Written by: James S.
A Hill Giant is a massive and brutish humanoid creature often encountered in fantasy tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. Hill Giants are hulking creatures, standing around 10 to 12 feet tall. Hill Giants are known for their immense strength and voracious appetite. Use the snowy setting of the "Caravan Roadblock - Winter" Czepeku battlemap for the following encounter. Here are some elements to remember:
- A Hill Giant comes to gorge on a waylaid caravan's supplies and animals.
- Howling winds and snow make visibility poor and ranged attacks difficult.
- Hitting different parts of the Giant comes with different challenges.
- It will eat freely unless players catch its attention.
- The Giant is stupid. Players can lure it into the frozen river, where it might slip and fall.
- The Giant is covered in thick, matted fur. The players can climb to its vulnerable head.
- It has been foraging in a graveyard because of its hunger. It spews up its last meal.
- The Giant takes a turn to heft its enormous club over its head, telegraphing its attacks.
- When it strikes, the ground trembles. Players fall to the ground.
A brutal winter ravages the countryside. Food is scarce, and peasants huddle in their cottages for warmth. The players escort a caravan of vital supplies to an isolated settlement, but a rockfall has blocked the tunnel through the mountain. A starving Hill Giant has been lured to the camp, intoxicated by the smell of cookfires.
It comes crashing through the woods and staggering against the snowstorm looming over the treetops. Its face is covered in soil, as if it has been chewing on dirt, rooting around in the earth. It clutches its massive belly, groaning in agony. Thick hair covers it, shaggy and filthy, reeking. Tiny, furious eyes glint like beetles from its matted pelt. It fixes its gaze on the wagons and horses, its peg-toothed maw lolling stupidly.
Parts of the Giant’s body have different attributes:
- Its legs are covered in thick, keratinous hide and matted hair, granting it a hefty level of armour. The closest target to strike but the most difficult to damage.
- Its body is similarly covered with fur, but its skin is thinner and more easily pierced. Long spears would work, but a sword won't reach.
- Its head is unprotected: less armour, less fur. But its head is too far away to strike in melee.
- Each body part could have a separate pool of hit points. Disabling a leg would be a difficult task, but then the Giant would drop to the ground, unable to walk, making the remaining battle easier.
The Giant goes for the wagons, ignoring ineffective attacks. It will spend a round hefting its club over its head, then bring it down on a wagon to smash it apart, scattering the supplies. Then, it will stoop to gorge on the exposed food—the bread, casks of oil, livestock, meats, wines, and cabbages. It brings its head down to the ground to eat, making it vulnerable. It takes a turn or two to stuff all the food into its mouth, then looks for a new target.
If the Giant eats enough (two or three wagons’ worth), it becomes sick. The dirt and muck all over its face and painful belly indicate that it has been eating things from the ground - Zombies and oozes. It retches up a challenging amount of these before turning back to the wagons. The players now have even more to deal with while the Giant eats its fill.
There are several ways to fight it more effectively:
- The frozen river acts as a slippery trap for the Giant if the players catch its attention. It lumbers after them, heedless of the ice until too late. It takes some damage from the fall and must spend a turn standing up.
- Players can climb the Giant’s knobbly, hairy hide. The Giant won’t notice until they start hacking at its vulnerable spots. When it does notice, it tries to grab players and lob them over the trees.
- Players could try something less obvious, like tying its legs together, getting a magic potion into its mouth, or dousing its pelt in oil and setting it alight.
Describe the various elements and present the players with options—the slippery frozen river, the Giant’s armoured legs, its fleshy, vulnerable head, and its fur-covered hide. It is too stupid to run should the battle turn against it, but encourage the players to do more than just hack at it until it dies. Perhaps it could even be reasoned with. More food in return for clearing the rockfall. In any case, this encounter should be as much a puzzle as a head-on fight.
Start Your Adventure With a FREE Map Pack!
For tons more guides like this, and to keep up to date with the latest from Czepeku, sign up to our mailing list now and get an introductory map pack for FREE with fantasy, sci-fi, full cities, lore, and more.