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On the Storm Giants of the Flanaess: History, Culture and Nation
Posted on Thu, January 21, 2010 by LordCeb
CruelSummerLord writes "“It can be a lonely existence, to be sure. And yet, we would have it no other way. As violent and powerful as a storm can be, nonetheless does it play an integral role in the workings of the natural world. So too is it for we, the giants that take the storm as our name. If we may create something of lasting value to the world, whether in art and music or in battle against evil, we have lived our lives to the fullest and have no regrets when at last we expire.”

-Lord Amleth of the Seventh Harp, in reply to a human bard asking why he isolates himself from the world.


Social mores and practices:

 

            Storm giants are huge beings that stand over twenty feet in height, with skin ranging in color from pale light green to deep violet. They possess either dark green hair and emerald green eyes, or hair that varies from deep violet to blue-black, with silvery-gray or dark purple eyes. They dress in fine tunics, robes and clothes of very thick and durable but extremely-high quality cloth and wool, accented with various items of jewelry and furs. They will wear any kind of armor that suits them, from the leather of giant bulls and cows to elaborate plate armor crafted with mystic runes and symbols that they believe grants them power in combat. Their faces are typically those of exceptionally beautiful humans, and they wear their hair and beards very long, kept flowing freely and unencumbered by hairpins or clips. Their voices range from calm and serene, often higher than those of other giants, although they can become just as harsh and cruel as those of any other giant, should they become enraged. Any very large melee weapon is agreeable to a storm giant, although in missile combat they prefer ranged weapons such as bows or crossbows over throwing weapons such as spears and rocks. The most determined giants can and do craft massive composite bows worthy of their immense strength, and they wield these weapons with terrifying accuracy and power.

 

            Storm giants can be found in almost any clime, although they prefer areas of more extreme weather, such as blizzards or tropical storms. As such, they are typically found in the mountains of the frozen north, at the bottoms of the most storm-tossed seas, and in other very harsh terrain that few other sentient races would care to dwell in by choice. Being self-sufficient and perfectly capable of surviving in the worst conditions, storm giants will often carve their own castles and fortresses out of mountain rock, the coral of the deep sea, or even out of enchanted clouds. They rarely deal with humans or its allied races, preferring to obtain the goods they cannot make themselves from other giants, although a few extremely daring merchants have made themselves fabulously wealthy by catering to the rich tastes of storm giants, who are known to pay massive sums for foodstuffs, wine, parchment, or other materials they cannot obtain or manufacture on their own. Many storm giants grow their own food, harvesting large orchards, vineyards or gardens, and also hunt for food, although they do not typically keep herds of animals.

 

            As they love to dwell in the very harshest terrain and weather, storm giants are rarely visited even by other giants or dragons. This typically suits storm giants perfectly well, as they are retiring and reclusive by nature. Their society and culture is one of great refinement, and the giants enjoy art and philosophy. Typically, it is artistic talent and intelligence, rather than simple combat prowess, that determines the respect a storm giant is accorded by his peers. Being few in number and solitary by nature, they tend to solitary existence, and typically do not organize themselves into nations or tribes, and do not have kings or chiefs. Every few decades, however, storm giants typically long for the company of another of their kind, and they may wander until they find a mate, with whom they will raise a family. Any children they have will be raised until adulthood, at which time the parents may wander off once again and the children will take over their households, or the children will themselves depart until they find a place to settle. Men and women are equals and partners in storm giant society, and discrimination is entirely unknown among them.

 

            Despite their reclusive natures, however, storm giants can and do interact with other races when they feel it is necessary. They may form strong alliances with goodly cloud giants, stone giants, firbolgs or dragons for mutual aid, assisting one another in combat or obtaining goods that the other cannot find on their own. The powers storm giants wield over the weather is often appreciated by other races who seek water for their herds or crops, who will repay the giant with treasure, food, music, art or arcane knowledge.

 

Storm giants may also more rarely interact with humans or demihumans in the same types of mutual aid pacts, and indeed they are often the only giants dwarves or gnomes can stomach interacting with. Although they prefer their own company, storm giants are also very curious about the art, music and knowledge of the smaller races, and will often provide favors or support in some way to performers who entertain them, artists who create great works of sculpture, painting or music for them, or sages and scholars who provide them with further knowledge of the world. Mutual support and benefit is an important part of storm giant culture, and any storm giant worthy of the name will return the favors or gifts of those who provide them for him. Even simply paying or bribing the giant to help is acceptable, since the giants can always use the money to further the acquisitions of magic, philosophy and art that they so love.

 

Although they are typically solitary actors, and prefer to interact with other races only when necessary, this does not mean that storm giants do not care for the plights of others. Many storm giants often act as sentinels to watch over some dormant artifact or slumbering evil, or to keep dangerous knowledge and magical items from falling into the wrong hands. When necessary, they will also take up arms against the forces of evil and otherwise provide knowledge and help to human and demihuman heroes whose hearts and motives are pure. Indeed, part of their solitary nature can be attributed to the often weighty tasks storm giants are entrusted with, and their caution about letting their duties be upset by meddling outsiders.

 

 Those meddlers who would cross a storm giant by interfering with his duties or harming his family would best beware, for storm giants can be truly frightening in combat. As befits their names, storm giants can control the weather, creating fearsome storms that serve to accentuate their horrible wrath. Not only does the wind and the rain from the storms often hinder their enemies, but storm giants may also call horrible lightning bolts from the sky to annihilate whoever is unlucky to arouse their wrath. As if all that were not enough, they are among the strongest and most combat-skilled of giants, easily able to simply blast through even the most elaborate defenses with their devastating weapons.

 

            While they typically get on well with smaller races, storm giants are not well-liked by most other giant races. They are actively hated by frost, fire, formorian and hill giants, who are jealous of their power and despise their goodly natures. Evil cloud giants hate them, while goodly cloud giants are often close friends and allies. Stone giants will work with or against storm giants as necessity dictates. Firbolgs, who are descended from storm giants, are often close friends and allies, although they too prefer to keep their own company.

 

            History:

 

Storm giants are solitary in nature, and unlike other giants are often preoccupied with very weighty matters. Not only are they interested in art, philosophy and arcane lore in a way unheard of among other giants, they work for the forces of good in a way that few other giants do not, making alliances with other races, from dragons to humans, from cloud giants to elves, as they view it necessary. Ultimately, however, they prefer to keep their own company and maintain a lonely existence, isolated from the world. They are also beings of immense power, who are slow to anger but become horrifying titans of destruction when they are finally enraged.

 

The race of storm giants was made in the image of its creator, the god Stronmaus. According to legend, the deity Annam, the greatest of the giant gods, observed the rise of mortal beings in the time after the Dark Lord was imprisoned, created by the gods and allowed to flourish upon the Oerth as a reward for their help in defeating Dread Tharizdun’s minions. As he had himself fought valiantly against the Dark Lord’s forces, Annam decided that he would also create mortal beings to revere him and live upon the Oerth. He sealed a pact with the Oerth Mother, who repaid his loyal service by giving him the same boon she had to the other creator gods.

Crafty Annam then devised a plan. His weakness for women of beauty had led him to father many sons, all of whom clamored for their father’s favor, and he feared that some of these might become a threat to his position. To avert this, he gathered his sons together in his hall and announced that he would hold a contest to determine the most worthy heir to his throne. As his sons eagerly listened, Annam proclaimed that he would take the boon granted him by Beory and share it with them, allowing them all to create races in his image. The son who produced the most worthy race would thus be given Annam’s position.

As the cunning Annam had foreseen, his sons competed vigorously with one another, creating multiple races who all came to revere him in some form, even as his sons soon became more concerned with besting one another and fighting for dominance in the contest, than seeking to overthrow him. In this way, Annam maintained his hold on power as ruler of the gods of the giants.

 

One of Annam’s sons was the god Stronmaus, who was known for his kind heart, honorable nature, and retiring temperament. Unlike the rest of Annam’s family, Stronmaus cared very deeply for the world at large beyond the interests of the giants, and also took a great interest in the knowledge, art and music of other races. He would help other goodly gods in their fight against evil, and often sought to learn about the art and culture they were passing on to their mortal creations. In spite of this, however, he still preferred his own company to that of others, often philosophizing or creating art on his own, displaying a quiet, retiring nature that preferred to keep to itself unless necessary. While Stronmaus was widely disdained by his brothers for his lifestyle, they did not dare to cross him, for he could be the most powerful warrior of them all, second only to Annam himself, when his wrath was finally arounsed.

 

When Annam announced his contest, Stronmaus sought to create not only a race that would impress his father and do him honor, but that could also help other gods and their mortal creations much as he did. He thus imbued the storm giants he created with his own love of the arts, knowledge and lore, his solitary nature, his desire to help others, his fearsome strength and deadly temper, his love of harsh terrains and weather, and his own ability to ally with other races when necessary. Perhaps unique among his brothers, Stronmaus sought to incorporate into his own creations not only what he felt were his own best traits, but also those traits he respected in his brothers. The hill giants’ fierceness, the frost giants’ ability to survive in harsh terrain, the fire giants’ brutality in combat, the solitary nature of the formorians, the stone giants’ ability to cooperate with other races when necessary, and the cloud giants’ love for art and music were all incorporated by Stronmaus into the storm giants, a reflection of his own love and respect for his brothers.  

 

Stronmaus’s relations with his brothers affected the relations that cloud giants shared with other races. As much as he tried to show them respect and affection, he often found himself fighting against Surtur, Grolantor and Thrym, all of whom hated him out of jealousy for his power and status among the gods. Skoraeus Stonebones viewed Stronmaus with dispassionate neutrality, helping or hindering him as the stone giant god deemed necessary. Memnor could be both friend and enemy to Stronmaus, supporting him when his activities benefited the giant pantheon, or opposing him when Memnor deemed that it was in the best interests of the family. Karontor felt nothing but hate for Stronmaus, despite the storm giant god’s desires to help him, viewing the handsome and well-formed Stronmaus as patronizing and hypocritical.  

 

            Famous Storm Giant Holds:

 

            -The Whitestorm Peaks: Located in the Gull Cliffs north of Rel Astra; home to Baron Macdennath, Son of the Lightning; famous for his friendship with both the goodly people of the Lone Heath and the northern Grandwood and the malign peoples of Ountsy and Rel Astra; famous for being a connoisseur of wine and paying tremendous sums to have the best vintages brought to him; famous for using his weather-controlling abilities to cause the harvests of his human neighbors to always be full and rich.

 

            -The Castle of Spirals: Located in the central Crystalmist Mountains west of the Grand Duchy of Geoff; home to Old Lord Stormoak; famous for his terrible temper, which leads him to often crush and destroy those who trespass on his territory; famous for his hatred of frost and fire giants after raiders from these races murdered his family; famous for conjuring deadly storms that verge on hurricanes, which he uses to pour out his wrath on the oerth around him as he rages against the heavens that murdered his family; famous for drilling and tearing into the oerth with his bare hands, ripping precious metals from within it that he crafts into artifacts that personify his anger.

 

            -Silver Rune Manor: Located in the Kron Hills south of Veluna; home to Lord Amleth Of the Seventh Harp; famous for the pilgrimages many bards, minstrels and poets take to visit him, and the music he teaches in exchange for knowledge both oral and written; famous for the delicious milk and cheese he prepares from the herd of giant goats he keeps on his estate, which sell for enormous sums in the markets of the surrounding lands and which he trades to merchants in exchange for other finished goods.

 

            -The Sighing Moor: Located on the edge of the Icy Sea, east of the Wastes on the verge of the lands of the Rovers of the Barrens; home to Lady Dahllarial, Queen of the River; famous for the songs she sings in tune with the winds that pass over her domain, which carry for miles around and inspire the musicians of Blackmoor and the Rovers; famous for the tribute offered here by the Ice and Sea Barbarians, who revere her as a demigoddess and mortal lover of Vatun, who pines for her lost love’s release; famous for her reclusive nature and her distrust of those not of Rover or Barbarian ancestry; famous for her wars against the various northern conquerors, including the infamous Ranial the Gaunt in the past, and Iuz and the Horned Society in modern times.

 

            -Rainbow’s Edge: Located beneath the Azure Sea northwest of the lands of the Scarlet Brotherhood; home to Dame Valentina Prismas, famous for the stunningly beautiful tower she has crafted out of a mountain of rainbow coral; famous for her long battles with terrifying monsters of the deep, including krakens, sahuagin, vodyanoi; famous for her efforts to mediate disputes among the sea elves, locathah, mermen and tritons who dwell in the sea.

"
 
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Re: On the Storm Giants of the Flanaess: History, Culture and Nation (Score: 1)
by chameleon on Thu, January 28, 2010
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And let us not forget the Storm Giant of the Icy Sea, Aren Vosendar, who is said to still dwell in his castle beneath the frigid waters, grieving over the folly of men (Oerth Journal #5). He must almost certainly know of Lady Dahllarial, Queen of the River, referenced above under the Sighing Moor.





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