Saturday, July 16, 2022

#JULYGANTIC: Revenge of the Giants

 Revenge of the Giants was the first 4e super-adventure, released in hardback, and designed as an homage to Against The Giants.  It was such a good and true homage that they later redid Against the Giants for 4e in Dragon magazine.  Hmm.

This thing is a mess, y'all.

Best piece of art in the book.


1.  The first conceit of the adventure you need to understand is that it's a "paragon tier" adventure, and the initial framing is that a) there used to be Justice Avengers in Justice Avengers Tower, b) they're mostly gone, and c) the last Justice Avenger is about to shanghai your PCs to be the New Justice Avengers because a mess of giants and titans are coming to kick faces in.  You'll be pleased to hear we're mostly talking about hill, frost, and fire giants here (oh, there's the homage).  There are also new astral giants, who are good guys, as well as the lion-like Torrians.

2. The ancient city of Argent is where the Justice Avengers used to hang out, so it's a multiple-use locale in this adventure.  It actually isn't that big.  Anyway, the PCs get the trappings of Justice Avengers and the means to portal back to Argent from anywhere.  Prepare for realms-hopping choo-choo.

3. We get a bestiary of giant variants according to their 4e battle roles.  We'll be seeing a lot of these dudes.  Keep in mind that in 4e, giants live not only in the natural world, but throughout the Elemental Chaos, where they are lorded over by the Primordials.  These are the giants we're dealing with.

4. Much of the book is set up "delve style", focused on combat encounters, precise grid maps, and so forth.  If you aren't into this, you shouldn't be playing 4e in the first place, but if you're looking to adapt Revenge of the Giants to another edition, you're going to have some work to do.  If D&D Beyond let somebody adapt this to 5e, with all the maps and tokens pre-loaded?  Different story maybe, some portion of the 5e crowd would go for that.

5. The PCs go to the city of Argent and get hooked up with Obanar, last of the Justice Avenger Dudes, who strings them through several more battles before he vomits exposition at them (save vs railroad).  Congrats on acquiring several quests!  Enjoy some skill challenges!

6. Argent is under attack again, so you fight some hill giants and track them back to their compound, which you must infiltrate.  G1 echo here, obviously.  The only NPC with a name is the one who's scripted to escape.

7. Side quests include...Rescue the lion-people from an adamantine dragon and its demonic master!  Well, this is a little different, I guess.  

8. Now go back in time to steal the funky metal that can be used to make the Implements of Argent.  PS, you're stealing them from Acererak, who apparently lived in Bael Turath before it fell.  He is attended by warforged, because why not.  I'm not sure if "Acererak lived in Bael Turath before he was evil/undead" stuck around as canon.  Probably not.  Yes, you meet Acererak, and it's assumed that you fight him, and also that he's pissed at you for stealing from him.  He's Unaligned here but there's no sidebar about "convincing the non-evil wizard you're from the future" or anything like that.  Let's you and him fight!

9.  Diplomatic mission to the astral giants...who have been corrupted by drow.  This throwaway homage to G1-2-3 seems a little unnecessary given everything else that's going on in this superadventure.  Some more diplomatic missions are also available. including one into the feywild.  I guess diplomatic missions and skill challenges are meant to balance out the string-of-pearls combats in the other sections.

10. Finally, frost giants.  You go to a village under threat by frost giants.  Your local contact there is a djinn who has a magic ship carved out of ice, which is cool, and he can turn into a storm to push the ship, which is cool, but then WHY DOES HE OWN A SHIP.  Anyway, more exposition about the frost giants, but really the important part ought to be ship-to-ship combat against frost giant pirates on the stormy elemental sea, right?  You don't quite get that - the frost giants have kayaks.  That's a big f*cking kayak.  Are these frost giants more Inuit-flavored?  Did we give up on the frost-giants-as-Hollywood-vikings thing in 4e?  If so, that's a shame.  

11. Slaads fall from the sky.  This sounds way cooler than it is in the adventure.

12. Random at-sea encounters on the way to the Frost Giant Spire.  Fair enough.  The best random encounter is a death hag pirate captaining a ship made of bones.  YES.  This is what we came for, people.  Once you get to the frosty island, it's many many frost giant and related encounters.  Ice archons!  Winter wolves!  A remorhaz!    In order to follow the Jarl, you have to collect things from all over the map and forge a key of ice.  Ehhh.  Anyway, fight the Jarl and his crew, including Named Wizard Trying To Free A Titan who escaped from the hill giant compound.

13. Time to go to Flamefall Tower, redoubt of the fire giants, where you will fight oh so many fire giants you guys.  And salamanders, fire archons, etc.  PLUS BONUS DROW.

14. Back to Argent for the big finale.  We learn of Lolth's involvement in the scheme to bring back this titan. Lolth's exarch in this scheme is named "Lolestra", which sounds to me like when you laugh so much you crap uncontrollably.  Hopefully your PCs have the appropriate pieces of the relic machine which will stop/kill Piranoth the titan.  Some more fights until Piranoth emerges from a ziggurat, flexing like a badass and featuring over 700 hit points, which is still quite a bit even in 4e.  The print adventure comes with a bigass poster map specifically for this fight.


It's a hackfest, and not a very fun-looking one.  If you like around-the-world fetch-quest chains directed by NPCs, this might do it for you.  Is there really anything worth stealing from this?  Almost nothing.

If you need giant-themed content for 4e, I strongly suggest you forget this rancid thing exists and collect the Against the Giants redux from Dragon magazine.  Revenge of the Giants has more in common with Montezuma's Revenge than with Against the Giants.

Just wow.

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