This campaign introduces the politics of the Fire Knives in this era. Celiobantes Astiriate is a young, ambitious new member of the elite assassin’s guild, and he has several quests which he must complete in order to insure his rise in the ranks. To this end, he needs help: adventurers, to assist his goals and thwart those of his chief rival, the Guild Lord Akarnahat, a half-orc assassin who has been the Favored Blade of Haro for two decades now.
Akarnahat is presently engaged in what some see as a betrayal: the cultists of Haro feel their god should remain neutral, favoring neither side in the Dark War that looms, but Akarnahat has traveled to the Chaos Mountains in Mitra’s Woods to speak with his half-blood orc kin about forging an alliance between the Fire Knives and the Armies of Chaos.
Celiobantes has been an agent of the guild for only a few years, but other members of the Inner Circle have approached him, beseeching the young upstart to deal with Akarnahat before he angers Haro, something they feel a break in neutrality will cause. They have promised Celiobantes Akarnahat’s place with the Inner Circle if he succeeds, and perhaps he may even achieve the rank of Favored Blade if Haro gives him the blessings of stopping the perceived traitor.
Celiobantes has a couple major obstacles to overcome before he can defeat Akarnahat. First, he knows Akarnahat has protected his own life, securing the protection of his soul in the hands of a very old demonic power…a being called Huwawa, a giant monstrosity that is said to roam the vast emptiness of the Desecrated Lands along the edge of the Abyss. Second, Akarnahat is ultimately the Favored Blade of Haro, a position of high honor. To not appear to be a traitor himself, Celiobantes needs to be sure Haro’s will is such that he has his god’s blessings in this action. Traveling to the most sacred and ancient of Haro’s temple-complexes, deep in the heart of the Ny’Koddin Wastes in eastern Zued, would be a certain way of doing this. There it is said the Black Heart of Darkness rests, and that only the pure servants of Haro may approach and touch it…and live.
Celiobantes will seek out a reliable crew to aid him in his journey, for he knows it is too dangerous to take on these tasks alone. The quest breaks down in to the following goals:
1. Recruit team in Hyrkan’ien; avoid Akarnahat’s agents who become aware that an internal civil war is about to erupt.
2. Travel to the remote Silver Mountains where the forces of Anharak have run wild and seek out the Temple of Magdanal, an ancient orc highlord who fell in the old Dwarf-Orc wars centuries ago. Here, enter the portal to the plane of the Desecrated Lands, then find Huwawa and steal the Soul Gem of Akarnahat from him; escape back to Lingusia.
3. Journey eastward through Covarte, Tarsus and Hotepsala or Draskis to Zued, then find the lost Temple of Haro in the deep wilds of the Ny’Koddin Wastes. Enter the temple and find the Black Heart of Darkness. Take the test.
4. Assuming test goes well, travel westward either along the Great Old Road or travel to Naminthia and then take a ship to the Inner Sea via the Iron Sea. Stop in Malas to speak with contacts and confirm Akarnahat is still in the Chaos Mountains. Journey up the Nyarlith River and drop anchor off the coast along the Chaos Mountains. Find Akarnahat and slay him. Return to Hyrkan’ien.
Text copyright 2011 by Nicholas Torbin Bergquist, all rights reserved