One of the more vicious species of giant, the frost giants (or hrímþursar) are violent, bloodthirsty people found on both the outer and inner planes; in the former, they can be found throughout Niflheim in Ysgard or across the Iron Wastes of the Abyss, while in the former their tribes can be found all across Precipice in the Paraelemental Plane of Ice.
The first of the frost giants was and is Ymir, an ancient god said to have first formed from the frozen waters of the twelve rivers of the Elivagar where the vapor of the rime struck the hot air of Muspelheim. From his sweat came the first jötnar, the people that soon divided into frost and fire giants, believed by some to be the originators of all the various elementally-inclined giants. Since that first creation, the frost giants have spread themselves to anywhere that can hold them. The plane of Ice was an early migration, though not without its trials as they fought with the various local mortal peoples of Precipice — paying little attention to the elemental residents as even sentient beings. The ice and frost trolls had and continue to have perhaps the most violent conflicts with the frost giants, with the horrifying Bloodmire a signifcant sign of their mutual ire.
With the rise of Kostchtchie in recent millennia, the frost giants have had a new patron to flock to; as is often the case, Kostchtchie's ultimate goal is total dominion over the entire species, potentially following thus in the footsteps of Yeenoghu, Pazuzu, and Sessinnek (among many others) in this quest.
Frost giants are most often divided into tribes each led by an individual jarl that claims that title through force of arms. These tribes are most often semi-nomadic, setting up temporary settlements while following the herds of animals necessary to sustain them as those herds migrate over the seasons. As with all giants, frost giants require a prodigous amount of food to sustain themselves; as such, their tribes are usually small, with their members encouraged to reproduce only as is needed to sustain their numbers. Following the migration paths of the prey animals they call food, they often find themselves running against mortal settlements of one sort or another, and a frost giant tribe sees absolutely no issue with slaughtering such and claiming all within for their own. Frost giants see all smaller peoples as little more than clever animals, good for their products but with no more innate worth than a deer, and chosen as prey just as easily. To this end, humanoids are occasionally claimed as pets by frost giants and kept as such, or even the equivalent of draft animals, the closest frost giant society comes to slave labor. Besides humanoids, winter wolves and white dragons are also commonly found among frost giant tribes in similar roles.
Though frost giants rarely encounter other branches of giantkin, the only branch native to frozen wilds, they tend to hold little good will for any. Storm giants are grudgingly respected if only for their power, but others are sneered at, though at least acknowledged as potential equals. Fire giants raise a special degree of rie in them, and those few times when tribes of frost and fire giants have encountered each other, great battles were sure to follow.
Their intense hatred is hardly limited to without, however. Strikingly misogynistic, frost giant society gives little worth to women (within or without the species) for anything but the most menial home labor. No female frost giant is allowed to fight for the tribe, and certainly none would be allowed to serve as jarl; even should one succeed in combat, they would receive neither respect nor support for their act, and the tribe would likely simply refuse to acknowledge them as such. Marriage amongst frost giants is entirely arranged, children paired up based on nothing more than the desired mergers of their parents, and though parents of both the male and female children receive dowries from such an arrangement, the male is allowed to indulge in these assets while the female is not without permission of either her parents or her husband. A soul concession to the usual discredation of female frost giants is in lineage, as both parents are considered entirely equal in that respect; a person's heritage is considered to derive chiefly neither from the male nor the female parent, but instead equally from both. This concession to the women may seem minor on the surface, but genealogy is of tremendous importance to frost giants. with many families not only tracing their lineage back ten or twelve generations, but also learning of and speaking to the great deeds of each generation of that family.
Many frost giants hold a special connection to the icy lands they call home, serving their tribes as shamen, or "spiritspeakers". Such a position is never taken or claimed, but only gained at birth from those lucky enough to hear the voices of the spirits around them or the greater gods beyond. Spiritspeakers can reach a level nearly as prominent as the jarl himself, and it is only as a spiritspeaker that most frost giant women can hope to gain any significance within a given tribe. Amongst the giants of Kostchtchie, however, spiritspeakers instead are most often slain the moment their talents first manifest themselves, the demon lord not wishing competition within his claimed lands.
Frost giants are largely, though not exclusively, carnivorous; meat forms a staple of their diet, but usually supplemented with heavy grains or starches. Fruits and non-starchy vegetables, given the difficulty of growing them in more frigid climes, are nearly unheard of in the frost giant diet. A slim few tribes have begun cannibalistic traditions, though this draws a good deal of disgust from the majority of other giants.
Most frost giant young reach maturity at around 20-25 years of age, but arranged marriages usually aren't fulfilled until age 50, to ensure no distraction during what is thought to be a man's prime fighting and hunting years. Once at this point, frost giants have their first children over the course of the next years, each individual pregnancy taking about 12 months to full term. Under the best of conditions, a frost giant can live up to and potentially even beyond 250 years, though their lifestyle is so violent that most males rarely live beyond 150.
As one of the larger giantkin, frost giants usually stand about 15 feet tall and with a weight near to 3000 pounds. Their skin can vary from pure white to a soft blue, with hair most often dirty yellow, white, or light blue, and eyes more often than not are of a hue similar to their hair color. Frost giants most commonly wear their hair and, for males, their beard several feet long, hair kept in braids and beards kept loose. Having a natural resistance to the temperatures of their homelands, they most often eschew heavier winter garb in favor of simple animal skins coupled with jewelry valued more for its familial significance than any innate value.
- Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Kostchtchie, pp.24-27
- Frostburn, pp.133-136
- Giants Revisted, pp.22-27