Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Taiga Giant

I’m on record being skeptical about golem varieties.  (I don’t care how cool its powers are—a mask golem is still a mask golem.)  I have a similar kneejerk suspicions when it comes to new giant types: Not every terrain needs one.  (“Into the clearing charges…a subtropical fog forest giant!”)

I never felt that way with taiga giants.  Part of it is that there’d never been a taiga anything in role-playing before (at least that I knew of), so taiga giants felt new and original.  (Plus the whole spirit summoning thing is pretty cool.)  And part of it was pure worldbuilding: Taiga giants were introduced so tantalizingly early in the pages of Pathfinder (#4: “Fortress of the Stone Giants”) that they’ve always felt like an established part of the world.

So maybe that’s a good lesson to take from this monster.  Introduce a creature early enough in your campaign and it will feel natural from the outset.  If PCs have been hearing tavern tales of taiga giants since first level, they will believe in them as creatures, not stat blocks, when they finally arrive at the gaming table.

Not all the prospectors at Devil’s Gulch are human-sized.  A taiga giant who rarely speaks, Brewing Thunder is an enigmatic figure.  Parties that aid him—say, rescuing his pet dire bear from a bad fall—might even strike up a friendship of sorts.  But when gnome prospectors open the Cave of the Yellow Sign, Brewing Thunder is the first to go mad and begin killing.

The world is round…but it isn’t.  Elves and gnomes in particular speak of places in the taiga that defy the curve of the globe and stretch into other realms of existence.  They cannot reach these places alone—this is the price of their exile from the Fey Flowering—but taiga giants can, following their dire tigers and the spirits of their ancestors to such fabled retreats (and prisons) as Joyfall, Titanhope, Ur Leng, and the Cairn Glade.

A samsaran has fallen off the path of reincarnation.  To find her way again, she must commune with the spirits of her ancestors to find her own soul.  To do this, she and her friends must first bathe in the elemental-haunted streams of Mount Zenj, barter with changeling tinkers, and then travel to the Evertaiga where the spirits can be heard most clearly.  Unfortunately, her ancestors bear dismal news: Her soul is due to be burned for fuel in the Daemon Kiln by a taiga giant soul eater.

Pathfinder #4 84–85 & Pathfinder Bestiary 2 131

For more on taiga giants, Jason Nelson serves up a chapter in Giants Revisited.

Also, we’ve hit a milestone: As of today, I have as many Tumblr followers as I do Tumblr posts.  That’s a follower a day!  Sincere thanks, you guys.

Sometimes I do things besides think about monsters.  Like help make music videos.

(PS: If you have a band or are a musician, this video is part of a contest.  You should enter.)

1 comment:

  1. Cave of the Yellow Sign and Ur-Leng? I love the Lovecraft homages, I haven't been able to incorporate enough of Carcosa/Hastur in my campaigns.

    Speaking of Taigas, the Taiga was a dual land in early M:tG, so it along with Bayou and Tundra introduced me to a lot of geography as a first grader long ago. But there has been a dearth of Taiga-based things in RPG's, definitely looking forward to related Northern beasties such as the Wendigo.