Runemaster - Dev Diary 21 - Race: Giants

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Hello everyone!
I hope you are prepared for a new dev diary about our upcoming Tactical RPG Runemaster! If you wonder why we did not post a dev diary last Monday, it is because we have decided to post dev diaries every other week up until August 25th and then we’ll return to our usual weekly schedule.

So what’s on the menu today? Well, I thought we should talk about the giants of Jotunheim, their world, culture and values. As you probably know, we have six different races in Runemaster, with two residing in Jotunheim, Giants and Dwarfs. Giants named the world Jotunheim, as their name for themselves actually is Jotun, and heim means home. So Jotunheim equals “home of the Giants”.

Inspiration
There are many legends about Giants in Norse mythology, and with a teaspoon of creative juices added to those legends, our Concept Artist, Aline Gladh, created some very interesting and beautiful Giants for us. Here’s an example of our concept art for the Giant Berserker: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum...Runemaster-Development-Diary-12-The-Berserker

The Mythology: The Creation of Giants
Ymir was the first Giant, and he and the cow Audhumla were created by the frost of Nifelheim and the fire of Muspelheim. Ymir slept for most of his life, dreaming about the worlds that would come, and the beings that would inhabit them. As he dreamt, fire from Muspelheim reached him and made him sweat. From under his left arm, he sweated forth a male and a female Giant, who named themselves ‘Jotuns’. They lived in peace at first, until the first god, Buri, came forth; formed by Audhumla’s licking the salty ice of Ginnungagap.

Buri was the grandfather of Odin and was the ancestor of many gods, but they were not as many as the Jotuns that Ymir continued to bring forth. The gods and the Jotuns often fought, until Odin saw no other solution than to slay Ymir to stop the creation of more Jotuns. The blood that poured from Ymir took many of the Jotuns by surprise, and overwhelmed them. Only Bergelmir and his wife Bera survived. The gods banished them to a world of long winters and short summers; a place of eternal snow. Bergelmir and Bera named the world Jotunheim - home of the Giants - and populated it with their kind. All Jotun are descended from this pair.

The Appearances of Giants
The Giants are a people of shapeshifters, and are able to control their bodies in a way most other races cannot. This is a skill that, sadly, is on the brink of extinction, and the old tales of Giants that could shift from the size of a Dwarf to that of a mountain are nothing but stories in these late days. Once a monstrous race, where claws, fangs and deformed features were more than common, the Giants have slowly reached a point where they look more similar to the other races than to monsters or animals. Two-headed Giants are still being born, but they are also a dying breed. Giants do not reflect much on their own appearances, though, and it is far more practical, they think, with hands instead of paws or claws.

In ancient times branding and scarring was a tradition among the Jotun, but as the centuries have passed, this practice has been largely replaced with tattoos. The tradition of ritualistic self-harm is considered by many as something that ties into the appreciation of being marked by life, and could also be seen as a way for the Jotun to prove their worth. Withstanding pain, in order to gain respect and beauty, is an admirable thing, and also a test of discipline. Younger Jotun will be more likely to simply bear the scars of battle and marks of paint, while the old traditions can be seen etched into the skin of the Elders.

The life, work and traditions of Giants
The Giants care little for the Aesir, and only a minority of Jotuns would even refer to them as gods. Few of the Aesir would be granted entry to Jotunheim, much less be allowed to reside in the world of Giants. However, the goddess Eir has been known to wander the icy plains, and she resides in Lyfjaberg, the hill of healing. While she is known for her medical skill, her exact origins are uncertain.

There are few things the Jotun can’t eat, however, they find certain weeds - as well as most kinds of onions - unpleasant. They have a deep love of red meats and fine wine. In fact, they’ll consume alcohol the way a human would drink water. It’ll take copious amounts of liquor to get a Jotun drunk, and, because of this, they rarely try to achieve intoxication.

It is sometimes assumed that the Jotun must be slow creatures with a quite flowery way of speaking, since time has little meaning to them. However, in reality it’s quite the opposite. Their enormous frames may prevent quick movement, but they have very bright minds; they hold immense wisdom, and some prefer using few words rather than many. In some regions you’d be lucky to get more than a single word at a time from a Jotun, while in other places they are far more outspoken.

The Giants have a strong moral code, and broken promises are considered the most reprehensible of crimes. A recurring problem with the Jotun’s strict sense of duty is that other races take advantage of them, binding them with promises and never repaying the debt. It’s not unheard of to have humans, or even the Aesir, ask the Jotun to build things, only to trick them out of payment once the structure has been built.

However, many Jotun consider themselves the only “real” race of the nine worlds - a belief that could perhaps be traced back to Ymir - and in some cities it’s considered forgivable for a Jotun to break a promise if it was made to a member of another race. Because of this it is not as easy to trick the Jotun as it used to be.

Despite their strong beliefs and traditions, the Jotun are not religious, and they disdain superstition. They have no deity they look up to, as they have tumbled with the “gods” - in more ways than one - and they know that there’s nothing extraordinary about those creatures.

With a naturally eternal life, the Jotun have a quite relaxed relationship with death. When they get tired of living they simply end it. Some seek the final rest in the company of their families or members of their city, while others will seek out the untamed regions of Jotunheim and give themselves to Ymir, becoming one with what once was.

The Heroes of Giants
You can choose to play as either a Giant female Berserker or a Giant male Skald. We have talked about the Berserker and Skald in earlier dev diaries, if you wish to freshen your memory you can find them here:
Berserker: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum...Runemaster-Development-Diary-12-The-Berserker
Skald: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?772808-Runemaster-Development-Diary-11-The-Skald

The Units of Giants
Every race has six different units, three standard units and three unique units. The Giant’s three standard units are melee, assault and armored. We are working with the names for these units and haven’t made decision on what they will be called yet. All three standard units are grouped in teams of two. The melee units have a decent amount of armor and damage. The assault units do more damage than the melee units, but are more vulnerable. The armored units have a lot of armor but do little damage.

The three unique Giant units are Storm Giants, Frost Giants and Eagles. The Frost Giant is a female Giant whose control over wind and water can be a great asset in battles. Her abilities are mostly defensive or offensive, with no focus on healing. The Storm Giant has similar abilities, and he can also command lightning, which might aggravate Thor, god of Thunder, since this is his turf. It is said that in the beginning there were Giants who could shapeshift into eagles. How much truth there is to that legend, we do not know. However, the Giants have always bred eagles, and used them in battle. These are magical beings, larger than ordinary eagles, and with abilities that can be more than useful on the battlefield.

Here you can see a screenshot of two Giants:
runemaster_dd_21.jpg

I hope you have found this dev diary about the Giants of Jotunheim interesting, and have many questions for us. The very next dev diary will be about Svartalfheim!
 
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the cool guy

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Great!
Oh and first.
Eagles sound like fun what are these abilities you speak of?
I am very tempted to start as a giant. How do they feel about destroying the world?
 

SolSara

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Great!
Oh and first.
Eagles sound like fun what are these abilities you speak of?
I am very tempted to start as a giant. How do they feel about destroying the world?

We are currently working on abilities for all unique units, so it is a work in progress and we haven't decided yet what we want to give the Eagles. Perhaps we will talk more about that in a later dev diary.

The Giants root for Loki, wishing for Change, and will try to bring forth Ragnarök. You will be able to choose between Change and Stability, but your fellow Giants might not like you if you choose to side with Thor.
 

demanvanwezel

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We are currently working on abilities for all unique units, so it is a work in progress and we haven't decided yet what we want to give the Eagles. Perhaps we will talk more about that in a later dev diary.

The Giants root for Loki, wishing for Change, and will try to bring forth Ragnarök. You will be able to choose between Change and Stability, but your fellow Giants might not like you if you choose to side with Thor.

what kind of change would the giants want? a world without those pesky gods and other mortal races?
 

the cool guy

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Will go for stablility because my RL name is Thor.
 

CampyRivaille

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what kind of change would the giants want? a world without those pesky gods and other mortal races?
Most giants siding with Loki would hope for a world without the oppression of the Aesir; the so called "gods" have taken it upon themselves to rule and interfere with the other races for much too long.
As for how they feel about other races I'd say it's more of a personal thing. However, they are obviously more inclined to favor whoever shares their common goal of fighting for change.
 

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no kidding they would want to bring Ragnarok, the Aesir killed their god, killed all but two of them, and then exiled them to a world with long winters and short summers (though short summers would be great for Paradox developers... less vacations more programming!)
 

Augustus93

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Interesting that the Giant Berserker is female and the Skald is male.
 

Abnwtwtud

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So, the DD states that giants consider themselves to be the only "real" race. Based on this, I assume they have a smash-on-sight policy towards light elves, but my greater question would be this: If a player giant chose to extend this policy to all elves, would they risk alienating other giants because they chose to smash Loki's elves too? Or, because of the attitudes you describe, is it ok for a giant to lure elves out into the wilderness, smash their faces, and make elaborate sculptures out of their skeletons?

On a related topic, if giants consider themselves to be the only "real" race, that implies that they view other races to be "unreal." I would infer that this would mean that they'd probably have a tougher time cooperating with any other race, regardless of whether they were naturally aligned with Thor or Loki. In gameplay terms, will this mean that giants are even more difficult to recruit for people from other races, or will recruitment be the same across the board for any race?

Lastly, is shapeshifting an ability that can be learned or will exist with the starting player characters? Or is it only a background detail that may come into play in quests?
 

CampyRivaille

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no kidding they would want to bring Ragnarok, the Aesir killed their god, killed all but two of them, and then exiled them to a world with long winters and short summers (though short summers would be great for Paradox developers... less vacations more programming!)
I know right? Filthy Aesir. About time we put an end to their tyranny.

So, the DD states that giants consider themselves to be the only "real" race. Based on this, I assume they have a smash-on-sight policy towards light elves, but my greater question would be this: If a player giant chose to extend this policy to all elves, would they risk alienating other giants because they chose to smash Loki's elves too? Or, because of the attitudes you describe, is it ok for a giant to lure elves out into the wilderness, smash their faces, and make elaborate sculptures out of their skeletons?
Well, they would risk alienating some Jotun, but others would consider smashing all elfs totally acceptable. Because while the giants are fairly neutral when it comes to darkelfs, many dislike the lightelfs, and to some Jotun all elfs are the same. It is common among the giants to use "lightelf" as an insult, "you have the face of a troll and the heart of a lightelf" - that kinda thing. So, if you're persuasive enough, you could probably convince most giants that no elfs are trustworthy.

On a related topic, if giants consider themselves to be the only "real" race, that implies that they view other races to be "unreal." I would infer that this would mean that they'd probably have a tougher time cooperating with any other race, regardless of whether they were naturally aligned with Thor or Loki. In gameplay terms, will this mean that giants are even more difficult to recruit for people from other races, or will recruitment be the same across the board for any race?
I'd say this depends on what kind of giant they're trying to recruit. Not all giants feel the same way about the other races, and while some of them might think that humans are nothing but pathetic Aesir lapdogs, others will have no trouble cooperating if a fair deal is struck.
 

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Well, they would risk alienating some Jotun, but others would consider smashing all elfs totally acceptable. Because while the giants are fairly neutral when it comes to darkelfs, many dislike the lightelfs, and to some Jotun all elfs are the same. It is common among the giants to use "lightelf" as an insult, "you have the face of a troll and the heart of a lightelf" - that kinda thing. So, if you're persuasive enough, you could probably convince most giants that no elfs are trustworthy.


I'd say this depends on what kind of giant they're trying to recruit. Not all giants feel the same way about the other races, and while some of them might think that humans are nothing but pathetic Aesir lapdogs, others will have no trouble cooperating if a fair deal is struck.

I'm starting to like the giants. So if you have the heart of a lightelf, does that mean you eat babies or are a coward? Not really sure what that insult is supposed to mean.
 

CampyRivaille

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I'm starting to like the giants. So if you have the heart of a lightelf, does that mean you eat babies or are a coward? Not really sure what that insult is supposed to mean.
The giants often use "lightelf" to describe things that are easily breakable, but I guess that, for a giant, "having the heart of a lightelf" would also be a way to say that someone's generally disgusting.
 

Augustus93

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The giants often use "lightelf" to describe things that are easily breakable, but I guess that, for a giant, "having the heart of a lightelf" would also be a way to say that someone's generally disgusting.
I think that would mean that someone is not trustworthy, the disgusting part would be from "have the face of a troll".
 

Abnwtwtud

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The giants often use "lightelf" to describe things that are easily breakable, but I guess that, for a giant, "having the heart of a lightelf" would also be a way to say that someone's generally disgusting.

How much effort is being made into developing proper racial slurs for use in game? I've often felt that one of the most immersive parts of RPGs is when enough thought is put into the world that the races have prejudices and the slurs that often go along with them. I'm not saying it has to be an overwhelming presence and that every character's speech should be riddled with fantasy-approximations of racially biased curse words, but I think it would add to the game if any speaking characters used them properly. For example, we can compare the following two:

"you have the face of a troll and the heart of a lightelf"

OR

"you have the face of a auðsug (wealth-sucker, I think) and a heart of a baby-thief"

The latter would imply a far more casual dialogue between the person in question, and would add a bit more immersion. In Skyrim, for example, various opponents tailor their insults based on the player's race. If ya'll haven't thought of fantastical racism in terms of more commonplace slurs, you should! I'd also be okay with adapted slurs from Old Norse, just because it'd be great to learn some more insults that no one would understand. For the game of course.
 

Mauer

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Despite their strong beliefs and traditions, the Jotun are not religious, and they disdain superstition. They have no deity they look up to, as they have tumbled with the “gods” - in more ways than one - and they know that there’s nothing extraordinary about those creatures.

With a naturally eternal life, the Jotun have a quite relaxed relationship with death. When they get tired of living they simply end it. Some seek the final rest in the company of their families or members of their city, while others will seek out the untamed regions of Jotunheim and give themselves to Ymir, becoming one with what once was.

Now these are my kind of guys.
 

Rubidium

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We know the trolls are divided into factions based on lifestyle (e.g. nomads vs. settlers), while humans seem to be divided among different polities. How are giants divided factionally? Philosophical schools? Elements (storm vs. frost)? Opinions on other species (certainly the Jotuns seemed happy to have Aesir over for visits on occasion)?
 

Strager

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Here you can see a screenshot of two Giants:

FYI - On the front page you only see one Giant..... In the thread version of this post you can see both.
 
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