Giants are people, too. They’re really big people, and sometimes really dumb, and often really mean, but deep down, they’re people. Sometimes they will be helpful, more often they will be foes, but either way, they have hopes and dreams and lives. This week’s Exotic Encounters provides ten of them, some friend, some foe, and some somewhere in between.
1. Huelwen Manyhorns, Hill Giant Oxherd. Named in part for the size of her herd of massive oxen, Huelwen can often be found roaming the hills and countryside as she tends to her livestock. A wanderer, she leads her oxen with her wherever she goes, keeping them in line with a massive cudgel that she uses as a sort of impromptu shepherd’s crook. Her herd requires rather substantial amounts of food, and quickly strips the surrounding area wherever she goes. She can be convinced to move on sooner than planned and not let her animals tax an area too much, but doing so often requires gifts and bribes.
2. Duey the Cudgel, Hill Giant Bridge Troll. Although not bright in the traditional sense, even by hill giant standards, Duey has enough natural cunning to identify a good deal when he sees one, and when he encountered a bridge troll demanding sacrifices from passersby, he knew that this was the life for him. He sent the troll packing and claimed its bridge as his own, and has been making increasingly outrageous demands of travelers ever since, as he is emboldened with each victim who agrees to his demands—or refuses, and is eaten for supper.
3. Igna Ragnfriedr, Fire Giant Maiden. Engaged to be married to a mighty fire giant warrior by the name of Haraldr Tryggvi, Igna’s dreams of matrimonial bliss have been temporarily put on hold. Her husband-to-be is somewhat outside her social station, and while she has managed to win his heart, his family will never allow them to be wed until she can provide a suitable dowry. While there are several different forms of acceptable dowry, Igna quickly determined that the easiest way for her to pay her marriage dues would be in slaves, and so she is currently travelling the countryside collecting suitable victims to give as a gift to her betrothed.
4. Hakon Asbjorn, Fire Giant Blacksmith. A skilled smith even by the very high standards of the fire giants, there is one thing standing between Hakon’s work and the recognition it deserves: while incredibly durable and well-forged, almost every piece he makes is utilitarian and ugly, failing to make much of an impression on those who see and use them, despite their great quality. He currently travels from place to place, peddling his wares and making use of local forges to practice his craft.
5. Olga Adalbjorg, Frost Giant Mercenary. Banished from her clan when she showed mercy to a pregnant woman during a raid, frost giant tradition dictated that Olga would need to wander the steppes alone for the rest of her days. Instead, she decided to move to human lands, and make her living selling her warrior skills to those willing to pay for them. While she is not what most would call scrupulous or kind-hearted, she does have certain limits she will not cross, no matter the price in coin.
6. Emil Endridi, Frost Giant Hunter. Hailed by his tribe as the greatest hunter in generations, Emil is nearly as skilled as he is prideful. No longer interested in hunting normal game, Emil now reserves his efforts for hunting exceptional and exotic game to hang on his mantle. His most recent kill was an adult white dragon. Occasionally, for sport and practice, he’ll collect a number of humanoid creatures and release them into the steppes, then hunt them all down before they make it a mile from his lodge.
7. Erma Hailwic, Stone Giant Youth. One of the smaller giants in her clan, Erma has always been picked on by other stone giant children. Tired of being treated like the runt of the litter, she has run away from home to prove herself in battle. So far, she hasn’t had much success, and has decided to start off small by attacking things a little smaller than her size: namely, humanoid travelers.
8. Brando Alfhard, Stone Giant Farmer. About as “salt of the earth” as they come, Brando lives a peaceful life on his farmstead, a massive affair that takes up most of a secluded valley high up in the mountains. He grows a variety of crops, all of which are nearly twice as large as humanoid crops of the same kind, but he mostly specializes in beans. He refuses to tell the secret of how he grows his vegetables so big, even when bribed or cajoled, leading some to wonder just what sort of secret it might be.
9. Feidlimid, Cloud Giant Artist. Bearing no last name, Feidlimid is something of a celebrity amongst cloud giants for the masterful pieces of art that she sculpts from marble, ivory, brass, and bronze. Breezy, abstract designs that are as much defined by their negative space as their actual space, these sculptures are all the rage amongst the cloud giants, and even more popular amongst humanoid creatures, on the rare chance they are able to get hold of them. She is currently touring a variety of cloud giant strongholds, demonstrating her crafting process.
10. Aedan Cathasach, Cloud Giant Falconer. While Aedan trains birds of prey, his job title of “falconer” is something of a misnomer, as the animals that he trains are actually rocs and giant eagles. While he is happy to discuss his trade with “lesser races” and may even sell some of his trained birds, Aedan requires a constant supply of targets for his animals to train on, and often captures humanoid creatures to be used for just such a purpose.