Half-Giants are a race in the Dungeons & Dragons setting of Dark Sun. They are magical fusions of humans and the now all-but-extinct giants, creating a race that fills the half-orc niche of "Big, Strong, Dumb Bruiser Race" with an even bigger, stronger, and bruisier race.... which is a little redundant in a setting that already has muls in it.
Half-Giants were introduced in the original Campaign Setting sourcebook for Dark Sun, where they were described as a race descended from mysterious origins that saw humans and giants magically fused to create entities with giant-like stature (and dull wits), but a human-like interest in communication and cooperation, curiosity, willingness to learn, and a general tendency towards kindness. The Revised Edition clarified that half-giants were creations of the Sorcerer-Kings, which surprised pretty much nobody.
As a species, half-giants resemble enormous humans, averaging between 10ft and 12ft tall and weighing more than 1600 pounds. As a side effect of combining the somewhat lackluster and brutish minds of giants with the flexibility and diversity of the human mind, half-giants are both highly imitative by nature and fundamentally chaotic; the personality of a half-giant can change drastically on a daily basis. Mechanically, this translates as half-giants choose to fix either their Ethical (Lawful-Chaotic) or Moral (Good-Evil) aspect of Alignment at character creation, and being able to change the non-fixed aspect of their alignment every time they completed a day's rest.
If you've read the alignment page at all, then you're probably already getting alarm bells already. Half-Giants could easily support That Guy, although even the books tried to provide advice on how to not use this trait to be a dick.
Despite this, half-giants were also popular for just how absolutely broken they were. Yeah, they had to pay twice as much for everything and needed twice the daily supplies, but when it came to combat-related muscle, half-giants outcheesed even the mighty muls... well, sort of.
Half-Giants appeared with "Non-Athasian" fluff in the Expanded Psionics handbook, and were subsequently referred to in the Dark Sun 3e update in Dragon Magazine #319. Eberron has a variant Half-Giant descended from the Ogre Mage called Eneko that appear in Secrets of Sarlona. After 3e, though, half-giants disappeared; 4th edition, in its most controversial change for Dark Sun, instead used the half-giant lore as reflavoring for a previously introduced race, the Goliath, even going so far as to strip them of their "you change your personality on a daily basis" fluff.
Mind you, it's actually not entirely unjustifiable; half-giants in 3e? Actually weren't considered Large sized! Despite their enormous height and weight in AD&D, the sourcebooks don't explicitly categorize them as any size bigger than M, (although their Monstrous Compendium write-up states that they are Huge sized), which may have led to the oddity of Half-Giants being considered Medium-sized in 3e. With 3e half-giants being "really tall Medium creatures", just reflavoring goliaths does make more sense.
In the Original DSCS sourcebook, half-giants had the following stats:
- Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 17/20, Dexterity 3/15, Constitution 15/20, Intelligence 3/15, Wisdom 3/17, Charisma 3/17
- Ability Score Adjustments: +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma
- Class & Level Limits: Cleric 12, Fighter 16, Gladiator 14, Psionicist Unlimited, Ranger 8
- Multiclass Options: Fighter/Cleric, Cleric/Psionicist, Fighter/Psionicist, Fighter/Templar, Ranger/Cleric, Ranger/Psionicist, Ranger/Templar
- Regardless of class, a half-giant doubles the result of its hit die rolls; bonus HP for a high Con score are added after the doubling is made.
- All personal items (clothes, armor, weapons, food, etc) cost double for a half-giant.
- A half-giant requires 4 gallons of water per day if active or 2 gallons per day if inactive in order to survive.
The only difference between the two in the Revised Edition is that half-giants gained an increased lifespan, from 120 years to 220.
In 3rd edition, half-giants were... well, changed quite a lot. Most notably, they shrank down to a maximum height of 8 feet and a weight range of 250 to 400 pounds, with the following stats:
- +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity
- Giant Type
- Medium size
- Base land speed 30 feet
- Low-light Vision
- Fire Acclimated: +2 racial bonus on saving throws against all fire spells and effects.
- Powerful Build: A half-giant can be treated as being one size category larger when it is beneficial to be bigger, namely opposing grapples, bull rushes and trips, being swallowed whole, and wielding larger weapons. Its space and reach remain that of a creature of its actual size category.
- Naturally Psionic: 2 bonus power points at 1st level.
- Psi-like Ability: Stomp 1/day, with manifester level equal to 1/2 hit dice (minimum 1st) and save DC being Charisma based.
- Favored Class: Psychic Warrior
- Level Adjustment: +1
Eneko are a variant half-giant in Eberron detailed in Secrets of Sarlona. The name sounds Japanese, but means nothing (and sounds like a girl's name even if it did).
- +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity, -2 Charisma
- Giant type
- Medium Size
- Base land speed 30 feet
- Darkvision 60 feet
- Low-Light Vision
- +2 bonus on saves against poison
- Bonus Feat: Longbow Proficiency
- Powerful Build (as above)
- Spell-like abilities: 1/day Pass Without Trace and Endure Elements at a caster level equal to half hit die.
- Level Adjustment: +1
Eneko is a pretty terrible trade compared to normal half-giant. With a dex penalty and only being good at classes that are already proficient there's no way longbow proficiency will see use (why a half-oni gets that of all abilities isn't clear either). Whoever wrote eneko didn't realize a scaling psi-like ability is far more powerful than an equivalent spell-like ability since psi-like abilities get their manifester level in free augments: Half-Giant's stomp does 1d4 extra damage to everything in the cone every effective manifester level, which is not amazing but an option for dealing with hordes and far better than two spells easily duplicated by magic items at mid-level.
Thanks to the EPH being OGL, Half-Giants were included in Dreamscarred Press's port of psionics to Pathfinder. They are mostly unchanged mechanically from the EPH version, with only the following changes
- +2 Wisdom instead of +2 Constitution (making them less of a blatant choice for a non-psionic melee person)
- Survivor: Half-giants gain a +4 racial bonus to Survival (a new ability)
- No level adjustment, both because Pathfinder just doesn't have the system and because Pathfinder's races are more powerful overall so it has the same balance as a normal one.
However, because the Dark Sun fluff was not OGL and the EPH didn't give any fluff of its own (they were technically a race for monsters) they have entirely original fluff. Here Half-Giants are nomads descended from a slave race (though none of them agree as to who the slavers were) that have acquired an inborn fear of captivity and servitude, even legitimate prison sentences. Unusually they don't trend to any position on the law/chaos axis as many realize the best way to stay out of jail is to avoid being chaotic.
Half-giants in Eberron, like most psionic races, are native to Sarlona. They are descended from giants who fled Xen'drik after the dragons destroyed giant civilization in response to them trying to destroy a moon. Today they wander Sarlona, largely peacefully. They are often enslaved by the Quori of Riedran, and many of these slaves are brought to Riedran's outpost in Xen'drik.
|Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Races|
|Core:||Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human|
|Dark Sun:||Aarakocra - Half-Giant - Mul - Pterran - Thri-kreen|
|Dragonlance:||Draconian - Irda - Kender - Minotaur|
|Mystara:|| Aranea - Ee'ar - Enduk - Lizardfolk (Cayma - Gurrash - Shazak) |
Lupin - Manscorpion - Phanaton - Rakasta - Tortle - Wallara
|Oriental Adventures:||Korobokuru - Hengeyokai - Spirit Folk|
|Planescape:||Aasimar - Bariaur - Genasi - Githyanki - Githzerai - Modron - Tiefling|
|Spelljammer:||Dracon - Giff - Grommam - Hadozee - Hurwaeti - Rastipede - Scro - Xixchil|
|Ravenloft:||Broken One - Flesh Golem - Half-Vistani - Therianthrope|
Book of X:
| Alaghi - Beastman - Bugbear - Bullywug - Centaur - Duergar |
Fremlin - Firbolg - Flind - Gnoll - Goblin - Half-Ogre - Hobgoblin
Kobold - Mongrelfolk - Ogre - Ogre Mage - Orc - Pixie
Satyr - Saurial - Svirfneblin - Swanmay - Voadkyn - Wemic
|Dragon Magazine:||Half-Dryad - Half-Satyr - Uldra - Xvart|