|Warduke, as depicted in Dungeon #105.|
Warduke is a powerful human warrior and a Hierarch of the Horned Society. He sometimes works as a bounty hunter and assassin, and is heartless, cruel and short-tempered.
Warduke is a muscular human, equipped with a skull-motif shield, a half-suit of blue chainmail, and most notably, a helmet complete with "bat wing"-like ridges. His favored weapon is Nightwind, a +3 anarchic flaming burst human bane bastard sword. He also bears a fearsome eye fiendish graft.
There is some apocryphal evidence that Warduke and Melf may know each other. In 1983's The Shady Dragon Inn, Warduke is mentioned as being a member of the same adventuring party as an elf named "Peralay," both of whom had action figures for TSR's 1983 toy line. The fact that the Peralay figure was originally released under the name "Melf" and Warduke's retcon into Greyhawk continuity provide a topic of apocryphal interest.
Warduke's early life is unknown, as is his true identity, though rumors abound. One states that he was once firm friends with a noble paladin, until Warduke's descent into evil forced them to become fierce enemies.
Warduke came to prominence after the Greyhawk Wars, spreading terror among the soldiers, fighting societies, and mercenaries of the Flanaess, from the Solnor Ocean to the Barrier Peaks. Warduke was quickly recruited by the Unnameable Hierarch to aid in rebuilding the Horned Society, and was eventually made a Hierarch himself.
Warduke originated as a character for the Dungeons & Dragons toy line in the 1980s. Warduke originally appeared as a D&D action figure along with such other characters as Strongheart the paladin, Elkhorn the dwarf fighter, and Zarak the half-orc assassin. In a module featuring many of the characters from the toy line, Warduke and Strongheart were depicted as once having been good friends, until Warduke turned to evil.
It is worth noting, however, that a (unnamed) figure with Warduke's distinctive headgear appears on the cover of Dragon #17, published by TSR in 1978.
Warduke often was seen teamed with the villainous sorcerer Kelek, and even once appeared on the Dungeons & Dragons animated TV series ("In Search of Dungeonmaster"), where he was depicted as a mercenary who ran the Slave Mines of Baramore. In 2003, the staff of Dungeon magazine retconned Warduke into Greyhawk continuity.
The Shady Dragon Inn
The Dungeons & Dragons accessory, The Shady Dragon Inn, provides a number of details on Warduke and other characters in the D&D and AD&D toy lines. However, as this accessory was published long before the character's retcon into Greyhawk, it is uncertain how accurate this information is in regards to canon.
Originally a close friend of Strongheart the paladin, the two became mortal enemies when exposed to a magical item called the Heartstone, which brought Warduke's cruel nature to the fore. He is a close ally of a woman named Skylla, an evil wizard. Warduke is loved by one woman, a formerly good cleric named Raven, and hated by another, a good cleric named Mercion.
Warduke collectibles include:
- First series AD&D action figure (1983).
- Second series AD&D action figure, with "battle mattic" action (1984).
- A miniature unarticulated figure.
- "Nightmare," Warduke's steed (1983).
- Warduke pencil sharpener, never released, though prototypes have turned up.
- Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Book: The Lost Wand (1983), featuring Warduke on the cover.
- Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Book: The Crown of Rulership (1983), featuring Warduke on the cover.
- Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Characters Coloring Book (1983), featuring Warduke on the interior.
- The Forest of Enchantment, an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons storybook featuring Warduke as one of the main villians (1983).
- Warduke Halloween costume.
- Dungeons & Dragons Lazer Blazers, the "Warduke Collection," 3-D holographic stickers (1985).
- Dungeons & Dragons Colorforms Adventure Set.
- An AD&D "puffy sticker" featuring Warduke.
- Dungeons & Dragons Puzzleforms.
- Dungeons & Dragons Shrinky Dinks.
- A Warduke Paint Master sculpture.
- A Paint by Number set featuring Warduke.
- In March of 2006 a 'Warduke' miniature figurine was released in the War Drums set of the collectable miniatures game Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures.
- Gray, Michael L. Quest for the Heartstone. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1984.
- Smith, Carl. The Shady Dragon Inn. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1983.
- Stine, Bob. The Forest of Enchantment. New York, NY: Marvel Books, 1983.
- Stine, Jane, John Tartaglione, and Jim Mooney. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Characters Coloring Book. New York, NY: Marvel Books, 1983.