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  • D&D 5e: Let’s Build A Firbolg!

    August 20, 2021 9 min read

    Players of Dungeons & Dragons 5e may have only heard of Firbolg from the 5e Monster Manual. However, outside their relationship with giant-kin, Firbolg live reclusive lives with their families and clans in forests they protect. Their relationship and connection with the fey bless them with Firbolg Magic, allowing them to turn invisible and detect the magic around them. While they live in recluse, Firbolg are fierce fighters when provoked. Players who want to play gentle giants may want to experiment with Firbolg for their D&D 5e campaign.


    In this guide, we’ll explore how to build a Firbolg that fits most D&D campaign settings. We’ll also see what the Firbolg can offer your party and how you can best approach your Firbolg character.

    Basics: The Traits

    • Ability Score Increase: WIS + 2, STR + 1
    • Age: Firbolg have longer lifespans, thanks to their Fey ancestry. They become adults by 30 and can reach around 500 years.
    • Size and Speed: Medium (7 to 8ft tall, 240 to 300 pounds average), 30ft walking speed.
    • Alignment: Firbolg firmly believe they’re tasked in guarding nature as its caretakers, making most of them Neutral Good.
    • Racial Features: The Firbolg have these racial characteristics:
      • Firbolg Magic, which allows the Firbolg to cast some spells which use WIS as their Spellcasting Ability. They can only use spells once every short or long rest.
        • Detect Magic
        • Disguise Self. When they use this version of the spell, they can make themselves seem as though they’re 3ft shorter than usual, allowing them to easily blend with other humanoids.
      • Hidden Step, which allows Firbolg to turn invisible as a Bonus Action. They can stay in this form until the start of their next turn, or until they take damage, make a damage roll, make an attack roll, or force a creature to make a Saving Throw. This can be used once every short or long rest.
      • Powerful Build, which makes Firbolg count as one size larger when it comes to determining weight they can lift, drag, or push.
      • Speech of Beast and Leaf, which grants them the ability to conduct limited communication with plants and beasts. They can understand the Firbolg’s words, but the Firbolg can’t understand them in return. Any attempt to influence beasts and plants grant the Firbolg an Advantage to CHA checks.
      • Languages, of which the Firbolg know how to speak Giant, Elvish, and Common.

    The Best Classes To Build

    • Barbarian: A Firbolg’s attachment to their home and nature itself may give them an innate connection with their primal selves. They can unleash this connection in the form of a Rage that only a Barbarian can control. Thanks to the Firbolg’s relationship with the Feywild, the Player may create a Firbolg Barbarian with the Feywild itself as a source of power. Like a Paladin, the Feywild can call into the Barbarian and “express” its will through the Barbarian’s Rage. However, unlike the Paladin, the Barbarian taps into a more natural power source for their abilities - and, interestingly enough, it may not be entirely spiritual.
      • The WIS and STR Ability Score bonuses of the Firbolg can be attributed to their innate connection with the Fey. These perks, aside from their Racial Features, immediately diversify the Firbolg’s strategic offerings as a Barbarian in the party. Moreover, their natural WIS bonus makes them more keen on resisting spells that would otherwise render them confused in battle and investing a bit on DEX enables them to dodge powerful spells.
      • Aside from their handy Racial Features, the Firbolg Barbarian gains access to Rage, their central class mechanic that transforms them into behemoths in the battlefield. Thanks to Rage, they get Advantage on STR-based checks and STR Saving Throws. Moreover, they get to resist slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage. These perks, added with DEX-reliant Unarmored Defense and Danger Sense, makes them something to fear in the battlefield.
      • In terms of archetypes, the Firbolg Barbarian might want to consider the Storm Herald, Totem Warrior, or even Wild Soul Primal Paths. Not only do these offer quite the versatile offensive and defensive options for the Firbolg, they may also easily tie into their Fey Ancestry and flavor.
    • Cleric: The Firbolg’s innate connection with the Fey may leave them open to establish a connection with deities themselves. Moreover, it’s interesting to note how a Firbolg Cleric may interact with their Fey Ancestors in the Feywild should they have another god in tow with them. What is the Divine’s relationship with the Feywild? What if the Firbolg serves a god of destruction, something their ancestors in the Fey may oppose? Moreover, what if the Nature god the Firbolg serves is at odds with the Feywild?
      • The Firblog’s inherent WIS Ability Score bonus grants them a much-needed boost as Clerics, as they’re dependent on their WIS for their spells. Moreover, the extra STR boost also gives the Firbolg Cleric the opportunity to dish out damage in melee, which can make them extremely versatile spell casters. After all, if they can’t hit the opponents with their spells, they can surely punish them in melee. Moreover, the healthy arsenal of buffs and healing the Cleric offers enables the Firbolg to travel to their allies quickly and be able to take on enemies that block the way.
      • Like the Wizard, spellcasting remains the best asset of a Cleric. After all, most of their Class Features come from their Channel Divinity and Divine Domain traits, which essentially expands the flexibility of the Firbolg Cleric. Moreover, base Cleric features such as Destroy Undead and Divine Intervention enables the Firbolg Cleric to become a natural nemesis of Undead creatures, which are thankfully very common enemies in most D&D 5e settings.
      • In terms of Divine Domain options, the Firbolg’s affinity with nature makes them work best with Nature Domain or even Life and Light. Players who want more aggressive Firbolgs can take on the Tempest or War Domains to add some much-needed firepower to the party’s arsenal of spells and features.
    • Druid: The Firbolg’s natural affinity with nature and the Fey make them perfect candidates for being Druids, especially if their tribe or family end up becoming stewards of a territory blessed by the Fey. A Firbolg Druid may know and understand flora and fauna not just of their natural habitat, but of the part of the Fey they regularly visit. Thanks to this affinity, Dungeon Masters may even allow the Player to choose special creatures outside the Druid’s usual list of animals they can transform into, adding a ton of flavor to the Firbolg’s natural connection with the Fey.
      • The innate WIS and STR Ability Score bonuses of the Firbolg make them great Druids on a technical sense and their Fey Ancestry make them perfect for the Class. A Firbolg can tap into their Wisdom to cast the most intricate of Druid spells and rituals while their sheer strength allows them to protect their allies and dominate the battlefield, as necessary.
      • Firbolg Druids who have been to the Fey often can capitalize on their Wild Shape to take on the appearance of animals and creatures other people haven’t even encountered before. Moreover, thanks to their choice of Druidic Circles, the Firbolg may have access to a wide array of utility features they can use inside and outside of battle, enabling them to become healers, tanks, or even damage dealers on the fly.
      • The innate connection of the Firbolg with the Fey make them fit for the Wildfire, Twilight, Stars, and Dreams Druidic Circles. After all, these Circles offer enough spell utility and a variety of spellcasting options that can make the Firbolg Druid consistent with their connection to the Fey and still become a reliable component to the party.
    • Fighter: A Firbolg’s connection with nature may aid them in battle, as their Fey Ancestry may help them use their innate invisibility, powerful build, and Firbolg Magic to gain the upper hand in fights. A Firbong Fighter may be a soldier for their tribes in the Fey, or a knight serving under one of the many kingdoms in the Feywild. Regardless of the backstory, the unique affinity of the Firbolg towards the Fey may make a Firbolg Fighter have an interesting relationship with fellow warriors from outside the Feywild.
      • Thanks to the innate WIS and STR Ability Score bonuses, Firbolg can make excellent Fighters. After all, the Fighter’s reliance on Strength allows the Firbolg to make stronger, more powerful attacks in melee while their WIS allows them to dodge mentally-debilitating effects – which can be extremely helpful, especially if the Firbolg ends up in the frontlines.
      • Aside from their Fey Ancestry, the Fighter’s Ability Score Improvement options allow Players to fully customize their Firbolg Fighter. They may choose to improve their Ability Scores or even choose Feats, further customizing their Firbolg’s list of abilities. It’s thanks to the rather straightforward mechanic of the Fighter that can make the Firbolg extremely customizable – making them either fit the Fey-based flavor of their origin or even just go all out with unique Multiclass options.
      • The Firbolg Fighter’s Fey Ancestry can also be used to capitalize on their Fighter Archetype options. If they don’t want to Multiclass, they can instead try out magic-based Archetypes such as the Arcane Archer, Eldritch Knight, or the Rune Knight. Meanwhile, if they want more melee options, they can try the Battle Master, Champion, or even the Scout.
    • Ranger: A Firbolg Ranger may not necessarily know deserts or wilderness, but they know their way around the Fey. It’s interesting to note that a Firbolg Ranger may possess the same dexterous and nimble nature of the Ranger, except a Firbolg Ranger can skillfully navigate the perplexing and mysterious landscapes the Fey may offer unsuspecting travelers. Their arrows can pierce through the veil between realms and find their target. Moreover, a Firbolg Ranger may end up becoming the resident expert when it comes to travelling to and from the Feywild in the safest way possible.
      • The natural WIS Ability Score bonus of the Firbolg make them extremely competent Rangers, especially on the spellcasting end. Moreover, the innate STR Ability Score bonus of the Firbolg enables their Rangers to tap into melee-based Fighting Styles, helping characters create unique Firbolg Rangers that lean away from the “rangers should be ranged fighters” stereotype.
      • Thanks to their Fey Ancestry, the Firbolg Ranger may actually fit very well with their flavor. After all, the Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer features of the Firbolg Ranger may have ties to their overall story, while the innate Land’s Stride, Hide in Plain Sight, Vanish, and Feral Senses can be tied to the Firbolg’s Fey Ancestry.
      • Moreover, Firbolg Rangers can use their Fey Ancestry as a branching off point to their Conclaves. For instance, Firbolg Rangers can tap into Fey Wanderer, Horizon Walker, or even Primeval Guardian if they want a Conclave that lets them strengthen their relationship with the Fey. Meanwhile, they can become Hunters, Monster Slayers, or Gloom Stalkers if their role focuses more on defending their territories against intruders.

    Interesting Character Backgrounds

    • Earthspur Miner (Elemental Evil): The Firbolg’s rather reclusive nature can be a great way to associate them with more specialized professions, such as the Earthspur Miner. And while the Earthspur Miner simply describes being a miner in The Forgotten Realms’ Earthspur Mountains, players can easily shift this background to fit whichever mining destination they wish. A Firbolg miner who suddenly got the motivation to go out on an adventure can make for an interesting story - they might want to have a better future or perhaps seek a cure for a sick family member.
      • Tools: None
      • Language: Dwarvish, Undercommon
      • Proficiencies: STR (Athletics), WIS (Survival)
    • Hermit (Player’s Handbook): The Firbolg’s connection with the Fey may extend beyond their travels and a Player’s Firbolg Hermit may be on a quest to seek a more direct connection with the Fey in a far-off land. A Firbolg Hermit fits the mystical nature of the Firbolg, as they may have gleaned interesting insights on their relationship with the Fey that ordinary scholars may reject or see as irrational and impossible. A Player can also rely on a Firbolg Hermit in order to spice things up for the party, as they may have been in different places that can add renewed insights to their destinations.
      • Tools: Herbalism Kit
      • Language: Any one language of their choice.
      • Proficiencies: WIS (Medicine), INT (Religion)
    • Folk Hero (Player’s Handbook): A Firbolg may have been thrust into a life of adventure due to their status as a Folk Hero. This Firbolg may have saved their chieftain or their chieftain’s relative. Or perhaps the Firbolg led the forces that repelled intruders in their village. Whatever the reason may be, the Firbolg’s clan believes he’s heroic enough to embark on a journey to bring glory and fame to his home - however crazy or mundane their heroics may have been.
      • Tools: Artisan’s Tools x1, Vehicles (Land)
      • Language: None
      • Proficiencies: WIS (Animal Handling), WIS (Survival)
    • Knight (Player’s Handbook): An interesting take on a Firbolg background would be granting them knighthood, as this goes against usual conventions of humanoid knights in kingdoms and empires. A Firbolg knight may have hailed from deep into the Fey, or perhaps integrated into a populous city near the forests. Interestingly, a Firbolg Knight may pave the way for interesting discussions amongst other players and NPCs, especially those belonging to other armies or orders of knights within the adventure’s setting.
      • Tools: Gaming Set x1
      • Language: Any one language of their choice.
      • Proficiencies: INT (History), CHA (Persuasion)
    • Sage (Player’s Handbook): A Firbolg Sage has been wizened by their experiences and are now able to provide insights on the many things they’ve witnessed throughout their life. They may be travelling in search for a permanent home or maybe travelling to further their knowledge still. Players who choose to play a Firbolg Sage may be in for a treat, as their encounters may provide much-needed insights and lore towards the various things happening inside the game world.
      • Tools: None
      • Language: Any two languages of their choice.
      • Proficiencies: INT (Arcana), INT (History)