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- Join Date
- Jul 2012
- Sinus Concordiae, Selene
A synthesized and unified story for the Ordning (giant pantheon)
For the campaign I am currently running, I built my own world by using the recommended lore for most things (e.g. the printed lore for elves, planes, hags, etc.). This includes giants, which have become important to one of my PCís backstory. I have a proclivity for fleshing out the published lore using information drawn from previous editions. I have been kicking around some thoughts about the giant pantheon (the Ordning) for a while now, and decided that I should write them out for other people who might be interested in a new interpretation of the printed lore with an ďOlympianĒ spin on the pantheon. Firstly, the core of the Ordning:
the All-Father, the Great Creator, the Prime
Overdeity of Knowledge and Order
Annam was among the first creators to step forth from the Abyss with the desire to create. He worked with the other creators to take raw matter from the Inner Planes and shape it into the Prime Material. And when the world was made, he took delight in creating the mountains and clouds and sky most. During this time of creation, he met Othea.
the Earth Mother
Lesser Deity of Life and Nature
Othea was a creator god in her own right, and enriched the world, giving waters their glimmer and mountains their ores and lands their trees. When she met Annam, the two fell into a sea of passion. Together they blessed the world by creating the first giants. Annam and Otheaís creations were given the vast mountain ranges (which Annam so loved) to be their homes.
Beyond the creation of the giants, the two creatorsí passion led to Othea bearing Annam many children. Annam was a proud and vain figure, and unbeknownst to Othea, he used his magic to ensure that each of his children would be a son. In this way Othea first bore him seven sons:
Smiling One, the Storm Lord
Greater Deity of Light and Tempest
The first of Annamís sons was tall, strong, smart, boisterous, and gifted in many ways. For his remarkable skill, he was given rule over the sky. He is ever joyful, and his smile is compared to the warm, comforting, light of the sun. His wrath is said to darken the skies and shake the air.
the Shrouded Lord
Lesser Deity of Ambition and Trickery
Annamís second son was also tall, strong, and smart. But where Stronmaus was exuberant like the sun, Memnor was cold and inscrutable like the clouds. He quickly proved that his greatest strength was his cunning. He seemed to walk away from any encounter for the better, whether the other party realized it or not.
the Burning Lord/the Howling Lord
Lesser Deity of Forge and War/Lesser Deity of Strength and War
The twin brothers Surtr and Thrym were both equal and opposite. Both were strong and ambitious: a combination that drove them to compete eternally. But each found a different way to express that drive. Surtr learned to smith and mastered the use of each tool and weapon and machine he created. He worked in the forge for so long that his skin became steel, and his heart fire. Thrym instead embarked into the wilds and took on each challenge they could muster. He climbed every mountain, ran every river, tracked every beast. He was outside for so long that his skin became ice and his breath the howling wind. But neither brother was ever convinced of the otherís superiority.
the Tranquil Lord
Lesser Deity of Art and Knowledge
Skoraeus was nothing like Surtr or Thrym. Where the two were always shouting over one another, Skoraeus rarely spoke, preferring instead to listen to the earth, and learn its secrets. He often wandered the criss-crossing caves beneath the mountains to find the hidden beauty of the world below. He dedicated himself to shaping that beauty and mastered the arts of sculpture and carving. It was this work that lead to the first rune stones. His gentle, curious nature also led him to befriend Callarduran and Segojan, the gnomish gods of deep gnomes and earth.
the Hungry Lord
Lesser Deity of Strength
Grolantor was bigger than all of his brothers, but that was where his gifts ended. He was oafish and lazy, and spent the majority of his time wandering around the world looking for things to eat or break.
the Handsome Lord
Lesser Deity of Arcana
Karontor was the last of Annam and Otheaís sons, and he was just as gifted as the first. He was tall, strong, handsome, smart, and gifted in the ways of magic. Unlike Skoraeusí runes, he could work arcane wonders at-will. But Stronmaus was the eldest, and that earned him Annamís favor.
Although Annam and Othea were deeply in love, Annam was no stranger to consorts and affairs. In his time on the Prime Material, he would sometimes meet a giant that would flare his passion, and he would take her in secret. There are three such occasions which are of note, for they produced two more members of the Ordning:
Lesser Deity of Destruction
The first child of Annam born outside his union with Othea was Vaprak. Vaprak was massive and immensely strong by mortal standards, but hideous and ferocious. His thick, rubbery, gray-green skin was covered with warts the size of fists, and he stood so hunched that his long arms came to his knees. When he came before the Ordning, claiming to be Annamís son, this drove the All-Father into a rage. While Vaprak was huge and strong compared to mortals, he was a runt compared to any of Annamís ďtrueĒ sons. Vaprak was cast out and told that he would never belong in the Ordning.
the Fiery Dame
Greater Deity of Hunting and Nature
Hiatea's mother knew of Annamís magic which bore him only sons, and hid her pregnancy from him. After giving birth, she had to give up her daughter so that Annam would never learn of the childís existence. When Hiatea came of age, a messenger was sent from her mother's deathbed to reveal her true parentage. Hiatea knew that if she wanted to earn her fatherís recognition, she would need to prove herself with a series of daring feats. This task culminated in an epic battle with a great monster. She brought a trophy of her kill to her father, who recognized her valor and worth, accepting her as one of his own offspring. Upon learning of her existence, her brother Stronmaus was overjoyed, and their friendship led to them becoming the most prominent pair of children in the pantheon.
the Worldly Dame
Quasi-deity (Demigod) of Trickery
Diancastraís birth was similarly hidden from Annam. Unlike her sister, Diancastra did not earn her divinity through feats of strength, but rather by acts of wit and wile. Diancastra went before the pantheon, and cited her sister as a reason why she should be given divine status as well. Annam issued her one task to prove it: to circle the earth in an hour or less, knowing she could not accomplish this task. She went into Stronmaus's library, took one of his atlases, and tore out a page illustrating the world (much to his displeasure). She drew a circle around the world and presented it to Annam. In a fit of humor, he accepted her into the Ordning, as the goddess of guile.
Neither was Othea devout to Annam. But where his affairs resulted in divine children, hers often produced entire races (befitting a fertility goddess). When she discovered Annam was unfaithful, she entered a long and intimate relationship with a younger god (some say a god of winter). From this relationship came the firbolgs, goliaths, verbeeg, and voadkyn. A similar affair resulted in the birth of the cyclopes. She even took out her frustration against Annam by seducing Vaprakóhis spurned son. This is the origin of both trolls and ogres, who Vaprak jealously leads.
After Hiatea and Diancastra proved their capabilities to Annam, he realized that he had been too dogmatic about the children he sired. He returned once more to Othea, and promised her that he would embrace any children they had together. This change renewed Otheaís love twofold, and as they embraced, a new child was born.
the Lovely Dame
Lesser Deity of Love and Peace
Iallanis was born fully grown, directly from Annam and Otheaís renewed love for one another. She is tall and beautiful, and cares deeply for her family. She also nurtures the propagation of the giant races.
Iallanisí birth was a joyeous time for the Ordning, and marked a golden age for all of giantkind (the Jotunbrud). The empire of Ostoria was founded, and giants lived every day as the pinnacle of society. Each of the seven races of giant (storm, eldritch, cloud, mountain, fire, frost, and stone) contributed to the glory of the empire. Members of each race tended to look to one of the seven sons of Annam as an icon of how to live a model life. Fire giants often looked to Surtr, and dedicated their time to mastering the crafts of the forge, smithing mechanical wonders for the empire. Mountain giants would look to Grolantor as an inspiration of strength, and patrol the outskirts to clear the way for expansion. But all good things eventually come to an end.
Karontor led the eldritch giants in the study of magic, and continuously expanded his understanding of the arcane arts in an attempt to demonstrate his skill to Annam. But Annamís seemed to always praise Stronmausís endeavors beyond those of his youngest son. Karontor grew desperate in his attempts to outshine his brother.
Eventually his envy led him to cast eyes on the Feywild. Its existence was scarcely known to the Ordning, and Annam warned against any attempts to settle there, for he was wise and knew how formidable the Archfey were. But Karontor was certain that his own skill (and that of his followers) was more than a match for the inhabitants of this echo world.
Karontor recklessly commanded his followers to enter the Feywild and go to war with the fey. When Annam learned of the attack, he did not grow furious. He fell silent, and turned his gaze to the battlefield. Watching. Waiting. It was true that the eldritch giants were powerful, and Karontorís forces moved quickly to seize control of the realm. They uprooted glades, slaughtered beasts, and scorched the land. But before long something became apparent. The fey werenít really fighting back. Not with any serious forces. They were merely buying time.
And after enough time had been won, the Archfey unleashed a terrifying weapon: a deep and unbreakable curse which swept across the whole of the giantís forces and over Karontor himself. It twisted his beauty to match the ugliness he carried within, and disfigured each and every giant that dared enter that world. Karontor ordered a retreat, but as he prepared to enter the Prime Material again he was met with the cold, unfaltering gaze of his father. He knew that he and his followers were no longer welcome in Ostoria. They were a people without a home, trapped in an alien and hostile world.
The eldritch giants were furious at what had been done to them, and held Karontor responsible. He had failed to protect his people, and for that they abandoned him. They took shelter in the dark caves of the Feywild, forced ever farther by the fey outside until they reached the lonely embrace of the Feydark. They lost their name, and are now known as the fomorians. Karontor, with no-one to lead, soon began to wither away into the shadows of historyóa denounced and forgotten prince of the gods.
Not long after Karontorís defeat, his brother Grolantor went before the Ordning to make demands. He proclaimed that since the eldritch giants had been exiled, all of their treasures were forfeit and that they should go to his followers, the mountain giants. He claimed that while each of the other races was allowed to stay in their homes, safe and comfortable, his people were forced to do the most demanding job in the empire, forced to journey farther and farther every day.
This outraged the other gods, who at once cried out against this demand. But they took pause as Annam raised a single hand. He looked down on his son with piercing eyes. He coldly explained that each of the races had a function within the empire. If Grolantor wanted twice pay, he would have to do twice work. With his freezing gaze still fixed on his son he asked one simple question: what second work can you do?
Annamís words shook Grolantor, but he steeled himself and offered his best answer. The size and strength of the mountain giants was easily worth double what they had been given. His brothers all balked at the audacity of his words, but his father simply gave a solemn nod.
With a single wave of Annamís hand, Grolantor and his followers were suddenly halved in stature and strength. Grolantor looked down, and then back up, questioning how this had happened. His father replied that now his share was appropriate for his work. The other brothers burst into a chorus of laughter, but were again silenced by Annam. He explained that since Grolantor had been so eager to take what was Karontorís, he would share his fate. His followers (henceforth known as the hill giants), would still call Ostoria home, but he would be given no quarter.
These events weighed on Annam, who decided that he had grown too lax in his direction. He decided that the Jotunbrud needed order in their lives. So he issued a decree that all giants would heed a hierarchy in society, so that they would know their place and know what to strive for. This hierarchy would be named after his familyóthe ordningó and would lead the Jotunbrud to greater glory. Storm giants would stand at the pinnacle and strive to acquire knowledge. Cloud giants come next and strive to gain wealth. Fire giants strive to craft wonders. Frost giants strive to defeat opponents. Stone giants strive to create art. Hill giants strive to clear the land. At the bottom were all those children of Othea, who were allowed to be counted as an extended part of the family. The fomorians were denied a position, as they had turned their backs on the gods. The study of arcane magic was similarly seen as having no value in society. Instead, the use of runic magic was prioritized.
For many ages, Ostoria stood as the greatest civilization in the world. But there came other empires, founded by other races which soon challenged the strength of the Jotunbrud. Try as they might, their empire struggled to hold on to the vast territory it had known, and eventually receded to the first mountain range where it had been born. This was the final abuse Annam could bear, and he decided to embark to the Astra Sea to clear his mind and decide what needed to be done next.
With his departure, the Ordning was unsure what to do, but Othea decided to recant the exile of her two youngest sons. She had missed them greatly, and knew that in the wake of this upheaval her children would need each other more than ever. But while Golantor was able to return, Karontor was too far gone. He couldnít be found and even if he had been, he wouldíve been unrecognizable to his mother. This is the current state of the Ordning, and the Jotunbrud they guide. Beset by many misfortunes, they still stand tall.
This is the version of events that the members of the Ordning know. Below is the rest of the story, which is kept as knowledge for the DM.
Spoiler: For DMsIn the early editions of D&D, hags were considered to be related to giants in the same way that ogres were. With that knowledge, I decided to make another deity integral to the history of the giant races: Cegilune, the patron deity of hags.
Since the creation of the Prime Material, Cegilune has coveted the raw creative power that Annam and Othea had. She wanted to usurp the worship of the Ordning, and allow her hag daughters to enthrall the giants for their own ends. With this goal, she has taken many steps to tear away the glory of the Ordning.
Her first attempt was to seduce Annam, so that she could birth an heir to the throne. She used her magic to create a disguise so deep that not even Annam could see through it. In the form of a beautiful storm giant, she wooed the All-Father. Unfortunately for her, her son Vaprak was too raucous to properly disguise, so she had to send him before Annam unshrouded. Annam was so disgusted by Vaprak that he refused to acknowledge the younger god as his son. But Cegilune wouldnít be defeated so easily. As she watched the events play out, she recognized the anger within Othea (who hated Annam's unfaithfulness). She used yet more magic to foster a deep desire for revenge, which resulted in Othea seducing Vaprak, and bearing the races of trolls and ogres. From this union, Cegilune was able to produce minions for her daughters.
Her second attempt was to bend the ear of one of Annamís other sons, so that she could manipulate the pantheon from behind him. She saw the envy within Karontorís heart, and began to visit him in his dreams. She stoked his ego, saying that he was surely more gifted than Stronmaus, and deserved to be acknowledged as the greatest of Annamís children. She was the origin of his attack on the Feywild, which similarly suited her goals, as it gave her knowledge of how the Faerie Courts defended themselves. When the fomorians denounced Karontor, she was quick to seize the opportunity to recruit them to her worship.
Her third attempt was to sow discord within the Ordning, by turning the remaining sons against each other. In disguise, she convinced Grolantor to grab for the power left by Karontorís failure. Unfortunately, Grolantor did so in the most egregious way possible, and instead of each son turning against the rest, they all united in mocking Grolantorís failure. She considers this her least successful trial.
After the fall of Ostoria, the Ordning has been less ambitious and presented fewer opportunities for meddling. But Cegilune hasnít forgotten this goal and she still watches from the shadows. Her latest target is Memnor, who carries in his heart a desire to take the Ordning for himself.
Last edited by thoroughlyS; 2021-06-16 at 02:16 PM.Goblin in the Playground
Most 3.5 thing I've ever seen: RAW on RAW. Love you, Curmudgeon.
- Join Date
- May 2018
Re: A synthesized and unified story for the Ordning (giant pantheon)
Definitely looks interesting. What were your sources for this?
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
- Sinus Concordiae, Selene
Re: A synthesized and unified story for the Ordning (giant pantheon)
I start in 5e with the Monster Manual and Volo's Guide to Monsters, and fill in gaps predominantly from 2nd Edition's Monster Mythology and Giantcraft. I really like the presentation of Fog Giants in Mordenkainen's Fiendish Folio, which takes an "offshoot true giant" and folds it into the presented lore in a creative way ("fog giants" are really just cloud giants which have lost their fortunes and grown desperate to rebuild it), so I applied that kind of logic to other "offshoots" I like. 5e lore for fomorians mentions that they were originally tall, beautiful, and gifted in the ways of arcane magic, and I come from v3.5 so I know about the eldritch giants from there. I think hill giants are the worst kind of true giant, and mountain giants are better, so I fold them into the lore by saying that they were punished for another of Grolantor's bumblings (he canonically screws up a lot and gets on the rest of the pantheon's nerves).
Spoiler: For DMsI forget exactly where I heard that D&D used to lump hags in with giants, but I thought that having a shadowy dark god in the mix, screwing over the pantheon fit really well.
Last edited by thoroughlyS; 2021-03-24 at 11:40 PM.Goblin in the Playground
Most 3.5 thing I've ever seen: RAW on RAW. Love you, Curmudgeon.