureaucratic families who struggle for influence within the empire.
I think it would be easier if these family estates would only be represented as bureaucratic palaces in the capital. On the other hand, as suggested above, they would be able to usurp baronies and other holdings, even counties inside the empire. I think that creating just another special holding for every province or most of them would go little too far for CK2 engine.

PS: Sorry to be slow at adressing your amazing replies, I'm really struggling hard how to present the concept I had in my head with the ideas or questions presented here. I hope I will be able to anwer or clear them soon enough.

I must have misunderstood you, then. I thought it was meant to depend on de jure kingdoms held by the emperor and his vassals.
You understood me well in my original post. Only when trying to make things clearer I did the oposite.
The other Palaces should depend on de jure titles within the range of the empire. But if some of the titles gets conquered (i.e. the emperor conquers gains a kingdom title before holding the entire de jure kingdom), it could be used as viceroy. I hope that now I made things clearer rather than confusing you :)
 

Silversweeeper

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Part 3 - Usurpations and other fun activities of bureaucratic families

I'm sorry for not being clear enough in the first snapshot. It really was just a basic description with some basic points.

Usurpations can happen at different levels of government and as such they will also be watched and awarded. Usurpations of baronies by d_tier viceroys should be relaively common as they were historicaly (at least in the Islamic world) and not always penalized by the central government. At least not immediately. The point is that unles the emperor has high stewardship skill, he shouldn't care much about this kind of usurpations. Who could notice them would be the first minister (chancellor or steward). But we should keep in mind that in bureaucratic empire we can play at various levels of bureaucracy and this kind of usurpations of baronies is one of activities, which can create nice dynamism.
- If such usurpation happens, the ruler may notice it and use it later as some kind of favour or anti-favour for his own needs
- Also at position of first minister or other high-ranking official (k_viceroy), you can put your character in a position where you fight against usurpations, which would gain you Imperial merit, as suggested by @Slime99 . This kind of actions will, however cause negative relations of those who usurped the title, but also those, who have usurped other titles or tend to usurp lands, as well as the whole family which was caught. But this should be one of positive ways how the bureaucrats should be able to build positive relations with the emperor without spending money.

I see a couple of problems with this:

- The player will notice if they lose a title they personally hold, and I don't think that many people would appreciate having their titles stolen by their vassals (I certainly wouldn't). I would personally not mind an event like "Vassal A's tax collectors have been visiting province B, claiming that it falls within his jurisdiction. Do you want to a) Make it clear that it is your land (-X opinion with the vassal in question), b) Remain silent (-Y % tax income from that province), c) Give the title to the vassal in exchange for a Favour/Influence/etc. (gives the other party an event where they can accept/refuse that deal), or, d) Give them the title without demanding recompensation?" and more of the existing "Hey! I want this title you hold!" events, but outright getting an event saying "Province B now belongs to character A, and there's nothing you (legally) can do about it!" wouldn't be very fun.

- If the player is a fellow vassal, they probably wouldn't like it either (I don't normally play as a vassal, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like my land (or the land I'm governing) being stolen) and should ideally be given the option to issue an ultimatum and declare war over the title (if vassal wars are allowed; if not, other options would have to be used, but usurpation would probably have to be harder too), but depending on the title, the de jure structure, the laws of the empire, etc. a vassal might have to ask their liege (or above) or their liege's first minister to intercede (which ideally could be refused, could involve various kinds of bargaining, etc.). Again, a flat "This happens, and you can't do anything to stop it!" wouldn't be very fun.

- If a vassal steals land from another vassal and the player is the (top) liege, the player still might not like it. I personally tend to do basically everything I can (though generally stopping short of tyrannical revokations unless all other options have been exhausted) to ensure that my internal borders are tidy, so while I wouldn't begrudge a vassal for taking a title that is part of their de jure (if I agree with them having that de jure, of course) from another vassal I would not sit idle if they went beyond that. Of course, how much the player cares differs a lot, and depending on how healthly the bureaucracy is and what the laws are the situation could differ a bit; I could see more liberal vassal-on-vassal usurpations be possible if the imperial bureacracy is in shambles, the emperor's power is laughable at best, and the like, but if the laws are ruler-friendly, the emperor is reasonably competent and militarily powerful, and the bureaucracy itself is functioning (however that would be measured) I would think that a vassal shouldn't expect to get away with something like that.

Generaly usurpations can be more or less legal or totaly unjust, depending on circumstances.
1) They can be done via Usurpation CB, which would be one of the unjust CBs - these would be especially used in case of baronies. It would create a massive hit on family's Imperial merit (to be explained later) and also would be awarded by large hit on relations towards the emperor, the chancellor and the steward.
2) or they can be done via appointment CB, which would be a special CB for which a character can ask a member of central government (emperor, his chancellor or steward). This would happen when a the central government decides to take back the office, but its formal ruler denies the request. Then the central power has 2 choices, either to launch a punitive expedition, or to grant Appointment CB to another character and who ever wins the war becomes a feudal vasal of the emperor, holding the province hereditary. The central power (AI) would use it only in cases if it is busy by number of other wars. This CB would increase Imperial merit and Influence, but might cause serious hit in relations towards other bureaucratic families, if the attacked family is their friend.
3) if a landed office is held by one character for more than 15 years and the character holds certain number of lesser titles inside the de jure territory (at least 1/3 of titles under that de jure title), he can usurp it via decision. This is obviously a case of county and higher titles and would naturaly cause a serious hit in Imperial merit, but will give large amount of influence.
4) if a landed office is helf by one character for more than 15 years, he can usurp some of titles below this rank. In case of baronies it would provide only a minor hit in Imperial merit and imperial relations (with emperor, chancellor or steward)

For the Usurpation and Appointment CBs, the character can use mercenary or other armies he could raise inside the empire.

- I partially addressed the first point above, but I would personally want that CB to be fairly restrictive, particularly if the empire is doing well (and, of course, to be fully disabled if vassal wars aren't allowed). I also think that going after baronies is a rather bad idea, as vassal bordergore at the baron level is a mess to untangle in the future (because you might need to retract a duke to retract a count to retract a baron to revoke a title from). That can of course be good for simulating that the empire is getting inefficient/that the bureaucracy is breaking down, but also can mess up things for the AI, particularly if one vassal's lands somehow are inherited by a foreign realm and there are baronies held by the wrong realm in some provinces (the AI has gotten better at dealing with that, but it can get rather silly if you get huge wars over baronial bordergore). Furthermore, I think that instead of just having a Usurpation CB it might be better to have something akin to claim fabrication so that instead of the AI randomly targeting titles and upsetting their liege they could plot (or use their chancellor, I suppose, though pagans and Muslims don't fabricate regular claims and thus might not end up able to get these pseudo-claims) to have the imperial records altered to show that e.g. Venezia totally was part of the land that the Strategos of Aquilea was given to govern rather than the Strategos of Verona's land, which (unless discovered to be the work of the attacker; I suppose there could be random events about bureaucrats messing up things on their own, records going missing, and the like to ensure that we don't know if the aggressor was a dirty plotter or not and to occasionally give vassals an opportunity to try to take titles without having to personally do the plotting) wouldn't be quite as blatant a violation of the emperor's will as declaring those wars with zero justification.

- I like the idea of government-sponsored (somehow; depending on the laws/etc. it might require direct imperial blessing, a council vote, a specific official's approval, or something else) wars between vassals, particularly as it would allow for a lot of intrigue between vassals and the emperor (or whatever) regarding title redistribution without clearly showing that they too the initiative (e.g. the emperor can claim that some bureaucrat must have misinterpreted his order, the attacker might claim that the emperor personally gave his approval without him asking for the right to the title, some bureaucrat might say that the vassal went to them/the emperor, etc.), though I am not sold on the idea of the title becoming a regular feudal province if the attacker wins. However, I don't agree with the emperor going "Never mind; I'll send a vassal in my place" if the revokation is refused; it should be treated as a regular revokation and thus have the AI declare war (the option to send a vassal instead would be an alternative approach), but make the title feudal if the ruler backs down or loses the war.

- I don't particularly like the idea of usurpation being possible after a certain amount of time (with the possible exception of if the ruler is in a regency or if the council laws are very much in favour of the council (and perhaps also if the bureaucracy has stopped working well)), as that would just make the player get in the habit of redistributing all titles a couple of years before the deadline (and anyone that refuses obviously being jailed and stripped of as much land as you can get away with (which, if they don't own the land in the first place, likely would be everything)). However, I definitely think that there should be ways to try to make titles hereditary that the emperor might find it hard to refuse (due to e.g. hurtin all vassal opinion). Some ideas would be through paying X times the province's yearly income, through calling in (or offering) a Favour, through plotting to get a pseudo-claim ("The document in the imperial archives says that it was a permanent thing, and while I certainly will hand it back if you ask we both know that others might be concerned about you perhaps remembering differently when it comes to their titles in the future, so wouldn't it be best for the empire if I actually got the title permanently?"), and the like. Conversely, the liege (and perhaps other vassals) might get the option to try to fabricate pseudo-claims stating the opposite, as well as the option to e.g. call in Favours to retake a title from someone, so that both sides will keep contesting the matter.

Mercenaries, Advanturers inside the Imperial bureaucratic system
Creating and using these military units should be one of the very commonly used methods to gain money, Influence or Imperial merit. Just like tribal characters can create a mercenary band, so could do minors of bureaucratic families, who don't own any office.
These adventurers or mercenary bands will then appear within the empire and could be hired by anoyone inside the empire - be it various middle or high rank officials, bureaucratic family leaders or the emperor himself. Being hired by the emperor or his ministers means the character gains office and provides Imperial merit each month and also by every positive action in this function.
However, these mercenaries or adventurers could do also other things. Some of them would be favourable by the empire, others not that much. The leaders of these armies can do and/or be used for:
a) small wars and land usurpations (as mentioned above under Usurpation CB) if hired by their own family - the army leader gains prestige, the family only pays small cost for the army.
b) marauding bands which plunder estates of family rivals, the empire, or even neighbouring kingdoms. Each plundered holding provides gold, and depending on the target also influence and imperial merit bonus or malus. - leading such a band costs some money, but much less than mercenaries or even levies and plundering and pillaging should provide gold and therefore could be used as faimly income.
c) fight as mercenaries hired by whoever hires the band. In this case the one who hires the company/army pays the upkeep and the leader and his family has income from that money.
d) holy wars or plundering infidel lands - this is typical for the Ghazi bands in Anatolia and central Asia which were plundering the lands of infidels (from muslim point of view). The upkeep for these armies would be relatively small, their leaders would gain piety and prestige. The profit in Imperial merit and influence should be very small.
e) resources generating raids - this should be possible only if slavery as suggested in the Qabila thread is introduced.

This kind of military bands will sometimes consume, but mostly generate financial income for the families. They usualy won't give you much Imperial merit and only sometimes some Influence, but the money they provide would be at disposal of the entire family (the family leader) and as such could be used for buying offices (tax farming), building up family palace, or building up the province or imperial estates in offices already held by the family, as mentioned by @SeekTruthFromFx

- I like the ideas of semi-vassalized mercenaries, and for them it could definitely make sense to have officers from bureaucratic families (I assumed that you meant something like the nomadic/Conclave mercs that everyone can hire when I read your previous post); though leading a merc band might restrict certain options (e.g. you might not be able to hold feasts (or whatever you might be up to if you are a palace-based bureaucrat) if you are out leading an army). However, while it certainly should be possible for officials to hire mercs if vassals can declare war, hiring a large number of mercs should likely worry the emperor, particularly if you are based at the capital due to not having any actual landed titles.

- Using your own mercs inside the empire certainly should be possible, and far cheaper than hiring someone else's mercs, and hiring someone else's mercs should be an option, though ideally they shouldn't be possible to turn against their owner's allies (e.g. vassal A can't hire B's mercs and go attack vassal C if C is allied with/has an NAP with B). Using the mercs to expand outside the current borders of the realm (provided the vassal war law allows it) and then ruling that land as a feudal vassal of the emperor should probably be possible, though it should be somewhat restricted to prevent silly wars (e.g. no attacking someone in Hispania as a vassal/bureaucrat in the ERE if the ERE barely has a foothold in Sicily).

- I'm somewhat opposed to more armies like the already existing raiding adventurers as they function rather poorly at times, e.g. can ride from the steppes to Rome unopposed because they don't get tagged as hostile due to not stopping to loot (I think I have figured out a way to prevent that, but I haven't had the chance to test it yet), and even if they worked perfectly I think that the emperor might have a thing or two to say about raiding in his empire (and, if the bureaucracy is doing well, etc., he should be in a position to deter that before it even happens (and to punish anyone that tries)). Raiding foreign land might work, but we again run into the whole "Run across half the realm before becoming hostile" issue.

- If some kind of slavery mechanic is introduced (it has been some time since I read your Qabila suggestion, so I don't quite remember how your suggestion worked and unfortunately don't have the time to check it right now), raiding for slaves should probably be an option, though again there is the issue with non-hostile hosts running about.

Building up imperial property would of course bring one a LOT of Imperial merit and, as pefectly mentioned in quoted post, the Imperial merit would be a crucial gate to get high-ranking imperial offices (but about this I will talk later in detail).

The general rule here should be that if a family gains influence and Imperial merit, it will obviously be both profitable and dangerous. But we should keep in mind that in larger empires there will always be some 10+ families struggling for power with the imperial family being one of them and using the same methods and except few privilegues limited only to the emperor, also the same tools. Just like the families want their power to increase, the emperor wants to both exploit and limit their power. The emperor can hire mercenaries from those families, having a powerfull ally against another powerfull family is a need, so being powerfull AND having good relations with the emperor is often a better way to more power than standing against the emperor. All you need is to wait until the imperial family gets into a crisis (which you can ignite via intrigues)

This wasn't really directed at me, and you mentioned that you'd talk more about it later, but having there be both good and bad aspects to powerful (and weak, for that matter) families for both the family and the emperor would be good.

Btw, I have thought more about the Palace mechanic and I think the Palace view should be somehow edited.
ETCfzLM.png


First of all you can see that there are no longer copycats using names of other families :D
but more importantly, at the very top there would be 2 possible views, just as I have edited the Qabila view in my other suggestions thread....
You could either view the bureaucratic families of the empire or your own family.

The screenshot of the family view is not done yet, but it will display the offices your family holds and will be the place from which you could turn your offices into family holdings or estates as described above. When I am at estates, I must admit I was inspired about how @Ferrero suggested the family estates to somehow stay aside from what we actually have in game. On the other hand, I must agree with @SeekTruthFromFx at the point that it would require total rework of the fame's mechanics to introduce these family holdings to all other governments (it would totally change the conditions for game over for feudal and iqta governments). I think these family estates would better be limited to the imperial government and the limited number of bureaucratic families who struggle for influence within the empire.
I think it would be easier if these family estates would only be represented as bureaucratic palaces in the capital. On the other hand, as suggested above, they would be able to usurp baronies and other holdings, even counties inside the empire. I think that creating just another special holding for every province or most of them would go little too far for CK2 engine.

I doubt that we will get another basic holding type, so only having palaces in the capital and only for the bureaucratic government type would probably be far more reasonable, and even that might be a bit of a problem unless the devs figure out a way to make the MR stuff possible to use elsewhere (which is something that people have been asking for since The Republic came out). Of course, there's always CK3...

You understood me well in my original post. Only when trying to make things clearer I did the oposite.
The other Palaces should depend on de jure titles within the range of the empire. But if some of the titles gets conquered (i.e. the emperor conquers gains a kingdom title before holding the entire de jure kingdom), it could be used as viceroy. I hope that now I made things clearer rather than confusing you :)

I see. That makes sense.

PS: Sorry to be slow at adressing your amazing replies, I'm really struggling hard how to present the concept I had in my head with the ideas or questions presented here. I hope I will be able to anwer or clear them soon enough.

No worries; at least not on my behalf. Speaking for myself, while there are some things that I'm not entirely sold on at the moment (though that might change, at least for some of them, depending on the things you haven't elaborated on yet), and some things that potentially could be problematic due to how the game works, the overall idea seems rather solid, and (in the hypothetical case that we get something much like what you have suggested implemented into the game) if the final version ends up relatively easy to mod (unlike nomads and MRs) I wouldn't mind having to tweak a few things here and there to get it to work to my liking (because that's what I tend to do with a whole lot of things anyway).
 

STABBY5

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The count level titles should work like your mercenary bands. Random courtier put in to fill it but replaceable at any time. Basically how republics work now but with the ability to replace the guy. Also this government should be based around cities not castles but should be able to hold both. It bothers me that Constantinople is a castle.
 

icedt729

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I had an idea for implementing standing armies - they could effectively be vassalized mercenaries/holy orders that scale in size with realm size, laws, etc. Appointed commanders would draw significant prestige and salaries and a new set of laws could govern who is eligible to hold those military offices.

I think the balancing would be very tricky, but this isn't substantially different from how vassalized mercenaries already work.
 

BeyondExpectation

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With regards to having mechanics based on the de jure system, that's a system I'd like to see ripped out and replaced in CK3. (I've thought up a quite detailed alternate system I've yet to share). It's got many downsides like the minuscule levies of Asturias, the fact places can't drift out of empires, that internal border gore cripples your realm (despite being extremely common in the late Middle Ages), and many others.

This government should be based around cities not castles but should be able to hold both. It bothers me that Constantinople is a castle.

This is another system I don't like. Instead I think it would work much better in CK3 if towns grew organically with population growth or prosperity, and sometimes built their own fortifications and stuff (but not buildings which somehow give you permanently more levy) and could turn into republics if sold town charters or if central government was weak enough, like when a grassroots rebellion seized the settlement. Castles could be built or held by bishops or lords, but you would need a certain number of bishops or you’d incur the wrath of the clergy/be crippled by lack of piety. Cathedrals could be built in association with castles for piety, but only those run by bishops*, and would become the equivalent of CK2 bishopric holdings, though are only slightly different to any other castles. Note that there simply wouldn't be bishoprics in, for instance, Muslim ruled and inhabited lands.

*this is not to say that it would be solely or mainly bishops paying for their construction
 

elvain

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@Silversweeeper thanks for your remarks again. I totally understand that you see potential problems. You reminded me that I missed out some important details.
- The player will notice if they lose a title they personally hold, and I don't think that many people would appreciate having their titles stolen by their vassals (I certainly wouldn't). I would personally not mind an event like "Vassal A's tax collectors have been visiting province B, claiming that it falls within his jurisdiction. Do you want to a) Make it clear that it is your land (-X opinion with the vassal in question), b) Remain silent (-Y % tax income from that province), c) Give the title to the vassal in exchange for a Favour/Influence/etc. (gives the other party an event where they can accept/refuse that deal), or, d) Give them the title without demanding recompensation?" and more of the existing "Hey! I want this title you hold!" events, but outright getting an event saying "Province B now belongs to character A, and there's nothing you (legally) can do about it!" wouldn't be very fun.

- If the player is a fellow vassal, they probably wouldn't like it either (I don't normally play as a vassal, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like my land (or the land I'm governing) being stolen) and should ideally be given the option to issue an ultimatum and declare war over the title (if vassal wars are allowed; if not, other options would have to be used, but usurpation would probably have to be harder too), but depending on the title, the de jure structure, the laws of the empire, etc. a vassal might have to ask their liege (or above) or their liege's first minister to intercede (which ideally could be refused, could involve various kinds of bargaining, etc.). Again, a flat "This happens, and you can't do anything to stop it!" wouldn't be very fun.

- If a vassal steals land from another vassal and the player is the (top) liege, the player still might not like it. I personally tend to do basically everything I can (though generally stopping short of tyrannical revokations unless all other options have been exhausted) to ensure that my internal borders are tidy, so while I wouldn't begrudge a vassal for taking a title that is part of their de jure (if I agree with them having that de jure, of course) from another vassal I would not sit idle if they went beyond that. Of course, how much the player cares differs a lot, and depending on how healthly the bureaucracy is and what the laws are the situation could differ a bit; I could see more liberal vassal-on-vassal usurpations be possible if the imperial bureacracy is in shambles, the emperor's power is laughable at best, and the like, but if the laws are ruler-friendly, the emperor is reasonably competent and militarily powerful, and the bureaucracy itself is functioning (however that would be measured) I would think that a vassal shouldn't expect to get away with something like that.
1) usurpations being (un)noticed or not:
There would be a big difference IMHO between the barony and country and higher usurpations. In case of baronies (the by far most often usurpations)
- if a player is the supreme ruler, he eould be notified just like he now is about a character inheriting a title. Something what happens, but often comes unnoticed. The message would be 'the governor of province X, Bardas Laskaris has turned barony Y in a province Z into his private property.'
You can ignore it as you do in case of inheritances or babies born, or you can go to the character...and on diplomatic screen you eill have a new option: 'warn about usurpation'.
This will trigger negotiation event chain in which you can decide to
1) send a warning and demand a favour
2) pretend this to be unnoticed and get a "silent favour" or "anti-favour" which can later be used for blackmailing the character.
If you send the warning, there are several possible outcomes
- you send a warning but let the usurper keep the holding but get a favour
- the warning includes a threat that in case of any further usurpations further action will be taken, but still let him keep the usurped land
- threaten for further action if he won't grant the usurpation to you => this may trigger even more fun, since he can complain to the supreme ruler etc.
- demand it to be returned to previous owner
- take it back by force and then do whatever you find apropriate => another possible chain of fun events.
At many of these points you each of parties interested can take some position, appeal to the supreme ruler or ignore it, the ruler has choices who to back, if the justice or his friends or internal allies. This is exactly where usurpations open a wide range of steps, some of them leading to military action, some to imprisonment, some to getting/giving favours, blackmailing.

Of course these usurpations were not meant as "holding A was usurped, that's it and you can't do anything about it". It's rather the oposite. If you imagine that you would usualy have at least 3 parties in the issue (the usurper, the usurped, and a central authority), sometimes 4 (if central authority doesn't act fairly, the usurped can appeal to another instance of central authority) each of them being part of some bureaucratic family, either local or central, I can see potential for some fun actions, don't you too?

- I partially addressed the first point above, but I would personally want that CB to be fairly restrictive, particularly if the empire is doing well (and, of course, to be fully disabled if vassal wars aren't allowed). I also think that going after baronies is a rather bad idea, as vassal bordergore at the baron level is a mess to untangle in the future (because you might need to retract a duke to retract a count to retract a baron to revoke a title from). That can of course be good for simulating that the empire is getting inefficient/that the bureaucracy is breaking down, but also can mess up things for the AI, particularly if one vassal's lands somehow are inherited by a foreign realm and there are baronies held by the wrong realm in some provinces (the AI has gotten better at dealing with that, but it can get rather silly if you get huge wars over baronial bordergore). Furthermore, I think that instead of just having a Usurpation CB it might be better to have something akin to claim fabrication so that instead of the AI randomly targeting titles and upsetting their liege they could plot (or use their chancellor, I suppose, though pagans and Muslims don't fabricate regular claims and thus might not end up able to get these pseudo-claims) to have the imperial records altered to show that e.g. Venezia totally was part of the land that the Strategos of Aquilea was given to govern rather than the Strategos of Verona's land, which (unless discovered to be the work of the attacker; I suppose there could be random events about bureaucrats messing up things on their own, records going missing, and the like to ensure that we don't know if the aggressor was a dirty plotter or not and to occasionally give vassals an opportunity to try to take titles without having to personally do the plotting) wouldn't be quite as blatant a violation of the emperor's will as declaring those wars with zero justification.
Of course it will have restrictions and will be only possible if the realm's laws allow it. Also there should be some limitations to the AI, so for instance the AI local governors won't do this kind of usurpations when the empire is at peace, the emperor and vizier/chancellor/steward is highly skilled etc.
Also going after baronies does make sence since in bureaucratic system the incomes of various offices and tax revenues from landed property should be little different than how they work in feudal governments as touched by @SeekTruthFromFx in his great inptuts to which I still haven't managed to propperly reply... Note that the tax revenues should be little higher in bureaucratic system, while military levies would be largely reduced, since both the bureaucrats and the empire would rather rely on standing armies and mercenaries (to be evaluated later)
Obviously all county and barony usurpations should only happen in places which are under domination of certain family, which is IMHO a sensible and sensefull limitation.
Furthemore these usurpations should not be happening immediately after appointment in the office. It should work similarily to how I suggested the ghulams to work - after being appointed to some office the bureaucrat may be asking for more or better revenues and if he doesn't get them, he might take what he thinks he deserves. It might create some sort of bordergore, but...
- The families interests should be tied around some area. Thus if a Laskaris family has usurped baronies in Cappadoccia and the province/duchy is then granted to Komnenos family, it might lead to rivalry between the two families in which the emperor/central power can stay as the supreme authority and be either the just ruler, or the one who sides with his friends/allies.

though I am not sold on the idea of the title becoming a regular feudal province if the attacker wins. However, I don't agree with the emperor going "Never mind; I'll send a vassal in my place" if the revokation is refused; it should be treated as a regular revokation and thus have the AI declare war (the option to send a vassal instead would be an alternative approach), but make the title feudal if the ruler backs down or loses the war.
I was only following a historical examples in the islamic world (see for instance the history of Chavli Saqao). Sorry if I was unclear again. This kind of appointments/sponsored wars would of course be an emergency instrument for emperors who don't have enough power to do the revocation by themselves. The final status of the land after a victory of either side, however, is of course up to discussion. We must always take into consideration, that the system is plastic and multi-layered and it should be somehow attractive for all sides interested. If an emperor asks somebody for a favour, he should offer an option which would be win-win, otherwise the appointee might decline to go into such war.

To say a bit more about the armies:
In the bureaucratic system, the regular levies we know from feudal systems should be very limited and not very usefull for any power-based strategies. You would always need to use some sort of mercenaries, adventurers etc. in order to win a war, be it at any level of bureaucratic pyramid. Those who can afford, concentrate and effectively use these armies and resources are the ones who gain influence. That is where the bureaucratic gameplay should differ from feudal.

I had an idea for implementing standing armies - they could effectively be vassalized mercenaries/holy orders that scale in size with realm size, laws, etc. Appointed commanders would draw significant prestige and salaries and a new set of laws could govern who is eligible to hold those military offices.
Yes, if I understand it well, this is somehow in accordance with what I mentioned above. I think those armies should work similarily to how I suggested the ghulams to work in my Qabila thread.