Garments of Critter Muscle and the Giantish Conundrum

Ok, so here's the deal. Because I'm a huge nerd, I just spent a couple of hours picking through the giant stats from 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd edition for the classic 6 giant races (and the ogre). The stuff for 5th comes from both the new packet Belt of Giant Strength info and the Wandering Monsters and Dragon's Eye View articles from last month and some of it's kinda implied, rather than stated outright. The other info comes from the Monster Manuals for the relevant editions.

This is all part of my Make a More Reasonable Set of Giant Strength Belts Project. So, here's the table I made:

(Oh gods, I hope the formatting comes through)

               Str (5/4/3)        5th              4th            3rd                  2nd

Ogre        18-19/21/21    Large (9 ft)    Large        Large (10 ft)     Large (10 ft)

Hill           19-21/21/25    xx (18 ft)    Large        Large (10.5 ft)    Large (16 ft)

Stone        20-23/22/27    xx (20 ft)    Large        Large (12 ft)    Huge (18 ft)

Frost        21-23/23/29    xx (20 ft)    Large        Large (15 ft)    Huge (21 ft)

Fire          22-25/23/31    xx (18 ft)    Large        Large (12 ft)    Huge (18 ft)

Cloud      23-27/x/35        xx (22 ft)    Large        Large (18 ft)    Huge (24 ft)

Storm       24-29/30/39    xx (22 ft)    Large        Large (21 ft)    Garg (26 ft)

Table Notes: The Strength column info for 5th edition comes from the Wandering Monsters article bit "In classic D&D lore, the Strength score of a giant rises with its position in the giant hierarchy, with hill giants at Strength 19 (just a peg above ogres) and storm giants at a prodigious 24 (just short of the mighty titans)." That's combined with the rating for the appropriate Belts of Giant Strength, which are kinda different. Also, we don't have any established official Size info for the giants, but we do have actual average heights.

So, what have we learned?

The magic item strength ratings vs "classic D&D lore" jumped considerably. Ogre went up a point, Hill up 2, Stone up 3, Frost up 2, Fire up 3, Cloud up 4, and Storm up 5 points. 4th editions strength ratings were flatter than I'd thought, until you get to the Storm Giant. 3rd editions strength ratings are balls-out crazy.

As for size, in 5th edition the heights are oddly flat, ranging from 18 to 22 feet except for the puny ogre at 9 feet. 4th never established any actual height info for the giants, just classifying them all as "Large" as far as I can tell, which is less than helpful. 3rd keeps them all at Large, but makes that range from 10 to 21 feet, despite the fact that the official Size table from the MM sez that Huge starts at 16 feet. 2nd edition has the Hill at Large for 16 feet, Stone through Cloud at Huge for 18 through 24 feet, and the Storm at Gargantuan for 26 feet.

TEAL DEER Alert: (too late!) So, yeah, the strength and size of the giants have kinda jumped all over the place going from edition to edition. Each version's kept the basic hierarchy of power more-or-less the same, but the rules iterations of that hierarchy have moved around. The challenge is gonna be making that hierarchy interact rationally (and entertainingly) with the basic character systems.

I really like the idea of bounded accuracy and flatter math for this edition; as much as I dug the hell out of 3rd conceptually, the math was hella crazy. I'm worried that they're moving away from that. I'd prefer having the big critters Strength ratings be flatter and get more bang from size difference for stuff like breaking down walls and moving huge stuff around, instead of moving back towards Strength ratings of eleventy billion.

For the Belts/Gauntlets of Critter Muscle, I'd prefer a system of flat strength replacement (18 through 24) combined with changing the wearer's size classification to Large/Huge/whatever for lifting/dragging/encumbrance/whatever and weapon size use, and maybe giving the wearer access to whatever rock-throwing mechanic they give the giants. That'd make them useful even for folks who aren't getting too much of a stat boost from the strength change.

What do y'all think?