It's no secret that Wizards of the Coast might not be releasing as many adventures with their ramped-up Dungeons & Dragons release schedule, but there are still plenty of tools for DMs to create their own adventures releasing from the company. Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants takes this a step further, giving DM's even more tools to understand the Giant pantheon, and while it helps flesh out Giant-related experiences, it may leave little for players to be directly excited for.
The Barbarian Is At Large
Starting with player options, the only Class to receive a new subclass from Bigby Presents is the Barbarian Path of the Giant. Not too dissimilar from the Fighter's Rune Knight, this subclass will bestow the ability to become a Large creature when raging.
Not only do you gain a bonus in size, and all of the benefits that bring, but your reach is extended and can add Rage Damage to a thrown weapon.
These benefits continue to increase as your Barbarian levels up allowing you to instill different elemental attacks with each swing of a weapon, and even have your thrown weapon recall to your hand. If you were ever interested in creating a D&D Character for Kratos from God of War this subclass gives you all that you need.
From Giant Beginnings
For some character flavor, the Giant Foundling and Rune Carver backgrounds have been introduced. As a Giant Foundling you're one who has been raised in the world of Giants and with it are used to being small in a world not made for you. The Rune Carver is a scholar who through research is able to harness Giant Runes and their magical abilities.
Each of these Origins grants you one of the two new feats introduced in Bigsby Presents. With the Strike of the Giants feat you can imbue an attack with a different magical strike each turn.
While this feat doesn't always add much in the way of damage, the additional effects, like reducing an enemy's speed to 0 or causing a creature to fall prone, are not only useful but incredibly versatile. Now you can effectively strike your foes, regardless of whether you're facing a large enemy with low wisdom, or a spongey spellcaster.
Strike of the Giants is also a pre-requisite for a number of feats that delve further into the different hierarchy of giants including Ember of the Fire Giant, Fury of the Frost Giant, Vigor of the Hill Giant, and more.
Feats with prerequisites outside of a level or stat are part of OneD&D's plan to allow feats to function as a skill tree and not just a flat upgrade system. It's already exciting to see how a character who begins as a Giant Foundling with the Strike of the Giants feat can maintain a theme of Giant-like abilities while they grow.
Roleplaying Larger Than Life Characters
The tools in Bigsby Presents: Glory of the Giants for a DM are immense. Entire sections are dedicated to how to roleplay them, their pantheon and cast system (The Ordning), how they exist in societies with one another, and different Giant run organizations that may be present across the world.
These roleplay tips are all meant to prompt ideas for a DM on how to truly understand what interacting with a party might look like. Describing how their laugh could shake a room, or depictions of their pet panther snuggled on their lap like a housecat, sets an expectation of scale that otherwise might not be communicated.
This is a great expansion of "how to roleplay…" outside of knowing what names they might have or some simple behaviors. It's very noticeable that nothing ever gives you any level of "This is how you should do x" but offers food for thought for a DM to let their creativity go wild.
This knowledge of Giants also extends to their settlements around the world and what plot hooks might originate depending on the type of giant or organization that a quest is associated with.
For a DM that wants to run an adventure right out of a book, this resource will not be able to provide that, but it's not as bare bones in structure as other resource books such as Fizban's Treasury of Dragons are.
If an Adventure book is a choose-your-own-adventure, and Treasury of Dragons was a research resource the Giant Adventures chapter of Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants is a Paint By Numbers adventure generator.
After searching for a fun Giant or organization to kick off an adventure there are tables of balanced encounters, adventure hooks to get a plot stirring in player's minds, and questions you might ask yourself if building a Giant themed campaign.
With a starting prompt, consideration of important campaign questions, and some dice to roll on table generation you can build yourself an adventure in no time at all.
The Bestiary of Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants is filled, not only, with Giants in their different life stages and professions but a wide variety of tangentially related creatures. You'll have fire giants casting spells, humanoid cultists that worship the Giant Pantheon, as well as regular creatures buffed up to a giant size.
The majority of these creatures did not only come with their stat block, but also a block of text describing the look, behavior, and motivations of such a creature. Some of the more fearsome creatures, such as the 30 ft tall Runic Colossus leave breadcrumbs for adventures stating "The art of crafting a runic colossus is lost to modern giants, but many tales suggest the instructions might be buried deep in ruins…"
What Are Our Final Thoughts On Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants?
Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants is a wealth of knowledge about the Giants of Dungeons & Dragons. This knowledge is laid out very clearly, but how well this information is used is going to very heavily rely on the amount of effort a DM puts into their preparation.
For the DM that wants to be able to take something and run with it you're obviously not going to have a fun time, but the thought-provoking questions that are asked through the book do help steer the process for a DM.
Should You Buy Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants?
It's very simple to decide if should or shouldn't purchase this book and it boils down to the question; "Are you planning on running a one-shot, campaign, or adventure that has to do with Giants?" If yes, then it's a no-brainer that this book is going to be your new bible.
If you don't have much interest in running an adventure, or encounters, with giant-themed enemies then there won't be much for you. Normally you can fall back somewhat on what subclasses or feats come with a new Source Book but Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants doesn't have much for an individual player.
The copy of Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants used to produce this review was provided by the Publisher. All photos were sourced from dndbeyond with minor alterations.