Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Whelm!

PART ONE - Written by Chris and Mark
Squee sends out a message to all parts of the Empire and surrounding mountains, “A Dwarven relic was found. The Lost Boon of Dumathoin, the Great God Beneath the Mountains. Come to the Kingdom of Eldermont and see if you are worthy of Whelm!”

Messengers were sent by ship out into the world. Two to the Dragon Dwarves of the Crests of Dumathoin. Two to the Dark Dwarves of the Blue Mountains. And more than a dozen to various human kingdoms around the globe, so that dwarves outside their home nations would hear the call as well.

Stonejaw was prepared for thousands of Dwarves to descend upon Eldermont. If a Targ artifact was offered up as a prize in Eldermont, the entire nation of Norlund would be empty of both Targs and ships. But Dwarves are an honorable and orderly lot, and it came to be that just four competing interests arrived at the Keep.

First to arrive was the entourage of Azolir Orcbane, Dragon King of the Dwarves of the Crests of the Dumathoin. With him came twenty of his elite personal guard, and 30 regular dwarven soldiers. They arrived on one of the few Dwarven ships said to exist, the King’s flagship, the Mountain Flame. It was a large and cumbersome beast of a ship, made of midnight black wood, with its entire hull covered in metal plates. Its presence at the docks in the bay at Eldermont sparked hundreds of arguments among human sailors as to how it could possibly float.
Second to Arrive was a contingent from the Dark Dwarves of the Blue Mountains. The group arrived on a ship flying the flag of the Azure Kingdom that had been loaned to them by Javair of the Lost. There were 30 of the black-skinned dwarves, but they had one Dragon Dwarf among them. A large dwarf named Cragen Stoneslammer seemed to be their chosen champion. Speaking for Cragen was the leader of the contingent, a Dark Dwarf by the name of Ockrote. “Cragen was born beneath the Crests of Dumathoin, and will show his worth, and claim Whelm as his very own.”
An individual Dragon Dwarf named Brunhilda arrived on a merchant ship. She was armed for battle. Her hips are as wide as her breasts are round, making for a very curvy and noticeable dwarf. She had no beard and was tall for a dwarf at 4’11”. She came representing only herself in the contest, her strength and will her own.

The final competitor for Whelm sailed toward Eldermont on a flaming ship. Intercepted by the King’s Ships, a large Dragon Dwarf stepped from the flaming deck of his ride, onto the deck of the King’s Warship “The Blood Debt.” He held his hands away from his weapons, and with a wicked smile on his face he greeted the nervous sailors of Eldermont. “Sorry, boys. Slavers that was givin’ me a ride pissed me off. They’re dead now...so don’t both about them. I’m the proud son of Galen Green, and the battle champion of both Kuda-Gar and the 4th Layer of Hell. I’ve come for Whelm...and none can stand against me.”

One of the sailors screwed up a little courage an asked, “What’s your name, Dwarf?”

The large dwarf gave a nod to the sailor. “Oren. Just call me Oren.”
PART TWO- Day of the Tourney
The dignitaries and contestants gathered on the pitch near Eldermont, the sea in view. Stonejaw was getting excited to see some combat. However, dwarves had conspired to all but eliminate his entertainment. Azolir Orcbane, Dragon King of the Dwarves of the Crests of the Dumathoin called for the floor, "With a nearly unanimous agreement, we will not be battling for ownership of Whelm. Whelm is an intelligent being. One that must like, for lack of a better word, his counterpart. If you look over your shoulder, you will see a small tent. Whelm has been placed there and we shall take turns communing with Whelm to see which of you are worthy. Now take numbers and let us start the festivities!"
Dwarves entered and left the tent throughout the day. Some were yelling in anger, others laughing and yet more drooped their shoulders in embarrassment. Oren's discussion with Whelm is interesting. Whelm says, "Listen for your friend. You can't have both. You are already attuned to Vax. He will help you more than I."
Oren topped everyone with a "Clang! Clang! Clang!" as he hit and cracked the anvil in half. Numerous curse words could be heard coming from the small tent. "Stop the Steal This is a set up! A rouse! If I find out who did this, they will be mine! Won't they Vax? Hmm."
That night there was a steal. A gang of goblins, who had followed the dwarves on their trip, sneaked into camp and simply walked off the pitch. CRAAACK! That is until a huge lightning bolt blew their collectives heads off. Knights searched for more but only the four were found. Their camp discovered hidden in the hills.
For the next day, the town's folk who are dwarves were invited to participate. As they went through, they were much more polite and less noisy. Brunhilda was asked not to participate. So, she bid her time, for Mishkin sent her here for a reason.
Brunhilda causes quite the stir. Brunhilda is forced to go last due to politics and sex descrimination. Everyone is dejected before she goes. Dejection turns into anger after Whelm selects her. It is decided that Brunhilda must fight their selected champion...Oren. The next day Stonejaw is excited. They are finally going to use the pitch! The battle is long and the crowd doesn't understand how Brunhilda can survive? It's the armor; It's Adamantium. Oren continues to mortally hit her. But, her armor deflects them into the thick part of the armor. She is still taking damage and cannot last much longer. They wouldn't let her use Whelm. It's obvious where the fight is going. Oren hits her so hard she gets thrown against a tree. Her armor saved her again, but was displaced and exposed a breast. Oren immediately apologizes and averts his eyes while she rights herself. Her face flushes with anger and she reaches for the air. Whelm comes flying to her. She then throws it, hitting Oren in the groin. The hammer flies back to Brunhilda and then she slams the ground, causing everyone nearby to be stunned. She charges, hitting him up and down for what seems like minutes. Oren is trying to collect himself, when he sees Vax, his imaginary ally, with a blow gun. He launches himself between Brunhilda and Vax. He yells, "No Vax!" Oren is hit with a deadly poison dart. Oren falls limp and Brunhilda catches him.
Oren says, "Whelm is yours."
She tells him that you are lucky that you fell into my arms. I can neutralize poison." But when she looks for the needle or mark, there is none.
Oren, "Oh, so no marriage? We would have a bumper crop." And then passes out.
Beatriz invites Brunhilda to stay at the castle for her protection and decency. Brunhilda's wounds are many and Beatriz has her hand maidens attend to her. She seems to heal quickly; must be the ring of regeneration. She is barely conscious. Back at the Crimson Castle Beatriz checks in on her and learns her secret!
(Beatriz whispers to King Vax, "She could hurt someone with that").
King Vax answers, "Those creatures are sent by gods. She, it, is a blessing. Don't be getting any ideas though. But, if you do, best bring me along." Wink.


    • Mark Stinson

      I enjoyed the story quite a bit, Chris.  I'm going to take a moment and explain some things about Oren the dwarf.  Oren was a character played by Mike Haun, and he was uber-powerful (back in the 3.5 Edition ruleset).  But, one of the more interesting things about Oren from the very first game where Mike played him, was that Oren had an imaginary friend named "Vax."

      Now, this was years before the Heroes of Eldermont campaign, and Bert naming his character "Vax," is an utter coincidence.  Bert did not play in the campaign where Oren and Vax were featured, and so it is just one of those weird things that happens.  But, Mike Haun really played up this imaginary friend thing in that campaign.  Oren was always arguing with Vax, and Mike would act out Oren's side of the argument, with Vax's side always being a mystery (since he was imaginary).  Mike kept the imaginary friend thing going for years.  His endurance in maintaining this ruse was incredible.  I've never seen anything like it.

      So, toward the end of that campaign, it was revealed that Oren had been under the influence of a powerful vampire all along.  And that Vax was not imaginary, but instead an invisible servant sent by the Vampire to keep an eye on Oren and keep him on-task with the things the Vampire wanted him to do.  The pay-off for Mike keeping up the imaginary friend things for so long, was a really great and shocking game moment, when Mike and I revealed to the other players that Vax had really been there all along.  It was a great ret-con, and Mike really enjoyed it.

      Mike passed away a couple of years ago, but his very odd character and his even odder imaginary friend live on in our game.  :-)