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Firbolgs - A PC Race From VOLO'S GUIDE TO MONSTERS


Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Going back to answer an early rules questions that has been left hanging:

Interesting wording on Hidden Step, though. It makes you invisible "...until you attack, make a damage roll, or force someone to make a saving throw." This is different from all other invisibility effects. I wonder why.

The main reason I see is that this wording includes the non-targetting attack cantrips that are in the cleric's and druid's repertoire. So "Sacred Flame" (e.g.) would also take out the invisibility from Hidden step.
 

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dwayne

Adventurer
If a person were to play a large creature then as most big things they lack the dex to be nimble so give them a max dex or a penalty. But as playable races do not use penalties this would have to be a home brew thing. Also, play up the cost of armor and finding shelter as well as most common people may fear giants and the local sheriff and constabulary might take issue with him. Giant slayers and the group of bandits who think giants equate to large treasure. And everything is not sized for them, but in all the odds are against them as a playable race. I know anything with half a brain is going to take out the heavy fighter first and he would be a walking target. In the end, its all up to the GM and how they run the game but as always the rules are a guideline not an absolute the game is meant to be fun and enjoyable.
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
The main reason I see is that this wording includes the non-targetting attack cantrips that are in the cleric's and druid's repertoire. So "Sacred Flame" (e.g.) would also take out the invisibility from Hidden step.
Most other forms of invisibility are broken if you attack or cast a spell, so the different phrasing in this case isn't creating a different result when casting sacred flame.

It is different because invisibility normally breaks if the invisible creature casts a spell that doesn't have anything to do with anyone else, such as mage armor or false life, or that is entire beneficial like cure wounds - but the firbolg's invisibility from this racial feature would stay in place through casting all of these spells.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Most other forms of invisibility are broken if you attack or cast a spell, so the different phrasing in this case isn't creating a different result when casting sacred flame.

It is different because invisibility normally breaks if the invisible creature casts a spell that doesn't have anything to do with anyone else, such as mage armor or false life, or that is entire beneficial like cure wounds - but the firbolg's invisibility from this racial feature would stay in place through casting all of these spells.

Exactly true -- and much clearer than my explanation.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Why put in a race that diverges so significantly from the original other than to pander to nostalgia? Why not create new races or utilise the plethora of other available options if they want to fill a book?

Firbolg have been 10 ft. tall since 1e and in every other edition. They've always been of a large size and, in fact, one of their special abilities has always been to shrink down a size. It's really just absurd to shoehorn them into a medium build so that they'll be a playable race.
Choose:

Either no playable firbolgs. Or firbolgs small enough to count as medium-sized.

If you value their size more than their playability, you can easily ban the race and then make any Firbolg NPCs large. Or you can (still quite easily) change the Firbolg into a Large creature.

Just don't expect WotC to assume other DMs can and want to handle all the fall-out from having Large player characters (squeezing issues; Huge monster no longer immune to grappler builds and so on).
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Interesting wording on Hidden Step, though. It makes you invisible "...until you attack, make a damage roll, or force someone to make a saving throw." This is different from all other invisibility effects. I wonder why.
I can't speak for "all other" effects, but the Invisibility spell ends when you attack or cast a spell.

This wording is much better (since it allows you to cast spells just as long as nobody is attacked, damaged or made to save).

I wonder if it presages a general change. (That is, a future official change in how Invis works)
 

CapnZapp

Legend
There's currently no explicit bonus to being large
Off the top of my head I can think of two things.

Large weapons (significant damage increase*) and ability to grapple huge creatures (significantly reducing the number of grapple-immune foes).

*) I can't actually find a rule that governs how damage changes with the size of weapons. There's nothing in the Equipment chapter of the PHB. The MM talks about how size changes your hit dice, but not your weapon dice. The DMG does say you double the damage dice for a weapon wielded by a Large creature, but it is far from obvious this should apply to player characters. After all, the Enlarge spell makes PCs Large but only allows +1d4 damage.

And on the downside (just as you say), the inability to follow the rest of the party through cramped environments. (Of course this is not a big deal if you have an ability to shrink, or if your DM allows access to those Underdark fungus detailed in Out of the Abyss). I guess another downside (at least for the first few levels) is that you can't actually block goblins and other small creatures.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
It helps that the Firbolg was given a unique identity beyond "Tall human," even if it did divert from the original lore, while the Goliath was stuck for the most part with the "Tall competitive people."
I'll give all the sceptics this:

I am having trouble understanding why so many people apparently want to play "big" characters that WotC are issuing not only one, but two, such options.

I mean, if I want to play a savage muscle-beast, I can play a Half-Orc.

If I truly wanted to play a "big" character I would not settle for a faux-big choice. I would need a truly Large option.

The Goliath as presented in the EEPC had nothing that I didn't dismiss as "a Dwarf, only bigger, and thus, goofier".

At least this repurposed Firbolg does have a few significant schticks that give it a true niche. It is a nature race. With racial bonuses that actually support any "Many Firbolgs are Cleric or Druids" claims. And some interesting other stuff.

And by not being actually Large it neatly sidesteps the entire "but why play a Large creature if your build isn't actually benefiting from that?" issue. By this I mean that you don't actually gain anything from being Large if you're a spellcaster. It's only if you play a Strength-based fighter you actually draw any benefit from being Large. Otherwise the quality of being Large is mostly an inconvenience.
 

gyor

Legend
I noted the Firbolgs are better at Disguise then Changelings. I can see Firbolgs being very fun to play.

Maybe a Paladin of the Ancients Oath or Beast Master Ranger. It'd be fun. Being about to share disguise self with your mount or animal companion would be cool.

Firbolg Assassins/spies would be interesting.
 
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gyor

Legend
I had to go back and check the changling and I have to say, the Firbolg is not better than them at disguise. For the changeling, it is a physical change; the firbolg's is an illusion and can be seen through with an intelligence/investigation check. It also only lasts an hour and requires the firbolg to have at least a short rest to recharge it. The changling is a physical change, so it can't be seen through. It is an at will action to change, they do not have to rest to recharge, and it lasts essentially forever. They also have proficiency in deception as a racial ability.

A changeling is far superior at disguise than a firbolg for anything long term or with preparation and I would prefer a changeling as an infiltrator.
The firbolg's disguise self is useful only in that it can also change the appearance of their clothes with their new disguise. However, they are unable to change their appearance again during the duration of the spell.

The Firbolg doesn't need to just happen to have the right outfit or armour to take an identity, in practice Changelings are going to be hard to use, any use that is greater then an hour during an adventure is likely going to derail the adventure, and the Firbolg is more then a one trick pony.
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
/tangent

Changelings should not be as effective as Doppelgangers at disguise.

But better than Firbolgs in most situations.

IMHO.
 

gyor

Legend
I've suggested at will Alter Self as a way to make Changelings more workable, but able to copy peoples forms.

Anyways Firblogs seem fun.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Off the top of my head I can think of two things.

Large weapons (significant damage increase*) and ability to grapple huge creatures (significantly reducing the number of grapple-immune foes).

*) I can't actually find a rule that governs how damage changes with the size of weapons. There's nothing in the Equipment chapter of the PHB. The MM talks about how size changes your hit dice, but not your weapon dice. The DMG does say you double the damage dice for a weapon wielded by a Large creature, but it is far from obvious this should apply to player characters. After all, the Enlarge spell makes PCs Large but only allows +1d4 damage.

And on the downside (just as you say), the inability to follow the rest of the party through cramped environments. (Of course this is not a big deal if you have an ability to shrink, or if your DM allows access to those Underdark fungus detailed in Out of the Abyss). I guess another downside (at least for the first few levels) is that you can't actually block goblins and other small creatures.

Shield master feat would also let you knock huge creatures prone. I have done this with enlarge spell.
 

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