Wandering Monsters: They Might Be Giants

Giants again, though this time it is the more exotic cyclops, titan, and ettin.

I find it odd that despite having one eye that the cyclops, for me at least, is pretty forgettable. In 2nd Edition they were basically Huge humanoids that lived in isolation, herding sheep, and if they saw you would try to hit you with things. This was standard fare for virtually every other giant race, except that they did not have randomized spellcasting to shake things up.

I could not even remember anything about them for 3rd Edition, and had to look up a Wikipedia article to see that they were confined to Deities & Demigods and Shining South, both books that I barely ever touched (especially Shining South, because Forgotten Realms). Of course they were still Large-to-Huge giants that throw rocks and hit things, which at the same time makes sense as to why I could not remember, but also why I should have been able to. The bit about loving to eat brains was a nice touch, though.

4th Edition shook them up by allying them with the fomorians, giving them a variety of eye powers, and making them really good at crafting magic items, because not all cyclops sat around on islands waiting to be duped, instead taking up hobbies like, I dunno, crafting weapons for the gods. Not only did 4th Edition give them a unique shtick among giant-kind, but made them more proactive villains, so at the least I am glad that they are sustaining that as a potential bit of flavor. Frankly though, even if I did not want to use the Feywild, the eye-powers and crafting make them so much more interesting and compelling for me.

In a similar vein I preferred 4th Edition's titans, finding them to be more varied and interesting than 3rd Edition's giant list of almost universal spell-like abilities (give or take some alignment-based additions). Oddly, though the article states that they are trying to let both camps have their way, the example titans seem varied and interesting, too. My only gripes are weapon immunity and possibly the spell-like abilities, depending on how many there are and how much referencing I will need to do (personally, I loved how 4th Edition kept it all in one block).

Like the cyclops, ettins have an iconic feature (two heads),  but unlike the cyclops their two heads make them harder to stun/charm/etc, as well as make them better at making multiple attacks. It is a start, but I really liked 4th Edition's creation myth about them arising from the blood of a primordial defeated by Demogorgon. It helps explain why they have two heads and are chaotic, and a demon-worshipping/mutated ettin could add a lot to an adventure, especially if he is aided by like-minded cultists.

Or, maybe a demon-worshipping ettin is trying to stop cultists from awakening their primordial patron, and hire the adventures to stop him.

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