Libris Monstrum #37: Cyclopes Revisited

We are finally here getting back to the Libris Monstrum. Today we are taking another look at cyclopes though, truth be told, there is not a ton of variety we can go through. In the first look at these giants, we mostly concerned ourselves with the Greek origins of the monster and the different takes the creature has taken in D&D. To expand on that we are going to look at the latest versions!


5th Edition

In the latest version of Dungeons & Dragons the cyclopes have become a simpler being. Like some other monsters, they have reverted to more simpler mythological stats. There is no massive or complex story tied into them. There could be, of course, but where 4th Edition builds depth, 5th edition focuses on giving you another tool or set piece. Where the world is full of stupid giants and oafs, the cyclopes takes on a nice little niche as just a bit set aside civilization.

From WotC’s 5E Monster Manual

Taking cues from myth, these beings are solitary and out of the way. They don’t spend time dealing with others, even those of their own kind. One of the biggest features of them is that they are a bit dim-witted. Not stupid as such, but as creatures who are out of touch with the possibilities of things like magic. They do not deal well with complex things, believing that gods and praying are all overly complex rituals that don’t get you much of anything. Magic can impress them, awing their slower sensibilities. When it comes down to it they are interested in dealing with others only so long as they continue to prove useful or throw weight around.

It is a nice little spot that allows you to have a giant that can be dangerous but doesn’t have to be. Their intelligence might be underestimated by a party, but manipulation could happen with ease given the right tact. It is the kind of thing that could be the muscle behind a magic user, but muscle that could be persuaded of changing sides. These cyclopes are also pretty good for the smiths of legend. Smithing is not a quick job and includes repetitive but careful intelligence. The cyclops is perfect for a shining NPC.


Pathfinder

As with all things in the world of Golarian, the cyclopes of Pathfinder have a rich and detailed lore. These are different from the beings of myth and the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons. These creatures are intelligent and highly interested in the ruins of the world. They are ravenous giants with a massive appetite and the power of foresight. Despite oracle powers these creatures have been put through hardship for millennia, their power equally a curse of seeing future hardships.

From Paizo’s Bestiary

What is fun about these creatures is that they seem to have a combination dangerous giant and an interesting story resource. In fact, they are exactly both of these at the same time. This leaves a LOT of room for developing villains, NPCs, and plot elements. For the most part they are likely to be despondent individuals who focus on their own lairs and meals, uncaring of what their race used to be. But for those with a little aspiration there is much to make of them. Even without considering them as a creature, the cyclopes had a massive and grand empire whose ruins liter the world waiting to be explored!


When it comes to cyclopes there is an interesting take as a civilized race of giants unassociated with primal elements the way many giants are. They are ancient, perhaps one of the most ancient races around. Or they are simple beings with less fantastical origins. The good thing about them though is this freedom to mold the giants into what you need or want.

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