Revenge of the Giants is the first WotC “mega-adventure” for 4e. It’s also the first adventure put out by them for 4e that comes in hardback book form (with a double-sided flip map attached in the back) instead of the double book folio style. The book is 160 pages and takes characters from 12th to 17th level.
This is a review based on one read-through and has not been played in any part by me. This review contains some minor spoilers as well.
As you can probably tell from the title, this adventure features giants, giants, and more giants. You get hill giants, frost giants, fire giants, the possibly friendly astral giants, and their bigger brother titans. The overall picture is that the PCs are trying to stop the unified giants as they try to free an imprisoned primordial, and the PCs (inducted via the two last defenders of an ancient order who hang out in a ghost town) are the only hope to stop them. The structure resembles the classic Against the Giants series, and anyone who is familiar with that original module will see much in common.
My initial impression is that as much as I like the idea, there’s no way I could run it for my group due to how many combats there are (and how many of them look the same, at least on paper.) In addition to all the fights that fill out the adventure (the amount you’ve come to expect from published D&D adventures), there’s random encounters, and additional fights that could come about as a result of failing skill challenges. That’s a lot of fighting, and most of the fights are against, you guessed it, giants.
Speaking of skill challenges, a lot of the non-combat portions are represented by skill challenges. But even stranger, they most (if not all) take the form of a specialized form of skill challenge where all the PCs roll a certain skill, and a success or failure is accrued if the majority of PCs succeed on the check or fail. There’s some neat encounters that involve trying to resettle the ghost town, infiltrating a hill giant compound in a manner clearly inspired by Steading of the Hill Giant Chief (a module I should also point out that I’ve never played but have read), and my favorite, a trip back in time to visit some D&D meta-world past. But all in all, the amount of non-combat situations seems sparse, and at the beginning, there’s not even a standard home base town full of people to interact with.
Still, there is a mix of combat and non-combat encounters, and many of the battles are interesting set pieces. There is diversity in the various situations you get into that properly represent paragon-level adventuring (there’s just not a lot of diversity in monsters.) If you’ve played in any of the previous WotC-made adventures, you’ll know what you’re getting here, just in a bit of a different format. This is a mega-adventure in every sense, from the scope of the plot to the amount of battles your PCs will find themselves in. I plan on taking chunks off the adventure and using it as inspiration in my current campaign (the hill giant section comes to mind) but unless your group is OK with spending 5 levels worth of encounters fighting giants, it might be a tough sell as a complete package.