Giants call themselves Hu-Charad, which means “the stewards,” but everyone else just calls them giants—and for good reason. Giants are massive creatures, standing up to 12 feet tall. Except for their size, they look like normally proportioned humans; to them, humans appear like children. In fact, young giants are indeed the size of adult humans.
Three hundred years ago, tales say, a dying giant—a prince— crawled into a fabulous giant city in a land far across the sea. Only one word passed his lips before he expired: “West.” No one knew what killed him or what he meant for sure, but the only thing that lay west was the boundless sea. Following this omen, however, many giants climbed aboard ships of great size and sailed across the sea to discover the land of the humans—and the dramojh who had enslaved them. As is the nature of giants, the discovery of a new land invoked in them a powerful sense of responsibility. These giants, in the mindset of what they call Chi- Julud, conquered the land and its people so they could oversee and protect it. They built wondrous cities and the Diamond Throne, from which they would rule. Again, as is their way, the giants used rituals to change their own nature from warlike to the just wardens of their new territory. Some people grew to love the giants and the boons that they brought the otherwise dangerous and unruly land, but others did not.
Today, however, the giants face a new challenge. The dragons who once ruled the land they now call home have returned. While the dragons are grateful for the giants’ efforts in ridding the land of the dramojh (which were draconic creations originally—see Chapter Ten), they say that, according to ancient pacts made with giantkind, the Hu-Charad should return to their home across the sea. How will the stewards of the land react to this new turn of events? Some are affronted, and ready the Wardance once again. Some are confused or afraid. Others look at it as a fine excuse to go back across the Great Eastern Sea to their race’s ancestral home.
The life of a giant revolves around ritual and ceremony. Even giants’ growth to their massive size depends on rituals called the Shu-Rin (“attaining the essence”). There are three stages of Shu- Rin, and at the third, giants achieve their growth potential. Since not every giant goes through all three stages of the ritual, giant heights can vary considerably.
Giants are incredible builders. They construct fantastic structures of stone, glass, and metal. Their cities are wonders, with everything sized to seem grand—even on their own large scale.
There’s just something about playing a character who towers over the rest of the group and most nonplayer characters you encounter. That great stature, coupled with the giants’ mastery of the land, makes them an attractive race to almost any player. An ancient race, the giants’ history in the current realm goes back only a few hundred years. Still, their influence extends over all aspects of society. The fact that standard doorways wherever you go are 10 to 15 feet high and hallways are 10 feet wide is just one proof of their predominance.
Giants are warm hearted and genuinely friendly unless given a reason not to be. When angered, though, they become terrible to behold. They are not frivolous, but they value humor, song, and rituals as much as they value food and air. Don’t play these characters as the bestial giants found in other games. Even a not-sosmart giant is no crude beast-man. And of course, the giants are in charge. Resist the temptation to play all giants as authoritarian heavies. Rather than focus on the fact that they are in charge, focus instead on why they want to be in charge. They are caretakers and stewards—they want to see the land and its people preserved. They want only what’s best for everyone. In an adventuring group, it’s natural for a giant to assume a position of leadership (although it’s not always natural for everyone to accept that). However, a giant normally does what’s best for the group—whatever that may be. Giants are often more willing than members of other races to put themselves at personal risk to help someone else, but they don’t take foolish chances. In fact, giants are usually quite wise and consider their actions carefully.
Frequently warmains, giants are well represented in every class (except perhaps unfettered, for few giants appreciate their wild, abandoned look upon life; totem warriors are also a less common choice). They are more likely magisters than witches or runethanes, more likely greenbonds than mage blades, more likely champions or ritual warriors than oathsworn. But all are certainly viable choices for a giant.
Personality: As a race, giants possess two distinct natures. One, when they are under the sway of the ritual known as Chi- Julud (Wardance), makes them warlike, territorial, and deadly. The other nature emerges when they act under the effects of Si- Karan (Caretaker); then they are calm, cautious, and gentle unless driven to anger. The giants of the Diamond Throne all live under the mantle of the Si-Karan. They are wise, warm, good-natured administrators and protectors of all their lands and the people who live there. Although they would never use such terms, giants see themselves as parents and all other races as children.
While generous and kind, giants are also stewards and guardians—they do not allow themselves or their allies to be taken advantage of or harmed in any way. They are slow to anger, but once incensed can become temporarily engulfed in Chi- Julud. In such a case, they attack without mercy and become difficult to calm. Giants do not like to be taken advantage of, nor do they take it lightly if someone physically threatens or endangers them. This sentiment extends to those close to them as well: To wrong the friend of a giant is to wrong the giant. Giants are longsuffering and tolerant regarding insults and harsh words. They rarely use them themselves, however.
Giants love jokes (but not practical jokes), stories, songs, food, and drink. In this way, they get along with faen nicely. They do not dance.
Physical Description: A giant character starting at 1st level stands about 7 feet tall, at the very end of the initial stage of maturity. Only through ritual can a giant achieve his full height, which can reach 10 to 12 feet. Males often wear beards. Both males and females usually keep their hair short. Giants are long-lived but slow to reach maturity, by human standards.
Relations: Giants look upon themselves as the stewards of all the land. They rule, to be sure, but in their view they protect rather than exploit. They give more than they take. They see themselves as patrons and guardians, guiding others to do the right thing and protecting them from danger. Of course, not all members of the other races appreciate this sentiment—it garners resentment from some humans, verrik, and quite a few mojh.
Outlook: Giants value order, safety, and peace. They are not power hungry, but they do have a deeply ingrained feeling of responsibility. So deep does this sense run that they take it upon themselves to protect everyone and everything.
Giant Lands: Quite literally, giants rule over all the lands of the Diamond Throne. In many places in this realm, however, giants are found only in small numbers. They dwell in greater numbers along bodies of water—rivers and seas—and in the mountains.
Religion: The giants worship no gods. They do believe, however, that the dead go to the Houses of the Eternal and watch over the living, influencing their actions. Those who were evil in life continue to work woe after death, and those who were noble and true attempt to aid and protect those still living. Thus, giants pay homage to the dead, particularly those worth honoring.
Mostly, however, giants believe in the literal power of ritual and ceremony. They believe that through rituals, one can attain a higher level, gain great blessings, and accomplish great deeds. Their entire culture, even their physical maturation process, revolves around ritual. In the past, the giants have changed their entire racial outlook (from Chi-Julud to Si-Karan) through ritual.
Giant rituals are solemn, quiet, and introspective. They do not involve chanting or dancing like sibeccai rituals, but they do occasionally incorporate beautiful, meaningful songs.
Languages: Giants speak Giant and Common, although they also often know many other languages.
Names: Unlike in some cultures, giants are not given names— they choose them when they are old enough (giantish children have only nicknames until then). Giantish names are always compound structures. The first part of the name shows a special link to an ancestor or chosen hero who has passed on. The second part involves a personal identifier. Normally, female giants take linking names to their female forebears (these contain only vowels), and males link to male forebears.
Here are some sample names:
Giant Male Names: Li-Coraon, Na-Filaris, Ro-Paterik.
Giant Female Names: Aoe-Derrel, Iu-Medora.
Adventurers: Giants usually go on adventures out of a need to protect others from some menace or to prove themselves as good giants (often as a part of Shu-Rin). Proving oneself as a giant means not only strength of back and bravery in battle, but strength of will as well. It also means collecting and relating great tales and forging bonds of friendship.
Favored Drink: Strong spirits, ale; Favored Food: Fruits and vegetables (meat in small amounts); Favored Weapon: Heavy swords and axes.
Giant Racial Traits
- The giants’ massive physique grants them prodigious strength, but makes them less nimble than other creatures. They enjoy a +2 racial bonus to Strength but suffer a –2 racial penalty to Dexterity.
- Giants. Unlike most other races, giants are not humanoid in type, but Giant.
- Medium: As Medium creatures, giants have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size. Giants can grow to be very large, however.
- Giant base speed is 30 feet.
- Wise in the ways of dealing with others, giants earn themselves a +2 racial bonus to Diplomacy and Sense Motive skill checks.
- Giants enjoy a +2 racial bonus to all Craft skill checks.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Giant.
- Bonus Languages: Any.
- Giants always gain Knowledge (giants) as a class skill.
- Racial Levels: Giants can take a few levels in “giant” as a class to become more giantish.
Giants can take up to three levels in “giant” at any time. Each level represents the character showing his worth and undertaking one of the Shu-Rin ceremonies that triggers giant growth and maturation. Not all giants, by any means, take racial levels (or all three of them).
As giants gain racial levels, they grow a few inches and become stronger, tougher, and wiser. At the third level of giant, they attain size Large and grow to around 10 feet tall. When a giant becomes Large, he gains a 10-foot reach but suffers a –1 size penalty to Armor Class and attack rolls (do not make other modifications based on the change in size, such as those suggested in the MM). When giants grow to this greater size, because the change is magical, their gear also changes to an appropriate size.
Hit Die: 1d10
Skill Points at 1st Character Level: (2 + Intelligence bonus) × 4.
Skill Points at Higher Levels: 2 + Intelligence bonus.
“Class” Skills: Climb (Str), Craft (any) (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (ceremony) (Int), Knowledge (giants) (Int), Perform (ballad) (Cha), Perform (storytelling) (Cha), and Sense Motive (Wis).
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Giants with levels only in giant (no actual class levels) are proficient in the use of all simple weapons and light armors and shields.
The Evolved Giant
Evolved giants are very, very rare and exist only when a giant evolves against his will at the claws of a rogue dragon. As giants change themselves through the introspective Shu-Rin ceremonies, they find the idea of changing their form through a dragon magic effect abhorrent. Evolved giants do not get taller, but they do grow broader. Their skin becomes leathery and their legs bend outward (they effectively become slightly bowlegged), reducing their comfortable stance to a bit of a crouch. Evolved giants become even stronger and hardier, and they learn to use their long stride to move faster.
|1||+0||+2||+0||+0||+1 Strength, +1 Wisdom||—|
|2||+1||+3||+0||+1||+1 Wisdom, +1 Constitution||—|
|3||+2||+3||+1||+1||+1 Str, +1 Con, Large size, free access to the giant spell template||—|
|4||+3||+4||+1||+1||+1 Strength, +1 Constitution||—|
|5||+3||+4||+1||+2||+10 feet in ground speed, +1 natural armor bonus to AC||+1 level of existing class|
|6||+4||+5||+2||+2||+1 Strength, +1 Constitution||—|