Art and Music

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ID: 8380


February 5, 2016, 4:23 pm

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The War Drum of Oyr


A conventional war drum, or is it?

Description and Properties:

The War Drum of Oyr looks like a conventional war drum made specifically for one player. It is only special in so far as it was made from the skin of Oyr the One-Legged Cow and had inherited the full power of its Call of Thunder. An enchantment laid onto it by a mage of later ages unearthed its full potential- to compatriots and allies, it can reverberate at great distances but always at a suitable volume to uplift their spirits; to foes, none can escape from its beat of doom no matter how far away they are. Some rumours say that the Drum also has the effect of driving bovines within a large radius to wrathful stampeding.

Yet, the War Drum has been long lost. Therefore, it is uncertain to what degree the added enchantment has worn off or if it has expired altogether.


The main debate between sages on the War Drum of Oyr is neither over its construction nor its whereabouts- both are unknown and it is as simple as that. Instead, they argue incessantly about whether Oyr is a unique creature come into being before the ages of time or it was a conventional cow which accidentally swallowed a Shard of Storm and became the creature that legends describe- a one-footed cow four times as large as any conventional cow which can emit a sound like thunder.

Now, you want to know about its construction and possibly its whereabouts? Well, let’s see what scattered accounts there are in the form of colourful local lore and tales from grandsires. There are lots, in fact. They’re not as trustworthy as the words of sages and oft conflict with one another- not that sages don’t- but it’s a hobby of mine to keep track of such rumours and tales revolving around legends. So that I can form my own personal conjecture over the truth. It will probably never come to light, the truth, but one can find one’s enjoyment by seeking to tease out what it could be.

Where shall I start? Let’s start at the beginning. Curiously, the earliest tales recorded of the Drum’s construction was some time after the Great Exploration. And as we all knew, the Great Exploration brought back many artifacts from foreign origins. It might be pure speculation on my part- certainly, no sage had ever entertained the possibility before. At any rate, as many as eight or maybe even more kingdoms claimed that their founder played an unequivocal role in the construction of the War Drum. And yet, there wasn’t a single rumour or family tale floating around of the actual crafter of the War Drum. I find that another curious aspect and it just happens to match up so well to that speculation of mine.

More on the stories about construction themselves? Let’s see. As many as five kingdom’s founders were a great hero and counted among their exploits the deed of having slain Oyr the One-footed Cow though so far as I can see, there is nothing that Oyr had done which qualifies its slaying as being a heroic deed. Ah well. These great heroes tend to be an impulsive lot, slaying anything that doesn’t fit into their mold of conventionality. Wait, there was one among them who claimed that it was the decreed of some obscure immortal who showed him that it was the sure way to defeat his villainous foe. But we only have his own words for that. Then, two others chanced upon- or rather were directed upon by divinity- on the carcass of Oyr. The last is the ultimate showcase of the hubris of humankind, in my opinion. It claims that Oyr itself willingly gives up its own life so that its skin can be used to construct a war drum that will forever ensure that the Righteous triumph. What nonsense, there has never been a single war waged in the name of true Righteousness throughout the history of humans! For the ambitions of single men or as a last resort to violence when two interests irreconciliably clash! That’s what all wars come down to, ha!

Where is the Drum now? Well, foremost there is the claim that it is buried with whichever kingdom founder that really has an instrumental role in its coming into being. That clearly turned out to be false for some of these claims. Which ones I don’t know and am not that interested to find out. Then, there is the legend about the War Drum being restless in mortal hands and never willing to stay with a single mortal beyond several uses, sometimes just one. Of course, war drums had come into fashion over the last few centuries. Enchanted ones made by Hiter musician-wizards abound now. Somehow, these artifacts were being mixed up with the War Drum of Oyr itself and we now hear colorful tales of some of these more special war drums’ histories being passed off as the history of the Drum of Oyr. I have chased down a few false trails myself but it is too early to proclaim that I have found the single true path.

And that’s all I can say at this stage. Now, if you will excuse me, I have some references that I would like to find for another of my conjectures over the buried truths of history.

Plot Hooks:

  1. The PCs have got their hands on the War Drum as a random loot, which is craved by multiple kingdoms for its practical use. Can they survive ‘theft & treachery” all the way during their attempt to sell the War Drum to the highest bidder?
  2. The PCs have been commissioned to retrieve the War Drum without being informed of the subtlety regarding the added enchantment (whether through ignorance or subterfuge is up to GM choice). To top things off, the ultimate condition imposed on receiving payment/rewards is that the PCs have to demonstrate the power of the War Drum in action….
  3. The PCs have been commissioned to find the War Drum by a figure who keeps his visage well concealed and speaks with some kind of obvious foreign accent. Here is the PCs’ opportunity to find out about one of ‘buried truths of history’ if they are so inclined.

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Comments ( 8 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

February 5, 2016, 3:55
I seem to be pushing towards the fact that the War Drum isn't created from a Shard of Storm and for that reason that seems not 100% fitting towards the Shards of Storm quest but I think I have at least made the case that it could be made from a Shard of Storm. It certainly is a possibility- one of two, circulating among sages in my world.
Voted Aramax
February 5, 2016, 8:52
Voted Murometz
February 5, 2016, 14:30
While the drum's powers aren't unique, its cloudy origin and the convoluted myth behind it adds a great, evocative touch! One-footed cow indeed. I'd add something to its powers, so it's not just doom to foes/uplifting to allies to differentiate it further. Maybe the beating of the drum, drives all bovines in hearing distance insane with wroth, or something.
February 5, 2016, 16:20
Cloudy origin and convoluted myth seem to be personal fav of mine or at least, they tend to crop as recurring themes in my items time and again.

Really like the bovine idea btw and shall incorporate into the sub.
February 5, 2016, 16:23
Update: Incorporated Muro's idea of Drum effect on nearby bovines
Voted Cheka Man
February 8, 2016, 21:09
Orcs would find this drum very useful.
Voted Strolen
February 14, 2016, 10:20
A fun idea.

I was idly wondering if nobody was actively warring, would the sounds still reverberate as mentioned. So if this drum found its way into a humble village and they used it for celebration or ritual. They wouldn't notice much about it except it is a nice drum. But maybe 2 clans are at war not super far away and they keep hearing this mysterious beat of a drum....
Voted Dartanion08
April 3, 2016, 21:57
This is a very neat item concept! Very well worded and concise in function. Bonus for having rich lore. I can't tell you put a lot of thought into this and that pleases me! Keep up the good work!
April 3, 2016, 22:17
I CAN* tell. Forgive me.



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