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Shoulders of Giants: The Cyclops-kin

Shoulders of Giants: The Cyclops-kin

Feast your eye on this new player option, the cyclops-kin player race. Superbly burly, with a withering gaze, the cyclops-kin is a new opportunity to play out your next fantasy adventure from the single-eyed perspective.

Offspring of Titans

Cyclops-kin trace their lineage back to cyclopean titans of antiquity. With bloodlines diluted through generations of existence, these uncomplicated giants still retain much of the strength and resilience of their forebears, though their prodigious size has diminished. Ancient primordial power still runs through their veins, however, allowing cyclops-kin to manifest rays of arcane force from their singular eyes.

Bridging the Cultural Divide

Cyclops-kin are more social creatures than the monstrous cyclopes. While their predecessors lead solitary, simple lives, cyclops-kin are more willing to associate with humans, orcs, and other folk who afford them the space to coexist.

Because of their relative size, cyclops-kin frequently take it upon themselves to assume protector and guardian roles in humanoid societies. When not filling social roles suited for their bulk and brawn, cyclops-kin demonstrate talents in husbandry. Their shepherding traditions date back to their progenitors, and all cyclops-kin display skill in mastering beasts, especially those of the four-legged varieties such as sheep, cattle, and bison.

With cyclopes and other giants standing larger and most humanoids small and fragile by comparison, cyclops-kin suffer from exclusion and imposed solitude.

A need to “fit in” can be a driving force at the best of times, spurring cyclops-kin to prove their worth to others and to themselves. At their worst, cyclops-kin who fail to find their place grow insular, irrational, and cruel, taking out frustrations on whomever they perceive to be responsible for their misfortunes.

Scrappy but Unsophisticated

An angered cyclops-kin is fearsome. With their natural proclivity for feats of strength, a cyclops-kin might well grab anything in arm’s reach and throw it with deadly force. Ever resourceful, cyclops-kin can put their brawn behind any assault, whether with a greatclub or a handcart.

Offsetting a cyclops-kin’s physical prowess is their inherent shortsightedness, resulting in a clumsy streak. And when their poor eyesight can’t be exploited, crafty foes might prey upon a cyclops-kin’s proclivity for simple joys and trusting natures. Most cyclops-kin carry a childlike wonder well into adulthood.

Large Player Characters
Giants are Huge, and that size difference compared to more standard characters makes fair play tricky (see further guidance in Midgard Heroes Handbook, in the Centaur Size and Damage section). How do we justify a Large character without impinging on everyone else’s fun?

Rather than create a whole backbone of rules for oversized weapons and such, rely on the cyclops-kin’s singular penalty feature Poor Depth Perception to rationalize keeping their damage output in line with what everyone else is capable of.

Cyclops-kin Names

Cyclops-kin typically name themselves for at least one of three reasons. Some want to honor their ancestry by choosing names of predecessors or legendary characters of myth and legend, believing that growing into one’s name is a worthy aspiration. Many seek to fit in, trusting that familiar and local-sounding names help in normalizing their atypically large presence. Plenty of other cyclops-kin settle with uncomplicated names that are mono- or dual-syllabic, hoping that a simple name will help them appear more approachable and likable.

Cyclops-kin Traits

Your cyclops-kin character has certain characteristics in common with all other cyclops-kin.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Constitution or Wisdom score increases by 1.

Age. Cyclops-kin reach maturity around the age of 20, though many never let go of the curiosity and naivety of their youth. While stories exist of cyclops living for centuries due to their supernatural origins, most cyclops-kin appear to live around 80 years.

Alignment. Gentle giants and cruel titans exist in equal measure. Cyclops-kin vary in alignment and are as willing to abide by their local society’s laws as they are to break them.

Size. You are Large size. Cyclops-kin average between 7 and 11 feet tall and typically weigh around 350 lbs.

Speed. You have a base speed of 30 feet.

Type. You are of the Giant type.

Giant Strength. You are considered proficient with improvised weapons and deal an extra die of damage when making weapon attacks with one. Additionally, you ignore the two-handed weapon property and treat all weapons without the heavy property as if they had the thrown property.

Poor Depth Perception. You have disadvantage on attack rolls against targets more than 30 feet away.

Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.

Shepherd’s Knack. You have proficiency in the Handle Animal skill. Additionally, you have advantage on Charisma and Wisdom checks with cows, sheep, and other four-legged livestock animals.

Titan’s Gaze. Tapping into your primordial heritage, you can emit a ray of eldritch power from your singular eye. When you use this feature, all targets in a 5-foot by 30-foot line originating from you must make a Strength saving throw. The DC of this saving throw is 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. A target takes 2d6 force damage on a failed save and is knocked prone, or half as much damage on a successful save and is not knocked prone.

The damage increases to 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level. At 10th level you deal double damage to objects and structures with Titan’s Gaze. After you use Titan’s Gaze, you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

Languages. You know Common and Giant.

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 ending this week, June 23, 2023!

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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