D&D 5e: Goliath Warlock Guide
D&D 5e: Goliath Warlock Guide
Towering mountains of muscle backed with arcane might, the Goliath Warlock is a terrifying class, whether it’s calling down elemental doom or wading into combat to deal with problems more directly.
This quick start guide breaks down how to build the class, as well as some simple choices to get your character on the tabletop as easily as possible.
How to Make a Goliath Warlock
The initial build for your Warlock is incredibly simple. Almost everything the class does is reliant on Charisma, so it’s essential to start with this stat as high as possible; at least 16 at level 1. Secondary stats are those expected for a mage. Put points into Con and Dex; pushing up character toughness and helping with your saves.
As a racial archetype, the Goliath is heavily built around defensive perks. Primary among them is the ability to flatly reduce damage by D12 plus your Con multiple times per day. At lower levels, this can reduce enemy attacks to 0 damage, which is obviously very powerful, and while it falls off at later levels the ability can still add up to 25% more effective HP per day.
On top of this, the Goliath also offers resistance to Cold, a damage type that’s regularly dealt by spells and monsters. A bonus proficiency in Athletics, a boost to carrying capacity, and a language are also welcome, but might not be the most useful benefits for the Warlock class.
Gearing a Warlock is similarly simple. Unless running the Hexblade subclass, the character only has light armor proficiency and does not need weapons. Take what’s in your starter pack, pick up a few potions and you’ll be fine.
If you are running Hexblade, the subclass gives you all the proficiencies you need, including weapons and armor, including the option for the largest martial weapons from level 3. Again, very simple and easy to gear.
How to Play a Goliath Warlock
The most obvious synergy between the Goliath racial archetype and the Warlock class is a melee build, and there is no better melee Warlock subclass than the Hexblade.
The Hexblade is in the running for the most effective subclass in the game. Just from level 1, it offers weapon and armor proficiencies to turn the character into a competent melee fighter, a short rest damage buffing curse, as well as allowing attack and damage rolls using Charisma. This effectively turns the entire build single stat reliant: Almost everything you do, from swinging a sword, to eldritch sorcery, to sweet-talking the scion of the local town, builds from this single stat bonus.
Pact Boons and Invocations are layered atop this, allowing the character to choose a summonable, shifting weapon and multiple ways to deal damage or pin down their enemies. As the character levels, the Hexblade offers even more, including summoning the spirits of the dead and a near-permanent defensive Blur against single boss monsters.
If instead, you want to play a more traditional spellcasting Warlock, the class has multiple solid options on offer;
The Undead Patron’s main perk is its spooky transformation, which offers a ton of temporary HP, further increasing toughness, as well as built-in crowd control every turn that triggers when doing what you already wanted to do: dealing damage.
Later levels offer a great spell list, the ability to explode your own death away once per day and send your soul on entertaining little jaunts to see what’s around the next corner.
The Fathomless Warlock sounds like it’s perfectly designed for aquatic campaigns (it is…) but offers a massive list of defensive benefits to help keep your party alive. From summoning a tentacle that slows enemies it strikes and can interpose itself to lower damage to allies every single turn, to free spellcasting and the ability to permanently function underwater.
Finally, for pure spellcasting, the Genie Patron has four separate spell lists to pick from, adds bonus damage to all of their attacking spells, and packs an absolute ton of fun utility benefits into its features, including an incredibly powerful limited Wish effect at higher levels.
In terms of spells, the base Warlock list is limited but effective. From level 2, Warlocks only have two spell slots that level with the class, but refresh fully on short rests. This means spells should be chosen for maximum impact, with lesser-used, utility choices picked second, if at all.
With limited spell slots, cantrips are the Warlock’s bread and butter, and what you should expect to be casting in most rounds of combat. The class has near-exclusive access at level 1 to the best damage cantrip in the game; Eldritch Blast.
Unless you have a very good reason, you should always take this spell. It deals Force damage, a type that’s resisted by almost nothing, scales like a Fighter’s main attack, and hits multiple times, so also interacts with damage bonuses multiple times.
Leveled spell staples include Hex, a solid damage boost that scales as you level. Armor of Agathys is an excellent defensive barrier that, again, scales automatically with level.
Crowd control spells are also good options. Cause Fear at level 1, the upgraded Fear at 3, and the Warlock-unique Hunger of Hadar can lock out entire sections of an encounter, letting the party freely deal damage to their optimal targets. The Warlock spell list also contains a solid list of Summon spells, any of which are great multirole picks.
Outside of combat, a properly built Warlock offers a lot to the party. High Charisma naturally makes the class great at essential social skills, especially if you can pick up Persuasion from your background.
Invocations and the Pact Boon again build on these foundations; From the innate, unlimited casting of certain spells, unique buffs for you or your allies, or a flying, talking, invisible familiar, a Warlock can be designed to fill many essential roles.
The best part of these options is that none of them are necessary for the class. The Warlock is very forgiving, so feel free to choose the things that sound fun to play without worrying whether it’s going to impact the effectiveness of your character. As long as you can cast cantrips, you’re useful.
How to Roleplay as a Goliath Warlock
The Warlock class and Goliath race have one massive confluence of values.
Goliath society lauds skill, prowess, and personal power. Strength; the ability and will to solve your problems, to remain self-reliant no matter the situation, is often all that matters.
This is paired with a class that has tied itself to a godlike entity, and possibly sold or damned its own soul, for arcane might.
So ask yourself the important questions: How did your character enter into this overwhelming pact, and why?
How does their clan feel about it? Is this something that many clan members do, or did it result in their leaving to pursue adventure alone?
How does your character feel about their pact? Is it something they entered into willingly, or was it a mistake that happened through trickery or force?
All of these are excellent jumping-off points for RP potential. And when you also factor in what your character might want, and the conflict that occurs between their own goals and their patron, that’s often all it takes for a character to come to life.