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The Secret of the Black Mace is the main quest of the Cossack Hetmanate. The reward is to be the ruler of the nation and obtain the Black Mace. It is one of the three main quest lines in With Fire & Sword, with the other two being The Deluge and False Dmitriy.
It is important to note the following before starting this quest:
- You must not have joined the Cossacks when you start this quest!
- Restart the game if you see "Black Mace" in the quest log instead of doing a bugged quest line that leads nowhere.
- This quest contains multiple bugs. It is highly recommended to make a backup saving file every time you continue to the next step.
- Go to a lord of the Cossack Hetmanate and ask for a special mission (or if you have enough renown, you may just pledge allegiance to Hetman Bogdan Hmelnitski, immediately talk to him again, and he will give you the same quest). He will tell you to stop bandits (Warning, the bandits are elite troops, e.g. Swedish Reiter) from looting a village. Stop the bandits.
- After killing the bandits, an old man will tell you that there is a Black Mace, but dies while in the middle of the tale. Talk to the lord to continue the quest.
- Ask a Cossack lord about the Black Mace, if he tells you nothing important, then ask again and again till he tells you to talk to Jaques de Clermont. There is a random chance that a lord will tell you where to look, so you could just repeatedly click the button to quickly locate where to go. Find him near Smolensk. Jaques normally rides around Smolensk in a big circle, and you must look carefully in the map to find him.
- He will tell you to find a Cossack noble (random in each game), which commences the Story Quest 'Errands'. When your relations are high enough (above 10) with that lord, he will tell you what you need to continue. You must ask Janusz Radziwill, commencing the Story Quest 'For Great Lithuania'. Wait for about a week or so, ask travellers in taverns where Radziwill is (it's usually any town within the Polish Commonwealth). Find him and he asks for your support first. Accept and conquer the Polish Commonwealth, which commences the 'Radizwill Rebellion'.
- Then, go to the party screen and talk to Radizwill. Ask him for a mission, and he will give you a task to capture any city or castle for him. After that, Radizwill orders you to go meet a mayor in Kiev. The mayor will tell you some information about the Black Mace, commencing 'Retractable Radziwill'. Warning: it is essential for you to report what you heard from the mayor to Radizwill before the rebellion wins, or else the quest will bug! If Radizwill disappears from the map without a trace after capturing Kiev, the quest is irreversibly bugged.
- You can talk the Polish lords into joining your cause, leading to a bigger army and more helpful lords after you recruit them. Lead the rebellion and conquer the Polish Commonwealth. After a successful rebellion, ask Radziwill about the Black Mace. Without answering your question, Radziwill will order you to capture a Tatar Mirza (Crimean Khanate) for him.
- Once you capture a Mirza, The Tatar Mirza will drop a letter, saying there is a Templar Archive in Riga that can tell you more about the Black Mace, commencing 'The Templar Archive'.
- To access the archive, you must be friends with the Town Lord, you need a rating of about 26, or this can be accomplished by conquering the city.
- When you are granted access inside the archives, the character will learn of a Radziwill family crypt, commencing 'Family Crypt'. Asking Radziwill himself will worsen your relations with him. Asking generals that the player has good relations (you need a rating about 40) with will tell the player that the crypt is in the village of Nesvizh, Commencing 'Nesvizh Legend'. Go to Nesvizh to continue the quest.
- When in the village, speak to the Village Elder and say that you are here in the name of the Radziwills. To get this option, you must have assisted Radziwill in conquering Polish Commonwealth and giving him the crown. If you have not, you will not be able to proceed the Black Mace quest at this point. The Village Elder will give you two possible responses but neither will work.
- The elder will say that a Russian prince was also looking for the Mace but he was killed by bandits. When you leave the village, a huge army of deserters appear (about 200 men), you can pay them 5000 thalers or attack them. They tell you the name "Boryantanski", commencing 'The Secret of House Oleg'. You need to find the Muscovite lord, Prince Yuri Boryatinsky, to continue the quest. Speak to any Muscovite lord or general and ask them where Prince Yuri is.
- When found, Boryantanski will say that his father had a book telling more about the Black Mace but he sold it, commencing 'Book of the Crow'. Search for a Book Merchant who will sell it for 7000 thalers. You will need a translator for the book.
- Talk to some Lords, they will mention "Saint" Parfutny in Novgorod. When you talk to him, he will request an escort to a town. Once there, he will tell you to come back in two weeks. This step may not be necessary to complete the quest.
- From reading the book, you find out about an old Cossack hero. Talking to Cossack generals will result in learning that you need to find a companion named Mamai.
- After recruiting Mamai, talk to him through the party menu. He will tell you to talk to the Cossack claimant, Ivan Barabash, which you should do later.
- First though, return to Nezvish. There will be a force of elite Polish troops. Defeat them, then one of them will tell you that Radziwill now has the Mace and is trying to recruit the Cossack gentry. The battle with the Polish troops at Nezvish will be one of the most difficult battles yet. Both you and the enemy spawn very close to each other and you will be set upon immediately. Every wave of enemies will spearhead with many Winged Hussars, Dragoons, and other elite Polish cavalry, backed up by many Musketeers. Hold Position on the hill behind your spawn point outside of town, pikemen in front if you have them. Let them come to you as they funnel through the town's fences and wells. Your own cavalry won't do very well in the town either due to all the obstacles, hence setting up just outside of town. Do not set up near their spawn or their muskets will cut your forces down very quickly.
- Now you have 2 choices, dress in mercenary armor and go to Radziwill while he is in a town to fight him and his guards (6 Swedish Cuirassier while alone), or fight him in the plains with your full army (Warning, Janusz Radziwill has an army equivalent to your level and most of them are elite soldiers). Either way, you will get the Black Mace if you win. If you fight Radziwill in the open, he will die later of a heart attack. If you only wanted the Black Mace, it's yours now and the quest is over. This player only spoke to Barabash once and never saw him again.
- When you return to Barabash, he will offer to make you his marshall and start rebelling which makes the story freeplay. If you decline, Mamai will persuade Hetman Bodgan Hmelnitski to make you the marshall of Cossack Hetmanate.
- If you choose to become Ivan Barabash's marshall, when the rebellion wins, he will give you an order to conquer the Muscovite Tsardom, commencing "To Muscovite"; If you become Hetman Bogdan Hmelnitski's marshall, he will give you an order too, commencing "To Poland".
- From this moment onwards, the story is the same regardless of who is the Hetman – Barabash or Kmelnytsky. After some time has passed since your victory, the Hetman will call you for a talk and will declare that he intends to create a new nation – the Grand Principality of Rus. You will have to conquer the remaining faction (Muscovy or Poland), but as there's peace between your nations, you will have to provoke a war. Leave the Zaporozhian Host and conquer one enemy city.
- After conquering Poland or Russia, talk to the Hetman. The Zaporozhian Host will now become the Grand Principality of Rus. To end the aristocratic free reign, the Hetman needs to be crowned with the ancient crown of Vytautas. You need to find the crown and bring it to the Hetman. Ask Mamai for help. He will recall an ancient legend which says the crown is in one of the monasteries. Mamai will ask you for some money and will set out on an errand. After he returns, he'll tell you which settlement the crown is hidden in. Talk to the Hetman. He'll refuse to send an army, so you'll need to dress as a monk and infiltrate the village on your own. After you deliver the crown, the Hetman becomes the Grand Prince and promises support for you as a candidate for marshall.
- Once you are elected marshall, you get a mission to conquer all remaining factions. After you complete this mission, an old soothsayer arrives and takes the Black Mace to keep it in a secret place...