Where do half giants come from?

“When a human and giant love each other very much.”

Just kidding.

It seems to be popularly accepted that sorcerer monarchs created them as a servant/warrior race in the Cleansing Wars. On the surface this makes sense. Half giants very distinctly do not have a culture of their own, to the point it’s part of their inborn psychology. They do not have a recorded history of their own. Their need to imitate a strong leader does make them ideal for a slave race.

It’s also presumed that they were most likely made by Rajaat with the Dark Lens, life shaping or comparable magic.

However, I do have some problems with this narrative. There is no “off switch” for half giants. It strikes me as weird and out of character for Rajaat, all genocidal warlord, would make new life. And this is not whipping up a tarrasque as a super weapon. This is a viable, physically powerful race that can and will procreate. I would let that slide, if any of the sorcerer monarchs ever displayed an ability to switch them off so to speak. they don’t. Why create and unleash a group that will INEVITABLY become your enemy?

There is an alternative explanation I favor. While a shadow of the Raul-thaun masters, other groups definitely would have had access to life shaping techniques. I can imagine someone, from a nation or a small group of adventurers, rediscovering enough of the tech to make half giants. Before/during the Cleansing Wars, they are short giants or large ogres totally loyal to their leaders.

The Cleansing Wars progress in all their brutality. Those that the half-giants served start failing and dying and falling apart. The half-giants instinctively start switches their allegiances to the sorcerer kings. Those are the people who are the strongest.

All it would take would be one sorcerer king to say “They are a created race. Technically I am not required to kill them.” Whether that sorcerer king even believes their words, all the others would scramble to grab their own, driven by ambition and paranoia. Of course, sorcerer king propaganda after words would claim half-giants were always theirs.

If my theory is true, how it would actually apply to Dark Sun? It’s academic if I don’t find some practical application for it after all. Here are some off the cuff ideas…

  1. An armory that used to produce arms and armor for half giants. Hgiant characters would love that equipment and can be a great adventure location as well.

  2. The Breaking. A big battle where the half-giants fell. Their original masters blamed them for the defeat. The half giants turned to the sorcerer kings. Ancient battle site.

  3. The life shaping lab where the first generation was created.


Or maybe…Your theory is not true and all the revised history is just another in a long list of lies on the history of Athas…

and the answer to Half-Giants genesis is not truly known, so some over-zealous Templar in multiple city state give their SK or SQ credit for them.

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I always assumed that half giants (and muls for that matter) were created after the cleansing wars by Abalech-Re. At that point the SMs were aware of Rajaat’s lies and gave up on genocide in favor of simple domination. Lack of off switch or no, the vast majority of half giants seem to serve the SMs. So I’d say the plan worked out well, the only caveat being no one SM enjoys control over them.

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Curses, you beat me to it! :wink:

I always thought it was Sielba of Yaramuke, she’s certainly the creator in my own world.


That’s a very interesting idea. It provides more potential for lost lore lying in the ruins of Yaramuke and possible implications for what the city state was like and why it was destroyed. It would be really neat if half giants spread to the other city states with Yaramuke’s destruction.


Yeah, i don’t know if that was a thing, but Sielba/Yaramuke/Half-giants does have fantastic implications.

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This came up on FB a few weeks ago. For those interested in what the original books have said on the topic. The original box set makes it sound like their creation was long ago, “lost millennium”, while the revised boxed set makes it sound more recent. I prefer the latter.

DS CS pg 9

“Giants dominate many of the islands and coastal areas of the Silt Sea, wading across it to plunder the communities of smaller races where they find them.

In some lost millennium, as a bizarre experiment or perhaps as some sort of curse, giants were magically crossbred with humans. Half-giants are now fairly common, especially to human controlled lands at the edge of the sea of dust.”

Revised DS CS pg 14

“Half-giants are a relatively new addition to the races of Athas. The union was originally the result of magical experiments conducted by the sorcerer-kings. When the sorcerer-kings first took control of the cities of the Tyr Region, they used their arcane powers to cross humans with giants, striving to create warriors and laborers of gigantic proportions. Because of this turbulent beginning, the half-giants of today’s Athas have no culture of their own to draw upon, no ancient traditions to turn to for inspiration.”

Though not official DS but still 3.5e, The Expanded PsHB has the following to say about Them:

Half-giants are a cross between humans and giants, bred into existence in a desert land by cruel sorcerer-kings intending to use them as warriors and laborers. Every half-giant who was born and survived early childhood could look forward to nothing but a life of suffering, as with any people kept in bondage. Some half-giants found that their forced breeding had engendered within them a spark of psionic power. With the aid of this secret power, many half-giants escaped their circumstances to seek a new home deep in the desert, where they are free to discover their own destiny.


I’d personally say this means they don’t date back to the Green Age, not that they’re actually newish. But i could see how someone could go the that way.


considering that giants are a rebirth race like humans are, magically augmented natural couplings (i.e. human with enlargement magic with giant) could have potentially produced initial half giants at multiple points in athas’s history.

Well, “new” can be pretty vague with a time scale like this. However, I will grant that my theory with the origins of half giants (during the cleansing wars) would place them pretty recently on the time scale.

I must entirely disagree entirely with your assertions…

How do we know the giants didn’t drink reducing potions?

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I read that book! Lol.

I read that book! Lol

Possible as well. Do note the mul issue of mother survivability… But that’s a moot point on Athas.

From what I remember it was explicitly called out in the Half Giant’s description that human/giant couplings don’t make half giants. If I had to make a comparison to other media, half giants seem reminiscent to the urak-hai bred by Saruman in LotR. Physical breeding was a component of their creation, but cruel magicks played a large role.

If I were a betting man (which I am, it’s a terrible problem) I’d guess that newborn humans and giants were likely altered with magics to try and be closer to the desired result and bred once they were of age. Rinse and repeat the cycle until you get what you want. That being said, that is such a monstrous act I wouldn’t reveal that origin to my players unless they actively looked for it.

I also suspect muls do not come about naturally, since the mother dies giving birth. Half ogres aren’t that bad in vanilla settings (though Dark Sun is a lot… darker). I wouldn’t be surprised if muls are specifically bred with some sort of magical meddling that allows the union to produce a child.

Has anyone else here had ancient intelligent undead react strangely to half giants? I had one talk really slowly to a PC, under the assumption they were a small giant (and stereotypically less intelligent) and was surprised when they responded in complete sentences.

“How quaint! The runt speaks like a normal person! What will they think of next?”

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Muls are definitely specificly mentioned as a natural thing in multiple places. The mother OFTEN dies, not always.

But magical inducement is a fun angle.

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Neeva survived giving birth to Rkard so we know it is possible.

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My read has been the race of the mother does factor into it. It may be that the innate dwarven toughness (plus any relevant focus) gives the dwarven mother an edge. Or the famous human adaptability and some internal differences pays here. Of course, there is nothing in canon that supports either definitively.

More notably to me, no known mul has a sibling. Another mul, dwarf or human. It would seem that having a mul child is a one time affair. That does it for kids. Though I suppose they could have elder sibilings…

Though that does beg the question why we don’t see them on any other world.

I will say this strongly. I do not, under any circumstance, accept that it’s always fatal. If so, no woman would ever willingly participate. That makes the whole process way darker and way more rapey than it already is. I could go on at length, but lets say Dark Sun needn’t be all THAT dark.

Interesting. Why do you think Abalech-Re was involved in that specifically? It is worth noting I will grant, the ghosts Rkard ran into had no idea what a mul was.

Wait? What? You mean my local sorcerer queen or king might not have been completely transparent and honest with me? HERETIC!

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