Stake Driver


Marcus Jar was a strong man in his youth. His strength, combined with his uncanny ability to strike a target with a hammer dead on every time, earned him a position in the masonry guild as a peg-driver. His job was to drive wooden pegs into the uncut stone in a quarry and soak the pegs in water. The resulting swelling of the pegs caused the stone to crack, which enabled the guild to transport and mold it into magnificent works of art.

That was all in the past for Marcus, though. His age had finally caught up with him, rendering him virtually useless within the guild. Many of the younger guild members joked and laughed at him when they thought he couldn’t hear them. He found himself considering a retirement from the guild, even though he doubted he could find employment (and subsequently payment) elsewhere.

On the day that he finally made up his mind to retire, one of the king’s sons was overseeing the removal of a special stone from the quarry for a project he had commissioned when a pulley gave out and caused a massive avalanche, burying the young prince. While everyone stood and stared in complete shock, Marcus grabbed up a pick and began digging as quickly as he could. He spent two hours digging alone, as the rest of the work crew believed that the prince could not be alive under that much debris. Finally, his efforts paid off and he broke through to a strangely open area inside the rubble. The prince sat in the center of the open area, looking frightened, but relieved to see light again.

As it turned out, the prince was a fledgling sorcerer. At the last moment before being buried, he had conjured up a protective barrier to keep himself from being crushed. It held the stone and dirt at bay until Marcus could dig him out. The prince was very grateful for his life and offered to pay Marcus a great sum of money as thanks. Marcus declined, but asked that the prince make him a special hammer so that he could return to work. The prince was more than happy to comply and he spent weeks working on the perfect hammer, finally presenting Marcus with the finished product.

Marcus showed up at work the following day as he always did. He heard the jeers and the snickers behind his back as usual, but today they did not bother him. He walked boldly up to a splitter peg and took a striking stance. He could feel the eyes of many young guild members upon him, waiting for the comedic outcome of his attempt. He could not resist a small smile as he swung his new hammer in a mighty arc and drove the peg completely flush with the stone in a single swing. The surprised gasps and applause were more than enough to change Marcus’ mind about retirement.

Stake-Driver is a 10-pound stone-headed sledgehammer with the initials “M.J.” carved into the head. To the casual observer, it appears to be a normal sledgehammer, albeit a well-constructed specimen. Anyone who knows its history however, knows that it is much, much more than ordinary. When used to drive a stake, pole, post, piton or similar item into any earth or stone surface, the hammer always strikes true and the stake always drives home with only a single blow. Even the weakest person can make full use of the hammer’s abilities.