Thursday, August 2, 2018

Heed the call, come down the mountain!

Once a year, the lonely giants come down out of the mountains.  To trade, to mate, to share gossip and news, they all gather and spend a few days in fellowship.

(Ray and Sue travel photography)

Giants are a solitary race, making their rounds in the high country, checking their traps, digging up roots, and generally not talking to anyone.  But every spring, all giants go to the nearest Gathering.

Coming together

Giantish mating season is in the spring, anywhere from the spring equinox to midsummer's day.  Each gathering happens in the same place and same time from year to year, led only by consensus and tradition.  Many gatherings have been going on since before the apocalypse.

(Alfredo Rodriguez)

The annual gathering is a big deal: dozens of giants show up, but many other people also come to trade and parley.  Choose one or two kinds of visitors:

Visitors (d12)
1-3spokesmen from a nearby human tribe
4-7humans come to trade
8-9goblin friends from nearby woods/swamps
10representatives of elven companies that want to hire giants or trade with them
11an elven missionary
12major annual trade fair for the entire region


The gathering is always opened with an official ceremony.

Opening (d12)
1-3welcoming ceremonyGuests, giants new to the area, and newborn giants are introduced and welcomed by the group.
4-5roll callEach attendee speaks their name and abbreviated lineage.
6-7recitationProminent attendees recite a traditional story or poem, each one sharing a different part.
8-9story of the apocalypseAn elder giant tells a colorful tale of the apocalypse, garbed in metaphor.
10-11callingThey loudly call out in unison for any other giants in earshot (miles away) to come and join them.
12elven songThey sing an elven song, taught to their ancestors before the apocalypse.

Each year a monument of some kind is erected to commemorate the gathering. At a site that's been used for generations there will be many of these monuments, or there might be one large monument, a new part being added each year.


Commemoration (d6)
1-2totem poles carved into natural figures
3standing stones with marks painted on them
4complex knotted cords tied/wrapped around trees or poles
5cairn of small stones over the skull of a giant who died this past year
6large, flat stone with a cache of tiny figurines buried beneath


Gatherings are always a time for discussion.  Giants speak directly, take their time to ponder, and eventually come to conclusions.  They accept disagreement more readily than other species.

(Charles Babault)

Choose three topics: what the giants are pleased about, what the giants are upset about, and what the giants have divided opinions on.

Opinions (d6)
1human hunting practices
2goblins and giantish traps
3how the giants of this region are getting along with one another
4quality of the game being trapped these days
5behavior of an elven community
6rumors of a great opportunity


Many events go on during the days of the gathering. Choose three for this year. (Mating, trade, and entrusting youngsters to elders happen at every gathering.)

(Alexander Romanov)

Events (d6)
1sportsfeats of strength, wrestling, tug of war
2tobaccodrinking a black soup made from tobacco, in a stupor afterwards
3businessdiscussion about goings-on, calls for action, complaints and gossip
4news from outsidersvisitors from other species address the group with news
5storiesreciting one's lineage, reciting poetry, telling tales
6marriage/divorcefollowers of the elven religion marry before mating and divorce afterwards

Trade goods

Choose several major trade goods that are always brought to this gathering.

Trade goods (d10)
1-2food(d6) 1: honey, 2: dried/fermented meat, 3: roots, 4: nuts, 5: fish grease, 6: dried berries
3-4animals(d6) 1: smelly yaks, 2: ornery llamas, 3: gentle alpacas, 4: furry bactrian camels, 5: stubborn caribou, 6: longhorned elven cattle
5-6handicrafts(d6) 1: ivory/antler scrimshaw and carved figurines, 2: small wooden dolls, 3: carvings out of stone (jet, soapstone, jade, serpentine), 4: braided rope, 5: woven belts, 6: tooled leather goods
7-8outside products(d6) 1: pottery, 2: woven fish-trapping baskets, 3: knives, 4: copper pots, 5: steel traps, 6: muskets
9-10found/trapped(d6) 1-3: furs, 4: horns/antlers, 5: jade/turquoise, 6: copper

(anonymous St. Lawrence islander)

After several days, the gathering officially comes to a close. There's a brief ceremony, then everyone parts ways until next year.

Let's roll up a random gathering:
  • The annual gathering at Silver Lodge is a major trade fair for the entire region.  Merchants from many days' travel gather together to buy and sell fishing baskets, woven belts, rope, and stone carvings.  Goblins in particular come here to buy things they need (like rope) but don't make themselves.
  • It is opened with a deafening call: dozens of giants calling out in unison to kin and strangers alike to come and join the gathering, their booming voices echoing over the land.
  • Many standing stones are here, one for each year the gathering has taken place.  Each giant attending paints their symbol on this year's stone.
  • After much discussion, it seems they're pleased with how goblins have been leaving their traps alone this past year.  They're upset about how giants in the area have been quarreling with each other.  Some of the giants are upset about humans crossing into their territory to hunt; others are pleased with how the humans are behaving.
  • There's a time when outsiders are invited to speak to the assembled giants, bringing news and presenting overtures from their people.  Afterwards the giants take turns telling stories and reciting poems.
  • Giants around here are generally followers of the elven religion, so they conduct marriages at the beginning of the gathering, mate, then get divorced at the end.  (Mating otherwise just wouldn't be proper.)
So what do you suppose your party would do at a giantish gathering?

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