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Another entry that that adds extra stat blocks to complement the existing MM1 and upcoming Monster Vault monsters. This one is for hill giants.

The new lore here is minimal or restates things we saw elsewhere. Hill Giant bands are usually small and consist of a single family group - they’re too anti-social to form more complex organizations. Every once in a while a larger group will manage to hold together for an extented period of time. Their leaders style themselves kings, and the log fortresses they build are known as steadings. You might have heard about a famous adventure with the words “Steading”, “Hill Giant” and “King” in its title, wink wink.

The Numbers

As usual, Hill Giants are Large Natural Humanoids (Giants), with a basic speed of 8. All of the ones here look like the iconic club-swinging D&D giant, with the big difference being in how they fight.

Hill Giant Smashers

A Smasher is pretty much a “Hill Giant Lite”. It’s slightly weaker than a standard MV giant, and doesn’t throw rocks. To compensate, it’s more mobile and has a few more tricks in melee. This is the stat block you use for those lone mercenary giants that get hired as living tanks by smaller evil humanoids like hobgoblins, bugbears, or gnolls.

Smashers are Level 11 Brutes with 137 HP. They have a passive Mobility trait which allows them to roll saves against being slowed, immobilized, or restrained at the start of their turns instead of at the end. This also works for any save-ends effect that includes these conditions, like “ongoing 5 damage and slowed (save ends both)”.

Like all giants in this entry they wield Reach 2 Greatclubs, and their basic attack deals a bit of automatic splash damage to a secondary target on a hit. Once per encounter they can perform a Whirling Crush to attack everyone in a close burst 2, and they can also perform a Brutal Smash that deals double damage and recharges on a miss. So they’ll keep trying that one until they hit.

Hill Giant Rockthrower

The MM1 and MV give us an artillery giant that uses big javelins. But if you want your giants to throw rocks and nothing but rocks, the Rockthrower is for you.

Rockthrowers are Level 12 Artillery with 97 HP. As artillery monsters, their Greatclub attacks are kinda weak, but their basic ranged attack is a Knockdown Throw that does a bit more damage, pushes the target 2 squares, and knocks them prone. They can also throw with a bit more force for a Shattering Rockburst (recharge 5+), which deals damage in an area and dazes on a hit.

They use the same tactics as a catapult: seek high ground, rain death from above. I imagine hiring a bunch of rockthrowers is quite a bit cheaper than maintaining your own siege engines.

Hill Giant Avalancher

Avalanchers are the heroic prodigies of their people. They’re much smarter than your typical hill giant, and often end up as leaders or kings. They get their name from their clever rock-throwing tricks and from their brutal charges.

An Avalancher is a Level 14 Skirmisher with 139 HP. They can make basic Greatclub attacks and perform Crushing Charges that do the same amount of damage and knock targets prone. From a distance they can throw Rolling Rocks, which in addition to doing damage on a hit slide the target 4 squares, knock them prone, and gather no moss.

After they knocked a bunch of PCs prone, Avalanchers will move using Stomping Shifts, which allow them to shift 4 squares and pass through prone enemies’ spaces. They deal an automatic 8 damage to a prone enemy when they pass through their spaces.

Avalanchers will always try to use their Crushing Charge if possible, and will make use of Stomping Shift to position themselves for a new charge and to deal additional damage to prone enemies. They use Rolling Rocks to break up tricky PC formations and to return fire against ranged attackers they can’t charge.

Final Impression

It’s more hill giants, which it’s okay because I like hill giants. I like that the Smasher is explicitly meant to be included as the “surprise bruiser” in a lower-leveled humanoid group. A smasher and its humanoid employers work well as a boss battle for a group of level 8-10 PCs, depending on how many other monsters you add.

The Avalancher gives you an interesting option for a leader type who is not a titan.