D&D 5e: Channel The Tempest With The Soul Of The Storm Giant Feat
D&D 5e: Channel The Tempest With The Soul Of The Storm Giant Feat
Rating the Benefits of Soul of the Storm Giant
Benefit #1 –
Increase Strength, Wisdom, or Charisma by 1, to a maximum of 20
Half an ASI, in stats that are useful for melee characters, as well as the vast majority of spellcasting classes. Great for evening up odd stat scores, and means the second ability is considered equivalent to half a feat.
Benefit #2 –
As a bonus action, the character can surround themselves with a 10ft AOE that lasts until the start of their next turn. Enemies in that aura have to take a Strength save or lose half their movement.
While the aura is active, the character also has resistance to lightning and thunder damage, and all attacks against them have disadvantage
This is a supremely powerful defensive buff. Activating disadvantage on all attacks against you for an entire turn as a bonus action, plus elemental resistances, is excellent.
On top of this, the ability has an offensive component that slows down enemies within a surprisingly large aura, without affecting any of your allies.
Mechanics and Requirements
Understanding How It Functions
Like every other “Of The Giants” feat in the Glory of the Giants book, Soul of the Storm Giant has a prerequisite. You must have taken the Strike of the Giants feat, and chosen Storm Strike:
Storm Strike – After landing an attack, the target takes an extra 1d6 lightning damage, and has to make a Constitution save, or have disadvantage on all attacks until the start of your next turn.
This ability can be used once per turn, has a total amount of uses per day equal to your proficiency bonus, and all uses come back on a long rest.
Storm Strike is a very powerful ability. If the save is failed.
Disadvantage on attacks for an entire turn can shut down attack-based enemies almost entirely, letting the party safely ignore their damage.
Unfortunately, the ability is tied to a Constitution save, which many large monsters and humanoids who favor melee combat are going to have good saves in.
Still, bonus damage in a great type and a potentially very powerful effect is a strong ability, especially when the Soul of the Storm Giant feat is added atop it.
As a bonus action, a character with this feat can surround themselves in a 10ft radius aura of wind and lightning. This lasts until the start of their next turn, and has several effects:
- Resistance to Thunder and Lightning damage
- Creatures that start their turn inside the aura can, at your discretion, take a Strength saving throw or lose half their speed
- Any attacks targeting the user of Maelstrom Aura are made at disadvantage
- This ability can be used an amount of times per day equal to the character’s proficiency bonus
All of these benefits tie together to create a very powerful ability that’s useful defensively and offensively.
Firstly, the elemental resistances. These are the least useful part of the ability. Thunder and Lightning damage are relatively rare damage types, from both enemies and spells. Still, this part of Maelstrom Aura is essentially free, so consider it a bonus.
Secondly, creatures of your choice starting their turn within 10ft of you might lose half their speed. Positioning can dictate entire encounters in D&D 5e, with many of the strongest spells in the game laying down areas of difficult terrain or otherwise hindering enemy movement.
So attaching that effect to this ability, and having it only ever affect the targets you want it to affect, can be very strong. Especially if you pair the debuff with other conditions like prone. More on this later on in the guide.
Finally, flat disadvantage against all attacks for a turn is obscenely powerful, especially for classes that already have strong defensive profiles, but lack reactive abilities like these.
Creatures that rely on attack rolls, whether that’s a giant trying to crush you under a boulder, or a mage throwing out a burst of scorching rays, become that much less effective when all of their rolls are made with two dice, choosing the worst result.
On top of that, Maelstrom Aura comes with enough daily uses to see a character through multiple encounters, scaling up as levels increase. This is a fantastic ability that’s probably going to be used to its full potential on every single adventuring day.
The Soul of the Storm Giant feat offers an Ability Score Improvement in either Strength, Wisdom, or Charisma.
These are great stats that are perfectly suited for 90% of the current class list. Most melee characters can use Strength, and the ones that won’t (Monks, Rangers, Warlocks, etc) will happily use one of the available mental stats instead.
The save DC of the Maelstrom Aura’s slowdown ability is tied to the stat you increase. But the slowing effect is the least powerful part of this feat, so feel free to choose the stat you need most.
Ideal Characters for Soul of the Storm Giant
Warlock – Hexblade-subclass Warlocks are the best users of this feat, backing up their melee might with spellcasting and the defensive button this feat offers. Disadvantage on all attacks, with those that make it through slamming into the temporary HP and reflected damage of Armor of Agathys, is a vicious combination.
Rogue – The stats aren’t the best, though Rogues can easily make use of Wisdom or Charisma. It’s the defensive ability the feat provides that we’re interested in. Disadvantage for an entire turn is a significant buff, and any attacks that do make it through can have their damage halved using Uncanny Dodge.
Fighter – A skirmishing Fighter with this feat is a monster on the battlefield. There’s an argument for all fighting styles, but we’d argue Throwing Weapons has more potential here than anywhere else.
A Samurai could easily tank one enemy while throwing knives into another to trigger Storm Strike’s second trigger for disadvantage on multiple enemies. Alternate builds might lean towards the zone control of the Echo Knight, or the natural durability of the Eldritch Knight, instead.
Barbarian – Who wants to be on the front lines, surrounded by enemies and taking all of the attacks? That’s right. The Barbarian. The feat provides perfect stats, and the Maelstrom Aura is incredibly powerful when you’re in the midst of an encounter.
Path of the Storm Herald has natural synergy, but mechanically, the Path of the Ancestral Guardian is by far the strongest. While Raging, with Maelstrom Aura up, this build has resistance and disadvantage against almost everything and provides those exact same defensive benefits to the entire party against the target of their choice.
This combo can utterly shut down strong single monsters, leaving them unable to effectively deal damage to anyone.
Hexblade/Paladin – Dear Gods, this build. Entirely Charisma reliant, turning one of the most MAD classes in 5e entirely single stat. Effective at range, especially if you can find space in the build for 2 levels of Warlock and the Agonizing Blast Invocation. Tanky, with a high AC, good HP, plus on-demand healing.
All that, and it’s an absolute blender in melee. Smites fuelled by spell slots that refresh on short rests are a sight to see, and the ability to slam the “hah, Maelstrom Aura, now you can’t hit me” button for big fights on a character that has a base 20 AC is ridiculous.
Race or Subrace Choices
Beasthide Shifter – Darkvision and a variable skill are solid buffs. The Shifting ability is another bonus action defense that can be used instead of Maelstrom Aura.
We push for Beasthide, which boosts the temp HP of your transformation by a significant chunk. For those who aren’t aware, temporary HP last until depleted or until you long rest, so counterintuitively this character would probably use their shifter ability outside of combat or in small fights for the temp HP, and Maelstrom Aura for the big battles.
Kobold – A surprisingly variable trait in Kobold Legacy lets you really customize your own character’s skills. We’re here for Draconic Cry, a bonus action AOE pulse of advantage on attacks against enemies within 10ft, for the turns where defense switches to all-out offense.
Fairy – Leaning towards a skirmishing, one-handed weapon, or throwing build, the Fairy gains bonus spellcasting that works with the same stats as this feat, plus permanent flight. Dealing with a flying target that you can barely hit anyway, that has near-permanent disadvantage when they so choose, is sure to be infuriating for your enemies.
Combos, Tactics, and Synergies
Sentinel – Trying to hit a character protected by Maelstrom Aura is a bad idea. When enemies decide to attack your allies instead, this feat lets you swing back at them, plus offering other benefits.
Slasher – Once per turn on a hit, reduce the speed of an enemy by 10ft, preventing the target of your choice from ever getting away. Plus every crit automatically confers disadvantage on attacks, saving uses of Storm Strike.
Crusher – Moving an enemy 5ft for free every turn lets you push enemies together to maximize the effects of your auras, or shove them apart to deal with powerful enemies one by one. Occasionally conferring advantage on the entire party when you crit is a solid bonus.
Spells that Synergize
Shield – +5 AC plus disadvantage makes a character all but impossible to hit under normal means.
Spike Growth – A huge area of AOE difficult terrain that costs double movement to move through, which is a separate effect from the half movement of Maelstrom Aura. An enemy that fails its save is stuck.
Ray of Frost – Again, movement debuffs from separate sources stack. Depending on GM ruling, a character with 30ft speed hit with this, and Maelstrom Aura has their speed reduced to either 5ft or 10ft.
Strategies for Maximizing Soul of the Storm Giant Effectiveness
The higher your AC, the stronger the effect of disadvantage on attacks becomes.
Many builds that want this feat already have ways to get their AC into the solid 18 – 20 range, but pushing this number higher using magic items, spells, and defensive abilities like fighting styles or racial benefits, can make a character near impossible for normal enemies to scratch.
Maelstrom, Disadvantage, and Barbarians
One of the key features of the Barbarian class is Reckless Attack, which lets the Barbarian freely attack with advantage, balanced by the downside of all attacks having advantage against the character in return.
But Maelstrom Aura confers disadvantage on all attacks against the user. Advantage and disadvantage cancel each other out.
Yes, this means that a Barbarian with the Soul of the Storm Giant feat can freely attack with advantage, with basically no downside, as long as they have uses of the Maelstrom Aura ability remaining.
In D&D 5e, movement debuffs can stack, depending on the source and the specific debuff.
For example, the debuff conferred by the Maelstrom Aura is a flat halving of speed. So a creature that has a speed of 30ft has its speed reduced to 15ft.
Other possible debuffs to speed include:
- A flat minus, for example, Ray of Frost or the Warlock’s Lance of Lethargy, which both directly reduce a creature’s speed by a fixed 10ft.
- Increases to movement cost. Difficult terrain is the standard example, where each 1ft of distance costs 2ft of movement.
As mentioned, these stack. So a creature failing its save against Maelstrom Aura, then hit by Ray of Frost either has its speed reduced by 10, to 20ft, then halved again to 10ft per round.
Let’s be real. A creature that can move 10ft on its turns is basically stationary.
There are a ton of ways a smart party can work around this, both offensively and defensively. Areas of constant, roiling storms across almost the entire battlefield can lock down enemy formations, especially when backed up by spells like Sleet Storm and Entangle.
Prone and Speed
Effects that send monsters prone are very strong with the right party composition, especially a party with multiple melee characters.
Standing from prone costs half your speed. Maelstrom Aura cuts a creature’s speed in half. So, as an example, a creature with a base speed of 40 is knocked prone inside your aura.
Its speed is cut in half, from 40ft to 20ft, by Maelstrom Aura. It costs the creature half of their speed, 10ft, to stand, leaving them with only 10ft of movement remaining to use on their turn.
This is a potent stack of effects that can hold entire encounters down, keeping groups of enemies confined to a tiny area, with nowhere to run and no way to close with the ranged characters of the party.
It’s also worth noting here that a creature with a speed of 0 literally cannot get up. This is possible through stacking debuffs, but tends to be much simpler applied directly to the target using spells, or grappling.
Final Thoughts on Soul of the Storm Giant
Out of the six follow-on “Giant” feats published in Glory of the Giants, Soul of the Storm Giant is probably the most broadly useful, and tied for our favorite (alongside Ember of the Fire Giant, if you were wondering.)
The ability to switch on disadvantage, literally at will, against all targets, for the cost of a bonus action, is an incredible amount of power to have as part of any build. Damage dealers, tanks, mages, every one of them can make great use of this.
Then add Maelstrom Aura’s AOE control effect, which doesn’t impair the party at all, and Storm Strike, which is one of the best choices for the necessary preceding feat. All of this comes together to create not just one of the best feats in Glory of the Giants, but possibly one of the best feats in 5e overall.