Friday, April 12, 2024

OSR Commentary - The Original Dungeons & Dragons Threat of The Warriors of Pan Tang

 “. Now he asked: “And who is this mighty sorcerer, Master Pilarmo?” “His name is Theleb K’aarna,” Pilarmo answered nervously. Elric’s scarlet eyes narrowed. “The sorcerer of Pan Tang?” “Aye—he comes from that island.” Elric put his cup down upon the table and rose, fingering his blade of black iron, the runesword Stormbringer. He said with conviction: “I will help you, gentlemen.” He had made up his mind not to rob them, after all. A new and more important plan was forming in his brain. Theleb K’aarna, he thought. So you have made Bakshaan your bolt-hole, eh?”
― Michael Moorcock, Elric: The Stealer of Souls

I've covered my interactions with the Stormbringer rpg's version of the Pan Tangians on this blog back in 2020  here. In the 80's I had a Games Workshop Pan Tangian Chaos army including tigers and more. My love of the Pan Tangians stretches back too original Dungeons & Dragons Kuntz & Ward's Gods, Demigods, and Heroes's Michael Moorcock Elric Mythos. The Pan Tangian warriors of OD&D are deadly; "PAN TANG WARRIORS Move etc. as men An army of fighters all able to fight with the ability of a 10th level fighter. These humans never check moral and ride a 6 legged reptile which stands 15 feet tall and moves 20" per turn." What made them deadly was two fold, one is that these warriors could show up anywhere and they were deadly tenth level fighters! 

During the Eighties in my uncle's original Dungeons & Dragons game campaigns we crossed swords with the Pan Tangians numerous times. And died at least three or more times. 

And one of the things that made the Pan Tangian armies so deadly was thier trained and Chaos tainted tigers. These tigers were always accompanying the warriors of Pan Tang; " FIGHTING TIGERS OF TANG Armor Class — 4 Fighter Ability: As Tigers Move: 19" Psionic Ability: Class 6 Hit Points These are 10 feet tall tigers able to bite for 4 (8-sided) dice of damage and claw for 3 (8-sided). They always appear beside the Pan Tang warriors, one to a mount."  My uncle's own 15 MM Pan Tangian army was our adventurer's bane through out or campaign and beyond. It wasn't until the 90's that we learnt that it was actually a Pan Tangian agent with his own private army of mercenaries who dogged our heels. In fact, in part three of   'The Madcap Laughs' were introduced to a hunch backed Pan Tangian sorcerer Ylastraraa Taar who has an agenda all of his own for the PC's. This NPC managed to survive the events of 'The Madcap Laughs' & then plague the PC's for more then a year of play.
That twisted little S.O.B. followed us from the Young Kingdoms to Greyhawk then across the Million Spheres! That slight could be traced back to our original Dungeons & Dragons Greyhawk folio campaign when we were doing guard duty for a trade caravan to Pan Tang.. That's right one NPC dogged our party for a whole two  year span from '89 through '91.  

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