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    Postfest II: The Catacombs of Denirkhan
    Posted on Tue, April 06, 2004 by Farcluun
    Phoebus writes "The lands west of the Paynims are unforgiving and desolate, few explorers have had reason to investigate this wilderness, at least until now. An ancient clan of assassins made their home here and rumors tell of ancient catacombs with vast wealth and powerful artifacts. Almost impossible to find let alone survive these crypts have remained inviolate since the Invoked Devastation.

    The Catacombs of Denirkhan
    By: Phoebus
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Catacombs of Denirkhan

    Denirkhan is a name rarely spoken in the current kingdoms of the Baklunish west. Before the Invoked Devastation the profession of assassin was by no means a rare or vilified occupation in the lands of the former Baklunish Empire. Under Bakluni law at the time an injured party could obtain a writ of execution and seek justice from one of the many assassin clans. One such clan, the Denirkhan, was notable for never having failed to carry out a contract. Named after their ageless founder, the assassins of the guild endured many years of training, many entering the clan’s halls as children and living a life with just one purpose: to learn the art of slaying. Every year the clan’s recruitment consisted of one test. The prospective applicant had to find the guild’s hidden fortress, somewhere close to the foot of the Jannishaut Mountains across the Zo’al-qadir Waste. Each year a pilgrimage of children would enter the desert, some exiled criminals others unwanted orphans, with only a few ever reaching the fortress of Denirkhan.

    During the years of the Suel-Bakluni Wars the assassins of Denirkhan refused to become embroiled in the politics of the war. They accepted writs as normal and in some circumstances these were ordered executions of Suloise or Bakluni traitors. Immediately before the Invoked Devastation legends say a young assassin of the Denirkhan took an unofficial writ of execution, a Suloise general who was rumored to be responsible for many atrocities along the Baklunish border. During the assassination attempt the general himself was slain but the assassin was captured and sent to the capital city of the Suel Imperium. One of the many rules of the Denirkhan forbid any assassin from being captured alive, divine pacts made during each assassins oath ceremony ensured this, but having excersized an illegal writ the pacts failed.

    Denirkhan himself, furious that one of his own assassins would betray their codes, took it upon himself to correct the matter. As the legend goes, Denirkhan himself simply appeared before the Emperor of the Suel. No one knows how he got into the palace or through the many guards and magical wards. He demanded the assassin dead or alive, warning that he would ask but once. The Emperor amazed by the impudent Bakluni, immediately ordered his court wizards to destroy him on the spot. Little detail is known about what took place after, but it is said Denirkhan returned to Zo’al-qadir Waste and place the body of the wayward assassin into the crypts beneath the fortress. In retribution the Suloise responded with the Invoked Devastation, centered on the clan’s fortress it quickly swept eastward destroying most everything in its path.

    Many say that even though the Denirkhan fortress was destroyed the catacombs beneath remain completely intact. If this were true the amount of wealth would beggar the imagination, for the contracts of the clan were quite generous and very little was spent for the assassins lived an almost aesthetic monk-like existence.

    Notes for the Dungeon Master

    The ruins of the Denirkhan fortress lie far to the southwest of the Bakhoury coast and far west of the Plains of the Paynims, just north of the Sulhauts. The fortress itself is in the middle spur of the mountains that juts out into a large desert wasteland. A group of explorers faces many dangers not the least of is extreme temperatures when crossing the waste not to mention the local monsters that live therein. Large numbers of purple worms and dust diggers make their home here as well as a few larger creatures. The shell of the upper fortress is now the home of a mature adult blue dragon. The fortress itself is impossible to see from the desert floor and only by climbing the sheer cliffs of the mesa can one find the entrance to the catacombs. In the waste there were small oases that contained riddles to the fortress location but these were undoubtedly destroyed during the Invoked Devastation. The catacombs themselves are riddled with traps and undead and even the entrance is cleverly hidden although the collapse of the upper fortress could have caused a more accessible entrance. Many of the more powerful undead still remember their abilities as the foremost Bakluni assassins.

    What has become of Denirkhan himself is a mystery; there are whispers that the Bakluni who settled on the western side of the Dramidj worship Denirkhan and study the art of assassination. Such followers would likely not rest if their deity’s most holy site was desecrated and a party of adventurerers was known to possess certain artifacts.

    "
     
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    Re: The Catacombs of Denirkhan (Score: 1)
    by Abysslin (abyss@canonfire.com) on Wed, April 07, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal) http://www.canonfire.com
    Wow, not too often I get a read placed in the western areas. Perhaps most writers fear dabbling with the ID and RoCF.


    I thouroughly enjoyed it!



    Re: The Catacombs of Denirkhan (Score: 1)
    by cwslyclgh on Wed, April 07, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    awesome submission, and one that will definalty see use in my campaign when the characters get to higher level... great job :)



    Re: The Catacombs of Denirkhan (Score: 1)
    by Lefto on Sun, April 11, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    This is a good adventure hook, but I have a problem accepting your implication that Denirkhan's retrieval of the young assassin caused the invoked devastation.

    On the other hand, I suppose it does pose an interesting question - rather than a massive strike against the Bakluni Empire, was the ID in reality just a tactical strike against one fortress that went out of control?



    Re: The Catacombs of Denirkhan (Score: 1)
    by Phoebus on Sun, April 11, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    One of the things that bothered me about the Inoked Devastation was why the majority of the Baklunish survived with their cultures pretty much intact. This was my way of not only explaining this but also fulfilling my need for a lesser deity of death for the Baklunish in my campaign. Also if your take of the Invoked Devastation is that of Gary's it makes sense that the time warp flowed from somewhere outward in this case from the west towards the east pushing the Baklunish with it.


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