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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Ode to the Maligned, forgotten... (waking sleeping stone giants)

    ok, as promised by the earlier thread bearing this name- this one is about the stone giant makeover. but in case you don't know what i'm talkin about-

    B]what this thread is about[/B]
    many monsters have fallen out of use. this is due to bad design, a concept that wasn't clear enough, D&D periodic styles and another multitude of reasons. however- sometime a DM get surious about a monster, or develops a special fondness to this or that kind of creature. with a little change of perspective, a tweak or two, a different way of using the same old critter you suddenly get a memorable and fun immersive monster! through the above posts and others, it seems that by sharing our ideas and thoughts, alterations and adjustment to the many creatures just waiting to be played, we can enrich our games, add depth and color to them, and most importently-make the ancient seemyl boring and unusable monster into soemthign fresh, exciting, and fun!

    which monsters:
    any monster that you feel had been left aside, and doesn't deserves it. from your oozes and plants, way-too-weird abberations, to the multitudes of overlaping humanoides, redundent dragon and giant types, undead who should have been templates (ghoul, wight for example), and more. the aim is not to make them more mean, but more fun, memorable, and viable as playing options!

    so my suggestion is to:
    open new thematic threads, each of them dedicated to a single monster, and the ways to make it better, classier, more enjoyable! (we have the imagination, we can build it!). the initiator of each thread is responsible to open the discussion by his/her own views on his/her chosen monster, as well as give his/her own special messing and tweaking... (a sample format is provided).

    as to responses
    any queries about the monster, suggestions, additions, and posisitve views are welcomed... any attempts to flame the monster (in her old or newly suggested form), relay bad experiences with it and such are not- these threads are meant to celebrate monstrosity, give the forgotten creatures a new wind, an encouragment to be all they can be! if you are trully sooooo in need to dwell in negativity ("boooo!"), then i ask you to do that on another thread. give our monsters their own little place please.
    "a celebration of monstrosity, in all it's shapes and forms" as an Addams once said...

    basic format
    (suggested only, feel free to alter it to your tastes and needs)

    Monster's name and source: self explenatory

    Bad street rep: whatever caused your chosen monster to be exiled from the common D&D table. the title of this article gives 3 possible categories, but feel free to expand as needed.

    i care for it because: this is mostly to add some personal touch, and a bit of your story of why you chose to pick the monster by the shoulders (or other appropriate areas), shake it up, give it a thorough make over (or not so thorough), pump it with confidence and send it to the world!

    "and now, presenting to you, the new and improved <insert name here>: this part is all about the changes you made, big and small, to make your loved creature a more fun creature to play. these are to many to count, but i've suggested some sample areas and issues you may wish to address:

    - perception: perhaps you noticed a new way to look upon the creature? a new twist? many monsters just need a new PR in order to become appealing.
    - concept: what is the monster's role in the game? as a DM tool? it's role in battle, the campaign and such? many DMs over years become fixed upon the "appropriate task" for each monster, the way it should handle itself, and more. a new perspective, a new use can suddenly change worlds.
    - it's place in the world: many monsters don't get to participate because a DM can't fathim why a monster should be there,what it should do there, and so on. by ingrating a creature in the setting, giving it an exact role in it's surrounding, it may becoem viable for choice. it adds depth and realism to the creature's existence, as well as many ways it could be intergrated. the creature becomes more alive... far better than a randomly placed monster...
    - interactions: similar to the previous issue- creatures do more than fight adventurers. what are their life cycle? what creautres do they compete with? who do they feed upon? (and how do they hunt) who feeds upon them? (and ow do they avoid that) does any creature rely on them? use them? domesticate them? do the creature show similar relations with other creatures? how do they deal with unknown threats? (such as adventurers) all of this is to add more playable scenerios and possibilities, as well as add even mroe life to the creature.
    - Game mechanics: any additions or alterations you want to make. the reason for the change, it's use, and how it makes the critter better! feel free to suggest variations for gaming styles, campaign worlds and so on.
    - mysteries and the unknown: all kind of obscure knowledge, odd behaviours and things that deviat's fro mthe creature's norm. many time the exceptional speaks volumes of the the non exceptional (sahuagin with 4 arms, ogre mages versus ogres, and more). this also provides nice hooks, adventure ideas, and a source for knowledge checks (feel free to add the DCs if you wish). another dimension of the evolving creature.

    "Playing, at a D&D table near YOU!" well, in here you suggest some sample encounters your creature should participate. there in no better way to explain your concept then by a good example, so make it exciting! make it intriguing! make it turn our heads! remember- it's your monster's new premiere, and there ar a lot of DMs out there, just looking for a good idea. this could be your creature's dream gig!

    in conclusion: whatever you want, self explenatory i think. it could also be an excellent place to suggest further ideas, or ask others about specific features.
    - end of format -

    about new threads
    i'd appreciate if you copy/paste or quote the relevent portions of this thread (this paragraph included), and post it on the first post, before your monster's entry. this way- we can spread the word, and help lift the maligned and forgotten monstrosities to a brighter/ darker place under the sun/ moon (each to it's own preference). i don't ask this because i wantto see my name on quotes, but because i think the threads will be more easely recognizable, and more orderly... any ideas for imporvement are highly appreciated. i tried to leave anough room for play and creativity...

    in case you want to check the previos made up monster, check the stirge at-

    ok, got that out of the way, heavy drum roll please! presnting the:
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2008-03-30 at 04:41 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten... (waking sleeping stone giants)

    Since the thread concerning the my attampts to alter nonplayable monsters into playable ones, including the Stirge as an example (link will be added here later in editing) didn't took flight as well as i'd thought, i'm submitting a new thread, about one more of the often forgotten monsters. for this installment i've chosen one of my dear favorites- the rough skin, thin and silent Stone Giant.
    the following format is explained in the above link, if for some reason something confuses you.

    Stone Giant. MMI

    Bad street Rep: giants, unlike dragons, devils and other multiple-sub-species creatures in the MMs, don't have much flavour added to their entries, and the distinction between tham is often very, very vague. you basically pick a bigger ogre, who can throw rocks, and might have an energy immunity or minor spell-like powers. their societies are basically the same, and there is no actual reference on what it mens to be a GIANT at all! (much less on their the inter relations between the subspecies).
    out of the given races, the Stone Giant is probably the least used. if you want a weak sort of giant- why not take the Hill Giant? it fills the brute role sufficiently enough. and if you want something more "scenic", then the fire/ frost and other types fill the role. for most DMs, the Stone Giant is the kid picked last in the team...

    i care for it because: the entry for the stone giant does hint that there was some attempt at giving it more context. it has a few peculiar differences from the other types (longer rock throwing, tougher nat armor then it's power level, far longer life spans, the "elders with powers" part). i was early on intrigued at what possibilites this little "stone in the rough" might posses, if i only develop it, breath life into it.
    the art work for it often reminded me of the huge elongated head statues seen on some culture's lands (Mauri? aborigines? i know i should have googled, but i haven't. sorry). and it gave me some ideas. the more i worked on this, the more excited i became, as suddenly this "back of the closet" giant race bloomed to be an intriguing, challanging and fun monster to run.

    and now presenting to you, the new and improved Stone Giant:

    - perception: giants at large are used as heavy melee combatants by the DM, with only 1-4 giants present. i prefered to focus on the tribe/ family/ small group as a whole (as i do with most intelligent social beings). the party may fight but a few giants, but there is some sort of support from the rest of their little community. also i wanted to make the giants more unique, with a special culture that has in-game remifications as well... i developed some powers, practices, relations and tools for the culture (some of which unique to these stone giants).
    the idea was to make the players not just face "a bigger ogre", but a unique monster, with it's own flavour and strategies. the community aspect, as well as the accompanying powers force the players to deal with added complexity, as well as providing many adventure hooks.

    - concept: The Stone Giants are an old, old race... their legends tell of some sort of ancient pact wit hsome force, binding the earth itself to their bodies. whatever this pact was, it has surely benefiited the giants- they live longer, require less nutrition then their counterparts, their skin is much hardened, and perhaps most importent is their connection with the earth, and the elder secrets they use to protect their community, their land, and care for it. some scholars claim that the stoen giants were more numerous in olden days, and that they wielded great secrets and knowledge (as do the druids of these days), but most of these were lost... the remaining secrets however are still quiet potent, some terrifying.
    most stone giant communities dwell in a mountainious region, though they can be found in most fairly wild, and open locations. while staying in a region, the Elder of the group (it's the spiritual advisor/ tribe shaman type of personality, but not necesserily) tends to a massive Geode called the Central Geode (in common. the giant name is more complex). this is the center of the Elder's powers, and enables him/her to protect and affect it's members and community in many ways- from strengthening giants from afar, surveying the land through the eyes of long dead petrified giants, use the same sentinels for the protection of the community, and more... the Central Geode recharges it's powers slowly, from the members of the community and the earth upon which it rest.
    a sub group of the giants deserves a spcial reference- the ThunderClaps. Giants concieved or born in the middle of great storms (which the stone giants just love!) sometime display a slightly more reflective skin, as well as special powers. (you could ask your players for a spot check to spot the sheen, and for a knowledge check to realise what it means). these giants show powers connected to thunder, lightning and storm! though revered, many of these giants are encouraged to join special little nomadic groups calles In-Thunder's-Step, (again, this is but a literal meaning, the true meaning in giant is obscure) composed mostly (but not entirely) of individuals with similar powers. these groups move between small communities, and perform certain religious rights. the significance of this is unknown, but usually storms can be called. the Thunder elders (who always travel in these groups, never staying at their original community) posses even more secrets, carrying their own center of power- a humming staff.

    - Place in the world: the giants fomr very tight knit little communities, and most focus on animal husbandry, a bit of agriculture and elaborate stone craft, and tending. a special affect a community has on a place is the presence of the Watchers. giants who are close to death (either naturally, or at negatives hit points and stabilized) are taken to locations of importence in the region (watch points, strategic points, places of reverence, and so on). there, the Elder uses the Central Geode to transform the giant to a watcher- the giant's features partially meld into the stone, as his entire body changes into rock.
    these... monuments could be seen anywhere where stone giant were, or are present. as time goes by more and more of the Watcher seem to become "natural", but the face is always clear (you can have the pary make spot checks if needed). stone giants always learn the location of all watchers in their region, bot hout of reverence, and out of practicality- in case of danger, a stone giant can touch a watcher and use one of his/her earth link powers to make the Central Geode emit a rumble, which attracts the Elder to it. the Elder cna use the Geode to look and listen through any watchers in the region! if the situation grows dire, he can even use the Geode to animate a watcher, to protect his/her people! (this is rarely done, since it drains the Geode considerably. also, Stone Giatn beliefs contitute that awakening a Watcher should be done only in extreme cases, as this disturbes it's sleep)
    In Thunder's Step groups carry a Geode, but since it needs to stay half buried into the ground to recharge, they barely use it, conserving it's powers. not having it's protection, as well as the protection of Watchers (the nomadic ways take them away from the proximity of such assistance), they rely insted on their own strength and powers, as well as the staff carried by the Thunder Elder, called Held Storm. the staff amplifies the powers of the ThunderClaps, in a smiliar way that the Central Geode do with the common stone giant powers. there are some subtle differences, but the principal is the same. these staffs can only be charged at storms though, and so it's use is also fairly conservative.
    Stone giants (regular and thunderclaps) usually avoid complex politics. their utmost care is for their families/ community, and the care for the earth. usually cautious, they do however display all the possible range of behaviours and responses common to other races, such as curiousity, anger, aggresivness, welcoming and more. the details vary between community to community, depending on the region's history and more.
    Though most think of them as "stay in place" giants, the Stoney ones actually make sheduled migrations every several decades or so (druids have often pondered about this, as the giants themsleves reluctently refer to some "inner tides", "balance of stone", "the shifting rock" and other obscure terms). the Elder decides this a few years in advance, and then the leader of the tribe picks a few talented giants, to scout the way in advance, so they could all prepare. the road is usually fairly long, taking several years. the Geode cannot be charged while traveling, and so periodic stays are scheduled, used only if needed. usually, the destination has also been at some point (perhaps still is) a stone giant community (if there are giants in the place, they are probably preparing to migrate as well. no one knows how this is all synchronized).
    there is one more common case where a splinter group detaches from the main one (similar to the scouts). when a group of young small giants comes of age, they are sent away from the community for several years, to learn more about the world. they could offer their services, wander on their own, and such. they must stay out of the reach of Watchers. the idea behind this is to grant the youths a bit more expirience, and a bit more flexibility. the group is called a Pebble for this few years.
    both of the above mentioned groups carry a Minor Geode, specially created by the elder. it enables the small group to gain some benefits similar to the Central Geode, but they can't use the elder powers, or recharge it. this is done both to give the younglings some backup if needed, and to teach them the importance of conservation (if talking about a Pebble).
    In Thunder's Step are almost always migrating, but they follow storms rather then specific Stone giant settlement. from time to time they visit other groups of stone giants, to exchange goods, and perhaps join a new ThunderClap to them. the Thunderclap also have a special emmiserial role, which will be discussed shortly

    - interactions: Stone giants in general aren't very social and tend to avoid outsiders into their territory... many times travelers only see a glimpse of a gisnt, and from then on only the gazing look of Watchers, from time to time (the giant went to the closest Watcher, alerted the Elder, who then alerted the others, and kept watch on the possible threat). when the giants do deal with others, the whole range of possible interactions is open. there are however some notable special cases, either by behaviour, or attitude:
    1) most stone giants have an innate dislike for dwarves and other deep mining races, claiming them to be "wounding the earth". most stone giants tend to be wary towards them, and not hostile, due to an ancient history of bloodshed. many believe it is this fued that drove the dwarves to develop their special tactics against giants.
    2) Goliaths are usually welcomed fairly warmly amongst the giants, considering them their smaller kin as a human might consider a halfling. both races have mostly Oral history to rely on, but it seems there was a far greater connection between the races in the past... but, just as with ahuman and a halfling, things are rarely that simple, and it all depends on the particular case.
    3) the Stone Giants are considered the "neutral" party in any conflict between giants. they usually avoid getting involved, and most other races seem to understand that. there seem to have been some sort of a special decree in ages past, excluding giants from political giant conflicts. perhaps this is due to their secular nature.
    In Thunder's Step seem to fit a special role in this- they act as emmiseries and messangers between far and wide communities. some theorise that the ancient storm giants have been instrumental in creating the ThunderClaps, and have placed upon them this duty/ burden/ role... though now there re far, far less giants then in olden days, the In Thunder's Step keep on the tradition most seriously. surprisingly, most giant communities also keep with the hospitality for these nomads, though some giants have broken off their ties...
    4) in times of need, stone giant can trade with other races. a common commodity are their services- either their strength, their earth link powers, or their martial prowess... smal humanoid communities the giants deem valuable and non threatening may gain a seasonly visit from a few of the giants, looking for work or trade.
    Thunderclaps are for some reason far more sociable then the common giants. they try to gain better equipment, better clothes and so forth... a ThunderClap many time acts as the giants spokesman, and can usually be identified by some flashier garb, weapon, or just style...
    5) stone giants are fond of giant eagles in their mountains, and go to some legths protecting them. an even more sacred "birds" arethe enourmeous Rocks. many giant communities (and especially ThunderClaps) rever them, as representations of some ancienct power or bond. if a Roc lives nearby a community, the giants will protect it ferociously, and a Watcher or two will most probably be stationed near it, if possible.
    6) Pebbles trade and lend their services far more frequently then other groups of giants (migration scouting parties as well, if the needs demand). the most commonly fought "brutes giant in the service of someone else" type of encounter usually stems from these little groups. Pebbles are mostly loyal to their own kind first however, and won't necesserily fight to the death for someone else (Pebbles usually hire themsleves out as a way to gain experience, and adventure. not out of a special loyalty or cause... those wait at home)
    7) Stone giants sometime do enable themselves to form allies and friends. if these happen to live inside the area containing Watchers, the stone giants may give their allies a special gift- a small Calling Geode, which enables it's holder to alert the Elder by touching a watcher and making the Central Geode tremble (most allies no nothing of the process. they are jsut talled "touch this stone to a watcher, and we'll know"). if the allies proved their worth, and one of the stone giants is dying, the allies might get a Watcher right close to home...

    - game mechanics:: again, as with the stirge- these are not meant to be complete, but the basic outline of the ideas that could be easely fleshed out if you're using these ideas. there are a few sections, first dealing with the stone giants, then the Geode, the thunderclaps, the Held Storm, and a few other stuff...
    1) younger stone giants: this mainly refers to the giants who might go on a Pebble (though "adults", meaning "full" giants can go to). there are two younger varieties- juvenile at 10HD, young adult at 12 HD. their statitstics change accordingly (including one less strength for the juvenile), and one less natural armor per age category. the rocks used cause less damage
    the age mostly impact on the spell like powers the giants can get from their Stone/Earth Link feat (will be described shortly). this is true for thunder claps as well.
    2) Stone Giant Feats: these feats represent a different degree of connection to the earth. all of them require being a stone giant. Giants don't "choose" these feats, instead they represent a gift, (or very special training in the case of the Secrets feats).
    - Stone/ Earth Link: the giant gains the ability to use spell like abilites, identical to those of the earth domain, each spell-like ability once per day. instead of an ability score, the giant must have a sufficient amount of HD (both racial and class HD contribute to this). a giant with 10 HD can use the first level spell like ability, and any further tow more HD gives him access to another level (a "normal" 14th level giant gains access to all spell like abilities of the earth domain up to and including the third level).
    in addition, the giant gains the Earth domain's special ability, usable once per day only, and he can access the Central Geode Community powers.
    a small note concerning the spell magic stones- the giant version applies to a single small rock, used usually by juveniles. it makes it as damaging as a larger rock (used by adults), besides the other affects...
    - Secrets of the Stone Giants: this feat is held only by Elders of giant communities, and requires the previous feat. it enables the Elder to use all of the Central Geode's powers, as well as create a Minor Geode, a Calling Geode, and to recharge a Central Geode. this is the only way to recharge it, and so the Eleder is of an enourmeous importtance to the tribe...
    3) Central Geode: this is a massive rock, with strange markings upon it, and an odd hum, similar to the Held Storm... it cannot be easely carried, and on migrations the giants make a specialcontraption to hold it between 4 of them. when not migrating it is buried half way into the earth, from where it draws it's power (together with the elder).
    The Geode holds within it a great potential energy, that can be used either by the community members, or by the Elder/s for greater effect. each use of power drains the Geode, and it recharges but slowly. community members are tought to be carefull in it's use, but not to fear in case of real danger. The Geode can exercise it's powers from afar. but the farther away the target, the more it is drained. do notice that members could be far from the Geode to call upon it's powers... the power drainage does limit it's range
    (i haven't figured out an exact system to handle this, but it should be easy enough. the DM can alternetavly just decide when a use is warranted, and when the Geode cannot be used, or is close to depletion).
    - "Alert the Watcher": this can be done by any stone giant. by touching a watcher, the Geode begins to tremble (could be miles away). if an Elder than touches it, he could sense which Watcher was touched (and then continue on his own. this power takes minor energy fromthe Geode.
    the Community Powers can be accessed by any stone giant with the Earth/Stone link feat:
    - "call of stone":the giant's skin becomes greyer, and he takes on a meaner look. it gains a temporary increase to HD, and a toughening of natural skin (i thought 2-3HD, +2 nat per calling, or perhaps a small damage reduction instead? the increase in hit dice does NOT affect the spell like powers. this power takes a small but noticable amount of energy from the Geode.
    - "gift of earth": the giant's eyes grow even more.. "earthy". the giant gains access to a spell-like power greater by one level than the normal.
    this power takes a small but noticable amount of energy from the Geode.
    the Elder powers form the true powers of the Geode, and the core of the community's defense. the Elder must be in physical contact with it in order to use them:
    - "eyes, ears, and touch of the Watchers": the Elder can look thourgh the eyes of the Watchers, hear what goes around them, and gains tremor sense for 60 ft. s/he can only "use" one such elder at a time, though most Elders due a weekly "survey" through all the watchers. this power takes a negligable amount of energy from the Geode. (practically free).
    - "Watcher turned Guardian": the Elder animatesa watcher, (essentially an animated object), and unleashes it upon it's foes. the watcher can either give it brief mental commands and let it act on it's own, (perhaps in order to awaken another Watcher nearby?) or he can control it directly, using his own BAB, feats, and so on (while enjoying the Hardness and immunities of the construct). while "in touch" with a guardian the elder may channel any touch, self, or targeted spell unto the Watcher (ig he has any).
    this power takes a large amount of energy from the Geode, and is done only at a real sense of danger.
    - "Summon the earth": the elder can summon an earth elemental to assist combatants, or to help reshape the earth and such. the stone giants sees the earth elementals as holy, and thus prefer to avoid using them in combat. the most common uses are forbuilding, or averting natural disasters (and perhaps causing landslides and such over enemies, limiting the exposure to danger). though the elemental can be summoned at range, the Elder does not retain any link to it after the initial orders were given (unlike with the watchers). this power takes a variable amount of energy from the Geode, depending on the size of the elemental, but it is tstill a fairly large amount.
    - Embed Watcher/craft Minor Geodem/ Craft calling Geode: all of these uses create tools of the Stone Giant society, and have been/will be explained in the proper place. the first is used to meld a dying giant into the Watcher's form, and requires a little energy. the second requires a medium amount of energy, and is in fact a piece of the Gedoe which detaches. the last requires a negligble amount, and is also a fist sized shar broken off the Central Geode.
    4) Minor Geode: carried by a Pebble or migration scouting group, it enables the Community powers of the Center Geode. however, it's energy is far smaller (1/5-1/8 as the center Geode), and it cannot be recharged.
    5) Calling Geode: used by non stone giants to alert stone giants. works like the "Alert the Watcher" power, but requires touching the Geode to the stone sentinal.
    6)ThunderClap feats: these can be taken with or withutthe normal feats (they are not exclusive). however, there is no recorded case of one giant knowing both Secrets feats. all other remarks concerning the stone giant feats are true here as well.
    - ThunderClap:taken at birth, the giant is immune to lightning and deafening effects. gains resistence sonic 10, about 1 in 20 giant is a ThunderClap...
    - Thunder/Storm Link: this feat requires the previous feat first. works exactly the same like the Earth/Stone Link except that the domain in question is Weather (not Air...), and that it does not allow access to a Center Geode community powers. it does however allows access to the Held Storm Travel Group powers.
    Secrets of the Thunder: requires the previous two feats first. this feat is held only by Thunder Elders, leading In Thunder's Step's nomads. it enables the Elder to use all of the Held Storm's powers. it also enables it's owner to recharge the staff, in appropriate storms.
    Held Storm: the counterpart for the Center Geode in the nomadic groups, it holds the same function in many ways. it also hold a potential energy, that can be unleashed. it can be recharged only in naturally occuring storms, by someone holding the feat of Secrets of the Thunder. it's range is determined by weather- in calm weather it is short, but the stormier it gets the father the spread. the nomadic group is well aware of it, and tries not to wander too far.
    the following power is available to ANY stone giant:
    -"sense the wind": sort of a compass for the group, thestaff enables a greater range of weather prediciton tests. upon succeeding on the appropriate survival test, the holder can perdict the weather for the next week for farther than the mere near vecinity. in particular, the holder perdicts the location of a rough or stormy weather.
    the following powers can be called upon (the same as with community powers regarding the Center Geode) by giants with the Thunder/storm Link feat:
    - "Call of the thunder": the Giant skin begins to vibrate slightly, and then he suddenly emits a sharp burst of shattering thunder (sonic damage? deafening effects? perhaps stun?) ThunderClap giants are immune to this special attack. this power takes a small but noticable amount of energy from the Held Storm.
    - "gift of storm": this works exactly like Gift of earth power of the Center Geode, only in regards to the ThunderClap's domain of weather. this power takes a small but noticable amount of energy from the Held Storm.
    the following powers can be used only by a Thunder Elder:
    summon storm elemental: preety much the same as the Summon earth elemental power of the Center Geode. the power expenditure is lower however, and this is a common uses on defense. again- the exact power usage depends on the elemental. they cann't be used to recharge the staff.

    - mysteries and unknown: there are some mysteries concerning the silent giants. the most obvious ones are their own secret crafts, from the Watchers, the Central Geodes, the Held Storm and such... according to some scripts some of the items were duplicated in the past by non-giants, but only a real stone giant, skilled in their secrets could activate it, and most importently- regenerate them.
    other secrets refer to their past- their strange elemental "pacts", the special place they hold with the giants, and more. perhaps most curious might be their constant migrations, and the signs or language they seem to see in the earth itself... the giants themselves have probably lost and forgotten much of their ancient past, so the answers may never be known...

    Playing, at a D&D table near YOU!

    - "the power of youth. literaly the power!" to start of the list of encounters, i'd start with the closest thing in my concept to the "fight with a giant brute" sort of encounter. i speak of course of the Pebble group. the group of young giants is hired by an adversery of the players, and at soem point or another they fight. preety ordinary, but there are some notable differences.
    first- the giants make good use of their speel like powers granted by the Link feats. (make at least one a thunderclap for variety). stoneshape could create pits, block passages, create cover and so on. call lightning canharass spell casters, while fog cloud provide concealment.
    second- the Pebble has the Minor Geode for extra support. either makethem strnoger, or buff up their spell like abilities.
    third- living away from their community, these giants are probably better equiped than the usuall "giant swing club" stereotype. this is particularily true for thunderclaps.
    fourth- more a matter of flavour, but importent nontheless- the age group. we're talking teenagers and young adults here- they are brash, enthusiastic, making lewd comments and jokes, egging their friends and so on. oh, and they are a few meters tall delivering a realy serious punch...

    - "real estate brokers": the other chance to meet a fairly small group of these giants is the migration scouting groups. a bit larger than Pebbles, these groups are comprised from thebest of the clan/ tribe. an encounter with them is a far more strategic and tactical event.
    a settlement in a mountainious area is harrased by stone giants. at first the harasement was merely to inconvinience, but recently things started to get worse. what is wierd is that there haven't been any stone giant here for ages! (though there are those peculiar stone statues all over the region). attempts to find a base of operation have failed miserably.
    this is actually a scouting group, preceding the main tribe by a few weeks/ months/ years. they are determined to get rid of the "land poachers", in order to start preparing it for the tribe. they use guerilla tactics, aiming to drive the people away more than outright kill them. but if time gets pressing, they are willing to do what it takes. to make things more complicated this group avoids talking about the reasons for it's actions (fearing to expose the actual tribe), and goes to great lengths to prevent capture.
    this is an encounter/ adventure suited more for the thinking kind of players, and offers no clear cut solution. it can go many ways, and have many possibilities for various tactical combat. (ambushing the adventurers, sabotaging supplies, using the spell like abilities to alter the terrain, and more) things might get far more complicated if the party actually kills the scouting group, only to find some time later that a whole tribe of giants, with their elders and weird magic just arrived...

    - "a case of mistaken identity": as the party enters an area well known for gentle reclusive stone giants, they are suddenly confronted by angry ones, perhaps with an elemental by them, accusing them of some crime! when the party tries to explain it wasn't them, the giant reply "oh! you said you weren't here! but our watchers saw you, and watchers don't lie!"
    an enemy of the party with shapeshifting/ illusion abilities entered the mountain range shortly before the party came. it used it's talents to hide it's true nature, before commiting some crime (destroying art, killing cattle, attacking a young giant, and such). the villain made sure it was all done in front of a Watcher though, before slinking away. if the party don't epxlain themselves they might have serious problems on their hands.
    some sample classic instances for this- the party chases a villain and s/he does this as a diversion, through them of his/her trail. the party travles in a caravan, either guarding something or someone. as the party is occupied with the allegations, the villain steals/ assasinates the guarded.

    - "reinforcements on their way!" the party have just dealt a serious blow to a group of creatures, and is now busy attacking the main lair/ village/ fortress... as they reach a central area, they see one of the creatures leaders pressing a small stone to a big statue (or statues?) in the middle of the place. a few seoncds later, the statues come alive! oh well, the party fought constructs before... only this one doesn't realy act like on- it fights smart, hits accuratly, and where did the buffing spell come from? oh, and we have an earth elemental spring as well?
    the statues are of course watchers, and these are allies to giants. (the stone is a Calling Geode). this is a sort of a surprise encounter in many ways- unexpected enemies, fighting in unexpected ways, and if what that leader yells at the characters is right- there are giant's on the way!
    the idea is to have an encounter that injects new tension, new urgency into the play. by adding the "giants are coming! giants are coming! element you also injust that vital thing that keeps a game interesting- time pressure.

    - "the fugitive, Stone giant style!" the presence of watchers grants a realy unique surveilence power for a community in it's region. a unique challange for your adventure is creating soem situation in which the party is deep within stone giant territory, and is for some reason is suddenly considered a threat. now the entire community mobilizes after them. this means scouting groups, perhaps giant eagles, and the ever present, ever silent numerous watchers... they merge fairly good with their background, and they are usually set at points that promise a great view.
    when the group is found many resources are diverted towards them- the giants themselves, but more immediatly- the watchers themsleves, perhaps with an elemntal to accompany. the party should idealy be able to defeat each little threat, but at a cost. escaping the region should require stealth, wilderness tactics, and smarts. the one realy fun thing about this for a DM is to utilize the entire community.
    some possible situations that lead to this one: the previous encounter, the party stealing eggs of giant eagles or Rocs. the party trying to steal a Cnter Geode, and more.

    - "a heavy burden- a dead giant's last wish": tha party witness (perhaps even assist) in a battle between two giants and some other monster (which might escape). at the end of the battleone of the giants is dying (negative hp, but tabilized), but the other urges the party not to heal it! the giant explains tat itgoes against their beliefs, and that if they heal him he won't be able to become a Watcher later on (equivalent of robbing the giant of their after life). it then says that the emulation ceremony must be done quickly, but for that he must alert the Elder.
    the giant goes searching for another watcher, to make contact, but not before asking the party to transport the unconcious giant to one of the places destined for watchers... and hurry, because time is of the essence! the party is left with the trouble of transporting the giant to it's place (which is a porblem by itself. these fellows don't come light!), all the while watching for any other thereats that might kill it too soon (for example- the escaping monster). they can heal it, but then risk bad reactions from the giants, they can kill it or leave it, and expect worse. or they can try to do what was asked of them..
    the task is unique, and requires unconventional thinking. it may also be seem as annoying to some. this encounter is thereefor best suited for "goody" groups, or groups who like immersion in the world, it's culture, and details. the actual "becoming a watcher" ceremony is a special experience, and they might also gain favor with the community for time to come?

    - "In Thunder's Step, your ears go BOOM!": though ThunderClap giants can appear in all of the above scenes (as well they should, though they are a distinct and small minority), they realy come to their own in theri nomadic traveling groups. there they have their own stylish ways, more powers granted by the Held Storm and Elders, and perhaps most importently- they are the norm, not the exceptions.
    these nomadic groups enables the characters to see esotric parts of giant lives. first- they give more depth to the common stone giant- they stand in contrast to them, but are also part of their culture.
    second- they shed some light on the world of giants in general. being emmiseris between the different groups they may shed much light on them. in fact, one of the main reason for an adventuring groupto join In Thunder's Step is to be abel to reach hidden giants, or converse with them in a realtively safe manner.
    last- these giants have a special relationship with the storm giants, and any who wishes to learn about this mighty creatures may do well to seek the Thunder Elder.
    if the party does join the thunder clap, a small battle may explain why the Thunderclaps never built communities with the stone giants themselves. as battle erupts, they begin using their special powers, and the powers of the Held Storm. the Call of thunder means the party will find itself in the middle of booming sonic thunders! (make sure to have a recording of a thunder storm for this session...). most chancs the characters will be deafened in no time which will lead to a lot of "what? attack who? what are you talking about? why are you goign there? i told you to go there!" (you might ask your deafened players to just cover their ears till it's their turn. or rely on mature players...) together with call lightning, and perhaps sleet storms the battle will look like a little storm indeed! (oh, make sure it's a sunny lovely day before the encounter...)
    this encounter is mostly for flavour, and to show the vast contrast to the common giants. but it could also be amusing, and overwhelming...

    - "don't shoot the messanger! but then again, perhaps you should": this last "encounter" is actually a suggestion for a campaign, or part of a campaign. it somewhat enables you to use many of the above mentioned scenes in some way or another. the idea is far from complete, but it is enough to show how giants can become major forces in the campaign.
    the main BBEG is a Thunder Elder, who secretly harbors some dark cause, far exceeding the usuall "emmiserial" role appointed to his kind long ago. outwardly this Elder is charming, open, and have even gained some fame between humanoid groups as wise and insightfull. secretly the Elder uses it's diplomatic skills and special position to sow unrest and concern amongst the various giant groups (not just stoen) in the region/s. also, he persuades a small homeless community of stone giants (from "real estate brokers") to locate to a previously uninhabited (or perhaps long deserted) mountainous area, which they slowly turn into his vast fortress.
    the variosu giant groups start attacking or harrasing other settlements, and the party is forced to try and help. the BBEG tells the party of a way to cripple a small community of small giants (after finding he can't realy subvert them to his cause) by killing their main elder (who knows his secret, and just waits for another Storm Elder to come). as the party does the feat, they are chased by the lot of the tribe (who has another younger Elder to operate the Geode). they might battle Pebbles here and there, meet with giant allies, and of course have their ears go Boom while traveling with the BBEG's own nomadic group. when the BBEG departs the group, the party might escort one of the ThunderClap Secret initiate to the mysterious castle of a storm giant, and help him become the new Thunder Elder.
    the full powers of the Held Storm could come into play at the final confrontaion, or they might be the threat that the party needs to stop. this will be a battle against a whole sotne community, with some adjoined thunderclaps and other monsters, with the forces of both Geode and Staff arrayed against them.
    and who knows, perhaps the BBEG uncovered some other of the stone giant secrets? there must be a reason why Stone and Thunder were kept apart after all...

    in conclusion: this has been a bloody long thread to write! but i hope you enjoy. i do believe this fellows have some good playing potential. as i've mentioned in the original thread, i hope this urges people to give the proper respect to other monsters. i'd love any comment, they let me know i didn't waste my time (i hope). that be all!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten... (waking sleeping stone giants)

    damn, did you come up with this whole thing on your own? this is amazing... youve got some real talent, i have to say. why not do one about the crystal dragons?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten... (waking sleeping stone giants)

    Some small contributions from previous campaigns of my own:
    "Guardians of Stone and Sky": These stone giants (thunderclaps?) have developed a relationship with the largest and most sacred eagle of them all, the Roc. They ride them in ceremony, and if necessary, ride them to war.
    "Time's friend": Maybe this is part of stone giant history, or maybe it happens in the current time - The stone giants are being hunted down and genocided, paying for the crimes of their more reckless breathern. The final decree of the stone giant king is to return to the stone, and wake hundreds or thousands of years later when the promised time has come. To a stone giant, time is one's dearest friend.
    "Three noble stone giants": The players hear that good fortune and wisdom comes from conquering the three noble stone giants. Whatever they decide do to the stone giant populace in the meantime, they realize its true meaning only later, when they reach the top of three giant and beautiful mountains.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten... (waking sleeping stone giants)

    well, thanks for the complement nobodylovesyou4. the ideas sank and developed over the years i guess. i probably drew a lot of inspiration from all kinds of sources, i'm not currently aware of though...

    as to the "do one on crystal dragons"... why not do it yourself? that's the entire idea of these threads. i never used any real dragon other than the bsic ones (with other twists and turns), so i never realy got to think about the Crystaline wyrms... i just read about them, and there is probably potential there, but it will probably take me a lot of time, probably game time, to find out exactly what kind of potential.

    that's why i wanted others to write threads in this style as well- i have only a limited experience, and a limited imagination, but there are plenty of DMs out there with their own favotrite creatures and such. it need not be as elaborate or long winded as the stone giant entry was! (i said it brewed slowly for years after all)
    share a thread, share a quirk, share a love for a monster...

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default about "Ode to the maligned, forgotten..."

    for those who don't understand the title, it refers to two threads i've started, and that didn't exacty go well. if you need to check them out, here they are-

    bith threads, other than a few thanked for responses, seem to have gone mostly unnoticed, or otherwise ignored. i personally thought the threads will steer more enthusiasm, and some gems of creativity, in the fomr of other threads on the same general theme.

    obviously, i was wrong. so my question is this- where did i go wrong? is this the wrong forum? were the threads too long/ too exhausting/ badly composed? peraps this ubject doesn't realy interests anyone, and people are just happy with monsters as they are written? (one of the only things i actually miss about AD&D is the detaild descriptions for many of the monsters there. beyond a paragraph or three, before jumping into combat). or perhaps it's just too damn work writing it all up? i'd like to hear your input on that...

    i personally try to go by "less monsters, more depth and replayability" strategy with my own campaigns. they have at time featured the same type of creatures, in many situations (not all combat), and the players actually found this not repetitive, but challanging, and adding realism and context to their foes. as one of my players once told me- "hey, i'm suddenly feeling like fighting more than a computer animated soon-to-be-killed XP package". i thought to share that with poeple, and also hopefully, have them share their own creations (one imagination is good, more imaginations are better).

    and in case some wondered (i think nobodylovesyou4 had an interest) i won't be doing any more- there is no point if there is no outcome. I allready have that info. (i thought to share my ideas of the Barghest next...) i do hope someone at least got some inspiration my either the Stirge, or the Stone Giant. if so, i would like to know.

    one last rant, one last venting of frustration (hey, those threads take a bloody long time to write!): in the stirge thread some spoke of the Crawling Claw. and the posts went something on the lines of "boy it's cool! i miss that!", "masses of them would be awesome", "it's an AD&D monster, i miss it", "man that is creeepy, i wish i could use it" and so on... why oh why, doesn't any of them do a thread about it? this is exactly what i talked about!
    (sigh), but oh well, those are but my frustrations. all threads havea life of their own.

    in conclusion: thanks for reading my slightly frustrated rant, but i would mostly like to thear your opinions about the reason the threads sank... and any tails of using (or preparing to use) my two shared creations..
    thanks, Kol.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten... (waking sleeping stone giants)

    I really enjoy reading these things. They give me good encouter ideas

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: about "Ode to the maligned, forgotten..."

    If you're willing to spend time to write it out, I'd like to continue seeing them. I like to read them certainly.

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    Ogre in the Playground

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten... (waking sleeping stone giants)

    I read the Stone Giant one, it was well writen although it could have done with bolded section titles and a clear line between paragraphs just to make it easier to read. That being said I thought it was interesting for me, I would have had it slanted as a single culture of a race with a few mentioned ideas for other mountain ranges/continents.

    I liked the linking of thunder with the stone giant living in high mountains thing, and the periodic nomadic groups with co-ordinated patterns, that was a good lead in to ideas for games.

    I'd have liked more on the interactions between your Stone Giants and the other Giant races given they learly have a shared history and an impetus to interact (religion, culture, trade of "correctly sized whatever"). You mention the Storm giants but none of the other types, not even if there are other types (I always thought there were FAAAAR too many even in just the MM, these are huuuge things that act as top tier predators in their ecosystems for the most part that just sort of lurk on the parifary of any game world).
    Give them bread and circusses and the plebs wont rise against you. Give adventurers dungeons and trapped chests and they won't waste time looking to ransack your home and kill your wife.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Sheriff in the Playground Administrator
    Roland St. Jude's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten... (waking sleeping stone giants)

    Sheriff of Moddingham: The most current-looking thread and the explanation thread have been merged. We have a one topic/one thread rule.

    I can't say definitively why your thread didn't get more attention. What I can say is:

    1) This is a message board not a chat room. The first thread was posted only a week ago and the second a few days ago. Things take time.

    2) Some ideas and threads catch on and some don't; in my experience, it's not something you can force.

    3) A more explanatory title would help.

    4) Don't try to do too many things at once. Are you hombrewing new stats and ecologies for monsters? Or are you throwing out plots and adventure ideas.

    5) If you do try to do many things at once, make very good use of organization, headers, etc. Capitalization and proper punctuation are very important for readability.

    6) The homebrewing aspect of this suggests maybe it belongs in Homebrew, but my sense is that you are aiming for a wider audience and a more general roleplaying discussion. It's not clearly one or another enough that I'd move it somewhere, but you might consider whether it'd work better over there.

    These are just my ideas. I think it's a good idea for a thread, but whether others latch on to it or not is up to them. Please don't keep restarting it in an attempt to stay at the top of the page.
    Forum Rules

    Sheriff Roland by Chris the Pontifex

  11. - Top - End - #11
    EvilElitest's Avatar

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    Jan 2007
    Oh gods i wish i knew

    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten... (waking sleeping stone giants)

    Personally i liked your ideas, i've been following them from the start, it seems like a great way to spice up the games and make more interesting monsters
    Personally i think you need to go a bit more into culture and sample NPC but that is just me

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten... (waking sleeping stone giants)

    ok, first to the moderator:
    though it wasn't my intention, i do see in hindsight how it might have seemed i tried to "stay at the top of the page"... won't happen again. as to your other advice and observations, well, understood as well. i'm a bit new to the forums, and perhaps my "mistakes" were due to lack of experience in how thigns work here.
    as to the homebrew suggestion- i a\was trying to aim to more than stats and such, more to bring a more substantial feel to the creatures. i think i'll still put most future posts in here. (i'm fairly crap whenever trying to accuratley stat anything anyway).

    this will be my last thread/ posting bemoaning why the threads get no more attention. from now on only "to the point" stuff (i hope that was understood, i'm not a native english speaker...)

    to mostlyharmfull and EE: you make valid points as to culture and relations with other races (specifically the giants). i hoped that what i wrote could inspire ideas about culuture from the readers (i gave what i had. the rest depends on the world, the specific interactions with other races, and so on). as to the giants- i realy didn't develop it much, becaus that would have needed a fuller explanations on the other giants cultures and character, and the thread was allready too long.

    anyway, thanks for the responses. i think i might just do another thread (especially after frosty's postings). goodbye for now, Kol.

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