Forgotten Realms Wiki
Forgotten Realms Wiki

Desert giants were once numerous Zakharan giants. Since the decline of their civilization, they were mostly shepherds often traveling with their cattle herds across deserts.[1]


Desert giants were known to have swarthy and wrinkly skin due to their constant exposure to desert storms. They had dark hair and blue eyes, which turned brown before the giants turned to stone. The females covered their faces in a veil. They typically reached heights of up to 17 ft (5,200 mm) tall and weighed about 7,000 lb (3,200 kg).[1]


The sight of these fearsome warriors could cause the stoutest units to turn and flee.[1]

The complexion and texture of their skin so closely resembled the natural surroundings, it gave the desert giants the ability to camouflage while in the desert terrain.[1]

Some desert giants had the unique ability to return ancestors from the petrified stone state, the same ability enabled them to summon stone battle mounts (up to 20 mounts if the summoner was a child, and an adult - up to 30). This ability was usable once per week, allowing the summoning of 1 to 6 ancestors. The returned giants turned to dust and rock when defeated. They were known as sand-shifters due to the way the returning ancestors cast away the sand. This ability was only found among ten percent of desert giants. The sand-shifters were not priests or mages and did not have access to spells. [1]

Due to their curse, desert giants were said to be immune to all forms of lycanthropy.[4]


Like other nomadic cultures, the desert giants preferred the company of their own kin, even though the could be found working as mercenaries or taking shelter in the cities during the times of prolonged drought. They respected ordering and the rule of strength, often depleting the pastures on the lands that did not belong to them. They gladly accepted gifts and bribes of salt, cloth, spices, and metal.[1]


A desert giant female wearing the traditional garb.

Desert giants preferred to fight while mounted, usually riding upon gigantic forms of insects, reptiles, undead horses, and even the rare roc.[1]

Unlike other giants, the desert ones did not hurl boulders, as they were rare in the desert and taxing for the nomadic warriors to carry with them. But during their wanderings, when they happened upon a jungle, they used the trees to make giant throwing spears. Considered cherished items, they were passed from generation to generation. Chieftains of the desert giant tribes sometimes wielded great-sized scimitars, handed down from their ancestors, who earned them for distinguished military service. Even an unarmed attack from a desert giant could cause serious harm.[1]

Due to the desert giants' natural camouflage ability, they often set ambushes when given time to prepare for a battle.[1]


Having no permanent settlements, desert giants were often found with or near their herds. Depending on the herd's size it could strip all the vegetation with their passing. Others living in those lands expected no reimbursement for the damage done, as the giants believed the lands belonged to those who could take them. Sultans of the Land of Fate often offered bribes to get the giants to leave, rather than trying to drive off the giants from the valuable farmland.[1]

Desert giants' livelihood was dependent upon the rain. Driving their herds after the rain to the green fields it brought. During droughts, the younger males sought employment as mercenaries, using their pay to supply food for their tribes. When the drought continued for many years, the Giants were forced to seek refuge in the cities, even when this happened their numbers were minuscule compared to the other races.[1]

Some desert giants used their camouflage to implement ambush tactics after becoming bandits after losing their herds, something that has been happening more as their numbers decreased further.[1]


Desert giants were once numerous denizens of the deserts of Zakhara. Their number decreased due to a curse of the gods, which slowly but steadily turned them to stone. In the past, they had built a great civilization, but it has since succumbed to the ravages of time.[1]

Zakharan sultans of the past sometimes hired desert giants as mercenaries.[1]

Circa 1367 DR a couple of desert giants was among the inhabitants of Sarahin, a fortress located deep within the Haunted Lands in Zakhara. They were ex-caravan guards employed by Akim al-Kalaas, stationed at the lower gates of the fortress.[5]

Notable Desert Giants[]


See Also[]

  • Zakharan giant