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Weapons Mastery for Giants (and other large humanoids)

by Charles Taylor

This is an ancient file I dug out of my archives, (from 1994). IIRC the inspiration for it was a combination of AC9 The Bestiary of Giants and Dragoms and the 2nd Edition AD&D treatment of giants.
The numbers were determined using the following proceedure;

1) Calculate the averade damage the giant would inflict from its monster description.
2) From the monster description, determine the sort of weapon typically used by that type of giant.
3) Calculate the average damage that weapon (from 2) would inflict at basic skill.
4) Using the height comparison from AC9 determine the giants average height in feet.
5) Divide the giant's height (from 4) by 6, this gives us the Weapon Damage Multiplier.
6) Multiply the average weapon damage (from 3) by the weapon damage multiplier (from 5).
7) Subtract the number determined in 6 from the number determined in 1.
8) Using the Immortal Set (or Wrath of the Immortals) attribute table, find the range of strengths that would give a damage modifier equal to the number determined in step 7 - this is the average strength for that type of giant.

It should be noted that I fudged the numbers for Frost Giants; using the proceedure above their average strength is only 13-15. I instead followed the AD&D rules and gave them a strength between that of Stone and Fire Giants.

The reason for all this was to allow Giants to use more varied weapons, answer the 'how strong is a giant' question for BECMI, and allow giants to use weapons mastery. (Oh, and allow for varied AD&D-style girdles of giant strength).
I don't want to think how nasty this would make the Gargantuan Cloud Giants in M1 - especially if they have reasonable levels of mastery!

For the combat abilities of giants and giant-sized humanoids, replace the listed combat statistics with the following. Note that the bonuses given for strength should only be applied to damage, as the modifier to hit is assumed to already be factored into the monster combat tables. Any frost, fire, or sea giant encountered is 25% likely to be skilled in its weapon, while cloud and storm giants are 50% likely to be skilled, and 25% likely to be expert (5% of storm giants may even be masters). Generally giant leaders and shamen will tend to have learned one or more levels of weapons mastery, depending upon their intelligence and level, some exceptional individuals may exceed the levels of mastery given here.

  Damage Typical Strength Typical Maximum Encumbrance
Giant Multiplier Strength Modifier Weapons Mastery Multiplier
Hill x2 18-19 +3 club or spear BS x3
Stone x2 20-21 +4 club BS x4
Frost x3 22-23 +5 sword and axe SK x7
Fire x3 24-27 +6 2 handed sword SK x9
Cloud x3 28-32 +7 mace or sword EX x10
Storm x4 39-45 +9 2 handed sword MS x18
Mountain x4 39-53 +9 to +10 club or sword BS x18-20
Sea* x3 28-32 +7 spear or trident SK x10
Athach x3 22-23 +5 club BS x8
Cyclops x3 24-27 +6 club BS x9
Titan x5 26-33 +6 to +8 any GM x15-20

The Damage Multiplier is applied to the damage dice, thus if a weapon is listed as inflicting d8+2 damage at Skilled level (ignoring any damage modifiers except for mastery), then a giant wielding a suitably-sized version of such a weapon that had a x3 damage multiplier would inflict a base weapon damage of 3d8+6.

*Note: if using PC sea giants from PC3, it is recommended that fingerlings start out with a normal 3d6 strength (minimum of 9), and gain 2 points of strength per level until normal monster level is reached. Their base weapon damage is doubled at sprat level, and tripled at [/i]teenager[/i] level (instead of the fixed damage values given in PC3).
As an aside, to determine the encumbrance capacity of a giant, multiply the standard encumbrance table values by the encumbrance multiplier given, which allows both for the giant’s size and strength.

Other humanoids
Actaeon: The actaeon typically has Skilled mastery of the spear, and a strength score of 20 or 21, giving a damage of d6 + 6 (d6 + 2 due to skilled mastery, +4 due to strength). It also has the Multiple Attacks (2/round) fighter combat option.
Adaptor: The adaptor typically has Expert mastery of its weapon and the Multiple Attacks (2/round) fighter combat option.

Magical Items that give Giant Strength
In all cases, such items do not give any multipliers to damage, but give the user all the bonuses of having a strength score of the value given (for strength scores above 18, see the Codex of the Immortals).

The effects of Giant Strength

Dice Roll Giant Type Typical Strength Strength Modifier Encumbrance Multiplier Notes
01-30 Hill 19 +3 ×1½ can fire heavy crossbow 1/round
31-50 Stone 21 +4 ×2  
51-70 Frost 23 +5 ×2½ can use 2-hand weapon in 1 hand¹
71-85 Fire 25 +6 ×3  
86-95 Cloud or Sea 30 +7 ×3½ can use 2-hand weapon in 1 hand²
96-99 Storm 40 +9 ×4½ can cock ballistæ by hand³
00 Mountain 50 +10 ×5  

¹but still loses individual initiative vs. opponents with one-handed weapons
²no longer automatically loses individual initiative vs. opponents with one-handed weapons.
³doubles rate of fire.

Potion of Giant Strength
Such potions typically give the imbiber a strength score equal to that of a frost giant.
Variant potions of this type could give the drinker a lesser or greater strength, as given on the table above, or as an alternative, could increase the drinkers natural strength by doubling its value (or tripling for extra powerful potions).

Potion of Growth
This potion doubles the character size, causing them to inflict double base damage when attacking, and doubling their carrying capacity and movement rate. There may exist more powerful forms of this potion that could triple or even quadruple the character’s size.

Girdle of Giant Strength
This item typically gives the wearer the strength of a hill giant, but variant types could give higher strength scores, see Potion of Giant Strength (q.v.) for more details. Note that if worn in conjunction with Gauntlets of Ogre Power the strength score becomes equal to the sum of both items, for a typical girdle this would give a strength of 19 (girdle) + 18 (gauntlets) = 37, for a +8 to hit and damage bonus.