A young blacksmith of previously little talent claims that he “found” this hatchet sitting in a stump in the woods. Now suddenly he’s found new success, and the village witch is making claims that Henry better watch out as mysterious hatchets found in the woods tend to carry curses with them for the unwary.
A small one-handed hatchet with a wooden handle of some kind of white birch and and an iron axe head with two notable features – one is the back of the axe head which has been shaped into a very finely-honed carpenter’s hammer. The second feature is a hand that has been shaped of the some iron as the blade and embedded into the birch wood handle – the hand resembles the short, squat fingers of the people native to the islands of The Grey – those short folk known for exceptional craft and just as an exceptional hatred for outsiders…
It is a thing of exceptional craftsmanship, and while it clearly can serve as a decent weapon in a pinch, in the right hands, it is a true tool for creation rather than destruction. But of course, it can be difficult to use with the iron hand attached to it. Perhaps there’s a way to remove it without ruining the handle. Perhaps the hand itself belongs to someone – the previous owner or even its creator?
Perhaps Henry might be more forthcoming with details on where he found this hatchet, and a keen eye inspecting the area could find a clue or two to get them started on exploring the mystery further…
The hatchet acts like any other simple one-handed weapon or tool, except if the hand is still attached to it, it provides disadvantage on attack rolls and advantage on rolls where it is used as part of an appropriate craft attempt.
The hand does belong to a former apprentice blacksmith named Loren’xex of the diminutive folk of The Grey. The X carved into the axe head is his maker’s mark, and of course if one were to apply the base of the molded hand to his scarred left arm stump, it would be a perfect fit.
Delivering the axe to Loren’xex will uncover further details of his lover, the warlock Aspen’rar who has made a pact with one of the gods of the Bridge of Stone that resulted, in part, of the curse that cost Loren’xex his hand.
If the hand is removed as a result of removing Aspen’rar’s curse, the axe provides advantage both for crafting and combat rolls.
Okay, this one turned out a bit longer, but it just kept coming out of my brain, and honestly weapons and items that come with a quest all on their own are the best anyway, right?
You also get a bit of my world’s setting in here. I credit the concept of The Grey to my sister who came up with this mysterious folk as a rival nation living on an island chain off the main Halanar continent. As a fighter, her character “fought a useless war” in an Imperial invasion force launched against The Grey.
It didn’t go well.
So for my own campaign, this could very well be quite the trek for my players if they were to pursue the mystery.
You also get a look into my cosmology with mention of the Bridge of Stone! There’s a whole lot wrapped up in just those three words, so I’ll have to save that for another day, but briefly, it’s both a house of gods and a purgatory realm (one of four) where spirits go after they die and try to find their way to the real after life (hence “Bridge” to the afterlife). These realms are also the source of all magic!