[[quoteright:330:[[MagicTheGathering http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/KalastriaHighborn_9850.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:330:Even [[EvilIsSexy sexy]] vampiresses realize the value of keeping "[[LooksLikeOrlok homely]]" friends nearby.]]

->''"They say the Zombie Master controlled these foul creatures even before his own death, but now that he is one of them, nothing can make them betray him."''
--> -- Flavor text on the ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' card "Zombie Master"

Some monster or non-human species have [[SupernaturalElite aristocracies]] with {{Blue Blood}}s that just so happen to actually have [[AlienBlood blue blood.]] And rarely, lowborn monsters (frequently [[ViralTransformation former humans]]) can aspire to earn such titles with "heroic" deeds, political savvy, or by dint of AsskickingEqualsAuthority. Beyond that though, some Monster Lords are physiologically different from rank and file {{Mook}}s. Maybe the species as a whole has a caste system, and over time the leaders have become a different "[[OurMonstersAreDifferent race]]" that is more powerful by nature. Other monster races may have a life cycle where old or "mature" mooks become lords if they grow really powerful, use a magic ritual, or they have a ''really'' [[TheDeterminator strong willpower.]]

The net effect is that the Monster Lord is a KingMook with a few extra bells and whistles. In video games, their "sprite" will likely be wholly unique, not a PaletteSwap. They may be able to [[CrossMeltingAura repel]] things that weaken lesser monsters. Their children/[[ViralTransformation infectees]] will likely be stronger than other mooks, have an easier time becoming a Monster Lord, or naturally be born one. They will usually become a HiveQueen or have great PsychicPowers over the lesser monsters, especially ones they create. And of course, they will be [[EliteMooks physically stronger]], [[SuperPoweredMooks tougher, and faster.]] Sometimes, they'll even [[MonstrousCannibalism prey upon their lesser kin]].

Frequently, the Monster Lord will be TheManBehindTheMonsters. Even though not human, they will look human-like because the process of climbing the EvolutionaryLevels ladder raised them higher up on the BishounenLine. Of course, if there's a rung above Monster Lord, it'll probably be a OneWingedAngel and make them monstrous again. They also tend to be [[StrongerWithAge the oldest members of their species, thus the strongest]].

One downside though is that Monster Lords tend to be epic [[EyeOfNewt spell components]] or chow in the FoodChainOfEvil. So wizards, other monsters, or even [[TheStarscream their own]] [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt underlings]] [[MightMakesRight will try]] [[HorrorHunger to eat them]] to gain more power.

Supertrope of InsectQueen. For the mechanical equivalent, see MechanicalMonster for examples. Contrast TheManBehindTheMonsters.

See also the MonsterProgenitor, who is usually the top Monster Lord of its kind.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''{{Guyver}}'' has this in the Zoalords, Hyper-Zoanoids, and bog standard [[{{Mook}} Zoanoids]].
* The {{Youkai}} in ''InuYasha'' fit this; specifically InuYasha's father was a Lord of all the Inu-Youkai and had non-Inu Youkai vassals.
* The Abyssal Ones in ''{{Claymore}}'', the strongest among the Awakened Beings and Yoma. In particular, Isley of the North, who rallies an army of lesser Awakened Beings to assault Pieta.
* The royal family of monsters in ''PrincessResurrection'' fit this trope to a 'T'.
* Played with in ''{{Slayers}}'': while all Mazoku are formed from concentrated negative human emotion, the five Mazoku Lords are distinct in that they were literally created from the [[BigBad Dark Lord's]] (who represents the sum entirety of said negative emotion) own substance.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series by StephenKing has a couple of examples. The Low Men are weak-minded ratlike creatures; they rank lower than the Taheen, which are more or less humans with animal heads; and the whole bunch turns out to be led by ancient vampires. Among the vampires themselves, there are a couple of weak echelons made up of people converted to vampirism by the ancients, who are again the Monster Lords.
* Myrdraal in ''TheWheelOfTime'' are Monster Lords to the Trollocs.
* {{Dracula}} is a count, and the other vampires mentioned in [[Literature/{{Dracula}} the book]] clearly view him as superior... but this may be less to do with his title and more to do with the fact he's implied to be their husband and/or father and also happens to be a [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority badass]].
* The villains of MercedesLackey's ''[[TheObsidianTrilogy Obsidian Trilogy]]'' are the Endarkened, who draw inspiration from classical depictions of demons and devils, with such features at bat wings and red skin. The servants of their world are Lesser Endarkened, who are uglier and lack wings, but have fur and cloven feet.
* Just about every non-human faction in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' has these. Notable examples are all of the various gods and their followers, the Sidhe (with their three-queen hierarchy), and the Goblins with their Erlking. The Red Court of Vampires has a king. Lord Raith for the White Court vampires.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Vampires in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' can become "Lords" if they live long enough... usually, this results in their GameFace getting stuck on.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'', meanwhile, had the Archduke Sebassis, lord of a legion of demons.
* In ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', the Scarran ruling class looks far more humanoid than the "horse-faced" variety the series introduced first.
* The officer caste Martian Ice Warriors in ''Series/DoctorWho'' are very different in appearance from the usual ones (slimmer and much less heavily-armoured), although contrary to fanon the name "Ice Lord" is never used on-screen.
* The Alphas in ''Series/TeenWolf'' all the way. While Betas are limited to WolfMan, Alphas can fully shape-shift into huge, half-wolf forms. They're also stronger, heal better, and are the only type which can create more werewolves.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''DungeonsAndDragons'' has had this with Lizard Kings (lizard men), Lamia Nobles, Noble genies, "Greater" monsters (basilisk, daemons/demons/devils, lammasu, shedu), demon princes and archdevils. A couple of adventures have had zombie lords as well.
* Kindred in ''[[VampireTheRequiem Vampire: The Requiem]]'' grow stronger with age and experience, represented by the power stat Blood Potency. Truly powerful vampires (Blood Potency 6) can only feed on humans [[note]](and not long after, other vampires)[[/note]] and can create bloodlines which they can bestow on all their progeny and even supplicant vampires. Basically, a bloodline is a second "clan" that gives all vampires in the bloodline a fourth in clan discipline, which is often unique and ''very'' powerful compared to the core ten. Of course, [[PowerAtAPrice they also develop]] a second {{curse}}.
** The Ventrue also style themselves as this in both ''Requiem'' and ''[[TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade Masquerade]]'' (its predecessor) to the point where their nickname in ''Masquerade'' is "Blue Bloods," though they have the same weaknesses as most other vampires; on the other hand, their Blue Blood nickname probably stems from their tradition of Embracing nobility and they do wield the majority of temporal influence. There's even a Ventrue bloodline in ''Requiem'', the Deucaliones, who are formed around the idea that the Ventrue are the supreme clan and all others are innately flawed (which they are, but of course so are the Ventrue).
** In ''Requiem'', vampires can become this literally by creating Ghouled animals and plants, or by creating Larvae as minions -- Larvae are "incompletely embraced" juvenile vampires, which thusly function more like [[OurZombiesAreDifferent blood-drinking, sun-averse zombies]]. This path is easier for Draugr than regular vampires, though.
* ''{{Exalted}}'''s Raksha Nobles, the more powerful type of Fae, are as different from (non-heroic) Commoner fae as a protagonist is from a {{mook}}- [[OurFairiesAreDifferent literally]].
** The [[OurDemonsAreDifferent Descending Hierarchy of Malfeas]] is also like this; by order of the [[DemonLordsAndArchDevils Yozi Cecylene]], the lawmaker of Hell, the greatest demons (generally those of the Third Circle, the [[OurSoulsAreDifferent souls of the Yozis]]) are designated Unquestionable, Second Circle Demons (the souls of the Third Circles) and the most exceptional First Circles are citizens, with numerous privileges and protections, and all others are merely serfs, beholden to whatever commands those of higher rank would impose on them. The Yozis technically preside over the entire hierarchy, but are functionally distant, and even the Unquestionable are more preoccupied with their own alien agendas, so most actual politicking and conquest is done by the citizens without reservation.
* ''MagicTheGathering'' has this in the Zendikar Block. Only the most powerful vampires can convert people into true vampires by draining their blood, but lesser vampires can create zombies (called nulls) by draining the blood completely from a target. This power doesn't come up much in the game, but it is there in the fluff. The picture for this page features a vampire and some follower nulls.
** ''Magic'' has these all over the races, and they used to even have the creature type "Lord." The type has been lost, but the effect remains: they power up other creatures of the same type, and some even make more of them, or make them easier to cast. Because the old versions of these cards bore the "Lord" type before the Grand Creature Update (which instead made them the same class of creatures and made it so that their abilities didn't affect themselves, but could affect other copies), now any card that boosts creatures of the same type are called "Lords". Goblins, Soldiers, and Elves are popular choices for lords because of their consistent focus on a group mentality, but there have been lords for Vampires, Merfolk, Zombies, Treefolk, Saprolings, Elementals, Warriors, Faeries, and Beasts. There's also Adaptive Automaton, who in exchange for having no abilities other than buffing others, has the ability to buff ''any type of creature'' of your choosing.
** The Innistrad block has recently given rise to several of these, as it is largely based on Gothic Horror. Vampires have Olivia Voldaren, capable of turning other Creatures into Vampires, getting stronger because of it and then taking control of them, as well as the Bloodline Keeper/Lord of Lineage card which creates Vampires and then transforms when you have enough, making them stronger as well.
** The Lorywn-Shadowmoor block brought a megacycle of "Lieges", Ten creatures with 2 colors each that buffed other creatures that shared the same colors with it (the more colors they shared, the more they buffed). The set of allied color Lieges had minimal effects beyond this, usually some generic effect such as "trample" or "Flying", while the enemy colored lieges had effects ranging from being a nuisance (summoning worms each turn) to devastating (such as destroying any creature you want when you cast a dual colored spell of the same color). They were effectively lords for creatures of their colors.
** [[http://magiccards.info/som/en/123.html Liege of the Tangle]] is implied to be the collective will of Mirrodin's forests, or at least one of the rulers of the "trees" there. It's effect is that it can "awaken" your lands into powerful elementals, specifically 8/8 elementals. Being an 8/8 elemental itself, this implies that it was the lord of the "tree spirits" and it was unique in that it could awaken others.
* Rune Giants in ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' were magically bioengineered by a vanished civilization to be Monster Lords for giantkind as a whole. They are ''enormous'' (around forty feet tall, which is about twice as tall as the next-largest giant races), and have some magical mind-control abilities that are particularly effective against giants. Other giants don't like them much.
* In ''PrometheanTheCreated'', most Pandorans are effectively mindless - even the ones with some degree of intelligence are more "animal cunning" than "thinking creature". Sublimati, however, have broken through that into true sentience. They often gather a number of lesser Pandorans around them as a hunting pack (typically with the Transmutation "Mantle of Lordship" - learnable only by Sublimati or Centimanus Prometheans), with which they track down and entrap Prometheans to feed on. Some Sublimati have other thoughts than just hunting, as well; one, the Lady of Chains, went so far as to start a cult among human beings. It has its own ''website''.
* WarhammerFantasyBattle and {{Warhammer40000}} both have several of these. Some of the more notable ones:
** The Daemonic Heralds are more or less the rank-and-file daemons you can normally choose to fill out your armies, but have special perks to them (called Locus/Loci as of the latest edition) as well as heightened attributes (differs depending on the kind of daemon, as Khornate Daemons just have better statistics while Tzeentchan Heralds are more powerful wizards). The fluff itself implies that all daemons of the same alignment are the same, it's just that the [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority higher ranked ones are just way more powerful versions of it's underlings]]. The Chaos Gods themselves are implied to be the most powerful Daemons of their alignments (although this is by a wide margin, as even Khorne's greatest champion is but a mere insect compared to him), and it's outright stated that there are many, many lesser gods that are just not as influential as the big 4.
** The mortal worshippers of Chaos in both settings results in this as well. As a champion rises through the ranks, he gains the attention of the Chaos Gods and are granted their boons in the form of mutations or daemonic artifacts. The end result is the mortal becoming a full daemon; either they master their new abilities and ascend to the status of Daemon Prince (on par with most Greater Daemons in terms of power) or they succomb to the insanity brought on by the daemonic influence and become Chaos Spawns (gibbering masses of flesh that have no right existing, let alone moving under their own power).
** Skaven who are born with Black Fur are taken away to be trained into Stormvermin, their elite fighting regiment. Their black fur is an indication that they are capable of growing larger and stronger than the common skaven, and thus can surpass the usual meek strength of the normal ratmen[[note]]However, it's implied that they can grow to such a size because they are fed well, as the usual skaven worker is constantly starving from a lack of food and usually dies young due to disease, infighting, experimentation, or any combination thereof. The book also implies it might be a mutation, and both can be true as Warhammer books are intentionally vague on backstories as everything could just be propaganda.[[/note]]. Likewise, Skaven born with Grey Fur are marked by their patron god, the Horned Rat, as being future Grey Seers. Grey Seers are powerful wizards of the Skaven and are held with both awe and suspicion; awe because they can invoke the wrath of the Horned Rat to kill their enemies, suspicion because you never know when you'll be deemed "an enemy".
** Genestealer Patriarchs from Warhammer 40k are ancient purestrain Genestealers who managed to start up it's own cult. It's maturity has granted it psychic powers over the other members of it's cult, even other purestrains. However, because it's so old (and because it's servants dots upon it), it has grown obese, making it less suited to the physical combat prowess of it's younger broodmates. It compensates by being one of the most powerful psykers within the Tyranid Vanguard force. A similar creature, the Broodlord, is instead a heavily modified Genestealer that retains it's combat prowess and it's psychic powers, in exchange for no longer being able to control more than his immediate brood (which is usually only around 30 genestealers rather than a whole planetary force).
* Orks (and orcs). Orks biologically follow LargeAndInCharge, as the more an ork fights and the more boyz are under him, the bigger he gets, and therefore the more fights he can win and the more boyz will follow him (due to beating the leaders of rival clans). The most successful bosses call themselves warbosses, and really big armies are led by warlords.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' has this, even if you don't count the basically human Overlords. Examples include the higher tiers of most of the monster classes (Zombie King, Orc Master/King, Lord Cat God) as well as the Nether Nobles and some bosses.
* ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft|I}}'' has a justified variant of this with Kerrigan. She's more human than the rest of the Zerg because she is an infected human.
** More like a Human-Zerg hybrid than an infectee.
** With [[spoiler:Kerrigan's deinfestation]] in ''VideoGame/StarcraftII'' part 1, it looks like this trope will be played straighter than ever come ''Heart of the Swarm'', [[spoiler:as the mostly-human Kerrigan will still be commanding some, if not all, Zerg]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' 2 has the Arch Vile, which is not only the most powerful non-boss monster, but also one of the most human in its appearance. It has the power to bring dead monsters back to life.
* ''KingdomHearts'' has Organization XIII for the Nobodies.
* Popularized by the TropeCodifier ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'', medieval [[JapaneseRPG j-RPGs]] often have their BigBad played by a "Maoh," a loose term often translated as [[DemonLordsAndArchdevils "Demon King"]]. It has become the series tradition for a BigBad since the [[VideoGame/DragonQuestIII 3rd installment]] in 1988. Whatever species they actually are, they tend to rule over the local monsters and command some kind of [[BlackMagic dark magic]]. Unless it's just a [[VideoGame/OdinSphere negative title]].
** They exist as a class in the MegamiTensei series.
** ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'''s was translated as Magus, given he turned out to be [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman a discolored, pointy-eared human of great, inborn magic]]. Though on paper that sounds like a Monster Lord of [[{{Mook}} humans]].
*** The DS script still calls him Magus, but also adds the title ''Fiendlord'', which is much better at getting this trope across.
** The [[UrExample very first character]] to use the title in a video game was none other than [[BigBad Bowser]] of ''SuperMarioBros'' in 1985. He's a particularly tough Koopa whose children are also much tougher than your run-of-the-mill baddies.
** Beating Mario by a few days, however, was the lesser-known "Great Demon Lord" (Dai Maoh) Astaroth from the ArcadeGame ''VideoGame/GhostsNGoblins''.
** The second was Ganon in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZelda.'' [[TropeMaker The others]] before ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIII'' were Valarys in ''Hydlide Special,'' [[CthulhuMythos Azathoth]] in ''Jaseiken Necromancer,'' and Lucifer in ''MegamiTensei.''
* Daedra from ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series play the trope straight. There is a clear heirarchy with unintelligent beasts at the bottom, various human-animal hybrids like Daedroth, Spider Daedra, and Winged Twilights in the middle, and the intelligent, humanoid Dremora/Daedra Lords at the top.
** In the ''Dawnguard'' add-on to ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', the Vampire Lords have all the powers and weaknesses of a lesser vampire, but can access a very powerful OneWingedAngel form that no other vampire can access. They gained these powers because they have a stronger connection to Molag Bal, the god that created vampires.
* In ''VideoGame/MonsterGirlQuest'' this trope is used by its very name.
* Tewi Inaba from the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' series is a ''Rabbit'' Lord (or Lady, as the case may be), having evolved into a near-human form by dint of simply living long enough. (Chen and Ran from the same series don't exactly qualify, as they were created that way.)
** In general, Eastern mythology (from which the series borrows heavily) often holds that an animal which lives long enough becomes a supernatural being or {{youkai}}, gaining powers and the ability to take on a humanoid form. Of course, modern works tend to use this mainly as an excuse to make their characters a LittleBitBeastly.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}}'' from the eponymous series have their own social hierarchy and aristocracy in Makai. The weakest members in the S and A Class noble families in Makai (from which [[HornyDevils Morrigan]] and [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Demitri]] hail from) are borderline {{Physical God}}s, while C Class comprises livestock, slaves and ''humans'', and D Class are monstrous/inhuman beasts.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''{{Poharex}}'' has the Horned Snakes, which make up the commanders and officers in Darrakith's army, while the Silver Snakes, a different species, are the low-rank infantry.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Chaotic}}'': the ant-like Danians have the battle masters that command the common foot soldiers (often in the BadBoss kind of way) and then the queen that rules over all of them.
* In ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon2'' Bewilderbeasts are massive ice-breathing dragons who can command smaller dragons and rule nests as the "Alpha". The first one to appear is a good guy who protects his nest from dragon-trappers and gathers food for them. Unfortunately [[BigBad Drago Bludvist]] turns out to have a Bewilderbeast of his own, which under his command [[spoiler: kills the good Bewilderbeast and takes control of all the adult dragons. Fortunately Hiccup manages to help Toothless resist and defy him, causing all the dragons to recognize Toothless as their Alpha.]]
[[/folder]]

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