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Giants are humanoid creatures, usually of great strength and size. Most giants have vision equivalent to that of a human, though some have the capacity to see well in low light or total darkness as well. As a group, they have no other special abilities. They are immune to almost all diseases, and have a slight resistance to poison. Dwarves as a race are experienced at fighting giants, so they are more adept in combat with them.
A female giant has a pregnancy of between nine and fifteen months, depending on the type of giant. Their offspring will reach maturity in around fifty years.
Although their ancestors were immortal, giants' life spans are getting shorter and shorter with each generation. Giants in modern Faerûn have a life expectancy of between 300 and 400 years, although there are thousand-year-old giants still alive. Because their lifespans are so much longer than humans, giants are slow to make decisions and will not be rushed.
The appearance of giants varies according to the type of giant (see true giants below) but they are generally humanoid in appearance, just much larger. Their bone structure is more dense than that of humans, giving them extra toughness but slowing them down a little.
Giants are intelligent creatures with their own set of cultures and customs. The intelligence varies according to the type of giant (and as with humans, with the individual) but most are at least on a human level of intellect, with the exception of hill giants. Most giants see themselves as superior to all other creatures. The ordning is one reason for this, but they are also much larger than many other species, so they will talk down to and patronize smaller folk, regarding them as unimportant. Giants live in tribes, but their numbers are limited because of their size, and the difficulty of finding plentiful food.
Ancestry is important to giants. Most giants can trace their lineage back to Annam All-Father, and it is recited formally when introducing oneself to other giants. Once a relationship has been established between giants, whether it is amiable or hostile, this will be continued further down the lineage. Therefore, reciting one's lineage helps to dictate the relationship that will be established. Frost giant skalds (bards) will include lineage in the sagas they write.
Giants have a different sense of good and evil than most other creatures. A "good" (maat) act for a giant is an act that honors a giant's deity or family, displays bravery, or honors another "good" giant, regardless of the consequences. An "evil" (maug) act is one of cowardice, stealing, betraying a giant's deity, family or trust, or an act that forces a giant from its natural terrain type. Violating the ordning is also considered evil (see Ordning below).
Giants often differ in their religious views between species or even between tribes, having been known to argue and even war with one another over the exact desires of a specific deity. Generally, they all accept Annam All-Father, the creator of giants, as the top of the Ordning, the giant pantheon. Giants respect Xephras as the Great Priest of Annam, the highest figure in the giant religious hierarchy, who resides in Annam's grand temple in the Ice Spires.
The ordning is the social order to which all giants adhere and assigns a rank to each individual giant so that there are none who are equal to one another, only inferior or superior. It is regarded as an act of evil to go against the ordning.
Although the ordning dictates the leader of a tribe and the leader's will must ordinarily be obeyed, it is possible for the priests or shamans of two conflicting tribes to conduct a parley in which their consensus is binding for the leaders of both tribes. The intention of the parley is for both parties to agree upon the will of Annam All-Father in the situation at hand, but often the party with more power simply asserts his own will. This system has been further abused in the past, where tribal priests or shamans engineered conflicts to fulfil desires that they would not normally be able to. In modern Faerûn the numbers of giants are so low that tribal conflicts, and therefore parleys, are rare. In addition, inter-tribal relations are improved compared to the past.
Myths and legendsEdit
Some people, especially those who live exclusively in the cities, do not believe that giants even exist. Others think they are magically altered humans. A human myth states that all giants are evil. This is rumoured to be the cause of the formation of the Blood Riders.
Some giants believe that the stars are dragon queens preparing to scatter dragon eggs across the land. There is a legend that a dragon god lives in the sun and leads the dragons in war.
Festivals and eventsEdit
Once a year, the chiefs of the largest giant tribes on Faerûn make a pilgrimage to the Twilight Vale where the Twilight Spirit appears to them, asking for their help in fulfilling the prophecy of the return of Annam All-Father. The Twilight Spirit appears as a very large, shadowy giant, whose identity is not known.
Giants were inhabiting Abeir-Toril before any of the other humanoid or demihuman races. The first of their kind and the source of the entire species were the sons of Annam All-Father and his wife Othea, who settled on the planet to form a kingdom known as Ostoria. Each of his sons led to a different type of giant.
The giants were soon at war with the dragons. This conflict was to last for over a thousand years. There are differing accounts of its conclusion, although the giants believe it was a result of a stalemate in a game of wah-ree between Annam and the dragon god, while dwarven accounts say that the dragons needed to declare peace to conduct a civil war in which the metallic dragons fought the chromatic dragons.
A true giant is one who can trace its lineage back to Annam All-Father and Othea.
A giant race that believes itself superior to all other giants, with the exception of storm giants.
A militaristic giant that looks somewhat like a huge red dwarf.
A giant who lives in areas frozen year-round and participates in raids.
A selfish giant inhabiting hilly regions.
A shy giant that is nevertheless dangerous when aroused to anger.
A gentle giant that lives mainly in mountains, enchanted cloud islands, or underwater.
The largest of the giants but long ago left for another plane.
These are other giant subraces found throughout Faerûn. When turned to life as incarnate constructs, large-sized or larger artificial humanoids, such as golems, are also defined as giants.
Rare stone giant offshoots created when earth elemental energy warped and twisted their ancestors. They can glide and walk right through stone like earth elementals and raise walls of stone from the ground with their supernatural powers. They resemble tanned, bestial and deformed versions of stone giants.
Once elemental beings, Death giants relocated to the Shadowfell, where they evolved as soul-harvesting creatures. They now have little or no ties to the Elemental Chaos and rarely associate with other kinds of giants.
These ancient giants spend their years seeking out fragments of knowledge.
An elven giant that is amongst the tallest species of giant. Jungle giant
A merfolk-like giant that can assume a more humanoid form to walk on land.
A people of disciplined, honorable giant desert dwellers who live in stable communities which are often isolated.
A grim, nomadic desert-dwelling giant that survives by raising livestock.