In theory, the government of the Ravnivori Empire is a meritocracy. Early on, Ravnivorous established that he did not care who a person’s mother or father was or who they were friends with or what societies and organizations they were a part of. All he cared about was success. If a person could get the job done, that person got the job and the spoils that went along with it. If many people could get the job done, the person who could do it best got it.
In practice, the government is far too large for Ravnivorous to monitor himself. Human nature being human nature, the people that he has appointed to do that monitoring have often, either purposefully or through the normal human way of viewing their friends and family as better, given jobs to people who are not particularly qualified. This practice has cascaded down throughout the government and at least half of the people in the government are there through some form of nepotism. Fortunately, many of these people actually are capable of doing their jobs, though they are seldom the best at them. Unfortunately, at least half of them are inadequate to their assigned tasks to one degree or another. This can range from simple sloppiness to catastrophic inability to accomplish the expected goals.
There is also a tendency for power to pool in certain hands. There are a number of individuals in the Ravnivori Empire, including Possessed, Undead and Mechanids who are ageless. There are also many who age at an extremely slow rate. Assuming that they do not meet with any unfortunate accidents, these people are capable of climbing the ladders of power almost indefinitely and retaining the posts that they attain for centuries at a time, leaving their mortal competitors with little chance of achieving the highest ranks of power in the Empire. Of course, this has its advantages as it allows a degree of consistency that is impossible with shorter lived people and forces mortals to strike out to conquer lands that they can then govern. The drawbacks are that these ancient creatures often have a difficult time adapting to the changing times and that there are, occasionally, shorter lived individuals who are more suited to their offices but who are not able to take them.
Each of the three original empires that make up the Ravnivori Empire possessed their own government before coming under the larger banner. These governments are largely still in place, with Ravnivorous and his underlings caring little for the day to day ruling of the lands so long as taxes are paid and peace reigns. In the lands that Ravnivori first conquered, this takes the form of feudalism with a series of individuals owing allegiance to a person above them who owes their allegiance to someone else and so on until reaching a trio of kings who have completely sovereignty over their lands but owe their loyalty to Ravnivorous himself. The major difference between Ravnivori feudalism and traditional feudalism is that titles cannot be passed on to descendants. Instead, when someone dies or is removed from office, their liege selects their replacement.
Almatia was formerly a republic and their governmental structure remains. Each village and city is expected to vote on it’s own laws and regulations (so long as they don’t contradict any laws put in place either by the Ravnivori or the Almatian Senate.) Larger cities have town councils elected by the citizens of the city who make policy, though these can be overridden by a public vote. Citizens also vote for Senators to represent them. The Senate meets in the former home of Sunchaser, which has been enhanced and expanded in the centuries since the death of the dragon. This Senate creates the laws policies that govern the Almatian lands and their colonies off world. Of course, Ravnivorous can veto these decisions at any time, but he has only done so twice in the 500 years since the Empire conquered the republic.
Shan was an Empire even before the Ravnivori came. Of course, they had their own Empress at the time. This Empress still sits on her throne, in fact, and her children will likely be Emperors and Empresses after her. The only change is that she now owes her allegiance to Ravnivorous. She still has almost complete authority in her lands and Ravnivorous has yet to countermand one of her decrees. Like Ravnivorous, the Empress is not so foolish as to think that she can guide every aspect of every one of her citizens life every day and an exceptionally complex bureaucracy has developed over the centuries since the founding of the Shan Empire to handle these details. This bureaucracy is exceptionally efficient and each member of the organization considers what they do to be something of a holy duty. Thus, most of them do their job to the best of their abilities and are both content with their lot and eager to prove themselves capable of doing more. Of course, there are a few lazy and useless bureaucrats, but if their incompetence is discovered, they are not only removed from office, but also disdained by the public at large.