Was Akkhan actually a Crusader?

General Discussion
So, not knowing what to name my Crusader (aside from wanting it to be Lore-friendly), after brushing up on how Crusaders pass their name one master to apprentice for generations, I decided "Hey, I'll name my Crusader Akkhan!". However, delving further into the Lore, I'm actually not seeing anything suggesting one way or the other than Akkhan was actually a Crusader himself, but simply *founded* the order.

Any chance a Blue could share a bit more of the character with us? Who he was, whether he also took up the mantle of Crusader in their cause, or did he take a more "wait and see" approach?

Also; any chance we could have a little preview of what the Armor of Akkhan actually looks like? I'm assuming it's this set (on the right), which looks awesome:

http://media-titanium.cursecdn.com/attachments/54/348/56.jpg

Also; any idea what weapon and shield those are?
Hmm, anyone happen to know more about this guy? For that matter, if he is mentioned in the Book of Tyrael or anything?

Also! It seems the armor in that above pic is, indeed, the Armor of Akkhan set! The shield is "Hallowed Defender", and the weapon is "Golden Scourge", apparently used by Anajinn (whether the same we saw in the book, or a previous Anajinn, unknown).
Akkhan was not a Crusader himself. He was a mid-level Zakarum priest, just lowly enough to avoid being a part of the rituals that would have exposed him to Mephisto's corruption, but high enough to be able to train and equip his new order.

After he founded the Crusaders, Akkhan stayed behind to try to fight the corruption directly, a task which eventually cost him his life. The Armor of Akkhan found in-game is named based upon his writings on how Crusaders should be armored and equipped on their crusade. He, however, did not wear it himself.
Ah, thanks!!! Always fun to learn more about the Lore! Especially Crusaders; really dig the history behind them, and the whole "taking their name and shield" definitely gives them a unique feel.

Suddenly I'm wishing I hadn't named my Crusader after Akkhan now, though :P
03/28/2014 10:29 AMPosted by Terin
Hmm, anyone happen to know more about this guy? For that matter, if he is mentioned in the Book of Tyrael or anything?

Also! It seems the armor in that above pic is, indeed, the Armor of Akkhan set! The shield is "Hallowed Defender", and the weapon is "Golden Scourge", apparently used by Anajinn (whether the same we saw in the book, or a previous Anajinn, unknown).


That's not the Hallowed set shield. It's the Unique one. Just to clarify.
03/28/2014 10:29 AMPosted by Terin
Hmm, anyone happen to know more about this guy? For that matter, if he is mentioned in the Book of Tyrael or anything?


He is mentioned in the Book of Tyrael, but not in any significant way.

To summarise:

Akkhan was a cleric of no great rank who perceived a subtle corruption in the Zakarum faith around 1045 or so, contemporaneous with Rakkis' march and a few decades after Travincal was built. We can surmise that Akkhan might have been worried about the growing politicisation of Zakarum; it was adopted as state religion of Kehjistan during his lifetime, with not-exactly-pleasant consequences for non-Zakarum in the area. Cain explicitly speculates that the corruption Akkhan perceived was Mephisto's influence in Travincal, but there's no direct evidence of that. Akkhan's writings don't mention Mephisto or anything like that. It seems more likely to me that Mephisto's influence might have been one of many factors contributing to what Akkhan saw as a corruption of Zakarum.

Exactly what Akkhan saw isn't terribly clear. There is speculation that he had (or believed he had) a vision of Akarat, but you can't confirm that sort of thing. In any case, he was presumably quite a charismatic man, because he gathered a group of followers. The book makes a big kerfluffle about crusaders not being paladins, and indeed notes that Akkhan went to a specific effort to avoid paladins and to not use paladin techniques, because he felt that the paladins were somehow tainted by the corruption in the church. (That makes perfect sense from a political or doctrinal standpoint, though the book also says that the crusaders were 'trained to wield powers unlike any before'. It doesn't mesh well with the game, where we can see a hell of a lot of overlap between D3 crusader and D2 paladin abilities. I think the best solution is that Akkhan's skepticism was primarily about politics and doctrine, not magical powers. Alternatively, it's possible that the paladins of Akkhan's day were rather more corrupt and merciless than the shining beacon of holiness that is the D2 paladin. The PC paladins in D2 had separated themselves from the rest of Zakarum and purified themselves, taking up a mission to cleanse Zakarum of the corruption of Mephisto: in other words, they became crusaders! So it's possible that the obvious similarities between D2 paladin and D3 crusader are parallel evolution, as the D2 paladin order had the same revelations or reached the same conclusions that Akkhan had many centuries earlier.)

So Akkhan recruited his followers and instituted strict monastic practices, I can only assume intending to purify their souls and make them ready for their quest. Thus passing on the name and the like: a crusader is supposed to be selfless. They set out for the east: Cain speculates that this is because apocryphal Zakarum writings suggest that Akarat left for the east after preaching in Kehjan, and Akkhan might have been looking to follow his path. Who knows, they might find relics, additional writings of Akarat, or even his tomb. Apparently they didn't find anything like this, and after scouring the lands of the east gave up and turned back west. They were cynically unsurprised to discover what had happened to Travincal in D2, and headed straight past it into the west.

The book suggests that there are only 300-400 crusaders in existence, and they have no formal leadership. (Curiously, this makes them significantly larger than the D2 order of paladins, over twice as large as the entire Cult of Rathma, and ten times as large as the entire surviving Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye! The numbers given for many factions in the Book of Tyrael are implausibly low.) They're a bunch of itinerants now. It's not clear to me how good their chances of surviving into the future are. Crusaders are going to die in battle, and they don't retire. I would imagine that they might have to form or join a more organised group (similar to the D2 paladins joining the Knights of Westmarch), or start spreading their teachings more widely. Taking more students each might also help. I could easily see my PC crusader teaching Kormac the skills of a crusader, or using some of the NPCs who follow her as the nucleus of a more diverse crusader order.

(Indeed, that's what I thought she was doing at the start, e.g. telling Haedrig, "Then join my crusade. The work is hard, the rewards are few, and you'll likely die." The impression I had was that my followers, artisans, etc., were my crusade, so to speak. I'd be more than happy for them to set up a base after the end of the game and carry on the good work!)

Anyway. They're an interesting bunch, the followers of Zakarum. Sorry for rambling.
What kinda struck me about the Crusader lore comes from the in-game lore books that started dropping after 2.0, Abd al-Hazir's research into their order (he's a silly man...the Great Evils are myths? Demons are the stuff of hallucinations? Are you sure we're on the same planet?) - specifically the bit about how they started with about three or four hundred when Akkhan began the crusade, and are down to about 250-ish by the present era. Proof that Crusaders are along the lines of similar orders (Jedi springs to mind, to be honest) in that some apprentices/successors/etc. are reckless idiots who get themselves killed before they get a chance to do any good? Or, in this case, pass down the legacy of their predecessor(s) to a new generation?

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