Monster Analysis: Fire Giant Dreadnought

Thanks to larimonium for this art piece!

Fire Giant

  • First Appearance: 1-75 Where the Cards Fall

  • Encounter Appearance: 2-50 The Endless Burrows

  • Armor Class 18-25 (Suggested 18)

  • Speed 30 ft

  • Passive Perception 16

  • Immune to fire damage

  • Suggested, Max HP: 162, 234

  • 43 damage taken, 15 taken as cow

Fire giants rank third in the Ordning, the giant status classification system. Metalworking and craftsmanship drives their society, so it’s in their best interest to live somewhere with easy access to the materials and circumstances required for forging.

The fire giant society that The Mighty Nein stumbled upon has carved out their home on the banks of a river of lava underneath the Ashkeeper Peaks that separate Xhorhas from the Dwendalian Empire. From what Jester discerned, the sentry giants were put in place only recently due to the Kryn’s sudden trespass in the giants’ territory by tunneling through the rock.

Fire Giant Dreadnought

  • First Appearance: 2-50 The Endless Burrows

  • Encounter Appearance: 2-50 The Endless Burrows

  • Armor Class Unknown (Suggested 21)

  • Speed 30 ft.

  • Passive Perception 15

  • Immune to fire damage

  • Suggested, Max HP: 187, 270

  • 0 damage taken

We analyzed fire giants in campaign 1, but the dreadnought the Nein faced is new to the show. Introduced in Volo’s Guide to Monsters, the dreadnought is stronger, but less wise and intelligent than a standard fire giant. Dreadnoughts aren’t crafters, but gain respect in fire giant societies for their superior combat training and use of their massive shields. As the Nein witnessed, dreadnoughts fill their full-height shields with whatever hot, painful substances is nearby when they sense a threat. They use these shields as their primary weapon. The Nein can count themselves very lucky that they never got within Shield Charge range of the dreadnought, considering it was able to destroy a bridge with one strike.

The Encounter

This third encounter of the 50th episode required a significantly different approach than previous two. While the ropers had to be killed off and the kobolds could be reasoned with, the giants were significantly too powerful for the relatively lowly Mighty Nein to confront, and any chance of negotiation (which was already slim by the Kryn’s trespass) were completely dashed by the very noble wasp-in-a-bag attack by their unseasoned guide.

The Mighty Nein’s plan was a pretty solid one: distract the fire giants, and get everyone with the means for fast travel across with the rest in tow. On both fronts, they had some definite successes and failures.

  • Distract the fire giants

    • Plan A: Create the image of a manticore, pulling the giants away from the caverns and bridge, allowing the Nein to get from Point A to Point B without harassment

      • Unsuccessful: The giants immediately discerned that the manticore wasn’t real, and rang a bell to alert other fire giants of the issue.

    • Plan B: Polymorph the fire giant into a cow

      • Successful until it wasn’t: Most of the Nein got past her easily, but Fjord’s Thunder Step to bring himself and Yasha across the cavern accidentally took the cow to zero hit points, causing it to revert to giant form before Nott could get across.

    • Plan C: Blind the dreadnought

      • Unsuccessful: Dreadnoughts have +11 modifiers on their constitution saves, so this one was able to easily make the DC 16 save.

    • Plan D: Banish the dreadnought

      • Unsuccessful: Dreadnoughts have +5 modifiers on their charisma saves, so this had a better chance of success, but this one got lucky.

    • Plan E: Distract the fire giant with an invoked duplicate

      • Unsuccessful until it was: The fire giant wasn’t initially taken by the duplicate, but Jester’s later casting of Inflict Wounds certainly made her mad enough to start swinging.

    • Plan F: Polymorph the dreadnought

      • Successful: The dreadnought was turned into a slow-moving octopus, which gave Beau the window she needed to grab Nott and get in the tunnel.

  • Fast Travel

    • Plan A: Beau uses her 135 feet of movement to get herself, Sprinkle, and dragonfly!Caduceus from one side of the cavern to the other.

      • Successful: Beau’s speed combined with the giants’ positioning just far enough away from the caverns gave her the opening she needed to get by completely unharmed.

    • Plan B: Jester uses Dimension Door to get her and Caleb from one cavern to the other.

      • Successful: Dimension Door has a 500 foot range, of which she needed less than a quarter.

    • Plan C: Nugget uses his speed and his blink ability to get himself across the bridge.

      • Successful: The giants had bigger fish to fry than a dog, so even though his initial sprint didn’t quite get him in the door, it was close enough that Nugget made it safely.

    • Plan D: Fjord uses Thunder Step to get him and Yasha across the lava safely.

      • Successful to a point: Because of her lower initiative score, Fjord had to wait and hold the spell until Yasha could get to him, forcing him to endure an attack from the dreadnought and the cow!fire giant. Luckily, he didn’t lose concentration on the spell (which would have been genuinely bad, since it was his last spell slot and Yasha had no special transportation means). However, Thunder Step deals damage, and dealt enough to send the giant back into her form, which leads us to…

    • Plan E: Nott goes invisible and stealth runs her way across the bridge.

      • Unsuccessful: Nott was last in the initiative order, and she wasn’t as stealthy as she had hoped. Both fire giants knew she was there, even though she was invisible. She took a hit from the fire giant, and the dreadnought opted to just destroy the bridge entirely in an attempt to block her escape. She thankfully succeeded her first check to jump across the rubble, but failed her second. She took enough damage from the lava to go unconscious.

    • Plan F: RESCUE NOTT.

      • Successful: Both Caduceus and Beau held actions to take care of Nott, and were ready when she went down to bring her back up to consciousness and rescue her from the lava and the giants.

    • Plan G: Get out.

      • Successful: With Nott rescued, Caleb got himself out of the chamber. Caduceus put up a stone barrier over the doorway that was already too small for a fire giant, and the Nein made their escape through the tunnel.