Giant (monster attribute)

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Giants are a category of monster that appear in NetHack. Giants are denoted by the monster attribute flag M2_GIANT - the artifact long sword Giantslayer grants a +1d5 to-hit bonus and double damage against monsters with the M2_GIANT flag when wielded. Giants are also considered kebabable; you receive a +2 to-hit bonus for attacking giants with a weapon that uses the spear skill.

Monsters with the M2_GIANT flag are as follows:

A user has suggested improving this page or section as follows:

"Re-merge the various types of giant and implement Paxed's template. Expand on some variants, at least the one-sentence sections, and flesh out strategy a bit more, especially with regards to boulders."

Common traits

Giants are carnivorous and either lawful or chaotic, and generally have low monster magic resistance. They are too huge to wear shirts, cloaks, and body armor, but they will pick up and wield weapons and wear other types of armor. All types of non-undead giant are part of the giant humanoid monster class, and thus represented by the H glyph - they can pick up and throw boulders, and will break through locked doors. Giants that trigger rolling boulder traps will snatch the boulder if they are in its path, adding it to their inventory.

Giant corpses, including those of unique giants, have a 50% chance of increasing your strength, similar to a non-cursed tin of spinach; this is treated as an intrinsic in addition to any others conferred by that giant.[1][2]

Despite sharing some of the above traits - such as their size, monster class, and their corpses giving strength bonuses - ettins and titans lack the M2_GIANT flag and are not considered giants.

In addition to the normal responses for humanoid monsters, chatting to a peaceful, non-undead giant may cause them to boast about their gem collection, complain about a mutton diet, or shout "Fee fi fo fum!" and guffaw; this last result has a chance of waking nearby sleeping monsters.[3]


Giants that are not undead can occasionally be generated in groups. They have a 50% chance of being created with a boulder, and are often generated with a small assortment of gems.[4][5]

Giants may be generated in throne rooms as early as dungeon level 13, and may appear when a throne at this depth or lower is looted.[6]

Giants are also eligible to appear in the Valkyrie quest and Caveman quest, which have the ​H giant humanoid as the second quest class.



Giants will often throw their boulder at you as soon as they can see you. Players can use these boulders as a defensive measure against other monsters, keeping them away and using ranged attacks to fire past the boulders and pick them off; boulders are especially useful for clogging up hallways. However, this will not impede the giants themselves, who can freely step over and pick up boulders.

Giants can also generate with and/or pick up dangerous items and attack wands as well; on the other hand, their low MR leaves them very vulnerable to wands and spells themselves, and the only giants with any significant MR are the giant mummy and Lord Surtur. Giants are also usually slower than the player character at base speed, and you will likely have found a source of fast speed by the time you encounter them.


Giant corpses and their strength bonuses are frequently sought after, especially by physically weaker roles and races; most non-elven characters will seek out giant corpses to continue increasing their strength once it has hit 18. However, giant corpses are also very high in nutrition, and their high nutrition presents a choking hazard. A tinning kit such as the one Archeologists start the game with is recommended, and additionally makes the corpses of giant zombies and mummies safe as well; unlike spinach, tins of giant meat provide a strength increase even if cursed.

Cavemen and Valkyries in particular benefit from having hill giants and fire giants as their respective second quest monsters, and giant humanoids act as their second quest classes; this enables corpse farming, especially with the co-aligned sanctuary available to Cavemen, but also carries the danger that a randomly generated H may turn out to be a titan.

While Archeologists and Priests can also access giant corpses as well as ettin corpses on their quest, their best source is the mummies and zombies, which are the respective second quest classes for them and only have a 3% chance of generation. Archaeologists have the advantage of starting with a tinning kit, and can makes these corpses safer to eat while not being satiated quickly - Priests will much prefer the gains from easily-farmed wraiths to intermittent strength increases.


Giants were introduced to NetHack with the inclusion of the 'standard' giant in NetHack 1.3d.

In NetHack 3.0.0, the various types of giants (minus the storm giant) were added, as well as their close relative, the titan, and the giant zombie and giant mummy. The "base" giant remains in the game's data, as the undead giants still leave behind a "giant corpse" upon defeat.

The storm giant was introduced to the vanilla game in NetHack 3.3.0. Before that, it first appeared in SLASH 6, a variant of NetHack 3.1.3 and the last release of SLASH.


Main article: Giant (starting race)

Many variants make the giant eligible as a starting race.


In SLASH'EM, there is only a 25% chance that strength gain will occur when eating giant meat; this does not affect the chance of gaining any other intrinsics from the corpse.[7] It is possible to encounter normally-generated "plain" giants as well.

SLASH'EM also includes the giant court, a special type of throne room carried over from NetHack-- 3.1.3 that only contains giants, and introduces The Giant Caverns, a special level that houses several giants and a new unique giant, The Largest Giant.

Slash'EM Extended

Main article: Gigant

The gigant is a playable race added in Slash'EM Extended that is considered a sub-species of giant and shares some common traits, along with its corresponding player monster. They start the game with a boulder alongside the usual starting inventory for their role, and can pick up and throw more; however, they also start with incurable hunger. Gigants eating giant corpses are not considered cannibals, and the intrinsic hunger may allow them to get more out of the meal on average.

For non-playable giants, Slash'EM Extended also reintroduces the large giant, a monster from NetHack-- that was not carried over from SLASH 6 and thus did not appear in the original SLASH'EM. The giant-themed special rooms and levels also return from SLASH'EM, and giants generated randomly outside of level creation for special levels and the quest branch will be peaceful towards gigants.

All the above also applies to SLASHTHEM, a variant of Slash'EM Extended.

NetHack Fourk

In NetHack Fourk, giants are a playable race. Giants can be Barbarians, Cavemen, or Rangers. They can pick up and throw boulders, which makes it very easy for them to move past them in blocked-off corridors, and their size prevents them from wearing most normal armor. They move at half-speed and (aside from strength) have significantly lower attribute caps.


SporkHack includes the giant as a playable race.


GruntHack includes the giant as a playable race.


EvilHack adds the giant as a playable race, which was adapted from SporkHack. Similar to the gigant from Slash'EM Extended above, giants start with intrinsic hunger and carry a boulder into the dungeon. Their starting inventories for each role are altered to account for their being too large for most body armor.

Giants are also eligible to appear as racial monsters, e.g. soldiers and shopkeepers.


In dNetHack, both the gnoll matriarch and siege ogre are given the M2_GIANT tag. The retooled throne rooms also include various giants in the court, including the "plain" giant, if the ruler is a titan.

Encyclopedia entry

Giants have always walked the earth, though they are rare in
these times. They range in size from little over nine feet
to a towering twenty feet or more. The larger ones use huge
boulders as weapons, hurling them over large distances. All
types of giants share a love for men - roasted, boiled, or
fried. Their table manners are legendary.