Saturday, February 18, 2023

Large Adult Sons

It's big boy season

Those who are well versed in the men* of the World of Nightwick know they come in a much wider variety of forms than those of Earth. Most famously on this blog I have discussed the strange men known as dogheads and alluded to their miniature equivalents that dwell on the isle of Cuccagna. There are also certain sinister cults of Cathay who modify their own bodies to be quite inhuman to the eyes of one used to the men of Earth. And of course there is the emperor of Noppin, whose subjects claim he is a man despite his appearance.

Another such race** of man, and our topic for today, is Giants. Giants haunt the whole world of Nightwick and, other than their largeness, vary considerably from individual to individual. Two-headed giants are well known to exist - such as Thom-n-Biter,*** Ploughman Shorn, Fee-n-Fie and the infamous Headless Jack, though he now only has the one remaining. Some legends even recount three headed giants, three armed giants, hundred handed giants, and one-eyed giants. All of these seem to spring from the same lineage, rather than be distinct races, and once they had a mighty kingdom centered on the isles of Karse. It was, it is said, destroyed by Rutha the Conqueror who then set up the kingdom of men which rules there to this day - though it is supposedly in vassalage to the Realm of Man.

Giants are, as a rule, ruder than the men of most civilized nations, but as they tend to dwell alone or in very small groups this is to be expected. While they are often venal and violent, they are only rarely diabolic - or at least only as rarely as any other of the peoples of the World of Nightwick. It is said that some of their more sinister families sometimes produce human-sized offspring who go off to become robbers, brigands, and black knights. Despite this, their position as men is well established by the Church of Law, who often send missionaries to their lonely dwellings. Such missionaries usually do not return.

Worthy of consideration in any discussion of the larger races of man are the strange creatures known as ogres. Whereas giants' morality vary across the human spectrum, ogres are universally evil or chaotic due to the path by which one becomes an ogre. For ogres are made, not born, and they are the hideous result of the prolonged eating of the flesh of intelligent creatures. While typically this means a kind of cannibalism - or at least anthropophagi, since it is debatable if ogres are the same species - it often extends into those who devour the flesh of elves and fairies or even the sumptuous and somewhat tempting flesh of demons.

Ogres are also known to "recruit" by stealing children from their beds and taking them to dwell in the lonesome and fearful places ogres most like to dwell in - dark swamps, high mountains, rough hills, dark forests - and there force feeding them human flesh under the guise of another act.

Finally we turn our attention to trolls. Trolls are different from giants and ogres because they are creatures of the Old Gods and thus their natures are defined in part by their patron deity. They are much like elves in this manner. The most notable example to readers of this blog and players in my games is the monstrous groans, terrible servants of the White Lady. Since the White Lady is now Frau Prechta for the Nightwick Regulars, it remains to be seen how these creatures will change or if they will at all. Note that this connection with the Old Gods means that Trolls are not among the number of men and are instead a class of rude fairy.

*As always I use "men" and "man" to sound old timey, not to denote any special gender characteristics to the whole of humanity.

** Similarly I use race here for old timey reasons. They fictional author is not very woke.

***Thom of course pronounced with a soft th, i.e. a thorn.