The Fey find their influences scattered amongst the various playable races in Dungeons & Dragons 5E. If you’ve played an Elf or a Gnome before, you’ve technically played a fey! Over time, more and more fey influences have wormed their way into the character books. One of these fey creatures is known as the Firbolg. These gentle giants might seem tall and intimidating from the outset, but they’re as kind and charming as Fey can get. Find out why you might want to play one in our Firbolg 5E race guide.
Firbolg 5E Lore
The Firbolg are a fey race, meaning they originate in the Feywild and tend to stick to their forests. Unlike most fey, the Firbolg are comfortable staying away from other non-fey races. They adore peace, and a day spent with family and their forest is a day worth living. They are hugely resourceful, and thus can live off of nature easily. A Firbolg who witnesses acts of greed and malice tends to be disgusted. You can’t eat a gold coin, and a bejeweled sword won’t keep your children from freezing to death.
Because of this connection to nature, Firebolgs tend to stick to druidic circles. Their reverence of nature and their natural ability to scavenge makes their circles strong and large. Because of this, many tribes are ran by druids, a blessing and a curse; some druids value nature and the forest more than the life of Firbolgs. Many tribes pass on in order to allow nature to continue.
When Firbolgs are threatened, a peaceful method is looked for first. They’re cooperative creatures, and will try to gently avoid conflict rather than face it head-on. They will first attempt to make the forest unappealing to explore using their magic. If that fails, Firbolgs are able to naturally turn invisible, allowing for questions and diplomacy to be made in the dark. In the case that an intruder does not listen to them, and seems to be a threat… The Firbolg race is more than capable at combat. A fierce Firbolg tribe can lay waste to a town, not unlike a natural disaster, mixed with magically strengthened Viking raids. Invoking the ire of a Firbolg is quite difficult, and usually is the last mistake a non-adventurer makes.
Making friends with a Firbolg is difficult, but far from impossible. Druids and Rangers make fast friends with the gentle giants, and most creatures can coexist with a Firbolg, as long as they promise to safeguard nature.
Firbolg adventurers only come about due to a tragedy. If a Firbolg is exiled, or their clan is killed, then they are forced to find community or other ways of surviving. Some Firbolgs must leave home to deliver a crucial task, after which they usually return home quickly. Firbolgs who willingly become adventurers are almost non-existent.
Firbolgs don’t normally have names, and usually call themselves by the location by which they live. If they are forced to interact with others, they may take on an Elven name. Check out our Firbolg Name Guide for more info.
All Firbolgs, sans GM permission, have the same statistics across the board. That’s fine, because the Firbolg has fantastic racial traits and statistics.
- +2 Strength, +1 Wisdom. Strength is perhaps the least important of the physical stats. Strength boosts your attack rolls with melee weapons, Athletics, and Strength Saves. Also, strength allows you to be faster in Heavy Armor. None of these are critical, but strength builds can become the most brutal and damaging melee builds possible. Wisdom is the most important mental stat; Wisdom saves are the most common save and Perception checks are the most common skill. You’ll be happy even boosting Wisdom just a touch, even in classes that don’t rely on it.
- Medium, 30 Ft Speed. The expected stats for a given 5E race. You’re considered 5 feet tall (though Firbolgs are normally 7-8 feet tall, and almost 300 pounds). This affects what you can consider cover, or what you can look over. Remember your height; it could come in handy!
- Firbolg Magic. Two really solid spells. Detect Magic can be cast using a Ritual, which wouldn’t spend a spell slot. However, you don’t need to waste one of your spells known on it, which is fantastic. Disguise Self is fine for social situations, and allows your giant butt to fit in in any town that you really desire. Humans are accepted almost everywhere after all!
- Hidden Step. At the very worst, this is a Bonus Action once per short rest to gain advantage on an attack roll. Invisibility for just one turn is obviously less useful than most other invisibility effects. But, you can use this to easily reposition, keep yourself safe for a healing round, and even prepare an ambush. This isn’t a spell, either, so you can still cast a full spell and then spend a bonus action to become invisible. Super useful!
- Powerful Build. Sweet, you’re a pack animal. You’ll basically have infinite carrying capacity, though that rarely matters.
- Speech of Beast and Leaf. Really basic animal talk. It’s nice to not need to take a spell slot, but the information you can convey is limited. Better for flavor, but you can solve some problems with this.
- Languages. Elvish is widely-known, and Giant may allow you to act as a translator for potentially dangerous combats. So… Two wins!
What Class is Best for Firbolg?
The Firbolg’s stats and kit make them extremely potent in a few relatively specific roles. The Strength bonus especially points them in a rather particular way.
Good Classes for Firbolgs
- Barbarian. Barbarians benefit quite a lot from the Firbolg’s kit. The Strength is an obvious boon, your Invisibility can be useful for stealth scenarios, and the Wisdom is a great defensive stat for you. You don’t get the Constitution to back you up, but few races get both Strength and Constitution. This is a good aggressive choice with alright utility.
- Cleric. Firbolg Clerics might not make much sense in flavor, but if a Firbolg makes friends with a clergy, it might be a natural fit. Clerics (especially Heavy Armor Domains) love Strength, and Firbolgs still have Wisdom to back you up. You don’t need Darkvision since Clerics get Light, and Clerics have trouble getting invisibility. This is a great combo!
- Druid. Firbolgs make natural druids… Though they’re not perfect. You don’t want to be a Wild Shape build because you get a ton of Strength. You might want to consider some of the hybrid clerics, like the Druid of Spores. That way you can make better use of your fantastic Strength and the Druid’s Medium Armor Proficiency.
- Fighter. Fighters benefit a ton from the Firbolg’s +2 Strength and access to basic magic. Any Strength-based fighter build might be what you’re looking for. The Firbolg isn’t quite perfect, however, due to the Fighter not being the best at using temporary invisibility. Still, great melee Fighter.
- Ranger. The Strength-based ranger build is probably not as good as the long ranged option. However, with a Dual-Wielding style, you can beat pretty much anyone with Hunter’s Mark. Then, you have loads of utility with your Invisibility (to approach people) and the ability to even detect magic without using a spell slot! Though your lack of Darkvision is a problem.
Bad Classes for Firbolgs
- Artificer. Artificers don’t care about Strength or Wisdom. They just want Intelligence. So a Firbolg would just be bringing Invisibility and some basic magic to the table, both things Artificers have in droves.
- Bard. Similar to Artificer, Strength isn’t too useful for any bard other than Valor bards. And those bards still want Charisma, something the Firbolg doesn’t have. The Racial abilities are nice, but offer nothing new to the Firbolg toolset.
- Monk. Firbolg monks are possible, but really rough. Monks basically ignore Strength with their base class skills, so your Strength isn’t worthwhile. Monks also gain many benefits outside of armor… Something the Firbolg really likes. The extra racial bonuses are nice though!
- Paladin. Firbolgs make fine Paladins. Completely reasonable. The invisibility is great for utility, the magic detection will save you tons of spell slots. However, your lack of Charisma boost is rough, making you a little bit worse with your auras. Also, you don’t get Constitution, so you’re a slightly worse tank. This isn’t that bad… It’s just not great. Fighter might be better. You can see our Paladin 5E guide for tips on an optimal paladin build.
- Rogue. Rogues are way too desperate for Dexterity. You can use Invisibility to get sneak attack, but otherwise the Firbolg gets nothing that a Rogue cares for. You don’t get Darkvision, extra skills… It’s just not quite there.
- Sorcerer. Without charisma bonuses, your spells will suffer a ton, and invisibility is something the Sorcerer has way too much of. You don’t benefit a lot from this.
- Warlock. Once again, no Charisma bonus, so you’re not really doing much in terms of spell efficiency. Even melee Warlocks prefer to be Hexblades and use Charisma to fight instead. Firbolg just doesn’t have the tools to make the less potent spells work.
- Wizard. Even moreso than Sorcerer, the Firebolg offers the Wizard nothing they want. The utility of invisibility or detect magic means nothing at all to the Wizard.
Despite a plethora of fan art depicting firbolgs as large, blue, cow people, there is little in the way of official lore that covers what firbolgs look like. We do know that they are large, often coming in at over 7 feet tall and 300 pounds.
Firbolgs are one of those races whose appearance has changed dramatically across editions of D&D. Originally, these creatures were much more humanoid. They leaned into their half-giant nature, looking more likely enormous vikings than cows. Only in 5E does
Firbolg 5E FAQ
This section is dedicated to answering all of your burning questions about the Firbolg race in D&D.
Are Firbolg Cow People?
Firbolgs are technically not “cow people.” They are not related to cows in any way, and their official description has little detail other than their ears are long. The concept of a cow-like bovine may have started with Matthew Mercer, who previously described a firbolg’s nose as “bovine” during an episode of Critical Role. For that reason, many artists depict firbolgs as being cow-like in nature.
Are Firbolg Fey?
Mechanically, firbolg are Humanoid creatures as opposed to Fey. This is in conflict with the original lore of the race, which is described as a form of fey-giant ancestry. For the purposes of spellcasting and other effects, firbolg are treated as Humanoids.
Can Firbolgs be Druids?
Thematically, firbolgs make for exceptional druids. While you get a nice boost to Wisdom, the +2 bonus to strength is largely wasted on Druids. Strength-based druids are uncommon, especially since most melee builds focus on WildShape. That said, the natural magical abilities of a firbolg are a nice fit for a druid spellcaster.
Can a Firbolg Lie?
There are no restrictions on a firbolg’s ability to like in D&D 5E. This was a trait of the firbolg race in older editions of the game, however. They were extremely honest and could not lie without feeling physical discomfort, even if the lie was by omission. This aspect of the firbolgs
How Old Should My Firbolg Be?
Firbolgs – like most of the creatures that inhabit the D&D multiverse – usually live for roughly a century. Of course, that period of time could be much shorter for firbolg druids or fighters that meet an ugly end while adventuring. Could have sworn they had a longer lifespan? You’re not wrong! In Volo’s Guide to Monsters (and in previous editions) firbolgs could live up to 500 years. Creature lifespans saw a lot of changes in Monsters of the Multiverse. A firbolg adventurer is likely in their 20’s or 30’s.
Concluding our Firbolg 5E Guide
The Firbolg are gentle giants with a great backstory to boot. However, their stats do weigh them more into the frontliner role, without much Constitution to back it up. If you want to beat face, try out these peaceful guys for a more complex character! they are also a great option if you are a fan of inherent spellcasting.