Posted on April 29, 2010 by Robert A. Howard
Available at RPGNow.com
In the Company of Giants is one of the latest supplements by Rite Publishing that expands on their ever burgeoning campaign setting, Questhaven. This time, Steven Russell turns his attention to creating a playable race of giants, known as Jotun. (For the curious, a quick Wikipedia search will reveal “jötunn” to be the name given to giants of Norse mythology.) Though the jotun may be themed for giants of the Questhaven setting, everything within is completely portable to any 3.5e or Pathfinder game, which includes a full racial class progression from 1st to 20th level, a titan’s fistful of elemental themed powers, and several pages of feats to add to your jotun’s retinue.
The Jotunnar, as they are called in Questhaven, are an interesting variant of the traditional giants of Dungeons and Dragons, and are designed to overcome the biggest problems of introducing giants as a playable race. Adding even a large race to a game, let alone a race that can eventually grow to colossal proportions is no easy task. The simple fact that a player character is now “large” can interact with other class abilities in unexpected ways. In the Company of Giants neatly sidesteps this problem with the jotun racial progression. The base jotun race selection itself does little more than create a character that would be considered exceptionally tall, could see well in twilight, and is flavored with a few racial bonuses to skills.
To truly take on the aspect of a giant, the player must choose to progress in the “Jotun Paragon” class. Moreover, once this class is chosen, the character is locked in for life, unable to multiclass or ever progress in a prestige class. Although the explanation that a “Jotun Paragon” who takes levels in another class “will be destroyed within a week’s time by [his] own unchecked power,” is a bit awkward, the mechanical reasons for not allowing this class to be blended with others is sound. That said, if you were imagining being able to play a giant-cleric, giant-ranger or any other number of combinations, this class option won’t be for you. On the other hand, this is an excellent choice if you would enjoy playing a race/class combination that will eventually allow you to achieve incredible size, physical power and an array of elemental and giant themed powers.
There still is, of course, a logistical problem of having gigantic player characters running around in a world more suitable to those of less substantial size. For this reason, joton are able to increase or decrease their size so that they can travel alongside their smaller companions into the depths of what might otherwise be an impossible squeeze. The penalties for doing so are almost negligible except for the change in weapon damage due to their new size. Notably though, at level 13, the jotun can wield weapons of gargantuan size without penalty – presumably even while in a smaller size, which one would imagine would look quite hilarious.
This is a unique and well designed take on creating a playable race of giants in a Pathfinder game, and I very much enjoyed the background information on the jotun society and personalities of the Questhaven setting. Rite Publishing excels at creating exciting feats and abilities for their custom races, and that really shines through here in this supplement. You have everything you need to create the archetypical fire giant, an ornery multi-headed ettin, a rock hurling hill giant, or a frighteningly gargantuan troll. The one thing that I would really like to see in the future to expand on this product is some jotun prestige classes that would allow you to further customize your character and perhaps pickup some traits of the other classes… Frost giant cleric anyone?
Review by Robert A. Howard, Pen & Paper Games.