Cyclopes were one of the smallest types of giants, standing only twelve feet (four meters) and weighing 1,200 pounds (540 kilograms), but they were as strong as the average stone giant. Many males and females were bald and had spiked heads instead of hair. Cyclopes had earthy skin tones that blended with their surroundings. Other cyclops had hair and more human-like appearances.
The most peculiar and distinguishing thing about cyclopes was the fact that they only had one large eye in the middle of their foreheads. It tended to be the same as the color of their skin. This eye was rumored to cause fear in any who looked at it. Their single eye gave them poor depth perception, however, and therefore they couldn't use missile weapons very well.
Cyclopes could throw boulders like all giant-kin, but with less accuracy than normal because of their single eye. They had great strength and made excellent warriors, but some were also very intelligent and made good wizards and clerics. Cyclopes that lived in the Underdark could move rather stealthily and were accustomed to the darkness of the underworld.
Cylops society differed from group to group, but could generally be divided into surface and Underdark society.
Underdark cyclopes were taught that they should listen unfailingly to their masters but always to take command of those weaker than themselves. They admired physical and mental fitness and would act as loyal servitors to those who could bend their will. The one-eyes brutally beat any slave that did not follow their commands. They hated most other races and were unwilling to work with goodly ones. They trusted only themselves and their masters, forging alliances in which they knew they had the upper hand.
Surface-dwelling cyclopes weren't great thinkers or strategists. Slow to learn and bound to their traditional ways, they found innovation difficult. Although they were a terrifying threat in combat due to their size and strength, they could often be tricked by clever foes. These cyclopes could be cowed and awed by obvious displays of magic. Rustics with little exposure to magic, they could be deceived into mistaking a warlock, cleric, or other caster for a powerful divine figure. However, their sense of pride caused them to react with vengeful, bloodthirsty violence once they learned that the individual they assumed was a "god" was a mere mortal.
Underdark cyclops society was based on servitude, but not necessarily slavery. They did not have any kingdoms of their own but helped create the beautiful cities that their masters lived in. From an early age, they were taught that they were a great race and only worthy creatures (those that were stronger than them) could become their masters. The one-eyes were arrogant and ambitious but did not overstep their boundaries. Cyclopes would stab their superiors in the back and crush their inferiors without a thought. They were rude, cruel, and mean to all but themselves and their masters.
Cyclopes dwelling on the surface lived simple, reclusive lives, keeping herds of animals for food. They preferred to dwell alone or in small family groups, lairing in caves, ruins, or rough structures of dry stone construction they built themselves. A cyclops would keep its herd animals with it at night, sealing the entrance to its home with boulders to let it serve double duty as a barn. Cyclopes laired within a day's journey of other cyclopes, so that they could meet to trade goods or seek mates. Although these cyclopes understood the Giant tongue, they wrote nothing and spoke little, using grunts and gestures for their interactions with each other. Cyclopes didn't use money for trade, but they valued gold, shells, and other glittering and colorful objects as jewelry. A cyclops might wear a necklace strung with feathers and silver coins, but also with pewter goblets, cutlery, and other bits of ruined metal.
Cyclopes paid little heed to any deities. They saw little benefit in prayer and disliked ritual, which they perceived as complex and foreign. However, a cyclops that gained direct benefit from some site of divine power, or which was threatened by a supernatural force or creature, would pay homage as long as the benefit or threat remained. A few cyclopes worshiped Grolantor.
Cyclops that had masters of different races worshiped different deities, such as Lolth, Gruumsh, Thrym, Bane, or Shar. These cyclopes were not as devoted as they were to Grolantor but worshiped them nonetheless because that was what their master desired.
Cyclopes made many different and powerful magical and non-magical items. They forged mithral armor and adamantine blades with ease. Their most proficient blacksmiths could forge rings of great magical power and swords with blades of lightning. The one-eyes also made magical clothing such as gloves, cloaks, boots, belts, and robes. Cyclopians also brewed deadly poisons that could kill with a single drop. Surface dwelling cyclopes crafted weapons and tools of wood and stone, but would use metal when they could find it.
They usually served as bodyguards, blacksmiths, and soldiers for more powerful masters.
Relationships with other races
Most cyclopes hated most races but like all giant-kin they hated the dwarves most of all. They generally kept orcs, goblins, ogres, and bugbears as slaves. Common cyclopian allies (masters) were drow and fomorians. Surface-dwelling cyclopes were isolationists. They avoided contact with other races and tried to drive away strangers in their territory.
Cyclopes did not have their own cities but many lived in their masters cities, including:
- Ched Nasad
- Mag Tureah
- Menzoberranzan
- Pirate Isles
- Thay
When not living in cities, many cyclopes lived in caves, ruins, or forests:
- Citadel Umbra
- Curna Mountains
- Giant's Belt Mountains
- Kryonar's Caverns
- Mines of Tethyamar
- Snapping Turtle Bay
In the 2nd-edition Monstrous Manual and the 3rd-edition Shining South, the plural version of cyclops is spelled "cyclopes". In the 4th-edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, this was changed to "cyclopses". The original spelling "cyclopes" was restored in the 5th-edition Monster Manual.
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Wizards RPG Team (2014). Monster Manual 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 45. ISBN 978-0786965614.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 46. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 64–65. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 133. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- ↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclops_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons)#cite_note-2
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 124. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 27. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Dan Mishkin (December 1989). “Shackles of the Past”. In Elliot S. Maggin ed. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #13 (DC Comics), pp. 18–20.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 48. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 152–153. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 83. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 161. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 221. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 90. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ Christopher Perkins, Will Doyle, Steve Winter (September 19, 2017). Tomb of Annihilation. Edited by Michele Carter, Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 83. ISBN 978-0-7869-6610-3.
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