By M1O Part of the Break the Cycle continuity.
"These are men no longer; they have been corrupted by irresponsible power."
—Professor Suchong referring to the Overseers

An Overseer is a ruler of an established region within the Earth Kingdom, the paragons of high society. Since the creation of the title, they have been elected each decade by privileged people, less than 5% of the total world population at last count and only a fraction of that for each Overseer's constituents. Overseers are granted absolute rule, however, and can adjust their time of term if they can procure a rational reason. Their word is considered law, but they are not held accountable themselves.

At this time, their exact identities are unknown as they are kept well-hidden since the Avatar attacks, and some are known to make use of decoys and body doubles.


The Overseer title was created to pacificy Earth Kingdom warlords and other commanding figures after the highly destructive centuries-long war, granting them immediate rule over specified regions. Eventually, however, this was not enough to satisfy some Overseers, and they fought each other. After a time, Overseer reign and locations settled down into where they are today, although boundaries still change from time to time.

The only checks and balances that the Overseers have are each other, and they must be ever vigilant against their peers who may attempt to act against them. For this reason, Overseers, while overall harsh masters, provide defense to their people and treat them, if not as equals, then with some degree of respect so that they are not alone when threatened. Keeping good on promises and deals to servants who excel in their work also provides Overseers with their infastructure and security leaders.

Modern Overseers often collude with each other and negotiate terms, although their relationships are still rocky and prone to aggressive acts.

Avatar Attacks

In the last 300 years, there have been two major rebellions against Overseer rule, both led by an Avatar. The first was led by an Earthbending slave Avatar who employed a mastery over metalbending to defeat Overseer forces. This insurgency was brought to a violent end, however, when Brittlebones rose to the occasion and dueled the Avatar as an agent of the Overseers. After an intense battle, Brittlebones won by tearing out the Avatar's augmented spine, but not before receiving damage to his own. Rebel forces were quickly put down soon afterwards.

The second Avatar was a Firebender. It is not known if she immediately followed the previous Avatar. She was not a slave and was instead born into a ruling family. However, she identified with the plight of the people and strove to make changes within society, without using force. Her own Overseer was persuaded easily enough under the claim that happier and better treated subjects were also more effective, but other Overseers quickly saw her as a threat. These Overseers deployed Brittlebones once again when she was identified as an Avatar, although most did not know what the term meant by this point and thought of it only as a title. When her Overseer realized that siding with the Avatar meant going against practically all the other Overseers, she was exiled and all ties were severed. Not long after, she was hunted down by the Bones and forced to engage them. Although she was practiced in Firebending and able to defeat several in the order, she was no match for Brittlebones and executed via electrocution.

It should be noted that by this time, the term "Avatar" had fallen into obscurity, so most Overseers were not aware that killing the Avatar was only a temporary "solution" at best.


Overseers deploy a wide range of tools to their benefit, most of which fall under the private armies that are composed of "esteemed" and "valued" individuals forcefully conscripted from their own subjects. They also employ the Bones, but the group has autonomous control over which tasks they take. Overseers also employ the Mechanists who operate similarly to the Bones but cover building and repairing things instead of breaking them.

Overseers typically reside in elaborate and heavily reinforced metal towers that are difficult to breach without knowledge of their workings and expertise in metalbending. A number of these fortresses extend to their surrounding city as well, providing housing and recreation for other privileged members of society. Some city-fortresses and their respective spires are so large that they can be seen from beyond the horizon. There are many subtle and not so subtle differences between each Overseer's design, reflecting the fact that their absolute rule extends over aesthetics too and that they get what they want no matter how impractical or difficult to obtain.

One of the most easily recognizable and few unilateral tools that all Overseers use are the command units, multi-purpose artificial intelligences housed in massive, monolithic structures. Extremely little is known about their creation, design, and maintenance, although they can be seen in various roles such as managers of transportation or advisors of military groups. Only the Mechanists are seen with any bit of knowledge regarding their upkeep.


Overseers are at the apex of society, but they often employ supporters in various delegated positions.

  • Advisor - some Overseers use advisors to receive second opinions regarding their actions, but many of them serve only to find excuses for their masters to do what they do and support their actions without question; lesser officials sometimes have their own advisors
  • Administrator - an official who manages and delegates tasks further under the orders of an Overseer, these persons typically form the head of a network of assorted lesser officials and do not typically converse with the workers
  • Executor - an official under an administrator who carries out a specific operation which may or may not be related to executions, but like other officials they tend not to work directly on their purposes
  • Supervisor - generally supervises a slave task force, these are seen as the "janitors" of any titled officials and they are often left to keep their slaves in line however they see fit, so it is no wonder that many sympathize with their group, but some are cruel task masters; supervisors also handle other tasks at local levels

Major Headquarters

  • Ba Sing Se - known for its expansive Underworks, its walls are no longer the marvel of the city, the massive artillery cannons built upon them are, and the cannons' range covers nearly all of the continent as well as parts of the northern tribe lands, Eastern Air Temple, and even eastern parts of the Fire Nation
  • Gaoling - the fortress and spire are built on the mountains and can be seen far and wide, even serving as a useful reference point in the desert, the original Gaoling has been flooded and its residents have taken shelter in man-made caverns nearby, its Overseer sends patrols into Lower Gaoling regularly for various reasons and is known for "pest control"
  • Honendao - a newer city built within the last 500 years, it has no Underworks but features a massive reservoir and water purification facilities which its Overseer uses as leverage against others, vital as the city is situated in the middle of the continent and it is actually built in and over the Great Divide
  • Mt. Makapu - the fortress is built into the volcano which remains active, the activity of which is harnessed as a powerful source of energy as well as maintain a series of high-quality, natural forges and its surrounding city flourishes as a result, but its slaves are some of the worst-treated
  • New Moon - built in Full Moon Gulf (formerly known as the Great Eastern Lake), its control extends to Full Moon Bay and surrounding coastline, the city itself is mostly above water but has an extensive Underworks filled with maintenance tunnels and shafts that stretch to the ocean floor and the spire forms the entire establishment's "spine"
  • New Omashu - Sing remarks that New Omashu is a fairly boring Overseer city after visiting a few, it is built around the original Omashu which serves as its Underworks along with the gorge beneath, its Overseer is fairly lax but likewise allows others to send forces to search for refugees and troublemakers

Although Overseers tend to ignore the various Underworks, as they are lawless lands rife with their own problems, they can and will deploy forces there if they find any significant reason to do so, such as movements of aggression by rebels, other Overseers, or the presence of a certain Avatar.

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