Goliath

Goliaths are large, muscular creatures that inhabit the mountains to the far west.

  • Humanoid.
  • +2 Strength, -2 Dexterity: Goliaths are massively muscled, but their bulk sometimes gets in the way when they're trying to be nimble.
  • Goliath base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, goliaths have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size. However, see the powerful build ability description below for more details.
  • Powerful Build: The physical stature of a goliath lets him function in many ways as if he were one size category larger. Whenever a goliath is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), the goliath is treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to him. A goliath is also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature's special attacks based on size (such as improved grab or swallow whole) can affect him. The benefits of this racial trait do not stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that increase the subject's size category (though they do stack if size is decreased).
  • Mountain Movement: Because goliaths practically live on the ledges and cliffs of the most forbidding mountains, they are particularly adept at negotiating mountain hazards. Goliaths can make standing long and high jumps as if they were running long and high jumps. A goliath can engage in accelerated climbing (climbing half his speed as a move action) without taking the -5 penalty on the Climb check. In addition, a goliath gets a +2 bonus to climb checks.
  • Acclimated: Goliaths are automatically acclimated to life at high altitudes. They don't take the penalties for altitude described in the Mountain Travel section on page 90 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. Unlike other denizens of the mountains, goliaths don't lose their acclimation to high altitude even if they spend months or years at lower elevations.
  • +2 bonus on Sense Motive checks: When speaking to one another, goliaths tend to augment their verbal communication with subtle body language. They are likewise able to "read" the unintentional body language of others.
  • A goliath casts spells with the Earth descriptor at +1 caster level.
  • Automatic Languages: Desert Common and Gol-Kaa.

Personality: Goliaths are known for their almost foolhardy daring. In their mountain homes, they leap from precipice to precipice, heedless of the fatal consequences of a misstep. They place great stock in clan and family; life in the mountains teaches even the youngest goliath to rely completely on his fellows for a hand across a crevasse. Because most goliaths are hunter-gatherers, they tend to be inquisitive, always curious about whether better hunting lies over the next ridge or a good water source can be found in the next canyon.

Goliaths are completely unsympathetic toward tribe members who can't contribute to the well-being of the tribe anymore — an attitude reinforced by social structures. Old, sick, and otherwise infirm goliaths are exiled from their clans, never to return.

Goliaths love of competition shapes a significant part of their worldview. A goliath instinctively keeps score about anything that's a challenge, and casually mentions how he's doing compared to his comrades and rivals. "That's the third time I've fed you a potion when you were about to die," a goliath might say, or, "It's frustrating — my enemies have drawn first blood four times in a row today." Those unfamiliar with goliath culture often find the need to keep score annoying, arrogant, or self-centered, but they're placing more weight on such utterances than the goliaths themselves are. To a goliath, scorekeeping is as natural as breathing, and it isn't meant to belittle or demean anyone.

While goliaths obviously love competing with and against each other, they face a more implacable foe. It's invisible to even a close friend, but a goliath is always competing against himself. If a goliath slays a dragon, he won't be satisfied with another dragon battle unless it's against a larger, older dragon. When a goliath doesn't measure up to his former achievements, he frequently becomes morose and withdrawn. Goliaths rarely speak of this inner struggle, and in fact many couldn't articulate why they feel the way they do. But to a greater or lesser degree, all older goliaths are haunted by their need to compete against their younger selves.

Because tribes rely on the utmost effort of each member to survive in the forbidding mountains, goliaths are almost incapable of holding a grudge if they lose a fair competition. Goliaths compete as teams more often than they do as individuals, and an oft-repeated goliath maxim is that "today's rival is tomorrow's teammate." Cheating in a competition — which for goliath covers most life activities — is such a taboo that few goliaths will risk the social consequences of being caught. Many can't conceive of cheating, instead redoubling their efforts or finding another game or sport to try.

Competition drives another mindset common among goliaths: the notion that "everyone gets a turn." Just as most goliath competitions are open to all, goliaths expect that everyone should have the chance to compete for power, prestige, and other goals. Goliaths who visit lower elevations are often puzzled by the plight of serfs. "Why does the lord not give them the chance to become knights?" a goliath traveler might ask. Anyone in a situation that affords no hope of advancement will earn pity — and possibly more tangible assistance — from a goliath.

Competition among goliaths has a darker side as well. The convivial attitude among goliaths extends only to the able-bodied and the very young, who are nurtured for their potential. A goliath who can't keep up with the rest of the tribe, either literally or in terms of production, is carried for only a few days before the tribe begins to shun the weak goliath. Sometimes the tribe will deny the weak goliath food and shelter, but it's far more likely that the weak goliath will refuse food and shelter until he has proven his worth to the tribe or until he walks away in shame.

Physical Description: A typical goliath is larger than the largest half-orc. Most stand between 7 and 8 feet tall, and weigh between 280 and 340 pounds. Unlike most other races, there is no appreciable difference in height or weight between male and female goliaths.

Goliaths have gray skin, mottled with dark and light patches that goliath shamans say hint at a particular goliath's fate. Lithoderms — coin-sized bone-and-skin growths hard as pebbles — speckle their arms, shoulders, and torso. Their skulls have a jutting eyebrow ridge, wide jaw, and occasional lithoderms as well. Female goliaths have dark hair on their heads, which grows to great lengths and is always kept braided. Male goliaths generally have hair only on their limbs. Goliaths' eyes are a brilliant blue or green, and they often seem to glow a little from underneath their furrowed brows.

Because their skin mottling has cultural significance, goliaths generally dress as lightly as possible, displaying their skin patterns for all to see. For the same reason, few goliaths would willingly get a tattoo — to draw on one's skin is tantamount to trying to rewrite one's fate. Goliaths instead decorate themselves with piercing jewelry, often sporting ear, nose, or brow rings. A goliath's lithoderms are also common places to embed a gem or two, since they have few nerve endings and stand out on the goliath's body anyway.

Relations: When encountered in the mountains, goliaths are outwardly friendly to anyone who doesn't threaten the tribe and can keep up with them as they climb from peak to peak. Humans who brave the mountains — rangers and druids, most often — can often earn a tasty meal by helping a team of goliath hunters. Goliaths hold dwarves in particularly high regard, wishing their tribes had the dwarven aptitude for weapon crafting. The Small races are regarded as curiosities. Dusklings in particular strike goliaths as cowardly. Goliaths find warforged interesting but nothing more. Goliaths have no particular negative feelings about lizardfolk or rapotrans.

Alignment: Goliaths have a slight tendency toward chaotic alignments, which is reflected in their wanderlust and the small, mobile communities in which they live. Still, each goliath tribe has one or more adjudicators that settle disputes within the clan, and such goliaths are generally lawful. Goliaths have a slight preference toward good over evil, since among the high mountain peaks, survival becomes much easier when one aids a fellow goliath without insisting on recompense.

Lands: Goliaths inhabit the mountain range to the northwest. Because they don't support large-scale agriculture or extensive settlements, the mountain ranges where goliaths live are home to few other intelligent races. Most tribes of goliaths wander from peak to peak, tending their goat flocks and foraging for alpine roots and tubers. Typically, a tribe sets up a temporary village in an alpine meadow and remains there for a month or two, then moves on when the season changes or better hunting can be found elsewhere. Larger tribes tend to follow a similar trail from year to year, retreating to lower elevations in midwinter and when they need to trade, then ascending to the highest peaks once the snow melts.

Some goliaths live at lower altitudes among humans or other races, most often because their tribe exiled them after a crime, dispute, or injury. Many a folk tale includes a forlorn goliath working as a farmhand after a failed courtship in the mountains.

Religion: Goliaths literally worship the mountains, which provide food, shelter, and safety for the tribe. They personify the mountain as a hardy entity that teaches through tough love.

Language: For millennia, the goliaths have had only a spoken tongue, Gol-Kaa, which has only thirteen phonetic letters: a, e, g, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, u, th, and v. Recently, the goliaths have picked up smatterings of the languages of the other native races, but even when speaking these languages they sound clumsy with other letters and often use substitutions.

Names: Every goliath has three names: a birth name assigned by the newborn's mother and father, a nickname or honorific assigned by the tribal chief, and a family or clan name. The birth name tends to be short — often only a syllable or two — but the clan names often have five syllables or more and always end in a vowel.

The honorific isn't a traditional name so much as it is a descriptive nickname, often a two-part sobriquet. The honorific can change at the whim of the tribal chief, whether because a particular goliath did something useful for the tribe (earning an honorific such as "Highclimber" or "Nighthunter") or as punishment for failure (a middle name such as "Latesleeper" or "Wanderslost"). Goliaths who have been exiled from their tribe generally carry a middle name that reflects their status, such as "Solitary" or "Kinless." Some specific roles within the tribe, such as lorekeeper or shaman (described in the Society and Culture section later in this chapter), have honorifics attached to them as well.

When introducing themselves for the first time, goliaths always use the first name/honorific/family name construction, translating the honorific into the listener's language if possible. Thereafter, they refer to themselves and each other by the honorific alone. Goliaths traveling among other races sometimes assign honorifics to their comrades rather than use their given names.

Male Names: Aukan, Eglath, Gauthak, Ilikan, Keothi, Lo-Kag, Maveith, Meavoi, Thotham, Vimak.
Female Names: Gae-Al, Kuori, Manneo, Nalla, Orilo, Paavu, Pethani, Thalai, Uthal, Vaunea.
Honorifics: Bearkiller, Dawncaller (see Chapter 5 for details on this prestige class), Fearless, Flintfinder, Horncarver, Keeneye, Lonehunter, Longleaper, Rootsmasher, Skywatcher, Steadyhand, Threadtwister, Twice-Orphaned, Twistedlimb, Wordpainter.
Family Names: Anakalathai, Elanithino, Gathakanathi, Kalagiano, Katho-Olavi, Kolae-Gileana, Ogolakanu, Thuliaga, Thunukalathi, Vaimei-Laga.

Classes: Most goliath adventurers gravitate toward the barbarian class, but others may pick up levels of fighter, ranger, or druid. Soulblades are also common among the goliaths. Goliaths are not a subtle people, and therefore are unlikely to take classes that emphasize stealth, cunning, or diplomacy.

Adventurers: Traditionally, the only goliaths to become adventurers are those exiled (voluntarily or otherwise) from the goliath tribes high in the mountains. However, as some goliath tribes spend more time with "downlanders," especially the dwarves and lizardfolk, it's becoming more common for a tribe to send a particularly competent goliath on a mission that aids the tribe or goliaths in general. Once they descend from their mountain homes, most goliaths find the lowlands fascinating, although they are generally on their guard against "downland tricksters." The same wanderlust that keeps goliath tribes moving often keeps a lone goliath among the humans for far longer than he originally intended.

Character Options: Goliaths can take the goliath barbarian racial substitution level, which replaces regular rage with mountain rage.

Mountaincleft Goliath template
Mountaincleft is an inherited template that can be applied to any goliath. Mountaincleft goliaths are even larger and more powerfully built than their brethren. They have thicker skin with more lithoderms than normal.

  • Mountaincleft goliaths change become Monstrous Humanoids and gain the earth subtype.
  • +2 strength, +2 constitution.
  • Powerful Grip: A goliath can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, his space and reach remain those of a creature of his actual size. Likewise, a goliath’s unarmed strike deals damage as if it were 1 size larger than normal.
  • More Powerful Build: Powerful Build now stacks with effects that increase size.
  • Goliath Paragons have a climb speed equal to one-half their land speed.
  • Level Adjustment: +1.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License