Life In Plastic: Storm Giants (Dungeons & Dragons

 

Giants have been a part of Dungeons & dragons since the very beginning. This isn’t anything special, any fantasy mishmash needs Big People(tm). D&D has, however, thrown in multiple varieties of giant from the beginning. Although the number of variants is different in each edition (the longer an edition lasts, the more random stuff gets piled on), the core five types are Hill Giants (classic big cavemen giants), Fire Giants (ash-dark skin, fire-orange hair, proportioned like Dwarves, do a lot of forging), Frost Giants (gigantic blue Vikings), Stone Giants (skinny, but made of rock), Cloud Giants (extremely large, pale skin, live in the clouds), and Storm Giants (basically Zeus). Just for the hell of it, I decided to look at Storm Giants, and how they have been represented in pre-painted plastic Miniatures. These figures cover a time period from 2004 (the first one, in the Giants of Legend set) to 2018 (The newest two, in Monster Menagerie 3), including Storm Giants in 3rd Edition, 4th, and 5th, along with a bonus from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As far as size categories go, this makes them “huge” – a normal human is “medium,” whereas Hill, Fire, Frost, and Stone Giants are “large.” Cloud and Storm Giants are “huge,” though Storm Giants are taller than Cloud Giants. Size catgory determines how much space an individual takes up on the map. That said, these are minis – they are all in the 4″-6″ range, with the one tiny Storm Giant being about 3″. You can see some comparison shots with human-sized miniatures later in the article, as well. Just keep in mind that, when interacting with other toys, they may not seem so titanic. Anyway, let’s take a look at how Storm Giants have changed through the editions, and then get into the figures!

 

In 1st Edition, Storm Giants were basically Zeus-Poseidon hybrids. They live in isolated mountain peaks, or deep beneath the surface of the ocean. A running theme is that they do have some control over lightning itself, hence the “Storm” Giant name. They have green or purple skin, and stand about 20′-22′ tall.

 

In 2nd Edition, they really played up that Zeus flavor, though the fact that Storm Giants also live under the sea and breathe water is retained.

 

3rd Edition also kept them essentially the same – note the nice size comparison picture here – but also went nuts with new Giant variants. Although 2nd Edition had its share of random new monster types, 3rd added so many (Death Giants, Fog Giants, Geriviars, etc.) that there was even one type – Eldritch Giants – whose description was, “They look like Storm Giants, but aren’t.” Giant lore would make a massive shift after 3rd Edition.

 

In 4th Edition, the designers looked at Giants, and said, Giants are boring. They’re all big, they all throw rocks, and the only real difference is in difficulty. Eh.” So, they opted to play up the elemental aspect of each Giant type, as well as massively change their size categories. In 4th, all Giants were “Large” size (roughly ‘-15′), and accompanied by Huge “Titans,” who were 20’ tall and more firmly connected to their elements. Storm Giants and Titans were thus quite literally part of the Storm now, and wielding lightning became their main thing. Also, standard Storm Giants got that size downgrade, with their old massive height reserved for the Titans. As for other Giant types, Hill Giants were now related to massive Earth Titans (rock and stone!), making them almost redundant with Stone Titans, and Cloud Giants were missing entirely! This idea proved fairly unpopular, and when 5th Edition came around, it gave giants another massive revamp.

 

In 5th Edition, all giants are Huge. They may be different heights within that size category, but they are all pretty gigantic now – no more 10′ Hill Giants, for example. Giants also now follow the Ordning, a complex (but loosely-held) system of authority based on size and strength, in which Hill Giants are at the bottom and Storm Giants the top. The Ordning also determines their theme – Hill Giants follow the Ordning of HUnger (eat everything!), Frost Giants follow strength, Fire Giants forge, Stone Giants create art, Cloud Giants live in luxury, and Storm Giants contemplate the future. The Ordning is a little weird, though it has been used to drive some storylines and adventures, most notably Storm King’s Thunder. As every Giant type is Huge now, their height differences are less pronounced. As a result of this, Storm Giants are much taller than they were before – still Huge, not quite at Gargantuan level, but they are much closer to 30′, which is reflected in their miniatures.

 

The first Storm Giant miniature, in 2004’s Giants of Legend set, was one of the first Huge minis made – and she is proportioned like a person, not a huge hulking thing, which makes the issue of size really only apparent when put up against a “normal” human figure. Her outfit is definitely Greek-themed, and her sword extends well above her head (it droops on a lot of figures, haha). It is interesting that they chose to make a female Storm Giant, when up to this point the artwork was almost exclusively male – and there would not be another 3rd Edition Storm Giant mini, either. If you wanted a dude, you would have to use the Cloud Giant figure.

 

The Against the Giants set in 2008 gave us the Storm Giant Thunderer, a 4th Edition Storm Giant. And, as previously said, he is Large, not Huge – tiny compared to every other Storm Giant miniature, being roughly the size of a Fire Giant. He also kind of looks like Rasta Papa Smurf, and the drawn-on lightning details are kind of silly. And of course, since Large Storm Giants only existed in 4th Edition, it’s not as long-term useful as the others. This is not the most popular figure.

 

2009 gave us Legendary Evils, and a Storm Titan figure – back to their proper Huge size, and with quite a bit of Zeus flavoring! The first Storm Giant mini is still technically better-made, though this one does have some really cool detailing, especially with those lightning bolts. It’s a good figure, and makes up for the undersized previous entry.

 

Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures ended in 2010 (it came back in 2014). Pathfinder Miniatures started up in 2012, and in their first Huge set, we had the Pathfinder take on Storm Giants. As Pathfinder is pretty much just D&D with the serial numbers filed off, their Storm Giants are mostly identical, except… tan. This one has human skin tone, and a more obviously nautical theme, playing up the Poseidon angle more than the Zeus one. Her outfit is a little silly, being open at both sides, rather than the practical clothing of the 2004 Storm Giant. However, D&D Minis were soon to return, and 5th Edition would provide us with several Storm Giants, all in a row.

 

2016’s Storm King’s Thunder set, named for the adventure, would give us King Hekaton, the eponymous Storm King. He is noticeably taller than the previous Storm Giants and Titan, and has such a Zeus vibe that it makes up for whatever the previous figures may have lacked. This is really an impressive figure, and sets the tone for Storm Giants’ new look rather nicely. But that isn’t the end of it, oh no – and not even in the same set!

 

Iymrith, the main villain of Storm King’s Thunder, is not actually a Storm Giant – she’s a Blue Dragon in disguise, but this is her Storm Giant form. Well, if you ignore the horn on her forehead, that is. She looks fantastic, though, matching her artwork, and with quite an elaborate lightning effect surrounding her.

 

Early 2018 gave us Monster Menagerie 3, and with it a new standard Storm Giant. And wow, everything about him is titanic – his posture, his armaments, his bolt of lightning, this figure is really the quintessential Storm Giant. It’s also the tallest so far, barely contained on that Huge base.

You know what’s crazy? This is the first normal, ordinary, non-unique male Storm Giant mini released (4th Edition doesn’t count. it was weird). They’ve been depicted as mini-Zeuses in artwork for thirty years, but the designers seem to have a thing for Storm Giant ladies. It’s somewhat odd, since Huge figures have never been super-common in the line, and it wasn’t until the most recent iterations that there could really be much Giant variety in that size. They’ve done a great job with the 5th Edition figures, offering male and female variants for each Giant type – but it is kind of strange how even Pathfinder has opted for female first.

 

And finally, from the same set, we have the Storm Giant Quintessent. A powerful variant, Quintessents have become one with the Storm, shedding their physical form (mostly) to become embodiments of the elemtns. A Quintessent can resume its mortla shape, which is what this figure – and the book artwork – represents. Just as withthe other Storm Giant, she looks fantastic, really selling that these titanic characters see more like gods than just “big people.” These last two figures are really the best of the lot, bar none. SO, let’s have some size comparisons!

 

As you can see, the figures have varied quite a bit, with the 4th Edition Titan being hilariously short! But comparing the 3rd and 5th Giants shows how much they have grown, even while maintaining the same sized base.

 

The Pathfinder Storm Giant is a little taller than her 3rd Edition counterpart. Also, the 4th Edition Thunderer is just dwarfed by everybody else. Poor little dude.

 

When you compare a Storm Giant to a human being, well… there you go. A true titan.

 

And there you have it. All the Storm Giants. Why? Because why not! Although they may be small when compared to ordinary figures, they stand out massively among their fellow miniatures, and have some of the best detailing of their various lines. It’s interesting to see how the idea evolved over time, and somewhat curious to see if we get even more in the coming sets.

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