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Giants






A giant is a humanoid creature of great strength, usually of at least Large size. Giants have a number of racial Hit Dice and never substitute such Hit Dice for class levels like some humanoids. Giants have low-light vision, and treat Intimidate and Perception as class skills.

Lore

Ash Giants: These leprous creatures are the descendants of giants warped by eldritch or extraterrestrial energies. Capricious and frequently cruel, ash giants have an uncanny connection to the monstrous vermin that share their territories.

Cave Giants: Combining the features of ogres and feral orcs, cave giants are the embodiment of primitive brutality.

Average Height: 9–11 feet
Average Weight: 900–1,100 pounds
Favored Weapons: Battleaxes, clubs
Favored Companions: Giant frilled lizards, monitor lizards, orcs, troglodytes

Cave giants would measure close to a dozen feet tall if they ever rose from their perpetual stoops. Their skin tones range from slate gray to a dark mossy green. Cave giants have manes of bristly black or gray hair that run from their heads down their backs. Their faces resemble those of orcs taken to monstrous extremes and framed with elephantine tusks. Cave giants clothe themselves in hides decorated with bones. As their name suggests, cave giants live in rocky underground tunnels and caverns, rarely approaching the surface during the day. They keep giant lizards as smaller humanoids keep dogs, but they are cruel and neglectful masters. Cave giants survive as hunter-gatherers, subsisting on subterranean animals and plants, yet they’re intensely envious of the innovations and yields other races produce. Lacking both talent and patience necessary for creation or cultivation, they take what they desire by raiding other races or by enslaving them. Cave giants especially prize metal weapons, as they’re always at war, either with their own kind or with other races. Though not particularly religious, cave giants pay homage to the god of earthquakes and eruptions. Their priests are mostly barbarians and rangers, though a few divine spellcasters exist. The latter are often devoted to grand but futile schemes, such as freeing the Rough Beast or blotting out the hated sun.

Cliff Giants: Cliff giants’ reddish brown skin is striated in yellow and white, reflecting the weathered badlands and canyons they call home. Though benevolent, cliff giants eschew the company of other humanoids in favor of communing with the natural world.

Cloud Giants: Epicurean and philosophical, cloud giants are divided between those who help smaller races and those who would rule them.

Average Height: 17–20 feet
Average Weight: 4,000–5,500 pounds
Favored Weapons: Morningstars, spears
Favored Companions: Griffins, hippogriffs; good: dragon horses, pegasi; evil: harpies, mihstus

Cloud giants resemble lean humans. Their skin tones range from milky white to pale gray to soft blue. They have fair hair—white, gray, or pale blonde—but richly colored eyes, which are usually gray, violet or blue. Cloud giants prefer to wear the finest clothing and jewelry they can afford. These giants dwell in the highest peaks, literally up among the clouds. Good cloud giants usually live in mansions or castles of immense dimensions; evil cloud giants instead dwell in crude stone forts, often incorporating natural caves into the structures. Legends tell of cloud giants living in floating castles built on solid clouds, but such stories are considered apocryphal even among their kind. Cloud giants are ostentatious with their wealth. They decorate their homes with fine art, magic items, and exotic birds, any of which may be of gigantic proportions. They are lovers of music, especially the harp, and they enjoy food prepared with rare and exotic ingredients. The politically and philosophically charged cloud giants take pleasure in debating all manner of subjects. This trait led to the schism between the altruists (good cloud giants who believe the giants have a duty to help lesser races) and the pragmatists (evil cloud giants who believe that a being earns only what he takes by his own power).

Cyclops: One-eyed, rage-filled giants capable of glimpsing into the near future, yet whose expansive empires have been reduced to little more than rubble and far-flung enclaves.

Desert Giants: From a distance, desert giants might be confused with wandering nomads, but up close there is no mistaking their great height. Desert giants can survive weeks without water as they travel between oases. The giants are protective of their territories, but not unsympathetic to lost travelers.

Fire Giants: Resembling twisted dwarves made huge, fire giants are masters of metallurgy and military tactics.

Average Height: 12–16 feet Average Weight: 5,000–9,000 pounds
Favored Weapons: Armor spikes, greatswords
Favored Companions: Ettins, hellhounds, pyrohydras, red dragons, trolls.

Fire giants have the stocky build of dwarves. Their skin ranges from deep red to coal black. Most fire giants have fiery orange hair, though some have black or leaden manes. Their irises glow red, gold, or orange. They are rarely seen without their metal armor. Like male dwarves, male fire giants sport long, unruly beards. Almost all fire giants have some unsightly feature, such as blemished skin, misshapen limbs, or a hunched spine. These deformities don’t detract from the giants’ strength. Indeed, fire giants view these as signs of a strong bloodline and divine favor. Fire giants live in castles and walled villages that are either carved from caverns or built of stone and metal. Befitting these giants’ militaristic lifestyle, their architecture is constructed with an eye toward efficiency and defensibility, as well as a clear sense of hierarchy. Their lairs often incorporate volcanic elements such as rivers of lava or smoking fumaroles. While such features may be deadly to other races, the fire giants find them soothing. Fire giants are renowned for their metalworking talents, especially with the arms and armor they produce for themselves and other giants (and rarely for smaller races). Fire giants value fine craftsmanship, regardless of its origin.

Frost Giants: Though they claim to have once ruled a mighty empire, frost giants now live as fearsome hunters and raiders.

Average Height: 14–16 feet
Average Weight: 2,600–3,000 pounds
Favored Weapons: Greataxes, warhammers
Favored Companions: Ogres, remorhazes, white dragons, winter wolves, yetis.

Frost giants skin is pale blue or white, like that of a frozen corpse, and always cold to the touch. Their hair and eyes usually match, being yellow, white, or light blue. Frost giants wear their hair (and beards) long, often braided, and sometimes coated in rime. Around half of all frost giants live in nomadic tribes. They follow herd animals, raiding settlements they encounter along the way and taking temporary shelter in glacial or earthen dugouts. Other frost giants live in permanent settlements, usually in caves of ice or stone, or built from the blocks of ancient ruins. Here the frost giants hoard the spoils of their raids against nearby settlements and passing caravans. Might makes right among the frost giants. The strongest giant is named the jarl, and she rules the tribe until another can defeat her in single combat. The frost giants view smaller races as food or slaves. When a tribe is on the move, its slaves are chained to a slave handler—a figure who receives great respect among the frost giants.

Hill Giants: The most commonly encountered true giants, hill giants seem to reflect and magnify humanity’s worst traits.

Average Height: 9–13 feet
Average Weight: 1,000–1,300 pounds
Favored Weapons: Greatclubs, heavy maces
Favored Companions: Ogres, orcs, dire wolves

Hill giants are hideous even by giant standards. Their skin is naturally pale pink, but a lifetime spent outdoors colors them a ruddy tan. Their hair and eyes are usually black or brown. Their facial features are ill proportioned, and often further marred by scars, broken noses, or missing teeth. Hill giant clothing is a patchwork of untreated hides and other humanoids’ castoffs. Most hill giant tribes are nomadic. Though they prefer temperate hills, these giants are able to survive in a range of climates and terrains, due to their hardiness and stubbornness. They lair in natural caves and abandoned ruins. Hill giants have little regard for abstractions such as beauty or intelligence. They value strength above all else, and look for this quality in their leaders and their slaves. Fortunately for other races, hill giants are also lazy and shortsighted, and many folktales tell of heroes using deceptive talk or magic to escape from threatening hill giants. Not ones for deep philosophy, hill giants are evil out of habit rather than because of ideology. There are rare instances of lone hill giants developing consciences, whether on their own or as a result of contact with other races. Such giants might be adopted by small communities where they serve as laborers or defenders, but they face ostracism from most other humanoids and their own kin.

Jungle Giants: These giants have bark-like skin marked with intricate tattoos, which grant them magical protection. Male jungle giants look after and protect the villages, while female giants venture out to hunt and wage war. Jungle giants resent any intrusion into their territories.

Marsh Giants: Reverence for an ancient evil that dwells beneath the sea has devolved the marsh giants both physically and morally.

Average Height: 9–14 feet
Average Weight: 1,400–1,600 pounds
Favored Weapons: Clubs, gaffs, terbutjes, tridents
Favored Companions: Aberrations, boggards, giant frogs, merrows.

Marsh giants are hideous amalgams of fish, frog, and humanoid. Their faces are inhuman, with dark, unblinking eyes and large, thin-lipped mouths. Though humanoid in shape, marsh giants’ bodies are flabby and hairless, with green, scaly skin, the better to blend in with their surroundings. Marsh giants rarely wear much in the way of clothing, but sometimes wear golden jewelry given to them by the sea-spawn of Dagon. Other creatures find the jewelry’s intricate geometric designs unnerving— sometimes even maddening. According to legend, marsh giants are the descendants of a tribe of hill giants who committed an act so evil even other giants thought it unforgivable. To avoid reprisal, the giants fled to a desolate marsh, where centuries of inbreeding and strange rituals have adapted them to a semiaquatic existence. Marsh giants live in crude shacks of mud, stone, and plant material, which hide them from view but do little to keep out the environment.

Ocean Giants: Sailors describe these giants as the seas personified. Some ocean giants are kindly, using their powers to help creatures above and below the waves. Others are cruel, enslaving aquatic races and sinking ships at the slightest provocation.

River Giants: These giants are nomadic, traveling inland waterways on wooden barges. River giants may ferry members of smaller races for a price, but travelers should beware: river giants are sometimes good and sometimes evil, but they’re always unpredictable.

Rune Giants: Rune-covered, magically crossbred warriors designed for the sole purpose of enslaving all other members of giantkin to build their monstrous monuments. Rune Giants were magically bred to lead armies, imbuing them with magical powers of command. Considered mythical by even other giants, rune giants still live in desolate ruins.

Shadow Giants: Shadow giants adorn their light-devouring skin with golden armor, bright feathers, and bleached bones, and propitiate dark deities with self-sacrifice and cannibalism atop basalt pyramids.

Slag Giants: Slag giants are a magical cross between fire and stone giants. Abandoned by their creators in favor of more powerful hybrids, slag giants desire little save the opportunity to practice metalwork. Other giants, especially fire giants, often employ slag giants for their crafting skills.

Stone Giants: Though to outsiders it appears homogeneous, stone giant society is divided between technology and ancient spiritualism.

Average Height: 10–15 feet
Average Weight: 1,400–1,600 pounds
Favored Weapons: Greatclubs, heavy picks, spears
Favored Companions: Dire bears, earth elementals, mammoths, other megafauna

Towering twice the height of humans, with hairless skin the color and texture of rock, stone giants might easily be mistaken for statues rather than living things. Indeed, their wide chests and angular features are reminiscent of primitive sculptures, and their lanky limbs seem to bend at odd angles. They wear leather clothes, dyed brown and gray to match their rocky surroundings. Stone giants can be found in any rocky terrain, but prefer mountainous regions above the tree line but below the snow line, and are most comfortable living enclosed by stone in natural caves. Although they generally disdain agriculture, they raise goats and sheep, and sometimes cultivate wild grapes to make sour wine. The eldest couple in a clan rules over the rest of the members. Often, these leaders are true elders—stone giants who can hear the voices of the stones, and even have command over them.

Storm Giants: Storm giants believe in living in luxury. Though their benevolent, powerful emotions often get the better of them.

Average Height: 19–24 feet
Average Weight: 10,000–15,000 pounds
Favored Weapons: Greatswords, longbows, tridents
Favored Companions: Bronze dragons, griffins, rocs, sea serpents, sharks, whales.

Storm giants resemble majestic, muscular humans. They find restrictive clothing both distasteful and uncomfortable, favoring loose tunics and sandals, though they don breastplates for battle. Most have dark hair and olive or bronze skin tones, though some who live beneath the sea develop pale blue or green skin. Rarely, a storm giant is born with skin, hair, or eyes in shades of violet—a coloration seen as a sign of divine blessing. Most storm giants make their homes in isolated locations where the sea and land meet—such as rocky coastlines and volcanic islands—and build towering structures from which to look out over their fields and pastures. Under these giants’ care, crops and animals can grow to stunning proportions. Storm giants live alone or in extended families of no more than half a dozen individuals led by an elder; larger groups are practically unheard of. Individuals are often taken by wanderlust and may be absent from their keeps for decades or longer. A storm giant’s hoard often includes mementos from distant places she has visited, and wealth with which she generously rewards the smaller humanoids—typically elves, humans, merfolk, or tritons—that she employs to tend to her property.

Taiga Giants: Nomadic, crimson-haired tribes-people who dwell in hoarfrost-rimed forests and hunt down any who dare to intrude upon nature and the sacred lands of their people.

Wood Giants: Resembling elves, wood giants consider themselves the stewards of deep woodlands. Peaceful and melancholy, wood giants dwell in the heart of many larger forests, but are rarely seen by humanoids.