The Backbreaker is an enormous hammer, with a haft 5 feet long, made from what some kind of dense, knobbed wood. Parts of it are wrapped in grayed cloth which once was dyed with some kind of swirling pattern. The head of the hammer is a giant, round-edged block of white stone, not ornamented in any way; parts of this stone are stained a dull brownish color. The whole hammer is ridiculously heavy, heavier than almost any human could lift.
The Backbreaker was the weapon of the legendary and feared Warlord Gyog Ak-Thail, the Ribcage Destroyer. Gyog was a huge and powerful man, a giant even among his warriors, the Tocharian Band; it was said that he stood 9 feet tall and could lift massive boulders with his bare hands.
The Backbreaker was his hammer, crafted by his own hand from a great white stone which he dug out of the earth under his citadel, the Tower of Thail. When he discovered the stone, he took it with him into the peaks behind his fortress.
For nine days, he was not seen. The people of the surrounding lands rejoiced, thinking him dead. But it was not so; soon, they heard again the thunder of hooves and battle-chants from the Tower of Thail, and the Ribcage Destroyer with his Tocharian Band came roaring from that grim keep, to ravage the lands of the King of the East. In his hands, Gyog Ak-Thail held a new weapon, a great hammer made from gleaming white stone, the Backbreaker.
Eventually, the depredations of the Tocharian Band grew so terrible that the King of the East was forced to send forth his grand army to defeat the bandits. For three years, the imperial army chased the Band throughout the lands of the Western Mountains, unable to defeat Gyog’s guerilla tactics and the fearsome berzerker fighting of his men.
At long last, however, the army trapped the Band on Mount Ougutaz, charging them down into a small hollow. The first of the Tocharians to fall was Shem-Krol, the Knife of Hatabana; and then Mimhatar, the Terrible Jawbone; and then Kil-Sther, the Bandit of the Steel Cape; and so on and so on, until the only one left was Gyog Ak-Thail, the Ribcage Destroyer.
But the Warlord would not go easily- it is said that he crushed the heads of 200 men with the great hammer, Backbreaker, before he went down, his body a mass of arrows and swords, drooling enough blood to create a great pool of it about his body.
The general in charge of defeating the Tocharians, Miserdas Ail, had the body burned. He said unto his men, “On this day, a great bull has been slain; let us take his horns as a trophy.” The Backbreaker was loaded into a cart and carried off to the City of the King to be a trophy.
But one of the Tocharians had survived, the treacherous foreigner Imha, who had come from the City of Sparrows. In the night, he hid among the darkened trees by the road, and slowly killed each member of the remaining soldiers with his bow. Unfortunately for Imha, Miserdas was also a peerless archer- both died at the same moment, as Miserdas had strung his bow and fired a mighty shot at the same moment as Imha had done so.
The King of the East, hearing tales of these battles, sent more soldiers to find out what had become of Miserdas Ail. He discovered the wreckage of the caravan and of the Tocharian Band, but he never found the Backbreaker.
It is said that the hammer has been seen among the enormous warriors of the Thunderbolt Steppes, and among the subhumans who dwell in the Castigor Mountains. But it has never been retrieved for longer than a day before once again vanishing into legend.
The Backbreaker possesses no magical ability. It is simply a gigantic, enormously-heavy maul. However, it’s legend is well known, as is the statement that it has killed 3,000 men in it’s bloodstained history, and the carrier of such a weapon will no doubt be feared wherever he goes.