|Images of hill giants
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 170
Hill giants are among the least civilized members of giantkind. They are also among the most nomadic of giants, traveling in small clans of kin wherever they can find easy pillaging. Hill giants are brutal, selfish, lazy, and stupid. They revel in senseless destruction and solve all their problems with violence.12
Hill giants closely resemble large, heavy-set humans, standing around 10 feet tall and weighing about 1,000 pounds. Their skin tone ranges from light tan to ruddy brown, and they typically dress in ragged furs. Their constant exposure to the sun burns their scalps and causes many hill giants to go prematurely bald.12
Hill giants are extremely promiscuous and breed often. They gestate for nine months, but female hill giants are just as rowdy as males and go into battle even when pregnant, leading to many miscarriages. Only one in three births survives, and their infant mortality rate is still high. Those who survive, however, can live over 200 years if lucky. Hill giants who do reach old age are not treated well and are often simply abandoned.2
A few hill giants are born unusually small. These giants, who still tower around 8-1/2 feet tall, are called "guffs", an insulting term for humans and other smaller races. Guffs are no less capable than their brethren, but suffer constant ridicule.2
Hill giants survive by stealing food from smaller races. Most of their diet is meat from rustled livestock, supplemented with starchy vegetables. They cook heavy stews called "hill giant ragout" made up of mismatched food items and clashing flavors.3
Habitat and society
Hill giants are nomads who settle for short whiles in caves, forest groves, and other convenient shelters. Only the tribe's chieftain lives in a private building, usually a shabby hut. Such chieftains take their position by force and challenges to authority are settled in a fight to the death. Hill giant tribes rarely claim more than a small range of hills.3 As marauding thieves, hill giants have a parasitic relationship with smaller races such as humans, and tend to make camp close to their settlements. However, a significant minority of non-evil hill giants leave behind their nomadic brethren to peacefully join settled cultures as warriors or labor, though these civilized giants are often shunned by other races and their own kind alike.14 Hill giants sometimes ally with winter wolves, though in reality the smarter wolves ruthlessly manipulate their stupider allies becoming the power behind the throne.5
Families and children
Polygamy and incest are common among hill giants, though not to the same degree as in ogres; hill giants understand that too much inbreeding weakens the tribe. Only the tribe's chieftain has permanent mates; other tribe members breed indiscriminately, though they may have mates they favor over others.3 When a child is born, the tribe holds a feast to gauge their resources. If enough food is left over to support a new member, the infant becomes part of the tribe. If not, the child is publicly killed and its corpse is used as bait to catch more food.3
In battle, hill giants use intimidation tactics and chase their foes to wear them down before the kill. They may keep wolves as hunting companions.4
The hill giants have no consensus on their origins. Some believe that they were stone giants who were cursed long ago, while others believe that they once slept inside the earth but were awakened by the tunneling dwarves.6
During historical times, hill giants were among the many giants enslaved by the Runelords of ancient Thassilon.7 They share a linked history with stone giants and taiga giants, their culture and religion all shaped by contact with Thassilon.8 Because of this, hill giants tend to get along well with taiga giants.9
The rugged frontier of Varisia is home to many giant races, including hill giants. The descendants of Thassilon's hill giant slaves thrive on the Storval Plateau, mainly concentrated in the mountain range known as the Gnashers.7 They view Lake Skotha as a sacred burial ground.10 Some Varisian hill giants, most prominently the Black Fist tribe, joined forces with the stone giant warlord Mokmurian.11
Beyond Varisia, regions with considerable hill giant activity include the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, the Mana Wastes, and the Realm of the Mammoth Lords.12 In distant Tian Xia, the hobgoblin nation of Kaoling is home to a significant population of hill giants.13
Notable Hill Giants
- See also: Category:Hill giant/Inhabitants
- Gorgnak, a hill giant warchief on the island of Flintyreach in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings who rules over many tribes of giants, ettins, and trolls.14
- Hrugor Gurstweld, a hill giant leader in the Mana Wastes, Hrugor has taken over an abandoned dwarven factory giving him access to a huge stockpile of firearms.15
- Urgo Axbiter, a legendary hill giant leader who lead over thirty clans to fight against the Kellid Warrior Queen Boliga Bharsolm.15
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 150. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Hill Giant” in Giants Revisited, 29. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Hill Giant” in Giants Revisited, 30. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Hill Giant” in Giants Revisited, 31. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Ecology of the Winter Wolf” in The Shackled Hut, 73. Paizo Inc., 2013 .
- “Other Gods” in Gods and Magic, 49. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Varisia” in The Hook Mountain Massacre, 63. Paizo Inc., 2007 .
- “Born of Stone” in Fortress of the Stone Giants, 53. Paizo Inc., 2007 .
- “Bestiary” in Fortress of the Stone Giants, 85. Paizo Inc., 2007 .
- “Varisia” in The Hook Mountain Massacre, 65. Paizo Inc., 2007 .
- “Fortress of the Stone Giants” in Fortress of the Stone Giants, 20. Paizo Inc., 2007 .
- “Hill Giant” in Giants Revisited, 33. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 28. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “NPCs” in Inner Sea NPC Codex, 10. Paizo Inc., 2013 .
- “Hill Giant” in Giants Revisited, 32. Paizo Inc., 2012 .