D&D 5E Homebrew Giant Elites

dave2008

Legend
On to the frost giants! This post will detail the frost giant reaver, a melee berserker who will often be found leading raiding parties or as acting guards in settlements. Right up front I do have to say that it wouldn't be too far off to call it just a weaker form of the frost giant everlasting one from VGtM - without the regeneration, the extra heads, and all the weird fluff that goes along with those - but hopefully it's changed enough to earn it its own niche....


Frost Giant Reaver

Frost giants admire and respect martial prowess. Those that prove that they are more skilled in combat than their fellows occupy an honored place in frost giant society as frost giant reavers. These elite warriors, having shown themselves worthy of leadership by the simple expedient of being able to defeat any underlings who might question otherwise, lead the raiding parties of their tribe and are the enforcers of power within their settlements. Through their prowess in successive battles, each of them works towards the day that they gain the blessing of Thrym and succeed (or supplant) the current jarl and come to rule their tribe.
Warband Leaders
A frost giant reaver is often encountered as the leader of a warband or raiding party. They are no armchair generals, though, preferring to lead from the front, swinging their greataxes in great frothing rages that can strike fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned veteran. With a reaver plunging violently forward into their enemies' ranks, the remainder of the frost giant warband often has little to do other than to dispatch a few dazed survivors in the reaver's wake. Fighting fleets with reaver captains usually results in messy, chaotic affairs, with incessant ramming and bloodthirsty boarding parties who take no quarter.
Reluctant Guards
On the very rare occasions that the frost giant reavers are not out leading war parties, they are often employed by the local jarls as guards, either for the settlements as a whole, or in elite bodyguard units for the jarls themselves. Many chafe at such duties, feeling bored and restless at what they see as forced inaction. The more clever ones, however, use these periods in order to advance their plans towards ruling their settlements, either by building up a power base among the populace (usually through methods that amount to little more than mere bullying), or by observing the jarl at close quarters and ascertaining any less apparent flaws or weaknesses the reaver may be able exploit during a challenge for the leadership - or both.
Testing their Strength
Should frost giant reavers grow bored of guard duty, and there are no immediate plans for a raid, they may go out alone into the wilderness and seek out worthy challenges as a further tests of strength. Reavers will often hunt down savage and powerful creatures such as remorhazes, or even white dragons, with the purpose of proving their prowess in battle. Frost giant reavers who return to their settlements dragging the carcasses of such mighty beasts behind them gain much esteem in the eyes of their fellow frost giants, helping to position themselves to become the next jarl when the time is right.



Frost Giant Reaver
Huge giant (frost giant), chaotic evil

Armor Class 15 (patchwork armor)
Hit Points 161 (14d12 + 70)
Speed 40 ft.

STR 23 (+6) DEX 9 (-1) CON 21 (+5) INT 9 (-1) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 12 (+1)

Saving Throws Con +9, Wis +4, Cha +5
Skills Athletics +10, Perception +4
Damage Immunities cold
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages Giant
Challenge 10


Berserker Rage (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). As a bonus action, the giant can enter a rage at the start of its turn. The rage lasts for 1 minute or until the giant is incapacitated. While raging, the giant gains the following benefits:

The giant has advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
When it makes a melee weapon attack, the giant gains a +4 bonus to the damage roll.
The giant has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage


Reckless. At the start of its turn, the giant can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls it makes during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.


Actions

Multiattack. The giant makes two greataxe attacks.

Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 25 (3d12 + 6) slashing damage or 29 (3d12 + 10) slashing damage while raging.

Rock Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 28 (4d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage.


Next up, I'll be doing the frost giant jarl, before getting into some rather esoteric frost giant variants...

I like it, it makes a lot of sense to add the barbarian rage to a frost giant.
 

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This post will detail the frost giant jarl, the mighty rulers of most frost giant settlements. Nothing too fancy here, just likely cold, unpleasant deaths for any adventurers going up against them...


Frost Giant Jarl

The Ordning for frost giants is based off of might - for them, rank is based solely upon strength and prowess in battle. With few exceptions, this means that political power is reserved for the mightiest. If a frost giant is able to lay claim to leadership, and subsequently fight off any challengers that may arise, then, by every right recognized in frost giant society, he or she is the undisputed leader. The giant takes the title of jarl and, blessed by Thrym, rules the tribe with an iron fist.
Might Makes Right
Being the head of government in a frost giant settlement is a precarious position. Frost giant society knows no rule other than might makes right, and so, as a corollary, the mightiest are the most fit to rule. Frost giant jarls must be seen by their subjects, with no room for doubt, as mightiest giants in their villages, since if they show even one sign of weakness they will likely be challenged for the leadership. Defeating these upstarts means the jarl continues in office; defeat means the challenger becomes the new jarl. Usually losing such a challenge means death for the old jarl; should they survive such a dishonor, however, they are virtually always summarily expelled from their settlements, and, more importantly, they are stripped by Thrym of his blessings. Such shunned creatures rarely survive their demotions for very long.
Blessed by Thrym
Thrym sees his jarls as the embodiment of his philosophy - that the mightiest should rule. Frost giant jarls are therefore blessed beyond the natural prowess that allowed them to seize the office in the first place. Beyond becoming physical paragons for the frost giant race, Thrym infuses them with a preternatural aura of his cold, such that, among other powers, any blow by a frost giant jarl not only injures, but freezes as well. Should such wounds occur in direct melee combat with the jarl, the intense cold is such that it often chills the body straight to the bone, numbing the limbs and making movements slow and ponderous. Those few who have survived combat with a jarl have been heard to say that they feared their very souls would be frozen by the blows.


Frost Giant Jarl
Huge giant (frost giant), chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (chain mail)
Hit Points 225 (18d12 + 108)
Speed 40 ft.

STR 25 (+7) DEX 11 (+0) CON 23 (+6) INT 11 (+0) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 12 (+1)

Saving Throws Con +10, Wis +4, Cha +5
Skills Athletics +11, Perception +4
Damage Immunities cold
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages Giant
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)


Actions

Multiattack. The giant makes two greataxe attacks.

Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 26 (3d12 + 7) slashing damage plus 14 (4d6) cold damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 18 Constitution saving throw or be slowed as per the slow spell for one minute. A creature affected by this effect can make another Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a successful saving throw, the effect ends for it.

Rock Ranged Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 29 (4d10 + 7) bludgeoning damage plus 14 (4d6) cold damage.

Create Icy Surface (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). The giant creates an area of slick ice centered at a point it can see within 40 feet of it. A 30-foot radius area centered on that point becomes covered in slippery ice, making it difficult terrain. When a creature enters the area for the first time on a turn, starts its turn there, or is struck by a rock thrown by a giant, it must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, it falls prone.



(The reason the save for the slow effect is CON instead of WIS like the spell is that the effect is a result of the unnatural cold, and thus is more physical than mental in form)

Next up, things take a darker and more demonic turn with frost giant wrathbringers, as well as a variant for lesser frost giant cultists of Kostchtchie...
 
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dave2008

Legend
Thank you again for these. I really like this one. This Jarl really packs a punch, and has nice battlefield control options as well - good work.

Something I noticed, I think you mean (bold underline text added by me):
A creature affected by this effect can make another Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a successful saving throw, the effect ends for it.


(The reason the save for the slow effect is CON instead of WIS like the spell is that the effect is a result of the unnatural cold, and thus is more physical than mental in form)

This makes perfect sense to me.

Next up, things take a darker and more demonic turn with frost giant wrathbringers, as well as a variant for lesser frost giant cultists of Kostchtchie...

To be honest I wondered why they went with Vaprak instead of Kostchtchie in VGM. I look forward to your designs!
 






This post will detail the frost giant wrathbringer, the giant Fiend patron bladelock everyone's been waiting for! It will also include variant rules for other warlocks of Kostchtchie, both giant and for other races (just in case your players want to, for some reason, play one!)



Frost Giant Wrathbringer

For frost giants, the Ordning is based on might. The more physically powerful a frost giant is, the higher its standing. For weaker frost giants, this condemns them to a life of subservience. Most frost giants accept their lot in life (and take out their frustrations on smaller foes they can actually defeat), but some look for alternative ways to climb to the top. A few turn towards Vaprak and become frost giant everlasting ones, although not many can stomach (both literally and metaphorically) the process to become one. Others still turn towards the demon lord Kostchtchie, the Prince of Wrath, who grants them more subtle powers in order to overcome their foes and ascend to positions of leadership
A Demon's Dilemma
At first glance, it seems that Kostchtchie would be an obvious fit for a disgruntled frost giant to turn to; his nature and outlook dovetail nicely with much of what is prevalent in frost giant society. But, somewhat surprisingly, it proved far more difficult for the Prince of Wrath to gain a serious foothold within the race. Frost giants, like all of their kin, instinctively understand the workings of the Ordning, and can quickly ascertain when it's being violated. At first, Kostchtchie sent prospective worshipers typical warlock powers; and, while this did allow some few followers to gain control of their settlements, all too often they aroused other frost giants' suspicions and were rapidly dispatched, usually before gaining any significant power. Kostchtchie soon learned from his mistakes, and soon started granting his followers a suite of powers that were more subtle (allowing them to gain power with far less suspicion) and more closely mimicking those of the typical frost giant jarl (for keeping that power once it has been gained).
Warlocks of Wrath
The cult of Kostchtchie is for the most part an underground faith. Most frost giant settlements contain a cultist or two, and rarely do their numbers grow to any significant amount. Sometimes, however, a more substantial cult cell is established, at which point the members begin to plot the overthrow of the current leadership. Using both their innate powers of deception and persuasiveness, as well as the subtle powers gifted to them by the Prince of Wrath, the cult either converts, blackmails, or quietly removes opposition among the remaining populace. Finally, when the time is right, the cult decides to eliminate the current jarl. This is most easily done via an outright challenge, where nascent wrathbringers attempt to bring down the jarls through a combination of their necrotic and weakening powers - the latter especially is seen by the general populace as Thrym stripping the jarls of his blessings. Sometimes, however, the jarl is seen as too powerful to be brought down this way, so the jarl's covert assassination or "disappearance" is arranged. After all, even if the wrathbringer comes under suspicion for being the first to find the jarl's battered body, how could he or she have committed the crime if there is no weapon on their person or nearby? The fact that the murder weapon is safely hidden in an interdimensional space due to the warlock's Pact of the Blade powers is not something that occurs to the typical frost giant in this situation.
Haunted Settlements
Once they take over a frost giant settlement, the wrathbringer rapidly consolidates power through a reign of terror. Any remaining opposition is rapidly converted, killed, driven out, or cowed into subservience. The animated bodies of previous dissenters are object lessons on the futility of resistance. Such settlements are dark and haunted places - undead openly walk the streets, and demons lurk in dark corners, preying on the unsuspecting and weak. Such blighted locations rarely go unnoticed; however, they are notoriously difficult to eradicate. The mere existence of such a place may drive other frost giants to fury, but, given their nature, it is difficult for them, both as individuals and as tribes, to band together for any sort of organized warfare. And even then, the powers of the wrathbringers and their minions are often enough to successfully resist such an attack.


Frost Giant Wrathbringer
Huge giant (frost giant), chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (patchwork armor)
Hit Points 207 (18d12 + 90)
Speed 40 ft.

STR 23 (+6) DEX 11 (+0) CON 21 (+5) INT 9 (-1) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 18 (+4)

Saving Throws Con +9, Wis +4, Cha +8
Skills Athletics +10, Deception +8, Perception +4, Persuasion +8
Damage Immunities cold, slashing damage from nonmagical attacks not made from silvered weapons
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages Giant, Abyssal
Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)


Innate Spellcasting. The giant's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma. It can innately cast the following spells (spell save DC 16), requiring no material components:

At will: disguise self, false life, levitate (self only), speak with dead
1/day each: create undead *, finger of death

*Besides the types of undead that can be typically be created by this spell, the giant can change the corpses of Huge humanoids into Huge-sized skeletons.


Spellcasting. The giant is a 13th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks). It has the following warlock spells prepared:

Cantrips (at will): chill touch, eldritch blast, mage hand, minor illusion
1st - 5th level (3 5th level slots): arms of Hadar, cone of cold**, crown of madness, dimension door, fear, hex, hold person, hunger of Hadar, ice storm**, invisibility, vampiric touch

**Due to his innately cold nature, Kostchtchie grants certain cold spells instead of fire spells as part of his expanded spell list. See below.


Dark One's Own Luck (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). When the giant makes an ability check or a saving throw, it can add a d10 to the roll. It can do this after the roll is made but before any of the roll's effects occur.


Actions

Multiattack. The giant makes two maul attacks.

Maul. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 27 (6d6 + 6) bludgeoning damage plus 7 (1d6 + 4) necrotic damage, plus an additional 3 (1d6) necrotic damage if the target is also the target of the giant's hex spell. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or be weakened and deal only half damage with weapon attacks that use Strength for one minute. A creature affected by this effect can make another Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a successful saving throw, the effect ends for it.

Rock Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 28 (4d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage.





Variant: Frost Giant Cultist of Kostchtchie

Kostchtchie, the Demon Lord of Wrath, often has cultists in frost giant settlements. In normal settlements, these cults are a secretive cabal; but in those where the cult has effected a takeover and a wrathbringer openly rules, they form the political elite, serving as the wrathbringer jarl's sub-commanders.


A frost giant cultist of Kostchtchie uses the same statistics as a normal frost giant, with the following modifications:

It has a Charisma score of 14 (+2), a Charisma saving throw of +5, a Deception skill of +5, and a Persuasion skill of +5. It also gains the Innate Spellcasting and Spellcasting features as below:

Innate Spellcasting. The giant's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma. It can innately cast the following spells (spell save DC 13), requiring no material components:
At will: disguise self

Spellcasting. The giant is a 3rd-level spellcaster that uses Charisma as its spellcasting ability (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The giant has the following warlock spells prepared:

Cantrips (At will): chill touch, minor illusion
1st - 2nd level (2 2nd level slots): crown of madness, hex, hold person, invisibility

Cultists of Kostchtchie often use mauls instead of greataxes; if so, they do 27 (6d6 + 6) bludgeoning damage with their melee attacks, plus 3 (1d6) necrotic damage if the target is also the target of their hex spell.




Non-giant cultists of Kostchtchie

A non-giant cultist of Kostchtchie would simply be a warlock with Pact of the Blade (favoring mauls) and a Fiend patron. However, since Kostchtchie favors cold over fire, the Fiend Expanded Spell list would have the following alterations:

fog cloud for burning hands
gust of wind for scorching ray
sleet storm for fireball
ice storm for wall of fire
cone of cold for flame strike



Now I never want to type "Kostchtchie" ever again! Coming up next, a bit of a detour - since the cultists of the Prince of Wrath can create giant skeletons and zombies, and the Monster Manual lacks entries for them, I'll be detailing some undead giants before we continue on to fire giants!
 
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dave2008

Legend
Now I never want to type "Kostchtchie" ever again! Coming up next, a bit of a detour - since the cultists of the Lord of Wrath can create giant skeletons and zombies, and the Monster Manual lacks entries for them, I'll be detailing some undead giants before we continue on to fire giants!

I know exactly what you mean - I just did a 5e update of Kostchtchie and it about killed me! ;)

Thank you again for this entry - makes much more sense than Vaprak. That being said, when I was making my Kostchtchie update it strongly suggested the his worship was quite common among frost giants. So much so that it was considered, by him at least, that non-worshipers are not "true" frost giants. Just wandered where you are taking your inspiration from. To be clear, I prefer your approach, just curious about the source.
 

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