This is a Discovery, and a set of associated Challenges, for  Grand Adventure.

The Rasende Hammer

The Rasende Hammer is a bloodline relic of a once-mighty kingdom. At its heart is a bound Dragon of Rage, writhing in endless torment. The hammer was built as a weapon of war. It could absorb the anger of its wielder and anybody that pledged their loyalty to them, and turn that collective rage into magical might. The king or queen of a kingdom, backed by the loyalty of their subjects, could stand alone against an invading army and be on equal terms. A perfidious ruler would find the Hammer turning against them in their time of need.

The Hammer should evoke anger. Even getting near it will bring one's passions bubbling and boiling to the surface. Actually grasping it will place the wielder into a berserker rage. The only people who can safely wield it are the heirs of its former kingdom. Aside from the power of the hammer itself, many people have committed many wrongs, both in its name and to keep it sealed away.

It is an actual warhammer, oversized as though built for a tall and muscular warrior. The haft is wrapped in thick leather from an unknown animal. The entire hammer is rust-red and seemingly coated with dried blood, but it remains intact and frighteningly effective if wielded. Affixed to the pommel is a blood-red ruby which holds the Dragon spirit. The ruby cannot be removed or harmed except by powerful magic.

The hammer was captured by a cabal of wizards some time ago. Potent spells were woven around it to lull the dragon and suppress the hammer's power. The wizards flung it into a valley and laid a curse upon the whole region. The valley was encased in ice and eternal winter. The cold served two purposes: to cool the burning rage of the hammer, and to deter anybody who wanted to wield the hammer themselves. As long as the cold reigns, the Dragon sleeps. But if somebody removed the weapon from its frosty cradle, it would wake…

The PCs might come across the frozen valley while traveling. They might be in search of the rightful heir who can wield the hammer for a just and righteous cause. Or they might wish to end the curse of the Rasende Hammer — one way or another.

Challenges

These challenges are appropriate for characters with at least one four-star Word. Adjust the numbers if you think it should be more or less difficult.

Caravan Rescue

A traveling caravan went off course for some reason, and is now inside the cursed valley. Wild blizzards, bad visibility, and unfamiliar terrain keep them trapped. The PCs must aid them. The PCs are either part of the caravan themselves, fellow travelers on the road who see signs of it, or assigned to locate it by somebody connected with the caravan. Decide what sort of caravan it is, and what they carry: merchants going to market, entertainers and storytellers, armed escorts for something or someone (a gold shipment or VIP escort, perhaps), a military envoy, or whatever. The caravan, or somebody traveling with it, might also have come seeking the Hammer intentionally (for good or ill).

The reason for the caravan's detour should not be innocent. The Hammer is working its magic from afar. Perhaps bandits attacked, or perhaps somebody in the caravan got into a fight that sent it off course. Perhaps hostile wildlife, like wolves, were the original cause. Decide what hostility instigated the calamity.

Stages:

  • 13 □□ (locate the caravan in the blizzard)
  • 16 □□□ (resolve lingering hostilities)
  • 19 □□□ (escort to safety)

Twists:

  • Wolves! (♡♡): During some part of the rescue, a pack of wolves appear and must be dealt with. How do they factor in?
  • Tempers Flare! (♡♡♡): Somebody says something to set off one or more of the caravan personnel, who are conveniently armed. How does this complicate the rescue? Is this how the caravan got lost to start with?
  • Lost Valuables! (♡♡♡♡): Something important the caravan carries — like some or all of the cargo, or a VIP — is endangered. What does it take to keep everything safe? Is losing the thing the only way out?

Confronting the Hammer

If the PCs come up with a way to deal with the Rasende Hammer itself, they're welcome to try and end the curse, or at least seal it better. Decide which of the following options might work:

  • A profound act of forgiveness directed at the spirit within the hammer will soothe some of its rage. True-hearted paladins or other paragons of righteousness and mercy might conceivably accomplish this feat.
  • Ritual contrition from the hammer's kingdom of origin, involving large numbers of its citizens, would have a similar effect.
  • Rare and valuable Cirran mechanistry might be able to weaken the power of the Hammer, or dismantle it entirely.
  • Taking the Dragon spirit's ruby on a pilgrimage to the Spirit Tree, and releasing it there.
  • An heir to the kingdom could lawfully claim the bloodline relic, then choose to seal it somewhere more safe.
  • One or more of the original wizards who sealed it away is still around, and could be consulted.

The MC should work to convey the elemental power and unrestrained anger of the spirit within. The Hammer is not merely a magic artifact with bonuses to damage. It is an emotionally compromised, unstable, sentient, man-portable nuke. Its mere existence is a danger, but destroying it is fraught with risk too. Characters approaching the hammer will feel intense anger, and could be attacked by local wildlife, bandits, and so on who were driven mad by the Hammer's hunger for blood.

Stages:

  • 16 □□□ (get close to the hammer's resting place)
  • 19 □□ (survive the dragon's rage)
  • 22 □ (apply countermeasures)

Features:

  • Vengeful (6): If the PCs or anyone with them has a history with the hammer, it will remember. This might include any lawful heir to the relic, and definitely includes the wizards who sealed it away.
  • Cursed (10): Purely magical attempts to mess with the Hammer must contend with the wards still on it. The Hammer must be approached and dealt with on its own terms.

Twists:

  • Fear! (♡): The Hammer knows what you're afraid of. It offers you power to destroy that thing. Are you tempted?
  • Anger! (♡♡): The malign presence of this weapon of war makes you realize just how you have been wronged, and how you could make things right. How do you respond?
  • Hate! (♡♡♡): The Hammer can't be destroyed — it's your tool for making the world better! Don't let those others take away your dream, now that you're so close. Will you try to stop them from interfering? What consequences does your action have?
  • Suffering! (♡♡♡♡): Some great personal sacrifice, loss, or act of selfless mercy may be required. How far will you go to bring peace to the weapon, and the world around it? What will you give up to pacify the Hammer's thirst for violence?

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