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Gulnar the Giant

by Jesper Andersen

Gulnar is a giant of terrible might and evil. His is one of the last Great Giants in the Known World - a race most people believe only to exist in legends. Millennia ago the Great Giants lived in the Northern Reaches, at the time when immortals like Thor and Loki were still mortals and Modrigswerg smiths created artifacts of awe and wonder.

Gulnar was the king of a clan of Great Giants at the upper reaches of the Saltfjord River when the first men came to the land. A greedy and evil giant, Gulnar sought to subjugate all around him and quickly made vassals of the human clans in the area. But as the centuries passed, resourceful humans sought out the treacherous Modrigswerg dwarves and paid them to create powerful weapons that could slay the giants in a single blow.

Angered by such upstarts the giants went to war against the humans and many died in terrible battles, the scars of which can still be seen today as valleys in the landscape west of Otterland.

In the end, despite the sorcery of the Great Giants, the humans were victorious and shrug off the giants' yoke. Gulnar and his clan withdrew to their mountain halls and planned what to do next. It was then that Gulnar took a course of action that would forever dominate his fate: he contacted the evil immortal Hel - Queen of the Underworld.

Gulnar made a pact with Hel that he would serve her, if she would help him destroy the humans. This she did (she unleashed a terrible plague upon them) but afterwards she reminded Gulnar of his oath.

Hel demanded that Gulnar slay his own children as a sacrifice to her. This the giant king refused, after which Hel helped another great giant by the name of Fjotar usurp his throne and drive Gulnar into exile.

For centuries Gulnar wandered the mountains of western Soderfjord and eastern Rockhome, plotting and planning his return. He also sought revenge against Hel, whom he feels has deceived him. At one time he made it through the icy realm of Nilfheim and all the way to Hel's Underworld, where he tried to kill her with an artifact. He actually managed to wound her and kill one of her most prized lieutenants, before he had to escape. It cost him one of his eyes and Hel put a terrible curse upon him afterwards: that he would live to see the entire line of Great Giants disintegrate before the onmarch of Man and be unable to stop it.

Today, Gulnar hides in the mountains above the source of the Saltfjord River, not far from his old hall, so many centuries ago. He is constantly afraid of the agents of Hel and rarely ventures far.

[DMing notes]
The PCs could stumble upon Gulnar when they were exploring old treasure tales in the mountains, looking for Modrigswerg artifacts or simply passing through the area. They might be after a treasure that Gulnar has in his possession or seeking knowledge that only an ancient giant would have.

It will not be easy to obtain though. Gulnar hates all humans (and pretty much anything else). He is an Epic level fighter and has 10+ levels as a sorcerer as well. He is well armed and equipped with powerful items and has had centuries to set up traps to protect his secret hideout. But for a high-level group of daredevils the challenge of returning with the head of Gulnar could be the giant hunt of a lifetime!!