Legacy of Fire: The Carrion Crown

Adventure Background

The wishes unleashed over the ages by two genies in
particular, the efreeti Jhavhul and the djinni Nefeshti,
have warped the Pale Mountain region, twisting fate
and contorting coincidence to keep alive both a terrible
beast and a heroic protector. Not far from Jhavhul’s old
temple, these tangled strands have ensnared a young
merchant princess named Almah, who seeks a new
future for the ruined battle market village of Kelmarane
at the foot of the Brazen Peaks. Most importantly, the
wishes have subtly warped the weave of the world to put a
handful of adventurers on a trail to Kelmarane. It is these
adventurers—not any genie—who will tread the path of
fate at its most treacherous juncture, and it is they who will
ultimately chart the course of history.
The mysterious Pactmasters of Katapesh, masked rulers
of this mercantile desert kingdom, desire to bring the
abandoned battle market village of Kelmarane back into
the economic fold. To this end, they recently assigned
Almah the task of scouting out the village, clearing it of
malign influence, and getting it working again. The PCs
are to serve as Almah’s agents in this affair.
In the years since Kelmarane was left to ruin, the little
town has become a haven for gnoll slavers, human bandits,
and disreputable brigands from the rough-and-tumble
northlands. The gnolls pose a particular problem, as all of
the local packs cower under the claws of the Carrion King,
a legendary gnoll sovereign who rules from a stronghold
on Pale Mountain—the ruins of Jhavhul’s ancient House
of the Beast. This unity of purpose poses a significant
threat to the Pactmasters, who rely upon open trade from
the neighboring nation of Osirion to thrive.
But the heart of Kelmarane’s darkness lies not in the
breast of its gnoll occupants, but instead in the tainted
soul of their most unlikely leader. This stranger came to
Kelmarane in the shape of a man, but he was something
more than a man. Wielding a massive axe of alien design
and bearing a haughty demeanor that hardly acknowledged
the gnolls, the stranger slew the previous chieftain in single
combat, more out of absent curiosity than to neutralize a
worthy foe.
The stranger was Kardswann, one of Nefeshti’s Templars
of the Five Winds. Drawn to the region on a circuit of
sites monitored by his genie mistress, Kardswann soon
became bored with the tribe, opting instead to explore
the rest of Kelmarane. The ruined church at the edge of
the village intrigued him almost immediately. Behind a
curious magical seal that held no power over a creature
capable of becoming ethereal at will, Kardswann found an
unanticipated evil that corrupted even his righteous soul,
just as it had corrupted the entire village of Kelmarane
decades earlier, before it was sealed within the crypt by
the agents of the Pactmasters who secretly pacified and
abandoned the village when its citizens fell under the sway
of a cruel cult dedicated to an ancient evil—an insidious
daemon called Xulthos
Kardswann is now controlled by this evil, and has fallen
from the graces of his mistress. Now mortal, he leads his
adopted gnoll tribe in service to the Carrion King of Pale
Mountain, attracting bandits from throughout the north to
a reborn bazaar in the run-down battle market of Kelmarane.
Meanwhile, in an abandoned monastery consumed by the
same darkness that swallowed the village, the remnants of
another Templar of the Five Winds—sustained through the
ages and through two deaths by his loyalty to Nefeshti—
bides its time until it can act in its own subtle way, bending
probability, chance, and reason to ensure that the genie’s
wish of eternal loyalty comes true.

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