The bald Eagle: a vicious aviary predator worthy of being the United States of America’s fierce symbol. When they open up their wings to take flight, an imaginary yet majestic choir sings and chants.
The sun shines brighter every time they flap their wings. Despite seeing countless videos of animals acting dumb (including the bald Eagle), I still view this bird as a fancy and sophisticated beast of the skies.
However, in the eyes of the smaller creatures like the mice and fish, the bald eagles are terrifying flying monsters with sharp beaks that can rip them to shreds. Thankfully, we do not dwell with the tiny creatures, or else we would have feared these birds the same.
In D&D 5e, though, you can relive their experience because you can encounter gigantic eagles that tower over you like houses.
The Giant Eagle is a large beast in D&D 5e and is not too different from its real-life counterpart (I am talking about bald eagles since Giant Eagles do not exist in real life). Their ginormous wingspan may frighten and scare you, but they are not evil animals by default. If you are a DM who wants to put them in their games or a player who wants to know how to defeat them, this Giant Eagle 5e Guide is for you.
Bottom Line Up Front: What is the Giant Eagle in D&D 5e?
Giant Eagles are large beasts with a default alignment of neutral good. They have an Armor Class of 13, an average HP of 26, and two different speeds: ten ft. walking and 80 ft. flying. They can talk in their own language, but they can understand Common and Auran. However, they cannot speak these languages. You can find them on coasts, grasslands, hills, and mountains.
You can find more info about them on page 324 of the Monster Manual. Below are some quick and basic facts about this animal.
- Giant Eagle
- Size: Large
- Type: Beast
- Default Alignment: Neutral Good
- Armor Class: 13
- Hit Points (HP): 26 (4d10 + 4)
- Speed: 10ft. (walking) and 80 ft. (flying)
- Language: Giant Eagle, Common (understanding only), Auran (understanding only)
- Environment: Coastal, Grassland, Hill, Mountain
To know more about what the Giant Eagle can do during battle, read the following sections.
The Giant Eagle’s Ability Scores, Skills, and Senses in D&D 5e
Below are the Giant Eagle’s ability scores.
- Strength: 16 (+3)
- Dexterity: 17 (+3)
- Constitution: 13 (+1)
- Intelligence: 8 (-1)
- Wisdom: 14 (+2)
- Charisma 10 (+0)
As the ability scores imply, the Giant Eagle is a strong and nimble creature (which is especially true when they are in the air). They have decent health, and their mastery of the senses is excellent. Understandably, their ability to charm is null (unless you are a bird enthusiast), and their analytical capabilities are similar to other animals.
The Giant Eagle only has one specialized skill: their Perception. After all, there is a reason why the idiom “eagle eye” exists. Since their Wisdom modifier is +2, their Perception is now +4. They do not have any special senses aside from their passive Perception of 14.
The Giant Eagle’s Abilities in D&D 5e
The Giant Eagle has one ability called Keen Sight; it allows them to have an advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks if they require sight. For example, a Giant Eagle trying to look for a group of adventurers using their sight will roll two d20s and pick the higher result. However, if they will try to sniff out your locations, this perk will not activate.
The Giant Eagle’s Actions in D&D 5e
The Giant Eagle has two weapon attacks, namely Beak and Talons, and one multi-attack. They can use either attacks or a multi-attack during their turn. Below are the details for each action.
Giant Eagle’s Beak Attack in D&D 5e
The Giant Eagle attacks using its razor-sharp beak. If they are attacking someone smaller than them, it might even look like they are pecking the ground! Generally, eagles have sharp beaks to bite their prey’s skull or neck to kill them instantly. Thankfully, this game is more forgiving than real life.
- Attack Type: Melee
- Attack modifier: +5
- Reach: five ft.
- of targets: one
- Damage: 1d6 + 3 (average of 6)
- Damage type: piercing
Giant Eagle’s Talons Attack in D&D 5e
Another attack the Giant Eagle can do is using its sharp talons. Similar to the Beak attack, they would look like a chicken scratching the ground if they were to attack a smaller enemy. Still, you can erase that image from your mind and try to make it look cool.
Eagles have sharp talons so that they can pick up their small prey easily as they dig into their bodies; then again, this game is more forgiving than real life.
- Attack Type: Melee
- Attack modifier: +5
- Reach: five ft.
- of targets: one
- Damage: 2d6 + 3 (average of 10)
- Damage type: slashing
Giant Eagle’s Multi-attack in D&D 5e
The Giant Eagle has a multi-attack containing two attacks: the Beak and Talons attacks. Ideally, monsters would go for this move by default because of the higher damage output, and it remains true for the Giant Eagle. The DM decides whether they choose to attack using the Beak attack first or the Talons. You can refer to the previous sections for details about these attacks.
Example Scenario vs the Giant Eagle in D&D 5e
If a Giant Eagle exists in D&D 5e, do Giant Americans also exist? Welcome to Arthur’s Lab, where we associate animals with specific countries, even if they are in games. For the first time ever, we will not be testing out a spell. Instead, we will create a demonstration of how the Giant Eagle behaves in combat.
Hopefully, this simulation will help DMs learn how to effectively use the Giant Eagle and help players learn how to fight them efficiently. For this combat, we will not be in the lab. Instead, we will do it on the islands because of the larger area to allow more freedom of movement.
Firstly, let us determine the stats for the Giant Eagle. If you are a DM and you plan on putting this beast in your game, you can choose to roll for HP and damage, or you can use the average score. For the Giant Eagle, the average HP is 26, but I would instead roll for it to include variety in my encounters. I roll 4d10 and get eight, ten, three, and nine, which equals 30. We then add four to get 34.
Below is a quick list of their relevant stats. Note that Bandits 1 and 3 are wearing special armor that grants them the vulnerabilities and resistances listed below.
- Giant Eagle
- Armor Class: 13
- HP: (4d10 + 4) 8 + 10 + 3 + 9 + 4 = 34
- Speed: 10 ft. (walking), 80 ft. (flying)
- Bandit 1
- Armor Class: 12
- HP: 16
- Dexterity modifier: +1
- With piercing damage vulnerability
- With slashing damage resistance
- Bandit 2
- Armor Class: 12
- HP: 26
- Bandit 3
- Armor Class: 12
- HP: 29
- With slashing damage vulnerability
- With piercing damage resistance
The Giant Eagle Moves During its Turn
The Giant Eagle can move in two different ways: by walking and flying. They can do both movement types in one move. If they walk, they can only move by ten ft., which equates to two tiles if you are using a square grid for D&D combats. In this demonstration, the Giant Eagle would only move by distance, as illustrated in the picture below.
Meanwhile, if they were to fly, they could move by 80 ft., as illustrated in the picture below. If you use square grids, 80 ft. will equate to 16 tiles.
Since it is the Giant Eagle’s turn, it decides to fly towards Bandit 2.
The Giant Eagle Uses its Beak Attack on Bandit 2
After moving near Bandit 2, the Giant Eagle decides to attack him using its Beak attack. It is a melee attack; thus, it must be five ft. near its target. The DM rolls a d20 for the Giant Eagle’s attack roll and gets a nine. It has an attack modifier of +5. So, the final attack roll for the Giant Eagle’s Beak attack is 14, and since Bandit 2’s Armor Class is 12, the attack hits.
We move on to calculating the damage. On a hit, it deals 1d6 + 3 piercing damage, with an average of 6. Like deciding on the Giant Eagle’s HP, you can either pick the average damage or roll for it, and you know I will do the latter. So, I roll a d6 and get a four. We add three to the result, and the final output is seven piercing damage. The DM subtracts Bandit 2’s HP by seven.
The Bandits Attack the Giant Eagle
The Giant Eagle ends its turn, and now it is Bandits 1, 2, and 3’s turns. It is Bandit 1’s turn first, and he decides to attack using his light crossbow. He rolls a d20 and gets a 14. Furthermore, it has an attack modifier of +3. So, the final attack roll is 17, which is greater than the Giant Eagle’s Armor Class of 13, making it a successful hit.
We then calculate Bandit 1’s attack’s damage, which is a 1d8 + 1 with an average of five. He rolls a d8 and gets an eight. Therefore, the final damage output is nine; we subtract the Giant Eagle’s HP of 34 by nine.
It is Bandit 2’s turn, and he tries to attack the Giant Eagle using his scimitar. He rolls a d20 for his attack roll and gets a five. His attack has an attack modifier of +5, so the final attack roll is ten. Sadly, it does not reach the Giant Eagle’s Armor Class of 13. Therefore, his scimitar attack does not hit. Bandit 3 does not do anything because he is too afraid to move.
The Giant Eagle Uses its Talons-attack on Bandit 2
After the bandits are done with their turns, it is the Giant Eagle’s turn. The Giant Eagle remains fixated on Bandit 2, and he attacks him using his Talons attack. The DM rolls a d20 for the attack roll and gets a seven. Since the attack modifier is +5, the final attack roll is 12, which reaches Bandit 2’s Armor Class.
The attack’s damage is 2d6 + 3 slashing damage with an average of ten. After rolling for it, we get five and three (plus three), resulting in 11. Thus, we subtract Bandit 2’’s HP by 11 slashing damage.
Bandit 1 Hides from the Giant Eagle
The Giant Eagle’s turn is done, and it is the bandits’ turn now. Bandit 1 goes first, and he decides to hide from the Giant Eagle among the trees. He makes a Dexterity (Stealth) check by rolling a d20. He gets a 16, and since his Dexterity modifier is a +1, the final check results in 17. Since the Giant Eagle’s passive Perception is 14, he succeeds in his hiding attempt.
It is Bandit 2’s turn, and he decides to attack using his scimitar. He rolls a d20 and gets an eight. Since the attack modifier is +5, the final attack roll is 13, which meets the Giant Eagle’s Armor Class of 13. Now, we calculate the damage. The scimitar deals 1d6 + 3 slashing damage with an average of six. He rolls a d6 and gets a five. Therefore, we subtract the Giant Eagle’s HP by eight.
The Giant Eagle Searches for Bandit 1
It is the Giant Eagle’s turn now, and it is done playing with Bandit 2; it wants to find the person who hit it with a crossbow. However, Bandit 1 is in hiding. The Giant Eagle uses his action to make a Wisdom (Perception) check to find Bandit 1.
Because of its Keen Sight ability that grants it an advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks involving sight, the DM rolls two d20s instead of one and gets two and 16.
The Giant Eagle is also skilled in Perception with a +4 modifier. We add it to the Giant Eagle’s roll of 16 and get a 20. Its Wisdom (Perception) check of 20 reaches Bandit 1’s Dexterity (Stealth) check of 17; therefore, the Giant Eagle successfully spots Bandit 1. It then flies towards him. Since it is five ft. near Bandit 2 before it left, Bandit 2 is eligible for an opportunity attack against the Giant Eagle.
Bandit 2 rolls a d20 for his scimitar attack roll and gets a 15. Even without his attack modifier of +5, it is obvious that the attack will hit against the Giant Eagle’s Armor Class of 13. So, he rolls a d6 for damage and gets a four. He adds three since the damage is 1d6 + 3; we reduce Giant Eagle’s HP by seven slashing damage.
The Giant Eagle ends its turn since it used its action for the check. It is the bandits’ turn. Bandit 1 cannot attack the Giant Eagle at close range because he is holding a light crossbow. However, he does not move away from his position because he is afraid to trigger an opportunity attack.
Bandit 2 can go near the Giant Eagle to attack it but decides not to as he wants to tend to his wounds first and heal six HP (he has the Healer feat). Finally, Bandit 3 is too scared to do anything.
The Giant Eagle Uses its Multi-attack on Bandit 1
It is the Giant Eagle’s turn again, and this time, it uses its multi-attack against Bandit 1. As a recap, the Giant Eagle’s multi-attack consists of two attacks; one is its Beak attack, while the other is its Talons attack. It can be any order the DM wants, but for this simulation, the Giant Eagle goes for the Beak attack first.
The DM rolls a d20 for the Beak attack and gets a 12. Even without the attack modifier of +5, the attack penetrates Bandit 1’s Armor Class of 12. So, we move on to the damage. Again, the Beak attack’s damage is 1d6 + 3 piercing damage. The DM rolls a d6 and gets a two. Thus, the final damage is five piercing damage.
Since Bandit 1 is vulnerable to piercing damage, the damage is doubled; i.e., instead of five piercing damage, Bandit 1 receives ten piercing damage.
Next, the Giant Eagle performs its Talons attack. The DM rolls a d20 and gets a nine. Adding five to it (i.e., the Talon attack’s modifier), we get a 14, which surpasses Bandit 1’s Armor Class of 12. Next, we calculate the Talon attack’s damage, which is 2d6 + 3 slashing damage. The DM rolls 2d6 and gets two and six. Therefore, the final damage is 11 slashing damage.
Thanks to Bandit 1’s resistance to slashing damage, the damage is halved; i.e., instead of 11 slashing damage, Bandit 1 receives five slashing damage.
Bandit 3 Attacks the Giant Eagle
The Giant Eagle’s turn ends, and the bandits’ turns begin. Bandit 1 will still not budge from his position because of the possibility of an opportunity attack. Bandit 2, on the other hand, goes to the Giant Eagle and attempts an attack. After getting a two from a d20 roll for the attack roll, the attack misses even with the +5-attack modifier (7 does not meet the Giant Eagle’s Armor Class of 13).
He rolls for the damage and ultimately deals seven slashing damage. Meanwhile, Bandit 3 stops being afraid and goes for a clean shot with his light crossbow. He rolls for the attack roll and also hits. However, he only manages to deal two piercing damage.
The Giant Eagle Uses its Multi-attack on Bandit 3
It is the Giant Eagle’s turn, and its focus has shifted to Bandit 3. It flies towards him and performs a multi-attack on him. It goes for the Beak attack first. It performs an attack roll (I have detailed the process in the previous turns, so if you are confused as to how to do it, check them out). It succeeds in the attack and rolls for damage (I also detailed it in previous turns).
Ultimately, the Giant Eagle deals nine piercing damage from the Beak attack. However, Bandit 3 is resistant to piercing damage. So, we halve the result; the Beak attack only deals four piercing damage instead of nine (in D&D, we round down if there is a decimal, and half of nine is 4.5).
Next, the Giant Eagle performs its Talons attack. The DM rolls a d20 for the attack roll, and it hits Bandit 3. Then, the DM rolls 2d6 for the damage, and unfortunately (or fortunately for the Bandit 3), he only rolls two and four. We add the damage up to nine. Since Bandit 3 is vulnerable to slashing damage, he receives 18 slashing damage instead of nine.
Bandit 1 Kills the Giant Eagle
At this point, the Giant Eagle is left with eight HP, and it is the bandits’ turn. Bandit 2 goes to the Giant Eagle but is unlucky enough to miss his scimitar attack. However, Bandit 1, now not the target of the large beast, fires his light crossbow at it. He manages to roll a natural 20 for the attack roll! It means critical damage against the Giant Eagle.
After rolling and calculating the damage, Bandit 1 deals five piercing damage. Since he deals critical damage, the Giant Eagle receives ten piercing damage instead, and it falls down. Because the Giant Eagle has a Challenge Rating of one, the bandits split 200 XP evenly between themselves, i.e., 66 XP for each of them.
The Giant Eagle’s Biology in D&D 5e
There is not much information about the Giant Eagles in their entry as they are classified as part of the miscellaneous creatures. They are known to be noble beings, possibly a reflection of the Eagle’s symbolism in real life. Across the different cultures in the world, people honor them and show them great respect. People associate eagles with honesty, strength, courage, power, and freedom.
The Giant Eagle’s Language in D&D 5e
It speaks its own language, but it can understand the Common tongue, which makes it stand out among the other animals. However, even though they can understand Common, they cannot speak it as they lack the vocal cords or genetic structure to do so. If you speak to a Giant Eagle in Common, it would understand what you are saying, and if it respects you, it might even follow what you say.
They can also understand Auran, which is a dialect of the Primordial tongue, a language elemental creatures speak. Auran is associated with the air or wind element. Giant Eagles’ understanding of this dialect makes sense considering they are beings capable of flight. Other dialects of the Primordial tongue include Aquan (associated with water), Ignan (associated with fire), and Terran (associated with Earth).
The Giant Eagle’s Behavior in D&D 5e
Since Giant Eagles are, by default, neutral good, they would act with what they think is morally right with no regard for laws. In a sense, it follows only one law: the natural law. It operates on what its nature demands it to do. Still, their Intelligence score may equal that of a human being with low logical sense.
In the wild, they mate with other Giant Eagles and make nests. When you encounter a Giant Eagle nest, you can expect to find around four eggs or younglings. However, because of the Giant Eagle’s size, their newly-hatched offspring can be as big as that of a regular-sized eagle.
The Giant Eagle’s Habitat in D&D 5e
Giant Eagles can live in coastal environments, grasslands, hills, and mountains because these areas grant them the freedom to fly in the open air. If you are looking for a Giant Eagle (possibly due to a quest), I would recommend going to the grasslands since you might encounter problems with having a fight in the hills and mountains.
These environments give the Giant Eagle a considerable advantage; you will have issues with your footing, while the Giant Eagle does not because it can simply fly and glide in the air with ease. The coastal areas are good hunting spots for Giant Eagles too.
The Giant Eagle’s Composition in D&D 5e
Giant Eagles are sturdy beings. At best, they can have a maximum HP of 44, and at worst, they can have a maximum HP of eight. On average, they have 26 HP. Their Armor Class, however, is not quite good; they have an Armor Class of 13, which players can easily penetrate with decent attack modifiers.
They are beings of flight, so they have mastery in the air. However, their proficiency in the skies does not equate to their proficiency on the ground. They can fly at around 80 ft. in one turn, which is around nine miles per hour. However, on the ground, they can only move ten ft. per turn, which is 1.2 miles per hour.
How to Defeat the Giant Eagle in D&D 5e
The Giant Eagle’s main strength is its sharp eyes and fast movement in the air. If you know you are facing off against a Giant Eagle, having spells or attacks that can make it prone will be a serious advantage for you because a flying creature becoming prone will halt its movement speed. Flying creatures who become prone will fall to the ground; the Giant Eagle would have to use 40 ft. to fly back up.
A good example of such moves would be the Battle Master Fighter’s Trip Attack, wherein you can expend a superiority die to attempt to prone an opponent. As for spells, a good low-level spell to use would be Command, a level-one Enchantment spell that Clerics and Paladins can use. However, Command may backfire due to the Giant Eagle’s high Wisdom score.
The Giant Eagle’s attacks are all melee attacks, so it is best to avoid having a melee fight against them. By making it prone often, the Giant Eagle will have a hard time coming near you if you hold your distance. In this situation, ranged attacks would be incredibly beneficial for you as you do not have to go near the beast to attack it.
How to Use the Giant Eagle as DM in D&D 5e
If you are a DM and you want to incorporate a fight between a Giant Eagle and your players, make sure the encounter makes sense. For example, a Giant Eagle encounter will be logical in areas with open air, like fields or beaches, as it does not restrict the creature’s movement. Making the fight in an area where the Giant Eagle can fly will make it more challenging for the players.
Three level-one PCs (player characters) will have a hard time beating a Giant Eagle, so I suggest having this fight with four or five level-one PCs. However, three level-two PCs will probably have an easy time beating one up. A fair one-on-one fight between a PC and a Giant Eagle will be if the PC is level four. A level-five PC will probably find it easy to defeat a Giant Eagle.
If your players are having too much of a hard time dealing with the Giant Eagle, you can opt not to use the multi-attacks. Instead, you can either use the Beak or Talons attacks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How Big are Giant Eagles in D&D 5e?
ANSWER: GIANT EAGLES ARE LARGE BEASTS IN D&D 5E; THEREFORE, THEY OCCUPY FOUR TILES IF YOU ARE USING SQUARE GRIDS TO REPRESENT D&D COMBAT. IN COMPARISON, A MEDIUM-SIZED HUMAN BEING WILL OCCUPY ONLY ONE TILE.
QUESTION: HOW FAST CAN A GIANT EAGLE FLY IN D&D 5E?
ANSWER: GIANT EAGLES IN D&D 5E HAVE A FLYING SPEED OF 80 FT. DURING THEIR TURN. THEREFORE, IT CAN FLY AS FAST AS NINE MILES PER HOUR. HOWEVER, IT CAN ONLY WALK UP TO 10 FT. PER TURN, WHICH IS NOT A LOT.
QUESTION: WHAT IS THE GIANT EAGLE’S CARRY CAPACITY IN D&D 5E?
ANSWER: GIANT EAGLES CAN CARRY UP TO 480 LBS. IN D&D 5E. ACCORDING TO THE RULES OF CARRYING, ONE’S CAPACITY IS DETERMINED BY ITS STRENGTH SCORE MULTIPLIED BY 15. CONSIDERING A GIANT EAGLE’S STRENGTH SCORE IS 16, IT WOULD RESULT IN 240 LBS. FURTHERMORE, THE GIANT EAGLE IS A LARGE CREATURE, AND IN RELATION TO LARGE ANIMALS, YOU DOUBLE THAT SCORE UP. THUS, THEY CAN CARRY UP TO 480 LBS.
QUESTION: WHAT IS THE CR OF A GIANT EAGLE IN D&D 5E?
ANSWER: GIANT EAGLES HAVE A CHALLENGE RATING OF ONE IN D&D 5E, I.E., IT GIVES 200 XP AFTER DEFEATING ONE.
Conclusion: The Giant Eagle’s Status in D&D 5e
The Giant Eagle is not as famous of an enemy as dragons, goblins, or trolls in D&D 5e, but they are a welcome addition. Thanks to their relatively low Challenge Rating, they can be an excellent introduction to combat for low-level players. Plus, they are not incredibly rare to find (although it depends on your world’s setting).
Although entirely uncommon, you can ride a Giant Eagle as long as you have an exotic saddle. Giant Eagles can carry many players due to their excellent carrying capacity. You can reenact the scene where Bilbo rides the Great Eagles in Lord of the Rings.
However, Giant Eagles are not much of a threat to higher-level players. If you want to make the encounter more difficult, you can involve multiple Giant Eagles in the fight.