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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 The False Dmitry.

It is important to note the following before starting this quest:

  • You must not have joined the Cossacks when you start this quest!
  • This quest contains multiple bugs. It is highly recommended to make a backup saving file every time you continue to the next step.
  • It's best to have 200 renown until step 5 otherwise it will be long and challenging.


  1. Increase your relations with Cossack Hetmanate up to +10, then talk to any lord (or if you have enough renown, you may just pledge allegiance to Hetman Bogdan Hmelnitski and talk to him again). The lord will tell you to stop bandits from looting a village (or just retreat). Warning: the bandits are elite troops, e.g. Swedish Reiter.
  2. 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 who issued you the quest to get the reward.
  3. Ask a Cossack lord about the Black Mace, if he tells you nothing important, then ask again (or talk to different lords) till you are told 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, or you can ask a Traveller. Clermont will either be in some city or, if he is not, then he will be riding around Smolensk in a big circle (you must look carefully in the map to find him).
  4. He will tell you to find a Cossack lord (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 about Janusz Radziwill, commencing the Story Quest 'For Great Lithuania'.
  5. Wait for about a week or so, ask travellers in taverns where Radziwill is (it's usually any city within the Polish Commonwealth). Find him and he asks for your support first (renown +200). Accept, which commences the 'Radziwill Rebellion'.
  6. Go to the party screen and talk to Radziwill. Ask him for a mission, and he will give you a task to capture any city/castle for him. When it's done, Radziwill will disappear from the party and will stay there. He will not be visible in the city/castle info on the campaign map, so you need to remember where you left him. You will need to go to the throne room of the captured city/castle to talk to him.
  7. Talk to Radziwill and he will order you to capture Kiev, which becomes polish for that cause.
  8. Talk to Radziwill after you capture Kiev and he will tell you to meet a mayor of 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 Radziwill before the rebellion wins, or else the quest will bug! If Radziwill disappears from the map without a trace after capturing Kiev, the quest is irreversibly bugged.
  9. Talk to Radziwill and he will order you to capture a Crimean Khanate lord.
  10. Once you capture one, he 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'. Warning: there is a bug, which could trigger completion of this task, when you simply talk to Radziwill or a mayor.
  11. To access the archive, you must either achieve high relations (+26) with the city lord, or simply conquer it.
  12. 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 (relations +35) with will tell the player that the crypt is in the village of Nesvizh, Commencing 'Nesvizh Legend'.
  13. If you go to Nesvizh and talk to the Village Elder before finishing Radziwill rebellion, he will give you two possible responses, but neither will help to proceed the Black Mace quest.
  14. You must now complete Radziwill rebellion conquering Polish Commonwealth and giving him the crown. You can talk the Polish lords into joining your cause, leading to a bigger army. Capture all Polish cities and villages and wait for couple of days until the rebellion is declared successful. Radziwill becomes new Polish king and you become a lord of Polish Commonwealth. Warning: Before you finish the rebellion, you must grant Radziwill at least one city/castle or you won't be able to finish step 24.1.
  15. Now go to Nesvizh and tell the Village Elder that you are here in the name of the king Radziwill. The elder will say that a Russian prince was also looking for the Mace, but he was killed by bandits.
  16. When you leave the village, a huge army (about 200 men) appears. You can either defeat them or simply pay 5000 thalers. They tell you the name "Boryatinsky", 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.
  17. When found, Boryatinsky 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.
  18. If you have Intellect 15 you will read the book yourself, otherwise you will need a translator, thus commencing 'Pafnuty'. To get a translator talk to some lords until one mentions "Saint Pafnuty" in Novgorod. When you talk to him, he will request an escort to the city. Once there, he will tell you to come back in two weeks (in some case you actually have to wait two days).
  19. Once you read the book, you find out about an old Cossack hero, thus commencing 'Cossack Legends'. Talking to Cossack generals will result in learning that you need to find a companion named Mamai (possibly located in Sich's tavern).
  20. After recruiting Mamai (you will need to pay 5000 thalers which he owes the innkeeper), talk to him through the party menu. He will tell you to talk to the Cossack claimant, Ivan Barabash, commencing 'Hetman Barabash'. Ask a traveller where to find him, he is in a usually in Krakov or in Warsaw
  21. Barabash tells you about the Black Mace's true power - to lead all Cossack lords, commencing 'Nesvizh'. After that Cossack lords together with their cities/castles will be defecting to Polish Commonwealth, one lord per three days on average. If you wait long enough for all Cossack lords who own settlements to defect, there will be a message that Radziwill united all lands under his banner and the game is over. Warning: strangely defected Cossack lords will not return back to Cossack Hetmanate after Polish Commonwealth looses the mace, so you may wish to finish next steps as soon as possible (in one day if you don't want anyone to defect).
  22. Now you have to return to Nesvizh. There will be a force of elite Polish troops. You have to defeat them wave after wave (losing gameover), or simply exit the combat with Tab (it's a bug). Warning & Advice: The battle with the Polish troops at Nesvizh 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 (or cheap militia), backed up by many Zolniers (Musketeers). Hold Position on the hill behind your spawn point outside of city, pikemen in front if you have them. Let them come to you as they funnel through the city's fences and wells. Your own cavalry won't do very well in the city either due to all the obstacles, hence setting up just outside of city. If your cavalry has firearms, you can place them on the other hills so that they can together with your musketeers decimate the enemy. Do not set up near their spawn point or their muskets will cut your forces down very quickly.
  23. After finishing the combat, one of the captured prisoners tells you that Radziwill ordered to kill anyone who is searching for the mace. Then Mamai tells you, that Radziwill declared you an outlaw and is recruiting the Cossack gentry. After that, you will lose all fiefs and stationed troops in your cities/castles you've got. Commencing 'Hetman Radziwill'.
  24. Now Mamai gives you 2 choices, either way you will get the Black Mace when you win:
    1. Fight Radziwill and his guards (6 Swedish Cuirassiers) alone, by approaching him while he is in a city/castle. This way you kill Radziwill and escape with the mace.
    2. Fight him in the open with your army (Radziwill has around 125 troops equivalent to your level and most of them are elite soldiers). This way he will die later of a heart attack.
  25. If you talk to Barabash now, he will offer to make you his marshall and start the rebellion. If you decline, Mamai will pursuade Hetman Bogdan Hmelnitski to make you the marshall of Cossack Hetmanate.
  26. If you choose to become Barabash's marshall, he tells you to get support from Cossack lords before starting the rebellion
    1. Now you need to talk to Cossack lords and show them the mace. There is a chance, that a lord gives his support to Barabash or declines, you can see their choices in the quest notes. Regardless of their decision, lords will advice you to talk to Hmelnitski first. You can either continue getting support from the lords, or talk to Hmelnitski first.
    2. If you ignore Hmelnitski and get support from half of the lords, the rebellion will start, with all those lords on your side.
    3. If you talk to Hmelnitski before, he advices you to intercept a polish caravan with a letter, which proves that Barabash is conspiring with the polish king.
    4. If you decline, relations with Hmelnitski drop by -60 and you return to persuading the lords before rebellion. If you accept, then you need to capture the caravan, which heads from Chernigov to a variable city. Warning: caravan is fast, so you should either talk to Hmelnitski when he is near Chernigov, or use cheats to teleport your party. Caravan is actually a huge polish army (about 200 men).
    5. After defeating the caravan you learn that Barabash promises half of Cossack Hetmanate to polish king for support. When you tell this to Hmelnitski he makes you his marshall and your quest for Barabash is over.
    6. In case you proceed with Barabash rebellion and win, Barabash gives you an order to conquer the Muscovite Tsardom, commencing "To Muscovite";
  27. If you become Hmelnitski's marshall, he will give you an order, commencing "To Poland". You need to conquer Polish Commonwealth now. After conquering Poland, King Jan Casimir may start rebellion with his lords.
  28. From this moment onwards, the story is the same regardless of who is the Hetman – Barabash or Khmelnyts'kyy. After some time has passed since your victory over Muscovy or Poland, 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Once you are elected marshal, 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...


Unlike The Deluge or The False Dmitry, this quest is not based on any notable historical event, nor is it mentioned in the book With Fire and Sword.