Powers and Perils

Weapon Masters of the Western Lands

This article details ten recognized masters of various weapon forms in the area that is covered by the POWERS & PERILS supplement Perilous Lands. In his own part of this large continent, each is regarded as a deadly, almost in- vincible, warrior. In some cases, their very presence at a battle has turned the tide in their favor.

The sections that follow use the standard POWERS & PERILS character table format. Each gives the basic characteristics of the person, his expertise, the equipment that he normally carries into battle, a brief history of his life and a description of his personality. Without further ado, meet the ultimate warriors of the Perilous Lands, on or about the year 1100.

ASHAM GIAR, Warchief of the Smaghut, Master of the Tulwar.
Height81 inchesWeight243 lbs.Age31

Expertise - EL16 Tulwar, EL11 Scimitar, EL8 Composite Bow, EL10 Horsemanship, EL9 Horse Archery, EL6 Plains Survival, EL6 Desert Survival, EL3 Forest Survival, EL2 Mountain Survival, EL21 Sign Language, EL80 Sarghut, EL10 Light Lance, EL10 Shield, EL2 Tracking

Equipment - Tulwar, Composite Bow, 1D3 Light Lances, 3D10 Arrows, Warhorse, Buckler, Leather Armor, Leather Helmet.

Asham is a blood-thirsty, cruel man who is enthralled with the arts of war. He leads yearly raids to the east and south to sate his battle lust. He is renowned as a powerful horseman whose sword happily brings death to those who stand against him.

As a great chief of a cruel race, Asham gives new heights of meaning to the words cruel, vicious and tyrannical. Even the few men that he calls friend live in constant fear of his ire, though he tends to be loyal to true friends. He has average in- tellect and little or no compassion. Even towards those that he respects, he is a cold, brusque and domineering man with little concern for the desires and needs of others. Nothing has more importance to him then his own desires and goals.

KARISTOS SIERVA, Claw of the Bra'mani, Ga’sha of the Bra'mani, Ho'ga'sha of the Steppes, Master of Bow and Horse.
Height76 inchesWeight183 lbs.Age34

Expertise - EL16 Composite Bow, EL15 Scimitar, EL17 Horsemanship, EL16 Horse Archery, EL9 Throwing Dagger, EL7 Fighting Dagger, EL12 Sword, EL5 Broadsword, EL13 Light Lance, EL5 Heavy Lance, EL10 Hand-to-Hand, EL9 Plains Survival, EL7 Mountain and City Survival, EL6 Forest Survival, EL8 Hill Survival, EL3 Rhetoric, EL5 Climbing, EL8 Swimming, EL80 Zen’dali, EL60 Caldan, EL60 Donaran, EL60 Marentian, EL40 Read & Write Caldan, Donaran & Marentian, EL60 Sign Language, EL50 Husbandry (Horses), EL65 Artist, EL13 Shield, EL45 Trailing, EL6 Tracking

Equipment - Scimitar, Fighting Dagger, Light Lance, Composite Bow, 3D10+ 10 arrows, Buckler, Studded Belt, Light Clothing, Iron Armband.

For over ten years, in far-flung barbarian and civilized lands, the name “Claw" has striken the hearts of men with dread. He is known as a devastating warrior and brilliant general, to the point that his name is almost synonymous with victory. According to legend, troops under his command have seldom lost a battle and never lost a war.

Claw has led a myriad of Zen'da armies into battle in his life. He began his career, after heading south at the age of 15 to seek adventure, as a mercenary in Caldo and Donara. Later, after a short return to his people, he moved east and served as the Captain of Maros the Reaver's personal guard. In eight years of adventure, before settling in as a Bra’mani chief, his travels are believed to have taken him from the farthest reaches of the Great Plain in the east to the Wild Forest in the west.

Karistos Sierva is a brilliant, crafty and sensitive leader with exceptional charisma. Except for a short period of time a few years ago (when he was badly depressed over his inability to find the murderer of his father and exact revenge) he has been at war for his entire adult life. He is noteworthy for his loyalty to his friends and his total devotion to Zen'da honor. His acts of loyalty and honor are legend on the steppes. Many stories tell of friends who asked for his aid when they were beset by enemies and without hope. In all, he rode forth and brought them victory. Be a man beyond the ends of the earth, he is not alone if his friend is Claw.

JAJ SPLIT-SKULL, Warrior of the Nethagen, Blessed of Azazel, Master of the Battle Axe.
Height83 inchesWeight266 lbs.Age24

Expertise - EL18 Battle Axe, EL10 Hand Axe, EL0 Throwing Axe, EL4 Forest Survival, EL35 Navigator, EL80 So-reas, EL10 Tongue of Young Chaos, EL14 Axe, EL5 Longbow, EL6 Swamp Survival, EL10 Swimming, EL6 Shield, EL19 Kotothi tongue

Equipment - Battle Axe, Axe, Banded Shield, Leather Helmet, Scalemail, Rope, Fur Cape.

As a young boy, 15 years of age, Jaj saw his village destroyed by goblins. From his hiding place, he had no choice but to watch these creatures torture, consume and humiliate his family and friends. Because of this, he has dedicated his life to the destruction of all Kotothi. His strength stems from his blood vow to destroy these forces, and his vow to serve the wishes of Azazel (Lord of the Watchers, God of Knowledge and Quarrels, Lord of Blood and Wounds) in exchange for the power to destory his enemies.

Jaj is a young warrior who has no desire to shoulder the responsibility of being a chief. His life is dedicated to single combat against the Kotothi. In battle, he is a berserk force of death. At all other times, he is a painfully shy, nearly mute, man whose soul is tortured by his alliance with Azazel and the death of his family.

MIUM TARA'leN, Baron of Ma'kai, Swordmaster and Champion of House Jian, first cousin of the Duke of Ci'jian in Katai, Master of the Sword.
Height70 inchesWeight182 lbs.Age48

Expertise - EL16 Sword, EL12 Two-Weapon, EL12 Fighting Dagger, EL10 Broadsword, EL9 Composite Bow, EL30 Read & Write Katai, EL9 Horsemanship, EL3 Swimming, EL30 Sign Language, EL4 Plains Survival, EL5 Executioner, EL15 Scimitar, EL10 Throwing Dagger, EL6 Hand-to-Hand, EL80 Katai, EL60 Deftness*, EL7 Horse Archery, EL4 Musician, EL4 City Survival, ELZ Mountain Survival, EL14 Short Sword

*Mium’s deftness reflects training specifically geared towards quick and smooth utilization, drawing and positioning of his body and weapons. In play, it allows him to access any of his weapons immediately (with a successful roll) and use them without delay.

IMPORTANT - This variation of Deftness is totally distinct from the listed skill. If you add it to your campaign, it must be learned separately as "Combat Deftness". In general, it is a skill that is unique to highly skilled warriors of Chunrey and Katai.

Equipment - Sword, Short Sword, Fighting Dagger, Platemail, Metal Helmet, Signet Ring, Warhorse, Throwing Dagger.

Mium is a dedicated sword artist. Except for short periods of service in the Iron Guard, or with the forces of Family Jian, he has remained in his home province as a reigning baron for the past thirty years. His life is dedicated to mastering the sword (as an art form) and upholding the honor of his family. For the last twelve years of his life he has been Swordmaster Jian (the instructor of Jian nobles and appointed champion of his family). This has led him into a great deal of individual combat in which he has gained a reputation as Katai's greatest swordsman.

Mium is a quiet, placid man. In combat, he is a deft whirlwind whose cuts are precise and devastating. he is dedicated to the traditional values of Katai's warrior elite. As such, he is stubborn and demanding towards inferiors, has an educated taste for the fine arts and is quite cultured. As a reigning noble, he is benevolent (by Katai standards). He leaves his subjects to themselves as long as they remain honorable servants. Where they fail this, his judgement is swift and often fatal. (A Katai noble can execute a peasant on his own authority. Mium has done so on more than one occasion.)

NOTE - Castle Ma'kai is located about 20 miles west of Ci’jian. It has a small village associated with it. It is held in Mium's name by his wife, four sons and about 30 soldiers. Mium visits often but his duties compel him to reside in Ci'jian’s ducal palace.

MOGARA CHOSHAMA, Prince of Choshai, Count of Dzhamou, Master of the Fighting Spear.
Height73 inchesWeight205 lbs.Age30

Expertise - EL15 Fighting Spear, EL10 Throwing Spear, EL11 Shield, EL12 Polearms, EL10 War Staff, EL11 Fighting Dagger, EL80 Katai, EL70 Read & Write Katai, EL50 Fomorian, EL40 Kll’maun, EL30 Sarghut, EL50 Armorer, EL10 Climbing, EL80 Forester EL10 Axe, EL9 Longbow, EL10 Forest Survival, EL7 Hill Survival, EL9 Hand-to-Hand, EL12 Musician, EL8 Mountain Survival, EL10 City Survival

Equipment - Fighting Spear, Fighting Dagger, Axe, Banded Shield, Scalemail, Leather Helmet, Green cloak, Two Signet Rings.

Mogara assumed the throne of Choshai two years ago. Before this he spent ten years in Katai's Dzhamou province as a mercenary in the service of its Duke. Here, he earned a reputation as a fearless and deadly warrior. Such respect did he win that the Duke of Dzhamou named him his Champion, gave him the rank of Count and allowed him to marry the third daughter of the Count Tideosa Dzhamou, the Duke’s brother. (This is unprecedented treatment of a foreigner in Katai. In part, it was possible because the people of Choshai are descended from Katai soldiers.)

As a person, Mogara is fearless. He is always honest and has a highly-emotional nature. He is noted for both his furious temper and his extreme sensitivity to others. This paradoxical man is both the finest warrior-general of the east and one of the world's finest musicians and authors. (His ”Ode to the Setting Sun" is considered to be a classic by the noble elite of Katai.)

MAROS KARESTIAN, “the Reaver", King of Marentia, Master of the Broadsword.
Height80 inchesWeight240 lbs.Age38

Expertise - EL14 Broadsword, EL13 Bastard Sword and Great Sword, EL10 Polearms, EL9 All Axes, EL8 Hand-to-Hand , EL10 Heavy Lance, EL10 Horsemanship, EL6 All Scimitar, EL8 Sword, EL7 Fighting Spear, EL9 Shield, EL80 Marentian, EL60 Zen’dali, EL40 Bhamoti, EL4O Climan, EL30 Rogizini, EL50 Dechan, EL45 Fomorian, EL30 Cerulean, EL30 Katai, EL7O Read and Write Marentian, ELS Rhetoric, EL62 Navigator, EL80 Seaman, EL50 Thief, EL35 Deftness, EL4O Trailing, EL35 Locksmith, EL11 Climbing, EL12 Swimming

Equipment - Broadsword, Metal Shield, Platemail, Metal Helmet, Heavy Lance, Warhorse, Signet Ring, Purple Cape, Royal Necklace, Iron Armband.

Maros the Reaver is, possibly, the most experienced and deadly individual warrior in the world today. Since his royal father enlisted him in the army, at the age of 10, he has been a soldier, pirate, thief, thug, slave and King. He is a highly-skilled warrior with an almost intuitive ability to master any weapon that he touches.

Despite the harshness of his life, Maros has an inner core of compassionate gentleness. His life revolves around his love for his wife, his devotion to the Marentian people and his dedication to the soldiers who serve him. He is a loyal friend, talented ruler and a forgiving master in normal times. In war, or when he feels that he has been betrayed, his heart is sheathed in stone. He can, and will, kill without mercy. Maros is a deadly enemy who does not know the meaning of the word surrender.

King Maros has little training as a general. He is a gifted organizer and strategic leader. On the battlefield, his standard tactic (successful because of his extreme personal competence and the power of his guard) is to form his guard behind him and smash straight into the center of an enemy army, thus destroyingthem. Subtle maneuver plays little part in armies that are under his command.

Despite his crude tactics, Maros is loved by his soldiers and the name Maros the Reaver strikes terror into the hearts of his enemies. Poorly trained and led armies have been known to flee rather than face the onslaught of his charging guard. At its head, he is nearly unstoppable.

VLAD STONEHAND, Ga'sha of the Lapschi, Blood-friend of Karistos Sierva.
Height87 inchesWeight273 lbs.Age20

Expertise - EL15 Bastard Sword, EL6 Broadsword, EL5 Tulwar, EL4 Fighting Dagger, EL5 Heavy Lance, EL5 Halberd EL8 Hand-to-Hand, EL9 Shield, EL11 Horsemanship, EL5 Climbing EL3 Throwing Spear, EL8 Plains, Mountain and Hill Survival, EL3 City Survival, EL2 Forest Survival, EL80 Carrying, EL46 Sign Language, EL80 Zen'dali, EL60 Donaran, EL35 Marentian, EL20 Nylasa, EL20 Dwarf Elder, EL20 Elf Sidh, EL2O Gomese, EL20 La Ced, EL15 L'p'nth, EL10 Kameri

Equipment - Bastard Sword, Tulwar, Two Fighting Daggers, Banded Shield, Scalemail, Metal Helmet, Warhorse.

Vlad Stonehand was born among the Feir'pez, in the lands where the steppes meet the Kaz. He was a tall youth who soon earned a reputation for valor in the perpetual wars against the Kazi. While still a young warrior, sixteen years of age, he travelled south to Donara on a quest to find Karistos Sierva, Claw of the Bra’mani, and convince him to return to the steppes. He succeeded and on the way back they became close friends.

Following this adventure, Vlad journeyed to the east and fought as a mercenary in a border war between Marentia and L'p'nth. Here he met Maros the Reaver. After the war, he wandered into L'p'nth and was cursed with his stone hand, which gave him supernatural powers and made him a berserk monster in battle.

When he returned to the steppes, his people and the Stel'gult reviled him because of the evil of his curse. Finally, he could take no more and, with the aid of young followers from both tribes and a Bra’mani war party led by his friend Claw, he split away from these tribes and formed the Lap’schi.

Since his rise to Ga'sha, Vlad has continued to wander the world in search of adventure. He is famed in many nations, and many men have cause to fear his name. His travels have taken him from the southern jungles of Nylasa to the cold, secluded Valhani Plateau in the far north. In his great northern journey, he battled, and eventually befriended, Rochan of the Kameri and, as payment for a great favor, was freed from his curse by a great shaman of the E'ponischa.

Vlad Stonehand is a cunning and experienced young man. His heavily—scarred body, the souveniers of many battles and wars, gives him the look of an older man. Despite his love of battle, he is an intelligent and friendly man with good experience as a leader of men.

Vlad has a quick temper that he can control when he must. He is usually quick to forgive most affronts and always remembers both friends and enemies. Because of the curse which seized him for three years, he is suspicious of wizards and magic. Though tempered somewhat by his experiences with civilized life, he remains a raging barbarian at heart and a terror to behold in battle.

WALAIN a'GILYAN, Warchief of the Shamira, Leader of the Society of the Dagger.
Height73 inchesWeight190 lbs.Age29

Expertise - EL16 Fighting Dagger, EL12 Throwing Dagger, EL13 Horsemanship, EL10 Horse Archery, EL12 Composite Bow, EL12 Scimitar, EL10 Tulwar, EL7 Shield, EL5 Sword, EL6 Broadsword, EL10 Badlands Survival, EL9 Plains Survival, EL7 Hill Survival, EL6 Mountain Survival, EL60 Sign Language, EL80 Kazi, EL45 Caldan, EL42 Zen’dali, EL7 Tracking, EL9 Hand-to-Hand, EL60 Husbandry (Horse and Dog), EL3 City Survival

Equipment - Black-handled Fighting Dagger*, Throwing Dagger, Scimitar, Composite Bow, 2D10 arrows, Warhorse, Buckler, Scalemail, Leather Helmet, Fur Belt“, Warhorse.

*The dagger and belt are symbols of his leadership of the Dagger Society. The Dagger is only used in duels. He will die rather than lose either of these items.

Walain's ancestors have been Shamira chiefs for more than two centuries. He continues the tradition. Under his leadership, the Shamira are the most feared tribe in the Kazi and a devastating threat to their ancient enemies, the Zen'dali. Walain is a powerful warrior who has personally slain at least 120 men in battle. In duels, he has bested more than 30 men who have tried to unseat him as leader of the society. He is, by far, the most deadly Kazi alive.

Walain is a gruff, overbearing and stoic man. If he does not respect a person, i.e. consider him to be a warrior, then that person is nothing. He is a creature without rights or true be- ing. Walain, like most Kazi, will treat them as such without any guilt whatsoever. If a person earns his respect, Walain is capable of being a good friend and a dependable ally. His life revolves around combat, hunting and husbandry, the only skills that the Kazi feel are fitting for a man to master. He has no time for the effete softness of civilized life. He considers it to be a plague that steals strength from a man's soul. Civilized men who fail to prove their worth to Walain are treated as less than nothing. They are scum in his eyes.

NOMAN KHA, Pirate, Thief, Brigand, Master of the Sling and Two-Weapon Fighting.
Height69 inchesWeight166 lbs.Age35

Expertise - EL14 Sword, EL13 Two Weapon, EL12 Throwing Dagger, EL14 Sling, EL8 Composite Bow, EL9 Horsemanship, EL7 Horse Archery, EL10 Hand-to-Hand, EL12 Scimitar, EL10 Fighting Dagger, EL52 Navigator, EL80 Seaman, EL13 Climbing, EL9 Swimming, EL80 Thief, EL80 Deftness, EL80 Locksmith, EL65 Trailing, EL9 City Survival, EL8 Desert Survival, EL6 Hill Survival, EL6 Plains Survival, EL60 Jeweler, EL45 Moneylender, EL6 Rhetoric, EL50 Sign Language, EL80 Sair'Kacili, EL60 Dechan, EL60 Rogizini, EL40 Marentian, Bhamoti and Fomorian, EL50 Disguise Artist,

Equipment - Fine clothing, Two Swords, Two Throwing Daggers, Sling, a pouch with 2D6 Sling Projectiles, Scalemail, three rings, gold chains, two jeweled armbands, black satin headband.

Noman Kha was born in the Great Desert, the bastard son of a Ki’sanq outcast. When he was five, his family was caught on Ki'sanq land. The adults were killed and the children were sold to a Rogizini slaver.

Noman grew up as a rebellious field slave near the city of Achgiza. At the age of 13 he escaped his master by slaying an overseer. He made his way to Rogh'sa, capital of the empire, and spent the next five years of his life in the gutters of this city as a thief and a cutthroat. At the age of 18, he was shanghaied by a tavern owner and was sold to a pirate. In this fortuitous way, he found his true calling. Over the next twelve years, after killing the captain to take over the vessel that he was shanghaied onto, he built an empire and became one of Dechat's most influential citizens.

Noman Kha is a survivor. Since the age of five his life has been a daily fight for survival. Thus, he has developed a strong and devious character. Noman is a tenacious, courageous and devastating fighter with both cunning and guile. His sole concern in battle is his personal survival. He will do anything, or betray anyone, to insure that he lives. His enemies, when known to him, tend to be short-lived and have often died in most interesting ways. (As an example, four years ago a mate challenged him for command of the Sand Star, Noman's vessel. After beating him, Noman took his arms and legs and set him adrift in a small boat to die.)

Noman Kha can be very cruel and sadistic when he has a chance to injure an enemy. He is totally amoral in his dealings with men. The sole ”niceties” of his life are his love of fine art and his devotion to feminine beauty. He spends large sums as a patron of the arts and is a noted lady's man who strives to be kind and generous to beautiful women. (Unless, of course, they threaten or betray him.)

ROCHAN, The Invincible", Warchief of the Kameri Great Sword Clan, Dwarf-friend, Master of the Great Sword.
Height79 inchesWeight222 lbs.Age26

Expertise - EL20 Great Sword, EL12 Bastard Sword, EL8 Broadsword, EL3 Longbow, EL13 Mountain Survival, EL7 Forest and Plains Survival, EL13 Climbing, EL4 Rhetoric, EL80 Kameri, EL32 Omavor, EL25 Dwarf Elder, EL5O Sign Language, EL9 Hill Survival, EL80 Armorer, EL5 Tracking, ELS Horsemanship, EL6 Hammer

Equipment - Great Sword, 2D10 Arrows, Longbow, Chainmail.

NOTE - The statistics above supersede those that are listed in the non-player character example in Book Four of Powers and Perils.

As a young man, Rochan's passions were hunting, fighting and ironworking. When he was fifteen, on one of his frequent hunting trips, he was disturbed one night by the sounds of combat. Taking his Great Sword, he went to investigate. He found an old dwarf in a death struggle against three, large trolls. Incensed at the unevenness of this battle, he threw his weight against the trolls. In the battle, he killed a troll but was beaten to the point of death. Three days later, he woke in an ornately-carved room in the caverns of the dwarfs.

When the dwarfs tending him saw that he was awake, they motioned him to bathe and dress. After he had done this, he was given a rune-covered Great Sword to complete his dress and was led to the throne room of the community. There, sitting in state on the great throne, was the old dwarf that Rochan aided against the trolls. He introduced himselfas Geralandairan, Rune-master and King of Mirilandor (the name of this Dwarf-city). After Rochan gave his name and tribe, the King signaled for attention and the dwarves stood silent for minutes. After the period of silence ended, the dwarfs bowed to Rochan and left him alone with their King. The King, calling him friend, told Rochan that the sword that he wore was his to keep. He also told him that, because of his valor, a King lived. Therefore, Rochan had been given the gift of Stamina to aid his endeavors in the future.

Rochan returned to his people after three years among the Dwarfs. In the years that followed, with Missile-Slayer (a named Dwarven Great Sword) in hand, he rose to the rank of warchief in his clan.

Rochan is an ambitious leader. His goal is to be the Para- mount Chief of Kameran and, a secret goal, to break the power of the female Mystical Lodges in his land. He is an in- telligent, pragmatic and honorable man who is also a master armorer. He is capable of using guile and cunning to get what he wants, but is torn by guilt when such tactics are necessary. He only uses such tactics when the final goal is of enough importance to outweigh the evil of what he must do to attain it.

The ten men listed above are the most deadly men on the continent, in physical combat. They would be very hard, if not impossible, for a starting or partially developed character to beat. If you choose to use them in your campaign, they should be used as personages that the party can encounter who could provide them with quests, information, etc. Only if the party forces a confrontation should the encounter actually come to blows.

EXAMPLE - Four characters enter the Zen'dali Plain on their way north. They are challenged by a lone rider on a large, black horse. They respond to this “presumptuous" challenge by drawing their swords and charging the barbarian. The rider responds by wheeling away, drawing his bow and commencing to slay all of them. Unless they are very good characters, they will not live to get within 50 feet of Karistos Sierva, Claw of the Bra'mani.

Had the party responded by explaining their presence AND asking permission to ride the warrior's plain (the honorable course of action for non-raiders among the Zen'dali), they would surely have had a much easier time of it. By failing to be polite, in this case, they violated Zen’dali honor, named themselves invader and dared Claw to try and kill them. He was left with no option but to fight and so they died.

Richard L. Snider and David Kuijt
Heroes Vol. I, No. 3


Weapon Masters of the Western Lands

Scans of the original article.

Design: Wout Broere

Location on PL Maps