Chapter 2: The Kampaign


Shao Kahn has invaded Earth with the help of Shang Tsung and his minions. Most of the souls of the world’s human population are now in Kahn’s possession, with a few exceptions: Nightwolf’s tribal lands, the village of Wuhu, the priests of the Order of Light, the members of the new Shaolin temple formed by Liu Kang and Kung Lao, a handful of other scattered humans, and many of the greatest fighters of our time.

The world is slowly becoming a shadow of the Outworld, as the two realms come closer and closer. The Outworld gods are taking the place of the ancient Earth gods and life, as we know it, is becoming twisted and warped.

But there is still hope. Shao Kahn’s invasion can never be complete without the total extermination of the human race, for as long as a single human remembers how the world used to be, the Mother Realm will not slip fully into his fell clutches. Those who remain are the most powerful fighters, the most mystical warriors.

The war begins in earnest, with humanity down, battered and bleeding, but not out. Thunder rolls in the distance. Warriors rise to the occasion. Battle is joined.

The time has come for … Mortal Konquest!


For all the time it was under the evil claw of Shang Tsung, the Mortal Kombat competition was held on the island known as Shimura, in the East China Sea. It was there, in a restored Shaolin temple at the foot of Mt. Takashi, that Shang Tsung and the Shokanite prince Goro presided over the tournament for hundreds of years.

Shimura is easily accessible by boat, but the island lies in an eerie area of swirling mists into which no sailor dares venture. Once inside the mist, the seas become preternaturally calm, and boats drift aimlessly until they either emerge into more hospitable weather or run aground on the rocky shoals which surround the island. Of the latter sailors, nothing is ever heard again.

While the competition was held on Shimura, kombatants were ferried to and from the island from an unmarked slip on the mainland. The flat, dragon-prowed boats, which moved under no visible means of propulsion, were tended by silent, hooded figures (actually revenants). Once on Shimura, kombatants were carried up Mt. Takashi on muleback, led by more hooded figures, until they reached the temple of Shang Tsung.

The island is a place of strange perspectives and shifting visions. Buildings which appear in perfect repair from a distance are revealed as shambled ruins up close; trees which appear straight and healthy from a distance become gnarled and dark as a traveler approaches. On the island itself the mists seem to abate, allowing crystal clarity of vision of anything on land, but nothing can be seen more than a dozen yards from shore.

In reality, Shimura corresponds with the location of Shao Kahn’s seat of power in the Outworld. The “distance” between the Mother Realm and the Outworld is less here than anywhere else, which is why Shang Tsung chose the island as the location to open the first portal, as well as gather souls to widen it. When the portal was widened enough (through the death of one of the original Mortal Kombatants) to allow Shao Kahn through, the great rent in the fabric of reality consumed the temple of Shang Tsung and caused the dormant Mt. Takashi to erupt explosively, spewing flame and ash for dozens of miles around. Shimura Island has the dubious honor of being the first place in the Mother Realm upon which Shao Kahn ever set foot.


When Shao Kahn managed to pass over from the Outworld, the barriers of reality sundered. Portals opened over the largest population areas of the Mother Realm and vomited forth the horrid energies of the netherworld. Within moments, almost all the souls of the Mother Realm had been “reaped” by Shao Kahn.

The portals appear as huge “twists” in space, perspective swirling into the depths of infinity, occasionally lit by a crackle of otherworldly energy. Some are barely large enough for a single human to pass through; others are tremendous holes a quarter-mile across. It has been said that looking into the depths of the larger portals will drive a human insane (an Int challenge against a difficulty of 0; failure brings on temporary gibbering catatonia, lasting until the end of the scene).

Closing a portal is possible, but very difficult, requiring all creatures that passed through the portal be returned to its world of origin (alive or dead), after which a special phrase must be spoken. Note that a portal may not be closed while something that traveled through it is in the Mother Realm (or the Outworld, if it came from the other end; yes, portals can be opened in that direction too).

The phrase which closes a portal is actually the reverse of the spell used to open it. The phrasing of the spell can be gleaned in several ways. Perhaps the simplest method is to extract it from the being which opened the portal in the first place, through trickery or intimidation. However, many portals are opened by Shadow Priests who do not subsequently pass through, or by a being which is killed in the fracas which follows the opening. The phrase can also be deduced through study of the portal by someone who understands how such things are created (requiring the descriptor “Mystical” or something similar). Using this method increases the difficulty of closing the portal, however. Finally, it is rumored that a portal may be closed by speaking the Locus, the complete magical formula upon which all portal spells are based. Whether or not the Locus even exists is open to debate; there is no reliable report of such a text ever being found in the Mother Realm.

The difficulty of speaking the closing phrase properly is equal to the Intelligence of the being which opened the portal, +3 (+8 if the exact wording is unknown). If the exact phrase is written down and read backwards by rote, the difficulty is only equal to the Intelligence of the opener. All tests are made against the Intelligence of the closing character.


The Outworld is a dimension parallel to the Mother Realm, formed, according to legend, by the death of P’an Ku, the god from whose body the world was created. Thus were the eternal yin and yang completed; where there is life (the Mother Realm), so there is death (the Outworld). Note, however, that the Outworld is not the realm of the dead, nor the dimension of T’ien where many of the younger gods reside. Rather, it is essentially a manifestation of the “soul” of P’an Ku, a mystical and changeable place subject to the whims of its ruler.

Whether or not these legends are true, the Outworld does seem to reflect whoever rules it at the time. In the time before the coming of Shao Kahn, the Outworld was ruled by King Jerrod. In his kingdom of Edenia, the Outworld had a pastoral, almost dreamlike quality, and many of its inhabitants were content to live and work in serenity. However, this peaceful existence grated to some, particularly the warlike Shokanites in their underground lairs. So when a powerful figure appeared and promised them a target for their bloodlust, they gladly followed him. At this mysterious, black-robed figure’s bidding, the Shokanites poured from the mountains like a black flood, ravaging everything in their path. The peaceable inhabitants never stood a chance in the initial assault.

Jerrod, hearing of the invasion, sent forth an army of Centaurians. The two forces clashed for the first time on the huge Xinzang Plains, and the Outworld shuddered. Greatly outnumbered, the Centaurians still managed to hold off waves of Shokanite attackers.

As the battle raged, Jerrod concentrated more and more of his power on aiding his Centaurian defenders, while allowing the wards which protected his palace to weaken. It was an easy matter, then, for the dark-robed figure to enter the palace with a few simple illusions and butcher Jerrod’s wives and children in their sleep. Then, as Jerrod cried out in anguish to see his family’s remains strewn about the room, the robed figure struck him down with a single blow from behind. Using a magical formula of his own devising, the unrobed Shao Kahn stole Jerrod’s soul and power.

For his first act, Shao Kahn banished the Centaurians to the deep forests and caused them to forget everything they ever knew, forcing them to build their society over from the beginning. Then he got down to the business of remaking the Outworld in an image more suitable to his desires.

In the millennia since, the Outworld has become dark and twisted. The sky is a miasma of lurid pink and yellow vapors, beating down with unnatural heat one moment, blowing with icy winds the next; the sun, if there is one, is never visible. At night, stinking grey clouds writhe, lit only by the great funeral pyres which dot the Xinzang Plains, in which the bodies of Jerrod’s defenders are ensorcelled to burn for all eternity. The forests are dark and rank with the smell of decay. It is a custom of Shao Kahn to send the defeated souls of his enemies into the bodies of trees, where they moan in agony through fearsome faces carved into the boles. Great jagged chasms have opened across the surface of the world which can only be crossed by thin bridges supported by magic. To fall from these spans is certain death.

The climate in the Outworld is exaggerated, depending on the terrain. Deserts glow with heat, and in many places the top layer of sand has fused into a thin coat of glass. Forests are dark and humid places, where huge black birds flap clumsily through barren branches. Storms scuttle across plains, dumping monsoon-like rain and hail on the sickly crops. In the far reaches, glaciers loom over oceans of black fire, freezing everything. Mountainous areas tremble with volcanic activity; choking soot is omnipresent. No matter where a traveler may go in the Outworld, the air always smells vaguely of sulphur and charred meat.

At the center of the Outworld is the grand palace of Shao Kahn, a magnificent edifice standing in a plain of eternal flame. The palace is built in a style reminiscent of ancient Roman and Egyptian architecture, and includes an enormous courtyard-arena at its center. There Kahn (and an audience of thousands) may watch, or even participate in, kombats. Kahn usually leaves public kombats to his personal champion Kintaro, however.


The first phase of the Outworld invasion was over within moments, with 99% of the souls of humanity in Shao Kahn’s clutches. The bodies of this unlucky percentage collapsed where they stood, but did not die; instead, over the course of several hours, they slowly grew translucent, then transparent, before mysteriously vanishing from the Mother Realm. No one is certain where the bodies disappeared to, though many theories have been put forth by the survivors. Some say the bodies were pulled into the Outworld, to bolster Shao Kahn’s army of revenants. Others believe the bodies were removed to the realm of T’ien by the gods before their power waned entirely, to prevent Kahn from doing just that. Yet others have postulated that, without their souls to hold them together, the bodies simply discorporated.

The remaining members of humanity had little time to wonder before the second phase of the invasion began. Portals disgorged Kahn’s extermination squads, which swept like an evil wave across the surface of the world to finish off the survivors and complete Kahn’s victory. A few squads were armed with mystical weapons which could temporarily absorb the soul of any being which was killed by them, but these beautiful blue-green blades were rarely used; they had a tendency to shatter easily, bringing Kahn’s wrath down upon the unlucky soldier wielding a rare weapon so carelessly.

In truth, Kahn isn’t worried about gathering the paltry few million souls remaining as much as “cleansing” the Mother Realm of all native intelligence so he can remake it in his own image. In the intervening months, the extermination squads have butchered the remainder down to fewer than 100,000 worldwide, who survive by keeping their heads down. It is rumored that Kahn is developing a spell by which one could detect any humans within miles of the caster. If this spell is completed, the days of humanity are truly numbered.

Even with some humans remaining, though, the transformation has already begun. Chill winds howl through the eerie, deserted skyscrapers of big cities. Portals hang in the skies, swirling slowly, crackling with unworldly power. Formerly fertile farmland is wasting away, crops turning yellow and brittle. Animals have begun to revert to their primitive feral states, and herds of beasts long thought extinct have been rumored roaming the newly deserted prairies. Trees which had been lush and green are becoming dark, blasted things, black leaves stretching up to the grey of a constantly overcast sky. In some cities, electric lights still burn, but the light is cold and sterile. People feel unwelcome even in their own homes or hiding places, and the skin crawls. Rain, when it comes, has a faint odor of burning rubber and tastes slightly acidic. The sun is rarely seen; the moon rises blood-red, always full.


The Mortal Konquest™ universe is warped and desperate, as the few remaining humans of the Mother Realm fight for their lives against horrible odds. Consequently, the KM should play up the beleaguered status of the people and the Realm itself. Sprinkling images like the following in Mother Realm descriptions works well to convey “mood”:

  • Lawns of once-lush grass, now turned brown and crunchy underfoot.
  • A smoking pit which, upon inspection, is revealed as a deep crater with a few blackened bone fragments at its center.
  • A marble statue, formerly of a general on a horse, now so twisted and fused no one can tell where man ends and horse begins.
  • Houses demolished by jagged chunks of obsidian which have erupted straight up from underneath.
  • A graveyard where the earth has been torn apart, and shattered crypts and caskets strewn about.
  • Bloody messages written on walls or the ground, in a language no PC knows.
  • A mysterious cloud on the horizon; is it an approaching dust storm or an extermination squad hard on their trail?


The Mortal Konquest™ world is not just made up of demons, mystics and fighters. The masses of Mother Realm humans and Outworld beings will often come into play as well.


An average Homo sapiens, either male or female. After the Outworld invasion, normal humans have become a very endangered species, though a few pockets still exist, hiding from Shao Kahn’s roaming extermination squads. Note: Typical humans can only use the Punch and Kick maneuvers, but their weapon use is unrestricted.

Descriptors: Frightened +3, Angry +2

Str 3 Agl 3 Spd 3 Int 3 Bod 10 Chi 0

Special Moves: None

Lin Kuei Ninja

The ninja order of the Lin Kuei, which has boasted Sub Zero, Scorpion, Cyrax, Smoke and Sektor as members at one time or another, is an ancient one. Typically, they “recruit” new members by kidnapping children, then forcing them through grueling physical tests approaching torture. Those who survive this “training” are taught the ninja skills of stealth, intimidation, and patience, plus a melange of other skills so they may blend in with any society, for years if need be. Lin Kuei are unusual among ninja in that they teach techniques by which a member may use Chi.

Descriptors: Ninja +3, Well-Rounded +2

Str 5 Agl 5 Spd 4 Int 4 Bod 20 Chi 3

Special Moves: One (Any)

Mercenary (Criminal)

These blackhearted rogues are typically found in the employ of criminal empires or “subcontractors” (like the Black Dragon Society headed by Kano). Thugs and hired guns, mercenaries are still capable of limited loyalty, though only until a higher bidder comes along. While mercenaries do not have Chi per se, they are normally equipped with artifact weapons.

Descriptors: Mercenary +3, Cheater +2

Str 5 Agl 4 Spd 3 Int 2 Bod 19 Chi 0

Special Moves:

AK-47 Rifle (Artifact)
Spd: 5
Str: 5
Range: Long
Charges: 6

Shaolin Disciple

A young monk, just beginning the journey to enlightenment. He or she has discovered the power of Chi, but has yet to learn how to focus the mystical energy. Once accepted into the Shaolin order, a disciple is required to shave his or her head and wear the traditional orange robe of the neophyte, as well as make vows of poverty and honor. The disciple is usually encouraged to attend fighting matches (including the Mortal Kombat tournament) and study the styles of the participants. Note: Shaolin disciples can only use the Punch, Kick, and Sweep maneuvers, and are prohibited from using bladed weapons in kombat.

Descriptors: Honorable +2, Naive +3

Str 3 Agl 4 Spd 4 Int 3 Bod 15 Chi 2

Special Moves: None

Shaolin Monk

This is an average Shaolin monk, who may or may not be a member of the Order of Light which reveres Rayden. A Shaolin will protect the innocent, and usually will only use fighting skills if no other recourse is available. In the face of greater evil, however, they will not hesitate to strike preemptively. Shaolin monks have learned to focus their Chi, and most have mastered a single technique (special move). Note: Shaolin monks may not use the Uppercut maneuver in kombat.

Descriptors: Honorable +3, Learned +2

Str 4 Agl 5 Spd 5 Int 4 Bod 20 Chi 4

Special Moves: One (Any)

Special Forces Agent

This is a typical member of the Special Forces agency of any developed country. Maj. Jackson Briggs (aka Jax) and Lt. Sonya Blade were both United States Special Forces agents before the Outworld invasion began. While normal agents do not have Chi per se, they usually have access to artifacts (i.e. guns) and other gear depending on the situation.

Descriptors: Military +3, Well-Equipped +2

Str 4 Agl 4 Spd 5 Int 5 Bod 18 Chi 0

Special Moves:

M-16 Rifle (Artifact)
Spd: 3
Str: 7
Range: Long
Charges: 6



Centaurians, half human, half horse, live in the dark Outworld forests of Huishai province. There they gather in loose warrior clans and take delight in bloody skirmishes among their own kind. The decentralized organization of Centaurian society, coupled with their aimless savagery, kept the Centaurians beneath Shao Kahn’s notice (in favor of the better-organized and consequently more easily controlled Shokanites) until the invasion of the Mother Realm was imminent. Kahn has recruited Centaurian clans into his ranks, much to the chagrin of their enemies the Shokanites. The promotion of Motaro to lead the extermination squads has sparked a new Centaurian interest in Outworld politics. Centaurians are omnivorous, subsisting mostly on roots or small birds.

Descriptors: Warlike +3, Equine +2

Str 6 Agl 4 Spd 5 Int 3 Bod 25 Chi 4

Special Moves:

Energy Blast
Spd: 6
Str: 6
Range: Short

Gairen (Nomadic Mutant)

These twisted humanoids wander the smoky and barren region of Shitou-Keng. This location was once a rich and verdant plain until the people dared rise up in rebellion against Shao Kahn; in retribution, the armies of Kahn blasted the entire province down to bedrock and cursed the (very few) survivors to suffer the mutagenic effects of the conflagration. Over the aeons, the Gairen have become savage marauders with raw metal for bones. The Gairen are characterized by an elongated skull, sharp interlocking teeth, and dimly glowing eyes. Many have crude blades magically grafted into their metallic skeletons. Recently, Shao Kahn has recruited some of the Gairen as priests of his bloody religion.

Descriptors: Nomad +3, Disgusting +2

Str 5 Agl 4 Spd 3 Int 2 Bod 23 Chi 4

Special Moves:
Blade Attack
Spd: 6
Str: +4
Range: None

Guard, Typical

These are the unemotional guards who escort fighters to and from Mortal Kombat competitions, guard prisoners, line the walls at ceremonial functions, and otherwise serve as cannon fodder for kombative PCs. They are apparently human, though quite muscular, and seem to all be male. Their faces are hidden behind grey metallic masks which are pointed at the chin and sweep up on either side of the head in a shape reminiscent of the Egyptian god Anubis, lord of the dead. Most guards are trained in the use of pikestaffs and other polearms. Note: Guards may not use the Air Punch or Air Kick maneuvers.

Descriptors: Stoic +3, Unreadable +2

Str 5 Agl 4 Spd 5 Int 3 Body 20 Chi 0

Special Moves: None


The mindless animated remains of a human body whose soul has been removed for Shao Kahn’s nefarious purposes. Revenants must be torn apart piece by piece to be destroyed (reflected in their high Body stat). Revenants will only obey the command of their masters, and possess no skills. Note: Revenants can only use the Punch maneuver or melee weapons in combat.

Descriptors: Single-Minded +15

Str 3 Agl 1 Spd 3 Int 0 Bod 20 Chi 0

Special Moves: None


Salinas appear as a cross between humans and apes. They stand barely four feet tall, but are broad-built and strong for their size. Salinas are often summoned by Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung as grunt laborers. Salinas are barely intelligent and unable to speak, though they can understand simple commands. Note: Salinas can only use the Punch or Kick maneuvers in combat, and rarely use melee weapons; when they do use weapons, they prefer polearms.

Descriptors: Broad Back +3, Apelike +2

Str 3 Agl 3 Spd 3 Int 1 Bod 16 Chi 0

Special Moves: None

Shadow Priest

The Shadow Priests are a common sight throughout the Outworld as they spread the word of Shao Kahn’s religion. Physically humanoid, they wear heavy cowled robes which hide the terrible effects of their induction into Kahn’s order: ritual branding across the eyes, leaving deep angular scars on their faces and black pits where their eyes once were. Shadow Priests are not inconvenienced by the blinding, however, using mystical senses which make them more perceptive than many who can see. The color of a Shadow Priest’s robe indicates its rank in the order: green for acolytes, red for initiates, purple for elders and pure depthless black for Shao Kahn’s Grand Circle.

Descriptors: Mystical +3, Perceptive +2

Str 3 Agl 5 Spd 4 Int 6 Bod 18 Chi 6

Special Moves:

Spd: 8
Str: 0
Range: None
Note: Opponents are at +2 to their rolls to strike a levitating Shadow Priest. The effect lasts until the priest is struck in kombat. A levitating priest may only move 1 Range per turn.


These four-armed, semi-humanoid creatures roam the volcanic caverns which lace the mountains of the Outworld province of Shokan. Carnivorous predators, they subsist mostly on live reptiles, rat-like mammals, and giant insects indigenous to the Shokan mountains. Shokanites are normally about 8′ tall and thickly muscled, though some specimens are smaller and whipcord-thin. As a race, their appearance tends to be more varied than humans, ranging from hairless skin of most any color to a thick coating of fur patterned like an animal’s pelt. Shokanites are renowned as great fighters and have long been favorites of Shao Kahn. However, Kahn’s recent promotion of a Centaurian, the Shokanites’ bitter rivals, to lead his extermination squads has caused a ripple of disquiet among the Shokanite citizenry.

Descriptors: Fierce +2, Proud +3

Str 7 Agl 4 Spd 4 Int 4 Body 25 Chi 4

Special Moves:

Spd: 4
Str: 6
Range: Medium
ee: Fire