So great is the force of the Iron Fist that the recoil throws the wielder backwards, and when it explodes, all foes nearby feel the punch.
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- Fracture Ball
- Fracture Balls linger behind the rider and detonate afer a set period of time flinging iron shards in all directions.
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|Charging Time (s)||2||2||2|
Legwin Orecrack, master of the Ever-burning Forge, had a long history with the Brasshammer clan. The rivalry began in Legwin's youth, when Glowan Brasshammer and he were apprenticed to the same mechanomancer. Their master was a prestigious forgelord, known across the Spine of the World for his skill and haughty contempt for all but the best.
Until Legwin and Glowan, Forgelord Slogar had only ever taken one apprentice, but something inspired the aging forgelord to take on both boys, and to use their heated rivalry to forge them both into master smiths. In the beginning, that worked, but as the boys grew older, besting one another's accomplishments became the primary focus of each man's career.
Where Legwin's primary skills lay in runesmithing and solid forgework, Glowan focused on elaborate clockworks, dancing statues, and wind-up pets. Slogar did nothing to assuage their simmering rivalry, pointing out the flaws in Glowan's technique and castigating Legwin for his lack of art. The two budding apprentices grew into formidable smiths in their own right, neither quite surpassing the other, until Master Slogar passed to the next and left the Ever-burning Forge to Glowan alone. Shocked and discouraged, Legwin left to found his own forge, and the two founded their own schools of gnomish art.
Between these two new masters, the town created some of the most wondrous works of the gnomish arts seen before or since. A renaissance in the gnome-forged arts of broke across the Spine of the World, and the Brasshammer and Orecrack families grew wealthy and large. Still, their rivalry simmered on, and eventually spilled over into each new generation of Brasshammers and Orecracks.
When Legwin's seventh son, Chamfer, was born with the Titan's Mark, the blow to Glowan's ego was too great. This was a feat that could not be bested, even by the master of the Ever-burning forge. Late one evening, deep in his cups at the pub. Glowan raised a loud toast to the crowd. Legwin raised an eyebrow at the other gnome's sarcastic tone, but remained quiet, listening along with the rest of the room.
If the boy was marked by the powers to fly in the Battles Above, shouted Glowan, then he would need a dragon. Aflame with jealousy at his long-time rival, and haughty with his own mastery, Glowan declared that he alone had the skill to craft a clockwork that would best any beast or thing biological. So sure was he of his prowess that he declared that he would give up the Ever-burning forge itself to Legwin if he was wrong. He then stalked home to his forge to make good on that promise.
This challenge, of course, would culminate in the explosive debut of Glowan Brasshammer's doom, and his greatest invention, the Autodrake, and Legwin's full inheritance of the legendary forge. There was no consoling the Brasshammers.
In the years to follow, there were no less than thirty attempts on Legwin's life. These would begin with simple assaults in the streets, but over time evolved into elaborate plots involving clockwork assassins. The Brasshammer clan was, of course, behind them all in some way or another. Still, they were influential, wealthy, and mostly avoided direct involvement. Eventually, the frequency of the attacks became enough that Legwin rarely left his forge, weary of constantly being on the defense. But one night, working long hours on refinements to his improved Autodrake, the scions of the Brasshammer clan came to exact the retribution where their many servants had failed.
Startled by a clattering of spilled tools, Legwin stopped his work on the tar jets in the massive machine-dragon's mouth and peered into the darkness below him. His own lantern was a tiny mote of light in the open workshop, suspended from a tooth in the clockwork beast's open mouth where he sat. He called out to the intruders, but when the answer came it was in the form of an arrow. The attacker missed, but with the shaft stuck well into the autodrake's alloy superstructure beside him, Legwin knew he had to move quickly lest the next shot be more accurate.
The old gnome could hear the would-be assassins relocating for a better shot, and scrambled out of the autodrake's mouth and over its head. He sheltered for a moment in a hollow behind the muzzle and frantically looked over the gears and levers that surrounded him, desperate to find something he could use as a weapon. If only he could awaken the beast, the fools would have no chance! But it was no use. The boiler was cold, the coal chute empty, and the drake wouldn't live until the fire at its heart was stoked again.
Legwin worried. Another crash came from below and he saw his attackers in silhouette against the open workshop door. They had kicked over a table, tools and parts littered the floor and glinted in the meager light. Legwin began to creep down the drake's next, clinging tightly to the leather joints between each vertebrae. As he reached the base of the clockwork neck, a clattering rain of arrows fell around him. This time he was struck, a glancing cut on the shoulder. Legwin grimaced. Had he crouched but an inch to the side, he would have been down the use of an arm, or worse.
As it was the gnome needed something more lethal than a hackspanner or spring-wrench to fight these thugs. It sounded to the old man like there were perhaps three of them, and even as he cowered there, they were beginning to hoot and holler and smash his workshop. He peered through the workings of the dragon toward where the riotous noises were coming from, and an idea began to percolate in his mind. Legwin carefully unlatched a grilled panel in front of him and eased into a maintenance cavity in the chest of the autodrake.
"Come down old man!" the men called. "So, they've finally found their voices". Legwin thought, as he wormed his way forward into the space in the dragon's wide, brass hull. In the clamor that they were making they didn't hear the hollow ring of his boots against the inside of the dragon's belly.
The old man smiled in the dark and began to strip away the protective safety toggles on a series of iron tubes. Each was at least three feet long and the couple dozen of them were nestled into a pepperbox array. This was a new invention of Legwin's, and he had yet to test it out. At the command of the rider, the whole package of these would go off, sending a cloud of metal shards forward in a deafening explosion. The gnome reckoned that to an unsuspecting enemy the weapon's sudden explosions might appear to be magic, a spell out of nowhere. But Legwin was no magician, rather a master of artifice, he called the thing his Dragon's Roar.
The rack of explosives was so large, Legwin knew that he couldn't test the whole thing now without blowing the facade right off the front of his workshop, and probably killing himself in the process. All of that sound and powder in the confines of the drake's brass belly would be more than the little gnome could take. Still, he had an inkling of an idea.
The men called for him again, and shot more bolts toward the autodrake that pinged harmlessly off of its brass hide. They were firing randomly, trying to scare him into movement, revealing his hiding place. He wouldn't fall for it, he had a plan now. His dexterous hands moved surely in the dark, and soon he had two of the long iron barrels loose. Then, ever so carefully, he climbed back out of the belly of the dragon and climbed the articulated neck back to the head where he crept to the beast's brow and peered into the darkness below.
From the top of the autodrake's head he could now see them clearly. These were indeed the scions of the Brasshammer clan, finally come to take their revenge in person. They hadn't seen him moving back up the lattice of brass and leather to just beneath the drake's head. His lantern still hung in the thing's open mouth, and Legwin perched in the shadows at the back, where the neck met the head. He lowered the front of the tube toward his foes, who were crowded now in front of the autodrake, shouting loudly and wondering where he was. They would find out soon enough.
The foremost of the would-be assassins grabbed a torch from the mess of an overturned desk and struck it alight. The lout stepped forward waving the torch.
Legwin braced the iron pipe against a spike on the drake's head, and wrenched at the cap on the back end. It fell open and out rolled another of Legwin's inventions, the Fracture Ball. Legwin had designed these little explosives for the mines, but had discovered that they were good for fishing as well. Today, though, he 'd be going for a slightly bigger catch.
The old forgemaster pulled slowly at the triggering fuse until it stuck out just a little and crept around the jaws of the autodrake and into the light of his lantern. The men saw him then "Oi!" shouted the one with the torch, "Get im!" again Legwin winced as arrows clattered around him. Quickly, while his enemies reloaded, Legwin stuck the fuse into the lantern's flickering candle until it spat and caught. Then he tossed the ball. A moment later a flash and thunderous crash shook the wrecked workshop and the three men lay dazed upon the floor, one of them wasn't moving anymore.
The two conscious Brasshammers were scrambling to their feet, but Legwin was already moving himself. He scrambled to the autodrake's head, knelt and propped one end of the remaining tube against the edge, pointing toward the open garage door. The would-be attackers were fleeing now, dragging their fallen comrade along behind them. They looked up at Legwin in terror, kneeling far above them the back of the rod over his shoulder. He grinned and yanked the triggering cord. The rod barked sharply and jumped painfully against his shoulder. The resulting fireworks were worth the bruises. The other two men were laid out now, their hapless compatriot sprawled between them.
The attacks stopped after that, and the Orecrack family again lived in peace. Master Legwin of the Ever-burning Forge never did see his Dragon's Roar in action, that privilege would be saved for his son's adventures. Legwin, however only grew in fame with the invention of his Fracture Barrel, a hand-held cannon inspired by the improvised weapon that saved his life that night.
By the time he perfected his design, Legwin's design refinements produced many variants of both ball and barrel, some used Orecrack's Fracture Balls in mining, others Legwin adapted for duels. Each design was uniquely suited to different applications, such as this one, custom-forged for use alongside his famous Autodrakes in the Battles Above.