Mjolnir, also spelled Mjollnir, is a unique legendary warhammer wielded by Thor, god of the Norse pantheon. It is one of the most destructive forces in the known multiverse.[1]

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Mjolnir is a warhammer weighing no less than 2 tons.[2] Its handle is shorter than normal.[3]

Properties[edit | edit source]

Powers[edit | edit source]

Mjolnir is a warhammer of supreme magical enchantment which possesses numerous special properties.[2]

If thrown, it travels twice as far as a normal warhammer, and automatically returns to its wielder. In Thor's hands, he can throw it at any creature he can see, which extends to a distance of 18 miles.[2] A streak of lightning follows it as it is thrown.[4]

It a holy weapon, and is infused with the power of chaos. It is extra lethal to evil and lawful creatures. It emits a thunderous roar on a critical hit, and targets so struck are deafened. It can strike even incorporeal undead as if they were solid. If it slays an enemy, it may readily cleave through them and onto an adjacent foe.[2]

It can strike a target with a lightning bolt.[4]

Mjolnir can break any object.[5] It is even speculated to be able to destroy artifacts, including the Crystal of the Ebon Flame.[6]

Mjolnir glows light blue to warn Thor of imminent nearby danger.[7]

Drawbacks[edit | edit source]

Mjolnir is so heavy that the vast majority of creatures in the multiverse are not strong enough to wield it, even deities. Among those who can wield it are Thor, and Thor's son Magni, god of Strength, who will inherit the weapon after Ragnarok.

Mjolnir causes severe injury to those who attempt to lift it. Thor's gauntlet Jarn Griper allows Mjolnir to be carried safely, even if when it glows red-hot.[2]

As a holy chaotic weapon, it weakens any evil or lawful creature who wields it.

Destruction[edit | edit source]

Mjolnir is a major artifact, and cannot by destroyed by normal means.

History[edit | edit source]

Creation[edit | edit source]

Mjolnir was constructed long ago by the Midgard dwarves, although the Modrigswerg dwarves also claim this honor.[8][9] For this single act, the dwarves and gnomes are hated by many of the giants of Jotunheim.[10]

Loki interfered with the production of the hammer, assuming the form of a fly and stinging the dwarven smith. As a result, its handle is shorter than it should be. [3]

Publication history[edit | edit source]

Original D&D[edit | edit source]

Mjolnir appears in Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976), p.26

Basic D&D[edit | edit source]

AD&D 1st edition[edit | edit source]

Mjolnir appears in Legends & Lore (1e) (1985), p.106.

AD&D 2nd edition[edit | edit source]

Mjolnir appears in Legends & Lore (2e) (1990), p.176. It is also detailed in Encyclopedia Magica Volume Four (1995), p.557, which lists both its OD&D and AD&D versions. It has an estimated GP value of 50,000 to 85,000.

D&D 3rd edition[edit | edit source]

Mjolnir appears in Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.194

D&D 4th edition[edit | edit source]

The Norse pantheon does not appear in D&D 4th edition.

D&D 5th edition[edit | edit source]

Thor's hammer is briefly mentioned, though not by name, in the description of the spell spiritual weapon, Player's Handbook (5e) (2014), p.278.

Creative origins[edit | edit source]

Thor's hammer Mjolnir appears in Norse mythology. It is variously written Mjollnir or Mjölnir.

It makes several appearances in the stories of the Poetic Edda. It is central to the story of Thrymskvitha, in which Mjolnir is stolen by the giant Thrym, and Thor must disguise himself as the goddess Freya to retrieve it. It is also named in Hymiskvitha, in which Thor uses it to slay giants, and Vafthruthnismal, where it is prophecied to be inherited by Thor's sons Modi and Magni.

Thor's hammer is mentioned in numerous other poems of the Poetic Edda, though not by name.

Reception and influence[edit | edit source]

Mjolnir is frequently noted by D&D players and publications as an example of one of the most powerful artifacts. For example, the Dungeon Master Guide (2e) (1989), p.82, asks:

"How do you top the adventure where the fighter got the Hammer of Thor or some equally valuable item?"

In Curing the Monty Haul malady, Dragon #82 (Feb 1984), p.46, a letter is quoted from a player in an AD&D campaign where someone was able to acquire Mjolnir after killing Thor by pushing him off a sufficiently high wall. This story was referenced again in History of a game that failed, Dragon #99 (Jul 1985), p.38, an article on DMing mistakes.

A game called Hammer of Thor was reviewed in Dragon #49 (May 1981), p.84.

Mjolnir appears in numerous video games. In the D&D-inspired roguelike NetHack, the Valkyrie character class can receive Mjolnir as a quest reward.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. On Hallowed Ground (1996), p.148.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.194.
  3. 3.0 3.1 For Better or Norse: II, Dragon #110 (Jun 1986), p.27-28.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Legends & Lore (1e) (1985), p.106.
  5. Legends & Lore (2e) (1990), p.176.
  6. Encyclopedia Magica Volume One (1994), p.342.
  7. Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976), p.26.
  8. Frostburn (2004), p.124.
  9. GAZ7 The Northern Reaches (1988), p.25.
  10. Aesirhamar, Dragon #90 (Oct 1984), p.45,60.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.