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nonsi
2018-12-05, 05:59 AM
.

It always seemed to me that 3e giants are poorly designed.
- Their CR is too far below their HD.
- They're not nearly as versatile as they could be.
- Size differences is a big issue in 3e and still there isn't a single Gargantuan giant in 3e. It feels to me like the Titan should definitely have been Gargantuan.

Bottom line, they're not nearly as impressive as I'd expect such an iconic monster group to be.


So, which giants would you change and in what manner?

PairO'Dice Lost
2018-12-05, 07:11 PM
- Their CR is too far below their HD.
- Size differences is a big issue in 3e and still there isn't a single Gargantuan giant in 3e. It feels to me like the Titan should definitely have been Gargantuan.

Right now, giant CR is uniformly about 2/3 of giant HD, so the best way to fix this is probably to change the Giant type BAB from 3/4 to 1/1, change HD type to d10, reduce giants' HD to their CR, increase all of their sizes by +1 category, and add an extra +4 Con on top of the size-based increase. That gets you CR=HD and bigger giants while keeping their stats about the same.

For comparison:

Type (CR)Size (Str, Con) BeforeSize (Str, Con) AfterAttack (BAB, Str, size) BeforeAttack (BAB, Str, size) AfterSaves BeforeSaves AfterHP BeforeHP After
Hill (7)Large (Str 25, Con 19)Huge (Str 33, Con 27)+15 (+9, +7, -1)+16 (+7, +11, -2)+12/+3/+4+13/+2/+312d8+48 (102)7d10+56 (101)
Frost (9)Large (Str 29, Con 21)Huge (Str 37, Con 29)+18 (+10, +9, -1)+20 (+9, +13, -2)+14/+3/+6+15/+1/+214d8+70 (133)9d10+81 (130)
Cloud (11)Huge (Str 35, Con 23)Gargantuan (Str 43, Con 31)+22 (+12, +12, -2)+23 (+11, +16, -4)+16/+6/+10+17/+5/+917d8+102 (178)11d10+110 (170)

Then you can bump the Titan all the way up to Colossal so they tower over regular ol' giants, as they should.


- They're not nearly as versatile as they could be.

That's to be expected, since they're basically barbarians writ large. This is partly addressed by the above change, since now there's more room for class levels; an old stone giant had 14 HD and a new one has 8 HD, so a new stone giant can take 6 more class levels pre-epic, giving it much more versatility via class features. Other than that, fixing this part depends on what kind of versatility you want them to have.

If you want different types to have slightly different combat niches, you can give all the giant types SLAs like the Cloud and Storm Giants have, and maybe give those two a couple more SLAs too. The Cloud Giant does vision blocking with its clouds, and you could add solid fog for some area control; and the Storm Giant does blasting with its lightning, and you could add control winds so it has something between instant lightning and massive weather control; so you could give the Stone Giant stone shape, bones of the earth, and the like for terrain manipulation; the Fire Giant flame blade, fire shield, and the like to be a bigger melee threat; the Frost Giant ice storm, snowsong, and the like for debuffing; and the Hill Giant a beefed-up version of magic stone, launch item, and the like to be a bigger rock-throwing threat.

If you want individual giants to have more of a variety of what they can do, you can fall back on either class levels or a similar give-them-SLAs tactic as above, though giving them broad enough SLAs to widen their roles has the risk of making them too similar and seem like merely palette-swapped versions of each other (which they basically are now, but which would be good to get away from).

jiriku
2018-12-05, 07:32 PM
My typical fix is to give giants the elite array and one level of swordsage. Their high HD permits them to take mid-level maneuvers, and maneuvers like Bonecrusher, Comet Throw, Step of the Wind, and Burning Blade (for fire giants, substitute cold or electricity for frost or storm giants) make them feel very "giantish." Picking up a PC and throwing him at another PC just exactly conveys their enormous size and power.

I also introduced a new exotic weapon favored by giants, the heavy warmace. They take EWP: heavy warmace and Improved Critical: heavy warmace to land huge crits frequently. Terrified the crap out of my players, which is just the way I like it.

For your use:

heavy warmace
Two-handed exotic weapon. Damage is 2d6 bludgeoning with a 19-20/x3 critical threat. Base damage is a 3d6 when sized for a large giant or 4d6 when sized for a huge one.

Converting the damage to slashing produces a heavy war axe or heavy war sword if that suits a particular giant better.

Nifft
2018-12-05, 07:36 PM
Give 'em class levels.

Fewer racial HD, more customization, more *threat*.

Make a Giant-specific PrC which increases their size, so the more advanced ones can be bigger threats -- or let them take Psychic Warrior levels with access to expansion, and let them King of Smack with their hefty head start on size.

rferries
2018-12-06, 04:48 AM
Improving the giant type is of course an option (as was mentioned earlier), certainly full BAB would seem appropriate.

However, as suggested above and in keeping with the principles of the LA-Reassignment thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?518086-The-LA-assignment-archive&p=21798987), I'd reduce or waive the racial Hit Dice (note that ogres are only worth LA+0 in that thread, and all the standard giants have a negative LA).

The advantage of reducing racial HD is that you can promote other giant archetypes - e.g. a frost giant cleric with spells on par with the PC's spells, but without a colossal amount of hit dice (racial + class levels).

In general, the "average" giant could have a few racial hit dice, plus a bunch of fighter levels to emulate the CR of their current entries.

Giant leaders are often described as spellcasters, so make them full-fledged clerics/sorcerers/etc (this time only a few spellcaster levels behind PCs, rather than being a CR 15+ giant with only a few class levels).

Finally, it might be worth reducing the bonuses and penalties of Large+ size. As it is the system is very binary - e.g. unless a fighter devotes their build to grappling she'll be helpless in a wrestling match against a giant, which doesn't feel very epic. Conversely, going too far above Large size inflicts huge penalties to AC and attacks for the giant when not grappling/bull-rushing etc. The size modifiers could go in a flat +/- 1/2/3/4 progression, rather than a +/- 1/2/4/8 progression. This would make a Colossal spellcasting giant more viable, for example.

nonsi
2018-12-06, 09:34 AM
Right now, giant CR is uniformly about 2/3 of giant HD, so the best way to fix this is probably to change the Giant type BAB from 3/4 to 1/1, change HD type to d10, reduce giants' HD to their CR, increase all of their sizes by +1 category, and add an extra +4 Con on top of the size-based increase. That gets you CR=HD and bigger giants while keeping their stats about the same.

For comparison:

Type (CR)Size (Str, Con) BeforeSize (Str, Con) AfterAttack (BAB, Str, size) BeforeAttack (BAB, Str, size) AfterSaves BeforeSaves AfterHP BeforeHP After
Hill (7)Large (Str 25, Con 19)Huge (Str 33, Con 27)+15 (+9, +7, -1)+16 (+7, +11, -2)+12/+3/+4+13/+2/+312d8+48 (102)7d10+56 (101)
Frost (9)Large (Str 29, Con 21)Huge (Str 37, Con 29)+18 (+10, +9, -1)+20 (+9, +13, -2)+14/+3/+6+15/+1/+214d8+70 (133)9d10+81 (130)
Cloud (11)Huge (Str 35, Con 23)Gargantuan (Str 43, Con 31)+22 (+12, +12, -2)+23 (+11, +16, -4)+16/+6/+10+17/+5/+917d8+102 (178)11d10+110 (170)

Then you can bump the Titan all the way up to Colossal so they tower over regular ol' giants, as they should.



That's to be expected, since they're basically barbarians writ large. This is partly addressed by the above change, since now there's more room for class levels; an old stone giant had 14 HD and a new one has 8 HD, so a new stone giant can take 6 more class levels pre-epic, giving it much more versatility via class features. Other than that, fixing this part depends on what kind of versatility you want them to have.

If you want different types to have slightly different combat niches, you can give all the giant types SLAs like the Cloud and Storm Giants have, and maybe give those two a couple more SLAs too. The Cloud Giant does vision blocking with its clouds, and you could add solid fog for some area control; and the Storm Giant does blasting with its lightning, and you could add control winds so it has something between instant lightning and massive weather control; so you could give the Stone Giant stone shape, bones of the earth, and the like for terrain manipulation; the Fire Giant flame blade, fire shield, and the like to be a bigger melee threat; the Frost Giant ice storm, snowsong, and the like for debuffing; and the Hill Giant a beefed-up version of magic stone, launch item, and the like to be a bigger rock-throwing threat.

If you want individual giants to have more of a variety of what they can do, you can fall back on either class levels or a similar give-them-SLAs tactic as above, though giving them broad enough SLAs to widen their roles has the risk of making them too similar and seem like merely palette-swapped versions of each other (which they basically are now, but which would be good to get away from).


Most of your suggestions (in spirit if not in practice) suit my needs.
For the sake of minimizing adaptation effort and bookkeeping, I've decided against changing ability scores or the sizes of Hill...Storm.
Titan and Mountain Giant are both modified to Gargantuan size. The former maintains Powerful Built while shape-changed.
All giants become a lot more formittable in melee and more resistant to being turned off like a switch by mental manipulators (to prevent giants from being glass cannons).


Here's my proposed solution: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=18778222&postcount=31 (see "Redesigned Monsters")

AFAITC, it doesn't interfere with adding as many class levels to giants as one wishes.


To avoid unnecessary question marks, heres the added homebrew feat (inspired by the War Hulk PrC):

Mighty Swing
Requirements: Cleave, Imp. Bull Rush, Awesome Blow
Benefit: As a full round action, you may apply Awesome Blow vs. all opponents within reach in a 180-degrees arch.
Special: As a standard action, you may apply Awesome Blow vs. all opponents within reach in a 90-degrees arch. (Hello Sauron :smallbiggrin:)




Notice that to adapt my proposal to official 3.5e, you should apply the following changes (basically the reverse of Monster Adaptation (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=18777508&postcount=28)):


1. Ignore skills. Take from the official giants. They're close enough to disregard the differences. Recalculate if you wish to be accurate (or optimize).

2. HP (average by HD) should be:
- Hill Giant: 76
- Stone Giant: 102
- Frost Giant: 136
- Fire Giant: 147
- Cloud Giant: 172
- Storm Giant: 207
- Titan: 390
- Mountain Giant: 462

3. Apply the following modifications to saves: (my project proposes ability redundancy for saves between: Con<->Str , Dex<->Int , Wis<->Cha)
- Hill Giant: -3 Fort
- Stone Giant: -4 Fort
- Frost Giant: -4 Fort, -1 Ref
- Fire Giant: -5 Fort, -1 Ref
- Cloud Giant: -6 Fort
- Storm Giant: -8 Fort, -1 Ref
- Titan: -2 Fort, -4 Ref
- Mountain Giant: -3 Fort

4. For all giants starting at Frost, throw away whatever you will in favor of Power Attack feat.









Improving the giant type is of course an option (as was mentioned earlier), certainly full BAB would seem appropriate.

However, as suggested above and in keeping with the principles of the LA-Reassignment thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?518086-The-LA-assignment-archive&p=21798987), I'd reduce or waive the racial Hit Dice (note that ogres are only worth LA+0 in that thread, and all the standard giants have a negative LA).

The advantage of reducing racial HD is that you can promote other giant archetypes - e.g. a frost giant cleric with spells on par with the PC's spells, but without a colossal amount of hit dice (racial + class levels).

In general, the "average" giant could have a few racial hit dice, plus a bunch of fighter levels to emulate the CR of their current entries.

Giant leaders are often described as spellcasters, so make them full-fledged clerics/sorcerers/etc (this time only a few spellcaster levels behind PCs, rather than being a CR 15+ giant with only a few class levels).


I won't have spare time in the next few days to figure cpellcasting variants for giants.
Not sure if and when I'll get to it. In the meantime, you can always add spellcaster levels as you see fit.





Finally, it might be worth reducing the bonuses and penalties of Large+ size. As it is the system is very binary - e.g. unless a fighter devotes their build to grappling she'll be helpless in a wrestling match against a giant, which doesn't feel very epic. Conversely, going too far above Large size inflicts huge penalties to AC and attacks for the giant when not grappling/bull-rushing etc. The size modifiers could go in a flat +/- 1/2/3/4 progression, rather than a +/- 1/2/4/8 progression. This would make a Colossal spellcasting giant more viable, for example.


Playing with size-based bonuses and penalties is a bigger adventure than I care to get myself into right now. Don't have the drive to wrap my head around what the implications would be.
Yes, wrestling giants is an nightmare A-LA core, but there are workarounds if that's where you're aiming as a melee character (e.g. Reach Spell feat + Giant Size spell). Of course some solutions might require cooperation.

khadgar567
2018-12-06, 10:13 AM
well for the start give all giants sorcerer spellcasting equal to hit dice nearly all giants are powerful casters ( okay anyone worth the salt as big bad of the arc). then give them shapechanger subtype this makes them deadly and flexible enough that most nonknowledge able parties gonna get that rude awakening they need before hitting major adventures. these guys make major European myths interesting not due to being dumb muscles but deadly sorcerers who don't have any problems getting their hands dirty. in Nordic mythology, this guys duke out with gods and beat them to extinction Ragnarok.

nonsi
2018-12-06, 10:47 AM
well for the start give all giants sorcerer spellcasting equal to hit dice nearly all giants are powerful casters ( okay anyone worth the salt as big bad of the arc). then give them shapechanger subtype this makes them deadly and flexible enough that most nonknowledge able parties gonna get that rude awakening they need before hitting major adventures. these guys make major European myths interesting not due to being dumb muscles but deadly sorcerers who don't have any problems getting their hands dirty. in Nordic mythology, this guys duke out with gods and beat them to extinction Ragnarok.

I'm no expert when it comes to Nord mythology, but in "Thor, Ragnarok", Surtur s basically displayed as a dumb shmo with a big sword.
Plus, since there's population for every type of giant, I'd expect the majority to be common folk. Any spellcasting should come on top of that, not inborn.

regarding the shapechanger subtype - that could be applied via templates or actual class levels (including classes tailor-made for giants).
Btw, titans are intrinsically shapechangers.

As for "anyone worth the salt" . . . I'm open to opinions, but it seems to me like my proposed changes now put giants in the position of "worth the salt".

I'm contemplating granting the bigger giants means of shattering magical barriers, just not sure how to go about it ATM. At least outdoors they can easily go around them in most cases.

khadgar567
2018-12-06, 11:34 AM
both Loki and utgard Loki( Loki's lesser giant counterpart) are casters and quite good at scheming part. plus basically, most of Norse gods are either descendants from giants or married to them then there is the whole formor angle for giants ( Irish mythology) nearly all of us know Balor and his eye. one book I read said Balor was a strong magician but when the mortal magic user starts to use implements he enchanted his eye to become an implement of his. so that's, why I said give them sorcerer casting as most of the inteligent giants, are casters with decent muscle in the magic department

rferries
2018-12-06, 11:47 AM
Hmmm yes, different mythologies have a variety of different powers for giants. Maybe give them inherent magic items too (a la Jack and the Beanstalk), shapeshifting powers (Puss In Boots), illusion abilities (unwitting Thor vs Old Age and the Midgard Serpent etc)... I'll second the idea that some could just be given racial spellcasting without bumping the CR too much.

nonsi
2018-12-06, 02:21 PM
Hmmm yes, different mythologies have a variety of different powers for giants. Maybe give them inherent magic items too (a la Jack and the Beanstalk), shapeshifting powers (Puss In Boots), illusion abilities (unwitting Thor vs Old Age and the Midgard Serpent etc)... I'll second the idea that some could just be given racial spellcasting without bumping the CR too much.

1. I don't want to bump their CR at all. I find it quite elegant when CR = HD.
2. Speaking of Thor, I remember that of all the blue giants he slayed there wasn't a single spellcaster.

Yes. Giants can be spellcasters, but that doesn't mean that they have to be spellcasters.
I see no problem in adding spellcaster levels to an encountered giant, or in creating giant races with more emphasis on mental stats over physical stats.

rferries
2018-12-07, 04:08 AM
1. I don't want to bump their CR at all. I find it quite elegant when CR = HD.
2. Speaking of Thor, I remember that of all the blue giants he slayed there wasn't a single spellcaster.

Yes. Giants can be spellcasters, but that doesn't mean that they have to be spellcasters.
I see no problem in adding spellcaster levels to an encountered giant, or in creating giant races with more emphasis on mental stats over physical stats.

1. Absolutely, that's my preference too. I love CR 12 creatures with 12 HD - their BAB, saves, feats etc all calculate perfectly with no fractions :D

2. Was a reference to this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9Atgar%C3%B0a-Loki)myth. :)


The contests, too, were an illusion. Śtgarša-Loki reveals that Loki had actually competed against wildfire itself (Logi, Old Norse "flame"), Žjįlfi had raced against thought (Hugi, Old Norse "thought"), Thor's drinking horn had actually reached to the ocean and with his drinks he lowered the ocean level (resulting in tides). The cat that Thor attempted to lift was in actuality the world serpent, Jörmungandr, and everyone was terrified when Thor was able to lift the paw of this "cat", for Thor had actually held the great serpent up to the sky. The old woman Thor wrestled was in fact Old Age (Elli, Old Norse "old age"), and there is no one that old age cannot bring down. Śtgarša-Loki concludes by telling Thor that it would be better for "both sides" if they did not meet again. Upon hearing this, Thor takes hold of his hammer and swings it at Śtgarša-Loki but he is gone and so is his castle. Only a wide landscape remains.[8]

As for spellcasting abilities, yeah certainly no need to make them all spellcasters or give them all special abilities! :) I was just brainstorming.

khadgar567
2018-12-07, 10:21 AM
1. Absolutely, that's my preference too. I love CR 12 creatures with 12 HD - their BAB, saves, feats etc all calculate perfectly with no fractions :D

2. Was a reference to this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9Atgar%C3%B0a-Loki)myth. :)



As for spellcasting abilities, yeah certainly no need to make them all spellcasters or give them all special abilities! :) I was just brainstorming.
Probably mine was from magus chase chronicles were our youn enhjar meets utgard loki and stops ragnarok from happening.

noob
2018-12-07, 06:09 PM
I think I would make all the giants have the chicken sub type.