|No. of Attacks:
||1-10 or by weapon (2-12 +7)
||H (17' tall)
Desert giants were once numerous in the scrub plains and deserts of the Land
of Fate, but they have fallen victim to a divine curse which transforms them
slowly but inexorably into stone. They always wander the land in the company of
their cattle and their mounts. Their great civilization has long since vanished
under the sands.
The weathered and craggy faces of the desert giants are scored with wrinkles.
Even the youngest of desert giants are somewhat wrinkled, though this is not
visible in the women, as they wear the veil. The dark hair and swarthy skin of
the desert giants make their blue eyes all the more remarkable. However, it is
considered a clear sign of impending fossilization when the eyes of a desert
giant turn from blue to brown. The typical desert giant is 17' tall and weighs
7,000 pounds, though fossilizing giants may weigh twice that. Desert giants may
live to be 400 years old.
Desert giants fight mounted when they can, though steeds of a size to suit
them are rare. Battle mounts include gigantic lizards, enormous insects, huge
undead horses of shifting bone, and even rocs. In the past, some desert giants took
service as bodyguards and mercenaries with the most powerful of sultans. The
sight of a squad of desert giants wheeling about in preparation for a charge has
caused more than one desert legion to break and run.
Desert giants do not hurl rocks. Indeed, they wander many areas where there is
often no ready supply of boulders, and carrying such heavy objects would tire
even the strongest nomadic giant. However, they do make large throwing spears
from wood they find when they pass near jungle lands. These spears are kept and
cherished as heirlooms over generations. The spears have a range of 3/6/9 and
cause 2-12 +7 points of damage. Desert giant chieftains sometimes carry great
scimitars given to their ancestors for outstanding military service. These
weapons cause 2-16 +7 when wielded by anyone with a Strength of 19 or better. On
occasion, a desert giant will attack with one of its huge fists, causing 1-10
points damage on a successful attack
Some desert giants are gifted with the ability to call back their ancestors
from the stones; they are called sand-shifters because of the way the summoned
giants throw aside the sands when they rise again. Sand-shifters are not priests
or mages; they have no other special spell abilities. One in every 10 desert
giants can bring back giants who have assumed the form of stone and can command
them to fight once more. Once per week, a desert giant can summon 1-6 giants
from the rocks for 2-12 turns; the summoning takes one turn. These giants crumble
back to rock and powder when slain. Desert giant children gifted this way can
summon 2-20 stony mounts for their elders to ride into battle. Adult
sand-shifters can summon 3-30 mounts instead of 1-6 giants if they so choose.
Desert giants' skin is so similar to sand and rock that they can camouflage
themselves very effectively, if given one turn to prepare. This ability allows
them to ambush foes and prey alike. (Desert giants who lose their herds often use
this ability to become effective bandits, and the numbers of these gigantic
brigands have increased as the race dwindles.) A giant so camouflaged increases
chances of a surprise attack to 1-4 on a d10 and decreases the chance of being
seen by search parties or soldiers to 1 in 10.
Desert giants are nomadic herdsmen and are rarely found far from their herds.
Though they are responsible for stripping entire river valleys bare in fertile
areas, they do not reimburse farmers or herdsmen on the edge of those
territories for any damage they might do. They see the lands as theirs for the taking,
and they make no apology for overgrazing or even for grazing their herds on
crops. Few sultanates attempt to force them off cropland; most attempt to lure the
desert giants away with promises of employment as mercenaries. Some will
promise rich gifts of salt, cloth, spices, and metal if only the desert giants will
return to the empty quarters of the desert.
Desert giants wander hundreds of miles following the rains with their herds.
When the rains fail, the scrub withers, and the herds and their giants starve.
At these times young males among the desert giants may take up mercenary work
and use the money they obtain to support the entire tribe. If a drought goes on
for years, more and more giants are driven into the cities, though their
absolute numbers are still tiny compared to the numbers of humans and other smaller
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