The Story

Chapter 1 - Edge of Anarchy

The campaign begins as the PCs are drawn together by a common thread—a cruel old criminal named Gaedren Lamm. Given the chance to bring him to justice or avenge themselves against him by a mysterious Korghani woman named Zellara, the PCs confront Gaedren in the old fishery that serves as his hideout. Therein, they find two surprises—a brooch stolen from Queen Ileosa and Zellara’s severed head. Zellara’s been dead for weeks, and now her Harrow deck serves as a receptacle for her ghost, creating a strange but helpful ally that follows the PCs through the majority of this Adventure Path.
When the PCs emerge from the fishery, they learn that King Garik Eridani II has died, and the city of Ashara has plunged into chaos. After meeting with the grieving queen to return the stolen brooch, they are recruited by the Asharan City Guard to help bring the city back under control. After dealing with guards gone rogue, handling a delicate political situation involving a local crime lord, and coping with all manner of chaos in the streets, the PCs are called upon to apprehend a woman named Trinia, who might just be the one who assassinated King Garik II. After capturing her and turning her over to the Guard, the PCs must recover the missing body of an Ashanti warrior before his kin declare war on the city. The adventure ends as the PCs attend the supposed execution of Trinia, only to become caught up in the chaos of her unexpected rescue by one of Ashara’s most legendary heroes—a masked man named Blackjack.

Chapter 2 - Seven Days to the Grave

What begins as a simple favor for a recent acquaintance draws the PCs into a battle against a rampant plague that threatens to consume all of Ashara. Becoming unofficial agents of the desperate temple of Aleyssia, the party must do all it can to halt the progression of the plague and save as many infected citizens as possible. Through the course of their work, the PCs gradually discover the sinister groups responsible for the plague’s outbreak and the deaths of thousands: the criminal Black Hand, the disease-worshiping temple of Kagyar, and Ashara’s own genocidal queen.

Chapter 3 - Escape from Old Ashara

This adventure begins with the leader of the Sable Company attempting an assassination of Queen Ileosa; an attempt that backfires horribly as the queen reveals the extent of her power granted by Calegorax and the Crown of Fangs. In the aftermath of this event, the PCs receive word that, on quarantined Old Ashara, their old friend Vencarlo might have discovered something of great import regarding the queen.
The PCs brave the anarchic streets of Old Ashara only to find Vencarlo missing and his home transformed into a Black Hand ambush. Following a trail of clues, the PCs learn that a strange artist named Salvatore likely knows where Vencarlo went, as well as what information sent the teacher into such a state in the first place. Unfortunately, Salvatore is now securely in the hands of a petty warlord who calls himself the Emperor of Old Ashara.
After dealing with the Emperor and interrogating Salvatore, the PCs learn the secret—the seneschal of Ashara still lives! He, and likely Vencarlo now, is in the clutches of the notorious Arkhona family, the self-styled rulers of Old Ashara. The PCs visit the Arkhona Estate only to learn that its patriarch has secrets of his own. In order to rescue Vencarlo and the seneschal and learn the awful truth behind the queen’s mysterious power and rising cruelty, the PCs must brave the infamous Vivified Labyrinth below Arkhona Manor and then escape from Old Ashara alive.

Chapter 4 - A History of Ashes

The PCs flee the city of Ashara to seek shelter in the village of Harlow, where they learn that Queen Ileosa has fallen under the influence of an ancient and evil spirit of Calegorax. Yet few remember much about Calegorax—and unfortunately, the only ones who might know how to defeat this evil are the Shamans of the Ashanti. Unfortunately, because the Ashanti are preparing for war against Gwynne, getting them to share this information won’t be easy.
The PCs must travel into the wilderness and seek out a powerful Ashanti shaman named “Thousand Bones,” a man they first met during “Edge of Anarchy.” With his help, the PCs undertake a series of trials and tasks of increasing difficulty, culminating in the Trial of the Totems which, if they prevail, will grant them membership in the Ashanti tribe.
Along the way, the PCs encounter several people who can help or hinder their goals, from suspicious local barbarians, to sinister cultists of Kagyar, to a band of assassins sent by the queen herself to see that the PCs’ meddling ways are put to an end once and for all.
The adventure comes to its climax when assassins make an all-out assault on the Ashanti camp, ith the PCs caught in the middle.

The Kazavon Situation
What Neolandus knows about Kazavon is summarized here—you can have the seneschal simply list the facts for the PCs, or you can use the following as talking points and answers in reply to questions the PCs might have for him.

When Neolandus confronted Queen Ileosa about King Eodred II’s death, her response was to send Red Mantis assassins after him—proof enough of guilt to Neolandus. Through a combination of luck and knowledge about the castle’s layout, Neolandus barely managed to escape with his life and went into hiding with his friend Salvator Scream in Old Korvosa.

After he recovered from the attack but before Salvatore handed him over to the Arkonas, Neolandus spent much of his time in Old Korvosa researching the situation by interviewing key people, poring through records in Endrin Academy, and piecing together information and rumors he heard to try to determine what caused Queen Ileosa’s sudden personality change from a petulant spoiled queen to a scheming murderous tyrant.

Neolandus’s suspicions grew, but until Queen Ileosa’s first public appearance after the plague, he tempered his suspicions with hope. He knew that Queen Ileosa had been “borrowing” the treasury key to look through Korvosa’s holdings. Neolandus was also familiar with several old and obscure legends about the chambers below Castle Korvosa—
chambers, it was whispered, that were old even when the Shoanti dwelt here, and that used to hide something of great power or evil. There was little more information to go on, but he did uncover mention in some documents from Korvosa’s earliest days of something called Midnight’s Teeth, and that these teeth were believed to be some sort of sacred relic of great import to the Shoanti. Circumstantial evidence indicates that the Shoanti kept these teeth in the chambers inside the pyramid that now serves as Castle Korvosa’s foundation.

Neolandus’s further research uncovered an old legend that chilled his soul. Several hundred years ago, a powerful blue dragon and agent of Zon-Kuthon named Kazavon brought the orcs of Belkzen to their knees and began conquering the neighboring nations of Ustalav and Lastwall, until he was finally defeated and his remains scattered. Some of these remains, according to certain Zon-Kuthonic scriptures, contained fragments of Kazavon’s essence. One of these relics was the Fangs of Kazavon.

By piecing together his evidence, Neolandus suspects that Midnight’s Teeth were none other than the Fangs of Kazavon. The description of the queen’s new crown sounds to Neolandus as if she now wears the Fangs of Kazavon on her brow, the implications of which troubles him greatly.

Neolandus wasn’t able to gather much more information before the Arkonas took him, but he doesn’t suspect there was much more to learn. Hard facts about Midnight’s Teeth were sparse to begin with—Korvosa’s founders didn’t think it important to preserve much in

Chapter 5 - Skeletons of Castlemuir

More than 800 years ago, as the nation of Gwynne was recovering from the rule of the Whispering Tyrant, the threat of an invasion of orcs from the neighboring Drakhara became very real. For generations, the Duchy of Ustala held strong against the orcs, its standing army of rangers and the tactical genius of its leaders were more than a match for the orc hordes.

When command of Ustala fell to Lord Andachi, it quickly became apparent that he had not inherited his father’s and grandfather’s gifs of tactics and eloquence. Mile by mile, the orcs pressed into Gwynne through Ustala, and Lord Andachi grew desperate.

Nothing he tried stemmed the orc aggression. His desperate requests to the government of Gwynne for reinforcements went unanswered Even his prayers seemed to fall upon deaf ears. And so it was with a desperation born of fear that he fell back upon his ancestors’ one-time patron—Zon-Kuthon, god of pain and darkness. And in short order, his prayers were answered in the form a powerful and gifted mercenary named Kazavon.

The charismatic general took control of Ustala’s army and whipped it into shape with his brutal discipline and knowledge of tactics and warfare, honing it into a military killing machine. As they marched into Gwynne, the undisciplined orc legions fell in waves.

Tales of Kazavon himself riding in the vanguard and hewing his way through the orc lines while the arrows and blades of his foes bounced harmlessly off of him filled Andachi with hope. By the spring, the orcs had been driven from their lands into the inhospitable foothills on the northern side of the Frostcrown mountains, bloodied and defeated.

His task complete, Kazavon did not return to Gwynne. Instead, he set his forces to the rebuild the fortress of Castle Castlemuir, from which he could remain forever vigilant over the surrounding passage into the East.

Yet in short time, Kazavon’s true goals became horrifically clear. Diplomats from other nations traveled to Castlemuir, bearing gifts of triumph and promises of eternal friendship. Their overtures of peace were met with violence as Kazavon captured the diplomats, flayed them alive and had their skins stretched over frames; he painted these skins with his new coat of-arms, the fanged skull. The skinless dead were then animated and sent back south into Lastwall beneath these grisly banners with a counter offer—surrender or be butchered.

Some among Kazavon’s own troops found his actions repellent, but Kazavon’s army had grown over the years as his number of victories mounted. His ranks swelled with mercenaries—half of his force bore no allegiance to anything but their general’s gold. Those soldiers who rose in rebellion were immediately quelled and executed, and those who attempted more diplomatic protest were tortured and fed to wild beasts.

Aghast at this turn of events, Lord Andachi at last found his courage. He raised a new army, ragged and inexperienced, from the last remnants of his people and marched west to face his former general. In a bold offensive he laid siege to Castlemuir. Yet, with the next dawn, he was defeated by Kazavon’s forces. Hapless Andachi was captured, publicly tortured and degraded, and ultimately executed. These grisly deeds completed, Kazavon turned his attention east toward Gwynne.

For well over a decade, Kazavon ruled a nation of slaves, victims, and horror. Tales of fields of men impaled for the general’s amusement, of mass executions, of Shoanti tribesmen hunted like wild animals and then forced to slay their own women and children in carnivals of torture and terror spread throughout the neighboring regions. Whispers of cannibal feasts and vampiric orgies trickled out of Castle Castlemuir.

More than once, the forces of lawful nations marched on Castlemuir, yet such was Kazavon’s strength that no army could face him for long. To a man, every warrior sent against Castlemuir suffered the same fate as Lord Andachi. Yet where armies failed, a small and secret cabal of heroes did not. Led by a heroic soldier named Mandravius, this group of Lastwall mercenaries, Shoanti mystics, and Gwynnish arcanists discovered that one among Kazavon’s minions was willing to betray the warlord.

This was Kazavon’s chamberlain, a man named Kleestad. The chamberlain gave Mandravius the information he needed to strike at Castlemuir when its defenses were lowest (just before one of Kazavon’s monthly debauches in his great hall), and directed the cabal to a secret entrance to the castle that Kazavon’s guards didn’t know about. As the cabal tore through Castlemuir, laying waste to the warlord’s minions and pursuing him to the castle heights, Kleestad returned swiftly to his room to gather his most valuable possessions and make ready his escape, but Mandravius’s band moved faster than he anticipated. By the time he had his gear, the castle alarm had sounded and he was called to Kazavon’s side as the warlord prepared to defend his home.

Kleestad feared that Kazavon knew of his betrayal and had called him to his side to execute him, yet before Kazavon could do much more than break both of Kleestad’s ankles, Mandravius arrived. The battle was furious, and in the end Kazavon fled to the Star Tower, giving Kleestad a chance to crawl into hiding.

When Mandravius and his remaining companions cornered Kazavon in the Star Tower, they discovered his great secret—Kazavon was no mere man, but rather a powerful blue dragon that had taken human shape with the blessing of his dark god. Assuming his true form, Kazavon attacked the cabal, and a long and bloody battle ensued. His scales deflected most of their attacks, just as the weapons of the orcs had bounced off his armor during the initial campaign in Drakhara, and his claws and lightning breath made short work of many of their best and bravest.

It was Mandravius, wielding the sacred sword Serithtial, who was able to slip through the dragon’s guard and deliver the fatal blow. With Kazavon’s death, his forces abandoned the castle and the dragon’s dark empire crumbled. Even in death, Kazavon’s corpse seethed with dark energy, beginning to knit back together toward life once again. Mandravius left his sword impaled in the dragon’s skull while his companions disassembled the body and burned the remains.

After the smoke cleared, seven fragments of the dragon’s skeleton proved impossible to destroy. They continued to rattle and shake of their own malignant will. Mandravius ordered seven of his remaining followers to each take one of the relics and scatter to the corners of the world to keep the fragments forever separate. Mandravius remained behind at Castlemuir with only a few loyal retainers in order to watch over the castle itself and prevent it from being reclaimed by the minions of Zon-Kuthon.

Unfortunately, the victory was short-lived. The orcs confined to the nearby mountains by Kazavon’s armies took note of the death of their enemy and rampaged forth across Belkzen once again. A portion of the horde attacked Castle Castlemuir, which was defended only by Mandravius’s small and inadequate force. The defenders were quickly overwhelmed, but as Mandravius was slain, the curse of Castlemuir took hold.

The wholesale slaughter of first Kazavon’s armies and then Mandravius and his soldiers had suffused the fortress. In an instant, the orc invaders found themselves facing a host of vengeful spirits and slavering undead. It is said that only one of the orcs survived to make it across the causeway from the castle, the flesh of his face blanched completely white from the horror he had barely escaped. He brought word to his people of the haunting of Castle Castlemuir, and the tribal warlords declared the site forever taboo, leaving it to the bloodthirsty spirits who now claimed it as their own. Yet one of Kazavon’s thralls had survived—Kleestad, both ankles broken, managed to stay in hiding during Mandravius’ short reign.

Barely subsisting on rainwater and bugs, Kleestad felt the curse of Castlemuir engulf the place, and knew by the silence that followed that Zon Kuthon had finally smote the intruders. He emerged from hiding to find Castlemuir empty and silent, and as he crawled from chamber to chamber, was met only with further evidence of slaughter. He eventually found his way into the first floor of the keep, where he discovered Mandravius’s body slumped against a wall. In his hand, Mandravius still held the blade he’d used to slay Kazavon. Kleestad, half mad and deluded, took up the blade in his hand, and heedless of the pain as the holy weapon burned his evil flesh, called out to Zon-Kuthon to witness his triumph—Kleestad had claimed the blade as his own.

Yet Zon-Kuthon was not pleased. Instead of rewarding Kleestad, he cursed him. He had betrayed Kazavon, and as he had spent the last several hours crawling through the slaughter like a worm, Zon-Kuthon transformed the chamberlain into a monstrous wormlike beast and hurled him into a lightless vault deep below Castlemuir. Also to this prison went the sacred blade Serithtial, still clutched in Kleestad’s hands.

Today, the last thrall of Kazavon lives on in this underground prison, and in a final ironic twist of fate, has become the guardian of the very blade that laid his master low.