By David Kuijt
The Shaolin Temple has existed for thousands of years. It is a Buddhist temple, established soon after the arrival of Buddhism in China. During its long history the temple has often come into conflict with the Emperors of China, who see a powerful and respected group outside their control as a rival to their power. Worse still, the powerful monks of the Shaolin Temple are mighty warriors, and their Masters are capable of fighting many hundreds of soldiers by themselves. An independent military force of such capability is always a matter of concern to the Emperor, especially when the Temple becomes embroiled in politics, or when the Emperor attempts to gain control over the Temple.
This conflict has sometimes been resolved without conflict, and sometimes the Temple has been able to defeat or shame the armies of the Emperor sufficiently to sustain its independence, but other times the Temple has been forced to accept Imperial control. In these conflicts the Temple has been destroyed several times, and its masters slain or dispersed. Even when defeated, the Shaolin Temple has always been rebuilt, in a few years or a generation.
As described above, the Shaolin Monastery has found itself both opposing and allied with Imperial Chinese forces since its founding in the 5th century A.D. In addition, the Shaolin often find themselves confronted by Supernatural forces and rival Monastic or Martial Arts forces.
Home Topography: the Shaolin Temple in Henan province, central China.
The following are masters of various Wu-Shu techniques who can be found fighting to defend the Shaolin Temple. Click on most images to get a larger picture.
Young Master: The most dominant fighter of his generation, and the most promising student of the Old Master. A hotheaded, promising student who became the youngest Wu-Shu master in a hundred years. HOTT: Hero
Hsien-Chi: Master of Nunchaku techniques. His Wu-Shu techniques and ferocity are legendary. He is known as Thousand-fighter, although his aggression can get him into trouble. HOTT: Warband
Chen Su-li: Female students are rare in the Shaolin Temple, but Su-li has mastered the art of the Bow, including the Unerring Shot, Thousand Points of Death, and Ghost Shot techniques. In addition, her Wu-Shu is strong, and she can defend herself effectively if forced to hand to hand combat. HOTT: Shooter
Ember: Another female student, the most promising specialist in Bo staff seen in many years. Her whirling Wu-Shu techniques give her a defence that few can best, and she specializes in fighting against mounted or unusual opponents. HOTT: Spear
Niemansu: A shugenja of Earth techniques, also adept in sword fighting. Hot-tempered and proud, although kind to the weak. HOTT: Warband
Hanku Redbeard: Master of the Ironfist technique, and the physically
strongest warrior of the Shaolin temple. Hanku is a good-natured fellow,
and likes to drink, but when his temper is up, watch out.
Grunch: All races are welcome at the Shaolin Temple. Grunch is a
half-orc, driven out by his own people because he was a pacifist. He has
found a home at the Temple, and will defend it fiercely; his mild ways
hide a powerful mastery of many unarmed techniques. His Wu-Shu is strong.
Eyantholi: Adept with Sai. She speaks little, and to the point.
Rachu-Nik: Stature is not the measure of a warrior. Rachu-Nik is
a kobold. His Wu-Shu is strong, and he has mastered arts of movement
unseen and ambush that leave other fighters of the Temple awestruck. Or
sometimes struck in other ways, for Rachu-Nik is a jokester, and can
disappear as quickly and as suddenly as he appeared.
Doorward: None know his race, or his age - the Doorward of the Temple has been there, serving quietly, longer than any of the students. He is still a dominant fighter, and his Wu-Shu is strong. None pass the doors of the Temple without convincing him, one way or another, that their purpose is firm. HOTT: Warband
Chao Feng Mei: Master of the Tiger Transformation, Feng Mei
fights not only with the strength and speed of a tiger, but in the form
of one as well. His speed and ferocity overmatch all others in the Temple,
with the exception of the Young Master, who is his close friend.
Girhedry Sworddancer: Last of the great female students of the Temple, and perhaps most adept. Master of the Whirling Steel technique, she is as fleet of foot as the Young Master, and often fights by his side. HOTT: Rider
Old Master Feng: The Shaolin Master himself. Like many old Masters,
Feng rarely fights any more except to illustrate techniques. His Wu-Shu is
still very strong, though, and he knows more about the powers of the mind
and spirit than any other. He will fight if he is forced to do so, and
he commands the Temple Guard. Although they are not masters of
Wu-Shu techniques, their skills are significant.
HOTT: Cleric, or possibly Paladin (Master Feng)
HOTT: Spear (Temple Guard)
All the figures shown are DDM plastics, mostly unmodified. I've done a bit of repainting on a few figures (fixing hairlines and adding eyebrows), but mostly the DDM figures come as shown. The original staff held by "Ember, Human Monk" was too small and poorly held, so I cut it off and added a nice straight one of brass wire.
Most of the figures shown are relatively inexpensive if bought individually through various DDM online sellers. The cost of the whole army is less than $20.
Page created November 30, 2008.
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