Firbolg (4e Race)

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Work In Progress


By Steve Prescott

Take only what you need and heed the eyes of the forest if you don't want to become prey yourself.

Racial Traits
Average Height: 10'6"—11'4"
Average Weight: 610—710 lbs
Ability Scores: +2 Strength and +2 Wisdom
Size: Large
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Giant
Skill Bonuses: Nature, Athletics
Hidden Step: You can use hidden step as an encounter power.
Hermitic Protection: You have a +2 racial bonus to Will saves.
Forest Walk: You ignore difficult terrain that is part of a tree, underbrush, or some other forest growth.
Speech of Beast and Leaf: You gain a +5 racial bonus to diplomacy checks with creatures that are beast type or have the plant keyword

Hidden Step Firbolg Racial Power
Attuning to the aura of things around you, your presence is entirely masked, rendering you nonexistent.
Encounter Star.gif Hidden
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You become hidden until the end of your next turn.

Firbolgs came about as results of an affair between the giant goddess Othea and Ulutiu. There are other origin myths, such as that of the Moonshae, who believe the firbolg were brought about by the influence of Malar on the isles. There is even the story of how Grond Peaksmasher, son of Hiatea, carved the firbolgs out of stone and dwarves from the leftover material. Due to the firbolg's giant blood and size, it is highly likely they were related to the giants in their creation. However, due to being born out of Othea's infidelity, Annam did not grant them any land to call their own, forcing them to seek and find their own homes and establish their own dynasties. They are rejected by other giant-kind due to their origin, despite Othea's efforts to protect them.

Physical Qualities[edit]

Firbolgs are tall, stocky humanoids, usually much taller than humans or elves. They have thick, tough skin, that is usually fleshy pink, though there are some with yellowish or even grey skin tones. Their hair, though it came in many colors, is usually either red or blond and worn long. There is, however, a physical variant of this appearance, presumably from the Moonshae Isles, which are said to boast particularly ugly firbolgs. They appear much more bestial, with pointed ears, large nostrils, and hairy forearms. A firbolg's voice is deep and smooth, and they tended to roll their consonants when speaking.

Being highly attuned to the natural world, firbolgs usually eschew wearing metallic materials, preferring wood or animal hide. They typically carry druidic implements with them made of the materials around their home, which tend to be forests. Some wear certain animal pelts in belief of their primal power coursing through. Appearance matters less to a firbolg, so they will often appear unshaven or unruly.

Attitudes and Beliefs[edit]

Living apart form their giant brethren, the firbolg learned to reject the ordning. They live by their own code and clan system. For firbolgs, family, patrimony, and agriculture are all important aspects. With each comes a need for balance. One should not take more than they need or others will not have enough. Firbolgs would rather starve than strain the natural beauty around them. A strong home was what made a strong soul, and so firbolgs avoided conflicts and political things. Violence is an act of last resort. Firbolgs rather resolve things without fighting, or even being seen if they can afford it. They saw all sentient beings as equal, rather than have a haughty attitude like most giants.

Firbolg Code
Prakt, Strev, Rang, glang byrd.
Stomm rang glang du.
Blod ettin er blod kong.
Gi tusen val nul.
Trut zund stommpaart.
Bravery, effort, and honor over birth.
The tribe's honor over yours.
The blood of the runt is the blood of a king.
Give a thousand for nothing.
Truth is the honor of the tribe

Firbolg Communities[edit]

To firbolgs, family was the clan. The connections which bind them are so strong that even lycanthropy will not make clan members shun the afflicted. They commonly settled in remote hilly or forested areas. Their settlements were strongholds as well as places of residences, including wooden structures, built from the trees around them, even with defensive towers. If this was unavailable, they would take to residing in hillside caverns, though this is rare. They often used magic to protect the existence of their homes. These clan settlements were small, usually with only four to sixteen members. Their clans often include a shaman or druid. Individuals lived separately from each other, though within one big family. These dwellings are usually one-story buildings made of logs. To receive guests, they had a fireplace in a warm and cozy common room. Some firbolgs reject this domestic way of life and are thus nomadic.

Firbolgs have an affinity for wooded areas, and so they will always try to live in close proximity to them. They see themselves as stewards of the trees. Therefore, they always carefully and resourcefully live off the land, making sure to ensure balance. For example, during the summer, they store excess foods. This is not for their own consumption, but often to help feed other inhabitants of the forest through harsh winters, thus maintaining overall survival with others. Firbolgs were also hunter-gatherers, and could even farm a little, contrasting heavily with the pillaging style of life common among giant-kin. Hunting grounds can reach as far as 20 miles from their clan residence. Meat is a special treat for firbolgs, and therefore is often hoarded for large celebratory feasts rather than eaten daily.

Most firbolg tribes prefer isolation from other races. They see most other races as being either destructive of nature or too wrapped up in their own trivial matters. This isolation is not exclusively peaceful. If intruders enter firbolg territory, the firbolgs would usually try an indirect approach first to convince "invaders" to leave. This can be as harmless as driving game away to discourage hunters, or redirecting streams and forest trails to confuse travelers. If these methods fail, the firbolgs will confront the outsiders. They are typically loath to show themselves, so this is something of a last resort almost. If the outsiders appear peaceful, the firbolgs usually try to convince them to leave directly; if the outsiders seem evil or seemed to have no concern for the forest lands, the firbolgs are not shy to utilize violence. Sometimes, they find populations that they can tolerate, even. They would trade with peaceful folk living nearby in exchange for providing services utilizing their great strength.

There is a story about an adventurer who stumbled into firbolg territory in search of a dragon. He made it clear he was persistent and tenacious. One morning, he awoke to find the head of the very dragon he was hunting, presented before his tent. While he did not see the givers, he heard their voices from the trees, telling him to take the head and leave immediately. Such is the way of the firbolg.

Firbolg Adventurers[edit]

Adventuring usually means breaking the connection with one's family, which is sacrilege in most firbolg circles. Firbolg adventurers are rare and most often were individuals estranged from their tribes. These tend to be orphans, exiles, lone survivors, or the like. Some who were curious enough might venture out for knowledge. these will typically return to their clan periodically.

Druid: Firbolgs seem to have a natural tendency toward druidic magics. In fact, many of their chieftains were druids. This is attributed to a primal element of their creation, from the Peaksmasher lore. In general, however, they are highly attuned to the primal energies of the world and nature.

Fighter: As hunters, firbolgs boast incredible strength and are not afraid to use it.

Shaman: While not as plentiful as druids, shamans were another highly revered role. They specialized in healing and protecting members of the tribe with primal magic. They also often held naturally political roles in a tribe, and were viable chieftains.

Three sample firbolg adventurers are described below.

Waesberos Azureguard is a firbolg shaman who led his clan in a recent battle against encroaching forces of a nearby army. The army was trying to plow through their forest as a shortcut to route their opponent in the current war. Waesboros' attempts to reason with them failed and many of the clansmen messengers were killed. As the firbolgs mounted a bloody battle against the army, they were successful in driving them off. However, the losses made Waesboros ultimately fall out of favor, and he was exiled from his clan. He wanders in shame of not being able to protect his clan and seeks redemption.

Iarfina Hira is a firbolg druid who left her clan with their blessing to seek the source of what has been poisoning their forest's waters. The forest had recently begun to show signs of early and erratic decay, leading to speculation on the groundwater from the local river which flows down from a faraway range. Iarfina has never been outside her home before and she is wary of the civilizations she will have to pass on the way to her destination. She therefore seeks trustworthy allies to help her.

Naenan Spiritcrown is a firbolg fighter who was exiled at an early age from his clan for having allegedly killed a traveler in the forest in cold blood before giving them a chance to leave. Naenan sees life as a big natural war where everyone is a possible enemy. He likes his daily work in the ring, fighting for money. However, he recently received news that his clan is on the brink of collapse due to inner fighting after the death of their chieftain. Seeing an opportunity, Naenan makes for his old home.

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