Heroes of the New Day
The nomadic race of goliaths is not a large one in terms of numbers. There are likely tribes of them nestled in unreachable mountain areas, but in the rest of the civilized world, you might see one or two for every 500 other humanoids. A lot of this has to do with their seemingly race-wide love of solitude.
Goliaths are physically large, standing about a foot taller than most humans and being genetically pre-disposed to muscular frames. Their skin is often stone-colored, possibly a racial adaptation to the mountains in which most goliaths make their homes. There are rumors that Goliaths are descended from giants, and others that they are a hybrid of dwarves and giants, but neither seems very likely. You’ll never find a goliath who might be called “chatty”, and their general tendency not to speak until they have something of value to say has painted them as either dumb, deaf, or (to those who know) wise.
Goliaths have longstanding ties to the mountains. Unlike dwarves, they are not as comfortable _under_ground, but prefer the feel of rocks beneath their feet. Religiously, goliaths tend towards shamanistic and druidic paths, finding divinity in nature and spirits around them instead of the gods. This does not mean that they are opposed to the gods or against their worship… only that many Goliaths prefer to do things in the way that has worked for them for centuries. Of course, this is a generalization that does not hold true in all regions. The large goliath population in Borovia, for instance, are fierce supporters of Kord, though they still call on the “strength of the Mountains” to give them power as they do battle for their God of Battle.
An interesting part of the goliath mentality is the mountain metaphor. Most times, a goliath will appear calm and collected, unmoved by things that would topple other men. But when a goliath does start to act, his strength is that of an avalanche or rockslide, inevitable and fierce. Goliaths also have a great respect for water creatures, elementals, etc… for water is a force that, though slowly, can change any mountain’s stone.
Things My Racist Relatives Say
“If humans could stop to breathe for a moment, smell the fresh air and observe the impossible wonder around them, they would realize the futility and pointlessness of their ambition.”
“Dwarves know the value of stone, but they have narrowed their sight to cut out all other aspects of the natural world.”
“Elves love the forests, but forget the ground upon which the trees are planted and the rocks which hold those trees in place.”
“I sometimes mourn the genasi, for they are each so tied to their element that they can see nothing else.”
“A halfling can find joy in any environment. Now if only he would slow down enough so that I could understand what he was saying…”
Goliaths protect the wisdom of the mountains, the knowledge of ages. Dumathoin, the dwarven god of secrets under the mountain, is not actually a dwarf at all. His disguise is known to Goliaths, who venerate him as a great mountain spirit who embodies wisdom and strength… but don’t tell the Dwarves that.
Younger goliaths (sometimes referred to within tribes as “pebbles”… not that any non-goliath would ever get away with using that term) have been known to go off on their own. As a nomadic people, this is seen as normal among their culture. The need to see the world is understood by the elders, though eventually most young goliaths will mature and realize that the wonder of the world surrounds them no matter where they are, if they have eyes to see it.
Goliaths pass down stories orally within their cultures, and their tale of what happened at the Great Cataclysm may, in fact, be more accurate than any dragonborn or tiefling accounting. Among Goliath tribes, though, that one story of the Cataclysm is a tale that only the village elder will know. The rest of the village knows that their elder has this knowledge, but they won’t ever mention that in front of a dragonborn, tiefling, or most any other outsider.
Many goliaths fear that the evil among them will reincarnate as bullettes, Geleb Duhr, or other malevolent rock creatures. There is sometimes a hesitation to kill such creatures, as they might be a former relative… though in the end they are usually put down to allow the soul to continue in its cycle.