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There be Giants in this Here Earth!


By Kevin Curtin

Who remembers this fun series in The Dragon Magazine? The Giants in the Earth series took “Classic Heroes from Fiction & Literature” and gave them AD&D 1E stats. The first article included Jack Vance’s Cugel the Clever, the immortal Kane by Karl Edward Wagner and Talbot Mundy’s Tros of Samothrace.

The series of articles started in 1979 with issue #26 and continued through 1982 with issue #61. The authors were TSR staff and included Lawrence Schick, Tom Moldvay, & Dave Cook. Others contributed as the series went on. 

The authors broke many of the AD&D rules to create these characters. Most are multiclassed which was impossible for a human in AD&D First Edition. Humans could dual class but even that was very limited. I recall reading somewhere (probably Dragon Magazine) that Gary Gygax thought the levels were way too high for most of the characters and I definitely agree. The characters detailed could easily challenge most of the gods in Deities & Demigods! Take a gander at their stats below. 

I always enjoyed seeing these articles and even used one or two of these Giants over the decades. Heck, I even had Sir Kal El, Paladin of Krypton, show up once too. Never know who’s roaming around Greyhawk when Zagyg and I are behind the screen.

Did you use any of these Giants in your game?

Or did you also have Sir Kal El show up?

Giants in the Earth Article from Dragon Magazine #26. GIANTSCLASSIC HEROES FROM IN THE EARTHFICTION & LITERATURE INTRODUCTION The purpose of this article is to add an element of novelty and unknown danger to the DM’s high-level encounter table, and to give players a chance to actually meet up with heroes from their favorite fantasy books. The referee is advised to use these characters with discretion. They are a lot of fun to run, and the players should have an interesting time dealing with them. These heroes are all in some fashion exceptional, and thus they deviate a bit in their qualities and capabilities from standard D & D. Also, most originated in other universes or worlds, and so were not bound by the same set of restrictions that apply to the average D & D character. Some are multi-classed, for example. This system has been used to describe the skills and abilities of the characters as they appear in the literature, even though some of these combinations and conditions are not normally possible. In addition, some minor changes have been made in order to bring them in line with the game and to enhance playability. Note: For the game purposes of these heroes: Dexterity 18 (00) gives +4 on Reaction/Attacking, -5 Defensive adjustment and three attacks per round for high level fighters. Constitution 18 (00) gives fighters +4.5 per hit die bonus. Jack Vance’s CUGEL THE CLEVER 14th level thief ARMOR CLASS: 3 MOVE: 9” HIT POINTS: 53 NO. OF ATTACKS: 2 DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-6(+1), 1-4(+1) SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard ALIGNMENT: Neutral STRENGTH: 15 INTELLIGENCE: 18 (56%) WISDOM: 13 DEXTERITY: 18 (93%) CONSTITUTION: 15 CHARISMA: 16 HIT BONUS: +2 PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil Cugel would probably describe himself as an entrepreneur, a man who capitalizes on whatever opportunities the world has to offer. He follows such opportunities with utter disdain for such picayune concepts as ownership of property, conventional morality, and a total disregard for who or what he may be saving or ruining. He is really only interested in things that concern himself and in methods of satisfying his taste for luxuries. Cugel has a sharp but merry face topped by black hair, a slim lithe body and dexterous, long-fingered hands. When he can afford them, he wears expensive, dandified clothes over +3 (stolen) leather armor. He fights Florentine style with a +2 rapier and a dagger, though he will not fight if he can avoid it or get someone else to do his fighting for him. He prefers to attack by surprise from behind. Cugel is phenomenally lucky. In any adverse situation there is an 85% chance that some bizarre coincidence or happenstance will occur that Cugel can capitalize upon and thereby come out on top (or at least get away with his hide). He somehow always seems to be in the right place at the right time. DM’s will have to use their imagination concerning this talent. Cugel’s presence in any group for more than two turns gives a 70% chance of causing arguments and discord of some sort, as he is a natural troublemaker. He is also such a smooth and influential talker that the consequences of such trouble almost always fall on somebody else. Cugel is completely untrustworthy, and though he may be able to lead a party to a guarded treasure, he will certainly attempt to get the whole hoard for himself once any guardians have been dispatched. Cugel once had access to the notebooks of lucounu, the Laughing Magician, and managed with great effort to memorize three spells. These are: Felojun’s Second Hypnotic Spell (treat as a hold person), Phandaal’s Mantle of Stealth (by which the caster can be neither seen, heard, nor smelled) and Thasdrubel’s Laganetic Transfer (or The Agency of Far Despatch, which places a hold person on the target until a demon comes and carries him away to some specified far land). Unfortunately, Cugel doesn’t always get the spells right and there is a 50% chance that any spell he uses will backfire and cause the opposite of the intended effect. Every time he blows the Laganetic Transfer he himself gets carried away somewhere else, which is probably how he came to the D&D universe in the first place. REFERENCE: The Eyes of the Overworld (paperback, published by Ace Books) by Jack Vance. Karl Edward Wagner’s KANE 30th Level fighter/ 20th level magic-user/ 14th level assassin ARMOR CLASS: -4 (2 without magic) MOVE: 9” HIT POINTS: 165 NO. OF ATTACKS: 2 DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-8 (+5) SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below MAGIC RESISTANCE: 70% ALIGNMENT: Chaotic-evil STRENGTH: 18 (96%) INTELLIGENCE: 18 (20%) WISDOM: 13 DEXTERITY: 17 CONSTITUTION: 19 CHARISMA: 15 HIT BONUS: +6 (+3 without magic) PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil While Kane is not much above average height, his heavily-muscled, largeboned body exudes an aura of massiveness, of awesome and irresistible strength. Kane appears to be about 30 years old. Shaggy red hair covers his body. His shoulder-length hair and short beard are also fiery red. He is left-handed. His most striking feature is his eyes. The eyes of Kane are blue, and in them glows the mad gaze of a ruthless killer. These eyes are the mark of Kane. Characters of 5th level or below who meet his gaze must save versus fear. There is a 50% chance that anyone looking into his eyes will recognize Kane from legends even if they have never seen him before. Kane’s past is shrouded in mystery and legend. Occult lore contends that Kane is one of the first true men, damned to eternal wandering for some dark act of rebellion against mankind’s creator. He is reputed to be the world’s first murderer. Some legendary tomes claim that he accidently offended an insane god who laid a curse upon him and marked Kane that all men may know him. Legends of a man known as Kane exist in numerous worlds, spanning hundreds of centuries of time. The name and the description are always the same. Kane likes to travel light but be well protected. He will be wearing clothing of whatever style is prevalent in the place and time where he is encountered. He wards bracers of defense = 2 and a +3 cloak of protection. In case his magical defenses are broached, he also wears a light mail shirt under his clothing. Kane wields a sword forged in long-ruined and lost Carsultyal. Without magic, the blade is still +1 and holds its edge and temper nearly indefinitely. Kane has magicked 13
the sword for an additional +3 (+4 total). The sword is worn in a sheath on his back. It has a swival so that Kane may reach over his right shoulder and quickly draw the blade. Kane does not like to be burdened with the necessary equipment to function as a wizard. He becomes a magic-user only when in residence in a city. Kane does wear a ring of spell-storing which he constantly recharges. He can cast the following spells: teleportation, death spell, anti-magic spell, Tenser’s transformation, fireball, and cone of cold. He also has a ring of regeneration. Kane may be disguised. If so, it will be some form of disguise which hides his eyes (for example, a cowled monk or a blind beggar). There is an 05% chance that when Kane encounters a party, he is out to assassinate one party member (at random). As Kane has 99% on all thieves abilities, so a party member may be assassinated and none of the party ever see the killer. Kane is the eternal rebel. He is not even true to his alignment. At any given time there is a 10% chance he is acting out of character. If Kane is not acting chaoticevil, number the remaining alignments 1-8 and roll an 8-sided die to determine how he is acting at present. Kane’s long life has made him whimsical. He may unaccountably befriend a player character (regardless of that character’s alignment). Roll Kane’s reaction to each party member. A 12, on two 6-sided dice, shows he has befriended the character for 1-100 turns. Kane will not assassinate a friend. Kane has no scruples against wreaking havoc for the amusement it affords him, as a relief from boredom. There is an equal chance that he will hinder the party, attacking if his reaction is low enough, or lead the party to the nearest monster, helping them attack if his reaction is high enough. In any battle, if it looks as if Kane may be killed, he will teleport to safety. REFERENCE: Death Angel’s Shadow, Bloodstone, Dark Crusade, Darkness Weaves, Night Winds. (paperback, published by Warner Books) All by Karl Edward Wagner. Talbot Mundy’s TROS OF SAMOTHRACE 15th level paladin ARMOR CLASS: 0 MOVE: 9” HIT POINTS: 104 NO. OF ATTACKS: 2 DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-8 (+4) SPECIAL ATTACKS: Clerical spells SPECIAL DEFENSES: Paladin MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard ALIGNMENT: Lawful-good STRENGTH: 18 (76%) INTELLIGENCE: 16 WISDOM: 18 (77%) DEXTERITY: 17 CONSTITUTION: 18 (23%) CHARISMA: 18 (45%) HIT BONUS: +2 PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil PREFERRED SPELLS: Bless, command, detect intent, know alignment, detect lie. Tros is a prince of the Mediterranean island of Samothrace, a mysterious place of ancient lore and hidden knowledge. The men of Samothrace are extraordinary sailors and navigators, and Tros is a sea-captain nonpareil, with an instinctive feel for wind and waves. The priests of Samothrace are dedicated to absolute lawful-good, and their patron is Athene, goddess of wisdom and war against evil. Tros was initiated into the outer circles of the cult, but chose the sea and freedom to roam in preference, though he is still very much committed to his religious ideals. Tros stands over six feet tall, with the classic proportions of a muscular Greek god. He wears a purple cloak over his armor and uses a sword when he has to fight. He is a natural leader, and when he roars out a command men usually jump to obey. Freedom, truth, and honor are his watchwords. He has an uncanny ability for seeing through deception. He trusts those who are proven trustworthy, and keeps a close watch on the rest. Tros has no patience with chaotic and evil types, and damn little with neutrals. He scrupulously tries to be fair with everyone, most especially himself. He always keeps his word, so he is very careful about giving it. The Goddess Athene sometimes sends Tros on missions to other spaces and times, though it is always for Tros to decide what that mission is when he arrives. If encountered by a party, there is a 50% chance he is looking for help to destroy an evil or right or wrong. If a party agrees to accompany him, he will expect to be in charge. Any who dare cross him are in for a very hard time. REFERENCE: Lud of Lunden, Avenging Liafail, The Praetor’s Dungeon, Cleopatra. (paperbacks, published by Zebra Books) Lud of Lunden, Avenging Liafail, and The Pfaetor’s Dungeon are parts one, two, and three of the original hardback: Tros of Samothrace. All by Talbot Mundy.


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