On Iconic Characters in Dungeons & Dragons: Warduke

We all remember Warduke, right? But who is he? What is the Horned Society that he's a member of?

Once he was friends with Strongheart the paladin, but then he turned to evil when exposed to the Heartstone! This magic item drew out his cruel nature.

He also has close relationships with several women, allying with Skylla, an evil wizard. He is loved by a cleric named Raven who was once good herself, and hated by the cleric Mercion.

His steed is nightmare, a nightmare. He is a member of the Horned Society, a nation based on the adoration of foul outsiders. Iuz invaded their lands during the Greyhawk wars, and most of the order was destroyed. However the leader was reborn as a devil, known as the Unnameable Hierarch, who rose to power only through the efforts of a ruthless fighter, named Warduke.

From Dungeon 105:

"Warduke is the soldier's bogeyman, the opponent seasoned veterans least hope to see when the battlefield fog clears and reveals the faces of the enemy. Tavern tales suggest Warduke's hand in the destruction of several complete adventuring Parties. . . Warduke works alone, preferring to challenge enemies of the Horned society in direct combat. He cares nothing for decorum, often assaulting his quarry as they emerge battered and tired after a dungeon crawl or prior battle. He speaks with a raspy, otherworldly voice and possesses a morbid sense of humor. He takes pleasure in brutality and tenaciously hounds his enemies."

From AC1 - The Shady Dragon Inn:
"WARDUKE especially hates STRONGHEART, who he feels wastes his time protecting the weak and helpless. 'A true fighter,' WARDUKE feels, 'makes himself rich and powerful by the strength of his sword arm. He takes what he can — if you would keep your possessions, kill those who seek to take them.' He calls his sword 'Nightwind.'"

His stats from Heartstone:
 And from 3rd edition:
Here is Warduke capturing the Dungeon Master:


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7 comments:

  1. Yeah, Warduke was easily the coolest of the AD&D action figures -- a Nazgul head on a gladiator's body, long before I'd seen the Citade/GW "Chaos Warriors."

    The stats in the Basic D&D module vs. the 3e stats say a lot. His ability scores are literally doubled for 3e, and he goes from a +1 flaming sword and helm of infravision to packing an armory of magic items and powers.

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  2. Quite possibly my favorite old school icon.
    : )

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  3. I have to admit the 3E and 4E stats have gone a bit too far ... at least looking back on this. :)

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  4. I was amazed when I saw those original stats. No signature villain had stats that low after Unearthed Arcana came out.

    Oh B/X, when a 16 made you a bad ass.

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  5. Wow I'd forgotten all about this. Thanks for this memory back. Looking at the action figures helm now I can't help but draw similarities to the old he-man merman character... but the pic from Heartstone is über bad ass

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  6. Warduke was the Boba Fett of 80s D&D. So cool!

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  7. Very nice recollection. Warduke was the Death Dealer of TSR in the early 80s: in modules, gad an action figure, captured the Dungeon Master in the cartoon....

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