Standard Evil Empire Hierarchy
Running The Empire
is hard work. No Dark Lord, no matter how powerful and feared, can manage everything on his own and a military-style hierarchy is usually the best of delegating tasks to the various henchmen and minions. As a result, if the heroes wind up having to topple The Empire
, they'll end up going against a Standard Evil Empire Hierarchy
Unlike a Five-Bad Band
, which tends to be fought as a group, a Standard Evil Empire Hierarchy
is defined by the roles they have within a larger Imperial hierarchy. Each member will be encountered individually, either with their assembled mooks or by themselves. In addition, the members rarely deal with each other unless the Emperor calls them for a joint meeting. Infighting
is common as they all attempt to assert their authority and it's not unheard-of for one boss to aid the heroes, only to turn on them afterward.
One of the hallmarks of the hierarchy is that there is often no clear-cut Dragon role
, as all of the bosses answer directly to the Emperor himself. The hierarchy usually consists of:
- The Emperor: The Big Bad himself. Although he might not be an actual Emperor, he is the undisputed ruler of The Empire and the heroes won't reach him until very late in the game, if not the very end. His Imperial Highness will very rarely do much himself, putting things in the hands of his generals and various subordinates. Is very likely to be The Chessmaster and Evil Overlord, naturally.
- The Right Hand: Commonly the Emperor's bodyguard, the Right Hand will often exist outside of the official military and police structure. While his position makes him most likely to be a clear-cut Dragon, it's also possible for him to be dumb muscle that's sent to calm down a particularly troublesome situation. A common device is for him to face the heroes mid-way through, sometimes winning, and then pop up again right before the Emperor. If he is The Dragon, having his own agenda or plans to take over will be much more likely due to his more independent nature.
- The General: Leader of the Empire's military. Most likely to be portrayed sympathetically, The General could very well be a Worthy Opponent, though a General Ripper is also common if the setting runs on Black and White Morality. A Mook Lieutenant is rare, as The General is usually portrayed as being competent, morality aside. Common for him to be The Dragon, The Brute and The Smart Guy rolled into one, though never an Evil Genius since his smarts come from his strategical and tactical abilities. In settings with more than one military branch (army, navy, air force) there can be more than one General.
- The Guard: In contrast to The General, who is in command of the field armies, The Guard is in command of a high-profile prison, fortress or other stationary strong-point. They will likely contrast with The General and be portrayed far less sympathetically, sitting back in their comfy, well-protected stronghold. Expect him to be any combination of Ax-Crazy, a Dirty Coward or simply incompetent. They will usually be encountered and defeated early on, to make it clear that The Empire is evil before the heroes encounter a more sympathetic member of the hierarchy.
- The Security Officer: Is in charge of the State Sec and its Doom Troops, stamping out internal dissent and rebellion in the Empire. Often he is also in charge of spies and commandos, one of whom is likely to be the next character on this list. Often he is also The Guard of The Oddball.
- The Evil Counterpart: Whether he's a Rival Turned Evil, Sixth Ranger Traitor, Turncoat or simply someone who happens to have similar powers and abilities, he's someone with similar powers and abilities as the heroes, often times creating a Mirror Match. Could fall under any of the other slots depending on the setting, but most commonly The Right Hand or The Oddball.
- The Oddball: If The Right Hand or The Psycho Ranger don't fall under this, expect The Oddball to be a Dark Chick or Evil Genius, wielding powers far different from the others, either dark magic or science. They will have their own agenda and they will be unpredictable, even for their own allies. Alternatively, they could be a mercenary or other form of lowlife hired to track down the heroes, in which case they'll employ the standard weaponry but use unconventional tactics. Either way, the emphasis is that they're connected to The Empire but different.
- The Man Behind the Man: If The Emperor really isn't the True Final Boss, expect this one to be. Often times The Man Behind the Man will be allied with The Emperor, promising dark powers and victory if The Empire aids him in his quest to recover an Artifact of Doom or unlock some Sealed Evil in a Can. The Man Behind the Man is far more common if The Empire is shown to be in command of forces that would be outside what's considered mundane by the standards of the setting.
Compare and contrast with the Five-Bad Band
, Standard Evil Organization Squad
and Power Stable
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- The D-Reaper from Digimon Tamers
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes actually subverts some of the roles, as The Empire is not all that evil
- Britannia of Code Geass
- The Emperor: Charles zi Britannia
- The Right Hand: Marianne vi Britannia, later Bismarck
- The General: Schneizel el Britannia (Evil Counterpart to Lelouch)
- The Guard: Clovis la Britannia
- The Security Officer: Cornelia li Britannia
- The Oddball / The Man Behind the Man: V.V.
- The Navy in One Piece:
- The Emperor: The "Five Elder Stars", the head of the World Government.
- The Right Hand: The Cipher Pol groups, which act as MIB for the World Government.
- The General: Commander-in-Chief Kong, who serves directly under the Gorosei as head of all World Government forces including the Marines (under Fleet Admiral Sengoku/Sakazuki), Impel Down, and the Seven Warlords of the Sea.
- The Guard: At opposite ends of the Sorting Algorithm of Evil lies Magellan, Chief Warden of Impel Down and, much earlier, Starter Villain Lieutenant Morgan.
- The Oddball: The Seven Warlords of the Sea, a bunch of very powerful Privateers. Also Vegapunk's forces.
- The Evil Counterpart (or rather, Lawful Counterpart): Various Marines and the Seven Warlords of the Sea; Commodore Smoker and Tashigi, and Coby and Helmeppo to Luffy and Zorro (A Fruit-user and a swordswoman, and a Haki-user and a Kukri-wielder to a Haki- and Fruit-user and a swordsman). Mihawk to Zoro.
- The Man Behind the Man: Possibly Vegapunk, whose creations have vexed our heroes but who remains shrouded in mystery. Otherwise, the founders of the World Government, whose attempts to blot out the Void Century from history have generated a great deal of the plot.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: The Principality of Zeon
- Star Wars, the original trilogy's empire
- The Emperor: Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious
- The Right Hand/The Evil Counterpart: Darth Vader
- The Guard and The Security Officer: Grand Moff Tarkin. The EU novels have dedicated Security Officers, such as Ysanne Isard and Lord Hethrir.
- The General: Admiral Piett
- The Oddball: Boba Fett
- Star Wars, the prequel trilogy's Separatists
- The Emperor: Darth Sidious
- The Right Hand/The Evil Counterpart: Count Dooku, who publicly plays The Emperor's part.
- The General: General Grievous
- The Guard: Poggle the Brief. Viceroy Nute Gunray, as the cowardly Starter Villain, might fit in a larger scale.
- The Oddball: Jango Fett
- Episode I's Trade Federation
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The East India Trading Company, while a business, has many traits of an empire, including the hierarchy:
- The Emperor: Lord Cutler Beckett
- The Right Hand: Davy Jones
- The Guard: Agent Mercer
- The General: Admiral James Norrington
- The Oddball: Sao Feng
- Interestingly lacks the Evil Counterpart, as Jack Sparrow's Evil Counterpart is Barbossa, who's actually allied with him in opposing the EITC.
- TRON: Legacy
- You Only Live Twice: SPECTRE's Japanese branch.
- Lord of the Rings:
- The Emperor: Sauron
- The Right Hand: The Mouth of Sauron
- The General: The Witch-King
- The Guard: Saruman (though he thinks himself Sauron's equal and seeks to overthrow him)
- The Oddball: Shelob
- The Silmarillion:
- The Emperor: Morgoth, also Evil Counterpart to Manwë
- The Right Hand: Glaurung, a literal Dragon
- The General: Gothmog, leader of the Balrogs
- The Guard: Sauron, Saruman being the same position for Sauron later is intentional
- The Oddball: Ungoliant, ancestor of Shelob
- Evil Counterpart: Carcharoth to Haun (But one could argue all Tolkien villains are evil Counterparts to someone)
- The Emperor: The Yeerk emperor
- The Right Hand: Visser One (though Visser Three fit in to a point as well even before becoming Visser One formally)later Visser Three.
- The General: Visser Three, though a rather non-sympathetic variant.
- The Evil Counterpart: David, briefly.
- The Oddball: Taylor, in two books at least.
- Belisarius Series
- The Emperor: Skandagupta
- The Right Hand: Venandekatra the Vile
- The Guard: Possibly Nanda Lal
- The General: Damadora and Rana Sanga
- The Man Behind the Man: Link
- The Oddball: Narses
- The Elenium
- The Emperor: Azash
- The Right Hand: Emperor Otha
- The Guard: Primate Annias
- The General / The Evil Counterpart: Martel
- The Odball: Princess Arissa and Prince Lycheas
- The Belgariad: Angarak Kingdoms
- John Devil (1862) by Paul Féval. Henri Belcamp intends to create an Empire
- The Wheel Oftime: The Shadow as of the Last Battle
- The Emperor: The Dark One
- The Right Hand: Moridin
- The General: Demandred
- The Guard: Mazrim Taim
- Evil Counterpart: Slayer for Perrin. All of the above characters also pull double-duty as someone's Evil Counterpart: the Dark One for the Creator, Moridin for Rand, Demandred for Mat, and Taim for Egwene and Logain.
- The Oddball: Shaidar Haran and Lanfear, albeit for vastly different reasons note
- Of course, considering how vast WOT's cast is, even for just one faction, there are lots of other minions of the Shadow who don't fit into this configuration due to either being less important or simply focusing more on undermining the Dark One's enemies than leading the Shadow's forces.
- New Jedi Order: The Yuuzhan Vong, circa The Unifying Force
- The Emperor: Oniminote
- The Right Hand: Shimrra note
- The General: Nas Choka
- The Guard: High Prefect Drathul and High Priest Jakan
- The Oddball: Nom Anor
- The Evil Counterpart: The Slayers collectively, to the Jedi.
- The Sundering
- The Emperor: Satoris
- General: Tanaros Caveros
- Guard: Vorax
- Oddball: Ushahin
Live Action TV
- The Zangyack Space Empire invasion force in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.
- The Emperor: Warz Gill for now, though technically he's the son of the actual Emperor
- The Right Hand: Barizorg
- The General: Damaras
- The Oddball: Insarn
- The Evil Counterpart: Basco
- The Government of Rapture, in BioShock
- The Emperor: Andrew Ryan
- The Right Hand: Bill McDonagh
- The General: Sulivan (technically, Rapture doesn't have an army, but Sullivan heads its security police)
- The Guard: Augustus Sinclair (Owner and manager of Persephone Detention Facility)
- The Oddball: Sander Cohen
- The Man Behind the Man: Frank Fontaine, AKA Atlas
- The Rapture Family, in Bioshock 2
- The Emperor: Sofia Lamb
- The Right Hand: Eleanor Lamb (or at least, a Right Hand in training)
- The General: Father Simon Wales
- The Guard: Grace Holloway
- The Evil Counterpart: Augustus Sinclair- after his unwilling conversion into an Alpha Series Big Baddy
- The Oddball: Dr Gilbert Alexander
- House of the Dead 2
- Knights of the Old Republic
- The Legend of Dragoon has one for the first disc
- Shining Force
- Valkyria Chronicles:
- The Emperor: Prince Maximillian
- The Right Hand: Selvaria Bles
- The General: Berthold Gregor
- The Guard: Giorgios Geld
- The Evil Counterpart: The Enemy Aces
- The Oddball: Radi Jaeger
- Valkyria Chronicles III: Same as the above, plus a few new characters.
- The Evil Counterpart: Adds Zig and Gusurg into the list.
- The Oddball: Adds Dahau into the list.
- Loghain's regime from Dragon Age: Origins
- The Emperor: Loghain Mac Tir
- The Right Hand: He's too paranoid to have one.
- The General: Ser Cauthrien
- The Guard: Arl Rendon Howe
- The Oddball: Uldred
- The Almenga Empire from Exit Fate
- The Emperor: Siegfried
- The Right Hand: Brunhild
- The General: Gudrun
- The Guard: Ash
- The Evil Counterpart: Leonius
- The Oddball: Trevor and Sick
- The Empire from Final Fantasy VI
- The Alexandrian Queendom from Final Fantasy IX
- The Archadian Empire from Final Fantasy XII
- Los Illuminados from Resident Evil 4
- The Emperor: Osmund Saddler
- The Right Hand/The Evil Counterpart/The Oddball: Jack Krauser
- The Guard: Ramon Salazar
- The General: Bitores Mendez
- Cerberus from Mass Effect
- The Covenant from the Halo universe
- The Emperor: The High Prophets (especially the High Prophet of Truth)
- The Right Hand: Tartarus
- The General: The Arbiter/Thel 'Vadamee
- The Guard: Ripa 'Moramee (Halo Wars)
- The Evil Counterpart: Tartarus
- The Oddball: 343 Guilty Spark
- The Covenant remnant from Halo 4 has a new leadership
- The Emperor: The Ur-Didact
- The Right Hand: Jul 'Mdama
- The General: Gek 'Lhar
- The Guard: Parg 'Vol
- The Oddball: Dr Catherine Elizabeth Halsey
- Desperado Enforcement LLC from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
- Caesar's Legion from Fallout: New Vegas
- The Emperor: Caesar
- The Right Hand: Lucius
- The General: Legate Lanius
- The Guard: Aurelius of Phoenix, Dead Sea
- The Oddball and The Security Officer: Vulpes Inculta
- The Cipher Syndicate from Pokémon Colosseum
- The main villains of Legend of Legaia:
- House Godwin from Suikoden V:
- The Emperor: Gizel Godwin (Lymsleia is a puppet queen who actually supports the rebels)
- The Right Hand: Dolph
- The General: Bahram Luger, Dilber Novum
- The Guard: Zahhak, Alenia, Childerich
- The Oddball: Miakis, Galleon later Sialeeds.
- The Man Behind the Man: Marscal Godwin, though he doesn't mind letting his son Gizel run the show.
- The Evil Counterpart: Almost everyone: Gizel is the Prince's, Dolph is Lyon's, Bahram Luger is Raja's, Dilber Novum is Boz Wilde's, Zahhak is Kyle's, Alenia is Miakis'.
- The Founders in BioShock Infinite
- The Antagonists in To Boldly Flee
- The Emperor/ The Man Behind the Man: The Executor
- The Right Hand: Darth Snob
- The General: General Zodd and General Ferdinand von Turrell
- The Guard: Lame R. Prick
- The Evil Counterpart: Most of them counts: Turrell (to The Nostalgia Critic), The Executor (to Oancitizen), Darth Snob (to Luke Mochrie), Mechakara (to Linkara), Seven-of-Eleven (to Obscurus Lupa), and Ma-Ti (to Film Brain)
- The Oddball: Mechakara