The Realm of Agennul is the primary power on the continent of Iperia. Its lands hold the continent's breadbasket and its finest deepwater ports. It is also the oldest and best organized of any of the nations, holding large numbers of each continental race. Agennul once ruled the entire continent, but a brutal civil war three hundred years ago split the continent into many nations, and Agennul was pushed back to its core territory (the same territory that provided it with the natural tools to dominate the continent in the first place). Agennul is now surrounded with smaller, poorer, and much more ferocious and nationalistic neighbors determined to influence the events in their hegemonic neighbor.
After the civil war, each great city of Agennul decided that it would no longer be bound by the decisions of the capital city, and this was confirmed as a treaty amongst all the factions in the land. Every year, a champion would be chosen, determined after they gained patronage from a plurality of the outer cities and the capital city. This champion would gain control over the capital city's guard and gain the title of Champion of Agennul, a title that would essentially make them the Governor of the Capital City. Heroes from throughout the Empire and the rest of the continent compete for the power and honor that comes from such an appointment, which makes them one of the most powerful people in all of Agennul. Frequently, these champions are powerful men and women that represent greater factions, which allow this faction to bargain on even or even superior footing with the King of Agennul.
Historically, the only persons in the entire continent prohibited from competing for the title of Champion is the King of Agennul and his immediate family (children, siblings, nieces, nephews, spouses, parents). This is because a king with the title of Champion would control the capital territory completely and would be powerful enough to act independently once more, just as the tyrannical Emperors of the pre-civil war period. The King is elected from and by the heads of various noble families within Agennul. This gives the King a large power base beyond his own city, which he seldom controls in a greater capacity.
The nations that surround Agennul are largely ruled by a single race and ethnicity, the result of bloody local revolutions that occurred while the Agennul Empire was weakened by their civil war. The current system of elective monarchy has never been able to marshal the force or political will to conquer the other nations.
The patronage of the different cities of Agennul is achieved when a hero can infiltrate the city and convince enough people to raise their flag in the local fort. When a champion is declared in the capital, all cities abandon the champion that claimed their city. If a hero attacks a declared city, they must gain entry to the city without bloodshed and remove that hero's standard.
A hero that is defeated in battle by another hero is banished back to the territory they entered Agennul through. If the hero and their chosen allied hero are defeated in a single time period, they are so disgraced that all cities that have declared for them remove their standards.