Giants of Pahvelorn

Image from Dark Classics

Before the coming of Lord Arios, giants ruled the Whiskerknife Hills and surrounding areas. The giant-bane Arios, along with his companion the wizard Ismahir, drove the big folk away and built the fortress of Pahvelorn. Some say the giants retreated to the dark places of the earth, others that they were driven south into the Cobramurk Mountains.

The giants themselves believe that they came from the sky. Each glittering star in the evening night, they say, is a palace of their forbearers. The terrestrial giants are divided about the events which brought them to the ground world. Some believe there was a civil war above, and that the giants of the hills and mountains are the remnants of the defeated. Others aver that the over-world was menaced by some great doom, forcing its dwellers into the imperfect world below.

Giants have two uses for humans: meat and slave labor. In the legends, they keep and breed humans like humans keep cattle and dogs. The dull and small ones are intended from the start for the cook pot, but they have also developed a hardier breed which they use for other tasks. These are called drudges. They are large compared to most humans, often seven or eight feet tall, with tough skill and thick, ropy muscles. They cannot speak, and only usually understand a few crude words. Even the best drudges grow old however, at which point they too are destined for the great cleavers of the giant kitchens.

Drudges roll 12 + 1d6 for strength and constitution each, 2d6 for dexterity, and 2 + 1d6 for intelligence (other ability scores are 3d6). They worship all giants as gods incarnate and have no talent for sorcery.

6 thoughts on “Giants of Pahvelorn

  1. LS

    This is good stuff. Very uniquely flavored, while maintaining the feel of oldschool giants.

    Like rat folk, will Drudges be a playable race in Pahvelorn?

    1. Brendan


      I know monster PCs have a long pedigree (dragon/balrog PCs being mentioned in the 3 LBBs and by Holmes, respectively, IIRC), but I would probably discourage the playing of giants directly, for several reasons.

      1. I tend to be wary of aspects that encourage party splitting, for purely practical reasons. For example, such aspects make single player narrative digressions more likely to take longer, which means other players have to sit by and watch. In the cast of the giant, the issue is being unable to fit in places that other PCs could go. In limited situations (such as scouting), this is okay, but it seems like it would be a bigger issue for giant PCs, given that most settings involve exploring things that were designed for humans. The same concern would apply to races with dramatically different means of locomotion, such as flying.

      2. I unashamedly profess a desire for a human-centric game. While I am not entirely opposed to demi-humans, I think there are definitely diminishing returns once you start adding too many other options (a matter of taste, I fully admit).

      3. Familiarity breeds contempt (or at least disenchantment). I believe many of the traditional D&D “evil races” (such as drow) have been made significantly less mysterious (and therefor less interesting) by being made available as PC races.

      4. Making races available as PCs means that one either needs to A) be prepared to improv all aspects of the new race culture or B) impose the somewhat unnatural requirement that PCs of the race have special backgrounds (orphan, whatever).

    2. Gus L

      Issue 4 is especially important I think and overlooked. It’s why all drow/evil race PC’s have the same renegade/orphan story that’s so boring.

      I suppose one could say “Sure you can be a hobgoblin, but you’re Lawful Evil and you eat people” – that’s pretty disruptive though.

      I note that with Drudges and ratlings you’ve set them up to be worked directly into the party narrative no the world narrative which makes it easier. Why is “that” ratling in the party as opposed to why are ratlings adventurers is easier to figure out. Escaped chattel like a Drudge of course is easier, they don’t really have a society to hang out in.


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