Expanding the adventure.
The shame of the Frost Giants
Hello all and welcome to another installment of “Expanding the Adventure,” a segment where I provide a little something extra you could add to a published adventure from WotC to spice things up and give your adventurers something new to do. If they’ve read the adventure or if they’ve simply played it before, they might have everything planned so this is for if you want to surprise them a bit.
Today I want to contend with a classic D&D adventure as it is only about 10 degrees outside. This adventure is “The Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl” from “Against the Giants.” As it was presented in “Tales from the Yawning Portal.” I know I might be treading on sacred ground here for some of you but for some of you guys, and for you I must apologize. But if you others are willing to look at something cool you might do, or at least something different, keep reading.
I have a soft spot for several ice and winter-themed monsters in D&D and I have to admit that Frost giants are my favorites of the basic 6 kinds of true giants. The fact that they are so much like stereotypical Vikings and they are so incredibly loud and violent just warms my heart. I also found that they had one of the most interesting alternate versions of their kind in “Volo’s Guide to Monsters.”
As battle prowess is key to frost giant society, some frost giants try to cheat their way to the top and form a bond with Vaprak, a deity of trolls. This gives the terrifyingly adept combat abilities of a frost giant even more ability to terrorize players as the frost giant also has the ability to regenerate like a troll. However, in forsaking Thrym, the frost giant in question is performing a major act of blasphemy.
The frost giant part of the adventure is a difficult dungeon crawl that requires a lot of strategy. The players have to find their way into the fire giant halls either by sneaking past or if that doesn’t work, judiciously fighting past the guards. Perhaps trying the following will give the players something else to do.
Should the players want a diplomatic option, the Jarl might allow them safe passage if they end a particular threat to his rule. Though monstrous and blasphemous, the troll-infused frost giant is probably more than a match for the Jarl in question, so he will allow the players to pass through the rift if they can find such a frost giant and eliminate it. For the combative players, the Jarl will still have to put up token resistance, but many of the monsters and such will stand down.
The players will have to investigate the complex in the glacier and find out which frost giant is the one who has dedicated himself or herself to Vaprak. This turns a typical dungeon crawl into a role-playing heavy and social encounter. False positives will of course throw the Jarl and his men into a rage, so the players will have to act carefully. Either select the guilty frost giant on your own or assign it randomly somehow by for example checking all the rooms that might have adult frost giants in them, selecting one of those rooms, and then selecting a giant from there if there are more than one.
The players not only must find the giant they are searching for, but they must expose him or her somehow, otherwise they are likely to get swamped by the giant’s angry friends. Perhaps making the giant regenerate in public, grow a second head as they sometimes can do, or find a hidden holy symbol in their possession to someone other than Thrym could all work. At that point the players will have to go and take down this giant.
This special giant is considerably more powerful than normal frost giants and so if you have this fight, perhaps lessening or even removing other monsters from the combat encounter in that area might be wise. Consider how strong your party is, how readily they have access to fire or acid, how much trouble they have had or have not had with the rest of the dungeon, and how many resources you think they’ll need in the latter parts of “Against the Giants.”
It is up to you to decide whether the Jarl holds to his bargain as frost giants are neutral evil in alignment, but if they go to all the trouble of revealing the threat and destroying it, you ought to make the crawl here if you continue it a little easier.
There are a few places the players might get clues.
- The Giant ice toads might have seen a giant regenerating quickly somewhere. This is also true of the slaves or maybe even the entrapped storm Giant.
- In some of the storage rooms or in some of the clothing the giants have, there might be an odd holy symbol. Perhaps put one in one of the giant bags scattered throughout this dungeon and when the players find that bag, they have to figure out which giant it belongs to.
I hope this might make the “Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl.” A bit more surprising and interesting for your characters and players should you decide to use this in the future. I hope to provide you with many more interesting things to play in in the future.
Zachary was the first and is now one of the two DMs for Companions of the Perception Check and is running the “Gith” campaign for the party currently. He lives with his two dogs and loves great books and terrible movies.