Wolf Clan Heroes
Last week we ran the first in a four-part series of Battle Realms hero profiles, which detailed the Dragon Clan heroes. Today our coverage of Liquid Entertainment's upcoming real-time strategy game continues with a look at the heroes of the Wolf Clan, the honorable tribesmen of Battle Realms that were enslaved by the Lotus and Serpent Clans. The Wolves would have been forced to work the Lotus shale mines forever had it not been for the leadership, bravery, and cunning of the following heroes.
The Wolves were never truly a clan, at least not in the same organizational sense as the Lotus and Serpent Clans. As such, they were easy victims for enslavement by the Lotus Clan to work in the shale mines in the mountainous regions of the island of Battle Realms. The Wolf Clan members were enslaved for generations, but their hope for freedom never diminished. This hope was largely kept alive by a worker known as Grayback, who organized his fellow Wolves through his hammer, mimicking the ancient drum language of the clan. He was the one who informed the Serpent Clan of the Lotus Clan's plans to eradicate them. Knowing that this would spark a war between the two factions, Grayback used that precise moment to revolt against his masters.
His plan worked, and though the Wolf casualties were high, they soon became a free people with Grayback as their leader. The Wolf Clan's freedom wouldn't have been possible without Grayback's combat prowess. Grayback emerged from the mines covered with the blood of others and no fewer than four arrows protruding from his back and flank. He wields a massive mining pick that was built to tear solid stone to shreds--picturing what it would do to people doesn't take a stretch of the imagination. When in battle, his lupine rage howl will inspire his allies temporarily, giving them a bonus to damage. His innate ability of master of the pack enables Grayback to get two wolves from the wolves' den, like the Wolf Clan pack master.
Longtooth is from the generation of Wolves known as "slaveborn." This is the generation of children who were born after the enslavement war between the Wolf and Lotus Clans and before the revolt. Like other slaveborn, Longtooth never roamed the forests, never hunted by the moonlight, and never participated in the ancient Wolf tradition of wolfball. He wasn't ignorant of Wolf traditions, however. Every night, Wolf Clan elders would gather round all the slaveborn children and tell them tales of times when the Wolves were free--none among the slaveborn listened more intently than Longtooth. When he'd return to the mines during the day, Longtooth would shatter shards of shale with his bare fists, easing the pain by pretending that the shards were his Lotus slavers.
Some years later, when Grayback sent word of the Wolf revolt, Longtooth proved himself to be a warrior worthy of his ancestral blood. His particular mine was overseen by a fearsome Lotus warlock called Iphliss. If not for Longtooth's presence, Iphliss and his deadly lightning spells would have single-handedly put down the revolt in that mineshaft. In fact, Longtooth saw his fellow Wolves fall to the magician's spells and thought all was lost. Sure that it would be a suicidal move, Longtooth rushed Iphliss, and with one blow he beheaded the warlock. Iphliss' lifeless body was hung atop Longtooth's mine as a trophy to rally other Wolves to fight that night, and in the morning it was used as a monument to the Wolf Clan's hard-fought freedom.
Longtooth carries a massive stone boomerang that can cut through enemies with ease. His special attack, called spin control, causes his boomerang to pass through multiple enemies and buildings at once. His innate ability of climber allows him to scale hills without affecting his running speed.
Stories about Gaihla have been surfacing among Serpent Clan members since the day the Wolf Clan arrived on the island of Battle Realms. Reports make her out to be a druidess and state that wherever she appears, strange occurrences always follow. For instance, one such report claims that a farmer saw a slender woman, believed to be Gaihla, standing in his rice paddy. Later that spring, the farmer had the most bountiful crop ever. Other reports from hunters claim that a woman somehow made the forest around them move, causing them to lose their prey. Not all reports of Gaihla's appearances are as harmless, however. Some Serpent settlers claim to have been warned by the same mysterious woman not to tear down the forest for the purpose of building homes. Often when these warnings went unheeded, some settlers' bodies would be found gouged in a hundred places, or worse, entire villages would simply disappear as if they never existed.
The Serpent Clan regularly sent raiding parties out into the woods to try to hunt down Gaihla--most never returned from their expeditions. During one such raid, however, Gaihla was pursued deep into the forest, where she was confronted by one of the Serpent Clan's warlocks. While even the warlock wasn't a match for Gaihla, she lost control of her own powers during the confrontation, and witnesses claimed that Gaihla transformed into a massive tree. Whether that tall tale is true or not, reports of Gaihla sightings have all but ceased since that day...
Within the game, Gaihla wields the circlet of thorns, a halo-shaped weapon with sharp, protruding spikes. Her special ability of chant of life heals nearby allies, no matter what they're currently doing. She has two innate abilities as well. The first, forest friend, allows her to walk faster than others in a forest, while her second, blessing, causes nearby rice to grow faster than normal.
Like Gaihla's past, the Shale Lord's past is shrouded in mystery. Among most members of the Wolf Clan, it is believed that this walking stone beast was actually once one of their kind, a Wolf named Hightongue for his eloquent speeches and sharp insults. Hightongue was around before the enslavement wars between the Wolf and Serpent/Lotus Clans, and he was often the most outspoken and vocal slave. He became notorious among the Serpent and Lotus Clan enslavers for causing too much trouble and was thus "given" to a Lotus Clan magician called Soban, who experimented in black magic in an attempt to create the perfect miner. Soban's experiments on Hightongue are rumored to have left him with skin of stone. Hightongue was never seen again after the night of Soban's experiment, but the stone-skinned creature would often be seen by Wolf slaves wandering the mines at night. The creature was soon given the name "Shale Lord" by the Wolf community.
During the Wolf Clan revolt, the Shale Lord would often appear and assist the Wolves in fighting off the Serpent and Lotus armies, but since that night, sightings of the Shale Lord have been sporadic. While there's no actual evidence to link the Shale Lord to Hightongue, it's believed that they are one and the same.
The Shale Lord uses his bare (albeit stone) hands as weapons, and his special ability of armored friend causes him to "shave" off his shale skin, which gives an armor bonus to nearby allies. His innate ability of battle lust gives him a slight bonus to stamina regeneration.
That concludes our profile of the Wolf Clan heroes. As we mentioned last week, Battle Realms is rapidly approaching completion, and we expect to receive a beta of the game before the end of August. When we do, we'll bring you updated information on and impressions of this ambitious real-time strategy game. In the meantime, be on the lookout for our third hero profile next week.