The Handy Hatchet of Henry

DESCRIPTION

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…

RULES

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.

DESIGN NOTES

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!

The Silver Twins

The Silver Twins together, but not for long…

DESCRIPTION

Magical short swords that are connected to each other. They have the cut of a gladius with a thin line of silver running along both edges of each blade. When two people each wield one of the twins, they have the capacity to share thoughts between them, even over great distances.

RULES

One possessor can attempt to send a simple message to the other possessor. Make a WISDOM test to see if it’s successfully transmitted. If you fail, you can make no more attempts until you complete a long rest. If you succeed, the message is sent.

For every additional message you wish to send, increase the difficulty of the roll by 1 cumulatively, resetting to 0 after a long rest.

When both swords are possessed by a single person, the voices of the twins are in constant conflict, a living embodiment of pushing together matching magnetic poles. A character possessing both swords may not take a long rest as the whispers hound them and do not allow them to relax enough to benefit from it.

DESIGN NOTES

These swords were found on a pair of onyx-black skeletons within the depths of the dungeon features in the Hole in the Oak adventure from Necrotic Gnome – https://necroticgnome.com/collections/old-school-essentials/products/the-hole-in-the-oak-print-pdf. However, the swords I made up, they were only described as “silver swords” carried by the skeletons.

The guard/basket at the handle of the sword is supposed to resemble a brain. However, being medieval times, who would know what a brain intact looks like? Who made these blades with that knowledge in hand? Definitely something interesting to explore!

Further, I wanted to give my players items that would lightly encourage a little bit of splitting up, which is always fun in a dungeon. They are incredibly dangerous if possessed by one character however, so only the fool-hardy would want to keep both!