D&D Flashback: Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief

D&D Flashback takes a have a look at outdated Dungeons & Dragons journey modules from a contemporary perspective, pulling them aside to see what classes trendy DMs and gamers can be taught from them.

In 1978, TSR Inc. launched its first standalone Dungeons & Dragons module – Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief. The journey, written by D&D co-creator Gary Gygax, was the opening chapter in a six half marketing campaign that despatched gamers by means of three areas stuffed with giants (collectively often known as In opposition to the Giants) and ultimately into the Underdark to confront a harmful foe. Though comparatively easy in nature, Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief is a unbelievable instance of how a single location can throw tons of challenges at gamers, and the way to construct a “static” encounter with no clear or optimized resolution.

Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief presents an intriguing thriller: numerous sorts of giants are working collectively and raiding the lands of males for an unknown objective. The gamers are assembled to strike again at the giants by assault a close-by hill big fort dominated by the “totally despicable” Nosnra. The lord will execute the get together if they do not comply, so the get together is unquestionably motivated to succeed and never come again with out outcomes.

One factor that needs to be saved in thoughts with Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief is that it was initially made for D&D match play, with gamers scoring factors primarily based on the quantity of kills their get together had, the quantity of rooms cleared, and the quantity of clues discovered. Due to this fact, there’s not a lot of a narrative to this journey – gamers invade the fort, kill some giants, and possibly uncover some clues as to who or what’s behind this uncommon consortium of giants. In some methods, that makes Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief an ideal beginning journey for D&D gamers anticipating a “hack & slash” expertise, as they’re going to rapidly see how a tabletop RPG differs from its online game counterpart.

Stedding 2
(Picture: TSR/Wizards of the Coast)

Though the module itself is just eight pages lengthy, there are tons of little touches to Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief that maintain it from being a linear expertise. The hill big fort itself consists of two ranges – an higher stage occupied by the bulk of the hill big forces and a dungeon stuffed with numerous surprises and secrets and techniques. Gamers can rush into the fort and combat the hill giants nearly instantly, as most of the hill giants are sitting in the fundamental corridor simply outdoors the entrance, however they could have higher luck choosing off the numerous stragglers elsewhere in the fort earlier than confronting the hill big chief.

The setup of Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief rewards gamers who do not rush in to instantly confront Nosnra – by exploring, they will discover numerous allies and treasure that may assist make the fundamental confrontation so much simpler. For example, the dungeon comprises a small military of orc rebels who might help combat the bugbear guards or giants if discovered, and there is additionally an elf prisoner who will gladly be part of the get together if freed. A radical investigation may even reveal Nosnra’s treasure hoard, which comprises a approach to teleport to a glacial rift dominated by Frost Giants…and in addition proceed the journey.

There are additionally a lot of distractions in the dungeon, together with an odd temple with a wall that, if appeared upon, could cause a celebration member to go insane. In a aggressive construction, some of these rooms have been designed to eat up time and maintain the gamers from finishing their fundamental aim, however in a contemporary context, they can be utilized to do some refined worldbuilding (for example, an odd deserted temple can trace at a much bigger risk) or throw some purple herrings at the get together.

Stedding 1
(Picture: TSR/Wizards of the Coast)

The primary confrontation contains a group of over 30 giants, all of whom are feasting in the fundamental corridor. In a contemporary context, the sheer quantity of giants are an amazing quantity for even a celebration of excessive stage adventurers, however a intelligent get together may in all probability succeed at assassinating Nosnra and escape if they’ve a strong plan in thoughts. For example, the get together who received the D&D match the place Stedding of the Hill Giant originated charmed a large servant and used him to establish Nosnra by way of a kiss on the cheek earlier than unleashing a wave of shock assaults on the giants. A number of fireball spells later, the get together reduce off Nosnra’s head and escaped the fort, after which used a converse with lifeless spell to determine the place they need to go subsequent. Gamers may select to disguise themselves as hill big younglings, encompass the fundamental corridor and assault on a number of fronts, or use the big’s personal weapons towards them by retrieving numerous weapons like a large slaying sword or javelins of lightning earlier than the battle begins. There’s not an “optimized” means of approaching this encounter, so it is as much as the get together to determine a plan and execute it.

Though Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief is generally about preventing and exploration, my favourite half of the module is the very refined clue about who’s behind these big assaults. If the get together totally explores the dungeons, they’re going to uncover that the wine cellars comprises a number of casks of prime quality wine that clearly didn’t belong to the giants. The earthy scent and unusual style of the wine and the unusual wax seal on the casks are the solely actual clue that there is one other get together at play, nevertheless it’s a clue that is simply ignored given all the different issues to search out in the dungeon.

Dungeons & Dragons launched a number of variations of Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief, together with a revised model made for Fifth Version made these eager to play Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief at the moment. You’ll find Stedding of the Hill Giant Chief as half of the In opposition to the Giants journey in Tales From the Yawning Portal, or you may choose up the authentic model on the DMs Guild.

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