[Let's Read] G1-2-3 Against the Giants

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Welcome to my Let's Read of Against Giants. In case you're not familiar with it: Against the Giants is a collection of the three AD&D 1e G adventure modules Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl and Hall of the Fire Giant King.

All three adventures set the player characters against the titular giant type in its respective stronghold. They were originally designed as tournament modules and are for high-level parties, unlike all those low-level adventures. The books recommends them to be run in order and possibly in combination with the D and Q module series.



I really like the cover. The giants look creepy and the style is almost Expressionist. Also, the fire giant strikes a pose like a Robot Master from Mega Man. Talking about the cover: It also sums up the plot nicely. Here, I'll spoil it for you:

"Giants threaten the Realms of man! KILL ALL OF THEM!"

Yup, that's about it. That's okay, though. These were originally tournament modules after all and what I want from modules are first and foremost maps, charts, stats and all the other stuff that is cumbersome to write up. So, I'll go through this in order and in one thread (the individual modules aren't that long). The only exception are the original tournament characters. I will discuses those first so you imagine them fighting the giants. :)
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
Heh, I actually own this module. And the subsequent sequels, all the way up to Queen of the demonweb pits.
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
This module can be absolutely brutal, especially if the PCs treat it at a series of set-piece fights instead of taking the strategic approach.

It's also incredibly dense. It's only 32 pages, and covers not one but 3 complete multi-level dungeons. There's zero room for extraneous material, like most roleplaying advice. If the PCs decide to bar the doors and burn down the steading, that's left to the DM.

I love the tournament character names, though. They're the absolute acme of High Gygaxian.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
This module can be absolutely brutal, especially if the PCs treat it at a series of set-piece fights instead of taking the strategic approach.
Hell yeah it is. Especially in the Hill Giant lodge. With all the bad guys feasting in the main hall.

I actually crunched the numbers based on their third edition challenge ratings, and assuming the Head Hill Giant has class levels to give it a CR of a Frost giant, overall the entire encounter is roughly CR 18. (I say roughly because I left the bear out of my calculations.) So yeah, if the PC's try to Leeroy jenkins it they're gonna get steamrolled and hard.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief

Before we start, let's have a look at the tournament characters. We get a total of nine, all with equipment, all at least level nine (except one multiclassed guy) and all speaking a ton of languages.

The first is Gleep Wurp the Eyebiter, a Neutral Good 12th level human mage. Get used to the wacky names. Gleep has solid stats and even CON 16. He carries a silver cross and a Robe of Blending. He only has IN 16, but since he - as all casters - starts with decent spells (including Monster Summoning II and Wall of Stone), that's not really an issue.

Next is Cloyer Bulse the Magsman, a True Neutral 13th level human thief. He's a bit underpowered (then again, all single-class thieves are), but he's the one carrying a Bag of Holding.

We also have Roaky Swerked, a Lawful Neutral human cleric of 12th level. He has pretty good stats and wears magical plate mail. Roaky also carries the Van Helsing Anti-Undead Kit (holy water, garlic...).

Then Frush O' Suggill... seriously, what's up with those names? I don't remember AD&D 1e names being that daft. Anyway, Frush speaks only four languages and is a 14th level Lawful Good human fighter. He seems a bit underpowered stats-wise compared to Roaky, but his AC and hit points (the overall best) probably make him a lot more durable in actual play.

Fonkin Hoddypeak is a 5th/8th level Lawful Good High Elf fighter/mage. With only 29 hit points, Fonkin is pretty fragile. Then again, he has good equipment. Fonkin also speaks fire giant and the Chaotic Good alignment language despite being Lawful Good. Maybe a typo?

We also get another human cleric with Flerd Trantle, this time of 9th level and Lawful Good. He has CHA 18 and would easily have qualified for paladinhood.

There's also a dwarf: Redmod Dumple is a Lawful Neutral dwarf fighter. Though only of 9th level, he has STR 18/74 (he's the only one with percentile strength) and overall solid stats. He also has an Ring of Invisibility that can prove very useful in this adventure.

Faffle Dwe'o-mercraeft is another human mage, this time True Neutral and of 9th level. Once more rather low hit points (33), but then again, we are talking about a pure mage here. He (she?) has Web and Passwall as scrolls, which might also be very useful.

Last but not least is Beek Gwenders of Croodle, a Chaotic Good 9th level half-elf ranger. He (she again?) carries the neat Crossbow of Speed, some elven equipment and speaks frost giant.

To be honest, it's not all that easy to judge these character with all their equipment by just looking at them. They don't seem all that balanced to me, but maybe that's because they were created randomly (i don't know, though). I would love to play the module as a one-shot with these character, though.
 

Barbatruc

Registered User
Validated User
Get used to the wacky names. [...] seriously, what's up with those names?
More than once in the numerous Q&A threads where he held court, Gygax admitted getting those names from a book titled Poplollies & Bellibones, which can be had very cheaply these days. All the bits of all the names are in there (except gleep, which is either a typo for gleed, or a deliberate modification of it). In some cases the various parts of a characters name are thematically related; for example frush is defined in that book as "crush, strike, break", and suggill as "to beat black and blue".
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
... seriously, what's up with those names? I don't remember AD&D 1e names being that daft.
Gygax had a fondness for esoteric anachronisms:

Gleed: Glowing coal
Glee: Squint
Wurp: Killjoy

Cloyer: One who claims a share
Bulse: Bag of diamonds
Magsman: Con man

Roaky: Foggy
Swerked: Gloomy

Frush: Break, charge
Suggil: Beat black and blue

Fonkin: A tool
Hoddypeak: Simpleton

Flerd: Falsehood
Trantles: Things of no real value

Redmod: Hasty, rash
Dumple: To fold into a dumpy shape

Faffle: Stammer
Dweomercraft: Magic

Beek: Warm or bask
Gwenders: Disagreeable feeling you get upon exposure to cold
Croodle: Snug

All legitimate, if archaic words. There are a number of other possible definitions for each word, but I chose the most likely inspiration.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
Also, the names seem fairly gender neutral. So You could probably play them either male or female.
 
Top Bottom