Giants are a race of large humanoids found in the wilderness of Skyrim and High Rock. Infamous for their colossal height and immense strength, giants share little civil interaction with humans or elves.
Culturally, giants herd mammoths, processing their milk into cheese, complementing their omnivorous diet with the cooked meat of skeever. Seemingly nomadic, giants travel with their herds, setting camp across Skyrim and High Rock.
Giants stand between 11 and 12 feet (3.4m and 3.7m) tall, and are mostly humanoid in appearance; with thick skin, long, powerful limbs, large hands and feet, and thick greyish-brown hair decorated with braids and beads. Most giants have decorative scars carved into their chests, possibly serving as tribal or religious symbols. Their physical similarities with Orcs—jutting lower canines, tapered ears, and the presence of stumpy horns on the temples—serve as evidence of some loose relation to the Mer.
All giants encountered in-game are male, with wrinkled faces and long, gray-streaked beards. Female giants make no appearances. Whether this indicates a scarcity of female giants, or some other unexplained attribute of their social structure or anatomy, or simply due to gameplay limitations, remains unknown.
They arm themselves with crudely-made stone and wood clubs, and clothe themselves in fur pelts adorned with the bones of animals and humanoids, although many prefer a simple loincloth. They also herd mammoths for meat and milk, which they make into cheese.
The giants' diet seems to consist largely of meat and mammoth cheese, evidenced by their herding of mammoths and the presence of charred skeevers and other animals spit-roasting over their massive fires. They also appear to be partial to horses and wolves as the bodies of these animals are (less frequently) found on smaller, square-shaped logpiles that have remained unlit. Sabre cat corpses can be found in their camps as well.
Despite their primitive appearances, giants are moderately intelligent: they are able to fashion tools and clothes for themselves, herd mammoths, and harness fire for warmth. Giants can sometimes be heard "speaking" during combat, though their speech is deep and guttural, and consists of incomprehensible grunts and roars. There are no translations for any of the words they use, and they have no known written language. The only known giant who has dialogue, visible through the use of subtitles, is Karstaag the frost giant.
During "The Cursed Tribe," giant paintings can be seen outside Fallowstone Cave resembling their decorative scarification. Giants may also carve symbols into herded mammoth tusks. In the same quest, a shrine to Malacath is seen, decorated with patterns usually found at giant camps, as well as indications of sacrifice, which may indicate worship. The shrine is also guarded by the giant who carries Shagrol's Warhammer.
During the quest "A Night to Remember," the Dragonborn is tasked with recovering a goat they traded to a giant during their alcohol-laced adventures. This shows that giants are intelligent enough to understand the concept of a trade and even become angry when double-crossed after said trade. The aforementioned giant becomes hostile and aggressive when the Dragonborn steals back the goat they had traded to it.
Giants are nomadic creatures that herd mammoths for sustenance, and are wary of, but used to, the presence of other races. They only attack if attacked first, or if someone strays too close to their camps or herds - lone groups of giants on the move can be closely approached with only a low chance of hostility. This is in contrast to the contracts issued by Jarls, which state that the giant at a local named location has been harassing and attacking people and livestock. Due to a possible bug, sometimes they also appear to ignore the Dragonborn's presence altogether even if both are face to face with each other.
Mountain giants are often seen traveling with mammoths. These mammoths stay close to the giants' camps, and pouches of mammoth cheese are often found nearby, supporting the conclusion that the giants raise mammoths like livestock. Additionally, there is a giant herding a cow from the base of the path from Labyrinthian. The giant walks with the cow to Sleeping Tree Camp or another giant camp. After that, they stand still for hours.
Giants are usually only found in the snowy terrain of The Pale, the vast tundra of Whiterun, or the warmer parts of Eastmarch, where they can roam freely. Giants can be found in Falkreath Hold or Hjaalmarch as well, but they are usually only there to raid the player character's homestead.
There is no evidence that giants need to rest or sleep, as they are never seen doing so. Their camps rarely, if ever, contain bedding materials.
In some camps, giants have left a giant club lying on the ground. While the Dragonborn cannot equip it, certain followers possessing Two Handed weapon skills can.
Interactions with humans
Some farmers offer cows as a sacrifice to the giants in order to avoid attacks on livestock. The cows are painted with traditional markings so that the giants recognize them as peace offerings. However, giants have been known to kill these farmers and ignore the peace offerings.
If Hearthfire is installed, it becomes evident that Giants can and will attack homesteads, often killing people and animals. The exact cause of the attacks is unknown.
- Giants attack with massive club strikes, which sometimes stir up dust clouds that can obscure vision and cause a stagger effect. They also use punches and kicks. Giant Stomp is common, and a killing blow by a giant's club will send the victim high into the sky.
- When battling a giant, or a mixed group of giants and mammoths, firing ranged attacks such as arrows, bolts, or spellcraft from afar or from a higher vantage point can be immensely advantageous. The Sneak skill can also aid in combat against giants. Entering a body of water may also prove useful, as the giant will not follow.
- The Dragonborn can also lure giants from their spawn points towards a position they cannot possibly enter, for example, allow the giant to chase them into a doorway which is too narrow for them to pass through. Then shower projectiles or magic spells from a distance. They can use paralysis-coated arrow or bolt to cause giants to stop for a few seconds, affording the Dragonborn a short amount of time to attack them with melee weapons.
- Archers can also take advantage of the Slow Time shout, together with Steady Hand from the Archery skill tree, to cause time to almost freeze (both effects stack), allowing them to gain a significant advantage. A Bosmer Dragonborn utilising a fire-enchanted bow like the Elven Bow of Scorching will inflict extra damage in addition to normal injuries, especially when poisoned, attacking from an extreme distance and the Deadly Aim perk from the Sneak skill tree allowing multiplied damage. There are also certain enchanted apparel that will boost bow damage values.
- Battling giants early game is an extremely dangerous proposition. Unlike many creatures in Skyrim, giants are not leveled and instead have a static level of 32, meaning they will be very dangerous early game but incredibly weak at high levels.
- The Command Animal power and/or Animal Allegiance shout can be helpful to turn mammoths against the giants, which can easily kill them as the mammoths are even stronger and deal more damage.
- Mages, especially Conjuration-based elves, should first summon a flame and/or storm atronach, based on whether or not they have the Twin Souls perk, before even approaching a giant encampment. It is possible to have two atronachs of any type, along with four humanoid followers attacking the giant as well as Shadowmere and, perhaps, the spectral assassin from the Dark Brotherhood questline. (The multiple follower glitch can be found here.) This does not account for Barbas nor does it include the various canines and trolls that can be recruited from the Dawnguard. Vampires can also bring death hounds with them. Providing each follower with a staff to summon an atronach or other entity may also cause them to conjure said character.
- Katria, Arniel Gane's shade and other ethereal characters can prove invaluable during a giant encounter.
- Needless to say, melee-attacking followers are significantly less effective than ranged attacks when engaging giants. Thus, mages should avoid reanimating corpses, familiars and the dremora entities. They should instead summon an atronach.
- Firing a frost spell will slow them down significantly, making it a relatively safe way to kill them, especially for low-ranking mages.
- Similarly, using the Frost Breath and/or Ice Form shout will envelope them in ice, rendering them immobile, thus allowing the Dragonborn to engage them in melee combat without fear of reprisals for a brief time frame.
- Mages, as with archers, can also take advantage of Slow Time to gain moments to flee, recover or press the attack. Combined with the Ice Form shout, the Dragonborn Frost power, the Frostbite spell, the appropriate Destruction perks, an elven race and the necessary armor apparel, the Dragonborn can even the odds somewhat.
- It is also a good idea to have invincible followers (like Barbas, Frea, Mjoll, Cicero, Erandur, Serana, Dark Brotherhood initiates, etc.) distract it. Giants will kneel when their health is low, allowing your follower or followers to catch up and inflict a killing attack.
Giants can be found in the following locations:
- Bleakwind Basin
- Blizzard Rest
- Broken Limb Camp
- Cradlecrush Rock
- Giant's Grove
- Guldun Rock
- Red Road Pass
- Secunda's Kiss
- Sleeping Tree Cave/Sleeping Tree Camp
- Steamcrag Camp
- Stonehill Bluff
- Talking Stone Camp
- Tumble Arch Pass
- Giant's toe
- Assorted animal hides
- Assorted weapons and armor
- Assorted gems
- Soul gems of various sizes
- According to the Michael Kirkbride text named The Seven Fights of The Aldudagga, giants originated in Atmora. The painted cows that appear in-game are also derived from this text.
- The giants' markings greatly resemble those made by the Picts, an ancient tribe of Celts that dwelt in modern-day Scotland.
- While one giant usually wears armor and bones, the others at a camp usually only wear a form of loincloth. This may be an indication of status.
- During a fight, a giant's speech is sometime subtitled with the words "Ayarg Garag Gar." There is no known translation of this dialogue. In addition, there are four or so sounds that the giant makes, though all share the same subtitle.
- Werewolves can kill giants with a single sprint attack.
- A single giant is found within the depths of Blackreach, though how it came to be there is not explained, as the only way into Blackreach is through the use of a Dwarven mechanism and proper key.
- When idle, and not alarmed, Giants can sometimes be seen scratching their backs with their clubs.
- As giants are considered by the game as "creatures," they are affected by the spriggan's power, which enthralls both giants and any mammoths present, turning them hostile. However, they are immune to player character-specific powers of the same type, such as Command Animal and Animal Allegiance.
- A seemingly mournful giant can be found at the hot springs located south of Windhelm. This giant stares at a dead mammoth lying in the water. Unlike other giants, he will not turn hostile when the Dragonborn approaches him.
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- The Elder Scrolls: Legends
|Creatures and Enemies (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)|
|Animals||Ants • Bear • Cave Bear • Chicken • Cow • Deer • Dog • Elk • Fox • Goat • Hawk • Horker • Horse|
Ice Wolf • Mammoth • Mudcrab • Rabbit • Sabre Cat • Salmon • Skeever • Slaughterfish • Snow Bear • Snow Fox • Wolf
|Creatures||Chaurus • Frostbite Spider • Frost Troll • Giant • Hagraven • Ice Wraith • Spriggan • Troll|
|Daedra||Dremora • Flame Atronach • Frost Atronach • Storm Atronach|
|Undead||Corrupted Shade • Dragon Priest • Draugr • Ghost • Magic Anomaly • Skeleton|
Subjugated Ghost • Wisp • Wispmother • Vampire
|Animunculi||Dwarven Centurion • Dwarven Sphere • Dwarven Spider|
|Dragons||Dragon • Blood Dragon • Frost Dragon • Elder Dragon • Ancient Dragon • Skeletal Dragon|