The mighty DnD 5e Goliath is perhaps an underappreciated Dungeons and Dragons race, competing with straightforward classics like Elf or Halfling on one side, and exotic wildcards like Tabaxi and Leonin on the other. However, Goliaths have a lot to offer (beyond simply being very tall). They’re remarkably personalisable, allowing for a wide array of character concepts, and quite accessible too – so even someone new to the game will be able to navigate building a Goliath. Read on for a run-down of their lore, names, and in-game stats.
Traditionally, the Goliaths live as reclusively as possible on top of mountains, not enjoying the attention of any outside their community. They tend to act nomadically, moving from place to place, but always remaining in sight of mountain ranges – but that doesn’t have to be the story for your Goliath. Yours might have made a new life for themselves in the middle of a bustling city; they might teach at a prominent wizard college; they might till the land on a small country farm.
In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to get started playing a Goliath in DnD 5e. We’ll talk about the lore, goliath names, and all the mechanics for playing a Goliath. Fundamentally, there’s lots of fun to be had with this DnD race – after all, when else do you get to take on the role of an eight-foot-tall tower of muscle?
Here’s what you need to know about the DnD 5e Goliath:
According to D&D canon lore, Goliath communities tend to be very shy and insular, sticking with their own kind in tight-knit clan groups, and rarely leaving their remote, hostile, mountainous homelands. The culture within Goliath clans is highly competitive; traditionally, Goliaths follow a creed of ‘survival of the fittest’, and use intense combat as a way to settle disputes within their communities.
Still, while the standing lore is all about physical strength, combat, competition, and deciding the fate of the group through fighting, you don’t have to cleave strictly to that. When adding Goliaths to your world, either rolling a Goliath character as a player, or including Goliaths in your story as DM, make ‘em whoever – and however – you like. Do what’s right for you and your table, and makes sense for your story.
Interestingly, Goliath names diverge from those of most other DnD races, as they tend to take three separate names. The first is a birth name given to them by their parents. The second is a nickname given to them by the leader of their clan. The third is the name of the clan itself.
In addition to the three names, there are also rules about how long the various names can be. For example, the birth name can only be three syllables or shorter, while the clan name is always no fewer than 5 syllables long, and ends in a vowel. The nicknames are able to be a little more loose, and don’t follow any specific rules.
Goliath naming conventions can be a bit complicated – but also allow a ton of room for player creativity. Plus, their nicknames are always changing based on the whim of their chiefs and clan leaders, so you can have a list of names as long or as short as you want, and switch them up throughout your campaign(s).
Goliath 5e stats
Just like all other playable races in D&D, the Goliath has buffs to ability scores, and a set speed and size – though the +2 and +1 racial ability score buffs are now optional; you can swap them to any other ability scores of your choosing (maybe your Goliath has smaller biceps and a bigger brain).
|DnD statistic||Goliath stats|
|Recommended Ability Score increase||+2 Strength, +1 Constitution|
|Size||Between 7 and 8 feet (Medium)|
Goliath 5e traits
The Goliath has a powerful slate of racial traits, which – though they’re often more geared for utility than combat – can be helpful in almost any D&D scenario.
|Natural Athlete||You have Proficiency in Athletics checks|
|Stone’s Endurance||[Once per short rest] When you take damage, you can use your Reaction to roll a d12, add your Constitution modifier, and reduce the damage by the total|
|Powerful Build||When determining what you can push, pull, or lift, and what your carrying capacity is, you count as one Size larger (i.e. Large)|
|Mountain Born||You do not need to acclimate to higher altitudes (under 20,000 feet) and you have resistance to Cold damage.|
There’s a lot to love about the DnD 5e Goliath, and we’ve only scratched the surface here. With a towering body type that’s sure to start many an amusing NPC chat; a range of potent racial traits; and an interesting (but optional and flexible) cultural background, the Goliath race is a cracking option to include in just about any DnD setting your party’s heading for.