One of these was the 'Giant Killer' kit - a variety of ranger who made it his business to hunt and slay giants, and got certain advantages when fighting them. I used to want to run a campaign in which the PCs were all Giant Killers roaming the wilderness, protecting the weak and timid from gargantuan monsters.
A few years ago I wrote a post about the giant slaying campaign. I described it as:
[R]evolving around infrequent encounters with large, powerful, and possibly unique enemies right from the beginning. In this paradigm, monsters would start off at the level of trolls and progress from there; they would be mighty and perhaps near-legendary beings who only true heroes could possibly hope to defeat in a fight: Fafnir, Gog and Magog, Grendel, Glaurung, the Green Knight. Giant Slaying adventures would involve much in the way of tracking, exploring and inconclusive battle, and comparatively little in the way of slaughter.
I used the old Playstation game The Shadow of the Colossus as an example of how this would play out. There would be no goblins or kobolds or anything of that nature. Only big, ferocious creatures that you would have no hope of defeating without team-work, strategising, and forward planning.
It didn't occur to me at the time that the Giant Killer kit existed - I'd forgotten all about it. It was only leafing through the Complete Ranger tonight that reminded me of it. It's tailor-made for that sort of campaign. I particularly like how a party composed entirely of Giant Killers would be specialized to the extreme - they would be excellent at working together to hunt down and destroy giants, but correspondingly vulnerable against magic-users and human enemies. This would make an interesting strategic problem for the players: perversely, they might be better against big enemies than those their own size.
The only problem with the Giant Killer campaign is that D&D combat is too abstract to do it justice. You don't particularly need to be creative when, despite a giant's size and unique challenges, ultimately all you are doing is just rolling a d20 against AC like you do for any monster. I wonder if there are any other systems which are designed to handle small human versus big monster combat?
There must be, although I can't think of any right now. I imagine anything with hit locations and stunt mechanics could be reskinned into something like it. It's an interesting challenge; I think it would be the kind of thing Zak would do well.ReplyDelete
A couple of years ago there was a monster-hunting rpg in the works from -- I think -- a British publisher. I cannot remember what it was called or if it ever came out.
scrap princess posted a system for it a while ago:ReplyDelete
and I believe either Telecanter or Roles, Rules, and Rolls had an adaptation of it.
Treat the giant as a dungeon, not a monster.ReplyDelete
BJJ's got it, at least for the superlarge foes. Break out limbs into 3 areas, torso into 4 front, 4 back and so on, and for each area designate challenges that are effectively trap, trick, treasure, or "empty". Defeating whatever's there allows you to move to a connected area, failure sets you back to the area you arrived from.Delete
If you want some slaughter, use thematically appropriate 1-2 HD monsters as parasites.
Giants should be able to pick up, bite and stomp. Humans should be able to climb (yes, I adapted that rule and so did Zak), snare, hamstring and swarm. Imagine being a foot tall and armed with a nail scissors, would you really be able to kill a normal guy by repeatedly stabbing him in the shin? You need to get to the important veins or nose or eye somehow.ReplyDelete
Another problem - a one foot guy might not be strong enough to really wield a weapon which could do me serious harm.Delete
Have you seen the Manga/Anime Attack On Titan? It takes place in the last city on Earth, everyone else having been eaten by giants. To me, it seems almost like a minimalist D&D campaign, one town, own type of monster. It might mix well into the game you're envisioning, and it is free to read on various websites, as well as available to watch on the various streaming sites.ReplyDelete
I absolutely agree that this would be a fantastic campaign but I reckon that D&D would need to be significantly messed around with to make the game work effectively, and not just the combat. I have been thinking about this ever since reading that original post several years ago and it seems like you would need to reinterpret the mechanics native to D&D which are about detecting secret doors and traps and killing goblins and avoiding petrification to more closely simulate the challenges associated with overcoming gigantic entities.ReplyDelete
Scrap and Zak both created a giant climbing ruleset which seem good but I'm not sure what you'd do with all that redundant stuff.
It's a challenge I would love to see someone pursue, there's not much more fun than being a GM playing the part of an enormous monstrosity.
Yes, I think it is probably almost like writing a completely different system which bears similarities to D&D, but is much more detailed and granular.Delete
Mattgusta beat me to the punch. That scrapprincess article would be useful to your potential campaign. Also, side-note, but try out Gods Of War : Ascension sometime if you want to get a ridiculously crazy (and well executed) small vs. large combat brewing in your brain. I don't often find inspiration from computer games, but that one really got me thinking along the same lines of, how to represent scale in pen & paper rpg games.ReplyDelete
The Roles, Rules & Rolls one-pager for "climbing on big monsters" (which includes small creatures climbing on humans) is here:ReplyDelete
You might want to treat different limbs/parts of the giant as different monsters altogether. If you want to imitate Shadow of the Colossus, it might also help to regard various parts of the monster as certain types of terrain. Moving around on a giant requires the same kinds of checks you'd be making in a dungeon (to climb surfaces, maintain balance, etc.). Defeating a monster doesn't just mean rolling against AC, it means rolling against the AC of whatever part of the giant you're trying to hurt. Stabbing its shoulder enough will prevent it from attacking with the adjoining arm. A few solid blows to the head will probably kill it - if you can make it that high. Might have to take out its legs first.ReplyDelete
This means putting a lot of planning and detail into individual monsters, but given how few others the party will be running into it seems worthwhile.
I may very well steal this concept from you, if that's okay.
Yes, I agree. That is definitely the right approach. Each limb/body part would have its own hit point total, AC, etc.Delete
I understand if you're predisposed to dismiss my recommendation for whatever reason, but I really recommend you you give a cursory at Attack On Titan- much like Godzilla it utilizes the iconography of very real pubic catastrophes to give credence to a fairly light weight story it is very well done. Moreover, it seems very close to the extrapalatory thinking that I find most entertaining about coming up with game material- it plays a premise not just straight,but a a base for a huge amount of idle construction on the premise- it is exactly the premise you have described given the fullest bored-in-math-class layering of logical assumptions. It is a great example of sociological/economic considerations applied to a silly premise, and I think it is entitled to a little attention.ReplyDelete
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I remember jrients promising some unique mechanic for fighting huge giants in Broodmother Skyfortress...ReplyDelete
BitD there was a boardgame called Stomp!ReplyDelete
Elves vs. a giant in his garden.