Beneath the War-Master is a council of five to ten Shocklords. These individuals command each of the War-Master’s battalions and attend him at strategy and planning meetings. Every Shocklord fancies himself an aspiring War-Master, and within the limits of the military system, attempt to distinguish themselves so that they might be considered when a War-Master post becomes available.
Treachery is not unheard of among Shocklords, as they face fierce competition for the favor of the War-Master, and it is the War-Master who so often becomes the gateway to ascendancy to the next level. Some Shocklords even quietly sabotage their rivals by intentionally arriving late for support missions, exaggerating battle reports, or highlighting the failings of their peers during planning sessions.
As long as this sort of political in-fighting does not compromise the overall mission, most War-Masters allow it to continue. After all, they were Shocklords as well, and one must play the game to win. Many Shocklords earn their positions by rising from the ranks of the Warlords (see below), but just as many gain their positions through political appointments, bribery, and privilege. These scurrilous individuals often have no stomach for war, and no desire to ascend to the level of War-Master. For them the position of Shocklord creates an opportunity for an easy appointment later in civilian life. Many planetary governors are ex-Shocklords, having served perhaps a year or two in the military and then checked out to accept a much less arduous position on some peaceful alien backwater.

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