I find it appropriate that the next series should be on Giants. After all, they and the Dragons were the first creatures to walk the face of the planet. Their kingdoms were spread from one edge of the world to the other.
Giants were the first artisans, philosophers, and poets. To this day you can still find evidence in the form of great statues, monoliths, and ruins of the greatness they once were. Some still cling to those olds ways. But their numbers are dwindling.
(If you happen to come across any of the ancient ruins left over by the Golden Age of Giant society, be careful what you uncover. Ancient evils are bound there. Remember, this is a rac that witnessed the coming of the Illithid and the Gith.)
Then came the Blood Wars. (This is what it is called in my setting. However, you can call it whatever you like in yours) Giants fell from their former peaceful glory, to become the first Dragonslayers. They were warriors of most elite. But their Draconic enemy were as talented in magic as the giants were in battle. Each side gained territory and lost it. They were at a stalemate.
(Though the Dragons and the Giants will both tell you that it was through their own efforts towards peace that this conflict came to a close. The truth is that it was nothing short f the intervention of the gods. They didn’t wish to sit back and watch the further destruction of the world that they had created.)
The wars finally ended when both sides were almost driven into extinction. No one, not even the dragons, with their long memories, can tell what started the conflict, but the Giants still sing songs and tell tales of their former glory.
Though “Peace” has been declared between the Giants and the Dragons, they each both hold a deep hatred for the other. And they will not hesitate to battle each other over the slightest, even imagined, slight.
After these war the Younger of the races came along. Races like the elves, dwarves, humans, halflings, etc. These upstart racesare considered to be pests, that have invaded into the world and will some day die out. Leaving the world,once again, to its true masters, the Giants.
The giants that remained after the wars were so few that they were forced to both inbreed and breed outside of their race. The caused was the dividing of the races into clans. This breeding continued until, while the numbers had bounced back from the edge, some of the offspring could barely be considered giants. The result are now separated into Giants, and then Giantkin. (Formorians, Cyclops, Ettins, and Ogres)
(Empyreans are not included in this list because they are not Giants, but rather the Children of Deities. I Also know that some will argue the inclusion of Ettins. As that was a magical experiment of crossing giants with orcs. However, they have giant blood, therefore I count them as Giantkin)
The purest of the surviving Giant Clans, The Storm, the Cloud, the Hill, The Fire and the Frost are all descended from these original Giants. They share common history, gods, and culture. They see each other as distant cousins and try to keep the infighting to a minimum.
Giants all belong to a caste system called the Ordning. It is based on a highly organized social and racial class and assigns a rank to each individual giant. Every giant understands, even the dim Hill Giants, their place in the order of Giant society. They know what place they hold, who is their superior and who is their lesser.
(Strength and intelligence don’t play a huge part in determining rank in Giant society. Even with the most civilized of the tribes, it comes down to strength and size. They have used these abilities to dominate their way through history.)
The greatest of one clan is still considered lesser to a higher clan. For example, the King of the greatest Frost Giant kingdom, would still understand that he was the lesser of even the most low of the Storm Giants. But that doesn’t always stop them from crossing and double crossing each other. Doing so isn’t an unforgivable faux pas, in Giant society. Its just considered extremely rude.
It’s rare that I see a giant played in modern games. And, when I do, they are played as slow and dim witted brutes. I think that’s a darn shame. While these prejudices do apply to some of the lower ranked Giants and Giant Kin, most can be intelligent and challenging foes. Or even wise and supportive allies.
There is a reason why most epic tales start with something along the lines of “Before the time of Giants”. These wonderful creatures have been around since the beginning of it all.
I hope that you enjoy these articles. And that they will help you bring the Giants to life in your Game World.
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Have a good one!