D&D giants

Carving a Place in the World | Giantborn – New Player Race for 5E D&D

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Giantkin are a longstanding tradition in fantasy fiction and folklore. Whether it’s Jack and the Beanstalk or Attack on Titan it seems the notion of being smaller than another person is one of our most intrinsic fears. However, in the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons monsters and other frights are manifest staples of everyday life, and sooner or later people will fall in love or otherwise reproduce. That’s where the giantborn (offspring of human and giant relations) come into play! The idea for giantborn first occurred to me as belonging in my homebrew campaign setting, based on my own published novel The Mis-Adventurers: An (Almost) Epic Tale. However, this race could just as easily fit into any setting.

New 5E D&D player race — Giantborn

Many believe in the power of true love, and it is said true love will always find a way. Whether that’s true or not, when someone lives in a world full of spellcasters there’s always a way to rut, whether it’s true love or not. As a result of such philosophies the giantborn race came into being. Much like dragonborn, giantborn can only result from relations between a giant and a human or relations between two giantborn.

Giantborn often possess a haughty or superior attitude, and not without reason. Being exceptionally large and powerful giantborn soar past their human rivals in matters of physical prowess. Giantborn almost universally grow up among humans, as giants see them as an affront to their entire species.

In terms of appearance, giantborn usually most often resemble smaller versions of their giant parents. This prevents them from blending in with human culture.

Height Trumps. Much like half-elves, giantborn find themselves not quite fitting into either of their respective cultures. If they grow up among humans they’re often viewed as oafs, brutes or a stereotype of their specific giant species. If living among giants they’re treated as second class citizens, only a half step above the smaller races. This, combined with their rareness — most never meet another of their kind in their lifetime — instills within the giantborn a sort of melancholy that resigns them to either perfectly embodying or harshly opposing others’ expectations.

No matter how hard a giantborn tries their stature is always one of their core defining features, and as such giantborn often struggle to grow their identity apart from it. This is true for both others’ perceptions, as well as the perceptions of the giantborn individual.

Yearning for Belonging. By virtue of their parents’ wildly different worlds, giantborn are seldom (if ever) raised by both biological parents. While some may have a mother and father, the notion of a giantborn’s dual heritage often lingers in their mind. Most giantborn never know their parent opposite the culture in which they were raised. This often raises questions at some point in their lifetimes about who their opposite parent is and how they live.

Because giantborn’s parents are of different races, neither of which is identical to themselves, they often struggle during their upbringing to resolve identity conflicts, as their parents simply cannot understand fully what the giantborn experience. This usually manifests within the giantborn child as a deep desire for belonging and a subsequent obsession or utter rejection of the culture in which they were raised.

Individuality and Expression. As a result of this desire to belong, most giantborn leave their homes and travel as adventurers, carving out their own places in the world and seeking to be defined as individuals. One of two things commonly happens here. Either the giantborn seeks to embody the stereotypes of their opposite lineage, or they insist on developing an identity wholly different from any other implications.

This results in giantborn having very extreme or flamboyant personalities. Even the quiet or reserved ones are extremely so.

Giantborn Traits

Ability Score Increase

Your Strength score increases by 2, and one other ability score of your choice increases by 1.

Age

Possessing the blessing of the giantfolk, you age at the same rate as a human, reaching adulthood in their late teens. However, a giantborn can live well past 200 years.

Alignment

Usually rejected by both giant society and the society of humans, giantborn struggle to find a place in the world, and this pursuit lends to their diversity of world views. Giantborn tend toward no particular alignment.

Size

Though born of giants, your size leans toward your human parentage, standing between 8 and 9 feet tall and weighing around 200 pounds. Your size is Medium.

Speed

Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Powerful Build

You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.

Skill Versatility

You gain proficiency in two skills of your choice.

Languages

You can speak, read, and write Common and Giant.

Subrace

Because giantborn children always default to their opposite parent’s race when procreating with other races, giantborn can always trace their lineage back to one of the giant subraces. Choose from: cloud giantborn, fire giantborn, frost giantborn, hill giantborn, stone giantborn, or storm giantborn.

D&D giants

Cloud Giantborn

Giantborn with cloud giant heritage are quick, both physically and mentally. Their innate magic allows them to thrive in pro-magic communities, thrusting them into the spotlight for both their casting and physical prowess.

Giant’s Speed

Your long legs propel you further than the smaller folk. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.

Innate Spellcasting

You know 1 cantrip of your choice from the sorcerer spell list. Your spellcasting ability for this cantrip is Charisma.

Keen Smell

You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Fire Giantborn

Fire giantborn are as fierce and tactical as their lineage would suggest. They have an affinity for training with weapons and armor, and martial combat on the whole.

Giant Armor Training

You have proficiency with all armor and shields.

Fire Resistance

You have resistance to fire damage.

Frost Giantborn

Frost giantborn tend to be stalwart and boasting. Mercenary companies covert frost giantborn, a merit of their giant parents’ lineage.

Giant Weapon Training

You have proficiency with battleaxes and greataxes.

Frost Resistance

You have resistance to cold damage.

Giant’s Speed

Your long legs propel you further than the smaller folk. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.

Hill Giantborn

Seemingly perpetually hungry, hill giantborn seldom attempt to quell stereotypes about themselves and their kind. The most common of the giantborn, hill giantborn most readily fit into human society, as they can be easily mistaken for obscenely large humans.

Giant’s Speed

Your long legs propel you further than the smaller folk. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.

Giant Toughness

Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level.

Natural Armor

Your bulk allows you to shrug off damage that would shake others. Your armor class equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Constitution modifier.

Stone Giantborn

Due to the stone giants’ views of the world outside their caves as being a world of dreams, many stone giants pursue hedonism in the surface world. This results in stone giantborn.

Darkvision

You are acclimated to caves and other dark, underground environments. As such, you can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Giant’s Speed

Your long legs propel you further than the smaller folk. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.

Stone Camouflage

You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks while in rocky terrain.

Storm Giantborn

Storm giantborn are viewed as regal and haughty above all else. This is likely due to the Ordning’s hierarchy.

Amphibious

You can breathe water and air, and you have a swimming speed equal to your current walking speed.

Speed of the Storm

Your speed is like a gale. Your base walking speed increases to 40 feet.

Storm Resistance

You have resistance to one damage type of your choice. Choose from cold, lightning, or thunder.

What do you think of the giantborn race?

Do you have a favorite subrace? How could you see these fitting into your own campaign setting? Let us know in the comments!

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Steven Partridge is a published fantasy author and staff writer for Nerdarchy. He also shows up Tuesdays at 8:00pm (EST) to play with Nerdarchy Crew, over on the Nerdarchy Live YouTube channel. Steven enjoys all things fantasy, and storytelling is his passion. Whether through novels, TTRPGs, or otherwise, he loves telling compelling tales within various speculative fiction genres. When he's not writing or working on videos for his YouTube channel, Steven can be found lap swimming or playing TTRPGs with his friends. He works in the mental health field and enjoys sharing conversations about diversity, especially as it relates to his own place within the Queer community.

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