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D&D 3E
Giants - Do we really need them? 
20th-Mar-2005 01:17 pm
geometry, roleplaying, random numbers, games, 3e
What purpose does the monster type "Giant" fill? Surely giants are simply Humanoids of Large or larger size.

Is there any reason to separate them out into their own type? They have the same hit dice and Base Attack progression, after all. Are there any giants smaller than Large, or any humanoids larger than Medium-size?

In short, is there any reason not to declare all giants as simply being humanoids, and tweaking references to giants (in the Dwarf's AC bonus, for example), to refer to Large or larger humanoids?

It just seems to me that it's a completely unnecessary type...
20th-Mar-2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
Send email to Skip. I bet he has an answer. I have a few suspicions, but I don't know how compelling they are.
20th-Mar-2005 06:26 pm (UTC)
Giants are humanoids, but then again, so are Dwarves, Elves, and anything else that vaguely resembles a human shape.

For the most part, giants look like multi-colored humans of at least large size.

The point of having Giants is that they're in loads of legends and fairy tales and other such things, and they make good monsters to have their own societies that often mirror human society, and it's a way to kind of have man-on-man violence without actually having it.

If you call them the "Giant" type, you're fine. If you want to call them "humanoid: giant" you're fine too. It makes little difference, as long as there is SOME difference in the type.
20th-Mar-2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
My question is: Other than the size, what difference is there? And if that's the only difference, why not track it using the Size rather than the Type?
20th-Mar-2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
Giants are creatures of magic. I could be wrong about this, but I think the only giants that do not have supernatural powers are Ogres and Hill Giants. Trolls regenerate, Fire giants are, you know, fire-type, Stone giants can meld into stone, etc. and etc. They are legendary and magical creatures, distinct from humanoids.

Ogres and Hill giants, however, are essentially humans writ large. Large and smelly.
20th-Mar-2005 06:41 pm (UTC)
That too. :]
20th-Mar-2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
Gnomes and elves have magical abilities and are considered humanoid, because they're not large.

Ogres and hill giants have no magical abilities and are considered giants, because they are large.

This seems to make no difference to the decision of whether to class a creature as a humanoid or as a giant. It seems to be entirely coincidental, to me.
20th-Mar-2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
Drow have magical abilities - not most elves, setting-dependant, of course. There are exceptions to every rule. If it bothers you, reclassify gnomes and elves as Fey in your world.

And if you really want that ogre to be subject to charm person, then go right ahead.

... ohman, planesdragon just beat me to that point.
20th-Mar-2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
It doesn't bother me at all. I think that gnomes, elves and drow fit perfectly well as humanoids, so I plan to keep them as such.

I just think that "giants aren't humanoids because most (but not all) of them have magical abilities, whereas only a few humanoids do" is a very poor definition of the giant type, especially when "humanoid of Large or larger size" fits with no exceptions on either side.

And I'm using the 3.0 version of charm person anyway, so even if an ogre is a humanoid rather than a giant, it's immune anyway, simply by being large.
20th-Mar-2005 06:40 pm (UTC)
Because in the event that any other humanoid grows to large or larger size, they are not classified as a Giant.

Example: any humanoid adventurer under the effects of Enlarge Person isn't considered a giant, just a large humanoid.

It's also for the effects of Bane weapons, or (if any) Giant-only responsive magical items.
20th-Mar-2005 06:52 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting point. Now I just have to decide if I want that to be the case...

After all, why shouldn't a human who is magically grown to be 10 feet tall be considered a giant?

21st-Mar-2005 12:15 am (UTC)
Would that really matter? An enlarged Halfling doesn't gain the Elf (or Human, Half-Elf or whatever) subtype, after all. And different humanoids already get different bane properties (Elfbane is different than Dwarfbane). I don't see anything really wrong with making Giant a subtype of humanoid, other than mild metagame flavor issues (making Charm Person not affect the Giant subtype and changing occurances of Giant to Humanoid(Giant), which is a tad more awkward).

I think a lot of it is just momentum. Giants have always been "different" than humanoids, so they should be treated differently in 3e/3.5e as well. :-/
21st-Mar-2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to say, but it looks like you're agreeing with me. o.O

It's all semantics, whether they're considered Giant or Humanoid (giant). As long as they're kept separate from every other subtype, there's nothing to worry about.

x_x So what are you asking when you ask "Would that really matter?"
20th-Mar-2005 07:38 pm (UTC)
It just seems to me that it's a completely unnecessary type...

It is, for the most part.

That is, so long as you don't mind *Charm Person* working on Trolls, Ogres, and Fire Giants.
20th-Mar-2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
In 3.0 (which I'm more familiar with, and has more influence on my world than 3.5), charm person is limited to affecting "a humanoid of Medium-size or smaller", making the problem disappear. In 3.5, the size constraint isn't there, but I believe this is only because there *are* no humanoids larger than Medium-size.
20th-Mar-2005 11:16 pm (UTC)
the Taer (Unapproachable East) is a medium-sized giant. Dunno why, but it is. What I'd like to know is how a troll speaks the same language as a cloud giant.
21st-Mar-2005 01:02 am (UTC)
you bring up a good point. It reminds me of how in earlier editions, each alignment had its own language shared by those of the same alignment. And thieves' cant.
21st-Mar-2005 01:32 am (UTC)
For that matter, why do humans speak the same language across vast cultural barriers? It's a simplification, really, that is often (usually?) done away with once people start actually putting thought into a setting. (I think trolls in my world are more likely to speak goblin than giant).
21st-Mar-2005 01:39 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm trying to move away from this with my new setting: anguage similarity runs along the lines of ethnicity. However, one ethnic group is fairly widespread due to being an extensive empire at one point (now defunct), so at least the more "civilized" will share this (as the main three share the same ethnic background...nationalism isn't too big yet).
21st-Mar-2005 01:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've already stripped out the idea of a Common Tongue, replacing it with national languages. Especially with the existance of comprehend language or Decipher Script, it doesn't seem to make things so much easier than a more realistic model.
22nd-Mar-2005 12:21 pm (UTC)
I've seized upon the notion (introduced in FR, IIRC) of regional human languages IMC.

21st-Mar-2005 04:40 am (UTC)
Consider this. PC's play humanoids. PC's typically do not play giants. Giant society MUST be wholly different than human society. There are no giant towns, for the most part. (I know, cloud giants can form cities in the clouds, yada yada).

It is in most cases also a matter of size. Kobolds are humanoids, not dragons, though dragons and kobolds are both reptiles.

Just some thoughts.
21st-Mar-2005 01:31 pm (UTC)
PC's typically do not play giants.

True, but nor do they typically play gnolls, hobgoblins or lizardfolk, and yet they're still classified as humanoids.

There are no giant towns

This has to be utterly irrelevant; if you were to make elves nomadic and never gathering together in groups of more than a dozen (as happened in, for example, Dark Sun), would they stop being humanoid? I don't think so. One monster type can contain innumerable societal structures.
21st-Mar-2005 02:12 pm (UTC)
Well the idea behind no giant towns is establishing that they have different patterns of mating, behavoir, and society, but it was late when I posted that.

Basically, why do i think wizards made giants a different type? Because they are different and they have to be different. Why isn't a demon a humanoid. Many of them have two legs or arms. They may have some weird powers, but a sorceror has weird powers and he is humanoid. They may be able to fly, but a Avariel can fly and they are humanoid. THey may come from the Abyss, but there could be a race of Elves that come from the Abyss and they are humanoid, so are demons humanoid? Can I hit a demon with my humanoid bane scimitar?

No, because they're different. Humanoids are not large. Giants are not small. Even an ogre is larger than human size.
21st-Mar-2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
Demons come from outside the Prime Material Plane, and so are Outsiders. A race of elves that came from the Abyss would also be outsiders and not humanoids. See the fiendish or half-fiend templates for an example.

Can I hit a demon with my humanoid bane scimitar?

I've never heard of anyone applying bane to such a vague category as "humanoid". I've seen elfbane and even gnomebane weapons, but never humanoidbane. I think that separating out giants just to avoid problems with a weapon that's theoretically possible but easy enough to simply not put into the game is pointless.

Humanoids are not large. Giants are not small. Even an ogre is larger than human size.

You could make exactly the same argument to say that a giant spider is not a vermin because vermin are small, or that a dinosaur is not an animal. But, strangely, WotC decided not to make every size category a unique monster type, and I still don't see why there should be a line in the sand between "7 foot tall orc" and "8 foot tall ogre". Especially as the orge has no special abilities.

If the only thing that separates humanoids from giants is the size, then I believe that's better handled with the size category than with the creature type.
21st-Mar-2005 06:47 am (UTC)
I would consider Giant-kin to be a specific species. Just like Elves and Humans, both humanoid, are different species. I think that Giants should be considered humanoid (granted, they are Large / Huge and thus treated differently, and some are more magical-based than others).

The species concept allows for the bane type effects (+4 vs Giant-kin does not give a +4 vs ALL large and huge monsters, humanoid or not, only those with the Giant-kin species / type) and restrictions (a Ranger's favored enemy could be Giant-kin, but not large / huge humanoid, just like he could not choose humanoid as the favored enemy, he would need to choose Human or Elf or Orc, etc.).

To simplify:

All Giant-kin are large / huge humanoids.
Not all large / huge humanoids are Giant-kin.

This correlates to:

All Humans are medium humanoids.
Not all medium humanoids are Human.

Thats the way I think about it.
21st-Mar-2005 01:51 pm (UTC)
This makes sense to me. My main problem is that, according to at least the first 2 Monster Manuals, all large / huge humanoids are Giants.

A subtype (similar to reptillian or aquatic) might do the trick, and would also allow for the possibilty of non-humanoid giants...

I'll have to think about that.
21st-Mar-2005 06:58 am (UTC)
I would also like to point out the following info from the MM:

3.0MM (pg 5):
Giant: A giant is a humanoid creature of great strength, usually of at least Large size.

3.5MM (pg 310):
A giant is a humanoid-shaped creature of great strength, usually of at lease Large size.

Both books go on to describe some more information about them, however, I would consider them to be Humanoid and Giant as a subtype of Humanoid based on these comments. I do not see any reason why they should not be treated as such.
22nd-Mar-2005 12:26 am (UTC)
HEY, I play a ranger and Gaint's are my second favored enemy... don't rock the boat.

(IE I don't understand it either... bvut they are giant... makes sense in a way.)

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