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Dragon's-Eye View
By Jon Schindehette

G iants . . .

Are they really something more than a tall human? Well, in the world of D&D, they sure are. James brought up a lot to chew on in his article about the giants. Whether or not you agree with everything he wrote, I’m going to be using a lot of his discussion as a basis for today’s game.

Game? Yep, we’re going to be playing a game again. Due to the newer formats of my articles, I’ve enjoyed getting more interesting and varied information in richer conversations. So today, we’re going to play!

GIANT MATCH

[[insert dynamic and thrilling game show music. . .]]

The game is going to be quite simple. I’m going to show you a bunch of giants and a collection of descriptions (based on the information that James provided). I want you to match the depictions with the descriptions. Simple enough, right? Well, maybe. I might be throwing you a curve ball with some of the concept pieces, or I might just be looking to see where things fall apart (which always makes the experiment more interesting).

To begin with, let’s meet the handsome boys that will be part of today’s panel. There is no discrimination involved here. I just felt that I should pick one sex to make the playing field more level . . . and I happened to have six male concepts. So, please, don’t start roasting me about my gender choice.

Click on the image for a larger version.

I have shown all these guys at approximately the same size and without any color in order to remove some of the visual cues that might help guide you to the appropriate answers. As with James’s column, I’m keeping this narrowed down to the six “true” giant races.

Here are the descriptions . . .

Storm Giant

  • The largest, strongest, and overall most powerful of the true giants are the storm giants.
  • Storm giants are the most magical of the giants.
  • Storm giants hurl bolts of lightning.
  • Every storm giant has some control over the weather, turning a clear sky into rain and thunder with but a moment’s effort of will.
  • They are resistant to lightning, can breathe water, and can levitate through the air.
  • Storm giants are the smartest giants as well as the strongest, but they are not particularly wise.

Cloud Giant

  • Cloud giants are a divided race: roughly half of the cloud giants are good and the other half are evil.
  • Good giants trade with civilized folk to acquire fine items, while evil ones raid and plunder to the same end.
  • Good or evil, cloud giants are cultured and refined, collecting fine art and exquisite treasures in their mountaintop or cloud-built castles.
  • They dress in rare silks and wear elaborate jewelry, and they enjoy gourmet food and sophisticated music.
  • Cloud giants can magically levitate and create clouds of billowing fog.
  • Cloud giants are not as intelligent as storm giants, but they often make up for it with high Charisma scores.
  • They have a keen sense of smell and can discern the scent of intruders in their homes.

Fire Giant

  • Fire giant leaders often style themselves as “kings.”
  • Fire giants dominate the lands around their home, taking captives as slaves or ransoming them back to their families, and they conscript local monsters such as trolls and red dragons into their service.
  • Among themselves, fire giants rank their numbers based on their skill in crafting weapons and armor, with skill measured by the gear’s practical utility, not its aesthetic qualities.
  • Fire giants are impervious to fire, and they build their homes in hot places such as volcanoes.
  • Fire giants are disciplined fighters and fine strategists.
  • They are strong and hardy, but very bulky and not particularly agile, stealthy, or fleet of foot.

Frost Giant

  • Frost giants value mettle and bravery, and they prove themselves by entering single combat with terrible beasts such as white dragons or remorhaz.
  • Giants who emerge victorious from these combats wear the hide of their enemies as a mark of pride, and they talk about the accomplishment at every opportunity.
  • Frost giants do not back down from a fight, though they prefer single combat that allows them to speak of their personal prowess and accomplishments.
  • Frost giants are unaffected by even the most frigid cold, and they dwell on or in glaciers or ice caves.
  • Frost giants are as strong and hardy as other giants, but not as intelligent as the more powerful giants.

Stone Giant

  • Storm giants are particularly reclusive, and they just want to be left alone in their mountain lairs to play their rock-throwing games and pursue their artistic stonecraft.
  • They award pride of place among their own numbers according to creative and artistic ability, as demonstrated primarily through carving.
  • Stone giants occasionally hold rock-throwing competitions, and typically they carve their boulders with elaborate designs in preparation for these events.
  • Stone giants have thick, rocky skin that protects them as well as armor does, so they tend to dress in little more than a fur draped over a shoulder and around the waist.
  • Their stony skin also helps them hide and blend in among the rocky terrain they favor.

Hill Giant

  • The weakest of the giants, hill giants are really too stupid to care.
  • Renowned for their gluttony, hill giants rank themselves according to their performance in eating contests.
  • Hill giants are slow and lazy, preferring to find allies to do their work for them whenever possible.

So, time for the game.

[[insert ticking clock or Jeopardy theme song]]

 The storm giant is depicted as:  
Giant A
Giant B
Giant C
Giant D
Giant E
Giant F
None of the above

 The cloud giant is depicted as:  
Giant A
Giant B
Giant C
Giant D
Giant E
Giant F
None of the above

 The fire giant is depicted as:  
Giant A
Giant B
Giant C
Giant D
Giant E
Giant F
None of the above

 The frost giant is depicted as:  
Giant A
Giant B
Giant C
Giant D
Giant E
Giant F
None of the above

 The stone giant is depicted as:  
Giant A
Giant B
Giant C
Giant D
Giant E
Giant F
None of the above

 The hill giant is depicted as:  
Giant A
Giant B
Giant C
Giant D
Giant E
Giant F
None of the above

And James left it to me to tell you the sizes on these guys. Well, here you go:

Storm: Approximately 22 feet tall

Cloud: Approximately 22 feet tall

Fire: Approximately 18 feet tall

Frost: Approximately 20 feet tall

Stone: Approximately 20 feet tall

Hill: Approximately 18 feet tall

Do you have additional thoughts on what these giants should look like? Jot them down in the comments section, and give us something to chat about in the next world-building meeting.

Previous Poll Results

How much do you agree or disagree with the following: No matter how pretty a product is, or how good the rules are, if the product isn’t usable, I’m not going to spend my hard-earned dollars on it.
Agree 1733 68.3%
Somewhat agree 576 22.7%
Neutral 113 4.5%
Somewhat disagree 80 3.2%
Disagree 36 1.4%
Total 2538 100.0%

How much do you agree or disagree with the following: I love well-done "in-world" design for my fantasy RPG titles, as long as it still remains readable and usable.
Agree 1548 65.0%
Somewhat agree 477 20.0%
Neutral 237 9.9%
Somewhat disagree 73 3.1%
Disagree 48 2.0%
Total 2383 100.0%

How much do you agree or disagree with the following: I love well-done "in-world" journal style design for my fantasy RPG titles, as long as it still remains readable and usable.
Agree 917 38.5%
Somewhat agree 598 25.1%
Neutral 400 16.8%
Somewhat disagree 275 11.6%
Disagree 190 8.0%
Total 2380 100.0%

How much do you agree or disagree with the following: Overall, usability is more important than "pretty" design.
Agree 1388 57.8%
Somewhat agree 705 29.4%
Neutral 171 7.1%
Somewhat disagree 106 4.4%
Disagree 31 1.3%
Total 2401 100.0%

Jon Schindehette
Jon Schindehette joined Wizards of the Coast in 1997 as the website art director. In the intervening years he has worked as the marketing art director, novels art director, and creative manager. In January of 2009 he moved into the role of senior creative director for D&D. Jon is a long time D&D player (started in 1978), and currently plays in a Tuesday night game and DMs a random pick-up game for younger players. He can be found on Twitter (@ArtOrder) and at theartorder.com.
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