The Ruler has absolute power over his subjects. He literally can end them with a thought. All subjects are forced to serve his will due to Natural Thinkamancy. The Ruler decides what city production, can promote units to Warlords, and can designate an Heir. The Ruler chooses the Chief Warlord, but can command his Side's Turn if necessary.
Known Rulers and their Heirs
- King Saline IV (croaked, succeeded by Stanley the Tool)
- Stanley the Tool (current Overlord)
- heir: no heir named
- King Slately (current King)
- heir: Unknown, formerly Prince Ansom before he was croaked. Probably none (for the moment).
Confusion on the name of this position came from Parson learning facts incrementally. Initially, he was mostly familiar with Stanley, an Overlord, so Klog 5 referred to Overlords. Later, he apparently learned that Overlords are Rulers that are not Royal, and so the more general term Ruler is introduced in Klog 10. This change in terminology gave the impression that the two terms were synonymous. Rob Balder has confirmed that Ruler is the correct term, and that Overlord is merely a Ruler that is not Royal.
The Heir of a side is usually the Chief Warlord and vice-versa. From the three known heirs, Ansom, Stanley, and Jillian, the former two were also known to be their side's Chief Warlord and the status of the third in that regard is unknown.
It is worth noting That Jillian and Ansom were popped as heirs and Ansom was later (possibly immediately, possibly only after gaining a certain number of levels) promoted to Chief Warlord; which means for a time, at least a portion of one turn, possibly many turns, the Chief Warlord was not the Heir.
Conversely, Stanley was promoted to Chief Warlord first and then after a while was promoted to Heir, due to his victories with dwagons. Had King Saline IV popped an Heir instead, as is common, he likely would not have made that Heir his Chief Warlord - at least not right away.
It makes sense to combine the two positions: a chief warlord is the second most important unit of a side and has a lot of influence in military and diplomatic strategic and acts in many ways as replacement for the Ruler. Also the chief warlord is by definition and natural thinkamancy the most loyal person and therefore least likely to plan regicide.
However, Chief Warlord is an appointed position, and any Commander can be given the job. Strategically speaking, the best choice is the person with the best mind for tactics, and/or the highest Leadership bonus, since his bonus extends further than anyone else's.