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Giants in Fantasy Combat?
a Nerdish Man Question—But a Man Question it Is


James,

Been using your archives for late night reading the last couple months, though im more interested in your fiction than your politics. no big deal.

Been playing rpg's online for a while, now, looking to start running a game of my own soon.

 I liked the look of your Greek sourcebook but truth be told I prefer the Baltic crusades for a setting; there's plenty of knights and exploitation of locals and all that fun stuff.

Of course I think you cant have pagan natives without at least a few clans of bloodthirsty giants!

If it's not too much trouble I'd like your brief opinion on pagan giant vs catholic crusader action.

The sourcebooks have several different types of giants, the shortest and smallest being about 10.5 feet tall, 1400 lbs, and the tallest a whopping 21 feet, 3000 lbs. idk if the poundage for those heights are correct but whatever its fantasy.

Here's my nerd question: Just for fun, what would the fighting dynamics be between a man 5 1/2 feet tall and a giant twice or even 3 times that size?

If you're a giant raiding or defending your hillfort from puny armored crusader's, bent on doing what crusader's did best to pagans, wouldn't you want weapons that give you as much reach as possible? In the sourcebooks giants like to throw rocks but I would think if you're a moderately advanced tribe you'd have bows with twice the draw of a longbow and javelins half again the height of a man.

What else would a giant want to use against foes that were smaller but more organized and better armored? Mabe if you're twice or three times the height of a man you armor up your boots and shins that way all you need to do is kick 'em to death!

Cheers,

B.F

Brent, this is so cool!

Thank you and glad you like the fiction—I could give a shit about my politics.

I will work on this over the next day or so.

Good gaming,

James 

First Thoughts

Brent, this is a question that matters beyond gaming and which I have neglected. I am also thrilled that you are using some of my work for a semi-historical RPG. The crusades of the Teutonic Knights against the pagan Prussians and Lithuanians are simply fascinating to consider. This is an area of medieval history that most people do not have a clue about.

I will address this question in the following installments:

-Real Giants in Combat: Size Liabilities and Relationships

-Two Plausible Giant Types with Ideal Weapons

-Forensic Effects of Giantism on Human Muscle-Powered Combat

Until then, BF, consider one truism where immense combatants are concerned—stupid gets it done. The worst thing most combatants with a huge size advantage can do is try and outthink the smaller enemy. I will expand on this when I get back to my computer on Wednesday.

Add Comment
Sam J.January 19, 2017 6:57 PM UTC

BaruchK,"Remember that mass goes up proportional to the cube of height, but bone strength depends on cross section which goes up proportional to height squared.

Very quickly as you go up in height and mass, the human form no longer can hold up. You would need serious changes to keep your legs and spine from shattering. Look at the big dinosaurs and their center of gravity, or elephants."

I'm not sure if the ratio thing is true or not. This comes from, I think, the book "on Growth and From" and it's repeated endlessly but weren't there some big ass dinosaurs? T-Rex walked like a chicken and he didn't have any trouble moving around. If this rule it written in stone then how did all these big assed animals exist? I would say this rule is wrong based on the fact that large creatures existed that strained the rules far beyond what id considered normal..
IshmaelJanuary 18, 2017 6:27 PM UTC

The force of gravity limits size, now on the moon.......
BaruchKJanuary 17, 2017 11:15 AM UTC

Remember that mass goes up proportional to the cube of height, but bone strength depends on cross section which goes up proportional to height squared.

Very quickly as you go up in height and mass, the human form no longer can hold up. You would need serious changes to keep your legs and spine from shattering. Look at the big dinosaurs and their center of gravity, or elephants.
responds:January 18, 2017 5:12 PM UTC

Thanks, Baruch.

The realistic ceiling for primates seems to have been hit by Gigantopithicus.

Anything taller than that would be, as you infer, malformed or would have to be accounted for by "magic."