Copyright 2010 Wizards of the Coast.

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You know the drill by now - Frost Giants appeared in the MM1 and were about to get rewritten with new math on the Monster Vault. The MM3 brings in an assortment of them that can complement the “basic” entries in the MV. You can look at those basic entries here.

The Lore

Frost giant lore remains the same. They’re plus-sized asshole vikings who like to live in cold regions, fight with a variety of axes, and use lots of ice magic. Some think this behavior is in service of a greater plan laid down by their primordial masters, but that might be reaching a bit.

The Monsters

Frost Giants are Large Elemental Humanoids with the Cold and Giant keywords. Their signature trait remains Icebound Footing, which reduces any forced movement imposed on them by 2 squares and can reduce it to 0. They can also roll a save to avoid being knocked prone. They have Resist 15 Cold, and their ground speed is 8 with Ice Walk, which allows them to ignore ice or snow-based difficult terrain.

Frost Giant Berserker

You’d expect someone with “Berserker” in its name to be a Brute, but these are Level 16 Skirmishers with 157 HP. The book describes them as those hot-headed youngsters who are too undisciplined to fight like proper brutes and instead keep running around the battlefield.

They fight with Freezing Greataxes, which do a mix of physical and cold damage. They can also make a Storm Charge that doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from its movement and deals heavy physical damage. Once per encounter, the berserker can use its Primordial Rage to shift its speed and make three basic attacks along the way, each against a different target. A bit more often (recharge 4+) they can take a Giant Stride to shift 6 squares and move through enemy spaces while doing so.

These giants are perfect for running right past the party’s defenders and harassing their squishies. For extra annoyance, stage the fight in a map full of ice-based difficult terrain, which doesn’t affect frost giants but makes it harder for those defenders to reposition.

Frost Giant Shield Bearer

Shield bearers are the opposite of berserkers. They’re the hardened veterans who get the best gear and the best training. This makes them suitable to form the core of a raiding party, or a lord’s honor guard. They’re huscarls.

Shield bearers are Level 18 Soldiers with 174 HP. They’re heavily armored and, as the name implies, are just about the only frost giants who carry shields. They still wield axes, though.

Their Coordinated Attack ability gives them combat advantage against any enemy that has another shield bearer adjacent to them, no flanking required. Their Icy Battleaxes do cold damage and mark for a turn. Once per encounter they can enhance an attack and turn it into a Protective Strike, which deals 10 extra cold damage and grants 25 temporary HP to an ally within 10 squares.

Finally, Defensive Stand allows them spend a minor action to choose an enemy within 10 squares. If that enemy moves within reach before the end of the shield bearer’s next turn, the shield bearer gets a free attack against that enemy. It’s not an opportunity attack, so it should work with shifts or other forms of movement too.

They’re all set up to fight in tight formations and hold ground, which means they go well with artillery and ranged controllers.

Frost Giant Chieftain

Any frost giant community not led by a titan will likely be led by one of these. This chieftain is a Level 20 Controller with 190 HP. He has an Emanating Cold aura (2) that makes enemies inside grant combat advantage to cold creatures (i.e, frost giants and any monsters that are likely to tag along with them).

The chieftain fights with an Icy Greataxe that does cold damage, and can attack at range with a Eye of the Storm spell that does immediate and ongoing cold damage in addition to slowing the target.

As a minor action, the chieftan can create a Medium or Large Pillar of Ice within ten squares. The pillar lasts for a turn and “occupies” its space, meaning no one can move through. It blocks line of sight and slows anyone who starts their turn next to it.

The chieftain can also cast a spell named Grip of Winter that creates a zone that slows and deals cold damage to those inside. The zone lasts for the whole encounter and the power recharges once the chieftain is first bloodied.

Here’s your ranged controller to go with the shield bearers. Chieftains should stay behind a line of their bodyguards, making the already difficult terrain of the icy battlefield even worse with ice pillars and slowing attacks. Then you release the berserkers to step over all that and hit the PC’s back ranks.

Final Impressions

I like giants in general, so I like these MM3 giant entries even though they don’t include much new lore. The trio presented here has nice mechanical synergy and should also be fun to use with the frost giants from the MV.