Firbolgs are a half-giant fey-kin race who live in remote forests in DnD 5e, living in contemplative harmony with their environment. While peaceful by nature, their combat prowess and access to magic make them formidable foes.

For players, 5e firbolgs offer an opportunity to play a character who’s innately tied to the natural world, a protector of balance, or an agent of nature’s vengeance. Let’s get into what makes a Firbolg unique, what classes pair well with their features, and answer a few questions about the Firbolg.

Firbolgs in D&D 5e

Firbolg 5e Features

Firbolg’s three defining features are Firbolg Magic, Hidden Step, and Speech of Beast and Leaf. Note that I’m using the most modern version of the Firbolg, published in Mordenkainen’s Monster’s of the Multiverse. Here’s more info on each of those, as well as the details of their more basic features.

  • Firbolg Magic. Can cast Detect Magic and Disguise Self once (each) per long rest, or using your spell slots, if you have them. This version of Disguise Self can make you shorter than the normal version, to make you the same size as humans.

    These are both excellent 1st-level utility spells that often come in handy. Note that you’ll use Wisdom, Intelligence, or Charisma for your Disguise Self spell save DC, so this works best with classes that are already investing in one of these abilities.

  • Hidden Step. Bonus action to turn invisible until the start of your next turn or until you attack/make a damage roll/force a saving throw. Can be used a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and charges are regained at the end of a long rest.

    Very strong for keeping yourself safe in fights, escaping without suffering opportunity attacks (which require sight of the target), and setting yourself up for bigger offensive advantages (as an unseen attacker, you attack with advantage). You can even cast beneficial spells without breaking the effect.

  • Speech of Beast and Leaf. Beasts and plants understand your words, but you cannot understand them in turn. You have advantage on Charisma checks you make to influence them.

    Similar to Speak With Animals, another 1st-level spell, but in some ways better and in some ways worse. Better in that you essentially have Animal Friendship also built into this effect (advantage on social checks), but worse in that you can’t glean any information from the beast or plant, except in how they react to your words.

    Definitely a niche feature, but a cool utility effect to have in your back pocket for the right moment.

  • Powerful Build. You count as one size larger for carry capacity/weight you can push/drag/lift.

    Basically, a ribbon feature (neat, but not mechanically useful) since it doesn’t apply to shoves or grapples. But it might come up in one session per campaign where it makes the difference between being able to move something or not.

  • Ability Score Increases. +2 to one ability and +1 to another, or +3 to one ability.

  • Size. Medium, but between 7 and 8 feet tall and 240 to 300 pounds (hence why their Disguise Self feature needs the extra oomph to fit in with humanoids).

  • Speed. 30 feet.

  • Age. Lifespan of 500; 30 is adulthood.

  • Languages. Common + 1 language of your choice.

Best Classes for Firbolg in 5e

Volo’s Guide to Monster’s states that “most firbolgs are druids, rangers or fighters,” and that “firbolg warlocks are rare…monks are almost entirely unheard of.” However, that doesn’t necessarily jive with the classes that pair well with firbolg’s racial features. Here are some of the best classes for a Firbolg in DnD 5e:

  1. Druid. Okay, yea, the nature-themed race makes thematic sense for a nature-themed class. But the features you get from firbolgs actually do pair nicely with the druid base class. More spellcasting with always-prepared, resource-less, often useful utility spells and faux spells. Short-term invisibility for making space if you’re a spellcasting-focused druid who doesn’t want to take hits (as most are).

  2. Ranger. Extra, resourceless spells are always welcome on the half-caster ranger, and the invisibility effect is great for basically getting a disengage + follow-up attack with advantage — exactly the kind of trick all ranged rangers can make great use of.

  3. Rogue. While a 7- to 8-foot tall creature might not seem like the optimal choice for a class that’s all about being sneaky, firbolg’s racial features suit the class surprisingly well. Namely, Hidden Step, which opens up the possibility of Sneak Attack damage on command via invisibility, as well as a greater chance at doubling those Sneak Attack dice with a critical strike.

    Disguise Self actually does go well with the rogue archetype, and Detect Magic is always useful on at least one party member — now that can be you, saving the spellcasters in your group a spell slot/known spell/prepared spell.

    Lore-wise, “firbolg rogues are typically scouts tasked with spying on neighboring folk to determine their intentions…most common among firbolgs whose homes border human settlements.”

  4. Sorcerer. More spells are very welcome on a Sorcerer, with highly restricted spells known. And since you’re investing in Charisma anyway, your uses of Speech of Beast and Leaf are more likely to succeed.

  5. Warlock. Resource-less spells are great on the limited spell slot Warlock. And, like the Sorcerer, a natural investment in Charisma means you’ll do well at convincing animals/plant life to do stuff.

    While “firgbolg warlocks are rare…some clans forge alliances and arcane pacts with powerful fey beings.”

  6. Fighter. Only here because, thematically, it’s one of the three classes firbolgs tend towards in the game’s lore. On the other hand, every race has soldiers, so it’s not really that fitting thematically.

Other firbolg class descriptions:

  • Barbrians. “Rare except among clans that face constant threats from invaders.”

  • Bards. “Preserve the clan’s lore.”

  • Clerics and paladins. “Usually dedicated to nature gods.”

  • Monks. “Almost entirely unheard of, though a monastery might take in the young survivors of a devastated firbolg clan.”

  • Wizards. “Arise when a clan becomes friendly with elves.”

Firbolg Names

Firbolgs don’t use names in their own culture and find the concept strange. But when they deal with outsiders, they take on elven names. Their tribe name simply refers to their home.

Additionally, Firbolgs can adopt nicknames given to them. To their thinking, those with the need for names can call them whatever they wish.

I have an Elf name generator if you’d like some inspiration for naming your Firbolg.

Firbolg FAQ

  1. What color is a Firbolg’s fur? A firbolg’s thick fur ranges from earthy colors like brown and ruddy red, to cool grays and blues, and even to wild hues of pink and green (Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, pg. 169).

  2. What color eyes do Firbolgs have? Firbolg’s eyes come in all colors, but typically favor earth tones.

  3. Can Firbolgs have horns? No, firbolgs cannot have horns under normal conditions. Although, they are described as having a “bovine or camelid in appearance, with floppy, pointed ears and broad, pink noses,” nowhere in the source material are they described or depicted as having horns (EGtW 169).