Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fire Giants and the Pinacate volcano field ecology

The Pinacate volcanoes are located amidst the vast sand dunes in the heart of the Great Southern Wasteland. The rocky badlands of the volcano fields are arrayed in a roughly circular shape some 20 miles across, beginning about seventy miles southwest of Gila Bend (the southern-most human settlement in AZ). Beyond the volcano fields, about 20 more miles of sand dunes must be crossed before finally reaching the coastline of the Baja Gulf ocean.

The volcano peaks jut menacingly upward out of the vast sand dunes, spewing forth volcanic ash from huge black cinder cones. Few places can be found in our world that are more hellishly inhospitable to human life. Naturally, only the most vile and dangerous creatures make their home in such a region.

Fire Giants

The wicked and sadistic race of Fire Giants is found throughout the desert badlands of southern and western AZ, especially concentrated in the Pinacate volcano fields, which appears to be their homeland. They love heat in general and appear to be perfectly comfortable even around flowing lava and blazing fire.


Immediately recognizable by their coal black skin and bright red hair, Fire Giants are the enemies of most other living creatures. Their only allies seem to be their pets, a breed of giant fire-breathing dogs known as Hell Hounds. Fire Giants will feast on any living creature they can capture, including humans.

Fire Giants seem to prefer living above-ground, and they construct their homes out of huge rocks. The huge rock piles appear to be haphazard, but in reality, the rocks are carefully fitted together and provide a sturdy structure . Recently, some Fire Giants have acquired rock cutting tools, and their stone castles are getting larger and more elaborate.

Red Dragons

Despite their similarly wicked nature, and inhabiting roughly the same regions, Fire Giants are no friends of Red Dragons. In fact, Fire Giants love to hunt Red Dragons for food, trophies, and for sport, and Fire Giant hunting parties elicit terror in all but the largest Red Dragons.

Adult Fire Giants can usually be found armored in Red Dragon hide, carrying weapons made of Red Dragon bones and teeth, and often donning helmets that were once Red Dragon skulls. For their part, Red Dragons delight in slaughtering any vulnerable Fire Giants they happen across, mainly the very young and injured or infirm.

Other creatures of the volcano fields

Fire Giants are the dominant predators of their region, but a number of other creatures find a niche in the volcano fields as well, including Firenewts, Giant Striders, Salamanders, Hell Horses (Nightmares), Firesnakes, Firetoads, Fire Lizards, and Fire Beetles. Fire Elementals are quite common in the volcano fields.

A gleaming City of Brass, the homeland to the fire spirits known as Efreeti, can be found on the eastern edge of the volcano fields.

Relation with Human Groups

Whoever is providing the Fire Giants with stone cutting tools is also providing them with more and better weapons, as more Fire Giants have been observed carrying giants swords lately. Obviously, this is of great concern to the humans of southern AZ, who must cope with the Fire Giants' aggression.

It is strongly suspected that Derjuden merchants are running the illegal giant weapons trade, but their Guild Masters deny sanctioning it. The Arya High King has vowed retribution if any more Derjuden merchants are found trafficking in giant weapons. In this rare case of unity, the High King appears to have the full support of the Monmore leadership, who also stand to suffer under increased Fire Giant aggression.

Fire Giants are known to mount expeditionary raids against human and humanoid settlements to capture sacrificial victims. Rumor has it that the Fire Giants worship a huge fire demon, the dreaded Balrog, in the heart of their central Pinacate volcano. No one has ever survived to recount the details of their religious practices.

Other Adventuring Hooks

Despite its deadly environment and unimaginable dangers, the Pinacate volcano fields are a magnet to the bravest adventurers, who seek to harness the powerful fire magic found there. Fire Giant skin and hair, for example, are highly regarded for their fire-resistant properties, and are used in various magical anti-fire gear, including cloaks, boots, gloves, and rings. Fire Giant blood is also highly prized for use in magical potions and scrolls.

The dreaded Flaming Avenger sword, used so effectively by False John in his Rebellion, was said to have been forged in the Pinacate volcanoes, and is rumored to reside there now, taken back there in the chaos following the defeat of the Pretender King.

As would be expected, Fire Giants delight in starting fires. In periodic bursts, perhaps related to some religious impulse, Fire Giants will travel far from their homeland to attack forested areas, attempting to spread fiery conflagrations. Luckily for AZ residents, most of this destructive effort gets directed at the forests lying to the west (Baja) and the southeast (Sierra Madre), but the Fire Giants will occasionally attempt attacks upon the AZ forests as well.

The Great Southern Desert appears to be spreading and growing based on the destructive effort of the Fire Giants, burning out and desertifying area that was previously tropical jungle and mountain forest.

Capture an Efreeti, stuff him in a bottle.

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