Thursday, November 24, 2016

Commentary On Adapting G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief By Gary Gygax For The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 1st Edition Rpg

Yesterday before the preparation for Thanksgiving I tossed a few notes back & forth with Glen Hallstrom about The Against The Giants series of modules for '79 Dungeons & Dragons & adapting them to Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. "The player characters focus on battling hill giants, frost giants, and fire giants, three of the original evil giant types used in Dungeons & Dragons.
"So I took some time off last night & literally reread one of the first in this series of modules, G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief from the ground up back to front. This is a module packed with encounters, monsters, and some general Gygax old school weirdness. "

"The module begins with a prologue explaining that giants of different types have been raiding lands occupied by humans. Angered by this, the human rulers hire a group of adventurers (the player characters) to "punish the miscreant giants." The players' party is informed that they must defeat the giants, or have their heads placed on the chopping block. The human nobles equip the party with weapons and horses, along with a guide and a map that shows the location of the hill giants. The players are informed that the hill giants are led by Nosnra, a sly hill giant chieftain who loves to set up ambushes; there is an unknown force binding together different giant groups. The player characters are informed that they may keep any spoils they find, but must return at once if they determine what "sinister hand" is behind the alliance.
The bulk of the adventure takes place in two locations: the upper level fortress of the hill giants' lair, and the dungeon level beneath it.[1] In the upper level there are halls, barracks and common rooms. These rooms house Chief Nosnra and other hill giants, ogres, and servants. The dungeon level consists of slave quarters, torture chambers, and caverns. These house troglodytes, bugbears, and carrion crawlers"

To actually use G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief  we need to go back to the Norse mythological roots of giants themselves to really get an old school pulpy feel to the adventure. According to Wiki;"
In Norse mythology, the Jotun (jötnar in Old Norse, a cognate with ettin) are often opposed to the gods. While often translated as "giants", most are described as being roughly human sized. Some are portrayed as huge, such as frost giants (hrímþursar), fire giants (eldjötnar), and mountain giants (bergrisar)." The hill giants are closer to the mountain giants (bergrisar) of Norse mythology which might mean deeper connections to the lands of Jötunheimr & Hyperborea. Mountain giants crossing over into the depths of space in their long ships to raid the lands of Hyperborea is a romantic notion but not the only option. I can also see them crossing through elemental Earth gates for dimensional raids through Underborea. The relationships between the giants & the gods of Hyperborea might indeed be a complex one. According to Wiki;"The Jötnar are a mythological race that live in Jötunheimr, one of the nine worlds of Norse cosmology. They were banished there by the Æsir who refused them entry to their world, Asgard. The Jötnar frequently interact with the Æsir, as well as the Vanir. They are usually in opposition to, or in competition with them, but also interact with them in a non-hostile manner. Some Jötnar even intermarry with the Æsir and Vanir, and many are named as parents or grandparents of Æsir such as Thor and Odin. This very complex relationship between these two comparable races develops most notably in the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda, ultimately making it difficult to distinguish them from the more familiar Norse gods."  This means that your going to get giant classed NPC's with the potential for very deep backgrounds that can be used for years for campaigns in AS&SH. I have a tendency to think of the mountain giants (bergrisar) as slight more advanced then the Formanians of AS&SH fame even though the two breeds of giants interbreed & raid one another.

Not only does that set up high level AS&SH parties for the rest of the Against the Giants series of adventures but possible later adventures upon Jötunheimr.
This is one of the roughest areas of the multiverse for adventuring & this Norse mythological take could be used to further the AS&SH origin of the Drow into the realms of the Svartálfar. 
Simply avoid the confusion over this also being the home of the Dwarves which in AS&SH are the worm children of Ymir or perhaps not in your version of Hyperborea. But back to the giants, the PC's are going pitched deep into enemy territory with the giants. Anyway you slice it the PC's are going to be combating and wading through mountains of enemies. All of this is going to lead deep into the dungeons under the fortress of  the mountain giants which touches the edges of Underborea.

Underborea is far more dangerous then the pedestrian and well known Underdark of Wizards of the Coast fame. Here are where the dregs of the gods hide out, demons from ancient & long gone universes still dwell, & humans are far more readily on the menu.
In other words G1 Steading of the Hill Giants is actually a set up for a high level entry to the edges of Underborea where death, treasure, and very dangerous pulpy adventures are just waiting around the corner in the form of  the  "D" series and Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits but that kids is another blog post entirely. The players are still going to have to deal with the horrors of the Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl &
Hall of the Fire Giant King. But those are blog entries for another time.

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