The calm and protective Firbolgs are a beloved class for many D&D players. If you’re wondering how to play Firbolg in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (D&D 5e), this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Gentle Giants of the forest, D&D Firbolgs are known for their peaceful nature. But this does not make them weak opponents.
Standing at over 7ft tall, Firbolgs can easily destroy their enemies when necessary. Many players enjoy this race’s balance of sweetness and slaughtering!
Firbolgs weren’t always a playable race. They first appeared in D&D in 1983 as a type of giant – one of the most intelligent of the race.
And although Firbolgs have been a playable race since D&D 3e’s Monster Manual II (2002), they have grown in popularity over the years.
This is partly thanks to their appearance in the hit D&D web series, Critical Role. Pumat Sol, the Firbolg enchanter in Critical Role season 2, was a fan favorite NPC.
A DnD Firbolg also became a main cast member when Taliesen Jaffe began playing Caduceus Clay, a Firbolg cleric.
If you want to play one of these gentle giants, we’ll cover the basics and your frequently asked questions in this DnD Firbolg guide, including:
- What is Firbolg?
- What abilities do Firbolgs have?
- What personalities do Firbolgs have?
- Firbolg religions
- How to create a Firbolg character
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Firbolg?
So what are Firbolgs based on? Firbolgs are loosely inspired by ‘Fir Bolgs’, one of the early inhabitants of Ireland in Irish mythology.
The Fir Bolgs were forced to flee from Ireland to Greece, where they carried bags from Ireland to transform the rocky, barren land into fertile fields.
This offers one small link between D&D 5e’s guardians of nature and the mythological folk of ancient Ireland.
Aside from this, however, Firbolgs in 5e have little in common with their namesakes. After all, Firbolgs have changed dramatically since their first appearances in D&D as Viking-like giants.
In D&D 5e, Firbolgs are giant-kin who spend their days peacefully in the woods amongst their kind and the natural world that they protect.
They are known to be humble, peaceful, and opposed to greed and violence, except, for the latter, when absolutely necessary.
Firbolgs’ sheer size makes them formidable opponents, but they are also skilled at Druidic magic. This makes Firbolgs an incredibly fun class to roleplay if you want a mixture of combat skills and spell-casting abilities.
Your class will, of course, determine which side of your Firbolg’s powers will be the stronger, but you can be certain that they will be a key player in any battle.
Firbolgs usually live amongst other Firbolgs in a clan, sometimes in a forest stronghold or deep in the mountains.
They usually avoid contact with humanoid creatures, preferring to act as secret protectors of forests and remote, natural havens.
So if Firbolgs prefer to stay at home, why is your Firbolg out adventuring?
Firbolg adventurers may have been sent on a divine mission by their clan, they could have become separated from their clan or their clan may have been destroyed, or they might have even been outcast from their clan for murder or the destruction of nature.
Firbolgs are peace-loving and deeply care for their home and clan, they will need a good reason to leave it all behind.
What do Firbolgs Look Like?
Firbolgs have changed in appearance over the years. In the early days, they looked more like giant Vikings than the cow-like giant-kin that they are in 5e.
For players hoping to play a Firbolg in D&D 5e, the most updated Firbolg playable race can be found in Volo’s Guide to Monsters. In 5e, Firbolgs are around 8ft tall and have cow-like faces with long pointed ears and broad noses.
Firbolgs are covered in fur, usually of an earthy color such as brown, gray, ruddy red, or light blue. Firbolgs are certainly cute, but they are also dangerous, hence why players adore them so much.
How to Pronounce Firbolg?
Firbolg is pronounced “FEER-BOLG”.
What Abilities do Firbolgs Have?
Ability score increase: Firbolgs get +2 to their Wisdom and +1 to their Strength.
How fast are Firbolgs?: Firbolgs have a 30ft movement speed.
How long do Firbolgs live?: Up to 500 years.
Firbolg Magic: Firbolgs can cast both detect magic and disguise self once in between short or long rests. Firbolgs use Wisdom for this spellcasting ability.
Hidden Step: Firbolgs can use a bonus action to turn invisible until their next turn or until they attack. This can be used once in between short or long rests.
Powerful Build: Firbolgs are related to giants and only count as one size larger when determining carrying capacity or pushing or lifting objects. This means in combat they can easily hurl large rocks or break down barricades.
Speech of Beast and Leaf: Their life in the wilderness means that Firbolgs can speak to beasts and plants, although they cannot understand them in return. Firbolgs can also do a Charisma check to influence beasts and plants.
What Personalities Do Firbolgs Have?
Firbolgs are known to be serene and gentle creatures who put the survival of their homeland and the natural world above all else.
They enjoy spending time at peace in the forest and will feel uncomfortable in cities, in large crowds, or in confined spaces. Your Firbolg could be a shy and kind protector of nature and lore or a wise and stoic mystic creature.
If you are playing a Firbolg, you will be a calming voice in your party. Firbolgs are not quick to rush to violence unless the natural world they revere is being attacked.
And when they do get a favorable attack roll, Firbolgs prefers to use team tactics to surprise or ambush an enemy rather than charging in headfirst.
Firbolgs strongly oppose greed. In the forests and hills they dwell in, all that matters is that there is enough food and supplies to survive.
It is unlikely that your Firbolg will care much for treasure and rewards. The more mischievous Firbolgs have even been known to steal from greedy humanoids for fun.
As for alignments, Firbolgs are usually Neutral Good or Lawful Good. Evil Firbolgs are very rare since they would be shunned by their clans. But this could be part of your Evil Firbolg’s backstory if you decide to go down that route.
The official description of Firbolgs in 5e does not suggest a set religion or belief for Firbolgs. The emphasis is instead on Firbolgs’ unwavering commitment to protecting their home, clan, and the natural world.
Since Firbolgs are often Druids, they, like Druids, may worship one or more nature deity. Iallanis, the goddess of love, mercy, and flowers, is a typical deity that a Firbolg might revere.
You can check out the official pantheon of nature deities and choose from there. Alternatively, your Firbolg may simply worship nature itself, rather than a particular god.
How to Create a Firbolg Character
1. Choose a Class for Your Firbolg
What is the best class for Firbolgs? The best class for Firbolgs is the Druid. Firbolgs have a natural command of Druidic powers and their Wisdom bonus makes them great Druids.
Druids also do not have access to invisibility or detect magic spells, so choosing the Druid class will give you an especially strong and varied selection of spells. Other classes that work as well as Firbolgs are the Ranger, the Fighter, or the Cleric.
2. Choose a Background for Your Firbolg
Firbolgs live in clans deep within forests or hilly areas. As mentioned above, Firbolgs rarely leave their home clans. So you need to have a think about why your Firbolg has left his or her home and is out adventuring.
Has your Firbolg been sent on a quest by her deity or the elders in her clan? Was he banned from the clan for murder or for burning down the forest? Were her clan and home forest destroyed by humans?
Deciding on this backstory will help you figure out why your Firbolg is out adventuring and if they ever plan on returning home.
You should also think about how long your Firbolg has been separate from their clan. Is this a recent development, meaning that life outside the forest will be new and perhaps scary for your Firbolg?
Or have they lived amongst non-Firbolgs for many years?
That said, Matthew Mercer’s much-loved Firbolg NPC, Pumat Sol , from Critical Role, is a merchant and magic shop owner.
Although Firbolgs usually keep separate from humanoids, if you’re Firbolg left their clan a long time ago they could have a background such as Merchant or Folk Hero.
3. Name Your Firbolg
‘What should I call my Firbolg?’, you wonder. Firbolgs do not use names within their homes, instead they simply know each other and the creatures of the forest by their deeds and actions.
If anything, the culture of names in the outside world is strange and pointless to Firbolgs. But when Firbolgs deal with outsiders, however, they often take on Elven names. You can check out this fantasy name generator for ideas.
Alternatively, some Firbolg may take on nicknames given to them by outsiders, since they care little about naming themselves. Some nicknames that other races could have given your Firbolg include:
- Gentle Giant
- The Green (Wo)Man
- old one
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Are Firbolgs Fey?
Answer: In 5e, Firbolgs are not described as fey creatures. In 4e, Firbolgs were described as being connected to the Fey-Wild, just call them fey-touched or fey-oriented.
In 5e, however, this is not mentioned. If you’re playing a Firbolg, however, it is likely that they will feel an affinity with Neutral Good fey, especially those who also protect and revere nature.
Question: How Tall are Firbolgs?
Firbolgs are between 7 and 8 feet tall. Their size in 5e is Medium.
Question: Are Firbolgs Good in Combat?
Answer: The size of Firbolgs makes them a terrifying opponent. Firbolgs often wield giant weapons, such as huge two-handed swords or great wooden staffs made from tree trunks.
Many human-size two-handed weapons can be wielded by Firbolgs with a single hand.
Question: Can Firbolgs Cast Spells?
Answer: Yes – Firbolgs have their own magic that allows them to cast detect magic and disguise self . So long as you choose a spell-casting class, your Firbolg will have the same access to their spells as any other race.
Question: What Cantrips Should I Choose for my Firbolg Druid?
Answer: All Druids get cantrips at level 1. These are spells they can cast anytime and they do not take up a spell slot. For Firbolgs, guidance and Druidcraft make great starting cantrips.
If your Firbolg Druid leans more towards combat than supporting your companions, you can’t go wrong with shillelagh . You can find out more about Druid cantrips in our Druids 5e guide .
Question: Do Firbolgs Have Darkvision in 5e?
Answer: No – Firbolgs don’t have darkvision in 5e. They did, however, have darkvision in their first appearance as a playable race in 3e, but this has since been updated.
Question: What Language does Firbolgs Speak?
Answer: Firbolgs have their own tongue, but they can also speak Common, Elvish, and Giant. They can also communicate with plants and beasts although they cannot understand plants and beasts in return.
Question: Are Firbolgs Cows?
Answer: No! Many people refer to Firbolgs as cow-people or bovine, but this simply isn’t true. Despite their cow-like facial features, Firbolgs have no relation to cows.
DnD Firbolg Guide: Final Thoughts
Firbolgs are an increasingly popular D&D race. Their close connection with nature, sweet and gentle demeanor, and powerful skillset make Firbolgs loveable yet formidable characters in any D&D campaign.
It is worth checking with your DM what sort of campaign setting you’ll be playing in. Campaigns set primarily in cities, for example, might not be well-suited to a Firbolg unless they have spent many years amongst humanoids and grown accustomed to them.
And if you’re set on playing Firbolg, Volo’s Guide to Monsters gives the full details of the Firbolg class in 5e. But there’s plenty of scope for an imaginative player to develop a Firbolg further and into a truly unique character.