Ash giants were visually very similar to their stone giant kin. They were around 12 ft (3.7 m) tall, had gray skin, and grew no hair on their heads. They had cadaverous faces and their black eyes were deep-set. They would regularly smear themselves with the ash of their homeland to reduce their visibility. Thus they were described as having dusty, black skin. They also wore war paint at times. Some of them wore horsehair shirts, and fighters bore a variety of weapons.
Ash giants often used ambush tactics, camouflaging themselves with a combination of their natural coloration and ash smeared on their skin. Their shamans specialized in magic affecting the ashes and embers of their homeland. This allowed them to create burning clouds, flaming weapons, and pits of loose ash much like quicksand. They could move the ash spires of the Black Ash Plain so they could plow through enemy formations. They could also cause the spires to explode into large clouds of obscuring ash.
They had been raiding Tymanther for several dragonborn generations by 1479 DR. That same year, the green dragon Skuthosiin united the ash giant clans and supplied them with crystal eggs that their shamans could use to summon large ash creatures that combined draconic physical features (including breath weapons) with the forms of other creatures. He then pushed them into a war with the dragonborn of Tymanther as part of his strategy in the game of xorvintaal he was playing. While temporarily successful, the giants were eventually driven back to Ashhold, where the dragonborn slew Skuthosiin and scattered the defeated giants.
In the mid–14th century, the ash giant dwelled in the dormant mountains on the eastern side of the plains.
Ash giants lived in tribes that generally acted as disparate entities. They raided Tymanther for the things their desolate homeland did not provide, but were not particularly effective in small groups.
The natural fortress of Ashhold was considered sacred by the ash giants, as it was the source of all the ash that gave them and their home their names. Ash giants were not allowed to pursue feuds with each other while within Ashhold.
Ash giants were considered particularly cunning, but did not have the architectural knowledge to build effective defensive walls.
While they generally cooked meat they were going to eat, they were not against eating raw meat, even if it was just because they didn't feel like waiting for it to cook.
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- Scott Bennie (February 1990). Old Empires. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), p. 41. ISBN 978-0880388214.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 186. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
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Cloud • Ettin • Fire (Fire titan ) • Fog • Frost • Hill (Earth titan • Mouth of Grolantor) • Mountain • Stone • Storm (Storm titan) • Titan
Eldritch • Death • Sand • Troll