PDA

View Full Version : Making giants more playable



Jukashi
2008-04-08, 05:28 PM
I was thinking of making a game where the players are all giants of various kinds; the basic premise is that the giants have a great and noble but isolated nation with the different kinds of giants filling different roles (cloud giants being royals, storm giants their advisors/generals, stone/frost/fire giants being merchants and crafters, and hill giants being roughly equivalent to farmers). The last true giant king has died and the players are a group of adventuring giants sent out into the world of the chaotic and perplexing small folk to retrieve an artifact of the first giant king so as to decide the inheritance of the kingdom.

All well and good so far. Problem is, giants aren't very playable as characters. They have too much hit dice and their level adjustments - where they're noted at all - are similarly massive. And clearly, giants wouldn't be quite giant-like enough if you cut down their advantages too much. So what would you recommend?

Da King
2008-04-08, 05:47 PM
Maybe half giants from the Psionics Handbook?

Jukashi
2008-04-08, 06:07 PM
Maybe half giants from the Psionics Handbook?

Then they'd just be half-giants. I want to play giants who are fully giants, in order to be able to have the world they go through be something small and strange. That's sort of the point of the game.

bugsysservant
2008-04-08, 06:19 PM
Then they'd just be half-giants. I want to play giants who are fully giants, in order to be able to have the world they go through be something small and strange. That's sort of the point of the game.

Then refluff the half giants as a smaller race of true giants that actually breeds true (or do they? I'm never sure with the mongrel races). Have them have their own niche, as military or city dwellers or whatever, then fill the outside world with smaller races.

Dr Bwaa
2008-04-08, 06:22 PM
You could always:

Ignore the bonus Hit Dice (just don't give them to the players) and pretend the LA has all been bought off, so they're ECL 1: and then give everyone else in the world (the non-giants) an appropriate number of "free" levels (so, say your average party level adjustment is +6. Then even the "level 1" clerics of the world can cast level 4 spells.

This results in WAY more multiclassed non-giants, and an overall power increase in the world (as well as a bit of an HP discrepancy, but whatever), but it should work very roughly. You'll have to fudge a lot of things though. This will be really tricky to pull off well, unless you WANT the giants to just be able to crush everything they see and call it a day.

Prometheus
2008-04-08, 07:14 PM
lordhenry4000's strategy works as long as you don't mind players being slightly different power levels relative to each other. I would like to steal that idea and modify it: You could always pick a point and judge everything relative to that. For example, don't ignore all giant HD and LA, only the HD beyond 12 and LA beyond +4 (Hill Giant as the base-line).

GammaPaladin
2008-04-08, 07:22 PM
If all your players are going to be giants, then yeah... Just remove their Hit Dice and LA.

If they're going to be different types of giants, take the LA and Hit Dice of the weakest of the giants your players are going to be, and subtract those numbers from the HD and LA of all of them.

After all, if they're the only characters you need to worry about balancing, then the HD and LA are kind of irrelevant, aside from the differentials in the party.

Then you just crank the CR of their encounters way up to compensate.

Simple enough.

Jukashi
2008-04-08, 07:27 PM
This results in WAY more multiclassed non-giants, and an overall power increase in the world (as well as a bit of an HP discrepancy, but whatever), but it should work very roughly. You'll have to fudge a lot of things though. This will be really tricky to pull off well, unless you WANT the giants to just be able to crush everything they see and call it a day.

For mook-enemies, yes, I'd want them to be crushable. Crushing is what giants do best! But for named NPCs and similar creatures who are supposed to be threats, that works very well.

The different power levels between different giant types is a problem; I was hoping that with each player filling different roles anyway, it wouldn't be so noticeable. I can't really get a feel for how much of a gap there'd be, though, without playing.

Kol Korran
2008-04-08, 07:39 PM
ok, a few ideas:

1) conceptual: make sure the giants realy have a place in society, and are not just related to some "energy type". i'd even suggest to cut out any giants that don't have some depths or real reason for begin there. it will help ground players into the game.

2) create a flavour for "gianthood"- it can't all be about hitting hard and throwing rocks. you just get big humans, and that gets boring real quick... consider their relations to the world, their diets, fighting style and militery tactics, and more.

3) instead of dealing with the varying power levels of the different giants, do this:

start by creating the "common basic giant": pick one of the weaker- medium types, strip them of their special qualities and powers, lower their HD to 6-10, and their stats accordingly, and lower their natural armor. this should be the basic structure upon which you build other giants. it should also lower the ECL towards the medium- lower high levels. think 8-12.
in order to create the different types, award 3-5 advantages and disadvantages to each type. these are to make it unique amongst the races, and reflect the race history and culture.
these qualities should have equel balance between the races! by this you make all races be of similar ECL... one or two types, may have an ECL higher by one or two levels, to show their "elevated" status...
one often disappointing thing about the core giant is that only the cloud and storm types are huge. the rest are but large... or in other words- tougher ogres. i suggest you bump your "basic giant" to Huge size, for the feel of the campaign.
i'd suggest to avoid trying to do it exactly as the basic types. a society divided mainly by an energy type feels a tad silly. if there is context to it however, you mat allow a few. but not all, or even most of giant kin.
you are left with faily similar, still medium- high ECL giants of many races. this is ok, read on.


4) it's quite ok the giants starting adventuirng at this ECL. after all, the simple giants in fantasy have many times fought far greater number of enemies, or way tougher enemies then small creatures have! that is part of what being a giant MEANS! if at level one they stumble into a village or a samll garrison, and all 50-100 militia/ army men attack them, that's fine!

adjust your thinking- the small species (common ones such as elves, humans, dwarves and the likes) act a bit like Kobolds to the giants- they attack in mass, they use clever machinery and swarm tactics to hurt them (it is fairly concievable that giants didn't do much complex engineering- they never much needed to), each "kobold" in it's own is small and weak, but every once in awhile comes a kobold which is far stronger and surprises! (an NPC with enough class levels).

5) as to encounters: make some easely thwarted by the giants size, strentgh, and constituion (posion, grappling, and sovercoming physical obstacles encounters) while in others it might be a hindrance (swimming, stealth, dealing with delicate medium sized equipment and more...). this again emphasizes the theme of the campaign.

feel free to aplly various negative modifiers when dealing with the "smaller world".

6) i suggest you may tweak a bit some of the classes to reflect the different giant culture, though that is not necessery. my two obvious ideas are that no race other than fighter ever learned to use armor (they rely on their natural one), and that the only ranged weapon they know of are rocks (though there can be different types of rcoks). giant religions should be interesting as well... wizards won't write scrolls, but small stone glyphs, animal companions might be larger, and more...

7) if you have the time and patience, design feats, artifacts or tools, and perhaps a prestige class that can be taken by the varied giant races (either dependent on subrace, or just on being a giant). some ideas: longer rock throwing, bigger rocks, greater build (as goliath), smaller build (enabling to use the "small poepl" stuff without penalty) are but soem of the ideas. be sure to make some that reflect the society.

8) one last advice. i've written apost concerning a makeover to stone giants, that might inspire you or give you some ideas. many of the things i discussed here have a small representation there... feel free to use it, alter it, or forget about it, but i can't stress it enough- don't just make giants Big-Strong-People with an enrgy subtype...
the link is (just skip to the second post if the origin of the idea doesn't intrigue you): http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76372

that is all, Kol.

JaxGaret
2008-04-08, 09:59 PM
All well and good so far. Problem is, giants aren't very playable as characters. They have too much hit dice and their level adjustments - where they're noted at all - are similarly massive. And clearly, giants wouldn't be quite giant-like enough if you cut down their advantages too much. So what would you recommend?

1) High level mundane warriors in 3e are (if you haven't noticed) significantly outperformed by their caster counterparts. Giants are going to get creamed by equivalent-level spellcasters.

2) Virtually all monsters-as-PCs are too liberally burdened with weak monster HD and Level Adjustment. This means that a Giant with an ECL of 20 isn't nearly as powerful as a character with 20 levels in PC classes.

Add those two together, and you find out that Giants as PCs really aren't all that strong. You'll actually have a nice toned-down, manageable high level campaign, without having to worry about the shenanigans of the full casters in the party.

More than anything, you'll actually have to be careful of not overestimating their capabilities. I would recommend just letting them play their Giants. It's a cool campaign concept, I approve of it. :smallsmile:

BardicDuelist
2008-04-08, 10:21 PM
Well, remember LA exists to balance things against other players. If all of the players are giants, it shouldn't be a big deal. Just modify the statisitcs to make the different races of giants realitively equal and give a set number of HD (to make them seem big and tough). Leave the world at the same powerlevel it is, but have the challenges be (roughly) 1/2 (HD+LA)+Class Levels. It should work out decently well, with a little ad hocing here and there.

EDIT: I suggest 4 Giant HD and a class level to start out with, and take the lowest level adjustment (+4) and reduce the others (storm, etc.) to be on an equal level (removing some special abilities and reducing large ability score modifiers).

I would take away all SLAs and have the net ability score modifier equal that of the hill giant. That should make everything playable.

I apologize for repeating the same thing in different words, but I wanted to make sure it would make sense at least once.

Mark Hall
2008-04-08, 11:01 PM
One of my preferred methods for balancing Racial HD is to replace ALL of them with NPC class levels, which are generally superior. A giant type is



* 8-sided Hit Dice.
* Base attack bonus equal to total Hit Dice (as cleric).
* Good Fortitude saves.
* Skill points equal to (2 + Int modifier, minimum 1) per Hit Die, with quadruple skill points for the first Hit Die.

If you go Adept, you get less HP and BAB, but a different good save and spellcasting. If you go Aristocrat, you get better skills. If you go Expert, you get a slight hit in HP, and a big bump in skills. If you go Warrior, you get 1/1 BAB. I also have a "hedge wizard" class that is an arcane caster; it uses the same spell list as the Witch from the DMG, but is otherwise an adept.

Khanderas
2008-04-09, 03:06 AM
There was a racial attack in a MUD I played once (very little, as opposed to the years a friend of mine played). It still cracks meup to this day.

The giant PC, puts the enemy in a sack, and SLAMS the sack into the ground several times.

In that mud it was only normal damage (with a size criteria that had to be met), but it is a fun and very valid Giant way to attack. Grapple them, toss them in the bag and slam the bag a few times. So unfair its hilarious.

Other then that, I like the idea. The Giant PC's will be fish out of water, almost no tech makes sense to them, with pleny of opportunities to stand in the center and to get hit by racial prejusticies.

bosssmiley
2008-04-09, 01:29 PM
Take a giant. Totally ignore the rampant and unjust character gimping that is the ECL/LA system. Add 1 to its' CR (for it being a PC, rather than an encounter). Play it as a character of that level. Add class levels to suit.

Anyone wants to go "waaaaaah!" about someone playing a non-LA giant can compare it to a Batman wizard or CoDzilla of the same CR, then go be quiet. As a giant you're basically playing a warrior with big reach, lots of HP and rock-throwing. You're on a par with other characters of the equivalent level that aren't totally b0rked by the system to begin with (like the poor old PHB fighter, monk, etc.).

(after K/Frank Trollman's "Races of War")

Yakk
2008-04-09, 02:35 PM
Giant Base Racial Class:
d12 HD
+1/2 BaB
+1/3 all saves
+5 Racial fortitude save
+2 strength every odd level
+2 con every even level
2 skill points per level, limited skill list.
Minimal weapon/armor proficiency (like a commoner).

Special:
Each level of Giant Racial Class grants +1 effective class level for the purposes of class features of one other class. This can no more than double the level of the target class.

Class features include:
Special abilities and bonus feats gained when gaining levels.
Spellcaster levels
BaB over +1/2, saves over +1/3 (these replace a level of Giant BaB/Saves).
HD over 1d4. Each HD size over 1d4 adds +1 HP to the giant.
Skill points over 2 per level.

...

Next, add in sub-giant racial PrCs that add in racial abilities, or just give out powers along those lines by race.

Start the party off as level 5 giants/level 1 adventuring class.

nerulean
2008-04-09, 04:16 PM
We played an entire campaign as dragons of different colours, all at the same age category and all with the same number of class levels. We went up an age category a session, and by the end we were fighting some sickeningly epic NPCs, but it was hilarious fun.

The only discrepancy we had in the group was when the silver dragon took beguiler and the copper took rogue: the silver dragon's higher hit dice meant higher skill caps, so he outclassed the rogue when it came to their shared class skills, which was all of them. Maybe knock a couple of hit dice off some, or let the others take more class levels to equal them out, but overall don't downpower your giants, upgrade your everything elses.