Against the Giants - your experiences

diaglo

Adventurer
paid $4.50 for G1
and $5.00 for G2 and G3 when they were released.

didn't get to use them for years in the campaign... b/c they were for higher levels.

planning on using them again in my new campaign. but the PCs are only lvl 1 right now.
 

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PaulGreystoke

First Post
This one is tougher to answer because I DMed the series so many times that they all run together. I believe I bought all 3 original modules of the G series (before they were repackaged as a unit) back in 1981. Some of the runs through it were totally munchkin, as the party had so many magic items that the giants were no challenge. The worst case of this was the time that the party came into the series with a Hammer of Thunderbolts, then found the one in the module too. 2 was way too many. :\ High level Rangers with Giant Slayer swords were problematic also. :heh:

The players tended to treat the giant lairs like any other dungeon crawl - their plan was to move room by room through the place Terminator style, killing everything in their sight & looting anything not nailed down. As my DMing skills increased this became harder & harder for them, so these modules were a touchstone in my development as a DM. The lessons I learned here still prove useful 20 years later.

Probably my most distinct memory of the series was the near-TPK. One of the characters was the (seemingly inevitable in 1E) Assassin-pretending-to-be-a-Thief. While I disliked Evil characters in general & Assassins in particular, since they were legal in the PHB I didn't feel I could ban them. DMs who arbitrarily banned classes & ethos were frowned upon back in those dark days. :p Anyway, the party invaded the Fire Giant lair & after some early success began to get hard-pressed as the alert spread was given to the giants of the complex. The party holed up in a room, the party fighters holding the doorway against the increasing press of giants. As the pile of giant bodies grew higher & the party's magical resources dwindled, the adventurers realized that they might have bitten off more than they could chew. The decision was made to break out of the room they were in & exit the giant lair as quickly as possible, before the party got overwhelmed, to live to fight another day.

And at that moment one of those unforgettable D&D moments occurred - the Assassin backstabbed the Paladin. :eek: Unfortunately for the (now visible) Assassin, his assassination attempt failed. The Paladin survived & turned to face this new threat from within. While the party made short work of their erstwhile ally, the distraction allowed the giants to regroup & overwhelm the party. Only the Cleric, who quaffed a potion of Shapechange & flew away as a bird, survived the encounter. While that was bad enough, as DM I had a bunch of angry players ready to lynch the player of the Assassin - & me for allowing this to happen. :uhoh: When asked for an explanation, the offending player said that he figured the party was doomed anyway. By backstabbing the party he expected the (Evil) giants to embrace him as an ally, so at least he would survive. :confused: I pointed out it was rather unlikely that the fire giants would trust a stunty human who had backstabbed his own teammates, especially since he had done nothing up to this point to earn the giants' trust. This line of reasoning was met by the player with a blank stare. Ah, good times! :D
 

PaulGreystoke

First Post
This one is tougher to answer because I DMed the series so many times that they all run together. I believe I bought all 3 original modules of the G series (before they were repackaged as a unit) back in 1981. Some of the runs through it were totally munchkin, as the party had so many magic items that the giants were no challenge. The worst case of this was the time that the party came into the series with a Hammer of Thunderbolts, then found the one in the module too. 2 was way too many. :\ High level Rangers with Giant Slayer swords were problematic also. :heh:

The players tended to treat the giant lairs like any other dungeon crawl - their plan was to move room by room through the place Terminator style, killing everything in their sight & looting anything not nailed down. As my DMing skills increased this became harder & harder for them, so these modules were a touchstone in my development as a DM. The lessons I learned here still prove useful 20 years later.

Probably my most distinct memory of the series was the near-TPK. One of the characters was the (seemingly inevitable in 1E) Assassin-pretending-to-be-a-Thief. While I disliked Evil characters in general & Assassins in particular, since they were legal in the PHB I didn't feel I could ban them. DMs who arbitrarily banned classes & ethos were frowned upon back in those dark days. :p Anyway, the party invaded the Fire Giant lair & after some early success began to get hard-pressed as the alert spread to the giants of the complex. The party holed up in a room, the party fighters holding the doorway against the increasing press of giants. As the pile of giant bodies grew higher & the party's magical resources dwindled, the adventurers realized that they might have bitten off more than they could chew. The decision was made to break out of the room they were in & exit the giant lair as quickly as possible, before the party got overwhelmed, to live to fight another day.

And at that moment one of those unforgettable D&D moments occurred - the Assassin backstabbed the Paladin. :eek: Unfortunately for the (now visible) Assassin, his assassination attempt failed. The Paladin survived & turned to face this new threat from within. While the party made short work of their erstwhile ally, the distraction allowed the giants to regroup & overwhelm the party. Only the Cleric, who quaffed a potion of Shapechange & flew away as a bird, survived the encounter. While that was bad enough, as DM I had a bunch of angry players ready to lynch the player of the Assassin - & me for allowing this to happen. :uhoh: When asked for an explanation, the offending player said that he figured the party was doomed anyway. By backstabbing the party he expected the (Evil) giants to embrace him as an ally, so at least he would survive. :confused: I pointed out it was rather unlikely that the fire giants would trust a stunty human who had backstabbed his own teammates, especially since he had done nothing up to this point to earn the giants' trust. This line of reasoning was met by the player with a blank stare. Ah, good times! :D
 

Storminator

First Post
Played in this ages ago. I remember
getting seriously whacked in the kitchen, and that the hell hounds were tougher than the giants.

I'm running it right now for 3.5. The players have cleared out most of the first level.
The giants in the main hall held the PCs off long enough for the queen and most of the first level giants to run to the second level.
It's been interesting watching the players adapt. They hadn't fought giants before. The first battle went badly, the second better, the 3rd much better, and the minor combats after that were cakewalks. Now they'll get to much, much tougher opposition, and I think the encounters will shock them. At least I hope so. :]

PS
 

Style

Explorer
I played this under 1e and DMed it under 2e, with mixed feelings. I like the adventures - great design - but in serious need of DM attention to give them context and plot and depth and silly things like that.

As a player they were a real challenge - nasty, nasty giants coming from all directions all the time was a real shock the first time around. Plus for the latter half of G1 my DM was getting progressively more drunk and incoherent. The session ground to a halt when we made it to the big room on the dungeon level with all the corridors leading off it - poor guy couldn't keep track of the map, let alone what we were trying to tell him. We reconvened a few days later and kicked hill giant butt.

For G2 we decided to play sneaky and spent most of the adventure ethereal, spying on the frost giants and trying to decide what the hell was going on. And iirc, we met our first drow there too. Great moment, as they had been unheard of in our games up until then. So, naturally, we killed them. We were able to get the jump on the white dragons and nailed them without a hitch (their hides are still listed under the trophy section of my sheet, alongside things like Travis' dagger from Palace of the Silver Princess and Sir Bluto's head from White Plume Mountain). As for the jarl, we levitated his thrones and then dropped them on him and his wife. Nuff said.

G3, on the other hand, handed us our asses on a plate. We totally blew it and alerted the guards within moments, only to wind up being pounded on by Snurre and his guards. We were one man short of a TPK (me) before getting the hell outta there. Got our baddest boys together and went back for vengeance. And the bodies of our friends. We got those, but vengeance was fleeting. I did manage to kill Snurre, but we were completely outmatched and made good our escape. And never went back, either!

As DM, I ran G3 only as prelude to the D/Q adventures. In that game the PCs were chasing drow loyal to Tiamat who were trying to reach the Demonwebs with McGuffin Artifact #872. Snurre was allied to the Tiamat drow (through Brazzemal) and he and his tribe were "doorkeepers" for the drow. The party simply needed to bust a route through into the underdark and Snurre & co were in the way.

They fared much better than I did as a player - no deaths but lots and lots of full-on combat. The party's half-troll berserker was going toe-to-toe with the fire giants and meeting them blow for blow. The wizards were frying bodies on all sides. Combat eventually centered around the great hall, with Snurre leading 8 of his finest against the party. At which point the party's priest busts out with the Spacewarp spell (Tome of Magic) and creates a gravity well that starts to drag the giants towards it. He follows this with an addition spell, creating gallons and gallons of acid, which also falls towards the spacewarp, engulfing the giants in a roiling sphere of acidic doom. He used an equally horrible Tome of Magic spell to possess Eclavdra's body in the volcanic caverns and marched her over the edge of a cliff and into the lava below. Bye bye baby. They negotiated a settlement with Brazzemal and headed into the underdark to raise hell with the drow. Never did meet Obmi. Good thing too - nobody trusts dwarves anyway since Tim made that flippin' artillerist.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Julius Invincible

IMC, there is a mortal named Julius Invincible, who has ascended to godhood, and become the NE Lord of Victory Through Any Means.

In the old days of 1st Ed, Julius was a PC played by an eminently capable and clever player. Over the course of many adventures, he eventually rose to 14th level (and his father, whose name has been lost to time, was a 16th level wizard). These were actually quite high levels for 1st Edition AD&D, and anyone who has played under my loving DM-ship will be happy to tell you that I am both stingy and, while not bloodthirsty, certainly willing to let characters die when circumstances dictate. You can visit my current story hour (link below) if you have any doubts about this.

So, anyway, Julius took his father and a couple of friends Against the Giants. Well, call it a modified version of the module, because I reduced the amount of haul.

I think it was in G2: The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl when Julius decided that there wasn't enough treasure to go around. He decided (correctly, as it turned out) that he could finish the adventure on his own, and killed the rest of the party for their goodies. Yes, that included his own father, who was played by the same player. Julius became evil, with all the penalties that entailed under good old 1st Edition, but he also went on to finish off the frost giants and the fire giants. He never followed it to the Abyss, though.

Eventually, Julius regretted killing his father, and went back looking for a piece of him to clone. Which is a whole 'nother story. ;) The point was, Julius was memorable enough to become an evil god many, many years later. To some degree, I suppose, my stinginess was to blame! :p
 

Mystery Man

First Post
DM'ing it in the Forgotten Realms, with the steading plopped in the middle of the Evermoors. My players are level 9 and are being very careful.
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
Had a lot of fun in this...

We started characters in the 8-9th range, save the one wizard who was 11th somehow. (There were a lot of 'somehows' involved with his character; basically he was a cheating SOB but the GM let him slide; this becomes important later.) I forget the actual party makeup save the Cheating Wizard, the Druid, myself (a half-elf thief), and at least one high level fighter. There were probably at least two more people, plus we all had hirelings and bearers.

We go to the hill giants steading. We sack and burn the place with little trouble, save for an amusing incident involving the cave bear. It charged me and I threw down a vial of Oil of Slipperyness thinking that the bear will slip and fall. Unfortunately, a half-ton of cave bear has a lot of momentum when it finally gets all of itself pointed in one direction. It hit the slick oil, went 'Mmmrr?' and slammed into the wall, squishing me in the process. Ow.

THe frost giants, we handle with little problem.

Then we get to the fire giants. We do the same thing we did in the other two modules: charge headlong into the fray, killing giants as we go. The fire giants hand us our butts char-grilled, with a light hollandaise sauce on the side. We try two more frontal assaults, each time suffering losses. Most of the hirelings are killed at this point. Finally, we rip one of the giant bronze doors off it's hinges and use it as a shield as we advance. No go. Boom, thud thud thud, run.

So I use my Luck Blade to wish for a map of the place. We get just the upper level, and I note there is one place where there is only about a 10x10 block of stone separating the outside and the inside. SHow this to the wizard and we get him to disintergrate that 10x10 block, letting us in the new 'back door'. We go down the long gallery which leads into the queen's chamber and then the king's! Sneaky, sneaky we are. We loot the heck out of the bedrooms and find the secret door to the vaults.

Treasure is ours without a fight! We begin loading up the packs and stuff with gold, gems, items, whatever. One person has thrown up an ice wall with a wand to seal us off from the throne room entrance.

That is perhaps our undoing. It never occurred to anyone that a wall of ice inside a volcano is not going to have a long lifespan and is likely to be noticed. We first notice it when we feel water swirling around our boots and look up to see Snurre and all his henchmen watch us loot the treasure chamber.

An effect much like what happens when you turn on a light and watch roaches scatter occurs. A tremendous fight occurs. In it, the last remaining hirelings (for the druid) are killed, and the Wizard animates them as undead. The druid finds this totally unacceptable and claps a necklace of strangulation around the wizard, killing the strongest spellcaster by far in the party, in the middle of a fight for our lives. The wizard, with his dying breath, final-strikes his staff over the druid's head. Second strongest spellcaster and only living healer goes down.

Things go downhill from there.

The upshot is that I scramble up the natural chimmey exit onto the top of the volcano and use the wish ring we found to teleport myself and the bodies of the fallen back to our home city. We regrouped and eventually went back but I don't remember what happened after that.
 

Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
I ran both G1 and G2 under 2e in my current campaign. The results were fascinating.

G1 was relatively straightforward, with the giants being bribed by a human to stop trade through a particular mountain pass. I reduced the quantity of giants somewhat, and we had lots of fun; after the adventure the fort was claimed by the party cleric and changed into a church (albeit a church with very big doors.) Recently the group got a visit from a cloud giant shadowdancer who claimed that his King helped the Hill Giants construct the fort, and their five year tribute was due. The party sent him back to his King dominated and sniveling with his tail between his legs and his shadow companion destroyed, with a message that the previous agreement was null and void.

G2 went very differently. The plot hook was that the frost giants had kidnapped slaves from nearby human towns. Turns out that the Frost giant King was being controlled by a psionic parasite. The group did amazing commando tactics:

- snuck into the area by night, under cover of a heavy snowstorm
- sent someone to scout the area ethereally (fleeing when the white dragons sensed his presence)
- snuck in past the guards at 4am under cover of invisibility, only engaging in one quick ambush kill
- dropped walls of thorns, walls of stone, and walls of force in front of the dragon cave and every single giant barracks.

As a result, they only had to fight about four giants instead of forty-plus. They killed the mind-controlled King, went down to the basement I added, killed the psionic parasite controlling him, got all the captives organized, and marched them all out of the King's secret exit tunnel and down the mountain. The giants were too disorganized to follow (having been freed of the psionic compulsion), but they were followed and attacked by a dragon, who they managed to defeat. It was an amazing near-bloodless victory, and it left me very impressed.
-
 

Abraxas

Explorer
I played through these back in 1983. We had lots of fun - and a major disappointment - with them.

We had 7 - 9 PCs (depending on the night) and tore through G1 and G2 (bolt of giant slaying took down the Frost Giant Jarl with a "Gamers" style natural 20 and much rejoicing) with style.

Then came G3 - a real meat grinder for some reason and the place where one of the biggest DMing mistakes in my favor ocurred - For some reason, the DM decied the fire giant king's 2 handed flaming sword (+4 to hit +6 to damage) was a regular 2 handed sword that the giant used 1 handed, so after we offed him my fighter got it.

Then we made it to the lower levels and the drow behind the tentacle wall - half the party switched sides when the drow offered a deal. I've never been so mad at other players as I was that night. I never gamed with those four people again :mad:
 

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