Ok, starting out, this is going to be a much more negative post than my usual articles. You’ve been warned. It’s a rant.
I’m going to open by saying I absolutely detest the Goliath race. I remember cracking open my brand new copy of Races of Stone back in the day and thumbing through all the awesome dwarf and gnome content and being very happy with it… until I got to the end.
Basically, the Goliath race tacked on to the end of the book stinks heavily of a “crunch before fluff” creation process. They are numerically superior, and have history and culture as thin as single ply toilet paper, and just as disposable. Unlike the other races that have some background and a clear place in the world, these guys exist solely to give players who want to play melee “toons” something to build without all that roleplaying nonsense getting in the way.
I use the word “toon” derogatorily, in the WoW usage. It’s a collection of numbers and stats and nothing more.
Imagine, of you will, you were the DM and one of your players came up to you with a homebrew race they made up and wanted to play. I imagine the conversation would go something like this.
“So, I want to play a melee guy and I made a new race I want to try out.”
“Ok, let’s talk about that. I have to make sure it’s balanced well against what were already using.”
“Oh, it’s super balanced! The race has a level adjustment, so it’s balanced.”
“That’s a good start. That means it will not have as high of an attack roll or as many hit points as the other players.”
“Right! So I gave him a +4 to strength to negate the penalty to attack roll and actually give him a bonus!”
“And I gave him a bonus to constitution so he’ll have as many hit points as everyone else.”
“That doesn’t sound right…”
“Oh, and Ive been doing some thinking, and remember that encounter where that fighter was tripping and bull rushing everyone?”
“I gave myself a bonus to resist that! And remember before the encounter before that with the enemy wizard that cast hold person on me?”
“I’m immune to that now! And remember the encounter before what with the rogues who kept using feign to get sneak attack against me?”
“I get a bonus to resist that now! And remember the encounter before where that giant kept doing extra damage because he was using a large weapon?”
“I get that too!”
“…wait, hold on…”
“Super cool, right? They’re all bald too!”
“Hold on. You want all that; negating the penalty of the level adjustment, and all the bonuses? You want to be strong, tough, huge, bald, and charismatic without any downsides?
You realize you made an entire race based on Terry Crews? You’re going to need to take this idea back to the drawing board…”
Never before have I seen such a thinly veiled attempt at Mary Sue bullshit in a race as I have seen in the Goliath. Basically, any character concept you have can be made mechanically better with a layer of goliath cheese on top. (Yes, even wizard.)
So I had a new player text me his concept yesterday for the game this Friday. I asked him what kind of character he wanted to play.
He hits me back with “goliath with half-minotaur hurler?”
You know this ain’t my first rodeo, right son?