Ice, ice baby
What are frost giants?
Like most giants, frost giants trace their lineage back to Annam All-Father. They’re humanoid in appearance, but with the proportions of a giant and a blue hue to their skin. Frost giants were born from Annam’s son Thrym, a great warrior that regularly fought with Surtur and his fire giants. The conflict between Surtur and Thrym continues today between frost giants and fire giants.
Frost giants choose to settle in ice cold regions such as the snowy spires of Icewind Dale. They feel comfortable in the cold and find anything warmer than a body to be like the heat of a naked flame. Frost giants are brutish beings that settle disagreements with shows of pure strength.
Frost giant stats
The following is the official stat block for a cloud giant in D&D 5e as published in the SRD and Monster Manual.
- Huge giant, Neutral Evil
- Armour Class: 15 (patchwork armour)
- Hit Points: 138 (12d12 + 60)
- Speed: 40ft
|23 (+6)||9 (-1)||21 (+5)||9 (-1)||10 (+0)||12 (+1)|
- Saving Throws: Con (+8), Wis (+3), Cha (+4)
- Skills: Athletics (+9) Perception (+3)
- Damage Immunities: Cold
- Senses: Passive Perception 13
- Languages: Giant
- Challenge: 8 (3,900 XP)
- Proficiency Bonus: +3
Multiattack: The giant makes two greataxe attacks.
Greataxe: Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 25 (3d12 + 6) slashing damage.
Rock: Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 28 (4d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage.
Frost giant tactics
Playing as a frost giant
Frost giants respect strength and physical prowess more than anything else. If you’re roleplaying as a frost giant, you won’t care if players attempt to negotiate or use diplomacy, you will only care if they can perform feats of great strength. Unlike most giants, frost giants care less about the race of a creature, if they can compete with the strength of a frost giant, then they are accepted into the ordning and can be given a rank among them. If characters want to impress a frost giant, a show of strength is the only way to do so.
Consider various shows of strength that might be acceptable to a frost giant (or let your players come up with their own). This might involve trial by combat, performing a mission that involves combat, wrestling a beast or throwing a large rock. Frost giants aren’t particularly clever so could be tricked in some way too.
With that in mind though, frost giants are very happy to simply jump into combat and crush their foes. If you’re fighting as a frost giant, I’d consider the following tactics:
- Cold immunity: Create a challenge for your players by fighting somewhere with extreme cold (like a freezing lake with ice platforms). Falling in would cause them damage, but as a frost giant, you can wade through, immune to the effects of cold damage.
- Fighting at range: Frost giants are very capable in both close combat and ranged combat, but are a little more effective at range so try to use this to your advantage. Consider using minions to lock characters in combat while your frost giant hurls rocks at them.
- Saving throw weakness: Watch out for spells that require a saving throw, frost giants are quite poor at these unless it’s a constitution or strength saving throw. Killing spellcasters, particularly those with lots of saving throw spells in their repertoire (like wizards, sorcerers and clerics) will help protect you from these effects.
Fighting a frost giant
If you need to fight a frost giant, I’d recommend using the following tactics:
- Avoid cold damage: Frost giants are immune to cold damage so avoid using this, it won’t work.
- Use saving throw spells: Frost giants are susceptible to spells that require a saving throw. Use these to nullify the threat of a frost giant. Just avoid strength and constitution saving throws as they are good at these, but there are loads of wisdom and charisma saving throw spells that will be very effective against a frost giant.
- Get tanks in close: Frost giants will want to target spellcasters for the reasons above, and do a lot of damage at range, you can reduce this threat by engaging them in close combat with characters that can take a bit of damage. If you can, keep spellcasters behind cover and have them pop in and out of cover to launch spells. if there’s no cover, remember, you can stand up and drop prone in the same turn (you just might not move far), this will inflict disadvantage on ranged attacks while allowing you not to receive disadvantage on your attacks. Just make sure you’re not caught prone by a close combat attack.
About Frost giants
|Life span||250 yrs|
Frost giants are some of the tallest of the true giants standing at about 21 feet tall and weighing about 8,000 pounds. Frost giants are typically blue or white in colour as is their hair though it can sometimes grow into a dirty yellow colour. Male frost giants will often grow matted beards of hair, frost and icicles. Frost giants will typically wear furs and pelts of the animals they’ve killed and chainmail and helmets for protection.
Frost giants do not make things for themselves apart from basic leather clothing and things carved from bones. Anything they need, they will plunder from nearby settlements. Typically, they plunder under the cover of a blizzard, seeing this as a sign from Thrym that he blesses their attack. Typically, their raids will consist of taking livestock, forged goods, alcohol and large gems.
They will often take on animal companions, but have little concept of training or raising an animal, instead, they tend to beat the creatures into submission. Such creatures will become hunting companions and guardians of their lair though those that do not comply will become the frost giant’s dinner. Often, these creatures include polar bears, winter wolves, mammoths and remorhazes raised from birth.
Thrym is the god of the frost giants and great rival of Surtur who would both vie for the All-Father Annam’s affections. While frost giants pride themselves on Thrym’s victories in combat over Surtur, Annam favoured Surtur’s finely crafted gifts over the trophies brought by Thrym. Thrym is usually depicted with 10 shield brothers and sisters, legendary frost giants that won such incredible glory that they’ve been immortalised at Thrym’s side.
Place in the ordning
Like other giants, frost giants follow a hierarchical status known as the ordning in which the status of each giants is determined by their capabilities. For frost giants, the ordning is determined by their strength and where a disagreement arises, this is typically resolved by wrestling or sometimes rock throwing or hunting.
To demonstrate their position within the ordning, frost giants will keep trophies of their defeated foes. Often these will be horns or tusks or similar items while defeated foes of intelligent creatures will typically have a sword or other weapon displayed as a memento and evidence of their victory. Weapons and armour also demonstrate a frost giant’s victories. Notches and marks carved into the equipment will show the number and type of foes a frost giant has defeated. Mementos such as horns or feathers might be affixed to their armour to show their victories too.
Intelligence and cunning is considered of little value for frost giants when it comes to the ordning, brute strength is all that matters. Some frost giants that are naturally weak are doomed to a lifetime of a lowly rank. Some such giants though, might turn to Vaprak, god of trolls and ogres, who sometimes grants extraordinary strength to the frost giant seeking his favour. In such cases, the frost giant will be transformed into an everlasting one with the strength to even challenge for leadership. Such worshippers of Vaprak are frowned upon however, and any giant discovered seeking power in such a way will be cast out of the clan.
The respect frost giants have for strength is not exclusive to other frost giants. They are the most likely giants to accept non-giants into their clan and allow them a position in the ordning. Though incredibly difficult, a human could gain position in the ordning through displays of incredible strength such as defeating a polar bear in unarmed combat or even defeating a frost giant in a wrestling match.