Council of Crowns
The Council of Crowns is the senate that controls Astris. They are supposed to be second to the Emperor, however it is a well known secret that the Council is the real ruling force. The Council is made up of representatives of all of the noble families of Astris. The Engineers guild and the Mages College also have a representative in the council, though they cannot vote and function in a advisory capacity.
The Council has the ability to elect a new emperor if the previous one dies without a living direct heir. The emperor is allowed to name an heir if he doesn’t have a child of his own, however the Council has to vote to confirm the heir as the new emperor. If the Council does not confirm the heir, or if the emperor dies without one, the Council gets to elect a new ruler, often from one of their own. This has lead to many plots over the years to kill the emperor as establish a new one, some of which has been successful. These attempts are taken as par for the course, based on the secretive nature of politics in Astris.