The myths and stories describing giants and their antics are varied according to the local folk traditions that produced them. However, some stories are universal. For instance, it is widely agreed upon that there is a group of gargantuan beings known as the Elder Giants, and that the eldest among them is a giantess named Ywaru.Ywaru is the mother of all giantkind and giantkin. Among her accomplishments are the invention of runes and the creation of the world. The other Elder Giants are her immediate offspring. All long-lived and powerful, they have been gifted with a large portion of their mother’s essence.

The degeneration of this essence is a key to understanding the giants. As one generation springs from another, the proportion of strength, size, and longevity passed on is reduced. In other words, giants grow weaker as a race as they move farther away from their original ancestor. Eventually, after dozens and dozens of generations, as offspring begets offspring, they become known as giantkin — diminutive scions of the giant race.

Giantkin include ogres, trolls, and, perhaps the most diminutive of all, goblins. One should not assume that because all of these creatures are related that they have some sort of special feelings for one another. Giantkind lacks compassion. It is not one of their qualities to feel empathy for other beings. Essentially a giant epitomizes some sort of primal, bestial urge. It hungers and desires and woe to any who should get in its way. They are not above cannibalism. Indeed, a giant may keep a family of trolls as pets or servants, but when he is hungry these creatures become the equivalent of a bag of chips.

[I should probably make some sort of disclaimer here. When I use terms like giant, ogre, troll, etc. I’m not necessarily referring to the standard AD&D monster descriptions. Almost all of the monsters used in Lands of Yore will have some kind of cosmetic treatment. I like making the beasties conform to the spirit of the setting rather than the other way around. Just one of my peculiarities. And it’s not nearly as much work as it might sound. Usually I’m just changing the visual description of a monster and leaving its stat block intact. In some cases I might cross one monster with another, or make a reduction in power, or eliminate some pesky ability that doesn’t fit with what I’m trying to do. As long as I’m consistent and the players dig what I’m doing, then there’s no problem.]