Humbabas owe their inspiration to Mesopotamian myth. Wikipedia has the full story, which serves (among other things) to confirm for me that Mesopotamian myth is awesome and I need to actually learn about it someday. Meanwhile, in game, humbabas are powerful antagonists (CR 19) with the powers of the original words of unmaking (greater shout, distraction, earthquake, power word stun, prismatic aura). Humbabas can also give you an opportunity to ask some big questions before or after the big fight. For instance: If a demon lord can ruin an entire race of giants, what hope do the PCs have? If humbabas are chaotic neutral, not evil, can other demonic servitors be redeemed? Are they true-breeding race, or does the slaying of each humbaba put the whole race one murder closer to extinction?
A lillend searches for her lost twin. Her brother left a century ago to capture the tale of a humbaba’s millennia-long life story, and has never returned.
On the Steppes of Kartouf strange villages exist where terra cotta soldiers farm, forage, and train as if they were living beings. Local legend has it that the soldiers erupt from the ground after the humbaba Vishambi the Ever-Wandering has slept there. Are they his thralls? An accidental byproduct of his cursed wanderings? Or an army in waiting? The Emperor wants answers, and his Most Righteous and Divine Resplendence wants them from the source.
Wings. Wings. Wings. The day Pazuzu stripped them of the ability to fly haunts humbabas to this day. And some have never accepted this fate. No spell—no polymorph, shapechange, or even wish—seems able to undo the punishment. But the combined efforts of drow fleshcrafting and moulder gnome contraptionery might. Normally the ancient giants and these subterranean species would never meet. But at the Great Golden Rift, a gaping scar in the lush veldt of Nialla, the dark-dwelling chirurgeons are hard at work for humbaba Pomerashivan the Twice-Wracked.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 151
I’ve mentioned before my affection for trackless wastes occasionally peopled by inscrutable giants, from Norse myths to Sam Keith’s The Maxx.
Note that while I usually avoid Golarion-specific references, Pazuzu is a real-world mythological figure and has a rich RPG history. (His claiming the skies of the Abyss, rather than a layer, marks him as a calculating schemer and an interesting character.) On Golarion, humbabas’ abandonment by Pazuzu might leave them open to the seduction of Lamashtu, among others.
And after a week’s absence, The New Indie Canon is back—with new Mountain Goats! Download it! Speaking of which, my artist friend/guide J. from my Spain trip asked me to plug and play her old studio mates. I played her request, but given that her friends are Fang Island, it’s not like they need my help.
(Music starts about 30 seconds into the file. The feed can skip, so for best results load in Firefox or Chrome, Save As an mp3, and enjoy in iTunes. Also, my goodbye and the last track, Matt & Kim’s “AM/FM Sound,” got cut off by the feed.)