Sorten the Archmage: Aka Bakar's Tomb?

How did Sorten discover the location of Aka Bakar's Tomb? Where did he find the information? Did he find it in research, or perhaps an old scroll?

He leveled up a bunch and rolled well on a knowledge check?

...not quite what I had in mind. I meant a in-lore reason; for example, "Sorten discovered it in a scroll in the lost library of [WHATEVER]."

I know, I was just kidding around.  I'm very interested in the answer as well.

I'd hoped for a sort of "canon" response, but, like a lot of times I ask, I probably won't get one...

michaelsandar's picture

It's a little confusing, actually.  I love all the details in the SoA, but they're kind of scattered.

I'll reference PF pysical (not pdf) page numbers since that's all I have in front of me:

Page 4:  "Sorten knows nothing of the sword, the cat or anything else related to the adventure, at least at the start."

Page 4: "The Shaghaspondium: An ancient book, once found by Sorten and sought by Kayden.  The book was stolen from Sorten by his apprentice, Cerannan, and lost (with the apprentice) on the Plane of Shadow. The book contains the only map to the Hidden Tomb of Aka Bakar, as well as some other bits of knowledge lost to time. "

Page 5: At this point Kayden knows that he wants to get the Shaghaspondium and that it hides the location of Aka Bakar's Tomb

Page 7: Kayden "wants" the Shaghaspondium because the cat knows it is the key to locating the hidden burial place of Aka Bakar.  The wizard, of course, knows nothing about the sword yet...

Page 186: Unfortunately for the characters, Sorten, at least at first, has no mind for questing to locate the Sword of Air.  He discovered the location of Aka Bakar's tomb and strongly (and one could say rightly) suspects that the sword is hidden within it. Entrusting this knowledge only to his best apprentice, Cerannan, Sorten had the aspiring mage hide the location of the tomb, concealed within a book of lost lore known as the Shaghaspondium, on the Plane of Shadow.  Sorten then promptly cast a spell causing him to forget the location on himself in an attempt to permanently hide the weapon.

Page 228: Most important in the Shaghaspondium is a map that leads to the Hidden Tomb.  This map is important to Sorten and Kayden


So.  All this said, I don't think it actually says where Sorten found the map leading to Aka Bakar's Tomb.  It does however contradict itself - Sorten is missing his apprentice.  He cast a spell on himself to forget the location of the Tomb, but not that the Shaghaspondium (Cerannan's spellbook, btw) contains the map.  So he actually knows all about it except what happened to Cerannan (though he's certainly high enough level and has enough resources to find him - you know, or just check his quarters...).  Ultimately, it probably doesn't matter, though in my game he found the info in the Library at Elise.

When we played through this, to resolve some of the inconsitencies, I had the spell really mess Sorten up - not only can't he remember the location of the Tomb, but it also wiped his memory of Cerannan and the Shaghaspondium as well (reminding him of all this literally blew his mind, he got a massive nosebleed and fell unconscious until the PC's got a cleric from Freegate to come up and heal him - but we're getting away from canon here).

Another better question might be: How does Steve know that the Shaghaspondium now contains a map to Bakar's Tomb?

michaelsandar's picture

I have the Wizards War supplement somewhere at home... I'll dig through it tonight and see if it offers any other tidbits of info.  Beyond that...  Paging Bill and Greg, paging Bill and Greg!

Wizards War supplement?! I am intrigued. Is this a Kickstarter-only thing, or something else entirely?

michaelsandar's picture

My bad, it's actually called "Wizard's Fued" and yes, I believe it was a Kickstarter exclusive...Bill's early notes on SoA.  Some fascinating stuff in there.  Unfortunately, unless I'm missing it, it doesn't say where Sorten (Tensor in the WF) found the info.

Ugh....damnit, I wish I could read that.....


Also, the Character Killing Session thing that was also a Kickstarter reward. Makes me sad I didn't get the opportunity.


...I wonder if my player has it...

michaelsandar's picture

Character Killing Session is ... different. Not what I expected.  It's more along the lines of A4 than, say, the more difficult levels of Rappan Athuk.  I actually had my players get through it and no one died.  Smart play (and still having some spells left) wins the day.

Hi Guys,

I honestly don't know the answer to this question. It's a Bill thing that is specific to the adventure rather than a part of the greater world lore, so it's not something I've developed as part of canon. Michaelsandar's research above is phenomenal, and I suspect that it pretty much covers all there is to know on the subject. This is all written from Bill's memories (and scant notes) from a campaign he ran like 30 years ago, so I suspect if he knows the answer it's likely modified and retconned as necesaary over the intervening years. So I'd be surprised if you got anything like a definitive answer that didn't risk jarring anything already established. It sounds like the spell REALLY messed up Sorten and/or that maybe Sorten is a little crazy. Either way, I'd suggest going with what works best for your story. It's possible Bill may pop in with an opinion but I highly doubt it would come from a notebook of deep secrets about Sword of Air. I suspect he's put everything into the manuscript that he had.

Sorry I couldn't give anything more decisive.


I appreciate the answer! However, you might be able to provide some clues. My supposition is that the arkaji are indeed, as hinted at in Bard's Gate, the survivors of Bakar's failed kingdom. What I was planning on doing, in the absence of anything else, that some of the ancestors of the arkaji that helped build the Tomb managed to sneak a letter out before being entombed. That letter tells of the mad mage's general location on the Plateau, and a hint of the horrible fate that befell the workers. In addition, the current arkaji are sort of, at least in my version of it, kind of riverfaring bards, with an oral tradition kept by the Worldspeakers. The oldest Worldspeakers tell of a demon-man who forced them from their first home, and how they found the headwaters of the Stoneheart River, which is the only thing that saved them from starvation. How far off is that from setting lore for the origin of the arkaji?