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Shoulders of Giants: Big Trouble

Shoulders of Giants: Big Trouble

Remember how in previous editions, dwarves and gnomes had bonuses when facing giant creatures? Kobold Press remembers. Wouldn’t it be cool to bring some of that old magic back?

These class features, weapon options, and spells let you do just that, empowering small folk in your giant-centric campaigns to tap into the behemoth-slaying powers of old.

New Fighting Styles

While dwarves and gnomes pioneered tactics for dealing with creatures many times their size, these fighting styles are not just limited to smaller folk.

Fighters, paladins, and rangers of all sizes who practice these fighting styles can maneuver around the battlefield, evading huge hazards and making takedowns a literal phenomenon.

Fleet Fighting

You have resistance to bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing damage dealt to you by opportunity attacks. Additionally, when you are adjacent to a creature at least one size category larger than you, you may use your bonus action to use the Dodge action.

Heavy Felling

When you impose the prone condition on a creature through an attack, skill contest, or spell effect, the target takes 1d6 falling damage if they are Small or Medium, 2d6 if they are Large, 4d6 if they are Huge, or 8d6 if they are Gargantuan. 

Borrowing from Other Games
Dwarves and gnomes in the 3.5 D&D ruleset gained a whopping +4 dodge bonus to their AC when facing creatures of the Giant subtype. In that era of the game, AC could get up into the thirties!
These days, a +4 AC bonus, even against just one monster subtype, would destabilize the balance of 5E game play. When you try to translate effects between editions or even different games, look at the intent of the original design and emulate the spirit of it, rather than bringing numbers straight across.

New Weapon Options

Introduced in the Midgard Heroes Handbook and expanded in Tome of Heroes, weapon options add flair to tabletop war. (They’re also a core part of Tales of the Valiant roleplaying, on Kickstarter!)

As with all weapon options, these require a character using them to have proficiency with their weapon. If an option requires an ability check or saving throw, the DC equals 8 + the attacker’s proficiency bonus + the attacker’s Strength or Dexterity modifier (attacker’s choice).

Cover Crusher

Prerequisite: Greatclub, Maul, or Warhammer
As an action you can make an attack against a feature of the terrain or environment that is providing cover, emulating a giant’s own propensity for destruction as you clear a way. For every 10 damage you deal in your attack, reduce the cover granted by one step from full cover to three-quarters cover to partial cover to no cover. If your weapon is non-magical, you must roll a d20. On a 1, your weapon is destroyed in the process.

Ladder Shot

Prerequisite: Shortbow or Longbow
As an action, you can launch a bevy of arrows into a vertical surface or a Large or bigger creature who is not prone, creating climbing handholds. You may make a number of attack rolls equal to your proficiency bonus +1 against your target’s AC, dealing only 1 piercing damage for each success, shallowly embedding arrows in your target in a staggered pattern. An embedded arrow grants advantage on one Athletics check to climb or grapple the surface it is attached to. Arrows harmlessly dislodge after you use or interact with them. This option requires, expends, and destroys however much ammunition was used in its attempt. At least one arrow must embed to grant this benefit.

Plunging Piercer

Prerequisite: Longsword or Greatsword
When you attack with this weapon and you fall more than 10 feet, you can curl yourself around its hilt, transferring your momentum into a deadly strike. Make an attack roll with this weapon. On a hit, calculate any falling damage you would have taken and add that amount to your weapon’s damage roll against your target. You take only half the falling damage dealt, or none if your attack was a critical hit. If your attack fails, you take falling damage normally.

New Spells

Clever mages know that size does in fact matter. Often, a giant’s worst enemy is a very bad fall. Use the following spells to make your foes bow before your arcane might. 

Mage Weight

Transmutation Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

You cast a pulsating ray of gravitic waves from your outstretched hand. Choose one creature within range. It must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failure, you adjust its size category by one step up or down (your choice) for the duration and the target is unable to take the Dash action. For instance, you could make a Medium creature operate under rules constraints for a Small or Large creature. You do not alter the creature’s physical appearance or the space it occupies, only what size category it operates under.

Raze the Fortress

2nd-Level Evocation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a pinch of rubble dust or a few slivers of wood from a destroyed building)
Duration: Instantaneous, then concentration up to 1 minute

You assail your target with eldritch, agility-sapping missiles. Choose one creature within range that you can see. It must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failure, the target takes 4d6 force damage and its AC is reduced for the duration by the number of the highest rolled damage dice. On a success, the target takes only half damage and their AC is unaffected.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, you can target an additional creature for each slot level above 1st.

Find giants and other big threats in the latest Kobold Press monster book, Tome of Beasts 3.
And speaking of The Next Big Thing, look at Tales of the Valiant on Kickstarter!

about Sebastian Rombach

We can neither confirm nor deny that Sebastian is actually three raccoons in a trenchcoat. His freelance contributions can be found in Tome of Beasts 2, Tome of Heroes, and more. You can roll dice with him at https://startplaying.games/gm/dontbreakthedm or follow him on Twitter and Instagram @dontbreakthedm.

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