Giants were humanoid creatures, usually of great strength and size. Most giants had vision equivalent to that of a human, though some had the capacity to see well in low light or total darkness as well.[2] As a group, they had no other special abilities. They were immune to almost all diseases, and had a slight resistance to poison.[3] Dwarves as a race were experienced at fighting giants, so they were more adept in combat with them.[4]

Most giants had superior senses to most humans. In general they could see and hear twice as well. The cloud giant, hill giant and stone giant species had a particularly good sense of smell.[5]

Physical descriptionEdit

The appearance of giants varied according to the type of giant (see true giants below) but they were generally humanoid in appearance, just much larger. Their bone structure was more dense than that of humans, giving them extra toughness but slowing them down a little.[6]


A female giant had a pregnancy of between nine and fifteen months, depending on the type of giant.[5] Their offspring reached maturity in around fifty years.[7]

Although their ancestors were immortal, giants' life spans were getting shorter and shorter with each generation. Giants in modern Faerûn have a life expectancy of between 300 and 400 years, although there were thousand-year-old giants still alive.[8] Because their lifespans were so much longer than humans, giants were slow to make decisions and would not be rushed.[9]


2e Hill Giant

Giants were intelligent creatures with their own set of cultures and customs. The intelligence varied according to the type of giant (and as with humans, with the individual) but most were at least on a human level of intellect,[6] with the exception of hill giants.[10] Most giants saw themselves as superior to all other creatures.[11] The ordning was one reason for this,[12] but they were also much larger than many other species, so they would talk down to and patronize smaller folk, regarding them as unimportant.[9] Giants lived in tribes or familes, but their numbers were limited because of their size, and the difficulty of finding plentiful food.[13]


A building damaged by giants.

Ancestry was important to giants. Most giants could trace their lineage back to Annam All-Father, and it was recited formally when introducing oneself to other giants. Once a relationship had been established between giants, whether it was amiable or hostile, this would be continued further down the lineage. Therefore, reciting one's lineage helped to dictate the relationship that would be established. Frost giant skalds (bards) would include lineage in the sagas they wrote.[12]

Good and evilEdit

Giants had a different sense of good and evil than most other creatures. A "good" (maat) act for a giant was an act that honored a giant's deity or family, displayed bravery, or honored another "good" giant, regardless of the consequences. An "evil" (maug) act was one of cowardice, stealing, betraying a giant's deity, family or trust, or an act that forced a giant from its natural terrain type. Violating the ordning was also considered evil (see Ordning below).[11]


Main article: Giant pantheon

Giants often differred in their religious views between species or even between tribes, having been known to argue and even war with one another over the exact desires of a specific deity. Generally, they all accepted Annam All-Father, the creator of giants, as the top of the Ordning, the giant pantheon. Giants respected Xephras as the Great Priest of Annam, the highest figure in the giant religious hierarchy, who resided in Annam's grand temple in the Ice Spires.[14]


The ordning was the social order to which all giants adhere and assigned a rank to each individual giant so that there were none who are equal to one another, only inferior or superior. It was regarded as an act of evil to go against the ordning.[7]



Giants causing chaos over their feud.

Although the ordning dictated the leader of a tribe and the leader's will had to be ordinarily obeyed, it was possible for the priests or shamans of two conflicting tribes to conduct a parley in which their consensus was binding for the leaders of both tribes. The intention of the parley was for both parties to agree upon the will of Annam All-Father in the situation at hand, but often the party with more power simply asserted his own will. This system had been further abused in the past, where tribal priests or shamans engineered conflicts to fulfil desires that they would not normally be able to.[12] In modern Faerûn the numbers of giants were so low that tribal conflicts, and therefore parleys, were rare. In addition, inter-tribal relations were improved compared to the past.[15]

Myths and legendsEdit

Some people, especially those who lived exclusively in the cities, did not believe that giants even existed. Others thought they were magically altered humans.[6] A human myth stated that all giants were evil. This was rumoured to be the cause of the formation of the Blood Riders.[11]

Some giants believed that the stars were dragon queens preparing to scatter dragon eggs across the land.[16] There was a legend that a dragon god lived in the sun and led the dragons in war.[17]

Festivals and eventsEdit

Once a year, the chiefs of the largest giant tribes on Faerûn made a pilgrimage to the Twilight Vale where the Twilight Spirit appeared to them, asking for their help in fulfilling the prophecy of the return of Annam All-Father. The Twilight Spirit appeared as a very large, shadowy giant, whose identity was not known.[18]


Giants were inhabiting Abeir-Toril before any of the other humanoid or demihuman races. The first of their kind and the source of the entire species were the sons of Annam All-Father and his wife Othea, who settled on the planet to form a kingdom known as Ostoria. Each of his sons led to a different type of giant.[16]


A giant killed during the chaos of the ordning.

The giants were soon at war with the dragons.[16] This conflict was to last for over a thousand years. There are differing accounts of its conclusion, although the giants believe it was a result of a stalemate in a game of wah-ree between Annam and the dragon god, while dwarven accounts say that the dragons needed to declare peace to conduct a civil war in which the metallic dragons fought the chromatic dragons.[17]


True giantsEdit

A true giant was one who could trace its lineage back to Annam All-Father and Othea.[13]

Cloud giant 
A giant race that believed itself superior to all other giants, with the exception of storm giants.
Two-headed giants.
Fire giant 
A militaristic giant that looked somewhat like a huge red dwarf.
Frost giant 
A giant who lived in areas frozen year-round and participated in raids.
Hill giant 
A selfish giant that inhabited hilly regions.
Stone giant 
A shy giant that was nevertheless dangerous when aroused to anger.
Storm giant 
A gentle giant that lived mainly in mountains, enchanted cloud islands, or underwater.
The largest of the giants but long ago left for another plane.

Mountain giants and fog giants are descendents of true giant races and are also considered true giants.[13]

Giant OffshootsEdit

These giants no longer had pure bloodlines, yet were related to true giants:

Craa'ghoran giant 
Rare stone giant offshoots created when earth elemental energy warped and twisted their ancestors. They can glide and walk right through stone like earth elementals and raise walls of stone from the ground with their supernatural powers. They resemble tanned, bestial and deformed versions of stone giants.
Phaerlin giant

Zakharan GiantsEdit

These giants were found in Zakhara. They were not related in any way to Annam All-Father:[19]

Desert giant
Jungle giant
Reef giant
Island giant

Further Giant SpeciesEdit

These were other giant subraces found throughout Faerûn. There relationship to true giants was unknown:

Ash giant 
Once elemental beings, Death giants relocated to the Shadowfell, where they evolved as soul-harvesting creatures. They now have little or no ties to the Elemental Chaos and rarely associate with other kinds of giants.
Sand giant 
A people of disciplined, honorable giant desert dwellers who live in stable communities which are often isolated.


Main article: Giant-kin

Most of the giant-kin were half-brothers of the original giants, but their father was not Annam All-Father. They include firbolgs, fomorians, verbeegs, and voadkyn.


Further ReadingEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 119–125. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  2. Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 120–125. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  3. Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 18. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  4. Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 22. ISBN 978-0786966011.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 23. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  8. Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), pp. 17–18. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 30. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  10. Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 15. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 26. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  14. Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 41. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  15. Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 27. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  18. Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  19. Ray Winninger (August 1995). Giantcraft. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.


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