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D&D General What do I do with these giants and dwarves?

Bird Of Play

Explorer
I'd appreciate some suggestions here, as my inspiration is running dry!

My players are heading towards the mountains, in search of some "mountain corals" that will heal the ailment of one of them.
A lot of mountain corals can be found in the secret duergar hideout, as the duergars use those things a lot. Duergar manhunters will definitely try to capture the players in the next session.

So far, so good. But the players might defeat the duergar manhunters (I don't like scripted events, so there's a 50% chance they can win the fight vs their wannabe capturers). And, knowing my players, if that happens then I guess they will probably get the heck away from that area instead of diving into the duergar hideout. I really appreciate that they do what someone would realistically do in such a situation, instead of doing the videogame-like "let's go there and see what happens!". But in this case, what I don't appreciate is that if they don't end up captured by the duergars.... they'll head somewhere else.

I know that further away, distant, in the higher mountains, there are 1) an old dwarven city that's still inhabited by proud mountain dwarves; 2) some giants. I might put something else there too, if someone has an idea.

The mountain dwarves don't let anyone into their city, but my players befriended two dwarven ambassadors who by now are probably heading back to their city. There may be a few mountain corals in that city too. But.... that's it. I don't really have other ideas. I'd really love it if someone can suggest me a dwarven-based sidequest.

The giants.... what do they do? I have this cool idea that these magical beings look like motionless natural sculptures. Imagine if the players walk by such big rocky/magma statue, not knowing it's actually a motionless giant.
But what else? What do they even DO. Are they guarding something. Do they just not like people walking by. Is it a potential sidequest. I have no idea!
 

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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Maybe something like this:

The dwarfhold is restless. Each now the muted sound of digging from the stony below is heard, echoing on the walls of the mountains. The dwarves cant get any sleep, fearing an attack at any moment. Yet, each morning, some dwarves are missing.

The hold is actually under attack from a vampiric cloud giantess and her brood. She installed her misty castle upon the catacomb of a stone giants clan, morphing the giants into grotesque giant gargoyles. The stone guardians dig from below to make a diversion while the vampires climb the stone cliffs to devour the besieged dwarves.

The PCs can explore a tunnel after an attack, following the basalt caves and discovers those strange sculptures. The tunnels emerge in the catacombs, where an ancient stone giant ask the players to storm the castle and kill the countess to let his former clansmen rest once and for all.
 

aco175

Legend
If you want the PCs to have an easy time getting into the dwarf fortress you can have the PCs rescue the ambassadors. Perhaps a splinter giant group who longs for the old days when the giants battled the dwarfs wants to spark up the fighting again and has the 2 dwarfs. The PCs are seen as neutral and could rescue them without making things look like it is retribution.

There should be some sort of trade between the 'human' lands and the lonely, isolated, dwarf citadel in the mountains. Even they need supplies and exotics from other lands and trade for this. Traditionally they trade metals and weapons, but it could be something more. Perhaps they do not trade these corals for some reason and the PCs need to negotiate with them. There could be some sort of merchantown partially down the mountain as a way-stop to keep outside influences out, but allow for some trade of goods. It could be a big deal for the dwarves to be allowed to go down to Merchantown. You can have it rather sparse and plain, or wild west and priests roving about telling about the wickedness of outsiders.

Either way, the dwarves happen to be out of corals themselves and were planning to send a group to recover some. The PCs may be given a small amount if they go with a scout to gather some for the clan.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Maybe something like this:

The dwarfhold is restless. Each now the muted sound of digging from the stony below is heard, echoing on the walls of the mountains. The dwarves cant get any sleep, fearing an attack at any moment. Yet, each morning, some dwarves are missing.

The hold is actually under attack from a vampiric cloud giantess and her brood. She installed her misty castle upon the catacomb of a stone giants clan, morphing the giants into grotesque giant gargoyles. The stone guardians dig from below to make a diversion while the vampires climb the stone cliffs to devour the besieged dwarves.

The PCs can explore a tunnel after an attack, following the basalt caves and discovers those strange sculptures. The tunnels emerge in the catacombs, where an ancient stone giant ask the players to storm the castle and kill the countess to let his former clansmen rest once and for all.

Now this is an interesting take. Cloud giant + vampire.... and stone giants vampirized into gargoyles!



If you want the PCs to have an easy time getting into the dwarf fortress you can have the PCs rescue the ambassadors. Perhaps a splinter giant group who longs for the old days when the giants battled the dwarfs wants to spark up the fighting again and has the 2 dwarfs. The PCs are seen as neutral and could rescue them without making things look like it is retribution.

There should be some sort of trade between the 'human' lands and the lonely, isolated, dwarf citadel in the mountains. Even they need supplies and exotics from other lands and trade for this. Traditionally they trade metals and weapons, but it could be something more. Perhaps they do not trade these corals for some reason and the PCs need to negotiate with them. There could be some sort of merchantown partially down the mountain as a way-stop to keep outside influences out, but allow for some trade of goods. It could be a big deal for the dwarves to be allowed to go down to Merchantown. You can have it rather sparse and plain, or wild west and priests roving about telling about the wickedness of outsiders.

Either way, the dwarves happen to be out of corals themselves and were planning to send a group to recover some. The PCs may be given a small amount if they go with a scout to gather some for the clan.


The trade idea is awesome too. It may be a plot element....
 



Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
The hold is actually under attack from a vampiric cloud giantess and her brood. She installed her misty castle upon the catacomb of a stone giants clan, morphing the giants into grotesque giant gargoyles. The stone guardians dig from below to make a diversion while the vampires climb the stone cliffs to devour the besieged dwarves.

I won't lie, it sounds like someone's been playing a lot of Resident Evil: Village. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just search "Vampire Giant" and you may catch on.

Still, great idea. I love when folks mix vampires, liches, and undead with other creature types beyond "Human."
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I won't lie, it sounds like someone's been playing a lot of Resident Evil: Village. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just search "Vampire Giant" and you may catch on.

Still, great idea. I love when folks mix vampires, liches, and undead with other creature types beyond "Human."
Just read my second post in this thread :p
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Just read my second post in this thread :p

Lol I think I may have forgotten to reload this page before commenting...

As Matt Colville would say, "Being original is just the talent of copying more obscure sources."

It's a great idea, and its just reminded me of how weird one can get by creating original monsters. And there's nothing scarier to players than saying, "This monster isn't in the Monster Manual." I'm considering trying to stat these creatures as some centaur-dragon-vampires.

1632420559962.png
 

A couple of thoughts. If you want the players to go back, or consider going back, to the druegar after/if they escape. If they go to the dwarves. Then then dwarves (via a quest or a sage or xxx) could inform them that the they know where they can get corals. One place is a cave now inhabited by a bunch of druegar... (ha! forces them to go back) or their is a hidden grove up in the mountains, but the grove is considered a meditation place for the giants (hence why the giants are stationary). Maybe they can get in and out without disturbing the giants, who would get upset at being disturbed, and maybe they can't...

You can keep these ideas simple and fast, or you can put twists and turns and prerequisites along the way to make it more detailed and lengthy. I suggest you research "three clue rule" and/or "node based scenario design". Several folks, including Justin Alexander, cover the topics and they can be very useful for designing a sandbox or non-linear adventures.
 


Bird Of Play

Explorer
A couple of thoughts. If you want the players to go back, or consider going back, to the druegar after/if they escape. If they go to the dwarves. Then then dwarves (via a quest or a sage or xxx) could inform them that the they know where they can get corals. One place is a cave now inhabited by a bunch of druegar... (ha! forces them to go back) or their is a hidden grove up in the mountains, but the grove is considered a meditation place for the giants (hence why the giants are stationary). Maybe they can get in and out without disturbing the giants, who would get upset at being disturbed, and maybe they can't...

You can keep these ideas simple and fast, or you can put twists and turns and prerequisites along the way to make it more detailed and lengthy. I suggest you research "three clue rule" and/or "node based scenario design". Several folks, including Justin Alexander, cover the topics and they can be very useful for designing a sandbox or non-linear adventures.

Niiiiice!!

Technically the dwarves don't know that there's a duergar clan hidden in an old mine in the next mountain...... but if the players met them, then it became a fact. And so mountain dwarves might tell the players that duergars use those crystals (or "mountain corals") a lot, so they might be mining there since other dwarves and humans didn't need them and let them untouched in the old mine!

I like the idea of the old meditation place. Although I have a similar idea for an elf city (the center will be a forbidden sacred forest area). So I'd like to keep the idea of the dwarves telling the players "if you don't want to search the hidden duergar camp we now know exists, you might head to this place". Now to decide what that place is, if it's not a meditation place.......

It'd be also good if the players don't know about the giants when they go there. That way the can literally walk by the towering sculture, with no suspect that it could be a giant.

The players might have believed they've avoided the duergar risk only to fall into a bigger threat!

And thanks a lot for the suggestions as I'm reading about three clue role and node based scenario right now!
 

Now to decide what that place is, if it's not a meditation place.......
Why am I now remembering TrollBall? An old game within a game from Runequest; you run a sports team made up of trolls, and they use goblins/kobolds as their ball. You lose points if you kill the ball...

Maybe the giants are taking a rest during half-time? Before they pick up the game of boulders (marbles?) again? And they really don't care if some measly 'tinys' are running about their playing field...

Or perhaps the giants hibernate and are just at the end of a long slumber?

Do you see the giants are intelligent or belligerent? Are they involved in some intellectual thing and being interrupted by the party is offensive to them? Or is it just that they are angry and selfish and will attack or try to eat anything that comes there way? Are they Evil? Chaotic?
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Do you see the giants are intelligent or belligerent? Are they involved in some intellectual thing and being interrupted by the party is offensive to them? Or is it just that they are angry and selfish and will attack or try to eat anything that comes there way? Are they Evil? Chaotic?

Ah you see there, the problem is that classic D&D is full of humanoid races that are all.... variations of human. Very anthropocentric. So the giants are only "human, but very big and a bit hillybilly". I don't like when everything the players meet is "like a human, but with this added flavour".

I try to avoid the trope as much as possible, while keeping the traditional races that exist in D&D. So my orcs are more beast-like, and my giants...... I was thinking they look as if they are literally made of rocks or lava or ice (and a cloud giant might be very interesting, probably literally covered in mist, or maybe even ghostlike). They're much more akin to magical fire/rock/ice/wind elementals than big humans.

Look at this makeup from the SyFy series "Face Off":

faceoff_gallery_1305spotlightchallenge_05.jpg


Now this might be a female rock giant, to me. Except she's probably naked, but since she's made of literal rocks there are no naughty bits.

......And what about their personality? I don't want them dumb like orcs.... but I don't want them to form complex societies either. So they're probably spending a lot of time standing there like rocks/lava/ice/clouds, like in hibernation, but when they do move, they are probably not stupid at all. Just.... I assume.... slow, very calm, emotionless?
 

Kind of like the treant from Lord of the Rings? Time may not be something they particularly worry about, since they might (?) live for centuries. Or at least time for them is on a different scale than for short lived humans and the races that they influence (elfs, dwarves, etc).

A comparison might be like I am when sitting on my back porch with a drink; the gnats and other bugs scurrying about my feet I don't notice, until I do. Then I might just squish them flat because they dared climb on my foot. Or land on the table I'm about to put my drink on.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Kind of like the treant from Lord of the Rings? Time may not be something they particularly worry about, since they might (?) live for centuries. Or at least time for them is on a different scale than for short lived humans and the races that they influence (elfs, dwarves, etc).

A comparison might be like I am when sitting on my back porch with a drink; the gnats and other bugs scurrying about my feet I don't notice, until I do. Then I might just squish them flat because they dared climb on my foot. Or land on the table I'm about to put my drink on.

This is very fitting!
Only one question remains: what prompts the giant to wish to squish those pesky humans flat?
 





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