Kruk-Ma-Kali is the main antagonist of Kenzer and Co’s adventure module, The Lost Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali. It is a classic tomb raiding adventure. The adventurers must figure out the location of the tomb in a valley filled with native tribes, hidden clues, and red herrings. Once they find the tomb they have to evade monsters and traps to secure the fabled treasure of the dead hobgoblin king, Kruk-Ma-Kali. At the end of the tomb they of course find Kruk-Ma-Kali’s ghost who attempts to possess one of the PCs to restart his goal of world conquest.
I ran this module for my players during my Xorian Wars campaign (the events surrounding the Second Alliance War). They worked through the module slowly, occasionally taking breaks to focus on other events in the campaign world. Eventually they completed it and secured the prize at the end, Kruk-Ma-Kali’s megalomaniac ghost imprisoned within his black sword, Kharad-khor. The sword ended up leaving the campaign as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Hades as Kruk-Ma-Kali had evaded death for far too long.
The Lost Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali was originally written for the Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign setting. Putting the module into my campaign world necessitated adapting Kruk-Ma-Kali’s place in the history of Kingdoms of Kalamar to work with Cimmeria’s history. In the Kingdoms of Kalamar Kruk-Ma-Kali fills a role similar to the real-life Alexander the Great. He conquered a large swath of territory in a decade of war-filled rule. He died unexpectedly and his generals fought amongst themselves as his infant empire tore itself apart.
Kruk-Ma-Kali’s campaigns were marked by a few major accomplishments based on which race he was fighting. These events are glorified by reliefs in his tomb. He raided the elven forests and slew thousands of elves. He conquered several human cities and incorporated them into a Hobgoblin Empire. Most shockingly, he completely eliminated a dwarven kingdom. Most importantly, Kruk-Ma-Kali accomplished all these great feats while concealing his true abilities as a psionic mage. His followers were unnaturally coordinated and loyal, not out of their own free will, but due to the influence of Kruk-Ma-Kali’s magical powers.
My adaption of Kruk-Ma-Kali’s life will go through his upbringing (undetailed in the original module), his rise to power, his military campaigns, his death, and the aftermath as his empire disintegrated. Additionally, until now the hobgoblins of Cimmeria have been mostly a blank slate. I’m going to add a bit more detail on them, including describing a few goblin cities on the eastern edge of the map. This means the Cities of Cimmeria posts will be coming back as well!
So there’s Part 1 done. Just an outline. On to Part 2 next!