The PCs tangled with a pair of giant brothers in our most recent session.
It did not go particularly well for either side.
The giants ended up blinded, fleeing, with their dire wolves slain and their weapons and armor abandoned.
The PCs ended up with a dismembered and dead cleric, a dead apprentice ally, their boats smashed, and a lot of magic resources expended - and had to spend $30,000 in town to bring back their slain from the dead.
Both sides experienced what might be called a Pyrrhic victory - another victory at that cost might break either side.
How did two giants hang with a bunch of delvers backed by a pile of magical consumables?
I built the giants as experienced adventurers, really, who had taken their home by violence force against the original inhabitants, and hunted and slew as they saw fit.
So I made them the kind of guys, skill and advantage-wise, that could do that in a world where:
- there are archers and swordsmen who can take your eyes out casually,
- foes with trememndously high skill aren't terribly usual,
- and access to magic is a prerequisite to success.
So the giants have Luck. They seem to have some access to magic, and use it. They are wiley and experienced, and fight as if their opponents are lethal foes bent on killing them and as if those opponents have earned the gear they have.* They're used to people trying to defense-swamp them after a Feint, a typical combat move. They have skill and know how to use Rapid Strike, Beat, and flanking to their advantage. They're not afraid to cut and run when the odds make it clear that death will follow sticking around. They, like PCs, deal with other people's stuff like spiteful wolverines. It amused me that the PCs were busy smashing things the giants used to "deny them the assets" and the giants smashed the PC's boats and denied them their transport home. Also that the PCs used buffs, potions, and teamwork and the giants did, too.
Yeah, it was a hard fight. These guys are boss monsters individually, each capable of fighting multiple PCs. Obviously they did better as a pair against a half-dozen delvers. Even so, they couldn't hang forever, and the usual swings of dice luck in a combat told for them in both directions. Some critical misses (and critical defenses) against them, one critical defense that cause Wyatt to drop his weapon . . . but it was the 2nd in a combat of left/right/left/left and so the right sword was dropped as the left unaffected, and so on. Plus buffed airborne Wyatt is extremely dangerous, and in GURPS DF smothering a foe with multiple strikes is the way to go, unless the opponent has a high Dodge. If so, it's just crit-fishing (i.e. hoping for a critical hit by choosing a 16+ to hit). They did okay all told, and I'm a bit surprised the PCs didn't do better.
* The PCs are very well equipped. Most of their magical gear is Ornate, they wear epic plate (ornate), Wyatt has a clearly special corselet, Galen carries a dragonhorn bow and wear's thieves' mail, Crogar has a well-made axe, Galen shoots Cornucopia arrows, etc. It's blindingly obvious this not a rag-tag group of wannabes, but a hard core group of wealthy delvers.