D&D 5e: Firbolg Barbarian Guide

A male white arrakocra barbarian carrying a massive axe in one hand.

D&D 5e: Firbolg Barbarian Guide

Firbolgs are not the most popular choice for a barbarian: races like the orc and Goliath are far more iconic. Still, firbolgs and barbarians are a stellar combination; both are stereotypically strong, and the nature-loving firbolg goes well with the barbarian’s primal theming. Firbolgs, like goliaths, even have distant relations to actual giants, making them perfect if you want to play a giant-adjacent character with some nature magic.

There are two versions of the firbolg; one in Volo’s Guide to Monsters and another in Monsters of the Multiverse. Both are fairly similar, but this guide mostly uses the MotM version.

A male firbolg barbarian carrying a small tree as his club.

How to Make a Firbolg Barbarian

You will want to prioritize strength first and foremost, then dexterity and constitution, and then wisdom. If you want to use medium armor, a dexterity of 14 is fine, but for unarmored defense, more dexterity never hurts.

The Monsters of the Multiverse version lets you put the racial ability scores wherever you like: a +2 to strength and a +1 to constitution is probably ideal.

The classic Path of the Totem Warrior subclass fits with the firbolg’s nature theme while also being fairly potent. Bear and Wolf are the two best options for your level 3 feature: one provides resistance to nearly all damage, and the other gives your allies advantage on their attacks. At higher levels, pick whatever options you like: the level 3 features are the ones everyone takes Totem Warrior for anyway.

The classic Great Weapon Master feat will increase your damage immensely, as will Polearm Master, so keep them in mind whenever you gain an ASI/feat.

How to Play a Firbolg Barbarian

Barbarians are simple: you rage and then attack until the battlefield is covered in the blood of your enemies. As soon as you get Reckless Attack, you will almost always want to use it on every attack for more damage and to encourage your enemies to hit you instead of the frail rogue.

Your Hidden Step feature from being a firbolg is not a spell, so feel free to become an invisible barbarian every now and then. It’s best used on turns you don’t use Reckless Attack to minimize the odds of being hit, and best used at the end of your turn.

Remember that you can talk to plants and animals, and remember that you have Detect Magic and Disguise Self, both of which are fantastic utility spells.

How to Roleplay as a Firbolg Barbarian

If you want to do mischief with your Disguise Self and brief periods of invisibility, your character’s personality should enable these moments; likewise, if you enjoy straightforward murdercide more, your character’s personality should reflect that. 

Your upbringing will likely matter when you’re in “civilized” places: firbolgs are not known for being big city folk, and neither are barbarians. Decide how much you want to lean into a possible unfamiliarity or discomfort with urban environments and the customs of large kingdoms, if at all.

Even if you’re not using established firbolg lore in your game or your character just has a unique upbringing, there’s still plenty there to base a character on, so go nuts.

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