Cliff giant culture seems to owe inspiration to the various pictogram-painting and petroglyph-carving tribes of the American Southwest. (If that wasn’t already clear from the description, check out Roberto Pitturru’s art in the Bestiary 4.) So PCs will likely be aware of cliff giants in the general sense from a great way off. Actually encountering the giants themselves will take more work, because while they are benevolent in nature (neutral good, in game terms), cliff giants prefer their solitude and live in difficult-to-reach terrain.
Still, if an adventuring party’s luck goes bad in the badlands, a cliff giant family capable of casting cure moderate wounds might be a godsend. And a cliff giant’s other abilities make them the consummate guides, able to handle animals, know direction, speak with animals, commune with nature, stone shape away rock falls, and even detect poison in the local watering holes. Got a bulette or purple worm problem? Thirty feet of tremorsense will at least give you a split-second of warning.
That’s assuming PCs recruit cliff giants as allies. Just because they’re neutral good, that doesn’t make cliff giants automatically friendly. On the contrary, they can be quite enthusiastic defenders of their solitude, and the territory they demarcate as off-limits can cover a wide swath indeed.
Shapeshifters move among the pueblo folk of Fire Canyon—strange aberrations resembling an Advanced, desert variety of faceless stalker. Tales tell of a cliff giant family who used to guard the canyon from such evils, and village elders discreetly send adventurers to find them. Detecting their approach, the cliff giants rig traps along the route and send animals to harry them. Their intent is not malicious, but they are determined to prove the adventurers are humanoid by judging their reactions—and by what color they bleed.
A cliff giant shaman has fallen to evil, listening to fell whispers on the wind that would drive even a yeti mad. Already the glyphs he paints along the cliffs seem to writhe in agony and bloodlust. Members of his clan feel they cannot do anything about him—to harm a shaman is taboo, and besides, he is related to all of them by blood—but outsiders may. Ending the threat he poses will be no easy task, however. In addition to being an oracle, like all his kind he is a savvy mountaineer. Worse still, the powers he now worships have sent two rift drakes to aid him.
Adventurers traverse the badlands in a mammoth-like clockwork walker when cliff giants attack them. If parley can established, the reason for the assault becomes clear: The adventurers’ walker too closely resembles the machines poised to destroy the cliff giants’ home. The giants’ home range is being bored through by great smoke-belching tunneling machines, clearing the way for something called an “arcanomotive.”
—Pathfinder Bestiary 4 126
There’s going to be a lot of clockwork happening for the next two weeks, so I thought I’d get started early.
Meanwhile…we’re back! Thank you again for your patience. Not having to blog gave me some much-needed breathing room during a really stressful week and a half. I’m excited to be back, though (and yes, I will get to any delayed entries as soon as I can). Thanks also to everyone who subscribed or reblogged in the meantime—you really kept the blog’s momentum going.
Since this is a Pathfinder-centric page, I'd be remiss if I didn’t mention that at time of writing Paizo has a pretty major sale on right now. Since I buy role-playing game books the way most people by food, if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck I put some recommendations up over on Reddit for you to peruse.
Monster blogger spins songs from Monster! That’s almost a palindrome right there.
I was back on the air this week, playing new music, training new DJs, and celebrating the 20th anniversaries of R.E.M.’s Monster and the Cranberries’ No Need to Argue. Listen!
(Link good till Friday, 10/10, at midnight. If the feed skips, Save As an mp3 and enjoy in iTunes.)