Monday, November 28, 2016

A Overview and Review of Against the Giants G1-2-3 By Gary Earnest Gygax For AD&D 1st Edition

I got a chance to sit down with my buddy Steve today & shot the old school bull about last night's events and the G series adventure collection 'Against The Giants'. This is one one hell of a campaign. BTW the players were texting him wanting to know when the next meet up is.
Taken as a whole Against The Giants is one of the classics of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition, that is a spruced up and collected version of the 'G' series of modules for Dungeons and Dragons. Here all of the action is taking place in  the Grand Duchy of Geoff, in the World of Greyhawk.

"Against the Giants (G1-2-3): These adventures occur in several different locations throughout Crystalmist Mountains and Jotens. The Steading of the Hill Giant Chief in in hex P5-129; The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl is in hex S5-134; and the Hall of the Fire Giant King is in hex M5-138."
I'm going to try to keep this overview and commentary short, sweet, and to the point. This is a classic is according to Wiki;"Against the Giants is an adventure module written by Gary Gygax and published by TSR in 1981 for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. It combines the G series of modules previously published in 1978: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl, and Hall of the Fire Giant King. All three were produced for use with the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules."
This is one of the classics of AD&D & its for high level PC's and its got a lot going for it. This is one of the modules that has intelligent monsters who are more like NPC's then simple monsters. They have motives, tactics, and can crush PC's like bugs. Taken as a whole as I have over the last two weeks of rereading the originals and the collected modules of G 1-2-3 in action last night I have a very healthy respect of them.
The encounters in this collection are classics, the bosses are unexpected & the inclusion of the Drow is a high point for many players. Don't screw with the fire giants or their minions at the end of the module. Tread really carefully but boldly through these adventures.
This anthology of the 3 giant modules adds the beloved tournament characters and some nice interior illustrations for the AD&D 1st edition game. This is one of those that you could leaf through & your imagination took over. The lack of hard and fast details allows one to fill in as needed for lots of the interior events of the modules. These are more outline then hard and fast modules because they were created as tournament modules.

They do exactly what it says on the tin;"
Giants have been raiding the lands of men in large bands, with giants of different sorts in these marauding groups. Death and destruction have been laid heavily upon every place these monsters have visited. This has caused great anger in high places, for life and property loss means failure of the vows of noble rulers to protect the life and goods of each and every subject - and possible lean times for the rulers as well as the ruled. Therefore, a party of the bravest and most powerful adventurers has been assembled and given the charge to punish the miscreant giants. These adventurers must deliver a sharp check, deal a lesson to the clan of hill giants nearby, or else return and put their heads upon the block for the headsman's axe!

Yet this charge is not as harsh as it may seem, for all have been fully equipped with all standard items needed for both wilderness and dungeon exploration; and each member of the party has likewise been given the finest horse available. Guides are available to help, and the leader has a splendid map showing exactly where the great timber fortress of the chief of the hill giants in the area is. This chief, one Nosnra, is a grossly fat and thoroughly despicable creature, sly and vicious, loving ambush and backstabbing. Furthermore, the party has been cautioned to expect a secret force, some motivational power behind this unusual banding of different races of giants. More surprises might be in store . . .

Finally, the party has been instructed to keep any and all loot they chance upon, this to be their reward for the perils they are to face. They are to follow any clues discovered if such point towards the sinister hand suspected of guiding the rising, but to return at once if they should determine exactly the reason or force behind the unholy alliance. Some relic of great evil might be at hand."

These are classics because of what they do & how they do it; what they do is present a tournament of slaughter level with raid after raid wrapped around clever and very well presented adventure locations. You as the DM have to fill in the rest as needed. This is pretty clever on the part of Gary Earnest Gygax's part as writer and designer. Its a gloriously simple formula that works with one adventure sliding into one and then another wrapped around a plot dovetailed into the back end of Greyhawk. But is this collection a classic because its all about the nostalgia factor? Not quite at all. These modules act as a buffer and painful introduction into the world of AD&D 1st edition. I was shown a literal pile of papers today of PC sheets of characters who have died at the hands & claws of the giants,ogres, trolls, etc. over the last couple of years. This is because even though there is a split between the B/X & AD&D 1st edition giants; the giants have always been top tier monsters. 

The Dungeon of Signs has a great break down of not only the giants but the large humanoid races. And its great little study in the slaughter potential of these nasty pieces of work. This is a great study of the potential & dangers of using large humanoid monsters. There's lots of neat details that can be gleaned from the author's work here.

Is there a heavy nostalgia factor here with these? In a word yes because this series of modules is one where I've had PC's die again and again with lots of fun and somewhat twisted circumstances of death. Last night was revenge for all of those times because one of the players was one of the DM's who used to kill my characters on a regular basis in middle school.  Are they classics? In my humble opinion Against The Giants is a great pillar of the AD&D end of the hobby. Now I will move on with my blog, thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me.

Steve you owe me a beer for this one!
Keep em rolling folks and I hope you make your save!

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