In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game, 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 (which is, in D&D 3rd edition, 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.
Warduke often was seen teamed with the villainous sorcerer Kelek, and even once appeared on the Dungeons & Dragons animated TV series. 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-matic" 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 Books: The Lost Wand and Crown of Rulership (both 1983), featuring Warduke on the cover; Warduke also appears in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Books: Characters Coloring Book and The Rescue of Ringlerun (both 1983), though he is not on the cover
- 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 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 (TSR, 1984).
- Mona, Erik, et al. "Critical Threats: Warduke." Dungeon #105 (Paizo Publishing, 2003).
- Smith, Carl. The Shady Dragon Inn (TSR, 1983).