The Awakening of the Giants
When the forces of darkness descended on all living things of Helca, the great mother stirred fro the first time. From her own form she brought forth the giants. They would fight for her, but after that were not bound to her. Some found their way to dark, others to the light. Most simply tried to live and over thousands of years, their kind – feared and misunderstood – would be hunted to near extinction by the other races… mostly humans and elves.
> The ORDNING hierarchy has little meaning in the Steel Realms. Giants of the realms formed from the blood of the earth. Not born into clan, family, or hierarchy, they were left to find their own way. Giants are made from the bones of the earth itself, born from the womb of Mother Gaia herself.
Homage to None
The giants of the realms do not pay homage to the gods of the giants except in rare circumstances. It was never part of their culture – each races culture rose independently of the Ordning caste or typical religion. This independent streak, and lack of unifying culture is perhaps why the giant races are nearly vanished from Helca. They simply tried to live with the other species, fighting where necessary, collaborating where possible.
Dust to Dust
When a giant dies, it is said that their spirit returns to the earth, to then become cold, fire, cloud or whatever material form associated with their giant one… and to deliver unto Mother Gaia all that they have seen and done so that she may see herself through her children’s eyes. This close link to the earth-mother imbues their bones, skulls, heart and flesh even with mystical vitality. The bones and remains of giants are prized by practitioners of magic for their power that can be tapped – but it is dangerous. The wild spirits may haunt despoilers of its remains in strange ways.
> Angry Memories: An intact giant skull can project violent memories to evoke fear in those seeking to despoil it. Enough brushes with such projected thoughts can cause insanity. Many seek to use such an object on a war totem or battle standard to project fear into the enemy and inspire rage in followers.
> Ritual of Rest: If a giant’s spirit is prevented from rejoining the earth, a ritual (DC 19 unless giant lore is possesses; DC 14) to “ease the passage of the restless dead”
The most enigmatic of the giants, the Stone Giants are master masons and crafters. They prefer caves near the surface, where they find sustenance. They are bitter enemies of the Formorians – arrogant and spiteful. The Stone Giants always seek massive cave complexes with pure water sources underground for them and their cave bear brothers in arms.
> Kanwae Bas: The Stone Giants decorate their throwing stones and personalize them with messages to strike into the ranks of their enemies.
History of the Giants in the Realms
CY 3950-3989; The giants declare the leadership of the dominion flawed and forswear all bonds of fealty.
CY 3949; Giants retreat – All giants retreat to the far north, north of Dundaria, They swear eternal hatred to the Ducateon – whom they blame for their near-extinction. They withdraw from the bonds of sanctuary and declare the wintery north to be theirs and their chosen allies; “Death Awaits all Southlanders”…
CY 3516 – 3947; Troll Wars – The Orrish allies organize a concerted attack upon only Ducateon defenses. Trolls devastate Ducateon forces in the darkness of deep earth no other species can help. The Giants of the west band together – for they can see heat in the darkness and have the strength and size to follow the trolls into their tunnels and into the under-dark. Many a clan of giants is driven to extinction through the constant hundreds of years of warfare. In 3947 the Ducateon bargain with the sibling of a dragon house and end the war – the dragon cleansing their homes and rooting out the trolls – the blood line of trolls is nearly wiped out, while the Ducateon collective is safeguarded forever more with the draconic alliance.
The lines of giants begin to war with each other, with dragons, with ogres, and cannot seem to find a place to live in peace except by fear and intimidation. Many of the lesser giants flee east, south, or into remote places.
Ugly events such as the Seige of Boar-Vrotland in CY 3441 sweep hundreds of giants to their deaths, as if mother Gaia is calling them home.