Neither Giant nor Human, but Stone – Goliath 5e
“Our resources were depleted. Our spirits were smashed. The battle was lost. And then the mountain man (giant, monster…god?) rose up…”
What are Goliaths?
Goliaths are 8-foot-tall hunter-gatherer warriors who wander the unforgiving mountains of Toril. They have bodies as hard as stone, hearts as cold as the wind, and spirits as strong as an entire battalion.
Goliath are born with markings all over their gray skin that they believe control their fate. They are relentless competitors who only believe in survival of the fittest.
Goliath 5e Stats
- Ability Score increase. Strength +2, Constitution +1
- Age. Up to 100.
- Size. Between 7 and 8 feet tall, weight between 280 and 340 pounds. Your size is Medium.
- Speed. 30 feet.
- Natural Athlete. You have proficiency in the Athletics skill.
- Stone’s Endurance. Focus yourself to shrug off injury. Use your reaction to roll a d12 when you take damage. Add your Constitution modifier to the number rolled and reduce the damage by that total. After you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
- Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
- Mountain Born. You have resistance to cold damage. You’re also acclimated to high altitudes, including elevations above 20,000 feet.
- Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Giant. You can speak Gol-Kaa.
Is Goliath a good race in 5e?
Goliath is a great race in 5e for Strength builds. Racial bonuses to STR and CON make them ideal Barbarians, ensuring high HP and combat bonuses. Barbarians and Fighters also benefit greatly from proficiency in Athletics. Stone’s Endurance is very powerful in the early stages. Load your Goliath with gear and use their physical prowess to solve environmental puzzles.
Goliaths are a funny race to roleplay too. They are not used to civilization, they think everything is a competition, and don’t understand social hierarchies. Stand back and watch your Goliath bewilder townsfolk, gamble aggressively at your local tavern, or just fumble around trying to buy modern items …just don’t let them hear you laughing.
How do you play a Goliath?
Intimidation. Roleplaying-wise, Goliaths are fun for intimidation. You’re an 8-foot-tall monster born in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. Harness that mountain energy to fend off wannabe tough guys.
Risk-taking. Goliath are not content with their victories and are always looking for a bigger challenge. You can imagine many scenarios where your Goliath gets the crew into trouble by courting danger or not knowing when to quit.
Power struggles. Goliaths respect honor and strength and want as fair a fight as possible. This presents scenarios and conflicts regarding rules of combat or reactions to events. Your Goliath might be displeased that your crew escaped from combat, compete with other front-line fighters in your group for a kill, or challenge group leadership.
Scarcity mindset. Resources like food, water, and shelter are rare in the uppermost mountain reaches. A single mistake can doom an entire tribe, while an individual’s heroic effort can ensure survival. Your Goliath might be obsessed with resources, or paranoid that other members are not holding their weight.
Chastising. Goliath hold their companions to the same high standard they hold for themselves, and believe the strongest survive in every situation. They might keep a tally of accomplishments in the group, or belittle others for signs of weakness…including small children.
Prestige. Goliath may want to attain a certain nickname for themselves and go off in search of a particularly impressive challenge to attain it. They may also bestow friends who accomplish great things with a Goliath nickname of their very own.
What are Goliath good at?
Goliaths are good at Athletics checks due to the Natural Athlete ability. Growing up in the mountains has its benefits on stamina too. Stone’s Endurance allows Goliaths to shrug off 1d12 + CON of damage done to them as a reaction once per rest. This lets you blaze into battle without fear in early levels, and sometimes even protect or defend the entire team.
If you’re a Barbarian, mixing Bear Totem with Powerful Build makes you a veritable Ox that can carry tons of gear and perform superhuman feats of strength.
What is the best class for a Goliath?
Barbarian is the best class for a Goliath. The next best is Fighter. Both classes benefit from the STR and CON bonuses, plus the racial abilities that reward tanking. A Barbarian is a higher risk-reward than a Fighter and fits the typical Goliath better thematically. Barbarians rely on emotion and adrenaline and add raw power, while a Fighter is all about skill.
The class you choose depends on what type of warrior you want your Goliath to be. Do you want to toss boulders around and scream a lot, or methodically slice up enemies with your axe?
Goliath works well with some other classes too:
Goliath Paladin 5e:
CON is always good to have as a tank, and most Paladin spells don’t require a high CHA spell save to deal their damage. Shield of Faith and similar spells will also do their job regardless of how your low CHA is.
Goliath Cleric 5e:
Like Paladin, you’ll have the AC and HP to run into battle like a boss. Spells like Faith and Bless will protect you and boost your damage, while Cure Wounds can patch you up to keep you on the frontlines where you belong.
Goliath Ranger 5e
Rangers have lots of spells that function and full capacity for only a spell slot. Plus: Two-weapon fighting lets Goliath attack again as a bonus action and add STR. A Goliath with one weapon is a handful, with two weapons is a nightmare!
For an unconventional Goliath, try a Wizard, a Warlock, or a Sorcerer. If you want a challenge, try a Bard! Nothing quite like having a monotone mountain man croon your crew to sleep at night. You will mostly be limited to buffs and debuffs with these classes, but they can still be a lot of fun.
Don’t be afraid to experiment!
There are three theories about the ultimate origins of Goliaths:
- They are related to Stone Giants
- They are related to Earth Genasi
- They are former humans who scaled the Columns of the Sky mountain range to seek an audience with the gods and got transformed into Goliath
Pick one and go with it if you want some extra flavor. Goliath origins are quite mysterious, so you can go in lots of directions.
You can also play around with your Goliath’s appearance in 5e.
Standing 7 or 8 feet tall, a Goliath’s height is their most striking feature along with their skin markings.
A Goliath has gray skin with dark and light patches that Goliath shamans use to foretell a Goliath’s fate. Goliaths will not get tattoos or other markings as they believe it can change their life’s path.
Lithoderms, small coin-sized growths of bone, are peppered over their arms, shoulders, and torsos. Goliath have jutting eyebrow ridges and wide jaws. Their eyes are a brilliant blue or green, and can appear quite striking due to the contrast caused from their furrowed brows.
Goliaths generally dress as lightly as possible, because they are proud of their skin markings and want others to see. They may wear fur or hide that they have hunted and skinned themselves. Goliaths often decorate themselves with jewelry, such as ear, nose, or brow piercings. They may also pierce their many lithoderms.
Male Goliaths generally have hair only on their limbs, while females can have long hair that is braided.
Can Goliaths and humans breed? You bet!
If you’re going this route, try a Human Variant. Take STR and CON as your +1s as and proficiency in Survival or Athletics. For a feat pick Tough or Resilient. Your Human-Goliath hybrid will of course be smaller, and might not have as many markings. They might also have more hair and different-colored eyes.
Goliath can also breed with Orcs and Dwarves, which makes for an…interesting mix.
Goliaths rely on themselves and value self-sufficiency and individual skill above all else. They have a strong desire for personal accountability. They will work with others but never depend on others. Goliath trade furs, skins, and other materials with neighboring tribes such as Dwarves.
There aren’t not many elderly goliaths, because Goliaths tend to die at the peak of their physical powers in the midst of battle. Goliaths drive each other to relentless competition, which helps them survive but also endangers their future.
Goliaths also believe in fairness. If an opponent has some bad luck, a Goliath might even the score to ensure a fight worthy of honor.
Goliath males and females are equals, and they are perplexed by cultures with gender roles. The best Goliath for the job is the one with the most strength and skill.
Goliaths are always competing. They tend sheep, hunt for game, pick berries or other herbs and see who does the best. During their leisure time, they play sports or games.
Goliath leisure activities:
Cliff-climb. A simple race up a mountain. Perhaps with a backpack of items as a handicap to stronger climbers.
King of the Hill. Shove each other off a boulder. Last one standing wins.
Goat-ball. Yes, goat-ball. It’s like dodgeball, but with elevated platforms.
Drink-and-tell. Drink, then tell. Last one standing wins.
Note to DMs: The above activities are great ways to pass the time and build camaraderie! Just make sure your party’s Goliath doesn’t catch anyone cheating…
Goliaths have a name assigned by their parents, a nickname from a tribal elder, and a family or clan name.
Goliath Birth names:
- Up to three syllables long.
- Not linked to gender
Examples: Aukan, Eglath, Gae-Al, Gauthak, Ilikan, Keothi, Kuori, Lo-Kag, Manneo, Maveith, Nalla, Orilo, Paavu, Pethani, Thalai, Thotham, Uthal, Vaunea, Vimak
- Can change depending on the whim of the tribal leader
- An honorific for a notable deed or great failure
- Given to respected friends and races by Goliath
Examples: Bearkiller, Dawncaller, Fearless, Flintfinder, Horncarver, Keeneye, Lonehunter, Longleaper, Rootsmasher, Skywatcher, Steadyhand, Threadtwister, Twice-Orphaned, Twistedlimb, Wordpainter
Goliath Clan names:
- Five syllables or more, ending in a vowel.
- Depends on region
Examples: Anakalathai, Elanithino, Gathakanathi, Kalagiano, Katho-Olavi, Kolae-Gileana, Ogolakanu, Thuliaga, Thunukalathi, Vaimei-Laga
Goliaths present their names in the order above: birth name, nickname, clan name. In casual conversation, they use their nickname.
Goliath 5e FAQ
Are Goliaths born with tattoos?
No, a Goliath’s markings are technically skin pigmentation or mottled skin. They appear as tattoos to the common eye.
Do Goliaths have hair?
Male Goliaths typically have hair on their limbs, but not their heads. A Goliath that is pure-blood of giants may be smooth-skinned all the way through.
Do female Goliaths have hair?
Yes, female Goliaths tend to have hair that is long, dark, and braided.
Are Goliaths half-giants?
In Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse, Goliaths are “distantly related to Giants.” Some people believe the Goliath descended from Stone Giants, and exist now as Stone Giants in diluted form.
Do Goliaths have natural armor?
No. Goliaths have no proficiency with any armor or shield. Their skin is not made of stone, it only appears so.
Do Goliaths make good Monks?
Yes. Goliath is great for all martial classes. You’ll be able to do devastating combos as a Goliath Monk with your high STR and CON. It also makes sense that Goliaths would be stoic in nature due to their mountain upbringing.
What is Goliath’s alignment in 5e?
Goliaths started off as lawful neutral, but as the race evolved they are now seen as lawful good. You can also be lawful evil if your Goliath has a particularly nasty history, but remember they are always fair, even when committing evil.