Firbolg Guide 5e

Published on June 11, 2020, Last modified on November 7th, 2022

Arcane Eye may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn more.

What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the firbolg will be right for your 5e character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your firbolg. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Firbolgs in 5e?

Source: Volo's Guide to Monsters

Firbolgs are considered the most intelligent of giant folk. They are typically calm, nature-loving creatures that prefer to spend their time in their forest sanctuary. Firbolgs have a strong, innate talent for druidic magic. This magic aids them as they tend to their forests and defend them from those who would do them harm.

Firbolg 5e Traits

Ability Score Increase: A +2 to WIS and +1 to STR certainly isn’t a stat most classes are looking for. Rangers and monks typically go for DEX alongside their WIS, whereas the STR based semi-casters like Eldritch Knight and paladin using INT and CHA respectively. WIS casters like druids and clerics find the +2 WIS bonus hard to come by, so they are going to love this class even if the STR bonus isn’t necessarily something they are looking for.

Age: Firbolgs reach adulthood at a similar age as humans (30) and the oldest among them can live up to 500.

Alignment: Neutral Good is a lot easier to fit into a character than stricter alignments.

Size: Firbolgs are on the upper limit of medium size, being 7-8 ft tall, 300lbs.

Speed: 30ft

Firbolg Magic: Detect Magic and Disguise Self, especially the buffed version of disguise self are great utility spells to have in your pocket.

Hidden Step: A free invisibility spell once per day is extremely strong at low levels and still useful at higher levels.

Powerful Build: The extra carrying capacity is always nice, no downsides except being too large for fantasy rollercoasters.

Speech of Beast and Leaf: Being able to communicate with beasts and plants is a nice ability, but it is extremely limited in the fact that you cannot understand them back.

Language: Common, Elvish, and Giant are some great languages to get off the bat.

Firbolg 5e Subraces

Updated

In the Monsters of the Multiverse update, firbolgs have been significantly improved by allowing them to use their abilities more often.

Firbolg Magic: Firbolg Magic is now a lot better since you can also use spell slots to cast the spells if you want to use them more than once per short rest. The spellcasting ability for these spells has also now been expanded to INT, WIS, or CHA (your choice) to allow for more flexibility when choosing a class.

Hidden Step: Firbolgs now get even more chances to turn invisible since the number of uses is now tied to proficiency bonus instead of locked into once per short rest. This means you get more uses as you level up.

Powerful Build: This is the same as the original firbolg.

Speech of Beast and Leaf: This is the same as the original firbolg.

Which 5e Classes Work With Firbolgs?

Artificer: Artificers need INT to be effective.

  • Updated: With the option to take +2 INT, the firbolg becomes a viable race for an artificer, adding a couple of spells that they wouldn't otherwise have access to.

Barbarian: The +2 to WIS is going to be wasted, except for when you cast your Firbolg Magic spells. The +1 to STR and Powerful Build is nice. Being able to go invisible and cast some limited spells can improve your utility to your party.

  • Updated: Though you can take +2 STR, the spellcasting doesn't add anything useful to a barbarian's arsenal.

Bard: No CHA and no DEX would be a hard choice for a bard.

  • Updated: With the free choice of ASI, the firbolg becomes an excellent bard. Getting disguise self, detect magic and saves you from learning them, and Hidden Step saves you from learning invisibility, opening up many more options for choosing spells.

Cleric: +2 to WIS is quite a rare racial bonus, and the extra spells are great. The STR will help if you are going for a heavy armor cleric build.

  • Updated: The updated firbolg will likely still choose WIS, but the improvements to the racial traits makes it even better for a cleric, giving you access to spells and effects clerics otherwise wouldn't have.

Druid: Firbolgs are a great choice for a druid. Their Speech of Beast and Leaf, bonus to WIS, and extra spells are extremely synergistic.

  • Updated: The updated firbolg will likely still choose WIS, but the improvements to the racial traits makes it even better for a druid, giving you access to spells and effects clerics otherwise wouldn't have.

Fighter: The +2 to WIS is going to be wasted, except for when you cast your Firbolg Magic spells. The +1 to STR and Powerful Build is nice. Being able to go invisible and cast some limited spells can improve your utility to your party.

  • Updated: Even with flexible ASIs, the spells that the firbolg gets don't help a fighter do what they do best - fight.

Monk: The +2 to WIS is effective, but monks really rely on DEX for all of their class abilities.

  • Updated: With the freedom to choose +2 DEX, the firbolg becomes a more attractive choice for a monk. The spells and effects here are nice, especially invisibility, as monks typically can't get access to that.

Paladin: The +2 to WIS is going to be wasted, except for when you cast your Firbolg Magic spells. The +1 to STR and Powerful Build is nice. Being able to go invisible and cast some limited spells can improve your utility to your party.

  • Updated: With the freedom to choose STR, DEX, and CHA, the firbolg becomes a more attractive choice for a paladin. The spells and effects here are nice, especially invisibility, as paladins typically can't get access to that. Disguise self and Speech of Beast and Leaf can be useful given a higher CHA score.

Ranger: This is a great choice for rangers, because of the racial bonuses. Most rangers prefer DEX to STR as ranged combat is their forte.

  • Updated: The updated firbolg will likely still choose WIS, but the improvements to the racial traits makes it even better for a ranger, giving you access to spells and effects rangers otherwise wouldn't have. The spells and effects firbolgs get make rangers much better at stealth and infiltration.

Rogue: The firbolg doesn’t have a lot for rogues outside of the Firbolg Magic and Hidden Step, and Arcane Tricksters can gain access to these spells pretty easily.

  • Updated: With flexible ASIs, the firbolg is an excellent choice for rogues that don't choose to become Arcane Tricksters but still want some spells to aid with stealth and infiltration.

Sorcerer: Sorcerers need CHA to be effective.

  • Updated: With flexible ASIs, firbolgs are an excellent choice for sorcerers to give them more spells at their disposal.

Warlock: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.

  • Updated: With flexible ASIs, the firbolg's free spell casts are excellent for warlocks due to their extremely limited number of spell slots.

Wizard: Wizards need INT to be effective.

  • Updated: Though they can choose +2 INT, a firbolg wizard would be redundant because wizards get access to the firbolg's spells already.

Sources Used in This Guide

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Use the buttons below to fine tune the content you see in our guides.