Adventuring Tactics Masterclass: Giants.


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shilsen

Adventurer
Looks like this masterclass has done its work. Any suggestions for the next monster type to consider? Beholders, demons, devils, mindflayers, vampires?
 

jontherev

First Post
Re: Re: Re: Spell choice...

AuraSeer said:

That's not the point. Sure, if you catch 20 hill giants in the area of one Maximized Fireball you have potentially done 1200 total damage, and that sounds impressive. But not one of those giants will actually go down, and they'll remain at full combat effectiveness. If they're within charge range, you might not get a chance for another spell.

Frost and Fire giants are an exception, since their hp are effectively halved when dealing with their opposing element. That changes the whole tactical situation.

Yes, but what about the rest of the party? Right after the fireball comes a Cone of Cold, followed by 5 arrows from the arcane archer, followed by the rogue's sneak attack, followed by...you get the idea. The point is, damage is good. I do like the Wall of Force idea though. I understand your point though.

A great tactic is to have a rogue super buffed with either a ring of blinking or someone cast it and/or improved invis. on him. Then, he can go to town on the giants, who have to bypass the 50% miss chance AND a high AC. This is pretty much my PC's schtick, and it's worked well so far, though I almost died once because the DM was rolling like a madman. One time, someone cast hold monster on a giant, and I was primed and ready to make a full attack (had just drank a potion of invis.)...and changed my mind and made a successful coup de grace instead...very cool.
 

Pielorinho

Iron Fist of Pelor
Ridley's Cohort said:
I advise caution with Improved Invisibility.

Giants can do a lot of damage. If too many PCs go invisible for a tough combat, those that remain visible draw more attacks each round. That can result in sudden PC deaths.

Sometimes it is best to coax the opposition into spreading the love around.

Sometimes, certainly. But not if you're a rogue :).

A rogue who suffers a full-attack action from a giant is likely to end up dead. Unless the rogue has a spectacular AC or has extraordinary hit points, he's best off avoiding being attacked altogether.

The advantage of Improved Invisibility for a rogue is dual: first, his delicate hit points are protected from most damage; and second, he is able to do much more damage, since he can sneak-attack with every hit.

If II on a rogue is a possibility, it's almost always a good idea vs. a giant. Let the fighter do the hit-and-run dance against a giant (forcing it to move each round and give up its attack of opportunity): the rogue needs to avoid being hit at all.

Of course, as I said above, a rogue with a humongous AC or HP may forgo this advice, and share in the giant's beating.

Daniel
 

Ridley's Cohort

First Post
Pielorinho said:


Sometimes, certainly. But not if you're a rogue :).

A rogue who suffers a full-attack action from a giant is likely to end up dead. Unless the rogue has a spectacular AC or has extraordinary hit points, he's best off avoiding being attacked altogether.

Following your logic, the Wizard will go II, too. He has even fewer HPs. Only the Cleric and Fighter remain visible.

Now the Cleric complains he can't cast spells with giants standing on top of him. He needs invisibility, too.

Only the Fighter remains available to be attacked.

All the giants in the room full attack the Fighter. He doesn't even survive round 1.

You prevail in the fight, but the Fighter's player is so ticked at your PCs' general cowardice that you cough up money for a True Ressurect, putting you deep in the red for the adventure.


I agree with you that a Rogue needs to avoid the full melee attack. But it may contribute more to the party if he hangs in back with a well-magicked bow and Protection from Arrows -- drawing boulders attacks away from the Fighter, then if he goes with II. At least Blink will tempt giants to target him.
 

Lothar

First Post
The good thing about giants is their one-dimensionality. They are just stregnth, reach, and hitpoints. So if your tactics are sound, it becomes much less of a challenge.

The most important tactic is controlling the battlefield with your mage, as described by Ridley's Cohort above.

When it's time to engage in melee (hopefully one giant at a time), do not charge. Wait for them. Ready a 5 foot step and single attack for when they come withing 10 feet of you. That will allow you to get first strike on them, negate their reach, and be the first with a full attack.

The cleric in the group needs to devote all of his energy to keeping the main fighter alive. The best way to do that is to have a tower shield. It will negate the giants reach, spellcasting attacks of opportunity, and provide a healthy AC bonus. Don't wait for the fighter to be severely injured. If he is at full health, ready a cure spell for when he gets hit. That could stop a potentially deadly full attack by healing him in between attacks.

The utility fighters need to keep their low hitpoint butts out of melee. They should be moving and single attacking each round. Let the main fighters wear them down. Don't be a liability.

Cheers
 

Pielorinho

Iron Fist of Pelor
Ridley's Cohort said:


Following your logic, the Wizard will go II, too. He has even fewer HPs. Only the Cleric and Fighter remain visible.

Maybe -- not necessarily. The rogue, depending on his design, may need to get up close and personal with the giant, whereas the wizard can (and should) stay at a good distance.

And a rogue who gets a sneak-attack with every attack will do a buttload more damage per hit than otherwise -- a ninth-level rogue will do 17.5 points damage more per hit if he's sneak-attacking.

You seem to suggest that the rogue share the damage-sponge role in the party. I simply think he'll be more effective dishing out extra damage and killing the giants faster.

But as you point out, under some circumstances this won't be the best idea. It depends on party composition, character build, opponent numbers and abilities, and terrain.

Mostly, though, I think a rogue fighting a giant is best off invisible.

Daniel
 

FreeTheSlaves

Adventurer
My experience when the 11th level party attacked the hill giant outpost is as follows.
  • Solid fog spell greatly immobilised them, forcing them to a crawl out of it in different directions as was convenient.
  • The hasted Paladin was visible and indeed was thus targetted almost exclusively. When he was made improved invisible he was criticalled and went down. Criticals hurt but that was a fluke.
  • The party out-missiled the giants badly.
  • The giants speed of 40 and light encumbrance ment that the heavily armoured could not run away.
  • On the second round of combat, a giant power attacked the lower AC monk.
  • Do not fight with a badly wounded ally up close as all giants can cleave.
  • The enchantress was twice as good as the evoker it seemed.
  • Giant senses are pretty good and they may notice those invisible by sight or sound.
  • Dire bears are good hill giant pets with scent, improved grab and fearsome combat stats.
  • Giants large size and high strength make many combat options attractive. Trip in particular is a good option for the giants last full action attack v heavily armoured foes. It is a touch attack, so easily done and the giant has the better odds.
  • A group of giants may assign one of their members to ready boulders v spellcasters. Shield spell, bracers of AC and haste will guard against this.
 

Ridley's Cohort

First Post
Pielorinho said:
You seem to suggest that the rogue share the damage-sponge role in the party. I simply think he'll be more effective dishing out extra damage and killing the giants faster.

Well said.

I would say you are probably correct. But it may be true that the Rogue (and the Wizard) absorbing 10-20 points of damage per round that would have fallen on the Fighter would help the party more than the 20-30 points more damage done with the sneak attack.

A giant with a hot dice can do amazing damage in a single round. Spreading the hurt around is a hedge against a bad run of luck that might kill a PC.
 

Gaiden

Explorer
This is completely unrelated to tactics against giants - I just thought it might be worth mentioning.

A giant with a hot dice can do amazing damage in a single round. Spreading the hurt around is a hedge against a bad run of luck that might kill a PC.

I know that Giants are not very smart and in some circumstances they may want to spread the hurt around. Especially if something they though was just a nuissance just became more than a thorn in their side (read as wimpy looking rogue sneak attacks). However, in general the most efficient tactic which I can't help but think that even giants would follow would be to focus on one guy until he is down and then move to the next. This of course assumes that doing so is the most tactically sound attack method - if the giant had whirlwind attack things might be different.

I just thought I would say this because sometimes I, as a DM, have been (as well as seen other DM's I play with) be "nice" and spread the hurt around so that no one character dies. I don't like this because it takes away the realism of the game. If the giant has been sitting there bashing on the fighter for a few rounds and the fighter looks to be on his last legs and then a new combatant moves into the fray, the giant I doubt would suddenly shift his attention to this new foe - all else being equal. IMO, giants should fight just like everyone else - you eliminate threats as fast as possible. The giant will take down that fighter and then move to the new target. Extrapolating this to multiple foes around the giant - the giant takes one out a time - probably who ever looks like the biggest threat. (This is the case where their lower intelligence would come into play - in general it makes more sense to take out the weakest foe first.)
 

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