Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants (Sourcebook Review)

Delving into the colossal realm of the Giants, the latest Dungeons and Dragons sourcebook, Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants, offers a magnified and immersive exploration of everything related to these monstrous beings. Tailored predominantly for Dungeon Masters, the book provides an extensive guide steeped in lore, new monsters, notable characters, and unraveled secrets that combine to shape the mythical world of Giants. With a potent mix of colossal challenges and intricate world-building tools, this sourcebook increases the scale of adventures, taking them from the typical fantasy Greek kin to the towering fortresses of Norse-inspired Giants.

This book, narrowing its focus to monumental, high-level encounters, certainly carries a wealth of tools and lore to create memorable games centered around Giants. It walks quite a different path compared to the more generalized supplements. Instead, the focus is on deploying impressive Giants, their history, their peccadilloes, their gods, the stuff they carry around, their associates, allies, and enemies into gripping games. This unflinchingly precise approach may narrow its appeal to a specific group of DND enthusiasts – those with a penchant for all things large.

Coming to light amid the recent outburst of AI-generated art controversy, I can affirm that this issue does not affect the content or quality of the book provided for review. Wizards of the Coast has graciously apologized for the controversy and emphasized that the focus of the book remains on providing an immersive Giant-themed experience for players and Dungeon Masters alike. Despite the brouhaha, the art elements within this sourcebook remain breathtakingly detailed and enhance the overall aesthetic appeal. The facts outlined here are to openly declare the circumstances that surround this review for full transparency.

Delving into the Land of Giants

Glory of the Giants takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the world of Giants: their hierarchical society, their unique and nuanced cultural practices, and the possessions they hold sacred. In essence, the book serves as an in-depth encyclopedia about Giants, scaled to D&D terms.

The influence of Norse mythology is remarkable, permeating every page, every character, and every item description. But don’t let that realm of mythology fool you. The book is flavored with familiar D&D elements as well, ensuring that all creature descriptions, background stories, and playable options are firmly rooted in the more established D&D lore.

While the sourcebook does contain material that could be of interest to players, the main target audience is undeniably Dungeon Masters. Although few player classes and races are directly accessible from this book, the wealth of material that a creative DM can use to enhance the player experience is substantial.

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A Specialized Tool for Dungeon Masters

Glory of the Giants is extremely focused. It doesn’t just provide a guide to Giants as a monster type – it goes steps further in describing the intricacies of giant law, customs, and artifacts. By doing so, it helps DMs create rich, immersive settings for players to explore. Each detai, each plot point, every monster and NPC is meticulously detailed, providing DMs a concrete foundation to bring their colossal adventures to life.

An Intimate Glimpse into Giant Society

Glory of the Giants excels at presenting a rich tapestry of Giant society. Its pages transport the reader into the midst of Giant life, detailing everything from the profound—the Giant gods and their multifaceted history and relationships—to the seemingly mundane—items a Giant might carry in their bag. This exhaustive narrative not only allows DMs to create realistic Giant encounters but also offers a deeper understanding of the Giants as a complex and nuanced species, far more than just colossal brutes to be wary of.

Intricate Norse Mythology Influences

Amidst the lore and stories ensconced within Glory of the Giants, Norse mythology echoes strongly. Characters, settings, and narratives reminiscent of Thor, Loki, and other iconic Norse figures fill the pages. While the D&D realm may seem late to the Norse party compared to other fantasy mediums, the book makes a strong case for the timeless appeal of these folklore figures in a fantasy setting.

Treading Light on Player Options

When it comes to fresh player options, Glory of the Giants is lean but not entirely lacking. It does introduce a new Barbarian subclass along with a couple of backgrounds and a handful of 5e feats tailored for Giant-themed adventures. The Barbarian subclass shines bright in this setup, channeling elemental forces and increasing in size. It gives the Barbarian class a whole new approach – transforming them into formidable opponents who take the brute force stereotype to new highs. Despite the limited choices, the presented options are rich in quality and opens fresh avenues for character development.

The Mighty ‘Giant’ Barbarian Subclass

Perhaps the highlight of the player options, a new Barbarian subclass makes its introduction. This subclass offers a unique blend of raw power and elemental prowess, allowing Barbarians to channel primal forces and grow to an immense size. It brings a new dynamic into the game and promotes a different style of play for those who enjoy the Barbarian class, offering an exciting twist to their customary role.

A Treasure Trove for Dungeon Masters

Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants is a veritable goldmine of information for Dungeon Masters. It provides a myriad of building blocks for creating scenarios and encounters that are not only rich in themes surrounding Giants, but also diverse and unique. The book contains an assortment of encounter tables, plot hooks, character descriptions, and narrative threads to weave into your campaigns that evoke a profuse sense of the grandeur of the Giants.

An in-depth exploration of chapters two through six reveal a wealth of tools to craft detailed settings and characters. These chapters drive home the undercurrent themes of the book, outlining methods on how DMs can integrate Giants into their existing or standalone campaigns. From Giant Enclaves to adventuring in Giant-infested wildernesses, it is clear that the sourcebook offers DMs a comprehensive toolkit for constructing memorable experiences.

Diverse Encounters And An Enriching Bestiary

One of the standout features of Glory of the Giants is its expansive range of Giant encounters. Each encounter is wrought with an intricate thought process to ensure that no encounter drips with sameness or predictability. It breathes fresh life into the concept of Giants in D&D, making it clear that these towering creatures extend beyond mere combat.

In its pages, players won’t find just any Giant. The book introduces a spectrum of Giant-adjacent creatures – from elementals to humanoids, all the way to the peculiar Giant geese and tics. It provokes the sense of unpredictability and variety, delivering encounters that feel related yet distinct in their character.

The bestiary presented in the book is nothing short of astounding. With over 70 monsters taking place in the book’s catalogue, the bestiary stands as the heart of the book. The meticulous detailing of each Giant variant, enhanced with captivating artwork, further brings the world of Giants to life. Whether it’s cult affiliates, rune magic practitioners, or the undead-infused Giants, each is diverse and presents an alluring challenge imbued with its unique flavor.

Targeted For The Trailblazers

While Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants is a comprehensive guide for DMs seeking to weave Giant-centric themes into their D&D sessions, it is crucial to note that the content is notably geared towards higher-level parties. This is evident in the nature of the encounters, where most have high challenge ratings tailored for level 11 characters and above.

In comparison to other sourcebooks, Glory of the Giants seems geared toward niche needs. Most D&D sourcebooks cater to a broad range of campaign levels, whereas this book serves as a core resource for those campaign scenarios where Giants take center stage. It may be less appealing to parties who often operate at lower levels. The price point, which has risen recently along with other Wizards of the Coast products, might be seen as steep for the given page-count and content focus.

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Final Thoughts and Recommendations

Despite being specific in its focus, Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants delivers its content at high quality and with an insightful depth into a realm rarely spotlighted within D&D lore. The limited player options and the narrow high-level adventure focus might restrain its universal appeal, but for DMs who wish to create complex and invigorating encounters with these behemoths, this book is truly a prized possession.

In conclusion, this book is not an absolute must-have for every D&D player. However, for any Dungeon Master seeking to enhance their toolbox with a unique and well-detailed addition, or any player who yearns to explore the mythos of Giants in-depth and face off with larger-than-life adversaries, Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants would serve as a worthwhile addition to their collection.

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Paul Bellow

LitRPG Author Paul Bellow

Paul Bellow is a LitRPG author, gamer, RPG game developer, and publisher of several online communities. In other words, an old school webmaster. He also developed and runs LitRPG Adventures, a set of advanced RPG generators powered by GPT-3 AI. Here at LitRPG Reads, he publishes articles about LitRPG books, tabletop RPG books, and all sorts of DND content that's free to use in your personal tabletop campaign - i.e. non-commercial use. Enjoy your stay and reach out on Twitter or Discord if you want to make contact.

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