Fire Giants, like their frosty cousins, get their origins in Norse mythology. They are said to reside in Muspelhiem, the world of heat and fire, ruled by Surtr (“the black one”). The main role of the Fire Giants in Norse mythology is to wreak the final destruction of the world by setting fire to it at the end of Ragnarok when the Frost Giants of Jotunheim and the forces of Hel shall launch an attack on the gods, and kill all but a few of them.
And this is the way most people play them. Some weird adaption of Nose mythology mixed with what we know of them from comic books. And while that’s fine, if it fits into your gaming world, I think you’re missing a great opportunity with them.
One of the coolest things, in my opinion about Fire Giants is the way they are tied to the element. They aren’t just immune to fire. It is part of their very being. It burns inside them and gives them amazing abilities.
This also ties in the terrain in which they choose to live. Like Red Dragons, they find themselves most comfortable in places that are fiery and hellish in nature. Volcanic calderas, underground lava flows, and the like.
This opens up all sorts of dangers from the terrain itself. Not just the heat, that makes touching the surfaces within or makes the air scorch your lungs.But the poisonous gases pouring from their forges. Preparation is a serious matter before venturing into a Fire Giant’s lair.
(Even though they are selective about where they live, the Places where you might encounter a Fire Giant are pretty open. They have been known to venture far and wide for supplies. Both for food or for their forges. Woe to the nearby Elven forest when a Fire Giant Clan is in need of wood.)
Unlike some of their kin, Fire Giants are not solitary creatures. They live together in a militaristic societies and have a ranking system that coincides with their placement in the Ordning. In fact, they spend most of their time in the company of other fire giants. Whether it be working together to mine and forge, practicing their militaristic Katas (ritualistic combat maneuvers), raiding to test out their weapon creations, or participating in drinking competitions with their clansmen.
They are also great artisans. Fire Giants are supremely talented when it comes to working a smith or smelting. They excel at engineering and stone work. The quality of this work is spoken of far and wide. and even noted in the design of their weapons of war.
I know what you’re thinking. That sounds like a lot like a dark Dwarven society. And you’d be right.
Much like Frost Giants society is an exaggeration of Viking society, the Fire Giants are an evil exaggeration of a Dwarven society. But instead of being like the Dwarves who, are very protective of each other and searching for peace in their lives, Fire Giants go on rampages. Forever searching for ways to test both their weapon creations and their own military skill against any enemies that they can find. And, if they cant find any, they will simply decimate the surrounding area.
(Some stories say the Dwarves copied their entire society from the Fire Giants. Due to the Giants keeping them enslaved for centuries, in the past. But a word of advice: Don’t say this in front of a Dwarf. Not if you want to keep your teeth in your head.)
Fire giants pass down knowledge of crafting from generation to generation. Likewise, they pass down their traditions of war.
Unlike their Hill Giant or Frost Giant cousins, they do not gain their fighting abilities from rage. Instead they gain it from years upon years of training. Fire Giants take their martial arts very seriously. They are taught combat stances and weaponry from the day that they can stand. Parents chant Battle Hymns over their children. The children play at war, having rock hurling battles. And, when they reach adolescence, they are integrated into formal martial training and rank.
(When playing them in battle, don’t make the mistake of using them like big lumbering, slow moving, fools. Just the opposite, they could almost be considered a cross between a Battle Master and a Monk.)
When a Fire Giant clan defeats other societies in battle, they take them on as serfs. They work the fields and farms bordering the Fire Giant territory raising the lives stock and produce that the Giants use for food.
(Imagine the fear in the eyes of the enemy, as the Fire Giants flip and tumble with plumes of fire following them. Clapping their hands to bellow forth noxious smoke and blinding the enemy. Slashing through the armies before them with massive weaponry. When inured, they slap some sort of powdered alloy into it. The heat from within them instantly melting and staunching the wound. Or even downing a flammable liquid, then belching out fire!)
Its seems strange to say, but a Fire Giant even looks like a Dwarf, in Giant proportions of course. They are massive and stocky and broad, like the dwarf. They have flaming red hair and beards. And their eyes and skin glow from the fiery element within them.
When a Fire Giant is enraged, they glow with the heat of the fire within. And you can tell if they are sleeping, or awake, by the brightness of the burning in their eyes. (From a dull ember glow when asleep, to a bright , almost white, burning when fully awake.) The smell of Sulphur, burning metals and smoke surround them.
They know no fear. Fire Giants have been fighting gods and creature of massive power from before the Blood Wars. Then they imprison these, in magically enhanced steel cages, deep in the bowels of the earth, along with the Fire Giants most valued weapons and treasures.
Maybe for some ambitious adventuring types to find them?
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Have a great one!