D&D 5e: Goliath Cleric Guide

A male goliath cleric in Grecian armor, ready for battle.

D&D 5e: Goliath Cleric Guide

Goliaths are often played as straightforward weapon users when played in a D&D campaign, so it’s rare to see someone mix Goliath with the cleric class. Aside from the strength-focused features of a goliath, the rarity of goliath clerics is partly because goliaths tend to have a strong desire for self-sufficiency, and divine aid undercuts that somewhat.

Regardless, you can make a perfectly fine Goliath cleric, and some strange roleplaying opportunities might result. Support, healing, tanking, and murder are all valid options for a Goliath cleric.

A male goliath cleric casts the astral self spell.

How to Make a Goliath Cleric

Wisdom should be your highest ability score above all else. Constitution should be your next highest score, then depending on whether you want to use medium or heavy armor, dexterity or strength should be prioritized next. If you focus on strength, you should still have a non-terrible dexterity so your initiative is still at least passable. Lastly, if your campaign takes place exclusively at low levels, you may never get plate mail or have to deal with its strength requirement, so a strength score of 13 may be enough for you.

Cleric has a huge list of subclasses: among them, Twilight and Peace are by far the most powerful options, but the other subclasses are accepted at more tables. Tempest is my preferred option for a Goliath character since the power of storms feels great on a powerful mountain dweller.

How to Play a Goliath Cleric

The wonderful news is that a Goliath cleric is exceptionally durable at level 1: grab some armor for an armor class of 18 or greater, then use your twice per day Stone’s Endurance feature from being a Goliath to drastically reduce damage from things that hit you anyway.

The even better news is that if you go the Tempest route, you gain a second reaction that lets you deal 2d8 damage (dex save for half) to an attacker within 5 feet of you a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier. Between this and Stone’s Endurance, you might actively want to be the target of melee attacks, especially if you decided to pick up a weapon.

The bad news is that 1d12+con in damage reduction and 2d8 damage, while powerful at level 1, don’t get any better as you level up. Stone’s Endurance has more uses, sure, but enemies make more attacks and hit harder.

Your Channel Divinity also is mixed: maximizing lightning and thunder damage is great, but you have no amazing sources of that damage, aside from *maybe* Shatter at 3rd level.

At 5th level and beyond, you’re just an ordinary cleric with heavy armor, but your biggest strength is now your concentration-free backup damage options: spirit guardians + cantrip is okay, but spirit guardians + max damage shatter is wonderful, since in one turn you’re dealing 3d8+24 damage to multiple enemies, and still dealing half to enemies that pass both their saves.

Don’t forget to use your level 6 feature for guaranteed pushing: if an enemy is on the edge of a cliff, go nuts.

How to Roleplay as a Goliath Cleric

Goliath society, at least as it exists in typical D&D 5e lore, probably has conflicted feelings about you. On one hand, lightning powers are cool, but on the other hand, getting magic from a god is the exact opposite of the self-sufficiency goliaths value.

It’s up to you if your character lived in an isolated Goliath mountain tribe or not, as well as how you and that tribe feel about each other. Being an outcast is a great excuse to go adventuring, so you might lean toward that route.

If you didn’t dump strength, perhaps because you wanted that sweet plate mail, you can get involved in typical Goliath activities like rock climbing and beating creatures to death with huge swords; if you dumped it to prioritize dexterity, how do you feel about not living up to these standards? It’s all up to you, as are many other aspects of your character, but Goliath society can provide so much inspiration.

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