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.
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. Some had the capacity to see well in low light or total darkness as well. They were immune to almost all diseases, and had a slight resistance to poison.
Although their ancestors were immortal, giant life spans decreased with each generation. The life expectancy of a giant in 1366 DR [note 1], seven or eight giant generations removed from Annam, was believed to be between 300 and 400 years depending on race, although later sources stated that storm and stone giants could live several centuries longer on average. The oldest giants were well over 1000 years old. Because their lifespans were so much longer than humans, giants were slow to make decisions and would not be rushed.
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, with the exception of hill giants. Most giants saw themselves as superior to all other creatures. The ordning was one reason for this, but they were also much larger than many other species, so they would talk down to and patronize smaller folk, regarding them as unimportant. Giants lived in tribes or familes, but their numbers were limited because of their size, and the difficulty of finding plentiful food.
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.
Good and evil
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).
Giants often differed 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 the stormazîn as the high priest of Annam, the highest ranked figure in the giant religious hierarchy, who resided in Annam's grand temple in the Ice Spires.
The ordning was the social order to which all giants adhered 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.
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. 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.
Myths and legends
Some people, especially those who lived exclusively in the cities, did not believe that giants even existed. Others thought they were magically altered humans. A human myth stated that all giants were evil. This rumor was part of the cause of the formation of the Blood Riders.
Festivals and events
The Grand Feast of the All-Father was celebrated on the first day of the new year. On this day giants would put aside their other responsibilities and have a massive feast celebrating Ostoria's eventual restoration. Ambassadors would be sent from one tribe to another during these feasts to show their unity, and the stormazîn would honor a favored chieftain by dining with that chieftain's tribe.
For many years after the death of Hartkiller, the chiefs of the largest giant tribes on Faerûn made a pilgrimage to the Twilight Vale every year where the Twilight Spirit appeared to them, asking for its 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 eventually revealed to be Lanaxis in 1366 DR. It is unknown whether this practice continued after Lanaxis' attempt to restore the All-Father failed.
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 their mortal sons was the progenitor of a different type of giant.
The giants were soon at war with the dragons. 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.
A true giant was one who could trace its lineage back to Annam All-Father and Othea. They all had a defined place in the ordning.
- Cloud giant - A clever giant race descended from Nicias that prioritized the accumulation of wealth and power.
- Ettin - Two-headed giants descended from Arno and Julian
- Fire giant - A militaristic giant race descended from Masud that looked somewhat like a huge red dwarf.
- Fog giant - A stealthy giant race descended from cloud giants.
- Frost giant - A giant race descended from Ottar who lived in areas frozen year-round and participated in raids.
- Hill giant - A selfish giant race descended from Ruk that inhabited hilly regions.
- Mountain giant - An exceptionally strong and cruel type of giant descended from hill giants.
- Stone giant - A reclusive and artistic giant race descended from Obadai that was nevertheless dangerous when aroused to anger.
- Storm giant - A wise giant race descended from Vilmos that lived mainly in mountains, enchanted cloud islands, or underwater.
- Titan - The largest of the giants and descendants of Lanaxis, they fled to Arborea when their progenitor was cursed by Othea.
Most of the original giant-kin were half-brothers of the original giants through their mother Othea, but their father was not Annam All-Father. They were considered last in the ordning by true giants.
- Firbolg - intelligent and reclusive giant-kin with a deep connection to nature, they rejected the ordning for their own code of conduct focusing on community.
- Fomorian - hideous and malformed giant-kin. Some believe fomorians have always been this way, while other stories say they were originally incredibly beautiful until they were cursed by the fey for trying to dominate they Feywild, after which they were exiled to the Underdark.
- Ogre - brutish descendants of Othea and Vaprak.
- Verbeeg - cunning giant-kin determined to increase their standing in the ordning through subtle manipulation and sabotage.
- Voadkyn - descendants of Dunmore, they were formerly known as wood giants till it was revealed that they were the result of another of Othea's dalliances with Ulutiu. They felt cheated of their proper place in the ordning.
- Cyclops - one-eyed giants. They claimed to be sons of Annam, but this was questioned by true giants and other giant-kin.
True Giant Offshoots
These giants were descended from true giant breeds, but their placement in the ordning was either unknown or non-existent.
- Ash giant - A stone giant subrace found in the Black Ash Plain.
- Craa'ghoran giant - The descendants of stone giants infused with the essence of elemental earth energy, causing rocky growths throughout their body and giving them innate earth magic.
- Maur - The descendants of storm giants exiled to the Underdark. Also known as hunched giants due to the fact that they could no longer stand up straight for long periods of time.
- Phaerlin giant - The mad and brutal descendants of stone giants warped by phaerimm magic in the Underdark.
- Desert giant - Nomadic giants affected by a curse that eventually turned all members of the race to stone.
- Jungle giant - Carnivorous giants who were skilled hunters.
- Reef giant - Aquatic giants who used their skill at foraging to trade ocean treasures to surface folk.
- Island giant - Bestial giants who hated everyone, including their own kind.
- Ogre giant - Simple minded and physically imposing giants.
Further Giant Species
These were other giant subraces found throughout Faerûn. Their relationship to true giants was unknown:
- Eldritch giant - Massive beings fallen from power but who still retained formidable arcane skill.
- Death giant - Giants who lived in Netheril and traded their souls for the power to survive the collapse of the empire.
- Sand giant - Disciplined and honorable giants who lived in isolated desert communities.
- Ed Greenwood (2016-06-30). Volo's Guide to Befriending Giants (Web). In John Houlihan, Christopher Perkins eds. Dragon+ #8. Wizards of the Coast. p. 6. Retrieved on 2018-05-23.
- Shannon Appelcline (2016-09-02). A Brief History of Giants (Web). In John Houlihan, Mike Mearls eds. Dragon+ #9. Wizards of the Coast. p. 8. Retrieved on 2018-05-23.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 23. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 18. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 25. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 17–18. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet and Monte Cook (October 2000). Monster Manual 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 101–102. ISBN 0-7869-1552-1.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 30. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 15. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 26. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 16. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 41. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 27. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 43–45. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 12. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Troy Denning (September 1995). The Titan of Twilight. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-7869-3798-X.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 40. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 138. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- ↑ Wizards RPG Team (2014). Monster Manual 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 136. ISBN 978-0786965614.
- ↑ Richard Lee Byers (May 2010). The Captive Flame. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0786953969.
- ↑ Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (July 2006). Monster Manual IV. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 60–61. ISBN 0-7869-3920-6.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 96. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 51–52. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
- ↑ Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- ↑ Wolfgang Baur, Steve Kurtz (1992). Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix. (TSR, Inc). ISBN l-56076-370-1.
Cloud • Ettin • Fire (Fire titan ) • Fog • Frost • Hill (Earth titan • Mouth of Grolantor) • Mountain • Stone • Storm (Storm titan) • Titan
Eldritch • Death • Sand • Troll
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