Half-Giants. Half-Giants area a karma restricted race. Although I wasn’t the person who restricted them, I think I can guess why they were restricted. When played correctly, a half-giant is not that more powerful than a warrior, or a pick-pocket. When played incorrectly, they can seriously screw up game balance.
No doubt some readers are wondering, how can anyone think that a half-giant is not that much more powerful than any of the regular roles? The answer lies in the half-giant’s greatest weakness -- their lack of intellect.
Think about it. Half-giants, as depicted in fiction, have roughly the brainpower of a mentally retarded person. No one wanted to say it. I sure didn’t. But I did.
Now imagine a retarded person. They’re not truly worthless, mentally speaking. They’re much smarter than animals, much smarter than very young children are. But there are certain skills and abilities that they lack, that presumably any ARMageddon player has, that most of us tend to take for granted. For example, planning skills. Reasoning skills. Problem solving skills. Abstract thinking. Effective long term memory. Reasonable concentration capacity.
As an example, imagine that you had ten kalan fruits. Imagine that you wanted to share half of the kalan fruits with a friend. A fairly easy math problem, right? Ten divided by two is five. That took most of us reading this like half a second or less to solve.
Now a half giant could probably solve the same problem, but it would take her longer. First of all, she’d have to figure out HOW she was going to solve the problem. Then she’d have to do it. I’m guess she’d probably do a “one for you, one for me” kind of approach, stacking the fruits into two piles.
And so on. If a problem got much more complicated than simple division, half-giant brains probably lack the processor/memory space to solve the problem, even given infinite amounts of time.
As an example of a complex problem, take the problem “Where will your meals come from a week from now?” An earth human might think, “Well, I have a job, I will take the check from the job and cash it at the bank, and take the money from the bank to a store, and exchange the money for food.” Seems easy enough to us. But if you think about it, the solution to that problem required about five steps. MUCH too complicated for a half-giant. A Zalanthan hunter’s solution -- finding some game, killing some game, cleaning the game, building a smoke-house, drying, salting and curing the meat, building a (temporary) cellar, hanging the meat in a cellar, and remembering the (hidden) cellar location. Now that’s ten steps. WAY too much for a Half-giant. It’s not that a half-giant couldn’t do any one of those steps by themselves. On the contrary, a half-giant’s superhuman strength would make it much easier to do. But developing the solution from scratch and then implementing the steps would be impossible for a half-giant, without supervision.
Therein lies the thrust of my post…a lot of peeps play half-giants as people who talk stupid, but are actually quite intelligent. They operate quasi-independently. They seem stupid, but when you try to trick them they won’t fall for your tricks. The possess rather sophisticated senses of humor.
But this is contrary to the way a half-giant would live. Much like the “midget race” that was recently discovered in Indochina, half-giants (I suggest) have evolved to live in a rather unique and isolated environment. I would guess they fit in rather well there. You take them out of that environment and put them in the middle of or on the fringes of Zalanthan society, and they will no doubt have trouble surviving on their own. They will lack the planning skills necessary to survive, they will be vulnerable to traps, tricks, exploitations and scams, and they will lack the coordination necessary to evolve into tribe or society that features division of labor and exchange of services for protection.
Half-giant PCs will represent a tremendous resource to the more “normally sized” PCs, but the giants will be perennially dependent on and vulnerable to their smaller, smarter cousins.
Summary: When playing half-giants, remember
-- you lack the ability to make effective plans
-- you are vulnerable to tricks and scams
-- you don’t possess a sophisticated sense of humor
Disclaimer: I’m not telling you how to role-play your characters. I would be offended if someone tried to do that to me. What this post should do is appraise some persons of psychological points involved with dealing-with/playing-the-role-of unintelligent persons.
Also, I’m not picking on (the Game’s)/our current half-giant. He seems to be about as good as any other half-giant player I’ve seen, who are good players for the most part.