Goliath 5e Guide

Published on January 26, 2021, Last modified on May 6th, 2021

What is this guide?

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

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Goliath. 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 is an OK option
  • 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 Goliaths?

Goliaths are a solitary race, choosing to live on the most treacherous of mountain peaks away from prying eyes. Their large stature, great strength, and resistance to the elements has allowed them to survive in extreme frigid conditions. Goliaths have strong ties to their nomadic tribes, and are driven by a fierce competitive nature that leaves no room for weakness or remorse for those who do not contribute. Due to their beliefs, Goliaths tend to not understand the hierarchical power structures of typical societies and value strength and fair competition above all else. 

Goliaths can be found for free in the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion.

Goliath Traits

Ability Score Increase: A +2 to STR and +1 to CON is perfect for a select few builds and synergizes very well, but will offer nothing to most classes.

Size: Medium is the typical size of most races, and is neither good nor bad. Goliaths are on the upper end of the Medium size threshold at 7 to 8 feet tall and weighing between 280 and 340 pounds.

Speed: Goliaths have a standard walking speed of 30 feet.

Natural Athlete: Free skill proficiencies are always great. Athletics is ideal for the Goliath because of their huge +2 STR bonus.

Stone’s Endurance: A great use of your reaction that refreshes on a short rest. Reducing damage by a d12 + CON modifier is absolutely huge at lower levels and remains relevant throughout a campaign.

Powerful Build: Not everyone plays with strict carrying capacity limits, but Powerful Build can let you get away with some nonsense if you are a hoarder. Being able to push, drag, or lift more weight is more interesting and is likely to come up in a campaign.

Mountain Born: Mountain Born is another trait that boosts the Goliath’s survivability. Cold damage is one of the more common damage types, so having a built-in resistance is very useful.

Which Classes Work With Goliaths?

Looking at the ASIs and racial traits of the Goliath, it is quite obvious what sort of playstyle is intended. Ideally, Goliaths want to be a damage soaker and destroy their foes with a STR weapon.

Artificer: Artificers need INT to be effective.

Barbarian: Goliaths are perfectly suited for Barbarians, giving even the half-orc a run for their money. Stone’s Endurance makes Reckless Attack less scary, so you can be even more, well, reckless!

Bard: Bards really want that CHA boost for their spells, and melee Bards are better off going for a DEX build.

Cleric: STR builds are quite good for this class, and the Goliath will make for one tanky Cleric. The main issue here is that Clerics are a full caster class, so without WIS you are at quite a handicap until you can boost it to a comfortable level with ASIs.

Druid: Druids need WIS to be effective.

Fighter: Everything about the Goliath is perfect for a STR-based Fighter. With the Goliath’s traits, your Fighter will deal massive damage while being able to tank for the party.

Monk: DEX and WIS are paramount for the effectiveness of a Monk, so missing both here hurts. STR can be useful for a Grapple/Shove build, but that won’t be enough to make up for the poor stat distribution.

Paladin: Some Paladins do not want to pump their CHA as high as it can go for spellcasting, and will instead focus on STR for melee damage output while focusing on spells that don’t require CHA to be effective. In that case, Goliath Paladins are quite strong and will be effective tanks rivaling the other viable melee classes.

Ranger: Rangers are typically bow users, and melee ranger builds would likely prefer finesse weapons.

Rogue: DEX is simply too good to consider a STR Rogue without multiclassing.

Sorcerer: Sorcerers need CHA to be effective.

Warlock: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.

Wizard: Wizards need INT to be effective.

Roland Drews

Roland Drews is a content creator and editor at Arcane Eye. When he isn't watching basketball or noodling on his guitar, you can find Roland reading, writing, or playing D&D. He currently lives in Bonn, Germany with his girlfriend Jess.