Actor Joe Manganiello made a surprising contribution to Dungeons & Dragons' upcoming adventure book. Earlier this month, Dungeons & Dragons announced Descent Into Avernus, a new adventure in which players try to stop the city of Baldur's Gate from getting dragged into hell...literally. D&D made the announcement at D&D Live 2019: The Descent, a three day live event that previewed the adventure and revealed some of characters that would play a part in the storyline. One of those characters will be Arkhan the Cruel, a dragonborn paladin created by True Blood and Justice League actor Joe Manganiello.
Manganiello played as Arkhan for years, including in web shows like Critical Role and Force Grey. Descent Into Avernus reveals that Arkhan now resides in the first level of the Nine Hells, trying to free the chromatic dragon goddess Tiamat from her prison with the help of the Hand of Vecna, a powerful artifact he stole during an appearance in Critical Role. While Arkhan
"The folks at Wizards of the Coast said, 'We're going to do this adventure in the first plain of Hell. Arkhan's there, right?'" Manganiello told ComicBook.com when asked how his character came to appear in the upcoming storyline. "They asked what's he doing there, and I told them I could write a whole book about it. They said 'Why don't you send it us?' So I sent them all this material where he would be and what he would be doing, and who he'd be doing it with."
Arkhan will have his own tower in Avernus, the first level of Hell, along with several villainous compatriots. Manganiello told ComicBook.com that one of Arkhan's companions is a snapping turtle-esque Death Cleric Tortle, who he hopes will change how Tortles (a race of anthropomorphic turtles) are conceived. "He's a Dr. Mindbender type," Manganiello said. Arkhan, the Tortle, and Arkhan's other companions will also be immortalized in a series of high-quality figures produced by Gale Force 9.
Although Arkhan resides in Hell and is trying to bring his evil goddess to the Material Plane, Manganiello doesn't see Arkhan as a villain. "Well, I hate to use the word villain," Manganiello told ComicBook.com. "I've always hated that. I hate it when it's used to describe my characters because I just think there are different characters coming at life from different angles. A lot of people accused Arkhan of stealing the Hand of Vecna as some sort of power grab. But it wasn't, it was a completely altruistic gesture of a high level paladin putting his god before his own well-being. He handcuffed himself to this artifact that will destroy him, that will corrupt his mind and his body in order to try to unlock the secret to freeing Tiamat from Avernus."
Descent Into Avernus will be released on September 19th. Pre-orders are live now.
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