Homebrew Homebrew Giant Elites
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  1. #1
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    Homebrew Giant Elites

    Hello all! This thread will be used for a project I've been working on to create more giant elite types for the game.

    First, some background on why I believe we need more giant variants in the game. As you know, the 5e Monster Manual, while definitely giving a lot of background on giants in general and each of the main six subtypes in particular, only gave us stat blocks for the base version of all six types. This is understandable - there is only so much room in the MM and a lot of stuff that needed to go in there. So, when Storm King's Thunder and Volo's Guide to Monsters were announced (especially after it was revealed that giants would be covered in the latter), I assumed that we would have plenty of stat blocks for advanced giants and giant leaders in both of them. But, now that they have been published, the results were a little disappointing.

    For SKT, it was pretty much a total failure (for new giant types - the adventure itself is a lot of fun) - despite being an adventure focused on giants, and having leaders of each type being primary antagonists/protagonists, there were no stat blocks at all for new giant variants, or even for important giant NPCs (which could be re-skinned as general giant elites if necessary). In fact, in the entire book, only four giants have a higher CR than the base type, a frost giant (Harshnag, an NPC ally, CR 9 mainly due to equipment) and three cloud giants (Zephyros, the NPC who can transport the party in his flying castle, CR 13 due to spells and equipment; Countess Sansuri, the main cloud giant antagonist, CR 11 due to spells; and Thullen, Sansuri's brother, CR 10 again due to spells). All the remaining giants in the book, even the leaders, don't have updated CRs, having for the most part just extra hit points and a couple of minor (often cosmetic) changes to differentiate them from the ordinary giants of their types. This is really surprising, and even disappointing, that an adventure dedicated to giants should have so few variants with higher CRs...

    VGtM is, on the other hand, somewhat better, though still somewhat disappointing. It does have six new higher-CR giant variants, one for each giant subtype. And, for the most part, they are interesting and usable variants. However, they are all rather niche in tone, and none of them can really be considered "leader" types for each race (other than the frost giant everlasting one, which, as detailed in the book, would be a relatively rare occurrence). While the cloud, fire, and hill giant variants might be encountered (if somewhat rarely) in regular settlements, the stone and storm giant variants function outside of normal giant society and would likely be encountered on their own and not in the company of other giants. So, while VGtM does add some interesting giant variants, if you are looking for leaders (either for warbands or for settlements) or other "typical" elites in giant society, for the most part you are not going to find them...

    So, as a result, I've started to work on a suite of twelve giant elite types to make a more well-rounded society for all the giant subtypes. There will be two for each subtype, except for hill giants (who have one) and frost giants (who have three). I'm also including a few variant blocks that can be added to either the base giant types or (for the most part) elites without changing the CR. A disclaimer: I am new to 5e monster creation (which is significantly more difficult than 3.x monster creation), so feel free to point out any errors or mistakes I've made, or to make suggestions for improvements. I also won't be posting all of them at once - I have the hill giant variants ready, and I'll post the others as I actually stat out the ideas I have for the rest.


    Giants done so far:

    Hill Giant Chief (CR 8)
    Stone Giant Thane (CR 11)
    Stone Giant Runecarver (CR 9)
    Frost Giant Reaver (CR 10)
    Frost Giant Jarl (CR 12)
    Frost Giant Wrathbringer (CR 11)
    Giant Skeleton (CR 4)
    Giant Zombie (CR 5)
    Fire Giant Pyromancer (CR 11)
    Fire Giant Duke (CR 13)
    Cloud Giant Shaman (CR 12)
    Cloud Giant Count (CR 14)
    Cloud Giant Oathguard (CR 13)
    Storm Giant Omen-Reader (CR 15)


    Coming Soon:
    Storm Giant Warden
    Last edited by Demetrios1453; Monday, 16th January, 2017 at 06:58 AM.
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  2. #2
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    First up is an advanced hill giant and a hill giant variant:



    Hill Giant Chief



    For hill giants, bigger is better. Each hill giant wants, above all things, to be the biggest and fattest hill giant there ever has been. Most hill giants, being little more than stupid brutes, simply eat what they can, when they can, and have no deeper strategy beyond that to achieve this goal. However, some hill giants, being stronger and (slightly) more intelligent than the rest, are able to wrest food away from their counterparts, either through guile or sheer strength. These hill giants quickly become the biggest in their tribes or settlements; and the other hill giants, equating mass with superiority, acknowledge them as their leaders. Once placed in a position of power, these hill giant chiefs rapidly become even larger (and, thus, even more revered) as they can now demand even more food from their subjects as a sort of tax.

    Protection Through Bulk. Being able to demand or seize food from other hill giants means that a typical hill giant chief quickly grows to immense size. This hinders their ability to move around, as well as making their actions slow and ponderous. However, what they lose in speed and dexterity due to their obesity, they make up in sheer bulk - the immense rolls of fat make it difficult for the weapons of their foes to cause any real harm to vital areas. Swords might draw blood and clubs may bruise a hill giant chief, but these will do little more than enrage the creature. Only by slowly wearing the hill giant chief down through blood loss from these superficial wounds, as well as the periodic lucky shot that actually cuts through the fat to hit something vital, can the giant be truly hurt.

    Demanding Tyrants. A hill giant chief typically sits on a crude "throne" (usually a re-purposed item such as a wagon or conveniently-shaped stone dragged from some building or ruin) in its dwelling in the center of a hill giant settlement, surrounded by filth and refuse. Its leadership usually consists of no more than demands for more food to feed its ever-growing hunger. Should such an order be refused, or out of sheer boredom or malice, or simply to make an example of one of its subjects, the hill giant chief is able to bring the full weight of its bulk to bear when dealing a blow with its greatclub. The offending object of such a massive blow is often knocked senseless to the ground, where it is either summarily dispatched, or dragged away as an object lesson to others.


    Hill Giant Chief
    Huge giant (hill giant), chaotic evil

    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    Hit Points 172 (15d12 + 75)
    Speed 20 ft.

    STR 23 (+5 ) DEX 8 (-1) CON 21 (+5) INT 7 (-2) WIS 9 (-1) CHA 6 (-2)

    Skills Perception +2
    Senses passive Perception 12
    Languages
    Giant
    Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)


    Actions

    Multiattack.
    The hill giant chief makes two greatclub attacks

    Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (3d8 + 6) bludgeoning damage. If the target is Huge or smaller, it must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. Any greatclub attacks against a prone target do an additional 13 (3d8) points of bludgeoning damage.

    Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d10 + 5) bludgeoning damage.




    Variant: Hill Giant Priest of Grolantor

    A select few hill giants, both ordinary and chiefs, having particularly excelled in their gluttonous endeavors, have pleased the hill giant deity Grolantor and have been blessed with divine spell use. The few that do gain such powers never grow exceptionally powerful in them, for two reasons. First, hill giants are not naturally disposed towards such matters; and, secondly, any hill giant that actually reaches the ability to cast 3rd level divine spells gains access to a giant-sized create food and water and rapidly eats itself to death. This, as any hill giant will tell you, nodding sagely, is the way all of them would want to go.

    A Hill Giant Priest of Grolantor uses the same statistics as a regular hill giant or hill giant chief, with the following modifications:

    It has a Wisdom score of 11 (+0), a Perception skill of +3, and a passive Perception of 13. It also gains the Spellcasting feature as below.


    Spellcasting. The hill giant is a 4th-level spellcaster that uses Wisdom as its spellcasting ability (spell save DC 11, +3 to hit with spell attacks). The hill giant has the following cleric spells prepared:

    Cantrips (at will): light, sacred flame, thaumaturgy
    1st Level (4 slots): command, purify food and drink
    2nd Level (3 slots): hold person, protection from poison



    Stone giants are next, featuring the Stone Giant Runecarver and Stone Giant Thane.
    Last edited by Demetrios1453; Thursday, 8th December, 2016 at 09:43 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Great idea - thank you for sharing!

  4. #4
    Good stuff. Keep it coming

  5. #5
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    The Stone Giant Thane is ready, but still fleshing out my ideas for the Runecarver...


    Stone Giant Thane

    Stone giant society places great value on both artistry and athletics. So when the thane (leader), of a settlement dies or retires, a great competition featuring both of these aspects takes place to determine his or her successor. Although the exact traditions vary from settlement to settlement, they all generally consist of a series of competitions to test both the bodies and the minds of the candidates. Over the course of several weeks, the competitors may on one day run a long-distance race or spar in a great wrestling contest, and on the next day may work on a great artistic masterpiece (usually some sort of sculpture, although painting and even music is not unheard of). At the end of the event, a group of respected citizens judge who has performed best in both sides of the competition and determine the winner. That individual goes alone into the local shrine to the stone giant god Skoraeus Stonebones to meditate. During that time, he or she melds into the stone, and, if found worthy, receives the blessing of the deity to become the new thane.
    One with the Stone
    Having gained the approval of Skoraeus Stonebones, new thanes return changed from their meditation within the rock. Their bodies become even more hard and dense than that of a typical stone giant, and many exhibit seams of a strange pinkish crystal (see below) running through their rocky bodies. They gain the ability to meld into the stone while meditating (or, as they call it, becoming "one with the stone"), gaining the senses and ability to move through solid rock as if they were a creature of elemental earth. They are even able to move through stone when outside of this meditative state, although they can only do so in short bursts, and they find the exertion of doing so very tiring.
    Crystalline Weapons
    While one with the stone, stone giant thanes gain access to seams of a mystical pinkish crystal. This mineral superficially looks like rose quartz, but is much more resilient and exhibits unusual powers beyond that of any ordinary stone. Stone giant thanes craft the crystal into many items, many mundane, but most notably, they shape some of the largest crystals into wondrous greatclubs. The merest tap of one of these greatclubs results in a pure, sustained note, like a huge tuning fork. A more substantial blow, however, can create destructive resonances within the crystal, causing more damage than a hit from a similar weapon made from more ordinary materials. Stone giant thanes can even bring their weapons down in great crashing blows to the floor, creating thunderous vibrations that can adversely affect anyone nearby. Obviously, such weapons would be highly prized and coveted by others; however, they appear to be mystically linked to their owners - once one of these greatclubs leaves the possession of a stone giant thane, it rapidly becomes more brittle, and within a day it will be reduced to little more than a fine pink crystalline dust. The loss of a crystalline greatclub is seen as a terrible omen by the stone giant populace, with many seeing such an calamitous event as a sign of disfavor from Skoraeus Stonebones. Many stone giant thanes retire or are eased out their office after such a loss (that is, if they survived the event that precipitated the disaster), although a few do manage to retain their power. If a stone giant thane does manage to continue as leader, and still maintain the favor of Skoraeus, they can spend a day in meditation and work to create a new greatclub.
    Wise Leaders
    Stone giant thanes are renowned as fonts of wisdom and knowledge, not only by members of their own race, but also among other types of giants and even among non-giants as well. Not only are they innately wise, but the powers granted to them by Skoraeus Stonebones allow them to see what would otherwise be hidden or out of view. Many are consulted as oracles or seers, but anyone who approaches them seeking answers to their questions should be aware that they rarely give of their otherworldly wisdom freely (and stone giant thanes, like all of their kind, are innately distrustful of those who come from the "realm of dreams", so they may refuse such requests altogether). They will often ask for something in return, ranging from the simple exchange of knowledge or artistry unknown to them, to more difficult demands involving the gathering or rescuing of information from some dangerous location. This can cause conflict with their neighbors if said "dangerous location" is the local lord's castle or a temple's library; stone giants would have few qualms about theft or even murder to achieve such goals, since it would be happening in what they consider to be a dream.



    Stone Giant Thane
    Huge giant (stone giant), neutral

    Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
    Hit Points 187 (15d12 + 90)
    Speed 40 ft.

    STR 23 (+6) DEX 15 (+2) CON 22 (+6) INT 10 (+0) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 9 (-1)

    Saving Throws Dex +6, Con +10, Wis +8
    Skills Athletics +13, Perception +8
    Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
    Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 18
    Languages Giant, Terran
    Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)


    Earth Glide. The giant can burrow through nonmagical, unworked earth and stone. While doing so, the giant doesn't disturb the material it moves through. The giant does not need to breathe while doing so, and gains a burrow speed of 30 feet and tremorsense of 60 feet while under this effect. The giant can use this ability for up to one hour if it has spent the previous hour in uninterrupted meditation (any stressful activity, such as combat, would bring this version of the effect to an end, requiring a new hour of meditation); outside of this meditative state, the giant can use the ability for up to two consecutive rounds, recharging after a short or long rest. If the effect ends while the giant is still encased in stone, the giant is safely ejected into the nearest unoccupied space.


    Spellcasting. The giant is a 7th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks). It has the following cleric spells prepared:

    Cantrips (at will): guidance, light, resistance, sacred flame
    1st level (4 slots): command, cure wounds, guiding bolt, identify, sanctuary, shield of faith
    2nd level (3 slots): augury, hold person, lesser restoration, silence, suggestion
    3rd level (3 slots): dispel magic, glyph of warding, nondetection, spirit guardians, speak with dead
    4th level (1 slot): arcane eye, confusion, stone shape


    Stone Camouflage. The giant has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in rocky terrain.


    Actions

    Multiattack. The giant makes two crystalline greatclub attacks

    Crystalline Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (3d8 + 6) bludgeoning damage plus 14 (4d6) thunder damage.

    Rock Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 28 (4d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

    Resonating Smash (Recharge 5-6) The giant strikes the ground with its crystalline greatclub, causing it and the ground to ring in a destructive resonant vibration. Each creature other than the giant within 20 feet of the impact must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw, taking 35 (10d6) thunder damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


    Reactions

    Rock Catching. If a rock or similar object is hurled at the giant, the giant can, with a successful DC 10 Dexterity saving throw, catch the missile and take no bludgeoning damage from it.


    (Note: if you're wondering why there are so many cleric spells prepared, clerics of Skoraeus Stonebones gain access to the Knowledge Domain. I added the spells for the domain, but nothing else, as the thane's other abilities would more than make up for that).
    Last edited by Demetrios1453; Wednesday, 14th December, 2016 at 10:02 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Thank you again for sharing, a few comments on the Stone Giant Thane;

    His damage is low for a CR 11 monster. I would suggest either increasing his strength or making Resonating Smash do more damage or both. Though I guess spirit guardians might make up the difference, I prefer to have the spells be an extra level of system mastery

    EDIT: Giving him 3 attacks w/ multiattack would work too.
    Last edited by dave2008; Wednesday, 7th December, 2016 at 01:15 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
    Thank you again for sharing, a few comments on the Stone Giant Thane;

    His damage is low for a CR 11 monster. I would suggest either increasing his strength or making Resonating Smash do more damage or both. Though I guess spirit guardians might make up the difference, I prefer to have the spells be an extra level of system mastery

    EDIT: Giving him 3 attacks w/ multiattack would work too.
    The damage is a bit low for the CR since other stats are high for the CR. This would look to be an issue for giants on general and stone giants in particular - giants in general since their strength gives them very high attack bonuses which pull up their offensive CR; stone giants in particular since their high AC pulls up their defensive CR which then pulls up their overall CR. I didn't adjust the attack bonus - it moved up by one simply due to the proficiency bonus increase due to the new CR. And while I did adjust the AC up by one, it seems a reasonable choice due the creature involved. So the overall damage had to be left holding the bag. I'd rather not up the damage since doing so will quickly raise the overall CR, and I would like to keep the variants within 4 CRs of the base type (and I still have to fit in four further, more powerful, giant leader types)

    Granted, it may not do an excessive amount of damage, but it will score hits a lot and will be a defensive pain to fight, especially when the Earth Glide and cleric spells are factored in.

    As I said though, I'm still new at 5e monster creation, so perhaps I got my math wrong in determining the CR...

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    Last edited by Demetrios1453; Wednesday, 7th December, 2016 at 11:18 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demetrios1453 View Post
    The damage is a bit low for the CR since other stats are high for the CR. This would look to be an issue for giants on general and stone giants in particular - giants in general since their strength gives them very high attack bonuses which pull up their offensive CR; stone giants in particular since their high AC pulls up their defensive CR which then pulls up their overall CR. I didn't adjust the attack bonus - it moved up by one simply due to the proficiency bonus increase due to the new CR. And while I did adjust the AC up by one, it seems a reasonable choice due the creature involved. So the overall damage had to be left holding the bag. I'd rather not up the damage since doing so will quickly raise the overall CR, and I would like to keep the variants within 4 CRs of the base type (and I still have to fit in four further, more powerful, giant leader types)

    Granted, it may not do an excessive amount of damage, but it will score hits a lot and will be a defensive pain to fight, especially when the Earth Glide and cleric spells are factored in.

    As I said though, I'm still new at 5e monster creation, so perhaps I got my math wrong in determining the CR...

    Sent from my VS987 using EN World mobile app
    To be honest I hadn't checked the defensive CR when I posted, but I did factor in the higher to hit bonus and it was still low damage. Here is a more indepth check:

    Defensive CR: effective HP = 202 = CR 9; AC of 18-16 = 2/2 = +1 to defensive CR = Defensive CR 10

    Offensive CR: DPR = (RD1), smash = 27*2 = 54; (RD2), multiattack = 23*2 = 46; (RD3), multiattack = 23*2 = 46; total DPR = 146/3 = 48 DPR = CR 7 ;; attack bonus 10-6=4/2 = +2 to offensive CR = CR 9

    Total CR 10+9 = 19/2 = CR 8.5

    So as designed a CR 8 or 9 would be justified, I would probably bump it up to 9 because of the spells though none of them really effect the CR.

    Now if you really want a CR 11 you could up the HP or AC (to get to defensive CR 11) and still up the damage by 10 to 15. Personally I would up HP to 180-184 and up the damage the DPR to 54 by increase smash damage to 36 (8d8).

    Just my 2 cents

    EDIT: if the giant cast spirit guardians before the combat that could in theory get you closer (though it is no benefit to cast during combat), but you could till up the damage by 5+ per round.
    Last edited by dave2008; Thursday, 8th December, 2016 at 12:38 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
    To be honest I hadn't checked the defensive CR when I posted, but I did factor in the higher to hit bonus and it was still low damage. Here is a more indepth check:

    Defensive CR: effective HP = 202 = CR 9; AC of 18-16 = 2/2 = +1 to defensive CR = Defensive CR 10

    Offensive CR: DPR = (RD1), smash = 27*2 = 54; (RD2), multiattack = 23*2 = 46; (RD3), multiattack = 23*2 = 46; total DPR = 146/3 = 48 DPR = CR 7 ;; attack bonus 10-6=4/2 = +2 to offensive CR = CR 9

    Total CR 10+9 = 19/2 = CR 8.5

    So as designed a CR 8 or 9 would be justified, I would probably bump it up to 9 because of the spells though none of them really effect the CR.

    Now if you really want a CR 11 you could up the HP or AC (to get to defensive CR 11) and still up the damage by 10 to 15. Personally I would up HP to 180-184 and up the damage the DPR to 54 by increase smash damage to 36 (8d8).

    Just my 2 cents

    EDIT: if the giant cast spirit guardians before the combat that could in theory get you closer (though it is no benefit to cast during combat), but you could till up the damage by 5+ per round.
    So wait, the attack bonus isn't +10? +6 for Strength and +4 from proficiency bonus? That's where I was afraid I was tripping up since the DMG is vague on what exactly entails the "attack bonus" as it pertains to CR...

    +10 attack bonus was the equivalent to CR 17 I believe - I don't have my DMG on me - so CR 17 - CR 7 = a 10 CR difference which divided by 2 = 5. CR 7 + 5 = CR 12 offensive, assuming I'm not totally misreading what the DMG says...

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    Last edited by Demetrios1453; Thursday, 8th December, 2016 at 01:43 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demetrios1453 View Post
    So wait, the attack bonus isn't +10? +6 for Strength and +4 from proficiency bonus? That's where I was afraid I was tripping up since the DMG is vague on what exactly entails the "attack bonus" as it pertains to CR...

    +10 attack bonus was the equivalent to CR 17 I believe - I don't have my DMG on me - so CR 17 - CR 7 = a 10 CR difference which divided by 2 = 5. CR 7 + 5 = CR 12 offensive, assuming I'm not totally misreading what the DMG says...

    Sent from my VS987 using EN World mobile app
    The attack bonus is +10, you have that correct. However, this is how the affects the CR:

    Offensive CR:
    1) Calculate DPR: in this case DPR of 48 equates to a CR of 7; which has an expectyed attack bonus of +6
    2) Determine expected attack bonus based on DPR CR (7); which in this case is +6
    3) Calculate the effect of a different attack bonus on the Offensive CR. For every 2 difference in attack bonus adjust the CR by 1. So we take the giants actual attack bonus of 10 and subtract the expected bonus of 6 given a a result of 4, then divide this by 2, resulting in an adjustment of +2 to the CR
    4) Adjust the DPR CR (7) with the attack bonus adjustment (+2), resulting in an offensive CR of: 7 + 2 = CR 9

    In other words:
    You look at the DPR column first ( CR 7), and then adjust that CR by the difference in the bonus (+10, actual, - +6, expected) divided by 2 (round down).

    You do not subtract the attack bonus CRs from each other as you did, you subtract the actual bonus (DMG pg 274=275):
    "Now look at the attack bonus suggested for the monster challenge rating. If your monster's attack bonus is at least two points higher or lower than that number (referring to the attack bonus suggested), adjust the challenge rating suggested by its damage output up or down by 1 for every 2 points of difference."

    *bold underline for emphasis and italics added by me

    I hope that helps: FYI, I made the same mistake at first too, I even had a spreadsheet made that calculated CR they way you thought before I realized my mistake
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