I'm creating a minotaur barbarian and I want him to be wielding a Mordenkrad that slowly increases in magic level (DM permissible) I read in the description that the mordenkrad come from dwarven heritage and were used to fight giants or something like that. I was just wondering how a hammer made by dwarves like that might end up in the hands of a minotaur barbarian clan.

If this is the wrong place to ask this question please let me know and I'll move it to where it needs to be.


  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoshuaAslanSmith Right, The hammer belonged to his clan and it was rewarded to him when he fought another creature from somewhere(not sure yet) The hammer will be a bit magical so it has a mind of it's own and chooses my character to be it's wielder. Just don't know how to fit in the story of how the hammer came into the hands of the clan. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2012 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also note that there will be a dwarf in the party so I can't make a story about the clan overcoming a dwarf for the hammer. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2012 at 14:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Well, I'm trying to help my DM find ways to explain why the hammer slowly gets stronger over time. And the back story would help. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2012 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is 4th edition? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Jul 23, 2015 at 6:28

2 Answers 2


A lot of it depends on the particular world you are playing in. That said, most DMs are happy to add player-created details to the world.

In general there are no specific animosities between the two races. There are still points of possible conflict around their favoured (constructed and underground) environment. That can feed in to the relationship between your character's clan and a particular nation of dwarves (or dwarves as a whole).

Legacy weapons (one way to improve magic items) usually have a big long story of their own. They are almost a character in their own right and are often recognised as such.

Here is an option that you might be able to use or cannibalise for your character.

A Mark of Our Liberator

Long ago, a lost Minotaur civilisation existed in the past that built mazes and mined large amounts of precious metals. This brought the attention of the Dwarf King who desired the production of their mines to add to his own.

Still fresh from the war against the Giants, the Dwarven armies fell upon the intellectual Minotaurs. Years of struggle had hardened the Dwarves, but their opponents had put little effort into making war. The defences were quickly overwhelmed and the minotaurs driven into the wilderness.

One of the Dwarven Champions faced down a lowly soldier covering a retreat of women and children. The Gods saw the soldier's bravery and helped him to survive. He took the champions weapon, a hammer that had been forged in giant blood and helped his people to escape.

For decades after their displacement, the only one among them to accept their new place in the world was that soldier. He taught that the Gods had saved them for a reason and drove them to learn to survive.

In the modern day, the Minotaurs are a small nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe. They have strong family and friendship bonds, but care little for property and land. That lack of caring has led directly to many raids on civilised lands so that they can take what they need at that time. Civilisation and settling down is a weakness, and only the strong should survive after all.

The Mark of the Liberator, as that Dwarf champions hammer was named, has been passed down from hero to hero. Any Minotaur who holds it may give it to another when he recognises bravery and a young one who shows the soul of the old chief.

As a note, Dwarves are considered a necessary evil by the tribe. If it wasn't for them, the tribe would still be weak and prey to the strong. There is no reason to be hostile to every dwarf, but some unfriendly insults wouldn't be out of place until their strength can be determined.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your reply. It is very helpful. Although you have a good story I was looking more for a relationship between dwarves and minotaurs which was somewhat established here. +1 \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2012 at 14:54

If your DM doesn't have any objections you could try something like this:

A long time ago, when the world was young, there once was a mighty and evil wizard. He wandered far, but settled down and built his tower in the same lands as two rival tribes, the Dwarves and the Minotaurs. Both groups were clever enough to know that a war between them both would destroy them both, but as they were in fierce competition over the markets for their crafted goods, they didn't co-operate either.

The wizard lusted after the craftsmanship of the Dwarves and so he commanded them to craft him the mightiest blade they had ever made so he could enchant it and so control the world. The Dwarves were no cowards, and made a pact amongst themselves that they would deny the madman till his dying day. Such was this wizard's power, however, that he was able to destroy the entire mountain that the Dwarves lived in, and all of of the Dwarves within it save one. A lone female Minotaur who had seen the destruction saved the Dwarf chieftain's only son, pulling him from the rubble.

The wizard fought long and hard to gain the obedience of the last Dwarf, but when he realised that he would never aid him, he turned to the Minotaurs. They were willing to craft him a mighty and wondrous weapon, but their best work they hid from him. When he found out he flew into a towering rage. However, when he considered how he could repay his enemies, he decided that to be especially cruel, he would have to be subtle. After some evil plans were plotted, he decided he would curse each of his enemies to look like each other. However, he decided to spend a year to see how well it worked on his first subject.

He found the Dwarf chieftain's son and polymorphed him into a Minotaur. The Dwarf realised there was only one person he could trust. He went to the minotaur who had helped him earlier, and bade her free him from his state. After many failed attempts, however, the Dwarf realised the true depth of the wizard's revenge, for he knew that he would never be restored.

All he had left to remember his heritage by was his old Mordenkrad, which was now much to small for him to wield effectively. However, he still had his Dwarven heritage in the form of his smithing, and with what he learned from the Minotaur community he eventually learned how he could make a new weapon of even greater power than before. And thus was the legendary Mordenkrad of the Minotaurs born.

As the Minotaur who Weeps, as he came to be known, made his last and greatest weapon, he poured every drop of his soul into it. When he was finished, his lifeless body keeled over, but his will remained, encased in the steel of his last task. With this great weapon, the Minotaurs were able to destroy the evil wizard as he prepared to mass polymorph them all into Dwarves, as he had planned all along.

Nowadays, no-one in the tribe knows of the history of the Mordenkrad. However, many of them have an unusual proficiency for mining and smithing - the last of the heritage of those who once ruled the mountain.

Basically, in regards to your weapon's backstory: make it epic, make it an adventure in itself, and make it more than a 'Weapon +2' to your character.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I love your story. I wish I could upvote it twice... Thanks for the helpful advice. My favorite part of DnD is making it personal (it's the most important part imo) So as I grind out the details of the history of Mordar the legendary hammer I will grow closer to my character and to his love for his most sacred mordenkrad. Thanks :) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2012 at 20:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've changed it to try to make it a little clearer. The 'revenge' is basically that each target is forced into the form of its main foe - the Dwarves' and Minotaurs' main enemies were each other. Imagine being forced to appear as a member of an extremist political party you are completely opposed to - for the rest of your life! Pretty strong revenge, especially as it's aimed at a whole society. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dakeyras
    Nov 15, 2012 at 21:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the vote of confidence @CalebDoucet :) I'd also add that while the tribal elders may know where the Mordenkrad came from, the wielder may not be aware (yet). Would you like a side serving of adventure hook? ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Dakeyras
    Nov 15, 2012 at 21:46

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