Ramtha Karn


Real Name: Ramtha Karn

Identity/Class: Human mutate, magic user (Hyborian Era)

Occupation: None

Group Membership: None;

formerly Aquilonian army

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Conan, Palus, Siddhara

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Castle in the hills of Corinthia

First Appearance: Savage Sword of Conan#174 (June, 1990)

Powers/Abilities: Ramtha Karn's body was mutated by a red magical stone; this prolonged his life and he lived for centuries. He became taller, standing under 3 meters, and he was not affected by wounds or fire. His physical strength was also greater than any normal man. 



(Savage Sword of Conan#174 (fb)) - Ramtha Karn was a deserter of the Aquilonian army. While fleeing in the swamps of Kush, his company met a great lizard, a dinosaur, and all but Karn were killed by the beast. Although Karn survived, he was severely wounded. Out of hunger or madness, Karn tore open the chest of the lizard and found a red stone just near its heart. The touch of the stone immediately healed his wounds. Karn found another six red stones in the dinosaur's chest, all with the same healing, protective properties. He soon learnt that the stones healed even the most dreadful wound but that they lost their power if used too much. However, the stones' power could be replenished by using human blood!


Ramtha Karn's castle and labrynth(Savage Sword of Conan#174 (fb) - BTS) - Ramtha Karn sold one of the stones, and with the wealth derived from this, built a fort in the hills of Corinthia and a labyrinth around it. Traps were incorporated, including a large glass snake and two-headed wolves protected the stones, collecting blood to feed the stones.


Ramtha Karn aflame   In the following six centuries, Ramtha Karn used the power of the stones to prolong his life. Four stones were drained of their power for Ramtha's use. Ramtha became taller, greater, stronger, and almost immune to any wound or disease.


   In the meantime, Siddhara, a young woman, had discovered the stone sold by Karn centuries before and used it to sustain her youth and beauty. Three times Siddhara secretly sent thieves to steal the other stones, but they failed, killed by Ramtha's maze or by himself. Ramtha tortured them and used their blood to feed the stones.


(Savage Sword of Conan#174) - Years later, Conan and Palus, sent by Siddhara after being lured by Lorando, managed to reach the castle after crossing the dangerous maze. They  reached one of the stones, learning its secret while it was absorbing blood. Ramtha Karn, being far stronger, easily captured them. 


    Karn ruthlessly tortured Palus, slowly letting his blood feed one of the remaining stones. He wanted to do the same with Conan, but the young barbarian succeeded in freeing himself, after having put Karn aflame. The fire which enveloped Ramtha Karn was only a distraction, the wounds caused by the flames were immediately healed by the red stone pendant he had on his chest. Far stronger than Conan his victory seemed certain, but, following Palus' suggestion, the Cimmerian shattered the pendant-stone. All the years and injuries from which the red stone had protected Karn fell upon him. In a matter of just a few seconds, his body decayed into dust. The only remaining stone was used by Conan to cure the dying Palus.


Comments: Created by Gerry Conway (writer), Mike Clark, Brad Vancata & Joe Rosas/Mickey Ritter (pencils) and Alfredo Alcala (inks).

The fact that the stones were found near the heart of a dinosaur led me to believe that the stones also fed from other kinds of blood, and that their healing factor didn't work with animals.

The story takes place right before "The Tower of the Elephant" told in Savage Sword of Conan#24/Conan the Barbarian I#4.

There are strong similarities between Ramtha Karn and Ulysses Bloodstone:

Profile by Spidermay.

Ramtha Karn and his red stones have no known connections to

Siddhara, Palus and Lorando have no known connections to

The glass snakes have no known connections to

The giant glass snake strikes!Glass snake

The glass snake was a magical item. It acted as a guard protecting Siddhara's treasures and was part of a test for any thieves who had made it that far. There were two glass snakes, the larger lay on a big coffin, while the smaller was the jewel that the thief was supposed to steal. The greater one remained still until someone grabbed the smaller one, which was in fact warm to the touch. The great glass snake could move as a real serpent and also hissed like one. Its skin was harder than steel but was sensitive to fire.

    The great glass snake attacked Conan when he touched the smaller jewel snake, but Conan managed to dodge its assaults and put it on fire before running out of the treasure room. 

--Savage Sword of Conan#174


Lorando was a Nemedian merchant. He was paid by Siddhara to spread a false tale about a merchant named Cracius, describing his riches, in order to lure thieves to Siddhara's house. In the tavern, "The Bull and the Boar", Lorando told his lie to Conan, who shortly after went to steal the jewel-serpent.


--Savage Sword of Conan#174



Palus was a normal man with the training of an officer of the Turanian army. In Akif, Palus was a newly commissioned officer of the Turanian army, but unfortunately met Siddhara and was seduced by her. He killed his master and stole his red stone to give to Siddhara. He followed her from town to town, protecting and loving her, while years passed and Siddhara used the red stone only for herself. He understood that Siddhara didn't love him, but he stayed with her because he still loved her. Palus and his men went to Ramtha Karn's castle with Conan to steal the other six red stones. The henchmen were soon killed by the labyrinth's traps. Palus managed to keep up with Conan and they walked on the walls of the labyrinth, climbed the sharp spikes on the castle and killed the two-headed wolves that guarded the red stones. They learnt that the red stones were fuelled by human blood but the two were tackled by Ramtha Karn, who easily felled them both. Palus was tortured nearly to death, and his blood was absorbed by one of the red stones. However, Conan managed to free himself and kill Karn. He then used the only remaining stone to heal Palus. Days later, Palus remained hidden while Siddhara confessed to Conan that she had used Palus for 30 years. Palus left her and went to Turan to join the army.

--Savage Sword of Conan#174

One of the red stones

Red stones

The red stones were magic items of  unknown origin. Their shape and dimensions were similar to ostrich eggs. They had a healing power which worked on wounds, healed burned flesh and even stopped aging. However, prolonged use of the gem on a single person could cause that person to mutate to become heavier, taller and stronger. The healing factor of such a person became so fast that it could immediately heal the wounds if the person was very near to the stone and not even touching it. In general, the stone could heal if touched for several seconds. However, their power was not infinite. The more they were used, the more they lost their ability to heal and their ruby color faded. The stones' properties could be replenished by feeding them with human blood, but after centuries of use, not even blood could restore their abilities and the stone would stop functioning.

    The stones were first found by Ramtha Karn in the chest of a dinosaur, near its heart. Ramtha Karn sold one of the gems, but kept the other six for himself. About six centuries later, four of those gems had been drained of their power. The other two were sometime refuelled by Karn with the blood of those thieves who tried to steal his stones. Meanwhile, the other stone had passed to a Turanian officer. It was stolen by Palus and given to Siddhara who, over about 30 years, exhausted its power.

    The stone that Karn kept as a pendant was shattered by Conan. Karn's life was so strongly linked to the stone that he died almost instantly with its destruction. The last stone lay in Karn's castle. It was used and completely exhausted by Conan in order to heal Palus.

--Savage Sword of Conan#174



Siddhara was a normal woman from Vendhya, but had been mutated by the power of a red stone. She learnt of the properties of one of the red stones. She managed to be introduced to the owner of one, a general, and also seduced Palus, a young officer, manipulating him so that he would steal the red stone for her. Palus stole the stone but killed the general, who had been a master and mentor for him. The two then fled and kept moving from town to town.

    Thirty years passed during which Siddhara used the red stone to preserve her beauty and youth, using Palus' love for her egoistic purposes. Palus became her protector but aged normally, and was her lover no more. Knowing that the healing/restoring power of her red stone was fading, Siddhara had three thieves attempt to steal one or all the stones from Ramtha Karn's castle, but she did not tell this to Palus. Each of the thieves failed. Siddhara aged

    With her stone now almost white for its lack of "life", Siddhara decided to hire another thief. Palus suggested hiring Taurus, the Prince of Thieves, but Siddhara set up a trap to capture a thief that suited her purposes. She paid Lorando, a merchant, to spread a tale to lure thieves to her house. One night, Conan was able to sneak into Siddhara's house, managed to destroy a giant glass snake and was captured by the guards, thus passing the trial.Siddhara also enjoyed the barbarian's abilities in the bed and sent him, along with Palus and other soldiers, to steal the red stones. After several days, Conan went back with only one stone. By then, Siddhara's body had become quite aged, and she desperately needed the stone to restore her youth, but when she touched it, the stone was white! Conan had instead used it to save Palus' life. Palus, who understood that he had been used for 30 years, left with Conan, leaving the old and wizened woman alone.

--Savage Sword of Conan#174

A two-headed wolf attacks!Two-headed wolves

A couple of two-headed wolves guarded Ramtha Karn's castle, and were probably created by unknown sorcery. Their size was almost double that of a normal wolf. The wolves managed to injure Conan and were both killed by Palus.




--Savage Sword of Conan#174

images: (without ads)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, page 42, panel 6 (Ramtha Karn, full body)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, cover (head shot)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, p23, p1 (castle)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, p48, p3 (Ramtha Karn in flames)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, p4, p3 (glass snake)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, p2, p2 (Lorando)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, p59, p3 (Palus)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, cover (red stone)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, p19, p2 (red stone, drained of power)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, cover (Siddhara, young full body)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, p57, p3 (old Siddhara, head shot)
Savage Sword of Conan#174, p35, p4 (two-headed wolf)

Savage Sword of Conan#174 (June, 1990) - Gerry Conway (writer), Mike Clark/Brad Vancata/Joe Rosas/Mickey Ritter (pencils), Alfredo Alcala (inks), Craig Anderson (editor)

Last updated: 08/06/08

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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