Largely I agree with Cheka Man and MoonHunter. Orcs are a lot more than sword fodder for the PCs to beat up; they are intelligent, culture forming creatures with hopes and desires of their own. They could, and indeed should, be played as intelligent beings with complex cultures and mythologies.
In of itself Grond is perhaps a little over-powered ("shields splinter under the first strike and armour provides no protection") but the link with orcish mythology allows for it as a one-off, unique artefact (much like the sword Excalibur, which has a similar basis in human mythology). Logically if Excalibur exists as the mark of human kingship, then Grond (or something very much like it) might also exist as the mark of orcish chiefdom.
On the whole a good item. I can't quite give it a 5 because I don't get the "Wow, I wish I'd thought that" feeling, but definitely a good solid 4.
Your write-up is very good. The item is very powerful, but thats fine - it should be given its history (one question - what IS its history? we know how the orcs got it in a time of need, but when was it made and by whom and why was it lost if so powerful? i know i'm being picky, but you don't address this)
pretty awesome post. and we need more non-sword weapons... Go to Comment
An excellent item! My only negative comment would have been not to use the name Grond. It opens one up to a lot of criticism. It did not affect my vote, but I would expect to be beaten up over a sub I called Excaliber, Gandalf, etc. They are great names, to be sure, but the baggage carried with them would serve to color any such post. Go to Comment
Ah, Lord of the Rings references. Awesome. If memory serves, Grond is that battering ram that the orcs were going to use to conquer Minas Tirith by bashing down the main gate. I like what you've done with the old girl! kudos, man! Go to Comment
"...unseen servants never spy on you and never gossip..."
Wait, wait: what if they can be reasoned with in some way, and, after their shift is over, when they return back from where ever they came from (wherever that is), somebody from this world pays them a visit... learning a few interesting details. Even worse if this item is used in many households.
Thus an obvious plot hook: somebody attempts to blackmail the lord. Find out how could the important secret be revealed. Go to Comment
In a lower magic world, this is still a great item. In a lower magic world, the back story would change ever so slightly... as one does not buy magic items in that kind of world... but basically a very useful tool.
In a very HIGH magic world, this might be a common sort of item... every noble household would have one. After all unseen servants never spy on you and never gossip, and after the cost of the initial investment in the item it become a major cost saving item for generations down the line (Think of it as a major appliance). Go to Comment
In a high-magicworld, this is certainly the way to go - free labor that won't rebel. Of course, the people may be upset at magical items 'stealing' their jobs, with golems and conjured servants doing chores, succubi competing with prostitues for clients, warrior demons entering the market of assassination...
Could cause some outrage amongst the populace...
a good one 4/5 Go to Comment
Though incredibly useful, this item is only mystically powerful in the lowest of low-magic settings. In higher magic settings--or even moderate ones--the staff's representation as a symbol of office & position could spread rumours about other abilities. This could be the reason why it would be stolen.
The power of the staff not only takes away paying jobs from living servants, but could drive them away as well. That is, the rest of the staff quits--and no one else can be hired--because of the creepiness of the unseen servants going about their work. Unless this sort of magic is common (such as in D&D where it is a first-level wizard's spell) the manor could gain a reputation as haunted, or the major domo (or even the prince himself) could get a reputation as a witch or demon-summoner.
Personally, I would darken this up a little, but that's just my sick imagination. I would have the staff powered (or rumoured to be) by the spirits of slain servants, or perhaps by the psychokinetic talents of an emotionally troubled teenaged spirit. Go to Comment