The Steel-Driving Striker Character in Numiastra | World Anvil

The Steel-Driving Striker

The tale of the legendary steel-driver whose tenacity and perseverance defeated the advance of industry

Driving time and time again 'gainst that rock down far below ♫   So far down that even air left long ago ♫   Belchin' smoke and rocky dust his only friend ♫   'Not to worry', Big Ben said, 'my hammer's got my wind' ♫   With hammer roaring wind 'longside that tool of sin ♫   Big Ben crashed through that rocky pass and breathed no more again ♫
— Excerpt from The Ballad of Big Ben Murphy

Divine Domains

Strength, Community, Erosion


Well-Known far and wide across mainland Numiastra thanks to a popular folk song of the same name, the singular artifact of the Divine Tale of the Steel-Driving Striker is known as The Hellminer's Hammer - a simple laborer's hammer said to have once been wielded by the now legendary Stake-Striker himself long ago. Originally little more than a slightly oversized hammer manufactured en masse for the purpose of driving Railroad Spikes firmly into place along The Iron Empire's countless Railtracks and Railroad lines by innumerable manual laborers, this now legendary hammer has been passed down from the original Hellminer himself throughout the centuries, inheriting a shard of his legendary perseverance and raw muscular strength.   This hammer, said to imbue whosoever holds it with an inexhaustible constitution and strength enough to shatter the finest Numiastran Steel with a single mighty blow, has become a prominent rallying symbol of Worker's Rights, Anti-Industrial Activism, and of the virtues of the common man - and as such has been seen across the centuries in the hands of those who pursue such goals. Thanks to its fearsome ability to imbue any common man with the strength and stamina to outmatch a Blacktrack Rattler in a head-to-head competition, it is an artifact fiercely hunted by both Inquisitors of The Iron Empire and the Downtrodden alike.

Divine Symbols & Sigils

The true and full holy symbol for those who embody this tale is a kneeling humanoid, using a hammer to support themselves - though a more shortform variation of this symbol often placed as graffiti across the land is a simple upright striking hammer with a railroad spike facing downwards, the haft of the hammer and the center body of the railroad spike overlapping.

Tenets of Faith

No man shall own us. Look out for the common man, and safeguard him from exploitation no matter the cost.
No machine shall match us. Never allow the jobs of man to be taken by machine, no matter how big or small.
No trial shall defeat us. Never give up once the job has begun - such is the honor of the working man.


Few tales across the lands of Numiastra have set holidays, but those who follow the Tale of the Steel-Driving Striker often consider days of rest where laborers and common folk are allowed to rest free of work as sacred.

Common Adherents

As a Class II Fable as determined by the Iron Empire's Institute of Mythmaker Fables, the Tale of the Steel-Driving Striker has spread throughout The Iron Empire where it originated and a decent distance beyond reaching even south into The Vrýkus Throne and north into the Suzerainty of Ruatiwanga - and as such, it can be heard most commonly being spoken from the lips of Chain Gangs, Manual Laborers, Common Workers, and other members of the lower-class who burn their lives at both ends working backbreaking manual laborer jobs to make ends meet for themselves and often for their families. Treated as a treasured tale of hope for those members of the peasantry who often work for minimal pay under grueling conditions, the Tale of the Steel-Driving Striker sees many adherents and followers among this grade of people as its most common divine followers - many of whom dedicate their lives as Big Ben Murphy(Better known to many of those who follow this tale as "The Steel Driver") did, fighting back against the machines built to replace the common man and standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.   Additionally, as it has spread far from its origin amongst the railway workers and steel drivers which popularized Big Ben's tale, it has also take a firm root in the hearts of Industrial Activists across The Iron Empire who, while not taking a stand against Industrialism as a whole, fight to protect the jobs that they view as irreplacably tied to the hearts and souls of the laborers who get them done - who work to feed families, who work to earn a living, and whose pride is tied to the very same backbreaking jobs that they spend their whole lives performing. These activists hold the tale of The Steel Driver high and many often divinely venerate it as an ideal to strive towards in their everyday lives - making this tale and its followers perhaps the most radical anti-establishment group The Iron Empire has ever tolerated within its borders.   Spread on the backs of the Mythmakers who carried the tale far and wide from its place of origin deep within the labor camps of the workers who build the Rail Lines for The Iron Empire's Blacktrack Rattlers, the legend of Big Ben Murphy and his heroic stand against the encroachment of machines into everyday life seeking to replace the common man has made him a nearly household name across much of northern and central Numiastra and even a few places beyond, where workers of all types often find comfort in placing a symbolic hammer at the entrance to their job sites where they can bid a good morning and good night to The Steel Driver each day, that he may watch over their work.  

Origins of the Tale

Like many tales, the tale of The Steel-Driving Strike is one part true-blue Numiastran Folklore and one-part mythical fabrication - little evidence exists to corroborate the existence of a man known as "Big Ben Murphy", and as such the true veracity of the now-legendary tale is likely lost forever to the sands of time due to the very nature of The Iron Empire's chain labor gangs that built their Railtracks who so often were undocumented immigrants or members of the very lowest class(or even indentured servants or slaves) who had no choice but to work in such backbreaking conditions to feed their families.   Whatever the case may be, the tale of Big Ben himself is as clear as day(Regardless of its truth or historical accuracy) - born as one of a dozen children to a single father whose mother died in childbirth, Ben Murphy lived much of his life on his own as his father often frequented the Jails and Prisons of The Iron Empire for much of his childhood, juvenile years, and even into adulthood. The only good thing, it is said, that Ben Murphy ever got from his father was his father's Sledgehammer - given to him by his father one dreary Numiastran Night before he was taken into prison yet again, leaving Ben Murphy all alone once more. Blessed with a mighty consitution and superb physical strength from an entire life since childhood spent swinging that very same hammer, Ben got his start on the rail-lines of The Iron Empire as a young teenage boy where, so titanic was his strength, that it is said that he could drive a rusty Railway Spike clean through a solid-steel cross-tie with a single swing - and sometimes swung so hard he could shatter the spike and cross-tie into metallic powder.   Ever described as a human machine born to swing a hammer, Ben Murphy became a living legend within the chain gangs he served upon for his simple and honest nature - a champion of the those poor souls who so seldom have one to call their own that when a particularly spiteful Railway Foreman, bitter from paying Ben so much via the typical payout method of pocket change per spike driven(A method that often saw the Rail Corporations drive record profits as weak laborers rarely made enough to feed their families), contacted the company's head office and brought in a prototype Steel-Driving Thumper Machine straight from the latest workshops of The Iron Empire. Faced with a machine that the Foreman intended to use to justify firing his entire staff, Ben Murphy stepped up and challenged the massive Steel-Driving Machine to a contest - the first to drive a rail line clean through a nearby mountain would be the winner, with the loser leaving the Railway Lines forever.   On the day of the competition, hundreds of people came from far around to see the legendary Ben Murphy(Known then as "Big Ben", who was especially popular among local womenfolk) - and with a simple hammer he began the competition as the massive, rumbling machine sprang to life, gutting through the mountain and belching out gas and smoke as it laid railroad tracks at record speed. For seven days and nights the contest roared through all hours of the day as both Ben and the Machine he faced cut deep into the mountainside, the rythmic steel song of hammer hitting steel the only sign that the brave people's champion still drew breath deep within the gas-choked tunnels of the mountain where air became so thin and scarce that, when the people outside waiting with bated breath felt a great rush of wind into Big Ben's tunnel let out a scream, believing the entire mountain tunnel to be collapsing, that same steel song served as proof positive of the impossible: Big Ben Murphy yet lived, hammer swinging so fast and so powerfully that air roared into the tunnel with every swing, his own superhuman efforts sustaining him and giving him breath as he tunneled through the mountain like a human power hammer even as the steel-driving machine at his side belched and grinded through pockets of dense stone and laid bent track.   And at the end of the seventh day, it is said, as the crowd moved to the other side of the mountain and waited with baited breath to see the winner - and whose livelihoods would be upended(Either the laborers or the Foreman's), a thunderous blast shook the mountain as rock blasted outwards; Big Ben emerged into the morning sun of the final day, body steaming from exertion and body caked with coal soot and cavern dust as he grinned, let his hammer drop, and spoke his final words as he died on his feet -  
Ain't no machine ever replace a steel-drivin' man.
  -a champion to the end whose efforts defeated a mighty industrial engine with the strength and endurance of a thousand men, and saved his fellow laborers' livelihoods in the process.
Divine Classification
Class II Fable
Neutral Good
Embodied Aspect(s)
Labor, Anti-Industry
Area/Culture of Origin
The Iron Empire
Legend of the Stake-Striker, The Tale of the Hellminer, The Ballad of Big Ben Murphy
Favored Weapon
Spend an hour performing a simple, repetitive labor such as splitting wood, hammering railroad ties, digging a hole, and so on while singing a worker's song. Once the hour is up, place your instrument(if any) on the ground at your feet and break a small piece of metal as proof of your vow to stand against the replacement of man with machine.
You gain Diehard and Endurance as bonus feats, and so long as you are engaged in strenuous physical activity such as active combat(GM Discretion), you do not need to breathe, eat, or drink.


Please Login in order to comment!