The Zen Masters and other characters of importance in Battle Realms.
"I am Kenji of the Serpent Clan, and my ancestor broke the world."
Last surviving member of the Oja, ruling family of the Serpent Clan, and the protagonist of the original two campaigns. Kenji starts the campaign returning from a long exile, having escaped murdering his father and an ensuing Lotus pogrom that killed the rest of his family. Depending on the path chosen he seeks either to rebuild the lost Dragon Clan, or to return glory to the Serpent Clan by becoming its new leader. Kenji isn't usable in multiplayer for either clan, as he would most certainly be a Game Breaker
- Arc Words: The above-mentioned quote. It's the first line Kenji speaks in the campaign, and the first line in his final speech in each campaign.
- Blood Knight: As leader of the Serpent.
- The Butcher: His title as Serpent leader.
- Easily Forgiven: With the exception of a random peasant in the first Dragon cutscene, nobody seems to care that he killed his father. Otomo, at least, points out it doesn't matter to him if he did or not since Dragon Kenji seems to be a much better leader.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: As Dragon Leader. After the Nightvol reveals itself, he unlocks his Ki powers and gains massive stat bonuses that lets him more or less one-shot everything.
- Evil Is Petty: To showcase his turn to the dark side, Serpent Clan Kenji is rude and disrespectful while Dragon Clan Kenji is polite and humble.
- The Exile: In the backstory. The game starts as Kenji returns home.
- I Am Not My Father: As Dragon Leader.
- Ironic Echo: Across the campaigns. Upon being forced to burn down a village in the Dragon campaign, Kenji bemoans the fact that he may turn out like his father. Otomo, attempting to console him, answers that "there are worse men to be". In the Serpent campaign, Otomo's introduction has him sounding disappointed over Kenji having turned out like his father. Kenji replies "there are worse men to be".
- Samurai: As Dragon Leader. His final appearance dons a traditional hakama just to underline it.
- Self-Made Orphan: He has the reputation as the one who killed his father. He didn't. The Nightvol did.
- Stupid Good: Dragon Clan Kenji at one point refuses to respond to the news of a wolf (or lotus, depending on your previous choices) military buildup on his borders to go MacGuffin hunting, proclaiming he's "got no quarrel with the other clans". Shinja quickly disabuses him of the notion.
- Sword and Gun: He gets a gun early on in Campaign Mode.
- The Exile: Returns from a long one in the beginning of the Campaign.
- Took a Level in Badass: Has two 'evolutions' through the campaign where his appearance and stats change. Ironically, the first change is actually a weakening, as Kenji with Hat has more resistances than Kenji with Gun.
- Unexpected Successor: Kenji was the second son and (in the Dragon campaign) implied to have been The Unfavourite. The death of his father and brother made him leader by default.
- Villain Protagonist: Once again, as Serpent Leader.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: His final appearance in the Serpent Campaign.
- Yakuza: His final Serpent appearance looks like one, complete with full-back serpent tattoo.
The Ninja/The Nightvol
A mysterious ninja who appears a few times during the campaign, each time disappearing in front of your eyes. It steals the Serpent's Orb and gives it to either Zymeth or Greyback (depending on whether you're Dragon or Serpent). It takes centre stage in the final part of the final level, revealing itself as an advance scout for the Horde.
Dragon Zen Masters
The Dragon Clan was one of peace, order and honour, before it was all but destroyed when Tarrant The Elder used the Serpent's Orb
to stop the oncoming, destructive Horde. The remnants of the Dragon let go of their honourable ways, and formed sneaky and nefarious Serpent Clan. Many await for the day that the Dragon Clan is reborn under a new leader.
"Fight not for me, but for the sake of your honour. Should you fall, others will remember this day as your greatest."
The Dragon Clan's main Zen Master, and Kenji's old friend. He seeks to aid Kenji in restoring the Dragon Clan. Honour is everything to him. He is killed in both the Dragon and Serpent Clan's campaigns by a rebellious Shinja, and the Serpent Army respectively.
- Battle Cry: His Battle Gear inspires nearby allies to fight harder.
- BFS: Otomo wears an oversized odachi that's longer than he is and almost as broad.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Justified as he is literally crucified in the Dragon campaign.
- Heel-Face Turn: In the Serpent Campaign, he is pissed off with all the needless slaughter and leaves to rebuild the Dragon Clan.
- Hero Antagonist: If you choose the Serpent Path.
- Heroic Willpower: His innate ability increases allies' stamina with every blow he deals. This makes him an awesome second for Kenji.
- Meaningful Name: His name means 'great attendant'. Which is exactly the role he fills, at least in the Dragon path.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: In the Dragon path.
- Supporting Leader: Took control of half of the Serpent Clan after the Serpent died, and turned it into a Dragon Clan throwback. Upon Kenji's return he joins you willingly, and happily on top of it if Kenji chose to follow the Dragon path.
"Fat, flammable, and dangerous to know."
A fat, cheery monk who carries a massive barrel filled with a poisonously strong alcohol which he uses to shoot fireballs at things.
- Bald of Awesome: As a monk, he has little to no hair at all.
- Big Fun: Overweight and very cheery.
- Breath Weapon: His active ability turns his fireballs into a melee-range cone of fire.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Kazan is weak to two of the three most common melee damage types, and resistant only to the rare explosive and fire damages. In a unit-versus-unit fight he has very few favourable matchups, but give him an unprotected base to sneak up on and it will be in cinders a minute later.
- Meaningful Name: Japanese for "volcano".
- Playing with Fire: He spits fire.
"Mud, gore, screaming horses... Fight on!"
The lord of a Dragon province and a famed General, Garrin carries a large lance and is exceptionally good at mounted combat. He is able to summon a horse from anywhere on the map to his side.
- BFS: Wields a gigantic lance.
- Determinator: His passive ability is to negate the advantage of being on higher ground than himself (including mounted ones).
- Heroic Bastard: The manual claims he may be Shinja's. If he is, the game never acknowledges it and Serpent Kenji treats him as much older than he would have to be were that the case.
- Horseback Heroism: He is rarely seen without a horse, and on one he is quite a force.
- Hot-Blooded: He has very few lines in the campaign, but the ones he has all involve shouting in one manner or other.
- Jack of All Stats: Notably, he has neither resistance nor vulnerability against any attack, as well as neither advantage nor disadvantage against any armor (noted by the sword cursor which changes to bronze, silver or gold depending on the situation).
- Mundane Utility: His battle gear is much more useful for equipping geisha or peasants with horses: Garrin can't use his ability while mounted and he is powerful enough as-is on foot.
- Rags to Riches: Started out as a stable boy.
"My thoughts move, my arrows fly... One and the same."
A famed archer without peer, Arah met Kenji during his exile from the Serpent Clan, where she developed a strong bond with him. She can view the landscape through the arrows she fires.
"Perhaps you mistake the parts for the whole."
A wandering mercenary carrying only a staff and a sack of rice. He seldom speaks, and is in complete balance with both Good and Evil. Anybody who bothers him is dealt with swiftly. Stangely, he is only available to the Dragon clan in skirmishes, despite being recruitable as Dragon and Serpent in Kenji's Journey.
A character introduced in the expansion pack, Teppo is a genius from the land of Malcolmson who wields a Dragon Wheel which launches several rockets in quick succession. He is a littly crazy.
Serpent Zen Masters
The Serpent Clan was founded from the remnants of the original Dragon Clan.
"Only strength - and the willingness to use it - can preserve us."
The Serpent Clan's main Zen Master, and Otomo's polar opposite. He seeks to restore the Serpent clan, but is far more ruthless and pragmatic about it than Otomo is. He's killed in the Dragon campaign for murdering Otomo and trying to usurp Kenji, but get's to live in the Serpent campaign.
- Anti-Magic: His special ability reduces all his magic damage to near 0.
- Combat Pragmatist: Like most of the Serpent Clan, he isn't above using less "honourable" methods to win; in this case, poison.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Death Glare: His Battle Gear, "intimidate", (which reduces enemies' attacks) is represented by one.
- The Dragon: To Serpent Clan Kenji. He would probably find the trope name ironic, given he does not believe in dragons.
- Dual Wielding: Uses a pair of katana in battle.
- Face-Heel Turn: In the Dragon Campaign.
- Flat Earth Atheist: Actually gives him tremendous resistance against Magic attacks.
- Social Darwinist
- Sour Supporter: To a Dragon Clan Kenji. Eventually leads him to rebel as he considers Kenji too weak to rule.
- Supporting Leader: Took control of the other half of the Serpent Clan following lord Oja's death, but was unable to wrest control of the other half from Otomo. Kenji's first order of business in both campaigns is to defeat him, after which he joins you.
"I'll fight to the death any man I can't outrun."
Garrin's main advisor and protegee, Vetkin is a wastrel and hedonist who is nonetheless unusually good at footraces and is implied to be much more cunning than he acts. He fights with twin sai. He joins you in the Serpent campaign if you visit Riverside.
"What are you looking at?"
A serpent clan overseer (read:slavemaster) from the days of the Wolf Clan's slavery, Budo now works as an administrator of peasants, where he favours a hands-on approach to increasing productivity. He can increase peasant movement and harvesting rate at a cost of their health by cracking his whip, which he can also use against enemies.
"Share my bed, share my sorrow."
A mad serpent geisha who's forsaken healing arts for inflicting pain, little else is known about Utara apart from tales and myths. She can join you during the Serpent Campaign. Her special ability stuns nearby enemies when she gets hit, making her a terror in clumped melees.
older brother. Mentioned in the original game but not seen until the expansion, where he became a Serpent Zen master usable in multiplayer.
"Enjoy your terror while it lasts. In my realm, you shall plead for death as you now plead for life."
Technically speaking a special unit rather than a hero, The Necromancer is one of the few important story characters of the Serpent Clan. He joins you instead of the dragon, finding Kenji's tendencies to kill everyone he encounters "most pleasant".
- Awesome but Impractical: In multiplayer. Requires a special building, lots of rice, lots of water, three yang, and sacrificing three ronin. Those ronin will usually be more useful than he is, although the necromancer costs no population so you can always re-train them if you have time.
- In Love with Your Carnage: He joins you because of this.
- The Evil Genius
- Mook Maker: Creates zombies from the recently slain.
- The Necromancer: Well, duh.
- Stone Wall: Only fire is even halfway dangerous to him, but his melee attack is very lacking. The Necromancer is best kept out of combat, so his (sadly all too limited) stamina recovers faster.
- The Undead
Wolf Zen Masters
A race of barbarians who landed on the northern shores of the continent made by Tarrant due to storms destroying their homeland, the wolf were enslaved by the Lotus with Serpent aid. They finally freed themselves a few years prior to the game's beginning. Led by Greyback, this faction of former mining slaves will stop at nothing to keep their freedom and restore their ancestral culture. The playable faction in the Winter of the Wolf
expansion, they are antagonists during Kenji's Journey and are defeated halfway through if you play as Dragon
"Hear me, sorcerers; you cannot cage the wolf."
The self-appointed leader of the Wolf clan and the mastermind behind the wolf rebellion that finally freed them. His innate ability makes wild wolves nearby follow him, and they will never attack him first.
"Even the warlocks who claim to know death, cringe from my fury."
Greyback's second in command and next in line for leadership of the Wolf Clan. Longtooth fights with a gigantic, razor-backed boomerang and deals bonus damage when he has higher ground.
The Shale Lord
A gigantic pile of living stone made by an experiment of the Lotus warlock Soban on an unnamed and long-forgotten Wolf clan warrior. The Shale Lord is mute, but its willingness to crush the Lotus and protect the Wolf Clan speaks volumes in itself. The Shale Lord can armour your units for free by giving up some of its health.
"Thread lightly in this place, for every forest is my temple."
A forest nymph, allied with the Wolf. Can be recruited in the Dragon Campaign if you assault the Wolf Clan's mines.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Started out with green hair, before having her sprite and portrait changed to brown-red in a later patch.
- Distressed Damsel: You have to save her in order to have her join you in both Kenji's and Grayback's journeys.
- Fertile Feet: Increases rice growth by standing in a rice field.
- Healing Hands: Her Battle Gear is area-of-effect healing.
- Squishy Wizard: Do not, repeat, not put her in combat. Especially not against fire users.
Lotus Zen Masters
A clan consisting of death- and corruption-worshipping religious fanatics, led by a council of near-immortal warlocks, the Lotus were also originally immigrants to the continent of Battle Realms after The Horde destroyed their homelands. The Lotus allied themselves with the native Serpent and eventually, with Serpent aid, enslaved the Wolf Clan. Upon the death of Kenji's father, the Lotus betrayed the Serpent and conquered most of the north-eastern part of the island. It is the only clan not playable in single player and serves as antagonists in all three campaigns. They are defeated by the Wolf halfway through the Serpent campaign.
"The warlocks of the Forbidden Path have conquered death, but I am still their master."
Leader of the Lotus Clan warlocks and thus the clan itself, Zymeth is a several hundred year-old warlock, politician, and altogether unpleasant fellow. His specialization in-game is the weather; he can summon rainstorms and call lightning from the sky at will.
"You may think of space and distance as solid facts. I prefer a more fluid interpretation."
The second-most powerful warlock of the Clan and its effective second-in-command. Koril is the master of the school of space, and has mastered the art of teleportation.
"Hey mister! Want to see me do a trick?"
Dean of the college of time, Issyl is currently stuck in the body of a twelve year old boy due to a magical mishap that makes his body age backwards.
"While my colleagues waste their time studying death, I have taught the very stones to live."
A master alchemist and golem creator, responsible amongst other things for the creation of the Shale Lord from an unknown Wolf Clan warrior, Soban has no interest in politics and holds his position purely on terms of merit: He has no real power within the clan and prefers it that way.
- Artificial Limbs: His left arm is a mechanic claw-thing.
- Grumpy Old Man: Is the only warlock to actually show his age.
- For Science!: More interested in his research than anything else.
- Heel-Face Turn: Can join the Dragon Clan if you attack the Lotus after taking Serpentholm. Given his history of experimenting on Wolf Clan, also something of a Karma Houdini.
- Squishy Wizard: Moreso than the other three Lotus Zen masters: Soban can barely stand up in a fight, and is mostly useful for his golem-generation which frees up peasants.
Zymeth's mistress and lady of the shale mines, she is the Big Bad
of the expansion pack Winter of the Wolf.