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    Default Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Back again with Mr. Consideration's excellent, now over a year old(!) thread, it's time to get your monster on!

    Spoiler: Collection of all Reviews
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    Though this thread was started by Mr. Consideration, and is largely composed of his reviews, anyone is free and encouraged to review a monster. Reviews consist of the following parts:

    Introduction: A brief introduction on the monster, and sometimes an explanation of their history in D&D.
    Art: What is the art of the monster like? Considerations include quality of artwork, creature design, sense of scale, and how well the artwork conveys the monster's feel.
    Purpose and Tactics: How does the monster fight? How should it be used to build an encounter? Are its abilities interesting to use and fun to fight?
    Fluff: What's the background of the monster like? Is it interesting? Is it conducive to plot? If you have any ideas of how to change the fluff of the monster to make it more interesting, put them here.
    Hooks: A collection of your ideas on how to use the monster in a campaign and build quests around it. This is perhaps one of the most important parts of the thread, and you are encouraged to plunder other people's hooks for ideas. Try to come up with some interesting ones!
    Verdict: Your rating of the monster. Good, bad, or mediocre?

    After each rating, there's a short discussion where people suggest their own ideas for using the monster, come up with ideas to improve the monster's fluff or combat abilities, and generally throw around ideas.

    With that said, it's time to get reading the Monster Manual!
    Last edited by Professor Gnoll; 2017-02-25 at 08:37 AM.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I think we're at Storm Giants. I'm assuming someone's already working on that.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    There's some interesting stuff about the Storm Giants in Volo's.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Collection thread updated:

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/shows...4&postcount=27

    Will post future updates in this thread. (Hopefully no one posts any more entries in the previous thread.)

    PS - Thanks for linking to my Collection thread in the OP, Professor Gnoll!

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by odigity View Post
    Collection thread updated:

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/shows...4&postcount=27

    Will post future updates in this thread. (Hopefully no one posts any more entries in the previous thread.)

    PS - Thanks for linking to my Collection thread in the OP, Professor Gnoll!
    Man, I wish I'd remembered your thread existed when I was trying to find the Dread Knight posts a couple weeks ago.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Oh yay, this thread actually got that title!

    I'm already planning on my next few reviews, because leaderboards make me really competitive. So thanks for that odigity.
    l have a very specific preference when it comes to TTRPGs. If you have a different preference, that's fine, but I just want you to know you're having fun wrong.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    As in the last thread, I don't have the DMing experience to write a proper review but I do want to talk about monsters.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    There's some interesting stuff about the Storm Giants in Volo's.
    We'll discuss the Quintessent in the "Let's Read Volo's Guide: Does he really have any idea what.he's talking about?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    So, first up in the thread: The Storm Giant

    So like it's smaller kin, the Storm Giant has been with us since the elder days of 1st edition. These long lived masters of the Ordening are solitary creatures, who take the long view of things. However, they don't fall any rule or structure, following their own conscience instead. (CG done right).

    One interesting thing is that this, the most powerful of the Giants is only on par with a Adult Dragon (CR wise at least)...maybe that's why they lost their war; a stalemate until their ancient foes grew into Ancient status and power...

    Art
    Easily my favorite of the Giants, and a contender for my favorate piece of art in the whole MM. In contrast to the general mediveal theme of most of D&D, the Storm Giant looks as though from an older age. The helmet and pauldrons look decidedly Roman, while the armor looks like Greek scale armor, rather than the conventional chain mail or full plate. The sword seems even older and less refined: "We don't need any newfangled crossguards! Also, I think the pensive expression on the Storm Giant's face is a good match for the reclusive hermit as described.

    In comparison to the other giants, a couple of things stand out. Firstly, (gasp!) there is finally something to judge its scale by: the birds around it's head. And roughly, I think they do a good job of indicating that this thing is two and half stories tall. Secondly, none of the other giants (and this is a problem I've found with most of the larger than medium creatures in the book) are depicted as being looked up at. The Fire Giant, Stone Giant, and Cloud Giant look almost as if they are looking ahead at a creature the same size as them (the Cloud giant does seem to be looking down slightly, but it feels more like he's a head taller than you, rather than more than twice one's height. The Storm Giant, to me at least, does seem like we're looking up at him, and he's not even noticing us, instead staring off into the horizon behind us.

    I also light how the Storm Giant's Lightning Strike is represented: There, but not overwhelming.

    Really, the only issue I have is that the first Google images result for the storm giant is a zoomed out version of the image in the book, and the sword is bent at a weird angle...What!?

    Purpose and Tactics
    In addition to the normal upgrade melee and rock combo off of the standard giant chassis, Storm Giants have a monster of a long range (and I mean long range, as in 500 feet) attack, that's re-chargeable and 12d8 damage to boot. Even if you can make the save, 6d8 is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it's an AoE that can easily hit your squishier party members.

    Also, a big chunk of HP and a decent AC mean that he's not going down fast. He also has immunity to thunder and lightning, and resistance to cold. Also, he has upgraded most of his saves. Really the only thing he's not stellar at are Int saves and Dex saves, which are still +2 and +3 respectively.

    Thank goodness their loners, because one of these guys could pose a massive issue if they have Giant (or non-Giant) retainers to keep foes back from them as they rained down rock and lightning upon them. It would be even worse with Multiple Storm Giants: they could wade into melee and then let loss with their lightning strikes, while being totally immune.


    Fluff
    As mentioned above, they're hermits, seers and and loners. Willing to be helpful, but won't go out of their way to help someone. Long term planners.


    Hooks
    -Knowledge Source: Lore of the ancient past is piecemeal and rare at best. How to find out that critically important information? Can the party climb the treacherous mountain of the Storm Giant Boreas to parley for the knowledge with him. Alternatively, he may be able to shed some light on current happenings, either through reading omens or noticing patterns present in the past.
    -Party Patron: En-lil the Storm Giant takes the long view of things, and acts accordingly...like gathering together a band of unlikely heroes for unknown purposes, years (and/or levels) before they are needed.
    -Scourge of the Arrogant: A giant storm, both literal and figurative, has descended upon the kingdom of Midas, after the crown prince paid a visit the the nearby Storm Giant Tuuli. Can the party figure out how the crown prince offended the Giant, and how she may be placated.
    -Undersea Gateway: The source of waterbreathing at the start of an oceanic or underwater adventure.

    Verdict
    Wonderful, but I wish it was more powerful, something that you could have as a solo end boss in a Giant themed campaign. That said Volo's might have something for us on that front, but it will come later. I'm kind of frustrated that all the Giants seem clustered around level 8.
    Last edited by Sharur; 2017-03-01 at 12:33 AM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharur View Post
    Secondly, none of the other giants (and this is a problem I've found with most of the larger than medium creatures in the book) are depicted as being looked up at. The Fire Giant, Stone Giant, and Cloud Giant look almost as if they are looking ahead at a creature the same size as them (the Cloud giant does seem to be looking down slightly, but it feels more like he's a head taller than you, rather than more than twice one's height. The Storm Giant, to me at least, does seem like we're looking up at him, and he's not even noticing us, instead staring off into the horizon behind us.
    Frost Giant probably comes closest to pulling off the same effect and it's not done as well.


    Storm is definitely one of the more interesting of D&D's traditional giant kinds. They make good allies or quest-givers and the fact they're amphibious lets them use the environment in an unique way, much like we discussed with fire giants. Water may not seem as threatening as lava, but you can't breathe either one.
    Last edited by ShikomeKidoMi; 2017-03-01 at 07:12 AM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I will agree that the Storm Giant could use a power upgrade; in fact, so could Cloud giants.

    Adding class levels to these high-caste giants doesn't seem out of the question. Consider what happens if you give a Storm Giant 5 levels in Druid of the appropriate Land Circle. It seems flavor-appropriate.

    The other thing that could easily upgrade a giant is items. Why should Fire Giants have plate but not Storm or Cloud giants, who could easily afford to buy any armor they desire? Or magic items of various sorts.

    Still, though, a fine effort as the MM goes.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharur View Post
    These long lived masters of the Ordening are solitary creatures, who take the long view of things. However, they don't fall any rule or structure, following their own conscience instead. (CG done right).
    At the risk of starting another alignment debate, there are a few things that bother me with this approach to CG:
    * The Ordning is hard to reconcile with chaotic ideals, especially when seen as a caste system, and they are at the top of it.
    * They are loners. Even couples will separate the moment their children are of age. Not the most interesting take on Chaos.
    * They are prone to terrible tantrums, as per the "storm" theme. In other words, so chaotic it makes their goodness moot.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    * The Ordning is hard to reconcile with chaotic ideals, especially when seen as a caste system, and they are at the top of it.
    The Storm Giants are at the top of the pyramid but they don't actually do any of the work running it (that's left to cloud giants) they simply are the top tier. A Storm Giant is much more likely to remain aloof from the bureaucratic side of their job, mainly getting involved when they feel like the situation merits it. That sounds Chaotic to me.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    At the risk of starting another alignment debate, there are a few things that bother me with this approach to CG:
    * The Ordning is hard to reconcile with chaotic ideals, especially when seen as a caste system, and they are at the top of it.
    * They are loners. Even couples will separate the moment their children are of age. Not the most interesting take on Chaos.
    * They are prone to terrible tantrums, as per the "storm" theme. In other words, so chaotic it makes their goodness moot.
    I think you can have good intentions and want the best for people, and still lose your temper from time to time. It's just that when a storm giant loses their temper it's more spectacular.

    The ordning was not invented by the Storm Giants for their purposes. It was decreed by Amnan the creator of the giants, and is not optional even for a Storm Giant. Or any other giant, for that matter. It's as though you want them to reject the cycle of birth and death because of their chaotic natures. Chaos does not allow you to reject reality.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
    http://easydamus.com/character.html

    I am a Ranger Archetype: Gleaming Warden (thx to Ninja Prawn)

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I see the reasons, but I still think storm giants must be conflicted creatures. Free spirits under divine decree. Kind spirits whose lost temper can loose a tempest. Maybe that's a plus for the story.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    I see the reasons, but I still think storm giants must be conflicted creatures. Free spirits under divine decree. Kind spirits whose lost temper can loose a tempest. Maybe that's a plus for the story.
    A mourning giant, whose despair is creating a storm on the city below the mountain?

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    A mourning giant, whose despair is creating a storm on the city below the mountain?
    Then when he finds out he's causing trouble for the city below, the storms become worse because of the guilt he feels for causing people harm. Which leads to a cycle of despair and tempests. How can you get those storms to stop?

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Maybe the giant goes away for awhile, until their emotions calm down. Away to somewhere where there aren't people who can be hurt by storms...


    Maybe that's why Storm Giants are aquatic...

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharur View Post
    Maybe the giant goes away for awhile, until their emotions calm down. Away to somewhere where there aren't people who can be hurt by storms...


    Maybe that's why Storm Giants are aquatic...
    While I love the quirk of taking residence either very high or in the deeps, the second option probably has them endanger aquatic humanoids with the underwater equivalent of a storm.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    If I made a series of monster based on the five stages of grief, I think the Storm Giant would be good for the Depression stage.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I don't know that chaotic == lacks self control.

    Anyway, the interesting thing is why they don't reign in the 50% of cloud giants that are neutral evil. Seems like something that CG peeps ought to care about.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
    http://easydamus.com/character.html

    I am a Ranger Archetype: Gleaming Warden (thx to Ninja Prawn)

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    While I love the quirk of taking residence either very high or in the deeps, the second option probably has them endanger aquatic humanoids with the underwater equivalent of a storm.
    I didn't think of aquatic equivalents of storms.

    I thought of there empathic link to weather was just that, in a functional way. So if they're emotionally unstable underwater, they wouldn't create, e.g. whirlpools or something, they would just create a storm in the sky above them. So they might create waves, which doesn't really affect much of anything, and sea water generally forms a buffer to keep anything from being affected by lightning unless it's on the surface.

    So, as I understood it, the sea is a "safe zone" for moody Storm Giants...

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    They drown their sorrows, so to speak?

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    They drown their sorrows, so to speak?
    *slow claps*

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    They drown their sorrows, so to speak?
    What shall you do with this Internet you just won?
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
    http://easydamus.com/character.html

    I am a Ranger Archetype: Gleaming Warden (thx to Ninja Prawn)

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    You can say they want to avoid storming out.

    And to think people call the Giants fair-weather friends.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2017-03-02 at 04:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    What shall you do with this Internet you just won?
    I shall be a just and benevolent ruler. Then no one will suspect me for my terrible terrible crimes...OF KEEPING ALL THE CUTEST CAT VIDEOS FOR MYSELF!!!!

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    Anyway, the interesting thing is why they don't reign in the 50% of cloud giants that are neutral evil. Seems like something that CG peeps ought to care about.
    Cloud Giants are masters of deception, and Storm Giants really just don't want to have to get involved in day-to-day Ordning politics. I doubt they have access to the monster manual, after all.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Spellbreaker26 View Post
    Cloud Giants are masters of deception, and Storm Giants really just don't want to have to get involved in day-to-day Ordning politics. I doubt they have access to the monster manual, after all.
    I am also under the impression that the Ordning runs on blue and orange morality. As long as giants behave in a giantly fashion, they have no reason to rein in.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    I am also under the impression that the Ordning runs on blue and orange morality. As long as giants behave in a giantly fashion, they have no reason to rein in.
    That would explain how the various giants run the full gamut of alignments, in both axis.

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