Steel hand stories?


After pondering the matter for some time my Human Slayer,with the 'Orphaned by Giants' campaign trait took the plunge.

Getting good and drunk She had her hand cut off and replaced with the Steel hand of Nargrim. After taking the 'Iron will' feat just in case.

She's already fumbled a will save and slaughtered a pair of Stone Giants on a bridge. No idea if it was a possibly peaceful encounter of not?

Anyone else given this interesting minor artifact a tryout?


I did with my PC. His strength is now 24 before raging (Barbarian 10 now). It's fun and well worth having his hand cut off.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

One failed will save too many, one fight too far.

My now (reincarnated) Half elf Slayer has had her hand regenerated.

She misses the ability to use large weapons, the being overrun by large opposition not so much.

Even with Iron will she just couldn't make those saves.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My party is an almost entirely dwarven party, many of whom claim direct or indirect lineage to Nargrym Steelhand himself. One of them is a slayer, brother to Ingrahild and Umlo Nargrymkin and claims the most direct lineage.

When they found the hand there was some debate about whether it was worth mutilating oneself in order to reclaim the power (and by association, the image) of Nargrym Steelhand for the family. But the slayer determined that it was for the best. And the player really wanted to wield Heartspit. So his aunt, our druid, chopped off his hand right there in the tomb.

And that's when the party began.

When I run adventure paths I try to find themes in them that translate for me and my players, and in Giantslayer I saw themes of history repeating itself and genocide. In my "head canon" for Giantslayer, Nargrym Steelhand came to despise giantkind after what happened to him in the mines and seeing a fire giant wearing the flesh of the slain dwarven miners and so he was set upon a personal quest to clear giants from the face of the earth. His "reign" as the Giantslayer is a glorious one in dwarven culture, but in giant culture he was an uncompromising murderer response for the slaughter of dozens of tribes of giants in the region even to the point that noble families of cloud giants who adhere to the concept of noblesse oblige considered him a threat for his violent provocation of all giantkind and his apparent inability to distinguish "good" giants from "evil" giants, as much as you can delineate them this way.

I reasoned that eventually Nargrym chaffed under the politics of his own people, using his reputation and allegiance as political capital in their squabbles. Also, due to sheer exposure to giants from hunting them down so much, he developed an appreciation for their culture that betrayed and maybe even softened his genocidal zeal. I hinted at this when they found the few giant-themed pieces of artwork buried with him in his tomb. There was some question as to why he would be buried with things that were anathema to him: was it merely because of their value, or was it something more he saw in, say, the well-crafted statuette of a nubile fire giantess?

Lokmorr's betrayal then takes on layers of motivation and significance that might be something my PCs look into later, especially now that they are going to return to Janderhoff bearing Nargrym's steel hand and become embroiled in some matters of "ancient" history, which doesn't stay ancient when it comes to dwarven bureaucracy. In my game, I have suggested multiple motivations: Lokmorr may have betrayed him in an effort to take his place and use his reputation for great personal gain in dwarven society, or he may have been fully dedicated to the idea of giant genocide and, having seen Nargrym's softening, slain him to prevent him from abandoning the slaughter. I also snuck in a nasty suggestion: the party long ago established the family has all red hair, but I pointed out that in the mural artwork in his tomb, Nargrym was depicted as having brown hair. And then when they saw Lokmorr with bright red hair like their own, it disturbed them on a level that they haven't even wanted to truly talk about yet...

Since the slayer started killing giants, I have peppered him with some descriptions, in particular the fact that when he lost his own hand and put the steel hand on, it was very cold. He was always aware of the cold discomfort of the metal on his arm. It wasn't until he slew his first giant that I said, "For the first time, as giant blood gushes down Heartspit's haft, the steel hand feels warm, like it were alive again. Like it were your hand."

Anyway, the steelhand was fairly benign until a session the other night. Upon sneaking right through the Dark Passage and finding their way into the giant valley, they found the Cathedral of Minderhal and snuck in late at night, spider climbing over the parapet. Sure, they found the sewage entrance but the proud dwarves adamantly refused to crawl through giant shit just to kill giants. They wormed their way into the side of the tower above the choir loft, and the slayer managed to make his saves against the hill giants in the choir loft, whom they snuck past, against the giants in the mead hall, whom they snuck past, against the ettin, whom they slayed and dumped in the well, and against the sleeping hill giants in the barracks, whom they coup de graced under the effects of a silence spell. It was brutal. They then met Ferrin and he made the save on that encounter. She took them back through the mead hall, and he made his save there. She snuck them back into the cathedral to try to go and see Etena when Urathash and several giant cronies breezed through, and he made his save yet again (the most tense moment because failure meant they would suddenly draw down a ton of giants on their heads). He made his save in the encounter with Etena. They then left the forge resolved to light it before taking on everyone in the Cathedral, and snuck out the side entrance, passing by the tents and headed for the gates.

They were 500 feet from getting out of there, when the Oculus hears mucking past the outside of her tent, throws the flap back, points and shouts intruders.

The slayer turns and rolls his will. Fail.

The druid says, "C'mon, Thalen, we have to get out of here, now!"

The slayer says, "Nah, we can take this one out."

So the fight starts. The four stone giants at the gate notice immediately and start to join the fray. They slay the Oculus. Again, the druid repeats: "Thalen! Listen to your auntie! Let's get out of here while we still have our beards!"

Thalen fails his will save against the approaching stone giants. "Nah, there's only four, they'll fall easily!"

One of the stone giants peels off to warn everyone in the mead hall, which they knew included Urathash, his cronies, the giants who were in there, and they would probably pick up more along the way. The party knew they only had a few more rounds before reinforcements arrived, so they openly debated the possibility of knocking the slayer cold, strapping him to the druid's bear, and getting the hell out of there before he got them killed!

But they managed to kill the stone giants and Bloodfreckle before any other giants came into view. They bolted and ran just as the horns blared and the dragon took flight to try to spy them, but they had no trouble hiding in the middle of a cloudy, rainy night in this muddy valley.

The party is now starting to wonder if the hand itself may be having more of an effect on the slayer PC, but really it is just his own roleplaying and reaction to the descriptive text. The question is, how much is he becoming like Nargrym was? And the further question from that is...what was Nargrym like, if that is indeed what is happening? These are things I think they'll be investigating when they visit Janderhoff.

But yes, the Steel Hand has been totally awesome and I think it a sad story waste if a party gets spooked by the downside of the item and doesn't hack off a hand to take advantage of it.

Yes, it's fun, sometimes.

Approaching the gates to the Giant valley.

Rest of party: "How are we going to get around this? Sneaking, flying, trickery?"

Slayer: "Die Giant scum. Die!"

In retrospect, having the party scout, the person who typically spots encounters first having to make a will save everytime she see's Giants; in a valley full of them wasn't the best plan.

Grand Lodge

I did, so far, failed the will save against a troll so far after I made the fort save with ease. The party gave it to a Orphaned by Giants Barbarian...

the valley is going to have quite a few less giants.

So, I gained and used this item on Tuesday.

My character is a female Merfolk Oracle/Cleric/Paladin of Dranngvit. She came to Trunau with visions of giants, dwarves, fire, and dragons. She has been very excited about the recent dwarfiness of the AP, praying to the pantheon, figuring out the dwarf pantheon puzzles, refilling the fonts and praying, etc. just, in general, it has been fun for her, and me.

She also has the Artifact Hunter campaign trait, so she recognized the hand and what it was immediately, she felt it, and other things along the way, had been intentionally thrown in her path, to aid her on the journey.

She stood an all night vigil in the temple in the tomb with the two NPC dwarves, one of whom agreed to cut off the hand, and the other who applied the steelhand.

So, now she is a female elf-looking sort, with a male dwarven metallic right hand, and she’s loving it.

With a +16 Will save, I expect to make the save pretty often. Not to mention that I’m a clouded vision Oracle, so I can only see 60’ anyways.

Wish us luck!

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Giantslayer / Steel hand stories? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Giantslayer