Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hill Giant

The hill giant is—hey, wait a minute…

The Daily Bestiary is on vacation!

I’m spending the week in Barcelona.  And while I’ve been good about updating when I’ve been in the U.S., this is one trip where the big fat Bestiary hardcovers are going to have to stay behind.  Stay tuned for more monsters and full-length posts when I—Desna willing—get back.

…And back I am.  Thanks for your patience.  So let’s get to it, shall we?

The hill giant is the smallest of the true giants, as well as the most common—its larger cousins tend to be confined to the far corners of the world, but the hill giant could be lurking just behind (or throwing) the very next boulder.  And this ubiquity is key to hill giants’ utility to the GM.  As boss monsters, they’re duds; there’s only a narrow window in which attacking a hill giant steading is a challenging adventure for the PCs.  But as henchmen, side treks, wandering monster encounters, etc., hill giants are fantastic.  Any encounter is bound to be more challenging, chaotic, and spellcaster-squishing when a boulder-throwing, Cleaving, CR 7 dimwit is involved.

Two-House (named because he’s as big as two houses) was orphaned as a teenager and made his way to the town of Marsden, where a mason recruited him to help with bricklaying, demolition, and any other jobs requiring either muscle or height.  He’s very impressionable, though, and has recently fallen in with a bad pack of thugs.  They quickly realized he was too well known to do second-story work and too strong for simple muggings.  But by sending him on ludicrous errands (like climbing the clock tower to give it a polishing), they’ve managed to keep the Watch distracted during a number of successful heists.

Signal towers keep being destroyed along the Inneskell frontier.  The culprits are two tribes of hill giants who meet every year for caber tossing and mating.  The tribes have realized that knocking down the wooden towers and harvesting the corner posts for cabers is way easier than chopping down and stripping trees themselves.

Con artist Shyven Duarte aimed big this time.  On his direction, a hill giant band walked off with the wagon carrying the viscount’s tax haul and his daughter.  Duarte’s plan was to get a cut of the loot (“some small compensation for my troubles”), plus a reward (“a referral bonus”) from the viscount for hiring adventurers to slay the beastly kidnappers, plus his share (“a finder’s fee”) of whatever the adventurers acquired in the effort.  One problem: the hill giant chief ate the lady the very night of the raid.  Now Duarte desperately tries to stall the very adventurers he hired from finding out the truth, while being constantly haunted by the image of the woman being devoured before his eyes.

Pathfinder Bestiary 150

Ryan Costello has more on hill giants in Giants Revisited, including a harsh look at their child-rearing (or lack thereof) and some good advice for GMs on handling combat with them.

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