The Pater Patriae leads the Eternal Senate. This role broadly resembles the Imperator (Emperor) in both purported equality and exercise of absolute power. In theory, the Pater is a first among equals responsible for casting tie-breaking votes and mediating between the political factions, resolving disputes, and providing security in times of warfare. He issues commands on behalf of the Eternal Senate and his word, empowered by support from the Triumvirate, speaks to and for all Roman Kindred.
In reality, no one wisely dismisses the Pater or fails to show respect to the title. The current Pater, Camillus, defends the majesty and nobility of his rank by the sword. Challenges to his authority, and by extension the Eternal Senate, are met by swift justice. He claims to defend Rome itself and to stand above political alliances. Important debts owed to him by elders and neonates alike give him a tremendous power base, reinforced by his personal assets and the collective support from clan Ventrue. All Tribunals are subject to his authority, and the Triumvirate acts against his openly declared position only with great consideration.
Rome has seen two Paters since her founding. Collat ruled primarily over a Ventrue-led coterie loosely modeled after Athenian and Etruscan political structures. Things changed dramatically after his deposition. Camillus envisioned a new form of Kindred civilization, united under one political vision, guided by cooperation between the clans to achieve soaring heights. His iron-fisted control of the tiller has not wavered, and another wave of fresh turbulence shows no sign of overthrowing him.
The Triumvirs act as advisors to the Pater and represent the three founding clans of Rome. The Triumvirate checks Camillus' power and adds another layer of bureaucracy between the Pater's position and the Eternal Senate. The Lasombra, Malkavians, and the Ventrue elect one member to an indefinite term, and the clan reserves sole right of replacement. Triumvirs share equal power and votes, although the Lasombra traditionally assert greater power over their junior partners.
By ancient tradition, the Triumvirate may handle administrative affairs and judicial matters that the Pater does not involve himself with. Their penultimate authority extends to social infractions, such as demoting citizens, and recognizing diplomatic embassies and Kindred claims to residency or domain. Triumvirs voting as a bloc can overturn most decisions of the Pater, although they must declare a duel and challenge in the Eternal Senate to dispute his rulings.