Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Art of Being a Monster: Giant

Your greatest advantages are the integral nature of your size and strength, which will grant a stiff combat advantage against all but the largest foes. A less obvious gift to your prowess in battle is your long lives that will grant you wisdom that more temporally disadvantaged creatures could only wish for. Use that time wisely to keep appraised of tactics, technology, and conventions of modern combat and other creatures. Maintaining this tactical edge makes your brute strength into much more than a simple club to bludgeon your foes with.
F: The fighter’s combat abilities to dodge, block, parry, or absorb your attacks will be the most dangerous for a typical, physically focused giant. Fighters will have access to disarming, disabling, or just plain powerful attacks that can break through your toughness. Use your long reach and let them come fight you in the open. Keep feigning a re-positioning retreat to both instill false confidence and force the smaller fighter to come through your long reach many more times. Doing this will give you a defensively powerful position and many free opportunities to strike at the fighter before they can strike you. This tactic is only made more effective if their team mates attempt to flank and lend credence to this false tactic of feigning retreats. If their allies do not attempt to flank, keep re-positioning towards their allies to keep them threatened and unable to act freely while holding off the fighter.
T: With the thief’s poor reach and the difficulty they will have effectively flanking you, thanks to your reach, they are the lowest level of threat. They can quickly become a threat if they start climbing on you or get into a position you cannot easily attack. If they climb on you, drop to the ground and roll, jump in water, or perform any other actions you would normally perform to extinguish a fire or kill swarm of bugs. Do not try to waste time or risk accidental damage by attacking them or grappling them. Use their flanking maneuvers to feint defensiveness and move into position to threaten their more dangerous allies. For ranged thieves, toss a few ranged attacks their way as they have low health and will not survive trading blows with you.
R: A ranged foes tiny attacks are nearly harmless. Only the most dangerous of archer would start to become a threat by targeting your most vulnerable points like your eyes, joints, or vitals. Your large size usually means that your chosen battlefields offer many open terrain and places to snipe from. If possible, utilize cover, but it is not a priority. For those rangers that become a  problem, it is easy enough to shut them down by getting within reach and threatening them with melee strikes or to trap them in their hiding spaces with large objects.
W: With you being a lone target with a strong fortitude against magic, the wizard will be hard pressed to become a dangerous opponent. Their spells are most effective against many clustered enemies or those with poor defenses against magic. Your long reach means that you can easily maneuver around their defenders to keep them threatened and unable to easily cast spells. Although your typical terrain offers them good lines of sight for their magic, it also means you can easily end a troublesome mage with a few ranged attacks or thrown boulders. Keep them from position well by continually feinting around their allies to keep them within reach. They cannot survive a direct assault so they will likely retreat every time.
A Giant’s Constant Vigil
The life of a giant requires constant watch against the quickly changing world. Just a few centuries ago, the rivers were shallower and the mountains were taller. While the world changes quickly, the regiment below will never become obsolete and is powerful wisdom that any venerable giant should take heed of.
-I will not underestimate opponents by size. No matter how many smaller foes have been utterly squashed, there are enough tales of the underestimated and smaller opponent winning that they will keep trying. If they are willing to fight, they have a reason, whether it is desperation or they actually believe they can win. Always assume that they have a reason to think they could win and treat them as such.
-Keep regular contact with your surrounding realm and avoid becoming a recluse. I will do this to make sure I have allies, stay appraised of any changes occurring, and I will have someone that will notice if I die, making it less likely that I will be targeted and killed. My dangerous opponents will most likely be meticulous planners and will have to accommodate any allies I accumulate, decreasing the risk to reward ratio for attacking me.
-I will not keep treasure and my valuable ancient tools in convenient places for looters. This will attract thieves and reward adventurers that steal from me. I will invest my treasure into non-easily removed architecture, buildings, artwork, etc and I will keep the treasure I do not want taken separated and disguised to look less valuable. My tools and conveniences that could be seen as valuable will be made to appear less expensive where possible or will be cursed to inconvenience any who take them from me without permission. Even minor curses make most items lose their value. These curses will be obvious and will bear similar markings or magical effects as those items I do not curse or give different strengths of curses.
-When I sleep, I will be sure to set methods that will wake me if interesting events are occurring or anyone enters my protected areas. Too many giants have had their long slumber under hills or in the mountains disturbed by glory seekers ready to take advantage of them. This will have fail-safes that make sure I am not disturbed unnecessarily by things like wildlife. I will safely investigate any repeated intrusions that attempt to repeatedly disturb my sleep to weaken me.
-Despite the speed and inanity of the cultural changes of smaller species, I will keep up to date with the basics of what the current standards of warfare, technology, commerce, and general political or cultural trends so that I can understand my enemies, allies, and neighbors. I will not allow myself to ignorantly cling to an incorrect assumption of how others will act.

-I will cross cultural lines and befriend other giant-kind. This will improve my diplomatic standing, earn me new allies, and most importantly open access to abilities that I would not otherwise have. Even giants who are inferior in every way can still offer me benefits in that they can spend their time working where the have the smallest comparative disadvantage, and we will both end up better off than not working together. This might mean offering protection to weaker giants in return for food harvests or even just mutual calls to aid. With stronger giants the reverse applies, meaning I have something to offer even the greatest giant.
-Dwarves and other smaller races are well trained at fighting my kind, having many generations of instilled fear and practice. I will not engage them in a manner that fits their training. I will learn the tricks and ways tactics they use to fight my kind so that I can subvert their training when it is advantageous for me.
-My lair will not have access points or servant tunnels that I cannot access or utilize. If I must have these, I will ensure that such positions are an impediment rather than a refuge to any who would use them to attack me. This can include the architecture of the space, the design of its entrances, the presence of traps, or being an inconvenient shape to fight from.
-In the area surrounding my lair, I will leave misleading clues as to my size and strength. These will include things like footprints, hand prints, or tool marks that would leave my opponents guessing as to my size. Having many sizes can also fool the unwary into thinking there are more giants with me than are truly there. They may even be convinced to spare me, should I lose against all odds, by tricking them into thinking that I am the enslaved underling of a larger, crueler giant. I will never willingly give up information related to what type and size of giant I am to any person unless I want my foes to find out that information.
-I will not follow my opponents into a small space or enclosed area that I have not investigated. Too many of my kind have fallen prey to traps and such in small enclosed spaces. Low ceilings, closely grown trees, hidden pits, and other such traps can remove my ability to maneuver or use my long reach in combat. If I must go into such a situation, I will enter with a backup plan for when I lose the fight.
-I will keep on hand size changing magic to surprise foes and attack from angles and places that are unexpected. Opponents who think they are safe in small areas and opponents expecting a normal sized giant will be hard pressed to deal with further size changes, either from a smaller giant attacking from unexpected places or from a larger giant with more strength than prepared for. The size changing magic also works well to conceal my true size and avoid traps set to deal with a giant in mind.
-I will not employ slaves of any smaller creature or humanoid. They will be too knowledgeable about my lair and slavery will build a lingering hatred of me that will make them easy to bribe or coerce into working for my enemies, no matter how much fear I think I have instilled. If I must have slaves, I will never trust them to be loyal and always assume that they can and will betray me at the worst possible moments, leaving appropriate contingencies for such a thing. I will not leave any crucially important task in a position they can interrupt.
-If I keep prisoners or smaller humanoids for food or other uses, I will make sure that they see a mixture of actual plans and traps in my lair as well as false traps and plans. This will ensure that they cannot discern which is which if my enemies get access to my prisoners. I will hide both my true and false plans from them, making it less obvious that I am creating false plans.
-I will seed and propagate stories about giants that feature giants as both terrifying, ancient behemoths and as a gentle, kind folk of unusual size. This ensures that adventurers can never typecast me into any role while allowing me the flexibility to adopt either, neither, or both as it suits my purposes. I can take on the intimidation inherent in years of terrible stories or the compassion of a simple, long-lived giant to match my needs. The risk of a dangerous giant keeps away peasants and cowards while the boredom of a simple, gentle giant diverts the foolhardy and greedy to more interesting and rich prey.
-I will not use tests of strength or riddles to confront adventurers. They often display properties outside of their appearances and if I use the same test on many people, they will come prepared to pass my test. Should I want or need to use such a test for a disguise or peaceful diffusing of conflict, I will have a battery of different tests and riddles ready that I can deploy with a high likelihood of winning or losing. It will never be obvious which I intend to do based on the challenge I present.
-I will keep my head protected at all times. Too many giants have taken their size advantage to think that opponents cannot damage their head, when in reality it is one of our most vulnerable points. If an opponent tricks me into smashing my head on something or gets up on my shoulders I would have a long way to fall.
-I will not be goaded to anger. Being enraged means I can and will make stupid mistakes. It does not matter how much my enemies have harmed me, enslaved my family, or done wrong, goading me will not be allowed to be effective. I may sometimes fake breaking this rule if my opponent can be tricked into underestimating a supposedly ‘angered’ giant. This is a benefit of having many allies as they can often keep me in check from rage-fueled actions, encouraging level-headedness. I will do the same for my allies, minions, and supporters as well.

-I will keep and employ allies, minions, and pets of very small sizes. These will compliment my strength and size with precise, tiny, flanking combatants’ attacks. Utilizing a counterbalance of attack types in my plans will keep my foes from being able to plan their tactics to fight me. They will be forced to protect against disparate types of attacks, as most attacks effective against large creatures fail against the very small and vice-a-versa.
-Flight, teleportation, and mobility effects will be very useful to surprise my enemies who will be expecting a slow, landlocked, and inflexible giant. I will keep magic and minions with access to such abilities as I would do well to cover a weakness that most opponents don’t even recognize giants have, being limited to large, open, ground. This also serves well to counter any ground based tactics, especially those of the fighter or thief types.

-The mysteries and ancient origins of my people are a source of power. I will seed stories that obscure my physical origins in favor of elusive origin stories, ancient tales of giants forming the natural world, and attributing grand phenomena to giants’ interventions. This will keep the small folk guessing as to the true extent of my powers while also making me seem peaceful and related to the natural world. There is little glory and wealth perceived to be had in fighting against a generally benign force of nature, meaning I will have fewer enemies. Superstitious folk are good allies in this, as they will not want to disturb the natural order and if I establish myself as part of that order, my enemies will find little purchase among superstitious types, and maybe even outright hostility. I will treat such folk with a mixture of kindness and intimidation to apply both the carrot and the stick to this relationship.

Any giant who keeps these thoughts in their mind every day will live to have a long vigil in this world.

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