Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Imperial Grand Admirals

Appointed unexpectedly by Emperor Palpatine at the New Year Fete Week celebrations of 2 BBY, the twelve Grand Admirals were the most senior officers of the Imperial Navy and answered directly to the Emperor, or his authorized executors, in all matters. The creation of the rank was widely recognized as a means to increase the Emperor’s direct control of the Imperial Military.

The initial cadre of Grand Admirals, called the “Circle of Twelve” by Palpatine, consisted of Martio Batch, Nial Declann, Octavian Grant, Josef Grunger, Ishin-Il-Raz, Afsheen Makati, Danetta Pitta, Peccati Syn, Miltin Takel, Osvald Teshik, Rufaan Tigellinus, and Demetrius Zaarin. One Grand Admiral would eventually out shine them all, Thrawn.

Martio Batch

The Imperial officer Martio Batch rose through the ranks to become one of twelve Grand Admirals appointed by Emperor Palpatine during an elaborate New Year’s Fete Week ceremony two years before the Battle of Yavin. Batch disliked court politics and as a result, he was nicknamed the “invisible admiral.” Following the Imperial defeat at the Battle of Yavin, Emperor tasked him with designing a fool-proof cloaking device that would catch the Rebel Alliance off-guard. For years, Batch spent aboard the Imdaar Alpha research station trying to develop a cloaking device, but his efforts were plagued by a fatal flaw; while cloaked, the ship’s pilot would be unable to see out.

Batch’s attempts to create a stygium cloaking screen using hibridium-based design was unsuccessful. He diverted the Empire’s new Tarkin superweapon to the planet Aeten II, where the crystals required for the cloak had been mined before the supply ran dry. After use of the weapon’s powerful superlaser shattered the planet, releasing millions of free-floating crystals, Batch recreated a stygium cloaking screen. However, Rebel Alliance discovered his project and during an operation destroyed Imdaar Alpha research facility as well as all cloaked fighters and cloaking technology in the process. Batch survived the attack but his remaining ships turned on him. Warlord Harrsk’s new splinter kingdom welcomed them into their ranks.

Nial Declann

Nial Declann was a Force-sensitive Human who fought for the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars. He later served the Galactic Empire both as one of its twelve Grand Admirals and as a Dark Side Adept. His impressive skills in piloting TIE ships brought him to the attention of Emperor Palpatine’s agents, who took him to the Sith world of Dromund Kaas for training. There, he was educated in the ways of the dark side by the Prophets of the Dark Side. When his training was complete, he was allowed to return to service in the Imperial Navy.

In 2 BBY, Declann eventually received the newly created position of Grand Admiral. Due to his propensity for combat meditation and his extreme mood swings, he developed a name for himself. Declann served on the second Death Star, which was being built over Endor in 4 ABY, after a spell on Naboo when he assigned assignments to a spacer. Declann used his war meditation to direct the Imperial forces during the war of Endor, as the Alliance to Restore the Republic mounted a last-ditch assault against the superweapon. Declann, who was on the station at the time of the battle, however, felt the Emperor’s passing via the Force. The station was quickly destroyed by the Alliance after that.

Octavian Grant

Two years before to the Battle of Yavin, Emperor Palpatine named Octavian Grant as one of the original twelve Imperial Grand Admirals. Grant, a human male Tapani lord of House Mecetti, believed himself to be superior to those who were not nobles. He had a special hate for droids and other species. After he joined the Galactic Empire, his Humanocentric convictions remained unwavering, and he distinguished himself as a skilled military tactician. He was one of the twelve Grand Admirals Palpatine created in 2 BBY because of his military skills, despite being one of the least well-liked and making no attempt to win over the Imperial moffs.

Grant was practically left alone after the Emperor’s passing over Endor because he had not amassed the same level of support as the other Grand Admirals did after directing multiple successful campaigns during the Galactic Civil War. While the New Republic went looking for his fellow Grand Admirals, Grant bided his time by staying hidden in the Pentastar Alignment. Grant eventually defected to the New Republic when the other Grand Admirals were all either dead or hiding in plain sight, giving up crucial Imperial information in return for protection from war crimes accusations. He was transferred to the opulent planet Rathalay, where he later felt tempted to leave retirement to take on the alien Grand Admiral Thrawn. However, he refrained from doing so because of ongoing Republic pressure.

Josef Grunger

Josef Grunger was a Human male who worked for the Galactic Empire’s navy. Grunger, a Grand Admiral, was one of the initial twelve individuals given the rank by Emperor Palpatine two years prior to the Battle of Yavin. Grunger, who was neither cunning nor loyal by nature, supported Palpatine up until the Emperor’s death at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY. The Grand Admiral, who had been occupied with space patrols near the planet Gargon, was shocked to learn of the defeat at Endor. He instantly proclaimed himself the new Emperor and established himself as a warlord. Grunger used the Super Star to assemble a huge armada of Star Destroyers and lesser cruisers by 5 ABY.

The Central Committee of Grand Moffs on Kessel was informed about Grunger’s aspiration to the empty throne. After gaining the sinister blessing of the Supreme Prophet of the sinister Side Kadann, which the slavelord needed to be given the title of Emperor, the mutant Slavelord Trioculus, their commander, promised to deal with Grunger. Despite his skepticism of Trioculus’ assertions, Grunger pledged to join the mutant if Kadann gave the mutant’s orders. However, Trioculus passed away shortly after receiving the blessing, and Grunger—having kept complete command of his armada—became a warlord once more. The Grand Admiral maneuvered his forces into the Corellian sector with plans to attack Imperial Center, the imperial capital. Grand Admiral Danetta Pitta confronted Grunger’s fleet above the planet Tralus in the Corellian system.


Ishin-Il-Raz, one of the original twelve Grand Admirals of the Imperial Navy chosen by Emperor Palpatine two years prior to the Battle of Yavin, was a fervent defender of the New Order and its fundamental principles. Il-Raz was instrumental in the creation of the Commission for the Protection of the Republic early in his life, and when it was reorganized in 19 BBY, he became the helm of the Commission for the Preservation of the New Order. He was also a major contributor to the evolution of the Humanocentric ideals and conceptions that emerged from this organization.

Palpatine soon became aware of his efforts, and despite Il-Raz’s total lack of military training, appointed him Grand Admiral. Il-Raz was aware that this appointment had drawn considerable criticism and that it had only been made for political reasons. Il-Raz developed an idolatry for Palpatine and carried out a string of brutal atrocities in an effort to gain the Emperor’s favor. But these crimes only served to worsen people’s perceptions of him, and after Palpatine was assassinated at Endor in 4 ABY, Il-Raz was largely forgotten by his other Grand Admirals, who went on to become warlords and engage in rivalry. Il-Raz was depressed after Palpatine died, and eight months after Endor, he sank his star destroyer into the Denarii Nova to commit himself.

Afsheen Makati

In the last years of the New Order, the Imperial Star Destroyer Steadfast was commanded by Grand Admiral Afsheen Makati of the Imperial Navy. The Grand Admiral was directed to a Rebel base on the planet Thila by a mysterious organization known as The Secret Order, where he was attacked by the Order’s Supreme Prophet, Kadann, when his first officer made fun of the members’ attire. In the ensuing years, Makati grew to despise the Supreme Prophet intensely. After the second Death Star was destroyed, the Grand Admiral fled to Coruscant and swore allegiance to whoever held power of Imperial City. An apparent opportunity for retaliation against Kadann seems to have been presented to Makati when a Supreme Prophet impostor assumed the Imperial throne. Makati found the impostor on Scardia Station with the aid of Azrakel, a former apprentice of the real Kadann, who Makati took to be genuine. The Grand Admiral destroyed the impostor in a shower of turbolaser fire after eliminating the remaining false Prophets. Makati passed away shortly after.

Danetta Pitta

A Near-Human named Danetta Pitta served in the Imperial Navy. Pitta was a ferocious xenophobe and one of the Galactic Empire’s most ardent supporters of Human High Culture. Pitta would utilize his devotion for the cause to disguise the fact that he was not entirely Human. Even the most ardent supporters of humanocentrism avoided Pitta because of his intolerance. Pitta and eleven other commanders received promotions to the newly created rank of Grand Admiral during the New Year’s Fete of 2 BBY. Then he began a campaign around the Outer Rim Territories, clearing non-Human worlds of their population as he went.

Following the death of Emperor Palpatine at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, Pitta assumed command of a Torpedo Sphere and, after buying the local diktat, assumed the role of unofficial defender of the Corellian sector. However, one of Pitta’s fellow Grand Admirals—Josef Grunger—challenged his authority as he sought to move against the Imperial Center itself. Pitta engaged Grunger in battle at Tralus when Grunger sent his armada into the area. Pitta had the upper hand throughout the struggle, but Grunger decided to put a stop to it by ramming Pitta’s Torpedo Sphere with his Super Star Destroyer, the Aggressor, killing both Grand Admirals in the process.

Peccati Syn

One of the initial twelve Grand Admirals of the Imperial Navy was Peccati Syn. The young Syn was raised as a devoted adherent of the Sacred Way, but because of Imperial oppression, he was forced to give up his faith. He enlisted in the Empire in order to satisfy a spiritual emptiness and advanced through the ranks as a result of his tactical prowess and enthusiastic dedication. He distinguished himself in the Galactic Civil War while commanding his flagship, the Fi, after rising to the rank of Grand Admiral in 2 BBY.

Syn once more looked for a fresh source of spiritual inspiration when the Empire started to fall apart during the Battle of Endor and discovered one in the Church of the Dark Side on Coruscant. Syn’s actual loyalty lay with the Church and its Prophets, even if he continued to maintain an official membership in Sate Pestage’s sputtering Imperial administration. Syn spent the majority of his time on Kashyyyk, where his spiritual mentor Merili lived. Eight months after Endor, when the New Republic launched a major operation against Imperial-controlled Kashyyyk, Syn found himself in a tactical conflict with Admiral Gial Ackbar. The Grand Admiral ultimately lost the conflict and perished when his ship was incinerated in space.

Miltin Takel

Two years prior to the Battle of Yavin, veteran fleet admiral Miltin Takel was chosen by Emperor Palpatine to be one of the original twelve Imperial Grand Admirals. The Grand Admiral was a spice addict from the world of Gargon, notorious for his severe vices, and he exploited the Empire’s resources to acquire the finest drugs. In addition, Takel had a lust for non-Human women, which the Imperials who adhered to Human High Culture would have detested if Takel’s brother, Imperial Governor Griff Takel, had not covered up the Grand Admiral’s irregularities. Despite these tendencies, Takel was an excellent commander, helped by the little telepathy that glitterstim gave him.

When the Emperor was killed at the Battle of Endor, Takel’s power diminished fast. A minor power struggle that resulted in Takel’s departure was started when the opposing Grand Admiral Josef Grunger forced Takel’s soldiers out of his former domains utilizing the Imperial fallout from Endor. Takel joined the Slavelord Trioculus and the Central Committee of Grand Moffs in an effort to defeat Grunger, and they agreed to deal with the new Grand Admiral. The collaboration, however, ultimately led to Takel’s demise. Takel questioned the slavelord about his plot to usurp the Imperial throne while in a paranoid state brought on by the spice. Trioculus had Takel executed by his right-hand man, Grand Moff Hissa, with a single blast from his cannon because he was sick of the Grand Admiral disrespecting his authority.

Osvald Teshik

Osvald Teshik was a Human male who served in the Imperial Navy as a Grand Admiral. He was a respected tactician who was one of Emperor Palpatine’s initial twelve Grand Admirals chosen two years before the Battle of Yavin. Teshik commanded the Imperial Center Oversector, a massive region of space that comprised Imperial Center’s galactic capitol and all of the oversector’s fleets.

Teshik was charged with rescuing Imperial Advisor Coh Veshiv when he was kidnapped by the Rebel privateer ship Far Orbit in 0 ABY. He failed to rescue Veshiv or deal with the renegade commander of the ship, causing Palpatine to dispatch him into the Hapes Cluster to confront the Hapan Royal Navy with insufficient weapons and supplies. The Grand Admiral was nearly slain in the combat and was left to float in space until he was rescued by an Imperial snoopship. Seventy-five percent of his body had to be replaced with cybernetic elements as a result of injuries received during the engagement. As a result, Teshik was rejected by many, who perceived him as a weak and unattractive cyborg.

Teshik was aboard the second Death Star during the Rebel Alliance’s attack on the battlestation four years after the tragedy at Andalia. When the tide of battle turned against the Empire, he narrowly left the Death Star before it was destroyed to fight the Alliance from his flagship, the Star Destroyer Eleemosynary. Teshik fought the Rebels for four hours after the rest of the Imperial fleet retreated into hyperspace, until his Star Destroyer was crippled by concentrated ion cannon fire. Teshik, who had been captured by the Alliance and sentenced to die for crimes against galactic citizens, ridiculed his captors with mechanical laughter, reminding them that their fight was far from finished.

Rufaan Tigellinus

Rufaan Tigellinus was a Grand Admiral of the Galactic Empire and later a Grand Moff until his death in 5 ABY. Tigellinus was highly watched in the media and regarded as a prominent participant in Imperial Court politics due to his political savvy and charisma. Already a distinguished fleet admiral, he was promoted to Grand Admiral by Emperor Palpatine in 2 BBY and spent much of his time rooting out pirates in the Outer Rim Territories from the helm of his Star Destroyer, Avatar. During the Galactic Civil War, Tigellinus rose through the Imperial Court in an attempt to gain more power, allying himself with Moff Vilim Disra and Imperial Advisor Alec Pradeux, and becoming a member of the ancient, elite Order of the Canted Circle. When Thrawn, an alien admiral in the Imperial Navy, attempted to enter Imperial Court politics, the Humanocentric Tigellinus befriended and then deceived him, until Thrawn was no longer welcome in the Empire.

Soon later, Tigellinus used his political connections to get himself appointed as Grand Moff of the Imperial Center Oversector, with the support of Vilim Disra, who became Tigellinus’ mentor. Admiral Tigellinus joined the Central Committee of Grand Moffs after Emperor Palpatine was killed at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY. Bertroff Hissa, the Committee’s leader and a near-Human with whom Tigellinus had frequently clashed, made Tigellinus a demeaning offer—a place on the Committee but not the leadership many had expected him to receive—hoping that he would refuse and give Hissa an excuse to execute him. Tigellinus was about to accept the offer until his close friend Disra encouraged him not to; Tigellinus declined, and the Committee executed him for perceived treachery, while Disra claimed claim to his possessions and place on the Committee.

Demetrius Zaarin

During the Galactic Civil War, Demetrius Zaarin was an Imperial admiral who tried to establish himself as Emperor of the galaxy. Zaarin was the Imperial Navy’s head of starfighter research and development when he was a Grand Admiral. He created starfighters like the TIE Advanced and TIE Defender at his base “Research.” He also obtained new technologies from external parties, such as the Habeen, for the Empire. He was a skilled tactician in addition to his design abilities.

However, at some point in his career, he became displeased with Emperor Palpatine’s reign and began forming plans to take over the Galactic Empire. In the aftermath of crime lord Prince Xizor’s death in 3 ABY, Zaarin resolved to strike against Palpatine, allying himself with the disgruntled Emperor’s Hand Arden Lyn. His loyal warriors kidnapped Palpatine over Imperial Center, but they were halted by reinforcements from Lord Darth Vader and Vice Admiral Thrawn.

With little choice but to evacuate, Zaarin began attacking Palpatine’s TIE Advanced production facilities in the Omar system before attempting to disable Imperial TIE Defender factories. At To-phalion Base, he was eventually outwitted by Thrawn, and he died in the Unknown Regions when the corvette he was aboard, the Vorknkx, exploded due to a malfunction. Thrawn would move the development of the TIE Defender factories to Lothal and personally oversee the program in 0 BBY.

Mitth’raw’nuruodo Thrawn

Mitth’raw’nuruodo, also known as Thrawn, was a Chiss male officer of the Chiss Ascendancy and Grand Admiral in the Imperial Navy during the Galactic Empire’s reign. Thrawn, an extraterrestrial Imperial officer with startling blue skin, crimson eyes, and an angular face, was a clever and ruthless strategist. He felt that in order to win a war, one must first understand their adversary. As a result, he dedicated himself to learning the philosophy, art, and culture of his adversaries, which included the Twi’leks of Ryloth and the Mandalore warriors. Grand Admiral Thrawn accepted Governor Arihnda Pryce’s plea for a strong commander capable of defeating the rebels on Lothal, intending to dissolve the insurrection one piece at a time.

Thrawn previously served with the Chiss Ascendancy’s Expansionary Defense Fleet before joining the Imperial Military. Thrawn, a native of the planet Rentor in the galaxy’s Unknown Regions, served in the Ascendancy military with distinction and controversy. The chiefs of the Chiss Mitth and Stybla families, Patriarchs Mitth’oor’akiord “Thooraki” and Stybla’mi’ovodo “Lamiov,” collaborated with General Ba’kif, founder of the Expansionary Fleet, to adopt Thrawn into the Mitth family and manage his career and training in the Fleet. Thooraki, Lamiov, and Ba’kif also collaborated to help Thrawn form a strong friendship with Mitth’ras’safis “Thrass,” a Chiss man whose political abilities supplemented Thrawn’s analytical and strategic warfare skills. Thrawn, who did not easily develop friendships, got close to Thrass, and the two eventually came to regard each other as brothers. Thrawn went on to spearhead anti-piracy operations against the Vagaari, which resulted in the terrible death of Thrawn’s brother Thrass.

The warlike Grysk Hegemony initiated a conspiracy to eliminate the Chiss Ascendancy near the end of the Clone Wars, about 19 BBY. They began by grooming and training Yiv, a Nikardun general who governed the Nikardun Destiny, an expansionist empire in the Unknown Regions. Yiv was dispatched by the Grysk agent “Jixtus” to conquer or terrify the nations surrounding the Ascendancy in order to encircle the Chiss, who could not launch attacks on anybody who had not directly assaulted the Ascendancy. Thrawn departed his native Unknown Regions to seek allies against Yiv in known space. During the Clone Wars, he met Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker there and fought alongside him on a mission to Mokivj. Thrawn was later pivotal in defeating Yiv’s fleet, resulting in the demise of the Nikardun Destiny.

Following Yiv’s defeat, Jixtus sent a group of telepathic Agbui species to trick Chiss officials from three of the Ascendancy’s Great Families into initiating a civil war in the Ascendancy. Thrawn played a key role in foiling the Agbui conspiracy above the planet Hoxim. Following the failure of the Agbui to incite a civil war in the Ascendancy, Jixtus enlisted the Kilji Illumine to destabilize the Ascendancy from within and isolate nations to the Southeast of the Ascendancy from Chiss refugees who would survive the battle he wanted to cause. Thrawn and his friends organized for various ally nations to assemble and fight Jixtus’ fleet in a final battle over Sunrise known as Senior Captain Thrawn’s last stand, aware of the Grysk armada’s superior firepower to the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet.

Following the reformation of the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire, Thrawn pledged his allegiance to Emperor Palpatine, believing that an alliance with the new authority would benefit his people. Thrawn adapted into galactic culture with the assistance of Cadet Eli Vanto, becoming fluent in Galactic Basic Standard and eventually graduating from the Royal Imperial Academy on Coruscant. His career in the Navy was extremely successful; after a series of promotions, he was appointed Grand Admiral by the Emperor himself.

Grand Admiral Thrawn was the commanding officer of the 7th Fleet, the flagship of which was the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Chimaera, during the height of his career. Thrawn was sent to the Lothal sector a few years after the Galactic Civil War began in order to destroy the rebels led by Captain Hera Syndulla. During his command of the 7th Fleet, Thrawn suggested and vehemently lobbied for a new starfighter-bomber, the TIE Defender, to be manufactured on Lothal before being mass-produced throughout the galaxy. Following the Battle of Atollon, the Emperor summoned Thrawn to his castle for a mission alongside the Emperor’s Sith student Darth Vader, whom Thrawn had previously known as the Jedi Anakin Skywalker. Palpatine saw Thrawn and Vader as his two most useful servants, believing that his objective would necessitate both men’s particular talents and knowledge.

Thrawn’s fleet collaborated with Vader’s First Legion to rescue several Force-sensitive Chiss females held prisoner by the warlike Grysk species in the subsequent expedition. Soon later, Thrawn accepted a mission to protect Project Stardust’s supply lines from apparent losses to electronics-eating grallocs. The true perpetrators of the losses were traitorous Grand Admiral Balanhai Savit and a separate force of Grysks trying to seize Imperial space and maybe control the Death Star. Thrawn resumed his goal of eradicating Syndulla’s rebel cell on Lothal after uncovering Savit’s betrayal and defeating that Grysk army. Syndulla’s rebels fought Thrawn’s army with the goal of finally liberating Lothal. During the battle, a flock of purrgil aided Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger and caused significant damage to the Seventh Fleet. Thrawn was on the bridge of his command ship when the aliens surrounded it and drew it into hyperspace, taking both Thrawn and Bridger into the deep unknown.

The Emperor and Vader were killed at the Battle of Endor in the years following Thrawn’s departure, the Empire was effectively defeated at the Battle of Jakku, and the Alliance to Restore the Republic was reconstituted as the New Republic. Despite Thrawn’s disappearance years before, former Jedi Ahsoka Tano was looking for him in 9 ABY, which led her to Thrawn’s protégée Morgan Elsbeth. Even in his absence, Thrawn’s abilities helped the New Order. His knowledge of the Unknown Regions was invaluable to Imperial remnants who fled the known galaxy, allowing them to survive in unknown space and eventually become the First Order, a key component of Emperor Palpatine’s Contingency Plan.

PT White

I've been involved in creating content for Star Wars The Role Playing Game since 1992 and consider myself a Star Wars Super Fan and knowledge bank for the Star Wars Universe.

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