Our fourth and final minor regional enemy for the World of Samardan campaign setting was originally conceived as the classic power-mad warlord bent on conquest. Very quickly on, I realized that I already had a number of those in the setting, and while that type of antagonist is a classic trope of the genre, I didn't want it to get old.
Then I thought about the various Warrior backgrounds in Sword and Planet: An Old School Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance, and recalled that among them could be found the Martial Artist. Suddenly, I started picturing a more Sword and Planet version of the dreaded Sith, the enemy of the Jedi Knights, and things started to fall into place for me. After all, Dray Prescot was a member of a martial order called the Krozairs, and one of his companions, Turko the Shield, was a Khamorro, an expert in unarmed combat. Obviously, martial arts is part of the mystique of some Planetary Romance series. What would be better than having an order of evil monks as a regional villain? The idea works for me, so I now present the Disciples of Somasumar.
The Disciples of SomasumarHistory: Originally a martial order, the Disciples of Somasumar became a quasi-religious cult after adopting spiritual teachings thought to belong to the Ancient Ones. Based on incomplete documents recovered from ruins in the wastelands of the Torafeldan, the Disciples of Somasumar practice a disciplined form of unarmed combat. When the Disciples elect to use actual weaponry, they prefer to fight using malkuni (claw-like weapons similar to the Indian bagh nakh) or barkuni (larger claw-like weapons similar to malkuni, with longer blades). The barkuni are traditionally reserved for acknowledged Masters of the order.
Personality: Sena Logana Mudaganan, the current Grandmaster of the Disciples of Somasumar, leads the order in the pursuit of the Grand Plan, which is to unite all of the lower valley under the rule of the Disciples. At her disposal are Disciples specialized in gathering information, assassination, military tactics and the finer points of estate and resource management. While her predecessors have been cautious and meticulous in their clandestine progress toward the Grand Plan, Sena Logana Mudaganan prefers a more aggressive approach, and has become more open in recent years. Intent on seeing the Grand Plan come into being during her lifetime, the Grandmaster has escalated to more militant tactics. She is a driven and fanatical woman, with the power of a well-established and devout following operating at her behest.
Stat Blocks: The following stat blocks for representative members of the Disciples of Somasumar are based on Sword and Planet: An Old School Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance. Please feel free to convert these stats to the system of your choice, if you wish to use them elsewhere.
- Somasumaran Initiate: DEF: 14; HD: 1; ATK: by malkuni (1d6) or unarmed combat (1d6); ST: +2; SP: Unarmed combat; SPD: 6; CL: 1/2; XP: 150.
- Somasumaran Disciple: DEF: 15; HD: 2; ATK: by malkuni (1d6) or unarmed combat (1d6); ST: +3; SP: Unarmed combat, weapon mastery (+1 atk with Claw Weapons); SPD: 6; CL: 1; XP: 300.
- Somasumaran Master: DEF: 16; HD: 5; ATK: by barkuni (1d8) or unarmed combat (1d6); ST: +4; SP: Unarmed combat, weapon mastery (+1 atk with Claw Weapons); SPD: 6; CL: 2; XP: 450.