When building a firbolg character in DnD 5e, consider the following characteristics and builds:
- Firbolg culture and lifestyle
- Firbolg abilities: Hidden Step, Firbolg Magic, Speech of Beast and Leaf
- Druid Circle of Spores
- Druid Circle of Wildfire
- Ranger Horizon Walker
- Cleric Domain of Nature
Firbolg culture and lifestyle
The hermit-like firbolg people appear as bulky, tall, moderately hairy beings of nature who connect with the forest on a deep level. Clans are often small, with many firbolg wandering the forest alone. Though reaching heights of 7 and 8 feet and weighing 250-300 lbs, firbolgs are gentle giants. Really, this race has some serious bigfoot themes—the hulking nature guardian who can somehow disappear.
Instinctually nomadic and inheriting magic, the firbolg have methods of hiding their size with a natural invisibility ability. Culturally, they inherit the role of nature guardians, often preserving the ecology of a chosen piece of wilderness and speaking to the lifeforms within. Plus, they tend to be shy, disguising themselves to fit into human, dwarf or elf societies. This combination of factors gives them a natural affinity toward the druid class.
Firbolg abilities: Hidden Step, Firbolg Magic, Speech of Beast and Leaf
Firbolgs carry some of the coolest natural abilities and gain a +2 Wisdom/+1 Strength modifier.
Hidden Step is the firbolg’s ability to disappear between turns. As a bonus action, I can turn invisible until I attack, cast a spell or force a target to make a saving throw. Otherwise, my invisibility lasts until my next turn.
My Firbolg Magic grants me detect magic and disguise self as inherent spells. Detect magic can point me toward the source of a magical presence, deciphering what school of magic it comes from. Disguise self grants me the ability to magically change my appearance. For the firbolg, this means I can shorten my height and lessen my weight to appear more human.
Speech of Beast and Leaf gives me the ability to speak to plants and animals. However, I don’t necessarily understand them the same way. I could communicate an idea with a squirrel and see how it reacts. But I couldn’t just sit and have a conversation. That said, a firbolg druid could enhance this communication with spells.
Finally, Powerful Build gives me the carrying capacity of a creature one size larger. The firbolg are Medium—technically speaking. Therefore, I count as Large when it comes to carrying weight because I’m stacked.
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Druid Circle of Spores
With the firbolg’s Wisdom boost and inherent abilities, they can play any druid well. However, the Circle of Spores uses both my Wisdom and Strength aspects. This druid subclass is best used in conjunction with a melee-fighting druid who doesn’t shapeshift often, drawing foes into my toxic cloud of spores.
I’ll build this druid initially with spells like Shillelaugh and cure wounds, carrying a wooden shield for a little added protection. I’ll probably add a scimitar to the mix—the go-to druid sword.
Level 2 will grant me my first Circle of Spores spells and abilities. The unique spells this druid can learn are necrotic and poisonous by nature. I’ll start with chill touch, eventually leveling to animate dead and blight.
Abilities like Halo of Spores and Symbiotic Entity utilize my fungal connection with a cloud of spores. I can manipulate these spores in different ways.
First, Halo of Spores deals 1d4 necrotic damage to enemies who move within 10 feet of me. This damage is dealt at the beginning of each turn the creature stays in range. Also, it increases as I level up.
Then, Symbiotic Entity uses my Wild Shape ability to enhance my physical combat abilities. My spores fuse into my body, granting me 4 X level temporary HP while active. Now, I can roll my Halo of Spores damage 2 times and deal an extra 1d6 necrotic damage with weapon attacks.
Druid Circle of Wildfire
The Circle of Wildfire offers another solid example of a shield/weapon druid build, utilizing a summoned Wildfire Spirit and a unique list of fire and healing spells. I’ll be using my Wild Shape uses to summon my Wildfire Spirit, so it’s important to keep myself defended in firbolg form.
This character leans into the destructive and restorative elements of a forest fire, making me a fire specialist who also acts as the party’s healer. Spells such as burning hands, flaming sphere, scorching ray and flame strike give me way to dish out significant damage. Plus, I’ll have cure wounds, revivify, mass cure wounds and even plant growth to balance this list with life-giving options. At later levels, I’ll be able to enhance fire and healing magic effects.
My Wildfire Spirit can take any form of my choosing, but it must be Small in size. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything gives an example of a fox, and I’m all about the lore of fire foxes. The spirit takes its turn after mine, giving me the chance to multiply my actions on the field. Also, the Wildfire Spirit has a ranged Flame Seed attack and Fiery Teleportation, which can rescue allies and punish surrounding foes.
Thematically, I think of a wise bigfoot character coming from a place like the American West. I like to think he or she welcomes new plant life with Speech of Beast and Leaf as it comes back from destruction.
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Ranger Horizon Walker
A champion of nature and natural loner, a firbolg horizon walker mixes the teleportation features with my firbolg’s Hidden Step. The whole concept is a ranger who watches the boundaries between planar dimensions. Therefore, my archetype abilities will be based around finding and moving through portals. I feel like this fits the lone guardian of nature vibe well. In game, I could specialize in portals to the fey realm.
My initial build will utilize a Two-Weapon Fighting Style with hand axes or a Dueling Fighting Style with a longsword.
I’ll receive a special list of spells as I level, including misty step, banishment and haste. Of course, misty step sticks out to me as a favorite. I can teleport up to 30 feet away in an unoccupied space—a spell I plan on using frequently.
My first abilities are Detect Portal—which is kind of a niche ability but works in the right campaign—and Planar Warrior. My Planar Warrior ability summons energy from other dimensions to deal an extra 1d8 force damage when I land an attack. However, it will need to be used as a bonus action before the attack roll is made.
Distant Strike at level 11 is one of the coolest features of this class, giving me the ability to teleport up to 10 feet. If I teleport between 2 different attacks, I gain a 3rd attack action for free.
Cleric Domain of Nature
A firbolg cleric fits the race’s Strength and Wisdom scores, utilizing heavy armor with Wisdom-based spellcasting. My guardian nature fits this devoted class—not to mention my size. Now, I can tap into my killer Wisdom score while smacking down enemies with large melee weapons. Plus, the undead aren’t too fond of me with my basic Channel Divinity ability.
Naturally, a firbolg would fall under the Domain of Nature, serving the wild itself or a deity of nature. Under this domain, I’ll gain access to druid-like spells such as animal friendship, speak with animals, barkskin, spike growth and grasping vine. I’ll also gain proficiency with heavy armor, a bonus druid cantrip and a bonus skill proficiency (Animal Handling, Nature, Survival).
I’ll gain a unique effect with my Channel Divinity, charming plants and animals who fail a Wisdom saving throw. Plus, I’ll gain abilities like Dampen Elements, which grants resistance for acid, cold, fire, lightning or thunder damage. Level 8 gives me a Divine Strike, equaling 1d8 extra damage (fire, cold, lightning).