Attempting a new style on this one: This is to be read much as a Â‘History Channel' style report on a real-but-now-essentially-mythical person, such as King David, Thomas Jefferson, Tutankhamen, King Richard the Lionhearted, etc.
Though every legend seems to claim a different appearance for the first Master of Ironspirit, together, they weave a definite picture. Nial was a giant of a man, towering head and shoulders above the men of the south, though men cannot agree if he was seven, eight, or even ten feet tall. His features were plain, neither ugly nor handsome, and permanently reddened by the heat of the forge. Heavily muscled he was, shaped by the forge and by war, capable, they said, of twisting the cold steel with his fingers alone. In truth, he was likely no more than six and a half feet tall, though he would still be considered a giant for those days, and his work likely did make him extremely bulky. He favored plain clothes and the smith's leather smock, though in time of war, he would gird himself with scale of brilliantly polished steel, perfect in its protection.
Though legend places him all over the map, modern history traces the beginnings of the real man named Â‘Nial Ironspirit' to the northern tribes of the arctic wastes, confirmed by what fragments of ancient writings still remain to the Ironspirit family today. Belonging to the Nahzdek tribe, which had made its home near one of the few significant deposits of both bronze and sky-iron in the north, it is no surprise that he was a blacksmith from an early age. Peculiarly, the Nahzdek learned the value of armor early, and by the time Nial was trained at the forge, they had driven it almost to perfection.
With their heavy armor, the Nahzdek chose to try to conquer the other clans militarily. Though one on one, their warriors, whose we translate today as juggernauts, were essentially invulnerable with their thick metal shells, the clansmen soon learned to fight back with heavy rocks and to use the weather itself against them, for they had difficulties in the heavy snows. We are not sure what Nial's role in the war was, for he did not yet keep his diary, and the legends are in profuse conflict, but we do know that in the end, he was a refugee, fleeing southwards, carrying the basics of his art with him in his mind. And so began his writings, things that we can believe to be true.
I have found myself in the Summerlands. It is strange, I think, that the sun rises even in the winter, here. Ten winters ago, had I been told this, I would never have believed it true. Strangely enough, these people seem to try to grow food from the ground, and it even yields it forth to them. It makes them soft. Still, their little clans need metal workers, and I have found myself apprenticed to one of them. He doesn't know very much, I think, but he knows things I don't. I'll learn them, and be on my way.
He began his journeys then, wandering the world seemingly at random, finding new smiths, learning their art, and moving on. We can only begin to estimate what he learned on this journey, for his writings are heavily decayed, and the code he kept his recipies in is no longer remembered. Even so, some of his works of this time survive to this day.
The Lord of the Manor has approached me, and asked me to forge a weapon for the foremost of his servants, whom they call Erik the Bear. I have designed for him a blade that no man except himself and I can even lift, let alone wield, and it should be able to bear his strength. It will be tested soon enough.
Many others, of course, are lost to history, or the works of his later family falsely attributed to him.
For a time, it seems, he settled at the capital city of Elyus, and there, he kept a mistress, as well as a forge of his own.
She came to me at my smithy today, a creature of shadow and fire and steel. She demanded of me a special sword. I told her it would take many resources and a great deal of time for her demands, but she laughed, and promised me a certain reward for it. I accepted.
But all would not be as it seemed, and here too, he was forced to flee, running, it seemed, for his very life.
She has killed the prince! And in him, left the sword bearing my mark! No place on this world will be safe for me!
His writings end here, and the legends, indeed, are profuse. Fleeing westerly now, he came, in time, to a great chain of mountains, and he began to traverse them, his hardened body barely able to keep ahead of his pursuers, until nature itself claimed the party hunting him. It is said that here he made his most important discovery.
The earth itself opened for him, its gaping maw revealing a great cavern. Being cold and tired, he entered the cavern, seeking shelter and warmth. There, it is said, that he found not only these, but the entrance to the home of the Forge Lord Bryn, the creator of the arms of the Gods. And he begged that ancient master to teach him.
There, the legends tell us, he was challenged. 'Create ye, then, mortal, but a single item worthy of a God's work. Create it, and I shall teach you.' Long and hard, the man thought, and long and hard he worked, producing an endless variety of things, but all of these, he rejected before the god even laid eyes upon them. And long and hard he thought, until he was consoled by the God's daughter, the patron of the Arts. And he laid with Her, and though it displeased the God, She sheltered him from Her Father's wrath, and in time, a child was born, whom would be named Adan, the Created.
Taking his son in his arms, he went to the God, and called forth, 'This, O Lord of Steel and Iron, This I have Created. Judge him, O Lord of Bronze and Brass, and of Silver and Gold, for he is surely the finest thing I shall ever Create, even with Your Daughter's aid.' And though He was wroth with His servant, even the God of the Forge was moved by the child's vigor. And he laid his hands upon his servant, and in doing so, taught him all that he would of Iron and Steel and Bronze and all the Metals of the world. But in the same, he banished man and son from His forge, so that He could not be usurped.
The veracity of this cannot be ascertained, for it is not in his writings, but what is knows is that when Nial descended from the mountains upon their far side years after entering them, he had with him a young child, of three to four years, though the lad was large and strapping enough to pass for a boy of almost twice his age. Together, they founded the Ironspirit enclave, which would become the center of metalworking for ages to come...
I am old. Soon, the shadows will come for me, and I will be called to the eternal starlight. Adan shall be my perfect successor, as I thought him to be, and his son Ayn shall be his, if Adan ever grows old. I do not know if he will. I hope that one day, he can know what it means to have filled the twilight years well...
Widowmaker - A great hammer weighing not less than 200lbs. Forged of a rare metal produced with the Heavy Stone of the eastlands and marsh-gas(A tungsten alloy), it is nigh impervious to heat and absurdly heavy.
Nial is a background legend, the creator of a hundred or more legendary weapons, and several alloys which have stood the test of time. The legends of his encounters with the divine are true, though historically debated. Should he be placed into a game, he will most likely be encountered during one of his Â‘seeking' phases, in which case he will carry a massive sledgehammer, and be either moving from place to place, or serving diligently under a master.
Alternatively, he can be sought after founding his enclave, but he will have many, many other people seeking his impossibly wise and skilled services. In any case, any equipment he forges for the characters should be at a minimum, masterwork, and in his later days, will serve as a weapon of legend from virtue of his forging alone. All equipment he creates should be named, though in time, deeds done with it will count more than its creator. Equipment personally made by him in the enclave will require magic to break.
Who made that magic sword? - Nial will want to know where and how the adventurers got their gear. Anything of note, from arrowheads to swords to buckles will be noted, and he'll want to know their maker.
I have a receipt! - Characters may be sent to retrieve ordered gear from the enclave. Getting it can be a mess, since the order volume is FAR past what the beginning of the Ironspirit clan can produce. Alternatively, they may seek him for gear of their own. Getting to the enclave and getting him to fill an order may be quests all of their own right.
Where's the enclave? - Â‘Modern' smiths / manufacturers want his methods and alloys. The Adventurers must spelunk down to the sunken ruins of the enclave, and deal with the ambient magics that a partially-divine family leaves behind by virtue of their very existance... and death.
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? Responses (8)
Okay. While some will not like this style, I find is useful, direct, and interesting.
It is good to have mythicals/ historicals NPCS. The Site and most campaigns need more of them. These serve as excellent background anchors for modern events and things. Important people have an impact far beyond their lifetime.
Thank you for spending a few minutes on something: Spend a few minutes to assemble a list of Master Craftsmen who had made magical items -and associated schools or works. Work out a thumbnail sketch of their personality, preferences, and foibles.
For those of you who have not read Swords. Why does it always have to be swords? 1454 You should. Then you will well understand the whys of this character better.
This is a very well-made carecter.
(Bump!) A well done legend, detailed and useful. Every magic weapon should have an epic smith to give it life.
BUMP epic smiths make me happy.
I find myself wondering what Nial would do if given a 'spear of the dawn' supposedly made from the first dawn's light... ;p
I do like this style. It gives you everything you need to know and still manages to be direct and to the point.
Great stuff - all awesome! This kind of person can find their way into any campaign.