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Scorn of the Sands, Part 1 - Hitir Desert Giants - Banner image

A faction of desert giants, their leaders, and desert giant stat blocks for use in D&D 5E.

This is Part 1 of a set of releases that will cover two factions within the desert and the common problem that they face. It will challenge players with overcoming a unique twist on a certain holiday legend. Can you guess what is approaching?

A nomadic clan of giants has lived in the Hitikon desert for centuries, moving as the sand bids them to. They are led by a triumvirate of a Campkeeper, Hunt Master, and Storyteller. The clan rarely interacts with the other peoples of the desert, largely due to a long history between them and the land, and the strange and dangerous creature it birthed.

Desert Giants

At a similar size to their fire and frost counterparts, desert giants are identifiable by their hunched posture and thick, almost scaled skin. The color of their hair often marks a desert giant’s age, as decades under the sun bleaches it from deep brown to an ashen grey. The battles of their life are similarly marked on their dark skin. Salves made from desert plants that might kill a weaker creature are used to cauterize giants’ wounds, with a curious side effect of combining with the giants’ blood to stain the scar tissue a dull amber color. Many clans uphold traditions of marking themselves this way intentionally to denote their station or record stories and achievements.

Owing largely to their environment and the lack of abundant food and water, desert giants are not as physically durable as other giants. This is rarely an issue for the neutral-aligned clans and is also supplemented by other unique abilities.

Desert Giant Stat Blocks

Desert Giant Crusher stat block
Click to zoom in!

Assets and Map Downloads…

The Hitir clan come with our first set of desert releases, the Desert Map Assets pack. You can find them, as well as other fittingly sandy maps, assets, and encounters below…

Hitir Giant Clan

A ring of sparse palisades stands in the basin of desert dunes. Within them, a colony of animal hide tents and shelters forms makeshift streets, arranged in clusters around a larger, central shade. Their size is not immediately apparent, owing to distance and the distortion of heat. But, as you draw closer, you begin to realize that the walls and huts are far larger than those of a human settlement.

The nomadic colony of the Hitir clan is constructed from everything and anything the giants can find on the inhospitable sands. The wood of oasis trees and bones of great beasts form the supports, walls, and vehicles of the camp, while animal skins are used as shades. This lack of supplies is made up for by the giants’ resistance to the desert elements, allowing them to survive without constant protection.

As the clan is nomadic and rarely spends more than a handful of months in a single location, their camp is designed to accommodate movement. Many of the camp’s outer walls are anchored by the sleds used to carry them. Personal possessions rarely exceed a pack’s worth. Their tents, meanwhile, deconstruct to act as shades for the sleds while traveling.

The clan stays until the area’s resources begin to dry up, before moving on to the next location their scouts have found.

Krastr Vornkar, Hitir Campkeeper

(LN male desert giant crusher)

A thin mane of tangled grey hair erupts above a stern face, marked with a ritualistic symbol over the giant’s brow. Other golden-colored scars are visible on the small sections of skin below armor of patchwork furs and bright red lizard scales.

As the clan’s campkeeper, Krastr is responsible for overseeing all operations within the borders of the camp. He is the pragmatic, duty-focused leader of the clan’s everyday life. Krastr’s priority has always been the protection of his people, ensuring that no harm comes to them and that their needs are met. This burden of responsibility requires him to be self-assured in his decisions, which can lead to stubbornness. He is not averse to delegating but also feels the pressure of always having the final say in decisions that affect so many. Fortunately, Ulvi often lends her aid as an advisor.

Krastr is also the first of the clan that visitors will meet. He will seek to ascertain their intentions long before he allows them within the camp.

Voki Alkavr, Hitir Hunt Master

(CG female desert giant hunter)

Multiple braids of stark white hair are tied into a single mass and secured under a wrapped scarf of weathered linen. The scarf covers the giant’s mouth but an orange, rune-like symbol can be seen over her right eye. A shawl drapes over much of the giant’s leather armor and a bow is slung over her shoulder, with its quiver and other hunting implements hanging from her belt.

Voki is the acting hunt master of the Hitir clan, commanding the many warriors and scouts under her. It is her duty to sustain their food supplies, organize hunting and scouting parties, as well as to lead the camp’s quartermasters and tamers.

Voki is the most experienced combatant in her clan and carries many years of tough lessons. She is careful and cautious, always seeking to acquire as much information as she possibly can in order to leverage every advantage available. This can also lead to her being unsympathetic, particularly towards dissenters. Despite any personal shortcomings, the measured leadership of Krastr and Voki has led to the clan acting less brazenly than they once would have and suffering fewer losses as a result.

Voki is the obvious expert on the creatures and other dangers of the desert, though she is also the least likely to make time for inquisitive newcomers.

Ulvi Dernir, Hitir Storyteller

(NG female desert giant shaman)

An old giantess with a shaved head but amber markings that extend from over her left eye and across the side of her head. She walks with a staff, covered in a comfortable arrangement of furs and hides, and with a warm but discerning smile.

Ulvi’s role as the clan’s storyteller puts her in charge of maintaining their history, legends, and traditions. She also sees to the maintenance of their physical recordings. Ulvi is currently the oldest of the Hitir and has an almost encyclopedic understanding of the clan’s texts. In addition to her general duties, much of her days are spent passing this on to her successor and granddaughter, Yava. She also instructs a trio of other young shamans.

Ulvi’s wisdom also makes her an ideal advisor and confidant to her fellow leaders, as well as other members of the clan. She is a compassionate and patient individual who values her knowledge and the ability to teach it. While Ulvi delights in passing on the clan’s old teachings, she is sure to remain receptive to change and never shackle herself to tradition.

Ulvi is happy to share the history and legends of her clan with friendly outsiders. Should Krastr allow them in, she is the best source of information about the magical side of the desert.

The History of the Hitir and Hitikon

The Hitir were not always led by a group of three. Long ago, before many of the other races made their way to the Hitikon desert, the giant clan looked to a single leader for guidance. This individual would instruct the camp in rituals made to appease the desert itself. Each year, the shaman would set out on a trek into the desert with a sled of gifts from the camp. Where they took them was a secret to the shamans. In return for the gifts, the desert would provide the clan with a year of safety and sustenance.

The Shaman and the Spirit

One particular clan leader, his name stricken from the clan’s records, returned after his trek with a singular, burning desire to change these traditions. He sought to summon and bind the very soul of the desert to his command. To do so, the clan spent the next year fashioning a set of enchanted shackles, a platform that would affix to the manifestation and from which the shaman would control it, and a whip that would allow him to do so.

During this year of preparation, the shaman grew increasingly paranoid and single minded. He cared only for the coming ritual. He allowed no one else to know the details of it. And while some did begin to question his growing instability, they did not act soon enough to stop him.

The day eventually came. Instead of leaving on his journey, the shaman drew his whip and summoned the desert’s will in a churning torrent of sand beneath the platform. He took his place and his assistants moved to hammer in the spikes that would shackle it. But as they struck down, the nails’ enchantments tore their lives from them. Powered by the extracted life energy, the binding magics ignited.

The desert lashed out in pain and rage. It fought against the shaman with power he had not predicted, turning a portion of the magic back on him. And when the sand settled, the two were bound. The spirit of the desert was shackled but the shaman too had been changed and twisted into a grotesque creature, his mind lost to madness. The dead giants rose and joined him on the sled platform. Those who had watched could only flee.

The Generations Since

In a sense, the ancient shaman succeeded in his reversal of traditions. The desert’s spirit and its riders continue as arbiters of punishment rather than protection, appearing every year to wreak havoc on all of the Hitikon’s residents. They destroy buildings, collecting the rubble to expand the sled. The creature atop the platform snatches victims with its enchanted whip, adding them to the undying servants of the sled. The spirit and shaman have battled for control, rendering both mad and consumed by hate for the other.

Stories of the mad shaman are believed to be the reason for the Hitir’s triumvirate, as a means to avoid a single leader ever taking the clan down a similar path again. Their shamans act as historians and healers, rarely using their magic for combat. The spirit’s yearly appearance, given a different name and colored with different rumors by each of the desert’s peoples, has resulted in the clan being avoided and derided by the kobolds, humans, and other races, as they all suffer casualties at its hands.

Many of the remaining people have developed ways to prepare for and protect against the attacks. None have ever succeeded in stopping them. But if a group of adventurers was to arrive in the days before an attack? Perhaps some few people could be convinced to try.

Support the Author

This is only part 1 of 3 in a large desert encounter. The next will cover a desert town and some of the people seeking to put the desert spirit down for good. In the meantime, let us know what you think of this part! We appreciate any feedback, comments, or ideas you have!

If you enjoy this content and would like to support the author in creating more, please consider joining the community that makes it all possible. In exchange, you can receive discounts, early access, and other exclusive bonuses!

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You can also support our talented token creator David Wilson by buying him a cup of coffee. Thank you!

Desert Giant Shaman character token
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That’s all for now, but we’ll be back soon with more maps, assets, and articles like these…

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About the author

Troy McConnell

Part-time DM and author of 2-Minute Tabletop's encounters, map lore, and characters. Basically, I write about all the campaign ideas that I don't have time to run. All with the assistance of my feline familiar, Wink. You can support my writing efforts on Patreon.

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