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Giantcraftby Marco Dalmonte
You're right Spellweaver when you say that the documented history of Giants is lacking on Mystara. All we gather is what's recounted in AC10 Bestiary of Dragons and Giants.. I'd say giants are the most underdeveloped race together with Dragons (luckily Bruce Heard did write something on draconic society and ecology in Dragon magazine ... but still it's not that much satisfactory, given the fact we play Dungeons & DRAGONS
Anyway, while working on the Immortal Project I did come into contact with the known giant immortals and had to create a solid background for them, so this led me to pen down my own epic of the Giants. Here's what I've got:
Legend of the Giantswar
as told by Amburrolmey, wise wizard of the Sky Kingdom of Karayme
"Aeons ago, long before the Little Ones crawled out of their burrows and their woods, the Supreme Ouranos, Father of the Universe, came to this world and saw it was beautiful. He fell in love with Mother Earth and chose to give her heirs who could care for her and make her company when he would have returned to the skies. So Mother Earth bore his spawn, and the first among our kind came out of her womb: they were the first giants.
"After having taught them some of his secrets, Father Ouranos left Mother Earth to return to the sky and the giants walked the land, splitting into two groups: those who had been instructed with the wisdom to rule and those who had been given the task to serve and protect Mother Earth.
"Centuries passed and the giants lived peaceably among themselves, masters over the lesser beasts and the Little peoples, in peace with Father Ouranos and Mother Earth. The Lords lived high atop the mountains, where they were closer to the words of the Father, while the Guardians lived downhill, in the lush valleys and fertile plains. And all was good.
"But one day, a fierce and evil clan leader of the northern tribes by the name of Surt decided to conquer the land of his fellow giants who ruled over the southern and richer lands. After sealing a pact with the forces of Darkness to discover the secret of metallurgy and master the power of Fire, he led his army of ruthless followers in the southern lands and wrought havoc on the Giantlands. Thus brother began to kill brother and the Giantswar began.
"This marked the fall of our Golden Age, when all Guardians turned into ravagers and refused to obey the wise words of the Lords. Father and Mother turned their eyes and ears away from the folly of their children, and suddenly we were left alone.
"But then the wisest and strongest among us decided to end the war even at the cost of his life. So he braved a long trek over the mountaintops and across the rainbow to reach Father Ouranos's Hall in the Sky Realm, where he wanted to pledge the High Father to come down and stop his brothers' madness before they killed Mother Earth forever. Unfortunately, when he came there he realised that Father Ouranos was nowhere to be found.
"After mourning for him, Brom didn't lose hope and gathered all of the Father's knowledge to cast a powerful spell and create a realm high above the land, where he would have taken the worthy among the giants to spare their lives from Surt's hordes.
"And so the great Sky Realm was created, and Brom replaced our beloved Father as guide of his people, leading an exodus of all the purest and wisest giants away from the Giantswar.
Afterwards he amassed enough power to come down from the skies and stop Surt and his armies, thus saving Mother Earth's life. The giants left on earth scattered to the four winds, and thus were the modern breeds of giants created.
"Brom still leads us, his children (Bromdignags), hoping that one day Father Ouranos will come back and give us the worthy reward for our loyalty. In the meantime we must try to respect his will and teach our more unfortunate brethren the real meaning of our parents' words."
Obviously this version of the story is a bit "biased" since it's been told by a cloud giant, but the basic things have been transmitted correctly by the old sages.
A rough timeline follows:
BC 9000: Ouranos and Terra create the first giants in the continent of Brun, dividing them in Mountain (Guardians) and Storm Giants (Lords)
BC 8000: the Giants have spread all over the north-eastern regions of Brun, creating small holdings and dominions with no recognised central authority. It still is an age of relative peace, since the giants are still in the bronze age.
BC 7400: Gorrziok, a storm giant, leaves the dry lands to dwell on the bottom of the sea. Many other storm giants follow him afterwards.
BC 7300: Surt, war leader of a northern tribe, coveting the southern more fertile and richer lands, unites many northern tribes with his might and converts them to his ideals of bravery, war and metallurgy. Surt brings his horde south and wages a tremendous war that makes the giant civilisation collapse.
BC 7200: Brom, a member of the Storm giants who are losing the war, in his quest to save his people brings them atop the mountains. Later he comes to Ouranos's outer plane and finds out he's disappeared. Using the knowledge he has gathered in this plane, Brom comes back and creates the first sky city where he then transports his followers. Later, under the sponsorship of Verthandi, he ascends to the Sphere of Time after completing the path of the Dynast and creating the Skyrealm, home of the Cloud Giants (his followers).
BC 7000: The great giant civilisation collapses. Surt and his followers scatter, and he later becomes immortal in the sphere of Entropy while his followers become the first Fire Giants.
BC 6000: Some of the northern giants who dwell in the coldest regions swear loyalty to Hel looking for protection against the extreme temperatures: these are the first Frost Giants.
BC 5000: The first Beastmen created by Hel start to prowl the cold northern polar lands.
In an attempt to create a new race of humanoids with reptile biology, Ka creates the first Rock (Stone) Giants, but his experiment is not that much satisfactory.
BC 3000: The Great Rain of Fire. The Storm Giants living in the sea take refuge under Manwara's and Gorrziok's protective wing and undergo a transformation which makes them the first Sea Giants.
BC 2400: The Beastmen are no more, having all started to breed true. Among the races derived from the beastmen are the brutal Hill Giants.
So here we have the Giants' evolution:
1. Storm Giants
1.1 Sea Giants
1.2 Cloud Giants
2. Mountain Giants
2.1 Fire Giants
2.2 Frost Giants
3. Stone Giants
4. Hill Giants
Whereas Storm, Cloud, Sea, Mountain, Fire and Frost giants are all related, the Rock and Hill giants are clearly the farthest from the common giants. Rock giants are an original creation of Ka given their biology (they lay EGGS according to AC10), while the Hill giants are clearly cousins of the Trolls (both derived from the Beastmen and not from Giant kin) according to the sources.
The Immortal patrons of giants are:
Terra (Mountain giants)
Ka (Stone Giants)
Brom (Cloud and Storm Giants)
Gorrziok (Storm and Sea Giants)
Hymir (Sea Giants)
Manwara (some Sea Giants)
Surt (Fire Giants)
Hel (Frost Giants)
Loki and Zugzul are trying to wrestle as many clans of fire giants as they can from Surt's worship.
Hill giants are so brutal and oftentimes oblivious to the higher spheres that they rarely worship a deity. When they do they usually worship an ancestral immortal like Terra or a mighty and ruthless one (like the demonic Orcus, Leptar and Jammudaru)
As a sidenote, the Ogre Magi mentioned in Dragon's article on lupins of Ochalea are probably outcasts who have been banned from the cloud giants' skyrealm after their crimes, and turned into ogre magi either because of their dangerous magical practices or because of a powerful curse laid either by an immortal (Brom) or by the cloud giants' rulers.