A Brief History of D&D's Most Iconic Villain
“A true fighter,” Warduke feels, “makes himself rich and powerful by the strength of his sword arm. He takes what he can—if you would keep your possessions, kill those who seek to take them.” He calls his sword “Nightwind.”
Warduke would also appear in two D&D colouring books in the early 80s...
It wouldn't be until December 2003, after Wizards of the Coast acquired the D&D brand, that Warduke made his triumphant return in issue #105 of Dungeon magazine.
Erik Mona’s Critical Hit article in this issue provides an updated character sheet for Warduke, now 18th level and with far greater stats: AC: 34, HP: 318, S 32, I 13, W 15, D 16, Cn 28, Ch 20. His original sword +1 (flames on command) became a +3 anarchic flaming burst human bane bastard sword, and his other possessions were statted out as a dagger of venom, +3 moderate fortification adamantine ceremonial spiked half-plate, +5 bashing heavy steel shield, Warduke’s helm, amulet of health +6, gauntlets of giant strength +6, boots of speed, ring of protection +3, and a fearsome eye fiendish graft (from Fiend Folio, pg. 210).
Erik Mona went on to explain Warduke's somewhat illogical half-suit of armor, as “ceremonial armor… typical worn not for combat but for show, or to intimate or impress.” Mona also provided Warduke with a new origin story: The Unnameable Hierarch managed to rebuild his organization so quickly in large part due to the influence of a ruthless fighter named Warduke, a mysterious and relentless killer who emerged from nowhere after the Greyhawk Wars to spread terror and uncertainty among mercenaries, soldiers, and fighting societies from the Barrier Peaks to the Solnor Ocean.