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Gigantic Lore That Could Launch Big Story: A Review of Bigsby Presents: Glory of the Giants for Dungeons and Dragons 5e

Wizards of the Coast’s latest release for the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons is centered around the history and lore of the Giants, as told by the wizard Bigsby, the famous apprentice of the wizard Mordenkainen, author of the famous spell Bigsby’s Hand, with notes from giantess Diancastra, a daughter of Annam, the All-Father of the giants.

This resource is a source book and not an adventure. It is an expansion of rules, lore and some stat blocks for creatures that are large. So, it isn’t a book for a DM to pick up and run that adventure, which is a good decision. The company already has giants prominently focused in several of the adventures that they have published. But what it does extremely well is that it tells a better story of giants and gives great ideas for ways to incorporate giants into a story.

Art from Bigsby Presents: Glory of the Giants

As a home brewer at heart, books like this serve that part of me that wants to create things but sometimes runs dry in ideas. This book does remarkably well at giving ideas and pieces to help a DM launch a larger adventure or even just a chance encounter. Wizards seem to undervalue this type of resources but it is really where they make their most compelling work. Just doing a cursory read through of the book, I made notes for both a longer campaign and some quick one-shot giant-centered adventures that I would like to run.

And the lore of the book is good and helpful. The main gist of the lore centers around how giants came to be and how their formation created an ordning, which is a tier system in terms of how giants see themselves and how they are treated. The lore part of the book is well done; it fleshes out the world(s) and gives some sense of giants and their motivations at the different levels of the ordning. All of that groundwork helps in launching of the ideas for your own campaign, adventures and encounters. It has a “take it or leave it” sense that is really helpful. And it also cements what everyone seems to have known was coming: D&D, like every other pop culture icon, is having a multiverse.

Now, that may sound harsher than it should. D&D has long had different campaign settings. Iconic stories have been told in Dragonlance, Greyhawk, and the realm most of 5E has been set in, the Forgotten Realms but this work, along with other recent things have cemented the idea that they all exist and they are interconnected in ways. It isn’t the most awful idea and it lets Wizards cross pollinate (or contaminate depending on your point of view) as they create new products, and as always, you can take it or leave it in your campaigns. But this book makes it clear that it is here to stay and anything that isn’t an adventure is going to have to address it.

And that isn’t the only thing that it gives us a glimpse into in terms of the future. In the recent Dragonlance book, for the first time in 5e that I am aware of, feat trees were introduced. Meaning, there are feats that you can take at higher levels if you already have a prerequisite feat. That idea is advanced here as well with some feats that playable characters can take, all with giant ties and connections. (There is even the note that if you allow some of the backgrounds and feats in this book, then other PCs in your campaign should get an additional feat as well. Clearly, D&D is working towards beefing up characters at creation and lower levels.) This seems to be way that the new revisions of the core rules will go, for better or for worse.


Interestingly, the magic items in the book are both fun but also give some of the mechanics of how to build a magic item. The notion that an adventurer finds a giant’s letter opener that now serves as a longsword is fun. But for some of the magic items, it points back to the Dungeon Master’s Guide and information there about how to make magic items. It was an interesting choice. (And, personally, it made me appreciate my DM who worked really hard to make custom items for each of the characters in our party that tied to our backstories but also didn’t break the balance of the game.)

And, there are dinosaurs. If that felt abrupt in the review, it feels the same way in the book. It is understandable that they wanted to upgrade some dinosaurs, their stat blocks, etc. for the game. But trying to tie it the giants’ lore and backstory was pretty specious. Wizards would do better to figure out how to do an update like this as digital only release, but maybe they felt it was necessary to fill out the book. (Our review copy was access to the material on with a printed copy to come). That said, the rules and ideas about the dinosaurs is solid and a fun dynamic that could be added to any campaign or encounter. And if your group hasn’t played through Tomb of Annihilation, these giant beasts would be awesome add-one for the jungles of Chult.

All in all, this book is a good addition to the ruleset for this edition of 5e. For homebrewers, there are great ideas that can be built on and, as they have been steadily doing, expanding options for PCs in both backgrounds and feats. It is clearly set up to be fully usable for the upcoming rules revisions and you should consider picking it up.

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