Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants is a new Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook that focuses on giantkin, and while it does have some player content, it’s mostly aimed at DMs for them to build adventures and campaigns centered around the colossi of the D&D multiverse. The book is especially helpful for those looking to create or enhance a mid-level campaign, as giants are usually not fought at lower levels due to how powerful they can be.
Those who purchase Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants will access a brand-new Barbarian subclass, two new Backgrounds, several giant-themed Feats, and many maps, magic items, and monsters to use in campaigns. The book also has lots of lore information, some of which is tied to the D&D multiverse as a whole, while other tidbits are related to the official campaign settings, like the Forgotten Realms.
Who Is Bigby & What Is He Presenting?
Giants are a common foe for D&D party, ranging from the Ogres that terrorize low-level parties, Trolls that force mid-level parties to whip out the acid and fire attacks, leading up to the Hill, Fire, and Frost Giants, who give the high-level parties a run for their money when they attack in force. It’s rare for giants to be the focal point of a campaign, as they often act as minor foes compared to the likes of dragons and evil cults, which is a shame, as there’s a ton of scope for giants as major antagonists in a story.
What’s New For Players In Bigby Presents: Glory Of The Giants?
The D&D sourcebooks generally feature new content for player characters, usually as new subclasses. In this regard, Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants is the weakest of the latest books, as it only has a single subclass: the Path of the Giants for Barbarians. This class is a lot of fun, as it lets the Barbarian increase in size and deal more damage when throwing things, allowing you to chuck your smaller party members around the battlefield. Path of the Giant is a great addition to D&D, but it’s a shame that it’s the only new subclass in the book, and there are no new races or spells to flesh things out.
Instead, most of the new character content comes from new Backgrounds and Feats. Much like the Backgrounds in Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Krynn, the new Backgrounds in Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants give you Feats straight off the bat, making them far better than the ones in the Player’s Handbook. The new Backgrounds are Giant Foundling, which is someone raised by giants, and Rune Carver, which is someone who studies rune magic. Both of these add a lot of flavor to character creation, and the concept of rune magic is well integrated into the D&D rules.
The bulk of the new Feats in Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants are related to giants, with players able to evoke some of the powers and strengths of various kinds of giants. Rune magic is restricted to the Rune Shaper Feat, and it’s a fantastic addition to the game, but it’s a shame that there isn’t more to it. The rune magic concept is dying for more Feats or a whole subclass dedicated to it, especially as offering more variety to spell lists is a big deal in the upcoming changes to D&D 5E that are coming in the revised 2024 rulebooks.
While rune magic might be undercooked, the other giant Feats are all worthy additions to the game, offering many options that will make the warriors of Rogues more effective in combat. Like the Dragonlance Feats, these definitely shake up the game’s power curve. DMs need to be aware of the extra boost if they allow these Feats to be used alongside content from the 2014 Player’s Handbook or any of the older official campaigns.
Giant Enclaves & Giant Lore Are The Highlight Of The Book
There is a lot of lore in Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants, as Bigby is joined on his journey by Diancastra, the daughter of the god of giants. The lore ranges from the histories of the individual giant subraces and creatures related to them while offering insight into the cultures of the various giants. This content serves two purposes, it gives players a ton of content to use for the backstory of their characters, as well as gives DMs an insight into how they can fit these creatures into a campaign without them simply being another bag of hit points for the players to kill.
The surprising highlight of Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants is the chapter centered around Giang Enclaves. These are eighteen different maps & adventure outlines that you can easily fill out and use in your adventures, similar to the lairs that appeared in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons. The Giant Enclaves feature adventure maps and advice regarding quest concepts and the creatures the player might face when traveling there.
The reason the Giant Enclaves are so useful is that they can easily be adapted for a multitude of uses. Need a quick location & outline for a one-shot? Use the Forest Crystal map. Want to slot a mini-adventure into your long-running campaign to give the players a break from the main story? Let them discover the Star Forge and uncover its secrets. These kinds of open-book concepts & maps are great for DMs who want some legwork taken out of prepping adventures without needing to do major rewrites of existing material, which you might need to do if you’re adapting something from an adventure anthology.
Alongside the Giant Enclaves, a section is dedicated to Giant Adventures, containing ideas for short adventures and long campaigns centered around conflicts with giantkin. While these require much more work to bring together than the Giant Enclaves, they provide a solid framework for epic stories you want to tell, even if it must be contained within a single session. Coupled with the lore on display, there is a lot here for DMs and players alike to use for their stories, which is the core of any D&D game.
Bigby’s Bestiary & Magic Items Are Tailored For A Higher Level Of Play
One of the most surprising aspects of Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants is how much of it is tailored towards mid to high-level play. This is mostly seen in the Bestiary and Magic Items sections, with lots of content geared for campaigns lasting more than a handful of sessions.
Many D&D campaigns only reach level 5, which is why low-level content is abundant in most books, ranging from subclasses to spells. The Bestiary has fifteen monsters ranging from CR ½ to 5, but there are many creatures beyond this level, including eleven of CR 20 and beyond. It’s good to see D&D books offering lots of high-level enemies, especially if the intention is for groups to create giant-themed campaigns. Giants are intended to be incredibly challenging foes, especially in groups, so they’re worth being top-loaded with CR 6 and above creatures.
Similarly, the magic items section has plenty of Very Rare, Legendary, and Artifact items, which usually only appear once or twice in a campaign. The highlight of the bunch is the Prehistoric Figurines of Wonderous Power, which allow you to summon dinosaurs to aid you in battle, though D&D’s new magic guns are also awesome in their own right. Giants might be the intended foe for the content in this book, but players are given plenty of weapons to fight them.
The D&D sourcebooks work best with a balanced player and DM content mix. In the case of Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giant, the balance is tipped a little too far in the DM direction. The content here is fantastic, but a few more subclasses and the inclusion of some giant-themed spells would have made the book more appealing to players. As it stands, Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants is packed with useful ideas, and what rules content it has feels tailored for the upcoming 2024 D&D 5E revamp, so it’s more about what long-term benefits it can bring to your game.
|+||Lots of great ideas for players and DMs for building giant characters & campaigns.|
|+||Giant Enclaves are great for DMs needing ideas on the fly.|
|+||Doesn’t skimp on mid/high-level content.|
|–||Magic items are great, but new spells would have been a better fit.|
|–||Rune magic should have been expanded more.|
|–||Light on player content, with only one new subclass.|
Gamepur team received review samples for the purpose of this review.