Dragon Clan Heroes
A few months ago, we ran the last of our four-part clan profiles for Battle Realms, the upcoming real-time strategy game from Liquid Entertainment. In each of those past updates, we discussed one of the four primary clans--Dragon, Serpent, Lotus, and Wolf--and we included details on nearly all of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as nearly all the units and structures. However, we only briefly glanced over the heroes. For the next four weeks, starting with this feature, we'll be profiling the hero units of each of the four clans in Battle Realms. Remember from our clan profiles that hero units are "ordered" from each clan's keep, and they can't technically die--they simply run away to fight another day.
There are many heroes that you'll be able to summon in each clan. Today, we start with the Dragon Clan.
The primary Dragon Clan hero, Kenji, is a direct descendant of Tarrant, the famous Serpent Clan leader who led his people away from a life-threatening force that mysteriously appeared from the north and who miraculously formed the protective island where the inhabitants of Battle Realms currently reside. As a child, Kenji was known as "Little Dragon" for his fiery debates with his father, Lord Oja, who ruled over the Serpent people in a somewhat less honorable manner than Tarrant and his other ancestors once did. Kenji saw the error in his father's ways, and he made no secret about his misgivings. When Kenji is seen hovering over the body of his father's bloody corpse, he's immediately blamed for his murder, so to avoid certain death, Kenji flees the Serpent Clan for a self-imposed exile that lasts nearly seven years.
His return to the Serpent Clan happens during a tumultuous time for his people. The clan leaders have become even more corrupt than his father ever was, and upon arriving, Kenji decides to seek out a handful of honorable men who knew of his innocence and forms the Dragon Clan. In leading the Dragon Clan, he swears to uphold the virtues set forth by Tarrant and the ancient Serpent Clan many, many years before.
As a child, Kenji exhibited masterful skill with his father's weapons--a skill he managed to perfect during his seven-year exile. He wields a straight katana that's deadly at close range. He lacks a ranged attack, but his running speed is enough to close the distance with anyone in screen with little effort. Kenji's special attack is a critical strike, a sword swing, which, if successfully connected with an enemy, enables Kenji's next blow to cause twice the normal amount of damage. His innate ability is inspiration, which gives nearby allies a bonus to their attacks.
See a conceptual sketch of Kenji.
Rumored to be the bastard son of the Serpent Clan's Lord Shinja, Garrin was raised an orphan among a group of roughnecks. As a child, his duties included tending horses at the local stables, and as a result, it seemed as if he learned to ride before he learned to walk. His prowess on horseback shone through at a very young age, so he was recruited into the Serpent army's cavalry. At the age of 18, he was given an opportunity to put his field skills to the test. A small company was sent out by Lord Oja to deal with a small band of clan separatists who called themselves the "Eagle Clan," and Garrin was part of the group sent out to deal with them.
Unfortunately for Garrin and his company, there were more of these Eagle Clan rebels than had been originally anticipated--much more. The Eagle Clan members were waiting in ambush for Garrin's group, and the first attack wave was a crushing one. Using a combination of his excellent riding skills and his uncanny leadership skills, Garrin managed to round up what was left of his decimated group and rallied his force back against the Eagle members. Even though they were initially outnumbered two to one, the Serpent Clan company successfully put down the rebellion in a matter of minutes, thanks solely to Garrin's quick thinking. The right Serpent Clan leaders took notice of the young man on that day, so henceforth he was put on the fast track to a successful military career.
Garrin carries a mighty footman's lance, and while he doesn't have any special abilities, he does possess the innate ability of bracing. This move not only makes him immune to charging units, but also negates any height advantages others might have.
See a conceptual sketch of Garrin.
See Garrin in action.
A foolish person might mistake Kazan for a happy drunk. Certainly, he's rarely seen without a drink in hand, but anyone who might think to take advantage of this man's not-quite-sober demeanor is in for a nasty surprise. A drunkard or not, Kazan is a formidable fighter. At well over 7 feet in height, his brute force alone is enough to take on all but the toughest opponents. However, he possesses a skill that most people would mistake for black magic: the art of fire. Legend has it that Tarrant, the ancient leader of the Serpent Clan, adventured with the four elemental brothers, warriors who each had mastered one of the four elements (earth, wind, fire, and water). Elemental mastery has been passed down to successive generations ever since. Kazan's master, Kamato, taught Kazan about fire (and taught him well).
Kazan carries a massive tankard that he keeps full of ale or some other intoxicating drink. During combat, he takes a big swig and uses a torch to ignite his flammable breath. The resulting stream of fire is nothing short of deadly. Anyone caught within its short arc will burn to a crisp in a matter of seconds. Additionally, the large Kazan has the innate ability of fire wielder, a defensive maneuver that grants him a huge bonus against fire and explosive damage.
See a conceptual sketch of Kazan.
See Kazan in action.
While she might appear somewhat frail, Arah is stronger than most men. During a run-in with a Wolf Clan patrol, Arah was seen doing battle with two massive black bears. She injured one of the bears enough to cause it to retreat, but, to the Wolf Clan's surprise, she felled the second bear with a precision arrow shot through its eye. Upon moving in to question Arah, who at the time was trespassing on Wolf Clan territory, the Wolf Clan patrol instantly learned to respect and fear her almost superhuman archery skills. From atop a tree, she managed to fire an arrow through the armor plates of one of the Wolf members. A similar shot a few seconds later proved that the first wasn't based on luck. In the end, it took the better part of a day for the Wolf patrol to flush Arah from the tree and subdue her.
Arah is rumored to have some strange connection with Kenji, although the nature of their relationship is a mystery. She carries a massive longbow that requires more than 120 pounds of draw strength. Her special ability is similar to that of the Dragon Clan's archer unit, called Zen arrows. While harmless, Zen arrows remove the fog of war around the area they impact, giving Arah an important scouting ability. Her innate specialty is called deadly accuracy, which enables her arrows to fly with greater velocity for improved range and accuracy.
See a conceptual sketch of Arah.
See Arah in action.
Lord Otomo was one of the ruling members of the Serpent Clan during Kenji's disappearance. Unlike Oja, however, Otomo believed in the higher standards that were prevalent during the days of Tarrant's rule, which is why Otomo was the first person Kenji approached upon his return. While he was technically a bureaucrat, Otomo wasn't some fat administrator. And while he had noble blood coursing through his veins, and even though he appeared right at home in formal occasions, Otomo was a man who was more comfortable on the field of battle. He was a general, after all, and his riding and fencing skills were second to none.
Otomo carries a massive nodachi, a Japanese long sword, which he uses to cut down any enemies that stray too close to ribbons. His special attack is a battle cry that temporarily grants nearby allies a bonus to damage, and his innate ability of battle leader gives his surrounding allies a quicker rate of regeneration for stamina.
See a conceptual sketch of Otomo.
See Otomo and Arah in action.
That concludes our first look at the heroes of Battle Realms. As you read this, the game is being readied for its beta phase, and it should be on store shelves within two months from today. As a result, we'll be updating these hero features at a faster rate than our earlier clan profiles. Be sure to join us next week as we take a look at the heroes of the Wolf Clan.