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Ra’s al Ghul

Ra’s al Ghul, sometimes written Ra-‘s al Ghu-l (pronounced as Raesh Al Ghoul), is a DC Comics supervillain, and an enemy of Batman. His name is Arabic for “The ghoul’s head” (the Demon’s Head). He has been described as a “James Bond”-style villain, created as a response to the popularity of James Bond during the previous decade and to give Batman a more epic scope and enemy. Given the grand scale of his plans, he has also come into conflict with Superman and other DC Comics superheroes.

Abilities and agenda

Ra's Al Ghul
Ra’s al Ghul in Countdown to Final Crisis #4. Art by Chiff Chiang.

Ra’s al Ghul was several centuries old before he ever encountered Batman. Replenishing his aged, injured, or dead body by bathing in the Lazarus Pit, Ra’s al Ghul has survived through the centuries, all the while accumulating wealth, knowledge, and power. Ra’s is a criminal and scientific genius, particularly in the field of alchemy. He also rivals Batman in hand-to-hand combat and sword fighting and was one of the League of Assassins’ leaders. He is always accompanied by a servant known as Ubu, who is also an especially dangerous fighter. Rather than being a single individual, Ubu is actually a title held by a line of replaceable servants.

One of the side effects of the Lazarus Pit is that the person emerges temporarily insane. It has been implied that repeated use of the Lazarus Pit could have lasting effects. No one has used as many Lazarus Pits as Ra’s.

Ra’s goal is a world in perfect environmental balance, a goal he will achieve at any cost. He believes that the best way to do so is to eliminate most of humanity. That he has the means to achieve his goal makes him extremely dangerous and brings him into frequent conflict with Batman. Ra’s usually tries to assault the world’s human populace with a biological weapon, such as a genetically-engineered virus.

Ra’s is among Batman’s most formidable foes. Not only can he physically and mentally challenge “the Detective” (the name by which Ra’s always refers to Batman), but he has also deduced Batman’s secret identity (in his first appearance, he realized  that Batman would need to possess certain equipment, and research revealed that Bruce Wayne alone bought what Batman would need).

Ra’s stands 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) in height and weighs 215 lbs (98 kg).

Early life

Ra’s al Ghul was born between six to seven hundred years ago to a tribe of nomads in a desert somewhere in Arabia, near a city whose inhabitants’ ancestors had journeyed to the Arabian Peninsula from China. Ra’s al Ghul was interested in science from an early age. Unable to learn any science living as a nomad, he abandoned his tribe to live in the city, where he could conduct his scientific research. He became a physician and married a woman named Sora, the love of his life.

Ra’s al Ghul discovered the secret of the Lazarus Pit, and he saved a dying prince by lowering him into it. The prince, who was sadistic to begin with, was driven completely insane by the Lazarus Pit. He proceeded to strangle Sora, on whom he had already had his eye for some time. The ruler of the city, unwilling to admit to himself his son’s culpability, declared Ra’s guilty of the crime and sentenced him to a slow and torturous death in a cage with Sora’s corpse.

Ra’s al Ghul was set free by the son of an elderly blind woman, despite having failed to save her. The son felt he owed Ra’s a debt for having eased his mother’s suffering during her last few hours. Ra’s and the son headed into the desert to seek the tribe that Ra’s had been born into. Ra’s convinced the head of his tribe, his uncle, to follow Ra’s in his quest for revenge by promising the downfall of the king of the city. By understanding the germ theory of disease hundreds of years before anyone else did, Ra’s was able to infect the prince with a deadly virus by sending him contaminated fabrics. When the ruler of the city came to ask Ra’s to cure the prince again, Ra’s killed both him and his son. Ra’s then led his tribe to raze the city to the ground and kill all of its inhabitants.

Subsequently, Ra’s declared himself the “Demon’s Head.”

Building an empire

Ra’s al Ghul spent the next several centuries journeying the world. During this time, Ra’s al Ghul’s, his uncle, and the boy had all been using the Lazarus Pits to prolong their lives until an incident in London. Ra’s caught the boy writing his own memoirs in their original language, of which Ra’s had forbidden all records. During a battle, Ra’s killed the boy and fled to a Lazarus Pit, which he used. When he returned to their home in London, his uncle had vanished with the remnants of their historical records.

Over time, he would become a master of many forms of combat, notably fencing. He also built up vast wealth and created The Demon, a vast international organization. According to Justice League of America (1st series) #94, “It has been whispered in the darkest places for 500 years that a cartel of criminals has slowly sucked its way into the rich veins of the Earth. Many are its names spit from the mouths of men, but most often it is cursed only as …The Demon. It has a leader … a Head.” The League of Assassins, one of the many smaller organizations making up The Demon, is thus sometimes called “The Demon’s Fang” or “Demonfang”.

Originally Posted by Kain Darkwind of the Dicefreaks forums.

On this Thread

Ra’s al Ghul
Medium humanoid
Hit Dice26d8+104 (221 hp)
Speed30 ft.
AC25 (+11 defense, +4 Dexterity) touch 25, flat footed 10
Base Attack/Grapple+26/+29
Attackmasterwork Scimitar +39 melee (1d6+8 18-20/x2 and 2 Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution)
Full Attackmasterwork Scimitar +39/+34/+29/+24 melee (1d6+8 18-20/x2 and 2 Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution)
Space/Reach5 ft. /5 ft.
Special AttacksMaster Swordman
Special QualitiesAges of Experience, Lazrarus Pit, Mortalis
SavesFort +19, Ref +19, Will +25
AbilitiesStrength 17, Dexterity 18, Constitution 19, Intelligence 25, Wisdom 18, Charisma 23
SkillsAppraise +37 (+39 weaponry), Balance +21, Bluff +49, Craft (alchemy) +37, Craft (weaponry) +32, Climb +18, Decipher Script +25, Diplomacy +45, Disable Device +22, Disguise +45 (+34 acting), Escape Artist +24 (+26 w/ rope), Forgery +32, Gather Information +51, Handle Animal +31, Heal +46, Hide +19, Intimidate +44, Jump +20, Knowledge (arcana) +22, Knowledge (history) +46, Knowledge (local: Middle East) +27, Knowledge (nature) +46, Knowledge (nobility) +33, Knowledge (religion) +24, Listen +23, Move Silently +29, Ride +19, Sense Motive +43, Search +22, Sleight of Hand +15, Spot +23, Survival +24 (+28 above ground, Tracking), Swim +15, Tumble +21, Use Magic Device +21
FeatsCombat Expertise, Improved Combat Expertise, Improved DisarmImproved Feint, Improved Unarmed Strike, Iron Will, Leadership, Skill Focus (Heal)
Epic FeatsEpic ReputationEpic Will
Climate/TerrainMiddle East
OrganizationSolitary (Unique) or with League of Assassins
TreasureQuintuple Standard
AlignmentLawful Evil

Master Swordman When armed with any one handed blade (longsword, Scimitar, rapier), Ra’s al Ghul gains the following combat benefits.

  • +5 competence bonus to attack and damage rolls. (Included in the stats above)
  • +2 competence bonus to disarm rolls.
  • +2 Dodge bonus to Armor Class while using Combat Expertise, full defense, or fighting defensively.

Precise Critical When Ra’s scores a critical hit, the opponent takes 2 points of Strength, Dexterity and Constitution damage.

Ultimate Finesse Ra’s adds his Dexterity modifier to his attack rolls in addition to his Strength modifier.

Ages of Experience Ra’s Al Ghul has lived for over 600 years. He receives the following:

  • Full base attack bonus
  • Moderate defense bonus
  • All good saves
  • 8 + Intelligence modifier skill points per level
  • +10 competence bonus to all skill checks

Ra’s may attempt untrained skill checks, even those which are trained only, as if he possessed ranks in the skill, however, he does not receive his +10 competence bonus on such checks.

Lazarus Pit Immersion of a dead body in the Lazarus pit causes it to return to life, fully healed, as per the spell true ressurection. Immediately afterwards, the patient gains a +8 enhancement bonus to Strength and Constitution, a -8 penalty to Wisdom, and is murderously insane, recognizing neither friend nor foe. Both the madness and the might slowly decrease, at a rate of 1 point per day until they are completely gone on the eighth day.

The Lazarus Pit removes all pre-existing penalties to physical ability scores, including ability damage, ability drain, and aging penalties.

Mortalis Despite repeated uses of the Lazarus Pit, Ra’s Al Ghul is slowly dying. After the madness from the Pit fades, Al Ghul must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 25) or lose 1 point of Constitution. He must makes this saving throw yearly, and every ten years the DC increases by 1. Should Al Ghul fail two saving throws in a row, he begins making the save monthly. Should he fail two monthly saving throws in a row, he begins making the save weekly. Should he fail two weekly saves, he begins making the save daily. Ra’s Al Ghul dies once he reaches 0 Constitution, at which point his followers lower him into the Pit to begin his renewal all over again.

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