Grond Peaksmasher

Grond Peaksmasher is a relatively minor deity from the Forgotten Realms setting, playing a part in the novel The Druid Queen, by Douglas Niles. He received a handful of mentions in various other supplements, but the most significant information on him was published in Polyhedron #111, containing some additional details about him in the aftermath of the novel. Unfortunately, his specialty priest class was a direct mirror of Hiatea’s, which I felt really did not suit him at all. I have endeavored to write up a full entry on him that incorporates information from the novel and the Polyhedron article, as well as how I think his personality would direct his priests (with an eventual goal of being known outside of just the Moonshaes), so he can be of use even to those who do not have campaigns set in the Forgotten Realms.

Grond (PDF Version)
(Peaksmasher, King of the Firbolgs, Hiatea’s Son)
Demipower of the Prime Material Plane, N(CG)
Portfolio:  Firbolgs of the Moonshaes, civilization, culture, struggle against base instincts, self-improvement
Aliases:  None
Domain Name:  Realmspace/Toril (Moonshae Isles)
Superior:  Hiatea
Allies:  Annam, Chauntea, Diancastra, Hiatea, Iallanis, Stronmaus
Foes:  Grolantor, Helm, Karontor, Malar, Memnor, Talos
Symbol:  Silver-hafted axe overlaid on a mountain
Wor. Align.:  Any

Grond Peaksmasher (GROND PEEK-smash-er) is the recently revived patron of the firbolg giants on the Moonshae isles of Toril. Since awakening, he has taken on the task of raising the firbolgs of those isles out of the barbarism they had degenerated into during his long absence. In that manner, he has come to represent the struggle of culture and civilization over base instincts, and the striving to better oneself through hard work and knowledge.

Grond was born to Hiatea and an unknown father during the height of the giantish kingdom of Ostoria on the world of Toril. He was a brash and impulsive youth, often starting skirmishes with neighboring elves and dragons. He was confident in his own strength and the power of the Silverhaft Axe he created, but he thought little of the consequences of his actions, or who was affected by his decisions. As the borders of the kingdom shrank in the face of outside pressures and internal politics, Hiatea decided her son needed to learn responsibility; to that end, she tasked him with leading a large group of firbolgs, a race long excluded from the giantish kingdoms and seen as no more than lesser kin, to lands where they could build a kingdom of their own. He and his firbolgs ranged far across Faerûn, finally making their way to the Moonshae Isles. In those days, few races dwelt there; dwarves and elves lived in hidden seclusion, while humans were little more than organized beasts. Upon their arrival the Earthmother, an aspect of Chauntea devoted to the isles, granted Grond and his giants Myrloch Vale to settle as she sensed the reverence for nature Hiatea had instilled in them. However, in his rashness Grond attempted to carve a citadel for himself on the tallest peak of Oman’s Isle through the power of his axe. His powerful swings caused considerable pain to the Earthmother and collapsed many dwarven tunnels, leading to a great loss of life. Through the combined efforts of the dwarves and the Earthmother, Grond was imprisoned in ice and stone on the very mountain he had planned to make his home. Trapped there, he slept, nearly forgotten by all but his firbolg followers, who degenerated into brutish creatures little better than hill giants. Hiatea could do nothing but grant spells to his followers, for she had long before agreed to not interfere in the Isles, and Grond brought his punishment upon himself, and the Earthmother had been just in her actions.

As other powers began taking an interest in the long-isolated isles, two deities discovered the sleeping giant, as well as a means to exert control over him. These two, the normally opposed Helm and Talos, made use of the brutish firbolgs and the human princess of the isles to awaken Grond through the power of his Silverhaft Axe, but at the last moment the Earthmother’s appeals finally made him realize his responsibility both to his followers and the lands they now called home. He destroyed his own Silverhaft Axe, ending the means by which the mortal tools of Helm and Talos were controlling the firbolgs of the isles, granting the Earthmother’s followers the chance they needed to win. Since that time, he has worked to restore his followers to what they were before and establish his place within the Ordning. He has begun to create a realm within Jotunheim, near his mother, although his avatar still lives amongst the firbolgs of Oman’s Isle.

Grond’s relationship with the rest of the Ordning has yet to solidify, most members have welcomed him with open arms. Stronmaus, Iallanis, and Diancastra each welcomed him with open arms, and unusually, even Skoraeus returned to Jotunheim for Grond’s return, apparently feeling a kinship with the Peaksmasher due to his long entombment in stone. Surtr and Thrym were grudgingly cordial, and quickly returned to their own interests; neither expressed any animosity towards their nephew, and this doesn’t seem likely to change much considering their divergent interests. The nature of Grond’s concerns, however, immediately put him at odds with both Grolantor and Karontor. Grolantor doesn’t think much d the Peaksmasher, calling him “Hiatea’s Runt,” while Karontor’s jealousy over this interloper being allowed into the Ordning while the Deformed One himself is still banished burns brightly. The other member of the banished trio, Memnor, has thoughts only for how he can manipulate Grond to his own advantage. Finally, if Annam has taken notice of Grond’s reawakening, he has made no sign of it yet.

Once his work in the Moonshaes is done, he will probably continue to be active on the Prime Material Plane, sending his avatar to assist tribes attempting to improve themselves and establish peaceable realms. He will especially wish to defend such tribes if they are beset by hostile forces using diplomacy if possible and force if necessary.

Grond’s Avatar (13-HD Giant, Fighter 22, Cleric 14)
Grond appears as an enormous firbolg with granite-like skin and ice-blue eyes. His long hair and beard are steel-grey with a coarse stone-like texture. He wears clothing in a rustic firbolg style, preferring a vest of stitched leather and a colorful kilt with a blue and green pattern. His arms are bare except for a pair of leather and gold bracers. He uses spells from the spheres of combat, creation, divination, elemental, and protection, although he can use spells from all spheres except Chaos, Law, Numbers, and Time.

AC −2; MV 15; HP 194; THAC0 −1; #AT 5/2
Dmg 1d12 + 7 (battle axe +4, +10 Str, +2 Spec. bonus in axe)
MR 20%; SZ H (15 feet tall) or G (40 feet tall)
Str 22, Dex 12, Con 20, Int 16, Wis 18, Cha 15
Spells P: 8/8/7/6/3/2/1
Saves PPDM 3; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6

Special Att/Def:Grond wields the Silverhaft Axe, a recreation of the artifact he destroyed upon his re-awakening. The Silverhaft Axe is a double-bitted battle axe +4, which strikes creatures with stone- or earth-like skin as if they had an AC of 10. It also deals double damage to ogres, trolls, hill giants, and other large, brutish humanoids and stuns them for 2d4 turns.

The Peaksmasher can cast detect magic, fool’s gold, forget, and alter self twice per day each, and can use diminution (as double the power of the potion of the same name) twice per day as well. He can cast hurl rock every third round, in addition to his normal attacks. Finally, he can disintegrate any single non-living object he can hold in his hands once per day; only magical items and artifacts are allowed a saving throw, except in the cases of items he has created himself.

Grond is immune to nonmagical weapons, fire, and cold, and only takes one point of damage per die from magical fire and cold. He always operates as if affected by free action.

Other Manifestations
Grond tends to send omens that convey information to his priests, such as visions and symbols in smoke and water. He also sends messages in the sounds of the groaning earth. He expects his priests to study and ponder such messages in order to understand them. His manifestations are rare, but typically help his followers and their foes come to an understanding. To that end, he tends to grant followers abilities such as tongues, comprehend languages, and other similar abilities, which usually last for 1d6 days.

Grond has yet to establish a group of favored servants, primarily using the same as Hiatea for the time being. He manifests his pleasure through the discovery of ancient cultural artifacts, diamonds, silver, and ice in shaded locations regardless of temperature. He manifests his displeasure through the actions of brutish humanoids such as ogres, trolls, and hill giants.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy’s Align.:      NG, CG, N, CN
Turn Undead:           C: Yes, SP: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: No, SP: No, Sha: No

All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of Grond receive religion (giantish) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

The clergy of Grond is relatively unknown amongst the rest of the faiths of the Ordning. Hiatea has begun to reveal to her followers the re-awakening of her son and for the time being, his priesthood will be considered to be a part of the Huntress’s priesthood until they can establish independent orders. In the future the Peaksmasher’s clergy will work closely with those of Stronmaus, Skoraeus, and particularly Iallanis. In addition, they will show themselves to be allies of both creatures of the wildlands and those who live peacefully in settlements.

The Peaksmasher’s temples are likely to follow plans similar to those of Hiatea’s in the future; for now worship takes place in shrines and around communal fires. Grond’s shrines are usually located in natural depressions in the sides of rocky hills, and contain an altar in the form of an inverted cone; carved into the top of the altar is the image of a mountain overlaid by a double-bitted axe.

Novices of Grond are known as Rubbles. Full priests are known as the Hands of the Peaksmasher. The full hierarchy of the church of the Peaksmasher has yet to fully develop, but current clergy titles include Granite Cutter, Marble Hewer, and Basalt Chopper; for now, titles are chosen by individual priests. Specialty priests are known as silveraxes. At this time, Grond’s clergy is dominated by males (66%) and firbolgs make up the vast majority of the priesthood (96%), although there are a few individual giants of other races who have heard his call and are spreading knowledge of his faith slowly beyond the bounds of firbolgs. While shamans compose 40% of the Peaksmasher’s priesthood at this time, that number will quickly dwindle to be replaced with specialty priests (currently 44%) and clerics (currently 16%) with the current ratio of the two holding steady.

Dogma:Harmony with both people and nature brings everyone closer to their maximum potential. Hard work and learning are the keys to success, although skill in arms is necessary to protect it. While culture and civilization are Annam’s gift to the Jotunbrud, they are also a reward unto themselves, and something all giants should strive to claim.

Day-to-Day Activities:The Grondan priesthood are very active in their communities, assisting with tasks that are seen as improving the living conditions of their tribe. Agriculture and housing construction are two of their primary focuses, ensuring that their fellow giants are protected from the elements and healthy. They also act as teachers, sharing their knowledge and the knowledge gleaned from divinations and Grond himself to enhance the skills of the tribe. They also participate in the defense of their lands and train youngsters in the skills necessary to engage in battle, while always tempering the violence with the importance of peace and mercy. Many members of the clergy are also travelers, visiting other settlements of giants and friendly humanoids to learn and solidify relations, as well as spread knowledge of Grond himself. A small few also leave their tribes in search of other tribes of giants who they believe would benefit from following the Peaksmasher. Since the re-awakening of Hiatea’s Son, at least six young priests have left their tribes on Oman’s Isle to travel abroad; one is known to have made his way to Hartsvale in northern Faerûn, while three others are believed to be wandering the North and the Central Heartlands. The last two, surprisingly, have made their way aboard spelljamming vessels, and carry the message of the Peaksmasher to other spheres.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The Day of Awakening is the most important holy day amongst the Grondan clergy. It celebrates the Peaksmasher’s revival and return to the giantish pantheon. It is typically honored with a night of feasting, storytelling, and acts of communal joviality such as plays, games, and the like. This Holy Day is held on Midsummer in the Moonshaes, while outside of Realmspace, it is usually celebrated the month after the summer solstice. Followers of Grond also tend to adopt major holy days of their neighbors, anniversaries of the founding of settlements, and other days of significance in their tribe’s history.

Major Centers of Worship: Grond’s clergy have yet to build any temples in his honor, focusing foremost on what they need to survive in their new home. However, the Icepeak on Oman’s Isle, where Grond slept those many centuries, is considered especially holy. Newly ordained priests amongst the Moonshae firbolgs visit it regularly to meditate upon how they can best serve their tribes. There has been some talk about building a temple in the valley where the Peaksmasher slumbered, but most members of the clergy feel it would be disrespectful, preferring a site farther down the mountain, on the trail to the valley.

Affiliated Orders: Grond has yet to establish any martial or monastic orders within his priesthood. In the future, an order of monks dedicated to preserving history is likely to to appear amongst his priesthood.

Priestly Vestments: When performing their ceremonial duties, the Peaksmasher’s clergy favors simple garments of well-made cloth with little decoration. Female priests wear robes or dresses that reach their ankles, while male members of the priesthood favor sleeved shirts and kilts. These garments are normally of grey cloth trimmed with light blue, although dark blue trimmed with grey is favored by some tribes. Hair is typically worn long and bound in bound back to keep it out of the eyes, with males favoring full beards that are rarely cut. The holy symbols used by the clergy are in the form of a double-bitted axe, either alone or overlaid on a mountain. Such symbols are usually painted on small stone discs or cast in silver and worn around the neck.

Adventuring Garb:Priests of Grond tend to wear garments much like those of their fellow tribe members, wearing their holy symbol as their only obvious indicator of their position. When joining battle, his followers prefer to use light armors, but will opt for heavier ones if it appears necessary.

Specialty Priests (Silveraxes)
Requirements:          Strength 19, Intelligence 12, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.:                Intelligence, Wisdom
Alignment:                CG, N
Weapons:                   Any
Armor:                       Any
Major Spheres:         All, combat, creation, divination, elemental, healing, protection
Minor Spheres:         Animal, plant, war
Magical Items:         Same as clerics
Req. Profs:                Battle axe or hand axe
Bonus Profs:             None

  • While most silveraxes are firbolgs, but any giantish race, as well as ogres, ogre magi, and minotaurs are allowed to join their ranks.
  • Silveraxes are not allowed to multiclass.
  • Once per year, silveraxes may cast the plant-affecting use of fertility (as the 4th-level priest spell). They gain an additional casting of this spell at every third level they achieve (so twice at 3rd level, three times at 6th, etc.).
  • At 2nd level, silveraxes can cast comprehend languages (as the 1st-level wizard spell) or resist fire/resist cold (as the 2nd-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 4th level, silveraxes can cast idea or hurl rock (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 7th level, silveraxes can confer a temporary +1 bonus to Wisdom or Intelligence (at the silveraxe’s option) to any single creature touched. This bonus lasts one turn per level of the silveraxe, and they can use this ability once per week.
  • At 8th level, silveraxes can cast silverhaft axe or tongues or stone form (as the 4th-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 10th level, silveraxes gain a permanent +1 bonus to their Wisdom score. Wisdom may be raised above the priest’s racial maximum, butnot above 18.
  • At 12th level, silveraxes can cast free action (as the 4th-level priest spell) or stone to flesh (as the 6th-level wizard spell) once per day.

Grondan Spells
In addition to the spell listed below, priests of the Peaksmasher can cast the 2nd-level priest spell hurl rock, detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Haela Brightaxe, and the 4th-level priest spell stone form, detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Callarduran Smoothhands.

4th Level
Silverhaft Axe (Pr 4; Invocation/Evocation)
Sphere:                    Combat
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          4
Area of Effect:         The caster
Saving Throw:        None

With this spell, the caster conjures an axe-shaped plane of force that glitters like silver and diamond. The force-axe can be used to cleanly slice through normal stone once per round, although stone with any sort of magical protection cannot be sliced through at all. If wielded in combat, the axe deals 2d8 points of damage on a successful hit, plus any applicable Strength bonuses. While it gains no additional bonuses to hit or damage, it counts as a magical weapon when determining what it can hit. In addition, it strikes any creatures with stone- or earth-like skin (but not metallic) such as stone golems, clay golems, and gargoyles as if they had an Armor Class of 10.

As an additional bonus granted by Grond, the axe stuns trolls, ogres, hill giants, ettins, and similar creatures for 1d4+4 rounds. Grond expects his priests to treat any stunned creatures with respect; the intentional slaying of a stunned creature will result in the priest immediately losing his powers until he atones for his actions.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a silver coin.

2 Responses to Grond Peaksmasher

  1. Silvio Salles says:

    Hi, AuldDragon/Jeff.

    Very nice entry on Grond, I also thought he deserved further attention, and his own specialty priests. Besides, maybe his father would be mortal – why not, being a demigod? Maybe even one of the first stone giants, an offspring of Skoraeus, who knows? ;)

    My question, about the new spell: how much structural damage would it deal? Would it affect those protected by a “stoneskin” spell? If so, would they be AC 10 against the axe, or would they have their normal AC?

    The Polyhedron entry also mentions about a restoration of the firbolgs to their former glory, is you considering firbolgs here as their ugly incarnations, or how are you seeing them here?

    Keep writing these deities’ entries, you’re doing a great job!

    • AuldDragon says:

      Being an actual divinity, genetics don’t really play into it, so almost anyone could be his father. I left it ambiguous so individual DMs can decide on their own. A stone giant is certainly a possibility, though.

      For the spell, whether it treats Stoneskin as AC 10 or not doesn’t matter; as a physical strike, Stoneskin will prevent all damage. Structual damage will depend on the structure; slicing through a single stone in a wall does virtually nothing; slicing through a column will allow it to be knocked over potentially bringing down the ceiling. It’s very situational.

      The Polyhedron article said that when the firbolgs are restored, they’ll match the entry int he Monstrous Manual. Right now, they probably lack the magical abilities and have reduced intelligence, although that’s never been detailed as far as I know, but description-wise, they match the novels, although they’re already starting the restoration process.

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