Friday, March 8, 2019

Echoing Elemental Death Winds of AD&D G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King

"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. A party of the bravest and most powerful adventurers has been assembled and given the charge to punish the miscreant giants." 

This is the final installment of the 'Against The Giants' series of adventures & its an adventure that really takes the idea of the tactical game adventure into the convention style of tournament play. For our purposes this adventure might as well take place deep within the Earth. We're given a tour de force of the fire giant's lair, motivations, etc. in G3 Hall of the Fire Giants and its some of Gary Gygax's writing.  There are several reasons why the' Against The Giants' series  is a key competent for a Sword & Sorcery game especially Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. 

I've run this module in the past and its one to be respected because its an AD&D first edition competition module. 

The fire giants of this adventure are very dangerous, smart, and wily. They control a solid empire & come from the realm of Muspelheim making them a part of  the Eldjötnar 
family line. Now this indicates that these are royalty with Lovecraftian ties into the
the Elder Elemental God, who was first referenced to in G1: "Steading of the Hill Giant Chief". All of this lore has disappeared from mainstream AD&D first edition lore over the years but basically  "Temple of the Eye of the Elder Elemental God", a god worshiped by the Eilservs clan/family of Drow wraps around to T-14 Temple of Elemental Evil.  So not only does this place the fire giants at the center of the action it makes them as a fulcrum to the entire events of the whole meta campaign that we get into in Descent Into The Depths of the Earth series of adventures.  But back to Hall of the Fire Giants for a moment. We know that they've been with us since the beginning of our existence but surely there isn't an 'Old Solar' system connection? Not only is there one but it explains the empire of the fire giants right under our very noses. The Wiki entry on  Muspelheim gives us our first clue;
"According to the Ragnarök prophecies in Snorri Sturluson's Gylfaginning, the first part of his Prose Edda, the sons of Muspell will break the Bifröst bridge, signaling the end of times:
In the midst of this clash and din the heavens are rent in twain, and the sons of Muspell come riding through the opening. Surtr rides first, and before him and after him flames burning fire. He has a very good sword, which shines brighter than the sun. As they ride over Bifrost it breaks to pieces, as has before been stated. The sons of Muspel direct their course to the plain which is called Vigrid.... The sons of Muspel have there effulgent bands alone by themselves"
The second clue we have comes in the form of one of the nasty NPC's "Obmi the "first real villain of Greyhawk Castle"" whose a perfect example of the evil, foulness, of the brood of Ymir if there ever was one. He embodies the characteristics of many of the foul beings that spring  from Gygax's imagination. His motives, motivations, etc. are perfect examples of the petty drives of the maggot breed of Dwarf that are the slaves to the fire giants. The fire giants have lost their god & are seeking to resurrect the elemental god.

This lines up the fire giant's entry in AS&SH's Referee's Guide where they serve a demon lord instead of their god. The fire giants also have an empire & outposts scattered throughout the fiery cores of many worlds including old Earth & other planets in the solar system. This connects in with Clark Ashton Smith's Ascharia (Synopsis and Fragment) where Mhaggalok Jupiter is mentioned. Its been speculated in the past by Lovecraft that stars and other celestial bodies would be perfect breeding grounds for alien elemental life forms. AD&D has scores of these beings throughout from the Monster Manual first edition through the Fiend Folio. The Fire Giants are beings that can easily survive on the surfaces of such places. But one of the worlds that a friend of mine has speculated would be a perfect trading point for the fire giants is Jupiter's hell moon Io and its the perfect spot for the elemental gods resting place. 
"Io's surface is also dotted with more than 100 mountains that have been uplifted by extensive compression at the base of Io's silicate crust. Some of these peaks are taller than Mount Everest.[10] Unlike most satellites in the outer Solar System, which are mostly composed of water ice, Io is primarily composed of silicate rock surrounding a molten iron or iron-sulfide core. Most of Io's surface is composed of extensive plains coated with sulfur and sulfur-dioxide frost.
Io's volcanism is responsible for many of its unique features. Its volcanic plumes and lava flows produce large surface changes and paint the surface in various subtle shades of yellow, red, white, black, and green, largely due to allotropes and compounds of sulfur. Numerous extensive lava flows, several more than 500 km (300 mi) in length, also mark the surface. The materials produced by this volcanism make up Io's thin, patchy atmosphere and Jupiter's extensive magnetosphere. Io's volcanic ejecta also produce a large plasma torus around Jupiter."

Its alien surface is the perfect place for the alien elemental life forms & monsters of AD&D and its probably a good place for a fire giant trade point. The fire giants have been with us the whole time and the Hall of The Fire Giant points out just how dangerous these beings can be. Io has been used by me in the past as a possible resting point for some of the relics of Surtr.

Any world in the solar system with a lave & molten core is a potential military point or city for the fire giants but this isn't the end of the giant problem within the 'old solar system' setting. Things got turned on their head when Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg 2nd edition came out. 

The fire giants from AS&SH  are no long under the protection & ruler ship of the god giant Surtur. They are now under the  dominion of a demon lord of Underborea & vulnerable to the influence of the Drow. The Drow are not true Dark Elves but the legacy of spider demoness & one of the Great Old Ones. They were birthed in the thousands during the year of Ragnarok.


The Drow went to war with the Hyperboreans & lost badly. They were exterminated down to less then two hundred but have been spawning again in their cities in the Underworld of the Dreamlands once again. There are rumors them having been seen nosing around the Hyperborean weapons testing facilities on Io of late but these are merely whispered rumors.Could they be after the relics & weapons of Surtr? No good can come of this?

Surtr with the Flaming Sword (1882) by F. W. Heine,
 based on a plaster frieze designed by Friedrich Wilhelm Engelhard (1859)

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