Last Updated: August 15, 2023
Glory of the Giants presents a collection of new giant-themed feats, emphasizing giant’s runic magic and elemental power of individual varieties of giants. These feats are intended to be accessed at least in part via the newly-introduced backgrounds, and use the feat tree design first introduced to 5e in Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen.
Because gaining access to these feats works differently from other feats, such as those in the 2014 Player’s Handbook, they require a little bit of additional examination to determine how to best use them.
Table of Contents
- Backgrounds and Background-Based Bonus Feats
- Rune Shaper
- Strike of the Giants
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
We will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, in handbooks for official content because we can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. We also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and we can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.
The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released, and the article will be updated accordingly as time allows.
Backgrounds and Background-Based Bonus Feats
Glory of the Giants introduces two new backgrounds. One provides the Runeshaper feat, while the other provides the Strike of the Giants feat. The book suggests granting players their choice of Skilled or Tough if the DM chooses to allow the new backgrounds, which gives us a balance point against which to compare Runeshaper and Strike of the Giants.
In short: Runeshaper and Strike of the Giants should be roughly as useful as Skilled or Tough.
The thing that makes the Dragonlance backgrounds immediately so powerful is that, because it doesn’t say you can’t, we can assume that you can use all the typical rules for customizing backgrounds available to the rest of them. This means that it’s basically just “this feat for free on top of whatever regular background stuff you want.” You’re free to keep the background’s Feature (feats in this case) but rearrange the proficiencies. This means that reviewing the backgrounds individually is somewhat pointless.
An interesting piece of this is that the backgrounds are also prerequisites for the feats, allowing you to bypass the other prerequisites for Rune Shaper and for Strike of the Giants.
You learn Comprehend Languages and can cast it for free once per day, but the primary appeal here is the runes. You get 1 to 3 runes per day based on your Proficiency Bonus, and each rune lets you temporarily know a single 1st-level spell and cast it once per day for free.
The runes allow you to select spells not on your class’s spell list, giving us options like Armor of Agathys on a gish build without taking a warlock class dip.
They can also expand your pool of spells known, which can be helpful for classes like the Bard and the Sorcerer, who get a strictly limited number of spells known. You might weigh that benefit against spellcasting feats like Fey Touched, but remember that Runeshaper is expected to be in line with Skilled or Tough, which aren’t stunning powerful feats.
- : A decent escape mechanism, but most parties won’t use it often enough to bring it every day.
- : Among the best damage options from 1st-level spells, but remember that it’s melee range and the spell scaling is poor, so you’ll likely replace it as you gain levels.
- : Among the best damage options from 1st-level spells, but the spell scaling is poor, so you’ll likely replace it as you gain levels.
- : Only situationally useful.
- : Passable area damage at low levels, but obsolete quickly due to the tiny area of effect.
- : Only situationally useful and it’s difficult to predict.
- : An amazing buff for melee casters of all kinds. Usually this takes a warlock dip to get.
- : A decent way to turn leftover spell slots into some healing for the next day. Especially appealing for life clerics who were eyeing a druid dip.
- : A helpful buff with a nice long duration. Not always impactful, but still great for melee characters.
- : Decent crowd control and the scaling is decent.
- : Good area control for such a low-level spell, but it might become obsolete as you gain levels and flight becomes increasingly common.
- : A great defensive option at any level.
- : Short range, poor damage, and it’s on a Constitution save.
Strike of the Giants
Strike of the Giants provides some on-hit damage and usually a rider effect, offering some versatility for martial classes looking to do more than damage. At PB/day uses these won’t dominate your tactics, but they do give you a fun button to push a few times per day.
Because the damage is “extra damage”, it is multiplied on a critical hit. It can be very tempting to reserve Strike of the Giants for crits, but usually it’s more impactful to use it for the rider effect.
Your choice here also limits which other feat in the tree you can take. Since Strike of the Giants can’t be taken more than once, you’ll typically select your type of giant based on which of the 4th-level feats you want to take.
- : Thunder damage is rarely resisted, and becoming invisible to the creature means that you can safely walk out of melee or just make your next attack against them with Advantage. The target will struggle to attack you or target you on their following turn. However, the effect ends at the beginning of your next turn, so you won’t get to attack with Advantage on your next turn.
- : The most boring and straightforward option, but also the biggest damage die. Unfortunately, resistance and immunity to fire damage are common.
- : A great debuff to keep enemies from fleeing or running off to attack your allies, but it’s a Constitution save so it’s going to be unreliable, especially against the big melee threats where this matters most.
- : A great way to start a series of follow-up attacks. However, Strength saves are often high for big melee creatures, so this will be unreliable against many foes. This is a great way for melee-focused characters to handle flying enemies because Strike of the Giants works with thrown weapons, allowing you to knock flying enemies prone and force them to fall.
The phrase “pushed 10 feet from you in a straight line” is a weirdly exciting development. I’ve written previously about how WotC’s refusal to say “directly away” has allowed things like open hand monks punting enemies 10 feet into the air, and it appears that WotC is taking that to heart and trying different wording. Unfortunately, this text is just as vague.
“Pushed” implies that the creature is pushed away from you, otherwise it would save “moved” or “pulled”. The text “in a straight line” implies that you can’t change direction while moving them, so no bending the target around a corner. However, this still allows you to move targets away so long as they end 10 feet further away from you than they started, meaning that we’re right back to punting enemies 10 feet into the air. Even worse, this stacks with Crusher and Open Hand Technique, so ambitious monks can now punt enemies 25 feet into the air.
I do sincerely believe that the intent is to push enemies directly away from you in a straight, horizontal line. But that’s not what they wrote. “pushed 10 feet directly away from you” was right there.
: Force damage
resistance/immunity are borderline non-existent, and the 10-foot movement
can be very helpful for breaking grapples or putting enemies somewhere
- : It’s on a Constitution save, which is always a gamble, but Disadvantage on attacks until your next turn can turn the tide of a fight.
Ember of the Fire Giant
A +1 ability score increase, fire resistance and an AOE burst which blinds nearby enemies in place of one of your attacks. The damage is minor, but makes up for the damage that your attack might have done. Blinding enemies in the radius means that you could debuff multiple enemies, then spend the rest of your turn attacking them with Advantage. The effect ends at the beginning of your next turn, but your allies all get a round to capitalize on your enemies being blind.
Fury of the Frost Giant
A +1 ability score increase, cold resistance, and a Reaction similar to Hellish Rebuke. The Reaction targets Constitution saves, and Constitution saves tend to be high, so this may not be reliable.
Guile of the Cloud Giant
A +1 ability score increase, and a Reaction to teleport and reduce damage when you’re hit by an attack. This can mitigate a huge amount of damage over the course of a day, the teleportation is a great way to get out of dangerous spaces or grapples, and you may be able to teleport to somewhere to prevent your attacker from making further attacks.
Keenness of the Stone Giant
A +1 ability score increase, Darkvision, and you can throw a stone as a Bonus Action a few times per day. The damage is pitiful (1d10 and no ability score modifier), but the stone’s biggest appeal is knocking your target prone, but it’s only notable compared to Strike of the Giants (Stone) because you can do it as a Bonus Action. I’m not sure if that’s worth the feat.
Soul of the Storm Giant
Give yourself a personal Fog Cloud for a turn. The Disadvantage effect is great if you’re drawing a lot of attention and need some short-term protection.
The speed debuff is neat and could keep enemies from moving out of your reach, which can be helpful for a Defender. However, at PB/day uses you won’t be able to use this enough to build your tactics around it, so you still want things like Sentinel.
Vigor of the Hill Giant
+1 ability score increase and you get some extra hp when you take a Short Rest. I wouldn’t consider this on anyone except a barbarian who was chronically short on hit points. Even then, Guile of the Cloud Giant can prevent more damage in a day than this will heal.