Record of the Giants

The Record of the Giants was written by the elf-scholar Andorën the Old in the Seventh Age (around the same time as the War of the Moon), and contains a veritable bestiary of Gigantine facts. Andorën treats with each “group” of giants as though they were a separate race of beings, one of the primary factors leading to the modern classification of giants as the races we know now. Andorën was also interested in pre-fall Gigantine civilization, which led him expand this book into a five volume series.

The Record is an extremely valuable manuscript to own, costing upwards of 5,000 gp per volume.

On The Division of Giants

The Giants are all taller than men and elf by many times, and have existed since before the coming of the Gods to the world. In the darkness before the sun they shared the earth with the Wyrms and the Trolls, and many believe that Trolls are a degraded form of giant-kin. They raised great kingdoms while our races were still learning how to build fires and shelters at the side of the Gods.

The giants can be divided by their race and temperament into broad categories. In many cases, this will also determine their quality in terms of moral character. Many races of Giants are degraded, or otherwise evil.

The first race of Giants that we can discern are the Cloud Giants. These titanic creatures stand between twenty and thirty spans tall, easily towering over most homes. They reside now in the realm of Cloudhame, hidden away from prying eyes. It was this race which brought magic and art to the world during the Night Age; the infamous Titanos Cledus the Wise carved the first harp from stone and rock crystal. Cloud Giants are a faltering race, confined to their cloud-capped mountains in the farthest north. Even more than the nouriso, the cloud giants have created for themselves an exile-in-this-world. We know they yearn for tales of the outside world, for their great bards sometimes travel abroad in Atva-Arunë searching for stories.

The second race of giants are the Cyclops and Cyclopskin. These are a hideous breed of beast that have worshiped overlong at the altar of Ulagos the Potter. These misshapen beasts are possessed only of one great eye and a deep stupidity. Luckily they are rare in the western regions of Atva-Arunë, appearing only with any frequency on the island-chain of Aellonia and in the Plain of Sorrows and the territories of Llynder. They have little in the way of skill at building, but rather are a nomadic herding people. It is said that they are favored by Vodei, and many worship him.

There are also giants called Ettin, which are two-headed creatures that seem to be relatives of the degraded Hill and Mountain giants. They may reside anywhere that a Hill or Mountain Giant might, though they are much rarer. Monstrous and stupid, they dwell in their own filth and never collect in great numbers. It is written in the Kronikos Gigantos that

Amongst all our kin those we call the Ettin are the most despised. They are disgusting creatures who dwell in offal and filth. They have no culture or society to speak of; we may look upon them and see what the very first of our kind may have lived like. Their people are tribal but they have no concept of cleanliness or kinship.

The giants who call themselves the Firbolg are the close kin of the Forest or Wood Giants, of whom more will be discussed below. They are a quiet and introspective people that dwell in woodlands, meadows, and glens away from men or the company of other giants. They sometimes make pacts with the nouriso or gnomes and halflings for mutual protection, trade, and friendship. They build up big wooden halls and live in close knit family groups. The areas that they claim under their protection are often devoid of evil beasts of all kinds as well as the influence of men. They are wary of the race of man, and will often attempt to drive them off without restoring to violence.

Fire Giants are the inheritors of Pernag; they are called the Phlegomai in the various gigantine tongues. They stand about eighteen spans in height and somewhat resemble massive oversized dwarves. They are smiths of great skill and quality, but as a race they are generally a brutal people. They enslaved thousands of Ogyroi to work their forges, and it is said that the constant exposure to fire, soot, and heat has turned their skin a scorched black. Most fire giants have brilliant red hair. They often serve as mercenaries for money and they dwell in underground forge strongholds.

Forest Giants are related to the Firbolg; they are an ancient form of giant that as a race has begun the transformation into stone. While all giants slowly petrify as they age, the Forest Giants are thought perhaps to be amongst the oldest of gigantine races: their flesh is flinty and resembles a warm surface of shale or rock. Their hair is often various shades of green and appears to be moss or lichen from afar. They are the most peaceful of the gigantine races and they dwell primarily in their last bastion of the Rootwood in the land they call Aragos. Like the Firbolg they are a withdrawn people; they have mastered the arts of the forge, and often exchange trade with the elves.

Fomorian Giants are the twisted remnants of Hill and Mountain giants that were enslaved by the Phlegomai. Upon the fall of Pernag the slave pits of the Phlegomayn empire were opened and the creatures contained therein escaped. The Fomorians dwell in remote mountains, forests, caves, and pits. They are a deformed race of giants blessed (or cursed as the case may be) with a terrible cunning that has given them a brutal society of domination and cruelty. Every Fomorian is different in their horrible ugliness and unpleasant smells.

Frost Giants are stupid, evil, and violent. They worship the Bitch of Winter, Dinismayl, and have since the Night Age. They have physically grown towards their patron; they are a pale people with fair hair and an icy blue tinge to their flesh. They are a warrior-society that live off of raiding and small scale mountain farming. They themselves created the Ogyroi in the early ages of the world. Amongst all the giants, frost giants share the culture of the men around them most closely: they live and eat almost as Valelans do and are most often found in the mountainous areas of the Skinchanger Kingdoms. For this reason (and their relative shortness compared to other giants) they are believed by many great nouriso scholars to be the ancestors of the Valelan strain of men.

Hill Giants and Mountain Giants are foolish kindred of the greater Gigantine races. They reside as their name suggests in hilly or mountainous regions. They are fairly rare outside of giant-haunted regions. The Kronikos says of them:

See what happens to the giant when the People lose their music? These are the People without their culture. See? They are deprived of the things that make them Us.

Stone Giants live amongst the mountains and were the founders of the great kingdoms of Umbrinol and the nameless gigantine kingdom in the Milean Heartland. They were the most numerous of their kindred and it is my personal opinion that they represent the most basic form of the giants. They are not as ancient as the Forest Giants, who are perhaps their elders, but they ruled several great civilizations throughout Atva-Arunë. They are neither inherently good nor evil, but they may like men be either. They have gray flesh that somewhat resembles that of the forest giants.

Storm Giants are sea-travelers and are close kin of the Cloud Giants. None know where they make their kingdoms, if indeed any do still exist. They are the strongest and most kind-hearted of the giantkin, and to see one is a rare chance indeed. They despise the god Vodei, whom they call the ‘Young Tyrant’ and likewise, Vodei hates them. However, he has no power over them when they travel at sea, and it is said that even his Sturms leave them be.

Verbeeg are half-giants of a breed that most resembles what Valelans must have appeared to be in the earliest days of their race. They are taller than men, stronger, but generally cunning and evil. They are often found in the company of evil giants and more rarely on their own living in deep woods or other wild places.

On the Lifespan of the Giants

Giants, the bones of the earth, are not immune to the effects of time. They age, as all things do, and in the case of giants it is an extremely slow age indeed. As a giant grows more and more ancient they slowly begin to lose their mobility. Their flesh will take on a gray flinty tone or become increasingly stone-like in the case of those giants who already have gray or stone-like flesh. At last, after centuries of life, they will be nothing more than stone, petrified by the slow progress of time.

These gigantine statues are corpses as much as any elvish or mannish body. However, they are not treated with dread, and are never inhabited by the spirits of those they housed. The giants have a taboo only upon bodies that have died and are flesh; these might live yet, and thus may be frightening. A giant who has transformed to stone is just that: unliving stone.

It is said, and I believe it to be true, that in the early ages of the world there were places where many giants died of old age. They became stone, which broke down and became rocks and boulders. Upon their bodies there grew sprigs of grass, vines, holly, and trees. They sank their roots deep into the stony bed and there absorbed not only the trickling waters, but some of the memory and sapience of the giants who’s bodies those stones once comprised. In this way did the ents come to be.

We can use the measure of gigantine life to determine to what category the particular race of which we are speaking belongs. Thus, the Old Giants, who live in spans of millenia. These include the Cloud, Storm, and Forest Giants. All three measure their lives as longer than many Ages of the World. The next are the Great Giants: Stone, Frost, and Fire Giants who live in spans of 500-1000 years. Below them are the Lesser Giants: Hill and Mountain, Cyclops, Fomorian, Fir-bolg who live between 300-500 years each. The last are the Giantkin; these make up the remainder of the giants and are not true members of that race. Creatures such as ogres, trolls, etc. fall into this category.

On the History of the Giants

The giants, being one of the first races to grace the surface of the world, have a long history. Most of it has been lost to the younger races; the great scholars of Cloudhame let few into their libraries and even one of the nouriso such as myself could hardly peruse the entire store of their knowledge within one lifetime.

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Record of the Giants

Abridged History of the 10th Age Idabrius