Looking to learn about Dungeons and Dragons’ Goliath 5e race? Goliaths sometimes go a little underappreciated by players, but they have a lot to offer, beyond just the height advantage. This lanky, loping DnD species can be customized to a wide array of character concepts, and quite accessible for new players too, so we’ve written this guide to include all the key Goliath stats, traits, and lore.
As with any of the DnD races, you can use our library of expert guides to decide your Goliath character’s choice of DnD classes, their main DnD stats, and more. To make things easier, check out our picks of the best DnD character sheets and DnD character creator tools online, too.
For now, though, read on for everything you need to know to get started playing a Goliath in DnD 5e. There’s lots of fun to be had with this race – after all, when else do you get to take on the role of an eight-foot-tall, fur-clad tower of muscle?
Who are the DnD Goliaths?
Unlike better known species such as the Elf 5e or Halfling 5e races, where populations live all over the place – often mixed with other species in cities – DnD 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 DnD Wizard college; they might till the land on a small country farm.
Goliath 5e stats
As for other playable D&D races, there are core Goliath 5e stats that designate buffs to particular ability scores, and give your character 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 DnD background, the Goliath race is a cracking option to include in just about any DnD setting your party’s heading for.
According to what we know of D&D Goliath lore, 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 Dungeon Master, 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 five 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).