Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Menace From Snowdonia With G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief By Gary Gygax - The Beginning Of A Pulp Adventure Campaign Cycle

Giants of different types have been raiding lands occupied by humans. Angered by this, the human rulers hire a group of adventurers  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."

So last night I cracked open a copy of G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief By Gary Gygax. I've been working out how to use G1 in a more pulp setting is pretty easy because the amount of adventure prep work is small. The hill giants in G1  are actually

mountain giants (bergrisar) part of the Jotunn of Norse literature & 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 giants of G1 are least Bergrisar but Chief Nosnra is a full blooded Bergrisar who should have some of the magical abilities common to those listed of giants of Norse mythology in original Dungeons & Dragons Gods, Demi Gods, & Heroes By Robert Kuntz & James Ward.

In the Welsh Arthurian lore the region of
Snowdonia is the home of one of the most infamous giant kings called Rhitta (or Rhudda) Gawr, G1 Chief Nosnra is a vassal of this monster. The Arthurian  legend of Rhitta  Gawr is key to understanding the menace that PC's will be facing down.

"A well-known tale concerns Rhitta (or Rhudda) Gawr, a giant who held court in Snowdonia. He marched against warring kings Nyniaw and Peibaw, overwhelmed their armies and took their beards as trophies of his victory and fashioned them into a cap for himself. The twenty-six kings of Britain assembled their armies to destroy Rhitta but were vanquished by the giant, who cut off the kings' beards and fashioned a great cape out of them to protect him from the cold. Sometime later, as Arthur "washed his hands after slaying the red-eyed giant of Cernyw", he received a message from Rhitta, demanding his beard to patch his cloak. Arthur refused, and Rhitta marched south with his armies to claim it from him. In the resulting confrontation, Rhitta is forced to shear his own beard, and retreats "much humbled in stature but much wiser in knowledge". A variant tale claims that after receiving the demands, Arthur marched furiously up to Snowdonia and fought against the giant in a duel, in which he "lifted up his sword and struck Rhitta on the crown of the head a blow so fiercely-wounding, severely-venomous and sternly-smiting that it cut through all his head armour and his skin and his flesh and clove him in twain.",[3] According to the story, Arthur commands that a cairn be built over his body which forms Gwyddfa Rhudda (Rhita's Cairn). Over the intervening centuries the name of Rhudda was forgotten and Gwyddfa Rhudda became known as Yr Wyddfa."

In a pulp game the remains of
Gwyddfa Rhudda have been disturbed & the undead giant chieftain is wretched back into our world. Rhitta  Gawr summons his armies from the chaotic shoals of Fairyland to Snowdonia. At first its only a small scout or expeditionary force and the PC's must contend with Chief Nosnra.

But the more time that goes on the monsters from the Chaos laced unreality of Fairy become real in our world. The
troglodytes, bugbears, &  carrion crawlers are all native to the Welsh 'Otherworld' and here's where Lion & Dragon's retroclone rpg comes in handy to help fill in some of the gaps of  G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief.

I keep using Lion & Dragon because it helps to fill in some of the adventure gaps between mythology & pulp. Take for example Troll Lord Games Amazing Adventures! Rpg where the PC's are heroes in the mold of Doc Savage & The Shadow. The PC's are going to get in way over their heads when it comes to discovering the undead horror behind
Chief Nosnra.
But whose resurrected the monster
Rhitta  Gawr & why? The answer is of course the Elves of legend whose presence more then makes a solid stand in for the Drow that we find later in the series. The Elves have been taking the place of the pagan gods for centuries & passing themselves off as the true inheritors of the Cosmic wisdom since the dawn of human history.

King Arthur faces a giant in this engraving by Walter Crane

This is only the start of it because if Snowdonia  falls then the rest of England will follow but this is the perfect opportunity for PC's to journey to Blackmoor, Greyhawk, or even Hyperborea  to recruit warriors & wizards who know how to deal with the menace of giants!
My strong suggestion for getting into G1 is to crack open Amazing Adventures! rpg Companion and use some of the expanded magical guidelines for really getting the Welsh mythological flavor right!

G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief By Gary Gygax is only the first part but where will part II of this adventure cycle take the PC? Tune in next time as we find out if the PC survive as the the fiery red menace

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