Wednesday, September 25, 2019

OSR Commentary - Lands of the Jotunn & G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief By Gary Gygax (1978)

" 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"

I've been thinking heavily about G1 
Steading of the Hill Giant Chief  By Gary Gygax (1978) & looking into how this style of tourament module could be used in a Pulp style game & before you head off give me a chance. Since these are a part of the classic Against the Giants series of modules by Gary Gygax let's get a little insight;"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." G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief  By Gary Gygax  takes place within Jotunn in Greyhawk & if that location was rifted into the modern world then events get very horrific & dangerous. Now I was reading through Dungeon of Sighs review of G1-3 Against the Giants from 2017. I was struck by the following; "he Hill Giant steading is a balance between two common stock communities - the barbarian ‘meadhall’ and the cannibal ‘hillbilly’ clan compound.  One can easily push it in either direction, depending on how one sees Hill Giants.  Certainly the Hill Giant of the 5th edition (and perhaps the Monster Manual) is driven by gluttony and seems like something out of “The Hills Have Eyes” more than a Fomorian of Celtic myth.  This second idea, Hill Giants as oversized classical celtic with monstrous table manners is closer to the 1978 G1.  Giants cover everything in furs and love decorative jewelry, living in a hall as an extended clan, the warrior elite lording over their captives and servants.  The little art in G1 straddles these two conceptions as well, with giants clad in furs, or sometimes dressed in 19th century looking prairie dresses and depending on one’s campaign going in either direction could be very fun. " 

Now let's say that lands of the Jotunn plannarly merged with modern day England & that's when the real trouble starts. In Norse mythology this place is literally the land of giants, trolls, and other Dungeons & Dragons humanoids. For some reason H.G. Wells Food of the Gods stuck with me here & the idea that the Hill Giants might be feeding some of the locals on their own food or Eitr. Yeah this is right outta of the Bob Something Godbound/Scion: Titanspawns play book. The hill giants have been turning the locals into cannon fodder, slaves,etc.
Now this isn't the first time I've thought about doing this & for a Godbound/Dungeons & Dragons campaign this isn't a bad way to go. Scientists who are studying the food of the gods or 
Ambrosia are extremely dangerous circumstances. The food of the gods comes from Greco/Roman mythology; "Ambrosia is very closely related to the gods' other form of sustenance, nectar. The two terms may not have originally been distinguished;[6] though in Homer's poems nectar is usually the drink and ambrosia the food of the gods; it was with ambrosia Hera "cleansed all defilement from her lovely flesh",[7] and with ambrosia Athena prepared Penelope in her sleep,[8] so that when she appeared for the final time before her suitors, the effects of years had been stripped away, and they were inflamed with passion at the sight of her. On the other hand, in Alcman,[9] nectar is the food, and in Sappho[10] and Anaxandrides, ambrosia is the drink.[11] A character in Aristophanes' Knights says, "I dreamed the goddess poured ambrosia over your head—out of a ladle." Both descriptions could be correct, as ambrosia could be a liquid considered a food (such as honey).

The consumption of ambrosia was typically reserved for divine beings. Upon his assumption into immortality on Olympus, Heracles is given ambrosia by Athena, while the hero Tydeus is denied the same thing when the goddess discovers him eating human brains. In one version of the myth of Tantalus, part of Tantalus' crime is that after tasting ambrosia himself, he attempts to steal some away to give to other mortals.[12] Those who consume ambrosia typically had not blood in their veins, but ichor the blood of immortals.[13]
Both nectar and ambrosia are fragrant, and may be used as perfume: in the Odyssey Menelaus and his men are disguised as seals in untanned seal skins, "...and the deadly smell of the seal skins vexed us sore; but the goddess saved us; she brought ambrosia and put it under our nostrils."[14] Homer speaks of ambrosial raiment, ambrosial locks of hair, even the gods' ambrosial sandals."

So let's say that the hill giants are using the local youth for part of an army of muscle & cult recruitment. Surely there couldn't be someone among them whose got the brains to organize hill giants into such a back handed group of muscle & dominance right? Well enter Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae ("The History of The Kings of Britain", 12th century), & Gogmagog. "He was a giant inhabitant of Albion, thrown off a cliff during a wrestling match with Corineus (a companion of Brutus of Troy). Gogmagog was the last of the Giants found by Brutus and his men inhabiting the land of Albion."

Its no accident that I mentioned that G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief  By Gary Gygax (1978) might be transported to a modern England this goes back to Gogmagog (also Goemagot, Goemagog, GoĆ«magot and Gogmagoc); "Gogmagog ("Goemagot", "Goemagog") in the legend of the founding of Britain as written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae (1136). Gogmagog was a giant of Albion who was slain by Corineus, a member of the invading Trojan colonizers headed by Brutus. Corineus was subsequently granted a piece of land that was named "Cornwall" eponymously after him.
The Historia details the encounter as follows: Gogmagog, accompanied by twenty fellow giants, attacked the Trojan settlement and caused great slaughter. The Trojans rallied back and killed all giants, except for "one detestable monster named Gogmagog, in stature twelve cubits, and of such prodigious strength that at one shake he pulled up an oak as if it had been a hazel wand". He is captured so that Corineus can wrestle with him. The giant breaks three of Corineus's ribs, which so enrages him that he picks up the giant and carries him on his shoulders to the top of a high rock, from which he throws the giant down into the sea. The place where he fell was known as "Gogmagog's Leap" to posterity."

So why would 
 Gogmagog return with hordes of hill giants & the like to modern England? To track down his modern day descendants & use them in an army of the Apocalypse to destroy modern society; "The Lord Mayor's account of Gogmagog says that the Roman Emperor Diocletian had thirty-three wicked daughters. He found thirty-three husbands for them to curb their wicked ways; they chafed at this, and under the leadership of the eldest sister, Alba, they murdered their husbands. For this crime they were set adrift at sea; they washed ashore on a windswept island, which they named "Albion"—after Alba. Here they coupled with demons and gave birth to a race of giants, whose descendants included Gog and Magog" 

There's always been a mix here of gods & giants going back to Norse mythology the primary
example here being Loki. But there are many others & to take this back to Dark Albion if 
 G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief  By Gary Gygax (1978) & placed it within Dark  Albion or Lion & Dragon  with our additions the effects could be devestating. Ambroisa being used as a sacrement for a cult of the hill giants on the local populace would have incredibly dangerous effects. The supplicant's strength gains  +4 & perhaps a +2 on dexterity.But their intelligence & wisdom go down by -2 points after two weeks of being on the Ambroisia. The cult's members become creatures of chaos before too long gaining unsightly & unnatural muscles. Originally these monsters were used as shock troops by the Elves in ages past & now these monsters have returned!

Hill giants have always been creatures of chaos within my mind anyway. Dangerous in the exgtreme, prone to violence, quick tempered, & representive of a different order then humanity entirely. 

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