D&D 5e: Firbolg Monk Guide

A female firbolg monk carrying a wooden staff.

D&D 5e: Firbolg Monk Guide

Firbolgs in 5e are rather large forest-dwelling humanoids who have ties to the giants of the world: their appearance and culture were somewhat different in previous editions, but this guide is on the fifth edition firbolgs.

Monks often train in secluded places and emphasize physical perfection and wisdom, and some of their lore describes how firbolgs prefer to fight unarmored. While not a common pairing, firbolg monks work extremely well thematically.

How to Make a Firbolg Monk

Although firbolgs are generally thought of as strong, you may not have the spare ability score bonuses to enhance your strength as a firbolg monk unless you’re doing a strange strength-based monk build that uses heavy armor and a heavy weapon. Prioritize dexterity, wisdom, and constitution as usual for a monk, and if you’re using Tasha’s character creation rules or the Monsters of the Multiverse version of the race, put your racial bonuses into dexterity and wisdom.

Monks have some decent subclasses and some underwhelming ones, but the Way of Shadow might fight perfectly with the tricksy fey magic of the firbolg. You already have Disguise Self and some limited invisibility through Hidden Step, so teleportation in darkness and Pass Without Trace are sweet additions to your existing suite of sneaky magic.

A male firbolg monk surrounded by creatures of the forest.

How to Play a Firbolg Monk

Hidden Step requires a bonus action and comes back on a long rest, but many monk features use a bonus action and cost ki, which comes back on a short rest. I suggest spending all your ki before dipping into your uses of Hidden Step.

Hidden Step itself turns you invisible, but it’s usually better for giving disadvantage to all the enemies attacking you instead of giving you advantage on a single attack. Use it when you need a defensive boost, such as when surrounded. The invisibility rules are strange, but most dungeon masters will allow the blindsight of monsters to ignore invisibility; so don’t use Hidden Step against dragons, for example.

Aside from Hidden Step, you’re mostly a normal shadow monk. Hold a quarterstaff in two hands, bonk people with it, and then kick people as a bonus action, sometimes using teleports and shadow monk spells and Stunning Strike. Your damage will not be great at high levels, but you’ll do decently well at most tables at low levels.

How to Roleplay as a Firbolg Monk

Firbolgs tend to live mostly in forest communities with other firbolgs. This generally gives firbolgs a strong admiration of and desire to protect nature, but it’s up to you to determine your backstory. You could have learned your monk abilities either in your home or in some distant monk monastery; both of these work.

You will have to come up with a reason for your character to leave the forest and start adventuring; perhaps they lived peacefully but were made aware of an impending threat which motivated them to travel the world to fight it, or you can go with the classic explanation of “my home was destroyed and I want revenge”.

Lastly, remember that you can speak to animals, but animals can’t speak to you. This can be useful even in urban environments, where rats are often plentiful.

As a wise nature warrior with some tricksy magic and likely also ties to a forest community, you should have little trouble finding uses for your talents and reasons to use them.

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