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Imperial Hierachy

AHierophant's Avatar


AHierophant
01.18.2013 , 05:06 PM | #1
To say that the iterations of the Empire - first Sith, second Sith, Galactic - have convoluted hierarchies is a large understatement. It's surprising because the Empire's major philosophical gripe with the Republic is the chaos exhibited by citizenry liberated to pursue their own goals as they see fit. The Empire has strict observance of the power structure, certainly for the military but also for the Sith. An apprentice heeds his Master, unless the apprentice is strong enough to overthrow the Master, in which case the Master no longer deserved the superior position anyway.

In practice, however, the power hierarchies make little sense. Take, for example, what I consider the most perplexing example of all: Darth Vader's apparent subordination to Grand Moff Tarkin. You will recall in Episode IV where Vader famously comments on an Imperial officer's skepticism of the Force while choking him with the Force, and Tarkin orders him to release the officer. This was not a request, but a direct command. Also, Tarkin appeared to in command of the entire Death Star even though the rank he holds is a political one, not a military rank. Grand Moff Tarkin appears to be second only to the Emperor. Conversely, Grand Admiral Thrawn was subordinate to Vader, even though he was the highest military rank at the time.

There are also many places in game where Grand Moff Kilran appears to be inordinately powerful, seeming to order military officers and Sith alike. He demands the player's character to mutiny against a lawful military officer in the Black Talon flashpoint, for example.

Lore from the Star Wars universe regards Governors, Moffs, and Grand Moffs as political offices, yet they seem more powerful than the most powerful people in the galaxy?
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Arivael's Avatar


Arivael
01.18.2013 , 08:10 PM | #2
For current ToR empire the hierachy is; Emperor at the top, Dark council below them and then all the rest below various members of the Dark council depending on what their position is, the exception to this is Grand Moffs who are granted that position and power by the Emperor and have as much power and athority as the Emperor choses to give them, there are a few other exceptions such as the Imperial guard and Emperor's Wrath who are under the direct command of the Emperor and as such the Dark Council has no athorilty over them.

For Palpatine's Empire it was a bit diffrent since there was only him and Vader with no Dark Council but as it stands Tarkin as a Grand Moff was not answerable to Vader only the Emperor and had likely been given fully athourity over the Death Star but could probaly not have ordered Vader to do anything when he was not on the Death Star unless the Emperor said so. As for the Grand Admirals they were never fully intergrated into the empires chain of command (the process was still under way at the time of Battle of Endor) but most likely the order of command would have been; Emperor-Vader-Grand Moff-Grand Admiral as the empire had its military subordinat to the civilian goverment with Vader being able to give orders to a Grand Moff or Admiral unless they went against the Emperor's instructions or the Emperor had given them the athourity otherwise.

DarthDymond's Avatar


DarthDymond
01.19.2013 , 08:06 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by AHierophant View Post
Take, for example, what I consider the most perplexing example of all: Darth Vader's apparent subordination to Grand Moff Tarkin. You will recall in Episode IV where Vader famously comments on an Imperial officer's skepticism of the Force while choking him with the Force, and Tarkin orders him to release the officer. This was not a request, but a direct command... Grand Moff Tarkin appears to be second only to the Emperor. Conversely, Grand Admiral Thrawn was subordinate to Vader, even though he was the highest military rank at the time.
The real reason for Tarkin ordering around Vader is that originally Lucas conceived of the Emperor as just a figurehead, with the real power in the Empire resting with the governors and military leaders like Tarkin and Motti. This was obviously changed by the time of Ep. V, but some remnants of it are definitely there in Ep. IV.

In-universe, I believe Vader largely operates outside or even above the normal hierarchy, much like the Emperor's Hands do. It was probably more that Tarkin wielded enough personal respect/power in the Empire that he felt able to order Vader around than that his position as Grand Moff gave him any actual authority over him.

I remember reading that Palpatine also deliberately kept the power structure of the Empire fragmented in order to play all the self-serving, ambitious underlings he had (whom he needed to implement his sweeping change of Republic to Empire) competing with each other and jockeying for position so they wouldn't be a threat to him personally. That's part of the reason the Empire fell apart and never fully recovered after his death.

Path-x's Avatar


Path-x
01.19.2013 , 04:52 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by AHierophant View Post
There are also many places in game where Grand Moff Kilran appears to be inordinately powerful, seeming to order military officers and Sith alike. He demands the player's character to mutiny against a lawful military officer in the Black Talon flashpoint, for example.
Well I think Grand Moff is just below Dark Council so it can give orders to Sith Apprentices (which is what player is at the time of Black Talon) and even to Sith Lords.
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BenKatarn's Avatar


BenKatarn
01.19.2013 , 07:57 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Path-x View Post
Well I think Grand Moff is just below Dark Council so it can give orders to Sith Apprentices (which is what player is at the time of Black Talon) and even to Sith Lords.
He is second to the Minister of War who answers directly to the Dark Council, so that does give Kilran some authority. This technically makes him the number 3 in command of Imperial Forces, though I do not think it is specified which Sphere of Influence the Minister of War and Kilran are serving under, Defense of the Empire (Darth Marr), Military Offense (Darth Vengean/Baras) or Military Strategy (Darth Decimus).
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Path-x's Avatar


Path-x
01.20.2013 , 05:03 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by BenKatarn View Post
He is second to the Minister of War who answers directly to the Dark Council, so that does give Kilran some authority. This technically makes him the number 3 in command of Imperial Forces, though I do not think it is specified which Sphere of Influence the Minister of War and Kilran are serving under, Defense of the Empire (Darth Marr), Military Offense (Darth Vengean/Baras) or Military Strategy (Darth Decimus).
Well I see it a bit differently. I see Grand Moff being equivalent to Commander-in-Chief which is usually held by the president of the country and minister of war being subservient. This is further reinforced by the number ministries you mentioned. It would make sense that Grand Moff is being above all those ministries.

If you don't mind me asking. You wrote that Grand Moff is number 3. Was that described by some canon Star Wars source or did you just make the logical assumption?
Jedi: You won the day, Sith. So, kill me if you must.
Warrior: I must.

BenKatarn's Avatar


BenKatarn
01.20.2013 , 05:56 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Path-x View Post
If you don't mind me asking. You wrote that Grand Moff is number 3. Was that described by some canon Star Wars source or did you just make the logical assumption?
I was merely basing my opinion on what other governmental structures we can identify in the game.

Darth Jadus is a member of the Dark Council and the head of the Sphere of Imperial Intelligence. The head of Imperial Intelligence is the Minister of Intelligence, who has to answer directly to Darth Jadus.

Then, during the Black Talon flashpoint, Kilran introduces himself like this: "My name is Rycus Kilran. I'm commander of the Fifth Fleet, second to the Minister of War, and—my personal favorite—the so-called "Butcher of Coruscant.""

Based on these information, I came to the conclusion that he could technically be the number 3 in terms of military command. Likewise, he is the only Grand Moff we see in the game, unless you count
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Path-x's Avatar


Path-x
01.20.2013 , 03:35 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by BenKatarn View Post
Then, during the Black Talon flashpoint, Kilran introduces himself like this: "My name is Rycus Kilran. I'm commander of the Fifth Fleet, second to the Minister of War, and—my personal favorite—the so-called "Butcher of Coruscant.""
Uh completely forgot about that. I haven't done Black Talon in a while.
Jedi: You won the day, Sith. So, kill me if you must.
Warrior: I must.

EntaroAdun's Avatar


EntaroAdun
01.20.2013 , 06:04 PM | #9
Political scientists often differentiate between "authority" and "influence" within any political setting. Authority is generally derived from the official positions of state, usually in some form of formal hierarchy. Influence is an abstract measurement of other means of power - personal affiliations, private wealth, or, in the case of the Sith Empire, strength in the Force. In any system of government, an individual's influence may be very different than their titular authority.

In general, authoritarian governments often have (perhaps ironically) very unclear structures of authority, often with entirely parallel systems of government existing simultaneously. Competing lines of authority actually help to secure the power of the national leadership, since competing bureaucracies are unable to adjudicate disputes amongst themselves, and must continuously turn to the national leader to make decisions. One might expect that the Sith Empire, with its 12 quasi-independent Spheres, is designed to operate along these lines, securing the Emperor's place as the ultimate arbiter.

On the question of Sith philosophy, it actually makes a lot of sense that Sith government would be organized along lines of influence rather than along lines of formal authority, since Sith believe that the powerful should rule and the weak should perish. Formal authority rests on a series of rules and customs that (in the Sith opinion) serve to restrain the truly strong from seizing power. In a system of pure influence, however, those with the greatest influence rule the society, regardless of titular positions of authority. Thus it's not surprising that an influential individual like Kilran or Malgus would behave peremptorily towards others, even if his actual position of authority were not particularly strong.

Emperor-Norton's Avatar


Emperor-Norton
01.20.2013 , 10:41 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by EntaroAdun View Post
Political scientists often differentiate between "authority" and "influence" within any political setting. Authority is generally derived from the official positions of state, usually in some form of formal hierarchy. Influence is an abstract measurement of other means of power - personal affiliations, private wealth, or, in the case of the Sith Empire, strength in the Force. In any system of government, an individual's influence may be very different than their titular authority.

In general, authoritarian governments often have (perhaps ironically) very unclear structures of authority, often with entirely parallel systems of government existing simultaneously. Competing lines of authority actually help to secure the power of the national leadership, since competing bureaucracies are unable to adjudicate disputes amongst themselves, and must continuously turn to the national leader to make decisions. One might expect that the Sith Empire, with its 12 quasi-independent Spheres, is designed to operate along these lines, securing the Emperor's place as the ultimate arbiter.

On the question of Sith philosophy, it actually makes a lot of sense that Sith government would be organized along lines of influence rather than along lines of formal authority, since Sith believe that the powerful should rule and the weak should perish. Formal authority rests on a series of rules and customs that (in the Sith opinion) serve to restrain the truly strong from seizing power. In a system of pure influence, however, those with the greatest influence rule the society, regardless of titular positions of authority. Thus it's not surprising that an influential individual like Kilran or Malgus would behave peremptorily towards others, even if his actual position of authority were not particularly strong.
This is a very good post.

I would like to add this, being that the Minister of War and The Grand Moff are subservient to the Dark Council, they are their servants so to speak. They are given the authority by the Council to lead the Imperial Military as they see fit, which may include bossing around lower ranking Sith. The different Lords and Apprentices would tolerate this since they are being ordered not so much by an non-force using Admiral, but a Servant of the Dark Council, who would be far above them in the Sith Hierarchy.