Grolantor the Steading Lord

Giantcraft, while fairly poorly designed, actually has a wealth of good information on giantish culture. I found it quite handy for this part of my project, and am looking forward to working on more of the deities, particularly Hiatea. Hopefully, what I’ve written here on Grolantor will inspire people to make some more interesting adventures involving hill giants, mountain giants, or ettins.

Sadly, I could not think of any Spelljammer references to make for him or his priests.

Grolantor (PDF Version)
(The Steading Lord, the Clublord, the Hill Lord, Dwarf Thumper)
Intermediate Power of the Abyss and Carceri, CE

Portfolio:  Hunting, combat, cooking, eating, gluttony
Aliases:  Grelinor, Grolettinor (both ettin)
Domain Name:  Unknown and Cathrys/the Steading
Superior:  Annam
Allies:  Cegilune, Memnor
Foes:  Hiatea, Othea, Stronmaus, Ulutiu, the dwarven pantheon, the goblinoid pantheons
Symbol:  Wooden club
Wor. Align.:  N, CN, LE, NE, CE

Grolantor (GRO-lan-tor), evil patron of the hill giants and ettins, is one of Annam the All-Father’s younger sons by an unnamed sky goddess, and one of his greatest disappointments. While very strong, the Steading Lord is also very stupid, although he can be cunning in combat and ambushes. He excels in hunting and eating, and considers himself unsurpassed at these activities. In many respects, Grolantor is a degenerate version of his father; where Annam is said to have many beautiful wives and mistresses, the Steading Lord is said to have consorted with a great many evil female goddesses and monsters.

Most of the other gods of the Jotunbrud consider the Steading Lord to be stupid and evil, but more stupid than evil. They despise his cruelty and crudeness, and have generally disowned him due to his evil temper and relative weakness. The only member of the Ordning that actively works with Grolantor is Memnor, who uses his silvered tongue to trick the Steading Lord into furthering his goals. Grolantor most often antagonizes his sister Hiatea, who is an accomplished huntress in her own right, and has frequently had to flee her wrath and arrows. Amongst the many evil female beings he has consorted with is the hag goddess Cegilune, and it was he who introduced his brother Karontor to her. His own conceit that no other being or god is superior to him has gotten him on the bad sides of many other deities, besides just his siblings in the Jotunbrud. In particular, he has earned the enmity of all the Morndinsamman, and any encounter between them and their followers is almost guaranteed to end in a battle. His opinion that the goblinkin are all weaklings and fit only for crushing beneath his club has also made them eternal enemies.

As stupid as they are, the hill giants, ettins, and other followers of the Steading Lord have a fairly large repertoire of myths surrounding their god, and he plays a part in many of those centering on the other deities of the Ordning as well. Most of these myths, including versions of the great Annam myths, are recast as hunts for food and conquest. Upon many worlds, the mythological creation of the hill giants and mountain giants stems from Grolantor, upon being disowned by his brethren, collecting and interbreeding the runts and deformed members of the existing giant races, and polluting this stock with his own couplings with great serpents and hag-like creatures. It is also said that he fathered the ettins by consorting with a great female serpent creature with a head at either end of her coiled body. Other mythical origins of the hill giant race are known; for example, upon the world of Toril, they are believed to have been sired upon the mountain demigoddess Othea by Annam. While not directly involved in the events that led to the fall of Ostoria on that world, Othea’s betrayal of the All-Father with Ulutiu has led Grolantor to despise the mother of his followers on that world. His own mother is not attested with any surety; many different myths cite such sky goddesses as Aerdrie Faenya, Akadi, and Frigga.

The Steading Lord sends his avatars to the Prime Material more often than most of the other Jotunbrud deities; often to lead hill giant or ettin (and very rarely, ogre or frost giant) hunting parties and warbands. His avatars are quite cowardly, and typically return to their home plane if confronted with a strong enemy. The only exception is if the avatar is challenged directly or mocked, at which point they will fight to the death. True devotees of Grolantor do not consider the avatar’s abandonment a betrayal, but an opportunity to prove their own mettle in glorious combat.

Grolantor’s Avatar (Fighter 31, Priest 18)
Grolantor appears as a 22 foot tall giant with dark tan skin; most typically the form is of a hill giant, but he may occasionally appear as an ettin, or very rarely as a frost giant (in which case his skin is snowy white). He is always clad in various animal skins and furs, and sometimes dragon skin if he has recently slain such a beast. He has a low sloping forehead capped with short, dark stringy hair, and his eyes are black. He uses spells from spheres of all, animal, combat, elemental earth, healing (reversed), necromantic (reversed), summoning, sun (reversed), and war.

AC 0; MV 15; HP 192; THAC0 −10; #AT 5/2
Dmg 2d12 + 13 (club +2, +9 Str, +2 spec. bonus in club)
MR 20%; SZ H (22 feet high)
Str 21, Dex 17, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 19
Spells P: 8/8/8/8/6/4/2
Saves PPDM 3; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6

Special Att/Def: Grolantor wields Dwarfcrusher, a club +2 that deals double damage to dwarves (4d12 + 15). He always carries a sack with 2d6 throwing rocks, which he can hurl up to 400 yards, causing 2d10 points of damage. At ranges below 100 yards, he adds his strength bonus to the damage. He can catch rocks and other large missiles thrown at him 70% of the time. The Steading Lord inflicts a −3 to all surprise rolls made by his opponents and can only be harmed by weapons of +1 enchantment or better.

Other Manifestations
Grolantor never sends omens or messages to his priests. He occasionally shows his favor through the form of an incredibly loud and fragrant belch after a priest has gorged himself on food in celebration of a great victory in battle.

The Steading Lord is served by creatures of great cunning and strength, such as bar-lgura tanar’ri, cave bears, dire wolves, ettins, gehreleths, giant lizards, hill giants, incarnates of gluttony, leucrotta, mountain giants, ogres, particularly stupid yagnoloths, and yeti.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy’s Align.:      CN, NE, CE
Turn Undead:           C: No, SP: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: No, SP: No, Sha: No

All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of Grolantor receive religion (giantish) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

The church of the Steading Lord is despised by most followers of other giantish gods, finding them crude, stupid, and unpleasant to be around. Priests of Grolantor will never be found in tribes that primarily follow one of the other Jotunbrud gods, except for those following Memnor. However, even amongst them, the Grolantans receive little respect, although the Memnari are careful to disguise it. Within their own tribes, the priests of the Steading Lord act as advisors to their chiefs, although they will never admit to being subservient to them. If the issue comes up, they act as if they’re aloof from the power structure.

Grolantor’s priests do not build temples; their only religious sites are small shrines within their steadings and encampments. These shrines are private affairs and only the Steading Lord’s priests are allowed to worship at them.

Grolantor’s priesthood is too disorganized to have an overall hierarchy; individual priests receive titles based on their individual exploits (or lack thereof). There is no distinction between novices and full priests, as each priest’s status is based solely on whom amongst the existing clergy they can best in whatever sort of challenge the tribe prefers. Specialty priests are known by a name in the Jotunhaug tongue that roughly means “those who thump their foes’ skulls with their great clubs,” but that is quite a mouthful, and the lazy hill giants usually simplify it to “thumper.” The Steading Lord’s clergy consists mostly of hill giants (40%) and ettins (30%), followed by smaller groups of mountain giants (10%), ogres (10%), frost giants (5%), cyclops (2%), cyclops-kin (2%), and half-ogres (1%). Female priests of Grolantor are rare (10%), and the priesthood is fairly evenly divided between shamans (40%), clerics (30%), and thumpers (30%).

Dogma: Never show weakness. Crush the weak underfoot and smash them with your club. Feast on the spoils of your hunts. Eat to grow strong, and the more eaten, the more strength is gained. Never back down from a challenge. The sons of Annam have the right to rule all the worlds, with none subservient to another.

Day-to-Day Activities: Weakness is intolerable to the priests of Grolantor. They seek out the sick, weak, and cowardly amongst their tribes, and attempt to put them into situations where they won’t survive, such as scouting an area known to be inhabited by large numbers of dwarves. While they claim the experience will make the giant a stronger, more valuable member of the tribe, in reality they just want them slain by hands other than their own. They also constantly try to convince their chieftains to launch raids to slaughter nearby “weakling” races, particularly goblinkin and dwarves, as well as inciting wars against other creatures that are formidable enemies, such as dragons. They take any opportunity to instigate gluttonous revelry, such as successful battles and hunts. Hill giants and ettins regularly try to out-eat any other giants in their tribe, while frost giants try to out-drink their fellow giants. The followers of the Steading Lord also pride themselves on their ability to cook and eat just about anything, and are likely to have done so with everything edible within their hunting range. They also prefer flavorful and strongly spiced food to the “bland” fare of humans. While not actually a competition like the eating competitions, they do frequently compete to create new dishes, with the winner gaining accolades from his fellows.

No priest of Grolantor may back down from a direct challenge (this applies only to direct challenges, not to battle in general). Doing so will result in a complete divestment of his clerical abilities until undergoing atonement, which usually involves charging into a dangerous battle. They may never treat any other giant as superior, considering themselves the equal of even the strongest storm giant. They are likely to attack any giant who repeatedly treats them as a servant or otherwise inferior.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Individual tribes occasionally have major celebrations on specific days of the year, but this is fairly rare. Ettins and hill giants do not spend any time marking the days or keeping a calendar, so they find it difficult to keep track of specific days.

Major Centers of Worship: There are no known holy sites or major temples dedicated to the Grolantor within the known spheres. Hill giants and their ilk do not place any special importance on locations that avatars of the Steading Lord have appeared in, and they see no point in constructing large buildings for his worship. It is unlikely he would even care if they did.

Affiliated Orders: Grolantor’s church has no affiliated orders. The priesthood and the nature of those who worship him precludes such organized militaristic efforts.

Priestly Vestments: The Steading Lord’s clergy tends to wear whatever trophies they can earn, find, or steal when called upon to perform any sort of ceremony. They have no formal robes or raiment and the closest thing they have to a ceremonial color is dark brown, simply because all hill giants, ettins, and mountain giants tend to wear garments of that color. If a tribe has had lengthy contact with other giant races, particularly cloud giants, they may attempt to emulate their priests by adopting patchwork robes made up of the ruined clothing of human and demihuman victims. Priests do not use a small icon as a holy symbol; instead, they must use a full sized wooden club to focus their spells.

Adventuring Garb: Priests of Grolantor are indistinguishable from other members of their tribe when they are met in combat or another non-ceremonial role. They may wear trophies or adornments symbolizing their position and power, but so will the chief and other powerful warriors.

Specialty Priests (Thumpers)
Requirements:          Wisdom 9
Prime Req.:                Wisdom
Alignment:                NE, CE
Weapons:                   Any
Armor:                       Any
Major Spheres:         All, combat, elemental earth, healing (reversed), summoning
Minor Spheres:         Animal, necromantic (reversed), sun (reversed), war
Magical Items:         Same as clerics
Req. Profs:                Club, cooking
Bonus Profs:             Drinking or eating (pick one; frost giants must choose drinking and hill giants and ettins must choose eating. Details of these proficiencies can be found in PHBR10)

  • While most thumpers are hill giants or ettins, mountain giants, ogres, frost giants, half-ogres, cyclops-kin, and cyclops are sometimes called to Grolantor’s service.
  • Thumpers may not multiclass.
  • Thumpers inflict a −1 penalty on all surprise rolls made by their opponents. This increases to a −2 at 7th level and a −3 at 13th level.
  • At 3rd level, thumpers may cast spiritual club (as the 2nd-level priest spell spiritual hammer) once per day. The only difference between this ability and the spell is that it affects a club rather than a warhammer, and the spell inflicts 2d6 points of damage rather than 1d4+1.
  • At 5th level, thumpers can cast dwarfcrusher (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per week.
  • At 9th level, thumpers can cast berserk fury (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per week.
  • At 11th level, thumpers can cast call dire pack (as the 5th level priest spell) once per day.

Grolantan Spells
Priests of the Steading Lord may cast the 2nd-level priest spells hurl rock, detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Haela Brightaxe, and stalk, detailed in Faiths & Avatars in the entry for Miellikki.

3rd Level
Dwarfcrusher (Pr 3; Enchantment)
Sphere:                    Combat
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          4
Area of Effect:         Caster’s club
Saving Throw:        None

This spell gains its name by allowing the caster to temporarily duplicate certain powers of Grolantor’s magical club, Dwarfcrusher.

When the spell is cast, the caster’s club glows with a faint greyish light. While the spell lasts, it gains a +2 on all hit and damage rolls, and causes double damage against dwarves (for a typical hill giant club, 4d6 + 4, plus Strength bonus).

Dwarfcrusher functions only if used on a nonmagical club. If cast on a magical club or any other type of weapon, the spell automatically fails. Furthermore, the club to be affected must be owned and used by the caster; it cannot be passed to another creature. Attempting to cast the spell on someone else’s club or seeking to pass the club to another creature immediately negates the spell.

Dwarfcrusher ends if subjected to a successful dispel magic or similar effect, if the caster is slain, rendered unconscious, or releases his grip on the handle. Since the caster must retain a hold on the club to prevent the spell from ending, he or she cannot cast spells that require somatic components, nor perform any actions that require the use of both hands.

4th Level
Berserk Fury (Pr 4; Enchantment/Charm)
Sphere:                    Combat
Range:                     5 yds./level
Components:           V
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          Special
Area of Effect:         1 creature/level
Saving Throw:        Special

A priest of Grolantor who casts berserk fury immediately enters into a berserk rage and begins shouting an odd combination of encouragements and insults at his allies, possibly prompting them to enter into berserk rages of their own.

Once the casting has begun, the priest can continue to shout for a number of rounds equal to his own level. While shouting, the caster may still launch attacks and defend against incoming attacks without penalty. Even if the priest is successfully attacked while casting, the spell is not interrupted unless the priest wills it so.

At the end of each round of shouting, all of the priest’s allies within the spell’s normal range (and earshot of the shouts), must save vs. death magic. There is no consequence for missing this save; a successful throw indicates that the ally has turned berserker. He or she immediately begins duplicating the priest’s shouts, subjecting all allies within the normal range of these new shouts to the saving throw vs. death magic, beginning at the end of the next round. Regardless of the number of shouting characters, each ally within range of the shouts makes only a single saving throw each round. Once the number of affected characters is equal to the caster’s level, no more allies are subject to the spell’s effects.

Characters who have succumbed to the spell’s berserk fury add +2 to their Strength scores (entitling them to higher Strength bonuses, greater rock hurling damage, etc.), subtract 2 from their ACs, and receive a +2 bonus to all their saving throws for as long as the fury lasts. While under the spell’s influence, berserkers must remain in melee combat as long as possible. They cannot retreat, and the moment they run out of enemies, they must begin attacking their own allies.

Once the priest stops shouting or the spell’s duration expires, all berserkers may attempt another saving throw vs. death magic to recover from their state of rage. If this save is unsuccessful, the berserker can attempt additional saves at the end of each subsequent round, but must continue to fight until one of these saves succeeds.

5th Level
Call Dire Pack (Pr 5; Conjuration/Summoning)
Sphere:                    Animal, Summoning
Range:                     1 mi.
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 turn/level
Casting Time:          1 rd.
Area of Effect:         1 dire wolf pack
Saving Throw:        None

This spell calls a single pack of dire wolves, which then performs a series of simple tasks given to them by the caster. They can only perform one task at a time, but the caster can change what their current task is at any time. Pack sizes are typically 3d4 individuals. This spell will fail if there is no pack of dire wolves within a one mile radius of the caster.

If the caster does not change the current task a wolf pack is performing, they will continue to perform it until the spell’s duration expires. Tasks must be simple, usually limited to a short phrase such as “kill those creatures” (while pointing to a group of creatures) or “hunt the being that wore this cloth” (while presenting the cloth for the pack to sniff).

The material components are the priest’s holy symbol and a one pound chunk of uncooked meat, which is offered to the pack leader upon their arrival.

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