Grond, Hammer of the Underworld
Thousands of orcs chant in unison as their champion and chieftan raises the black iron morningstar, they chant for the hammer of the underworld, the unbeatable weapon of orcdom.
Twas in an age past, when the orcs were scattered to the winds like the seeds of grass. Their foes were legion, and they were mighty andd victorious. The elves raised silver shields and rang silver horns, and rained death and misery upon the clans. The humans came clad in steel and armed with axes, and with swords and with long lances. The dwarves came worst of all, swinging great mattocks and axes, singing their songs of war as they laid the clans unto ruin.
It for a tiem seemed that the day of the orc had ended, and they would become a remnant, hunted for sport and liesure. Such had been the fate of the giant, and the ogre, the troll and the manticore.
In those days, it was sang, that all the heroes had died. None was left strong enough to draw the clans togethert, and slowly they were being eliminated. The humans and their allies were no longer defending their soft homes, or cowering in the confines of dark castles. They took to the field, and the burned the traveling villages, slaughtering the aurochs and the dricos.
Twas during this time that one of the surviving warriors took upon himself a quest. For the orc had survived in human captivity and had heard a tale of a legendary weapon, one that could not be defeated in battle. Twas the human blade Caliburn, that others named Excaliber. Surely the humans success had been solely because of this weapon. The orc returned to his clan, after much deception and divine luck in escaping.
The Kam, the shaman of the clan spoke of a vision, that the orcs would be delivered from such ruin by a fist of darkness. The orc knew this to be true, for in his dreams he had seen the weapon, its black haft and its head shaped into the cruel snarl of a wolf.
The orc made his voyage, with a band of followers. They crossed the Spine of the World, where the mountains scratch the sky. They crossed the great flats north of the spine, and some perished for the poisonous creatures that dwelt therein. Others were taken by thirst. The Kam guided them, and for a span of seven years they sought after the great weapon.
Twas upon the winter solstice, in the depth of the night that the band, greatly reduced stumbled upon the tomb. It was greatly aged and seemed charged with eldritch energy. The kam cast spells and threw open the doors of the tomb. The orc then descended into the tomb, finding a staircase that sank deep into the earth. It sank so deep that he passed beyond the shroud, and entered into the realms of the dead.
There he was challenged to a riddling contest by a wily old kam, centuries dead. Then he was challenged to a duel by a great warrior decorated with the teeth of a dragon. These he succeded in, confounding the kam, and besting the warrior. Upon a black stone pedestal rested the weapon, that which he had sought after. He lifted it, feeling the cold iron, and the leather, and he knew that the salvation of his kin was at hand.
'Know this, by the name Grond shall thee call me. And know that I am the hammer of the underworld. I am the breaker of shields. I am the render of flesh. I am the ender of all life.' Thus the weapon spoke, but only in his mind.
The orc emerged from the underworld, bearing with him the dark weapon. His eyes beheld the stars of the dead and the course of fate, he held death in his hands, and he knew that the time had again come, that the orc would again rise.
The aftermath of the story is well known. For the orc returned to his clan. He made war on the other clans, defeating them and adding them to his own.They chanted the name of the weapon, the name that he too took for himself. From that day, when the orcs gathered at the Great Spire of Heaven, the orc cast aside his old name and became Grond. The hammer of the underworld.
Grond is a black iron morningstar with eight spiked flanges. It can be used one, or two handed, and is a weapon of superior craftsmanship. Their are orcish runes upon the flanges that name the weapon, but few even among the orcs can read them.
The bearer of Grond cannot be defeated in combat. Shields splinter under the first strike, and armor provides no protection from this terrible weapon. Mundane weapons are broken in combat with Grond, and magical weapons are allowed a die throw to survive battle with Grond.
Now, it is important to note that Grond does not in any way protect it's wielder. An arrow can kill him, as most of Grond's subsequent wielders have been slain. Nor does it protect him from poisoned weapons, surprise attacks, or magical spells. Thus, Grond's master should be well versed in combat to protect himself, and his longterm survival.
Grond is a unique weapon to be ranked with Excaliber, its inspiration. In response to some complaints, I also submit that Tolkien was a major inspiration. I thought this to be obvious enough to not warrant comment. I was wrong.
Found! - Grond has been recovered from its resting place, and the orcs are becoming more strident in their activities and more aggressive. The PCs have to intervene before the tide of orcish warriors threatens to end the current age of civilization with their barbarism.
The Lure - The PCs discover clues to locate the most legendary of orcish relics. They can recover it to add to their own arsenals, or to sieze the weapon and expidite its destruction in the fires from whence it was forged.
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? Responses (29)-31
I really like the back-story that makes this weapon come to life, and I like it that it's from an orcish viewpoint.Orcs are a lot more then just evil creatures to slay. 5/5
I voted a 5 because Cheka forgot to.
I still like it just that much. It is a good weapon for an OrcWorld campaign, or any campaign where you want your orcs to be more than mooks to be mowed down.
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.
A morningstar - fitting weapon for an orc... I can see many a steel-clad knigh falling to the sheer fury of Grond.
While Excalibur is noble and elegant, Grond should be massive like a mountain, black as a moonless night and fierce as polar winter. No subtlety, just feral savage power.
Well, I once created an orcish mythological item (the Sun Box), but I'd have to say that this one does it a bit better.
Why shut away sun in funny box when Grond can *SMASH* stoopid sun to pieces?!
Heh heh snicker.
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...
At last I got around to voting. I think of Orcs and other races of that type as more then things to slay.
I'm starting to see why they are known as Barbarian Horde.
Scrasamax- damn, by the time I get to comment its all been said more or less, anyway, beautiful! do continue the Orcs Saga at some point in another sub!
Updated: In response to some complaints, I also submit that Tolkien was a major inspiration. I thought this to be obvious enough to not warrant comment. I was wrong.
I took the liberty and deleted a vulgare comment from Barbarian Horde - since that is what to such comments happens. To restate it, the anonymous was now a bit content with the update and proper respect given to the great J.R.R. Tolkien. On the other hand, he actually wasn't and has shown his displeasure as he was able to.
To answer on your last question, dear nameless 'What is is this website anyway?', you could take a look at the homepage. Right below the logo and a few links is a little introduction text:
'Welcome to Strolen's Citadel. We are an online, interactive, searchable resource for game masters, storytellers and players. We provide a friendly place for the sharing, commenting, and voting on user submitted game elements to include plots, npcs, locations, items, creatures, entire settings and much much more. We major in Fantasy, but there is more than swords and sorcery here. You can find resources to fit into almost any genre or setting. We try to avoid game specific material, and instead lean towards what can be easily adapted to most any system. Also, don't forget to explore the forums and the chat where you can join in a discussion or a game in progress. This free role playing site continues to grow with your help, so join our roleplaying community, read our material, post a few ideas, and go play. Read, Post, Play!'
In case of more questions you can go into the forums.
Now, if you can start something with this, then feel free to become a user; just mind the friendly part. Be assured that we value highly the originality of thought, as giving credit to sources of inspiration. Inspiration and originality go often together, anyway.
Dear Barbarian Horde:
We value originality, but we are often inspired by fiction. This is game related material, so we are not publishing it for commercial interest. There is no copyright infringement, no violation of the law, just gamers being inspired by various sources.
And we have another round of Why we don't like annoymous postings. Empowerment through lack of responsibility.
Strolen said he is the only one who is supposed to delete things... yet...
CP should not take bait and respond to simple and base attacks. Moderator. You are supposed to defuse situations, not add to them.
BH: yes, I mean you. Losers engage in pointless personal attacks against people that they don't even know or care about. That aside. Let us see what you can do. Enroll in the site and see how well you can post. Show us up, if you can.
By the way. Like this post. It does due to the subject matter.
Well, seeing as I don't have the ability to Moderate the main page, that becomes difficult... And c'mon, don't you think it was a good comeback?
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.
I would think the orcs would come down hard on any non orc with this.
I think if a non-orc came up with Grond, it would be about like what the human nations would do if Excaliber showed up in the treasure trove of an orcish warlord. Somewhere between a quasi-religious crusade and attempted genocide.
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!
you are half correct, the great wolf-headed battering ram that broke the main gate was indeed named GRond. If you read the Silmarillion, Morgoth had a personal weapon, a great morning star named Grond. The ram would later be named after Morgoth's hammer.