Learn about goliaths
Goliaths are a nomadic race in D&D 5e. As their name implies, they’re tall and robust in stature and tend to be stronger than most races. They typically live in frigid mountainous regions giving them a natural resistance to the cold and places of low oxygen. They are fiercly competitive, respecting strength above all else and shunning those that are considered weak. Our guide will help you know everything you need to when choosing a goliath as a playable race including which classes suit the race best.
Goliath Features in 5e
|Ability Scores||+2 to one ability score and +1 to another or +1 to 3 different ability scores|
|Traits||Little Giant, Mountain Born, Stone’s Endurance|
|Book found in||Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, Volo’s Guide to Monsters|
If you want to play as a goliath, your character will have the following traits and abilities:
Little Giant – You have proficiency in the athletics skill and 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 also naturally acclimatise to high altitudes naturally, even if you’ve never been to one. This includes altitudes above 20,000 feet.
Stone’s Endurance – You are supernaturally tough. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage you receive. Reduce the damage you receive by d12 + your constitution modifier. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus and regain all uses when you finish a long rest.
Which classes are good for a goliath?
As you’d imagine, the goliath’s traits are ideal for frontline warriors as they make the character more resistant to damage. The possible exception here is barbarians. While goliaths still make great barbarians, they do lessen stone’s endurance a little as damage reduction occurs before resistance is applied so you take the damage reduction of the full damage amount before halving how much damage you receive. This is a shame as goliaths thematically make excellent barbarians.
Best classes for goliaths
Fighters are always going to be in the middle of combat and while they do get heavy armour and high hit points, reduced damage is always going to be very helpful here. On top of this, using stone’s endurance is a reaction which fighters don’t tend to be using too often anyway for other reasons like casting shield. Cold resistance only serves to make them a little hardier and athletics proficiency means you an pump proficiency into another skill. Essentially, everything about a goliath works great for a fighter.
Monks are another class that tend to get into the thick of combat, but unlike fighters, are much less tough. They have lower AC and HP meaning anything that can reduce damage is really important. Thankfully, this is where goliaths are great with multiple opportunities to reduce damage taken and resistance to cold damage. Athletics proficiency tends to be less important for monks but the traits do work really well for a monk.
Rangers benefit in similar ways to monks when it comes to a goliath’s traits. With lower AC than fighters and lower HP than barbarians, they need ways to be a little tougher. Stone’s endurance will reduce damage taken and you get cold resistance to lessen certain damage types a bit too. Athletics proficiency can be useful too for a ranger.
worst classes for goliaths
The worst classes for goliaths are those that will struggle to take advantage of their best trait, stone’s endurance. This means classes that tend not to be in the thick of combat and/or might be using their reaction for something else.
With this in mind, goliaths make very poor rogues. Not only are they thematically challenging (really big and really stealthy rarely go together), but you’ll likely want to use uncanny dodge for your reaction over stone’s endurance.
Bards also struggle in this regard, they just don’t get into the thick of combat often and may want to use hellish rebuke or even counterspell (as bards can take a few wizard spells) for their reaction instead. For similar reasons, wizards and sorcerors are also poor options for goliaths.