Mariannia is technically an Empire (currently the 2nd Empire of Mariannia) but also has a parliamentary presence with some of the old Magical Ducal Families holding power in the parliament, which has no representatives of the common man in them. There is a continual tension between Crown, Parliament, and Mob, which has the potential to overspill in worrying fashion- uprisings, especially in the capital city (where the Emperor does not, in fact, live) are common, resulting in intermittent declaration of a Republic, which has yet to 'stick'.
Magic is still a basic fact of life for the Aristocracy, but High Engineering is just as common amongst the lower classes of Mariannia as it is in Begma. The tension between these two different approaches to life adds to the political tensions between the 'Estates', as the differing classes are known.
The army is large, but the fleet is only moderate in size. Both are largely technological, but the officer corps are more often from aristocratic, and even magical families, resulting in a great belief in 'Elan', and the ability of a well pressed attack to magically survive a hail of projectiles, to close to range for the bayonet. This has yet to be tested in any serious way against an Industrialised Power, but the land border with Prussevania is one of high tension at all times.
There are many who accuse the Empire of being too decadent to survive, but there is, perhaps, life in the old poseur yet.
Example of possible character concepts
Adventurer/Soldier of Fortune/Blade for Hire
Democratic/Socialist agitator/Revolutionary on the run
Diplomat (especially Cultural Attaches, who in the case of Mariannia tend actually be culturally skilled
Soldier- Officer - mostly from the aristocratic, magic using classes
Soldier- Grognard (literally 'grumbler')- other ranks