D&D 5e: Let’s Build A Goliath!

August 27, 2021 9 min read

Author: Rhenn Anthony Taguiam

 

Goliathsare proud mounter dwellers, using their attunement to the cold winds and hard rocks to build their fortitude and physical prowess. They see their lives as an effort to make their tribes proud of their achievements and they see everything as a challenge. Goliaths aren’t always first choices in terms of character ancestries, but they can make for very compelling and interesting characters. Your Goliath can give a renewed sense of adventure to your Dungeons & Dragons 5ecampaign.

 

This quick guide will give you everything you need to make a proud Goliath that can stand tall amidst any challenge and obstacle.

Basics: The Traits

Goliaths pride in their size and health, often ending up becoming hardened warriors and experienced fighters. Thanks to their Strength and Constitution, they become excellent protectors and defenders of their tribes and even their respective teams. Moreover, they have endurance like no other, enabling them to outlast even their enemies in battle.

 

  • Ability Score Increase:STR + 2, CON + 1
  • Age: Goliaths have lifespan similar to humans and live less than 100 years.
  • Size and Speed:Medium (7 to 8ft tall, 280 to 340 pounds average), 30ft walking speed.
  • Alignment:Most Goliaths are Lawful, thanks to their strict societal rules. Thanks to their customs, they have a strong sense of personal responsibility, independence, and fairness making them lean towards Neutrality.
  • Racial Features:Goliaths have these racial features:
    • Natural Athlete,giving them proficiency in Athletics.
    • Stone’s Endurance,which allows them to use a reaction to add 1d12 + CON to reduce the damage of any effect that causes harm to the Goliath. They can use this trait once every long or short rest.
    • Powerful Build,which considers a Goliath one size larger when determining weight they can lift, drag, push, and carrying capacity.
    • Mountain Born, which makes them naturally adapted to cold climates and elevations of up to 20,000 feet.
    • Languages,of which they can write, read, and speak Giant and Common.

Goliath: The Best Classes To Build

Thanks to their size and stature, Goliaths become easily perfect for roles that require a lot of muscle. They can become vicious and battle-hardened Barbarians or Fighters, nimble and strong Monks, stalwart Paladins, or even punchy Sorcerers. Given their Strength, it’s normal for Goliaths to be typecasted into roles that fight Tanks or Melee DPS, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be versatile in battle. Here are some of the best Classes for Goliaths and how to maximize their perks and traits:

 

  • Barbarian:With the imposing figure of the Goliath looking down upon its enemy, it’s easy to feel scared and overwhelmed. And thanks to their innate Strength, the Goliath make perfect Barbarians - pure representations of any creature’s potential, as reflected by their ability to manipulate their Rage into pure art. Who better to wield Rage than the Goliath, as though carved from nature itself?
    • Thanks to the innate Strength and Constitution Ability Score Bonuses of the Goliath, they become perfect for the Barbarian Class. After all, these bonuses show how the Goliath can easily smash into enemy forces when in Rage and their Constitution allows them to tank blows meant for their enemies. Moreover, their sheer size and bonus features seem to help them build towards melee-oriented classes.
    • The Goliath’s Strength bonuses allow it to take full advantage of the Barbarian’s Rage mechanic, which allows it to deal more damage and receive more resistances during combat. Moreover, investing a bit more on Dexterity allows the Goliath Barbarian to enjoy Unarmored Defense and Danger Sense, easily making them tankier allies prepared to soak in damage.
    • The Goliath Barbarian may fit the Ancestral Guardian, Battlerager, Berserker, or even the Wild Soul Primal Paths, especially if Dungeon Masters and Players decide to push through with the Goliath’s exotic and foreign origin story. That way, the Goliath Barbarian’s Rage will appear incredibly unique to them, which may add appeal to the way they coordinate combat tactics with their allies.
  • Fighter:Thanks to the Goliath’s innate characteristics, they make perfect warriors and masters of combat. As a Fighter, a Goliath will be capable of not just fighting enemies, but using the right tools in their disposal to maximize their efficiency in the battlefield - be it in the form of weapons, spells, and maneuvers that can enable the Fighter to become a one-man army that most other combatants will be afraid of.
    • The innate Strength of the Goliath allows them to become excellent melee fighters. Moreover, their natural Constitution allows them to withstand blows and last longer in battle. Thanks to these qualities, Goliaths can not only perform impressive feats of Strength, but also demonstrate remarkable combat prowess that gives them an edge over their opponents.
    • The Goliath Fighter can take full advantage of their Strength bonuses when they pair this with the Fighter’s choice of Fighting Style and Ability Score Improvement. With Fighting Style, Goliath Fighters can effectively gain mastery over the combat tactics of their choosing. Moreover, replacing ASIs with Feats allows them to further diversify their character options. Additionally, their Action Surges and Extra Attacks give them quite the edge in battle.
    • A Goliath Fighter may accommodate multiple Fighter Martial Archetypes that emphasize on their foreign nature. These may include the Psi Knight, the Psychic Warrior, or the Rune Knight that may not be so common in any campaign setting. Either way, they may also adopt the more common Battle Master, Champion, and Monster Hunter subclass that also reflect their sheer ferocity and skill in battle.
  • Monk:The Goliath’s innate physical characteristics and their potential to achieve spiritual clarity can make them perfect Monks, as they can represent the unity of mind and body into achieving internal peace. A Goliath Monk will be able to remove the stereotype of Goliaths simply being burly fighters and instead represent the Monk - the pinnacle of discipline and patience. Who better to devastate the battlefield with martial prowess than the Goliath Monk?
    • A Goliath’s sheer size and stature makes them quite the imposing Monk, and they also have the Strength and Constitution Ability Score Bonus that allows them to achieve such a build. Thanks to these innate qualities, a Goliath Monk will be capable of dishing out vicious attacks and combos. Moreover, they may have just enough hardiness to endure prolonged battles and extreme conditions compared to their teammates.
    • With the right Dexterity Score, Goliath Monks can become a juggernaut in the battlefield. Thanks to Unarmored Defense and Unarmored Movement, Monks can move more freely in the battlefield. These traits, when paired with Ki and Martial Arts, can transform the Monk into a melee powerhouse that can easily bring in heavy damage that can take down most foes that frustrate the party.
    • Players may be able to play off Goliath's foreign and exotic backstory to take on unique Monastic Traditions that can enhance their character’s potential in combat and in roleplaying. These include the Shadow, Soul Knife, Sun Soul, and Tranquility options. Moreover, Matt Mercer’s Cobalt Soul and Exploring Eberron’s Living Weapon may work with a Goliath’s backstory, especially if they come from unknown lands.
  • Paladin:A Goliath’s life in the mountains may have led their paths towards various deities, one of which may have taken the Goliath under their wing as their avatar and representative. As a Paladin, a Goliath swears to uphold the values and wishes of the deity they serve. The Goliath Paladin becomes the vehicle of their God’s peace, as well as wrath.
    • The sheer Strength and Constitution a Goliath possess will enable them to represent their deities to their fullest capacities, with their Ability Score Bonuses enabling the Goliath Paladin to maximize their prowess in melee combat and dish out punishments to enemies of their party. Moreover, their extra features allow them to endure extended travels and pilgrimages, perfect for any kind of backstory.
    • Paladins can be considered as one of the more versatile Classes in the game. However, what they lack in spell diversity, they do make up with their ability to stay within the front lines. As such, the Goliath’s sheer Strength easily complements the Paladin’s Divine Smite and a wide assortment of Smites in their spell list. Moreover, their Fighting Style as well as their Auras of Protection and Courage easily make them better protectors. Moreover, their Lay on Hands and Divine Sense features make them flexible support units as well.
    • A Goliath Paladin may choose an Oath that fits their devotion or backstory, which opens a lot of potential storytelling opportunities if they choose one that plays on their origins. For instance, an Oath of the Ancients Goliath may reflect on their people’s nature of being guardians of the earth. Meanwhile, a Goliath from a more war-focused society might be a member of the Oath of Conquest or the Oath of Glory.
  • Sorcerer:A Goliath in the mountains may have led them to discover their innate arcane connection, allowing them to go beyond their physical forms to tap into the very powers that control nature. As a Sorcerer, a Goliath will be capable of channeling the arcane into creating various effects and wonders that Wizards could only dream of, with wild power they can’t always control.
    • The Goliath’s Strength might come as a surprise if they become Sorcerers, but no one can tell whether a Goliath Sorcerer might need to resort to punches if they need to knock some sense into their enemies. Moreover, their innate Constitution Ability Score Bonus also gives them the opportunity to take on beatings from the very wild magical forces they try to contain.
    • Thanks to the Sorcerer’s versatility, Goliath Sorcerers have a wide array of spells to add to their repertoire. Moreover, unlike a Wizard that needs to continuously add spells to their spellbook, a Sorcerer only needs to be familiar with a spell to cast it. In addition, their Metamagic allows them to manipulate spells as they see fit - enabling them to extend their range, increase their targets, or make them happen much faster, which fits well with Players who want to make more diverse Sorcerers - say a Goliath who wants to smash people head-on while casting spells.
    • A Goliath Sorcerer may have an Origin that plays well with their foreign and exotic nature, especially if the Dungeon Master wants to incorporate these elements into the game’s main story. As such, a Goliath with the Sea, Stone, Storm, or Wild Magic Origins may play their role as protectors of the land. Meanwhile, DMs can use Origins such as the Aberrant Mind, Draconic Soul, Divine Soul, or even Giant Soul to introduce unique NPCs and concepts to the main story.

Size Matters: Interesting Character Backgrounds

Due to the Goliath’s sheer size, it’s reasonable for people to assume that they’re soldiers, warriors, or mercenaries for hire. However, despite these assumptions, Players who want to roll a Goliath may want to expand their character’s background beyond having a penchant for fighting. In fact, Players who want to follow this route may even try to take a spin with their Goliath’s connections with mercenary groups or people they fight with - as they might like fighting, but they may even have a reason to do so. Are they doing this for the money? Are they seeking new experiences? Or perhaps are they doing this for the glory of their tribe?

 

  • Mercenary Veteran (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide):The Goliath’s sheer size might make them in-demand, especially in mercenary guilds and groups. Players might want to capitalize on this opportunity to make their Goliath a part of a mercenary team, having built substantial connections and earned enough savings to finally call it quits. However, this particular adventure may have forced them to step into the shadows once more - whether this becomes their one true “last” job will be entirely up to them.
    • Tools:Gaming Set, Vehicles (Land)
    • Language:None
    • Proficiencies:STR (Athletics), CHA (Persuasion)
  • Outlander (Player’s Handbook):The Goliath’s foreign nature might motivate Players to transform them into Outlanders - someone in search of lost knowledge or perhaps just a travelling foreigner in search of a new home in a land new to them. Their knowledge of distant lands may prove valuable to adventurers who likely end up exploring new realms and new lands. One thing is for certain, though - the Goliath Outlander will likely want to keep themselves on the move.
    • Tools:Musical Instrument x1
    • Language:None
    • Proficiencies:STR (Athletics), WIS (Survival)
  • Sage (Player’s Handbook):The Goliath from a foreign land may end up being a sage They might carry with them knowledge of the past or of unknown events that only their side of the world may have any idea about. Perhaps this particular Goliath had access to books, tomes, and scrolls otherwise forbidden in the adventure’s setting - and how they managed to do that might remain with them.
    • Tools:None
    • Language:Any two languages of their choice
    • Proficiencies:INT (Arcana), INT (History)
  • Spy (Player’s Handbook):Dungeon Masters and Players might transform the Goliath’s foreign nature into that of a political plot hook, as the Goliath may come from another country as a diplomat and even spy for interested parties. The Goliath’s role might be used to further drive the plot forward as they have to report to other spies in the area or find ways to make sure the information they find reaches the right hands.
    • Tools:Gaming Set x1, Thieves’ Tools
    • Language:None
    • Proficiencies:CHA (Deception), DEX (Stealth)
  • Urban Bounty Hunter (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide):The imposing figure of the Goliath might be cause for concern for a lot of people, but especially for ne’er-do-wells that know such a Goliath is actually a bounty hunter. Players might make their Goliaths into Urban Bounty Hunters that travel from city to city, earning their money by capturing criminals and other persons of interest for local governments and various people of power. Their sheer investigative skills aside from their sheer strength make them a force to be reckoned with.
    • Tools:Choose two from: Gaming Set x1, Musical Instrument x1, Thieves’ Tools
    • Language:None
    • Proficiencies:Choose two from: CHA (Deception), WIS (Insight), CHA (Persuasion), and DEX (Stealth)