Frost Giant CR 9
Str 29, Dex 9, Con 21, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 11
Base Atk +10; CMB +20; CMD 29
Feats Cleave, Great Cleave, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Martial Weapon Proficiency (greataxe), Power Attack, Skill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Climb +13, Craft (any one) +7, Intimidate +7, Perception +10, Stealth +2 (+6 in snow); Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth in snow
Languages Common, Giant
Environment cold mountains
Organization solitary, gang (3–5), band (6–12 plus 35% noncombatants and 1 adept or cleric of 1st–2nd level), raiding party (6–12 plus 35% noncombatants, 1 adept or sorcerer of 3rd–5th level, 1–4 winter wolves, and 2–3 ogres), or tribe (21–30 plus 1 adept, cleric, or sorcerer of 6th–7th level; 1 barbarian or ranger jarl of 7th–9th level; and 15–36 winter wolves, 13–22 ogres, and 1–2 young white dragons)
Treasure standard (chain shirt, greataxe, other treasure)
A frost giant’s hair can be light blue or dirty yellow, and its eyes usually match its hair color. Frost giants dress in skins and pelts, along with any jewelry they own. Frost giant warriors also don chain shirts and metal helmets decorated with horns or feathers. An adult male stands about 15 feet tall and weighs approximately 2,800 pounds. Females are slightly shorter and lighter, but otherwise identical to males. Frost giants can live to be 250 years old.
Frost giants are among the most feared giants, as their wanton destruction, battle lust, and fearless demeanor push them to ever-increasing displays of brutality. Frost giants usually start combat at a distance, throwing rocks until they run out of ammunition or the opponent closes, then wading in with their enormous greataxes. A favorite tactic is to lay an ambush by hiding buried in the snow at the top of an icy or snowy slope, where opponents will have difficulty reaching them, and then starting an avalanche before leaping into battle. Frost giants can hide well in snowy environments and are masters of stealth in their domain.
Frost giants survive on hunting and raiding alone, as they live in desolate, frigid environments. Frost giant groups are split almost evenly between those that live in makeshift settlements or abandoned castles and those that roam the frozen north as nomads in search of spoils and provisions. Frost giant leaders call themselves jarls and demand absolute obedience from their followers. At any time a jarl may be challenged by combat for leadership of the tribe. These challenges typically result in the death of one of the combatants. A single jarl can often count a dozen or more smaller frost giant tribes as part of his extended tribe. In such a situation, the leaders of the lesser tribes are known simply as chieftains or warlords.
Frost giants love to take captives, and use them for food as well as slaves and commodities. Every group of frost giants typically has 1–2 humanoid slaves shackled to a slave handler—usually the meanest and cruelest non-jarl in the group. They are also quite fond of monstrous pets—white dragons and winter wolves are popular choices, but remorhazes, yetis, and even linnorms can be found dwelling in a frost giant lair.
Deep in the frostbitten realms of the north, a race borne of ice and steely hatred lays claim to the frozen lands through conquest and domination. Their brutality knows no bounds, and with each town or small city crushed by their axes and hammers, these raging behemoths threaten to overwhelm the natives of the tundra and establish themselves as the rightful inhabitants of the northlands. These towering, relentless warriors are known to those who fear them as frost giants.
Civilized folk know frost giants as horrific brutes bent on murder and ruinous plunder, barbarians whose thunderous war cries deafen the ears as they chill the bone. In their pursuit to claim the land and establish themselves as the strongest inhabitants of the icy northlands, frost giants would first extinguish the plague of humanity that has swept over the world. In frost giant culture, humans and their ilk are viewed as little better than vermin, and are hardly worthy of the crops they grow and the cities they build. Just as a human might give little regard to an insect crushed underfoot, so too does a frost giant view the realms of humanity. In the chillingly ruthless minds of frost giants, if all the nations of the world must be ravaged to claim the lands that are rightfully theirs, so be it.
Even among their equally massive giantkin, frost giants are intimidating to behold. They stand about 15 feet tall, their thick, muscular frames weighing in at approximately 2,800 pounds. Most have soft blue or frost-white skin, and their flesh is always cold to the touch, despite the hot blood that courses beneath it. A frost giant’s hair typically grows in shades of dirty yellow, white, or light blue, which both sexes often wear long and braided. Their eyes match their hair, ranging from hues of bestial amber to icy cyan. Frost giant males usually grow their beards several feet long, and more than a few intentionally soak their beards with water before battle, so as to encase their facial hair in fearsome daggers of ice.
Physiologically, frost giants are similar to other humanoids, though their eyes are particularly sensitive to the higher end of the visible spectrum, which helps them navigate and identify friend from foe in blinding snowstorms and during the bright, nightless summers of the north. Immune to the blustery cold of their mountain habitat, frost giants have little need for the heavy winter garb most humanoids require in order to survive the harsh climate, and instead prefer to wear animal skins and pelts, along with unassuming jewelry—usually symbolic to the peoples of their clan. Frost giant warriors don chain shirts and steel helmets of their own making, their armor festooned with horns, feathers, and skulls of their prey and enemies. Some choose to eschew armor altogether, instead painting their bare faces and torsos in intricate tribal designs with dyes of woad.
Frost giants fuel their enormous bodies and exhausting rampages primarily with a diet of meat complemented by vegetables and hearty grains. Much of their caloric intake comes from herds of elk and fallow deer, though arctic fauna such as highland tubers and truffles suffice in particularly lean times. Perhaps one of the more abhorrent traditions practiced by a growing number of frost giant tribes is the act of eating their own kind in order to cull the weak from their ranks. Such cannibalistic tribes have devolved beyond even the barbarism of most frost giants, believing that the strength of others can be absorbed by eating their flesh, and tend to worship foul demon lords or nature spirits in place of traditional giant gods.
Frost giants can live to be 250 years old, but most are lucky to reach their second century, thanks in no small part to their violent lifestyles and the harsh environs they inhabit. Youths reach sexual maturity at about the age of 50, though they are often driven into combat at even younger ages by their fellow tribes people; older frost giants steadfastly believe that adolescence and inexperience are hardly excuses for prolonging the invigorating joys of war. Both males and females are taken onto the battlefield to taste the blood of their enemies and to feel the rush of victory. Romances between frost giants tend to be as short and passionate as their bloody brawls, and females are expected to do most of the child-rearing within a tribe, though particularly domineering frost giant mothers have been known to pass the burden of parenting onto the male. Thankfully for the impatient frost giants, their young become mostly self-sufficient after only a few years, able to hunt small game and care for themselves among the encampment by their first decade.
Frost giants dwell amid frigid mountains or in the bitter hinterlands of the north. Many subsist in small tribes roaming the frozen wastes, hunting large game, and pillaging remote settlements for spoils. For these itinerate wanderers, glacial caves or earthen dugouts serve as temporary shelters from which they can attack unwary groups of adventurers and tundra-spanning caravans that wander too close to the icy hillsides. Just as many frost giant tribes instead prefer to abide in makeshift settlements year-round, lairing in either abandoned stone castles or crude fortresses carved out of glacial ice. From these holds, frost giants hunt game and raid for slaves and provisions, trekking back to their bases between raids to recuperate and divvy their plunder. Some frost giants even make their homes in vast ruins, carving out meager sovereignties in hopes of one day restoring the fabled kingdoms of their ancestors.
Frost giants are brutal, superstitious warriors among whom only might makes right. The title of jarl inevitably falls to the strongest and most worthy warrior of the tribe, who leads her people to glory through intimidation and violence. At any time, a jarl may be challenged in combat by one of her peers. The winner of such fatal duels is deemed the rightful ruler of the tribe—at least until the next challenger approaches.
The influence of a particularly charismatic jarl can often extend to clans outside her own tribe. In such cases, the leaders of the lesser tribes are typically known simply as chieftains or warlords. These allied tribes often meet to trade goods and arrange marriages, and especially organized collaborations have been known to form massive war bands for devastating campaigns that can span entire mountain ranges before disbanding.
A few frost giants have magical powers and can use runes, sorcery, or foul rituals to cast divinations or bring ruin to their enemies from afar. Such individuals serve their tribes as shamans, earning great standing among their peers second only to the jarl herself. Frost giants take a serious view of their heritage, and in addition to their more oracular duties, shamans are responsible for teaching the tribe’s children about their ancestry and the tribe’s oral history.
Given their generally warlike nature, frost giants show unusual reverence for their dead. Warriors are buried beneath icy cairns on the battlefield where they met their end, and are placed in their grave alongside their favored weapons. Particularly favored chieftains and jarls are taken back to the Frost giants’ encampment or base, where a small ceremony is performed before the deceased is buried next to grave offerings such as gold and even live slaves, tributes meant to ensure she is given proper station in the afterlife. In contrast, those who challenge their current jarl in combat and lose the duel are treated as little better than traitors, their bodies desecrated and some part of their skeleton mounted on the jarl’s throne or the hilt of her weapon.
Frost giants possess a particular fondness for slavery, and whenever possible take captives from their destructive raids. Bands of frost giants usually keep at least one or two humanoid slaves shackled to a slave handler—a feared and respected position of authority within frost giant society. Slave handlers are responsible for making sure slaves don’t escape, as well as arranging slave trades between other tribes and warlike cultures or divvying out slaves for meals in lean times.
In addition to humanoid thralls, frost giants are quite fond of monstrous pets, including winter wolves and young white dragons, though virtually any creature native to their preferred domain are prone to capture and crude domestication. Mammoths, yetis, and even remorhazes and linnorms can sometimes be found battling alongside frost giant barbarians, as well as guarding frost giant encampments when their masters are out pillaging.
Using the surrounding wintry terrain as camouflage, frost giants make excellent ambushers in random encounters for PCs who find themselves upon icy expanses. Those unfortunate enough to encounter a frost giant are often hard pressed to avoid such a fight, as the children of Thremyr seldom give their victims an opportunity to parlay. Thus, civil interactions with frost giants are typically rare, though PCs might encounter a frost giant outcast willing to aid them if they assist him in exacting revenge on his tribe.
Despite their cunning tactics on the battlefield, frost giants are often prone to petulant outbursts and fits of rage when not under the guidance of a domineering leader. In melee, enraged frost giants are agents of mindless fury, rarely withdrawing from combat even with overwhelming odds arrayed against them. Thanks to their unending ferocity, frost giants make apt villains for mid-level PCs seeking a bloody brawl, and illustrate the unique dynamic between merciless civilizations and the harsh and unforgiving nature of the frostbitten wilds. The icy strongholds that frost giants sometimes dwell in make for interesting dungeon crawls, the cyclopean nature of the lair’s furnishings and its treasures lending an air of overwhelming danger and archaic wonder to a human-centric world that has perhaps become all too familiar to more experienced players.
Playing up the horrific nature of some Frost giants’ diets can also be a great way to add ambience and dread to an already treacherous campaign set in wintry lands.
It’s one thing to be crushed beneath a giant-hurled boulder, it’s quite another to be ripped asunder and eaten alive. When stalking humanoid prey, frost giants often pluck off targets one by one, voraciously devouring individual victims out of earshot, then leaving the bones and entrails behind for the deceased humanoids’ hapless companions to find. During months when there is relatively little snowfall, the desiccated corpses of such man-eating Frost giants’ victims can be found all along icy mountain trails near frost giant encampments. Such macabre discoveries provide excellent hooks for players in need of a new adventure, and can also be used to give an established campaign an interesting twist, such as when the PCs discover that their objective has been slaughtered or captured by a brutal frost giant tribe.
Through the course of raiding and pillaging, frost giants accumulate sizable amounts of mundane and magical treasure, often storing such valuables either on their persons or back in their ramshackle lairs. Though they have little use for arbitrary material goods, Frost giants’ innate avarice drives them to collect precious jewels and other items of great value. They occasionally use their ill-gotten spoils to trade with other warlike societies, though such acts of diplomacy are increasingly rare. Most frost giant warriors simply hoard their gems and magical weapons in secret chambers or icy grottos near their base, out of view from the prying eyes of their equally greedy companions. Some jarls offer their plunder as tribute to persuade powerful white dragons to aid them in their raids, though such alliances are generally short-lived.
As with most giantkind, frost giants craft their own weapons and armor. Though they can inflict considerable damage with their fists alone, most frost giant raiders prefer to wield massive axes and hammers. Some more permanent frost giant settlements boast enormous smelters and forges, and their gifted blacksmiths craft incredible weapons capable of cleaving through solid ice. Though these expertly made weapons are themselves highly sought after by equally enormous warriors and arms collectors, the rare minerals and ores used to forge frost giant weapons and armor can also fetch a fine price for those who know to look for them.
Frost Giant Bags
The following list of random treasure includes items one might normally find either on a frost giant’s person or in her dwelling.
|01–07||Large masterwork greataxe|
|08–15||Preserved mammoth tusk (750 gp, 50 lbs.)|
|16–20||Charred corpse of Small humanoid|
|21–23||1d6 bars of rare minerals. For each bar roll d%:
01–40: 150 gp
41–70: 300 gp
71–90: 500 gp
91–100: 1,000 gp
|24–28||Large ice pick|
|29–34||Large broken leather armor|
|35–37||Sack of salted tubers|
|38–43||Set of 1d6 pitons|
|44–47||Ring of sustenance|
|52–56||Box of 1d4 potions of cure serious wounds|
|57–61||Winter wolf pelt (200 gp, 30 lbs.)|
|62–67||Huge leather belt with 1d6 human skulls strung across|
|68–74||High quality adamantine ingots (1d3, 750 gp each)|
|75–76||Set of +1 full plate|
|77–83||Ruined cold-weather outfit|
|84–88||Scroll of secure shelter|
|89–92||Masterwork composite longbow (+3 Strength)|
|93–95||Pair of matching +1 short swords|
|96–98||Boots of the winterlands|
|99–100||Cloak of resistance +2|
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Giants Revisited © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Jesse Benner, Ryan Costello, Brian R. James, Jason Nelson, Russ Taylor, and Ray Vallese.