D&D General Comparing Giant Sizes

Anders Johnson, a Swedish artist over on ArtStation, has an awesome image in which he compares the relative sizes of various D&D giants.

Anders Johnson, a Swedish artist over on ArtStation, has an awesome image in which he compares the relative sizes of various D&D giants.

anders-johansson-giants-023.jpg
 

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Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Funny, I was about to say how I disliked that the large sized giants grew up to be huge sized.

Every single one of these giants is 4-5 ft too tall, and the picture really does a lot to show why this is a problem.

Less is often more.

I love this graphic!

Question - why should the giants be 4' shorter? How is giants this height "a problem" as you say? How big should an Ogre be?

I don't mind that Ogres are Large and giants are Huge in terms of the game map. I guess they could have kept some Large but kept them having reach where Ogres and Trolls don't have reach, to showcase that they are in fact bigger/larger than the "lesser giants", but eh.

I think they did this just to differentiate True Giants from lesser giant types in the game mechanics.

It's less of a mechanical impact as well now that reach is disassociated from size/height in a linear way.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I love this graphic!

Question - why should the giants be 4' shorter?

Because 12' or 18' is plenty big as it is. The further out of human scale the monsters get, the more of a problem D&D's lack of consideration for scale becomes, and the more the RPG tends to evolve toward conforming to the video gaming tropes that it inspired. The actual physical reality of the giant becomes less and less important and less and less impressive as it's height increases.

The growth in giants is simply another example of number inflation for it's own sake which has been infecting every new addition of D&D. What is being simulated stays roughly the same, we just use bigger and bigger numbers to do it. Because, bigger numbers means better, right?

I think they did this just to differentiate True Giants from lesser giant types in the game mechanics.

Stop right there and tell me in 5e exactly what game mechanics are strongly effected by the extra 5 feet of height given to the giants. How does it actually effect play?

It's less of a mechanical impact as well now that reach is disassociated from size/height in a linear way.

Right. So in other words, the actual physical reality of the giant becomes less and less important as it's height increases.

These are joke giants, not true giants.
 

The aesthetic choice is much simpler than everyone is trying to make it. It is really: if I use enlarge on the fighter (or he/she is a rune knight), do I want the fighter to be as big as a frost giant? If the answer is no, giants should be bigger than large. If the answer yes, then giants should be large. Right now, WotC's answer is "no" (or you have to work harder than casting one spell or taking one rune to be as big as a giant).
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
The growth in giants is simply another example of number inflation for it's own sake which has been infecting every new addition of D&D. What is being simulated stays roughly the same, we just use bigger and bigger numbers to do it. Because, bigger numbers means better, right?

Err
2e AD&D Monstrous Manual said:
  • Cloud Giant = H (24' tall)
  • Fire Giant = H (18' tall)
  • Frost Giant = H (21' tall)
  • Hill Giant = H (16' tall)
  • Stone Giant = H (18' tall)
  • Storm Giant = G (26' tall)

So actually all they've done is go back to 2e AD&D heights, and technically the Storm Giant has shrunk a size category from Gargantuan in 2e to Huge in 5e.

So... I'm not sure your argument about number inflation really has merit since these stats are from TSR in 1995.

Stop right there and tell me in 5e exactly what game mechanics are strongly effected by the extra 5 feet of height given to the giants. How does it actually effect play?

Well, with them being Huge (nothing to do with actual height other than arbitrary lines demarced on a WotC chart somewhere, nothing. But on a battle mat, being Huge has direct game effects with "true giants" take up 15' squares while lesser "giants" take up 10' squares

Right. So in other words, the actual physical reality of the giant becomes less and less important as it's height increases.

These are joke giants, not true giants.

1 - Your level of heat over 4-5' of height is slightly amusing to me.

2 - These are the giants from D&D at least as far back as 1995, so... shrug YMMV but these are almost the exact same heights as giants from D&D 24 years ago.


EDIT - I just went and checked 3.x stats. Looks like they shaved 4-6' off giant heights in the move from 2e to 3.x.

Maybe our baseline view of giants has more to do with the edition that we started playing in?
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
Maybe our baseline view of giants has more to do with the edition that we started playing in?
My baseline view of giants came from the bad B movies I watched as a kid. If a giant wasn't as tall as the Amazing Colossal Man or the 40' Woman or, y'know, Godzilla, it wasn't really all that giant!

OTOH, the 12:1 (feet to inches) Diminution effect clicked right into the expectations I got from Dr. Cyclops, Attack of the Doll People, and Land of the Giants.
 

Celebrim

Legend
So actually all they've done is go back to 2e AD&D heights, and technically the Storm Giant has shrunk a size category from Gargantuan in 2e to Huge in 5e.

So... I'm not sure your argument about number inflation really has merit since these stats are from TSR in 1995.

Yes, the 3e giants were reverted back to more 1e inspired stat blocks and descriptions.

Ironically, this thread ties into the 'occult panic' threads that we've been having, since the 2e number inflation with giants was tied to the removal of demons and devils from core. The designers touted that the new upgraded giants and dragons would fill the niche for high level foes, and the upgraded stat blocks and increased height seems to have been intended to increase excitement for the giants as high level foes.

So yes, this is an old issue for me. For me it comes down to not believing that people who want bigger giants are capable of imagining just how big a 12' tall humanoid actually is.

Also, I loathe the 3' wide blades associated with those giants. I realize that the artist is just copying the cartoonish style that 5e art direction prefers, but wow do I hate that look.

Nerd rage? Probably. But we wouldn't be hear talking about this stuff if we didn't have strong opinions about it. For me, that extra 5' or so (give or take a foot) attacks the believablity of giants as foes and beings. A 21' foot humanoid is totally huge as it is. Eighteen foot tall Cloud Giants are just huge. A 110lb sword, 14' foot long, and 8" broad is huge. Nothing bigger is needed to terrify, and in fact any bigger would cease to. For me, bumping them up 24' tall shrinks them. They move from inhabiting a fantasy world to a cartoon world where scale doesn't matter and is likely to change from scene to scene anyway.

See also the vertical exaggeration of the size of the Mûmakil in PJ's LotR. Takes me completely out of the scene.

But heh, if you disagree, use your bigger giants. I can always rescale them anyway.
 

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