The hill giant camp of Chief Groote was a broad hill giant steading, situated high in the Ice Spires mountain range of northwest Faerûn, that was ruled over by the chieftain Groote in the mid to late 14th century DR.[note 1]
This steading was situated in the rolling foothills of the northern Ice Spires, southeast of the Eternal Blizzard. Its largest portion stood atop four hills, overlooking a small valley that stood between it and the valley of Hartsvale.
Cutting between those four hills was an icy stream, which issued from a lake higher up in the Ice Spires. At the center of this steading the stream was dammed, forming a shallow pool (7 on the map) that acted as a water supply and a source of amusement. For a half of every year the stream and its pool were frozen solid. During these months the residents would obtain water by chopping out blocks of ice from the stream and carry them into their smokehouses to melt.
Outside of the camp was large pit (4 on the map) leading into an underground network of tunnels that connected to an arm of the Underdark. Long before the 14th century DR, the passage connecting to the Underdark was sealed off by the residents, who then converted the rest of the network into a storage space.
This steading's superstructures consisted of seven smokehouses and a building that doubled as a barn and slaughterhouse, which were all connected by large fortified walls. All of these were constructed of piled rocks, cemented together by a thick paste the resident giants had drawn from animal fat. Their rooves, as well as catwalks along the fortified walls that connected them, were sloppily hewn from the wood of coniferous tree species. The main gate into the steading (6 on the map) always had at least two hill giants on guard duty and featured holes through which they could pour boiling oil upon intruders.
The people of this steading were lead by a storkokk ("master eater" in Jotunhaug), equivalent to what was known in Common as a chief. They were the largest and most voracious person in the steading. Other residents looked to them for political and spiritual leadership, as well as inspiration in regards to cooking and eating. Above the authority of this storkokk was the grand ruler of the Ice Spires's hill giant tribes, whom the steading swore fealty to.
Life in this steading was typical of hill giant steadings in the Ice Spires. It was a rather loose and unregimented life, but there were six categories of responsibility that the hill giants divided themselves into based upon their race's beliefs regarding the Ordning.
- The assistants of the gluttons, who each served a specific one. Hill giants assigned this responsibility were typically among the steading's best and brightest, as part of an effort to groom them for later greatness. The best of gluttons would call upon them to handle the minor details of their position.
- These were the hill giants responsible for procuring foodstuffs that couldn't simply be gathered or hunted from the wild. They used the steading's vast treasure horde to purchase items from merchants, often paying double or triple what an item was worth due to considering the horde otherwise useless.
- The highest social status within the steading. These hill giants handled its affairs, legislated and enforce its rules, and directed the activities of the lower classes. Their most important duties were supervising hunting, gathering, and the creation of new recipes. Failure to live up to their responsibilities resulted in severe dishonor, thus instilling such a sense of pressure that some resorted to trickery or dishonesty to meet quotas.
- These were the hill giants that tended to the steading's livestock. They were also responsible for butchering them, though most of that was carried out by slaves operating under their direction. They were usually trained in various techniques of caring and feeding that could radically fatten the animals they cared for.
- Also known as pantry wardens, these were the hill giants responsible for storing things, such as perishables and kitchen supplies, and for reporting inventory levels to the appropriate gatherers. Due to the clumsy nature of hill giants, at least one fourth of everything they stored was ruined or spoiled before it could be put to use. Despite that, their tribe had sophisticated food storage methods. Involving the salting, smoking, and freezing of various foodstuffs.
- These were the hill giants responsible for venturing out into the hills and mountains that surrounded their steading in search of prey, which occurred roughly once a week.
Whenever one of the steading's gluttons found their foodstores to be overstuffed they would declare a grand feast to celebrate. During such an event the residents would gather around the steading's enormous fire pit and engage in notorious degrees of unrestrained revelry. They often concluded with most residents dozing away or being heavily intoxicated. Often important guests of honor from outside the tribe were asked to visit the steading to take part in one of these, though most such visitors excused themselves long before the grand feast concluded, being unwilling to match the hill giants in their over-indulgence.
Not considered one of the central duties of the steading, priests operated simultaneously outside and inside of the social strata. They strove to ensure that the steading's people remained faithful to Annam All-Father and the rest of the Giant pantheon, but particularly revered their race's patron deity Grolantor.
This steading was founded in approximately 1166 DR, after hill giants were chased out Hartsvale's gentler hills by the man known as Hartkiller. In the years that followed the nobility of Hartsvale would make many attempts to drive them further away from the valley, wanting greater security for their caravans that traveled through the northern fringes, but their efforts were to no avail.
Around 1366 DR,[note 2] the grand ruler of all hill giant tribes in the Ice Spires, Chief Noote, developed friendly relations with the royal family of Hartsvale. As a result, that kingdom's long standing feuding with the hill giant tribes came to an end. Following this event the steading's hunters were forced to cease their practice of capturing human game. Instead limiting themselves to bears, griffons, ogres, and any other exotic prey they came across.
In the mid to late 14th century DR, over sixty hill giants inhabited this steading, three of which were priests, along with a dozen fomorian slaves and a menagerie of animals. The livestock of the steading was primarily goats and krotters, though they also had cows and the facilities necessary for caging more exotic creatures, including demihumans.
- Groote, the chieftain of the steading.
- Girog, one of the steading's highest ranked gatherers.
- Gorgg, one of the steading's gluttons.
- (1) Fire pit
- Located between the smokehouses, this fire pit was enormous enough to roast eight or ten cows and was the centerpiece of grand feasts. Typically it was only lit during special occasions. When not in use, hill giant children would gather at its side and play pretend that they were gluttons.
- (2) Smokehouses
- These seven smokehouses made up a large portion of the steading. Each was lived in and controlled by one or two gluttons, though the lowest ranking gluttons were required to allow non-gluttons to occasionally experiment in its kitchen.
- (2a) Cookery
- The kitchen of a smokehouse, these vast rooms served as laboratories and workshops for the steading's master gluttons. They were constructed around a fire pit large enough to simultaneously roast two cows.
- (2b) Bedchamber
- The sleeping quarters of a smokehouse's master glutton(s). This room also acted as the sleeping quarters for any food procurers and pantry wardens that helped them to maintain the structure.
- (2c) Pantry
- The room where most of the steading's foodstuffs and spices were stored. Sometimes, the assistant to a smokehouse's master pantry warden would sleep within this room.
- (2d) Dining Hall
- The room where recipes were sampled. It featured a window for other residents to queue up outside and receive food prepared within the smokehouse.
- (2e) Meeting Hall
- The room where a smokehouse's master glutton(s) conduct business unrelated to food, such as tribunals, meetings with foreign dignitaries, and tribal planning sessions. Most of the time they were out of use.
- (3) Tents
- Most inhabitants lived and worked within large tents, crafted from the hides of krotters. These were scattered around the perimeter of the steading.
- (5) Livestock Barn/Slaughterhouse
- This building and its surrounding corral was the home of the tribe's livestock. Most of the herdsmen and their fomorian slaves slept within it.
- The name "hill giant camp of Chief Groote" is not given in any canonical source, though all of its details given are canonical; the name is used solely for the purpose of having an article title for this settlement.
- The year is deduced from the "Presenting . . . Seven Millennia of Realms Fiction" article from Wizards of the Coast and the fact that Giantcraft describes its setting as taking place immediately before the events of the The Twilight Giants trilogy.
- Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 88. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 90. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 92. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 94. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 92–93. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 89. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
- Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 91. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.