A Look at Unstoppable Hammers

March 20th, 2013

Alex Riggs

Magic Market Archive

            Hopefully, you’re already aware of the fact that we just released our latest installment of The Ebon Vault books, which focuses on hammers. If you weren’t, well, you are now. Also, you should probably look at our banners more. I mean, it’s right there, just inches from the text that you’re reading at this very moment.

            Anyway, it’s a great book full of awesome new content for magic hammers of all sorts (plus a decent amount of love for other bludgeoning instruments unlikely to ever get their own book, like morningstars and clubs), and, in the Ebon Vault tradition, it contains no less than 50 new magic weapon special abilities, plus several pages of mundane enhancements for hammers and other bludgeons, and eight unique magic weapons. At a hefty 34 pages and over 20,000 words, it’s a steal for the mere $4.99 price. But I suspect that some of you may be unconvinced, and want some sort of “sample” before rushing out and buying the whole thing.

            So, I’ve decided to devote today’s Magic Market to giving you a little tour of The Ebon Vault: Unstoppable Hammers. We’ll begin where the book does, with special materials. There are over 1,200 words in the book devoted to special materials, but here’s one of my favorites:



            Wildstone: This stone seems unremarkable at first glance, but it contains a latent link with the primal forces of nature and the primordial times before civilization, which resonates in the right hands, to devastating effect. As long as it is wielded by a character whose favored class is barbarian, druid, or ranger, a weapon made of wildstone grants a +1 bonus on attack rolls made against creatures of the animal, magical beast, or vermin type, and a +2 bonus on damage rolls made against constructs or objects (including damage from a successful sunder attempt).

            Only bludgeoning weapons can be made of wildstone. If the weapon is normally made primarily of metal, its hardness is reduced by 2, but its weight remains the same. If the weapon is normally made primarily of wood, its hardness is increased by 3, but its weight is tripled.

            Price: A weapon made of wildstone costs an additional 1,200 gp.



            After the section on special materials, the book moves on to mundane weapon properties, which are various enhancements that can be built into the weapon, which are not magical, but simply the effects of craftsmanship. They are designed to allow weapons to be customizable even at very low levels. This section constitutes another 1,200 or so words from the book. Here’s a sample:



            Weighted: Weapons with this property are heavily weighted towards the “business end,” making them much more difficult to wield, but incredibly devastating when they hit. Each weighted weapon has a Strength rating from +1 to +7. If the wielder’s Strength modifier is lower than the weapon’s Strength rating, then he suffers a penalty on attack rolls with the weapon equal to the difference between his Strength modifier and the weapon’s Strength rating, but the wielder is treated as having a Strength modifier equal to the weapon’s Strength rating for the purposes of damage rolls with the weapon (for example, a wizard with 8 Strength attempting to wield a weighted battleaxe with a Strength rating of +4 would suffer a -5 penalty on attack rolls with the weapon, not including his normal -1 penalty of his negative Strength modifier. However, if he manages to land a hit, he will deal 1d8+4 damage, instead of 1d8-1). If the wielder’s Strength modifier is equal to or greater than the weapon’s Strength rating, then this property has no effect. Adding the weighted property to a weapon increases its market price by 100 gp per point of Strength rating, and increases the Craft DC by +1 per point of Strength rating. A weapon must be masterwork in order to be weighted, and that is not included in the price.



            From here, we hit the main core of the book: new magic weapon special abilities. There are over 50, and they are spread more-or-less evenly all the way from +1-equivalent to +5-equivalent, with a smattering of static-costing abilities, as well. Here are a couple of my favorites:




            A weapon with the burdensome special ability causes the target to feel as though he is carrying extra weight, slowing him down and making his movements clumsier. Whenever a burdensome weapon damages a creature, that creature is weighed down with pure force energy, and is treated as though he were carrying an additional amount of pounds of weight equal to the amount of damage dealt. This extra weight vanishes 1 minute after the burdensome weapon last damaged the target.

            Burdensome can only be applied to bludgeoning weapons.

Aura faint necromancy; CL 1st; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, ray of enfeeblement; Price +1 bonus.


High Impact

            A weapon with the high impact special ability strikes with greater force. The wielder applies 1-1/2 times his Strength modifier to damage rolls if the weapon is a one-handed weapon, and twice his Strength modifier to damage rolls if the weapon is a two-handed weapon.

Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, bull’s strength; Price +2 bonus.


Ferocious Assault

            Weapons with this special ability put incredible pressure on the opponent, driving him back with each swing and causing him to lose his balance. Whenever the wielder of a ferocious assault weapon makes a melee attack with it, if the attack hits, the wielder may choose to immediately make a combat maneuver check against the target. If the check is successful, the target moves backwards 5 feet. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. If the target is unable to move 5 feet directly away from the wielder (such as because that square is occupied), then he does not move, instead. If the target does move, then the wielder may choose to make a 5-foot step as a free action, moving into the square that the target just left. If the attack was made as part of a full-attack action (or another action that allows for multiple attacks), and the wielder has one or more attacks left to make as part of that action, then he may continue that action after moving. If the wielder hits the target multiple times in one round, he may attempt to move the target multiple times.

            Additionally, whenever a creature is moved as a result of this ability, the weapon’s wielder gains a cumulative +1 bonus on attack rolls against the moved creature, as that creature is forced off-balance by the relentless assault. These bonuses last until the beginning of the moved creature’s next turn.

            Ferocious assault can only be applied to melee weapons.

Aura strong transmutation; CL 15th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, haste, telekinesis; Price +4 bonus.



            Finally, as I mentioned, the last section of the book contains eight unique magic weapons, each with over 1,000 words of combined physical description, background, and mechanical information. This is one of my favorites.



Hammer of Lost Memories

            This hammer damages not only the bodies of its victims, but also their minds, as each blow brings them closer and closer to idiocy.

Hammer of Lost Memories


Physical Description

            The head of this unusual warhammer is made of a strange metal, which is a deep, midnight blue in color, and shimmers eerily in areas of dim lighting. The hammer’s head is symmetrical, and either side can be used for striking down foes. In the center of each of these two faces, an arcane rune which stands for “mind” or “knowledge” glows in a brilliant gold color, and when the hammer is swung, it hums with an unsettling intensity, and the runes on the ends of the hammer seem to pulse.

            Intelligent creatures that touch the hammer, even if only to grab the handle, feel a faint tingling sensation at the base of their necks. The handle itself is surprisingly cold and clammy to the touch, though it is seemingly made of nothing more exotic than a steel pole wrapped in leather.

            Though they are rarely made so deliberately, hammers of lost memories have been known to spontaneously become intelligent far more frequently than most other types of magic items. When they do, they tend to take on the personalities (and, sometimes, the memories) of those that they have been wielded against.


Special Abilities

            The most infamous ability of these +2 warhammers is their power to damage the minds of those they are wielded against. Whenever an intelligent creature (one with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher) is damaged by a hammer of lost memories, it also suffers 1 point of Intelligence damage. If a creature takes an amount of Intelligence damage from the hammer of lost memories equal to or greater than his Intelligence score, then he immediately loses all of his personal memories, and effectively gains amnesia. Such a creature is dazed for one round, and at the end of that round loses all memory of events prior to the round during which it was dazed (including being hit with the hammer of lost memories). This effect is instead of the normal consequences of a character having Intelligence damage equal to or greater than his Intelligence score, and the target does not fall unconscious as a result of Intelligence damage caused by a hammer of lost memories.

            A creature that loses its memories in this way retains all of his class features, skills, spells known, spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities, and extraordinary abilities, and is intuitively able to use them. He does not, however, remember his name, nor does he recognize people he once knew (including close friends and hated enemies), places he’s been to, and so on. He will generally remember famous individuals and important organizations, but will not remember any association that he may have with them (for example, he would remember the name of the reigning king, or that the local monastery of the healing god can be counted on to aid the needy, etc., but would not remember that the king was his brother, or that he had been banished to the local monastery in order to keep him out of politics). Similarly, affected creatures generally know what race they are, and retain their previous outlook towards other races in general (for example, a troll that lost its memories in this way would know that it was a troll and would still view humans as “food” rather than “friends”).

            Intelligence damage inflicted by a hammer of lost memories heals at a rate of 1 point per minute, but the memory loss effect can only be removed by remove curse or more powerful magic.



            The true origins of the hammer of lost memories have long been forgotten, but it is generally accepted by those scholars who specialize in such things that the first versions of these hammers were not created by any of the humanoid races. It is theorized that the hammers’ creators came from beyond the stars (although some small but vocal groups of scholars insist that they were extraplanar in origin, instead), and point to the strange metal that all hammers of this sort are made of, and which does not seem to occur naturally in this world, as evidence of this fact.

            Certain strange, metallic tombs have been found within the last century or two which contained several of these hammers, and had apparently remained undisturbed for an almost inestimable amount of time. Within these buried ruins, adventurers found a variety of strange artifacts, but also found a series of crude pictographs which had been carved into the walls of the metallic chambers, clearly by a much less sophisticated hand than that of the strange tomb’s creators. To the best understanding of modern scholars, these pictographs seem to tell a tale of strange visitors with incomprehensible powers of the mind, which were not magic, but in fact some other force, most likely psionics, a discipline that is poorly understood by many even to this day.

            It is unclear what these strange visitors may have looked like, as the pictographs are unclear, and no actual bodies were found within these tombs, but it is assumed that they were at least vaguely humanoid in shape, due to the shape of these hammers (though it is worth noting that some scholars argue that the hammers may originally have served a completely different purpose in the hands of their creators—or claws or tentacles, as the case may be). What is clear, however, from the pictographs is that the effect that the hammers had on their creators was much greater than the effect that it has on humanoids, and so when these strange psionic visitors arrived, and began attempting to subjugate the humanoid races (there is fierce debate on whether this was to enslave the humanoids, or to eat them), one of these hammers eventually fell into the hands of the enslaved, who quickly discovered their potential to devastate the invaders, and allowed for a successful rebellion against a greater foe.

            In the time since then, master alchemists have learned how to recreate the metal of these hammers, allowing them to be produced on demand.



            If you’ve reached this point, and you’re still unsure of whether or not to pick up The Ebon Vault: Unstoppable Hammers, I don’t think there’s anything I can do to convince you, short of perhaps a solid wallop to the back of the head. So, don’t wait, go pick up your copy today.