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Giant, Cliff

by David Melik

Please also see the corresponding information file which goes with these information on new giants.

New Creature - Giant, Cliff

CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Any land, cliff/gorge caves
FREQUENCY: Uncommon Rare
DIET: Omnivore
INTELLIGENCE: Low to average (7-9) 8
TREASURE: E + 5,000 gp + 15% 1D2 special E + 5,000 gp
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Neutral
NO. APPEARING: 1D10 (1D20)
SAVE AS: F (level = HD)
MOVEMENT: 12' 120' (40')
HIT DICE: 9* to 15*
THAC0: 9 HD: 12
10-11 HD: 10
12-13 HD: 9
14-15 HD: 8
NO. OF ATTACKS 2 (stone club/mace)
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 3D6 or 3D8 ea.
SIZE: L to H (10 to 16')
MORALE: Champion (15) 9
XP VALUE: 9 HD: 900 + 12/HP 9: 1,600
10 HD: 1,350 + 14/HP 10: 1,750
11 or 12 HD: 2,000 + 16/HP 11: 1,900
13 or 14 HD: 2,750 + 18/HP 12: 2,125
15 HD: 3,650 + 20/HP 13: 2,300
14: 2,500

Appearance: Cliff giants are hunter-gatherer inhabitants of groups of caves in cliffs and gorges. They are peaceful, but are not to be trifled with. A wiry and agile race, cliff giants are adapted to their terrain. They are exceptionally skilled at moving on the cliffs (+ 50% to climbing rating, twice climbing movement rate). Their skin colours are: pale to pinkish grey, light sandy to dark basalt brown, light clayish red, and an orange-tinted loess yellow. They have human hair and eye colours. They dress in hides, cloth, and bone armour and jewellery (also with metal and gems).

Combat: The cliff giant's favourite weapon is their stone club, which is normally made of a stalactite or stalagmite from their cave. They usually break off more than they need at the time, and leave them strewn around inside. (Not only does this practice provide them with a weapon, but sometimes it clears more living space for them.) If they can obtain any hard rock, such as flint, once they have broken off their club, they carve edges and spikes on it to transform it into a mace. Depending on the type of rock in the area, it could be ready-made.

Their main missile attack is hurling boulders, (ranges 100/200/300) clubs and maces (twice the specified range for the appropriate level of weapon mastery). Occasionally they fashion other rock weapons, such as spears and arrows, but prefer bashing with brute force.

Although cliff giants enjoy a good brawl, they try to beat their opponent in any way they can. First, they aggressively rush their opponents. If they are outnumbered and the battle begins to go bad for them, they will try to lure their opponents away. If they are above their cliff, they may try to trick their pursuers into falling in. If they are below their cave(s), they may run towards it shouting to alert any giants inside. Then they quickly back against the wall and roar, hoping to stall the pursuers. The ones inside would then proceed to hurl rocks down on their opponents below. They often smash the rock underneath their dwellings, and spread it inside or pile it at the top of the cliff. This gives them more ammunition, and makes their entrance ledge jut out just enough so that when they run from their opponents they can be sheltered from friendly fire. If they are hurt, they may just climb home, and then pummel anyone who follows with rocks. If anyone reaches the top, they will either push them off the precipice, or hide inside to surprise their opponents, and possibly try to trap them.

They have been known to construct very crude traps, of falling rocks, or unstable ones above steep, deep areas of their caves, but this is rare. Most don't have the intelligence or inclination for such things.

Habitat/Society: Cliff Giant organisation is similar to a wolf pack. Whoever can best the rest in combat leads. However, no one has absolute authority. They almost never try to force each other to do things, and if other races do this they will resist violently. They try to agree on things, and the ones with higher status have a lot of influence on the others, who agree with the more prominent ones to make group decisions.

They have up to 6th level shamans (clerics) and 4th level wokans (magic- users), but wokans are extremely rare. They have no written language.

One or two families usually inhabits each cave in the complex, but it depends on the size. The leader gets the largest cave of course, sharing it with the best warriors and their mates and children. They prefer caves with natural sources of water. Including family caves, other rooms may include: a storeroom for food and drink; meat-smoking room; a fungi-farming room; a beverage-brewing room; a primitive tanning and sewing room; a shaman's room; occasionally a simple forge. There is a story of one cliff giant community that had a big enough river inside for a water wheel, some friendly adventurers bartered with them and built it. They set up places to store flour and make bread, and eventually began farming the plateau above. In a typical family's cave, their would be a carefully laid, even layer of rocks, covered with animal hides. In the centre is a fire pit. There would be a couple of rock piles in each side of the door, and maybe one outside. They sleep in furs, and sometimes blankets from so-called civilisation. Deep under these furs, the head of the family might hide his pouch of "shinies".

They like shiny things like metals and gems, and these are symbols of wealth and status, and are used to trade with nearby races. They will often do a lot of work for these.

Cliff giants sleep during the day. Their communities are alive with activity at night. The hunters get up before twilight to hunt. Back in the caves, many of the women, and the children and weak old men begin work. They light a fire for cooking all day, and to make the cave warm during the night. Later, there are the tasks of preparing the kills: tanning and sewing, cooking and smoking, bone-carving tools, armour, decorative and religious items. The shaman uses the parts they don't like eating, in religious ceremonies, potions, salves, and other cures. They also brew beverages and farm fungi. These tasks take up much of the night. In their spare time, they play primitive board and dice games, paint on walls and hides, and gather in the early morning with the shaman to worship their gods, they mainly worship Kagyar the Flasheyes as Guh-Gruk, "Old Man of the Rock".

Ecology: In the region they inhabit, they hunt whatever animals live there, and gather fruit and berries. They have learned to ferment these into alcoholic drinks. If these resources are plentiful they like sharing the area with other tribes, for protection.

They are peaceful, when not molested, and keep to themselves. Even though they are chaotic, their society has a natural order, but no one tells them what to do. Generally, they don't go out of their way to help others, but aren't self-centred. They will trade with other races, except shadow elves, whom they hate. They are friendly with stone and mountain giants, distrust forest giants, and hate hill giants. They think dwarves are nice, elves are silly and goblins are annoying. Since humans are often quite aggressive, they will sometimes be found in conflict with them.

A cliff giant cerebellum can be used to make a potion of climbing.

Variants: Some cliff giant in higher altitudes herd mountain goats, and are on good terms with mountain giants. A few are to be found in the cliffs of the Underdark. These have developed infravision of course. Fungi is their main source of food. Due to the harsh environment, and the dangerous denizens of the place, they are a whole lot meaner than their outer-world cousins.