giant reindeer

Giant reindeer are a mutation among ordinary reindeer in or near the Great Colassian Tundra. They are roughly the size of large horses.   Ordinary reindeer can pull sleds and provide meat and furs but they are far too small to carry adult orcs on their back, but giant reindeer can carry orc or human riders comfortably.

Transmission & Vectors

Giant reindeer are born to normal reindeer, seemingly at random. In wild herds, about one in twenty male reindeer are born with the condition and about one in forty female reindeer.   Giant reindeer are by no means guaranteed to have giant offspring, but giant reindeer are somewhat more likely to have giant calves or grand-calves. Generations of careful breeding means that most orc tribes that keep domesticated reindeer have proportionally twice as many giant reindeer born to their herds compared to the average in the wild.


Giant reindeer are giant, more than double the adult mass of typical reindeer when fully grown. They are also moderately more intelligent than average reindeer.


Giant reindeer have developmental disadvantages that mean that giant reindeer rarely make it to adulthood in the wild.   Giant reindeer mature noticeably slower than most reindeer. For the first year or two of their lives, they are actually slightly smaller than normal reindeer of comparable age. They don't start showing signs of their giganticism until they turn three, typically reaching their full size around six or seven.   Giant reindeer in this transition phase a little bit slower and clumsier than normal reindeer so more than a few succumb to predation.   If a giant reindeer beats the odds survives to age six, he or she going to be an apex reindeer leading its herd and having many mates. At age six and up, giant reindeer are strong, fast, and clever, equal or better than normal reindeer at all things. Giant reindeer can live between up to thirty-three years under ideal circumstances.   Among domesticated reindeer, their handlers will usually recognize a budding giant reindeer calf and put extra effort to help the young calf survive its early years, so they can enjoy the benefits of raising and training a giant reindeer.


Some orc tribes tell legends about how their ancestors, jealous of the humans horses, petitioned the goddess Nami to give them a type of livestock that could survive in the sweeping cold plains that the orcs favored, and she persuaded Korus to create reindeer with her, but the orcs forgot to specify that they wanted horse sized riding animals, so they got reindeer. Some think Nami made reindeer small as a prank.   At this point different orc tribes have different legends. They all speak of an ancient orc hero or heroine that impressed or tricked one or more of the Nine into creating giant reindeer. Depending on the story, the deity or deities in question variations from storyteller to storyteller. So does the great deed that their ancestors did to pave the wave for giant reindeer though almost every orc tribe claims to have the blood of these great ancient orcs.   humans and wood elves have different explanations on why some reindeer are gigantic. Some believe they are genetic throwbacks to now extinct species of giant First Age deer. Some agree that they were given as gives to orckind (since it is noted that orcs have a lot more giant reindeer than non-orcs). Some theorize it has something to do with random effects of the The Elemental Plane or believe that reindeer have cross-mated with some kind of reindeer [Sprites].

Cultural Reception

The wood elves often believe that giant reindeer are avatars of Korus' power and refuse to hunt them.   Orc attitudes vary from between "mundane but valuable commodity" and "gift from the gods."   Some human reindeer keepers believe giant reindeer are valuable or holy but others superstitiously fear them as being tainted by orcs or Fair Folk somehow.   Gnome reindeer keepers tend to view giant reindeer in pragmatic terms and favor them for pulling heavy wagons though Zegdelian gnomes hold Giant reindeer in great reverence and in the unlikely event they opt to train a giant reindeer in lieu of setting it free, they will never give it grunt work.

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Cover image: The car by Juan Encalada


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