Friday, July 29, 2016

Maztica Bestiary: Giants

I haven't even completed a single part of one project and I'm already going to start another one. What an absolute madman I am! Incidentally, it seems like my capeshit posts aren't as popular as my D&D stuff. It's an interesting peek into the demographic of my regular readers.

Anyway, if you flip around in one of the books of the Maztica box set (don't ask me which one, I just use the ancient PDF copy that Wizards of The Coast had available for free in the bygone aeons of the thrice-and-one-half-accursed 3.5 era), you'll see a list of monsters that are supposedly suitable for use in the Maztica setting. Pic related:

So every once in a while I'll select some relevant and thematically cohesive monsters and detail how the Maztican counterparts differ from your standard Monstrous Compendium versions in fluff/lore . You will of course need the Monstrous Compendium to use any rule information presented here. Before I continue, I must admit that I really don't give a shit if I contradict the greater "canon" of either Maztica or the Forgotten Realms. In fact, I hate a lot of the canon. The notEuropeans coming over and krumping the notAztecs is one of the absolute worst concepts of Maztica. The absolute worst is using 9-point alignment (ba-dum-tssh). I'm still going to touch on the Maztican "present" but don't expect me to be happy about it. Let's get this show on the road.

Fire Giants

In ancient ruins of basalt and obsidian, a dying race make their homes. These are the Fire Giants of Maztica, called the "Sons of Tezca" or "Fire Children" in the native tongues. Centuries before the ancient empire of the Payit began its meteoric rise, the Fire Giants were struck with a mysterious plague that ravaged their population. The Fire Giants attributed the plague to their god, an aspect of Tezca; the Humans attributed it to Qotal. In any case, the Fire Giants have been slowly inching toward death ever since.

Maztican Fire Giants resemble standard Fire Giants except that they look slightly sickly and frail compared to their standard counterparts. They allow their hair to grow long; males sometimes have mustaches but they cannot grow beards. Because of the impact of the plague and malnutrition, Maztican Fire Giants only have 14 Hit Dice and their Strength bonus is +8.

Fire Giants mainly stick to their lonely ruined cities which are located near volcanic areas or in jungles with high quantities of volcanic soil. They raid Humans very rarely, mainly to carry off food.

Maztican Fire Giants speak their own language separate from standard Fire Giants. They can understand the languages of nearby (within 10 miles) native groups 50% of the time and the common tongue of all Giants 70% of the time. Fire Giants tend to be grim and fatalistic. The only topics that interest them are their race's past, the immediate future (mainly what to eat), local news, and stories about Fire Giants in other lands.

Maztican Fire Giants have lost (or perhaps never discovered) the arts of metallurgy, leatherworking, and even clothes-making. If they wear clothes at all they are always smelly loincloths of poorly cured and stitched hide or leather. As such, they only have AC 5. Their preferred weapons are slabs of obsidian, basalt, or other stone that deal the same damage as a standard Fire Giant's weapon (2d10, or 2d10+8 total).

Because of their declining population, a group of Fire Giants in its lair only numbers 11-16 (1d6+10) instead of the usual amount, and children only comprise one third of these groups as opposed the usual one-half.

The Fire Giants still worship an aspect of Tezca, although these trying times have diminished much of their faith. There is only a 10% chance of any band having a spellcaster, who will always be a shaman. Unlike standard Fire Giant shamans, their Maztican counterparts may only be priests of up to 3rd level. Maztican Fire Giants make sure that whenever they hunt they always catch at least two creatures; one is eaten while the other (usually the scrawnier or worse of the two - they have a healthy sense of pragmatism) is sacrificed to their god via immolation in either fire or lava.

The lairs of Maztican Fire Giants never contain Hellhounds, Trolls, or Red Dragons. If you are playing in the "present day" of Maztica then a band of 30 or more Maztican Fire Giants has a 30% chance of having 2-5 (1d4+1) Ogres in their lair, although these guests often end up as either food or sacrifices.

Hill Giants

Unlike their Fire Giant brethren, the Hill Giants of Maztica do quite well. Commonly known as "Painted Gluttons", Maztican Hill Giants are much more aggressive than their standard counterparts and launch uncoordinated but frequent raids on the smaller peoples of the True World.

Maztican Hill Giants look the same as regular Hill Giants except for two key aspects: First, they almost never wear clothes; second, their bodies are always covered with with brilliantly-colored warpaint. The Hill Giants believe that warpaint offers supernatural protection from harm. It actually does do so, giving Maztican Hill Giants AC 3. Unfortunately, their strange warpaints have no effect on non-Hill Giants and they know this. Because of their lack of clothes they don't carry bags like standard Hill Giants; their possessions are back in the caves or huts that they live in.

Maztican Hill Giants have their own language distinct from that of standard Hill Giants. They can understand the languages of nearby (within 30 miles) native groups 30% of the time and the common tongue of all Giants 50% of the time. Hill Giants tend to be easily bored unless the discussion is about battle, food, big monsters, or their hated enemies (Ogres and Jagres).

Maztican Hill Giants mainly worship a destructive aspect of Plutoq and a predatory aspect of Nula; their myths paint Hill Giants as the children of these two gods. They consider non-Hill Giant worshipers of these gods to be blasphemers. They also practice ritual cannibalism, eating the heart of related or allied warrior who died in battle; they believe that this transfers the deceased's bravery, skill, and luck to themselves. Rival groups of Hill Giants will often try to steal the hearts of each other's dead warriors, either directly or indirectly via manipulated Humans.

A Maztican Hill Giant lair only has a chance of having 2-8 (2d4) Dire Wolves or 1-3 (1d6/2) Giant Lizards (it's 50/50 likelihood between the two types). Their lairs never have Ogres; they consider these creatures to be imperfect mockeries of themselves and kill them mercilessly when they find them. Hill Giants will even aid the smaller peoples of Maztica if they can be convinced that there will be a significant chance of being able to kill Ogres and Jagres. The skin or pelt of a Jagre worn as a cape or mantle is one of the only articles of clothing a Hill Giant will ever wear.

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