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I'm creating a female Goliath character. Though the D&D Beyond description does not give much information about physical appearance (such as eye color and skin color), I did find an explanation from a third-party source that has this quote:

Goliaths’ skulls have a jutting eyebrow ridge, wide jaw, and occasional lithoderms. Their skin color is grey which is mottled with dark and light patches. Female goliaths have dark hair on their head which are grown to great length and kept braided always. On the other hand, males have hair only on their limbs. Blue or green are the colors of their eyes. Goliaths dress as lightly as possible because of their skin mottling cultural significance. Lithoderms of 5e Goliath is common places to embed a gem or two.

That said, there are a few things I wanted to verify for the Character Sheet info on page 2:

  1. Eye color (this site states blue or green but the images show white)
  2. Skin Color or mottling color (I read blue on one site and brown on another)
  3. Hair color

I'd also like to know if a lithoderm is official and what it is.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Goliath also appear in Elemental Evil Player's Companion (a free source) if I recall correctly \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 13 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I am using the character sheet WOTC offers with the PHB 5e. As for the link, I didn't notice a paywall.... And my bad, I thought it was Unearthed. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Mar 13 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch IWOTC calls it "Fifth Edition Character Sheets"Specifically, Hair colour (black or brown), Eye colour (If green or blue, why does the linked image seem white?) and skin mottling color. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Mar 13 at 17:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there any specific reason why you are asking about such specific appearance information? Does your DM require lore-accurate detailed character descriptions for example? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 13 at 17:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Raj it was deleted by the author. They did not specify why they deleted it. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 13 at 17:32
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5e does not specify eye, hair, or skin color for goliaths

All the description for goliaths is present here and in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion and nothing is mentioned about any of those details.

We do get a very general description but that's it:

Their bodies look as if they are carved from mountain stone and give them great physical power.

Goliaths are between 7 and 8 feet tall and weigh between 280 and 340 pounds. Your size is Medium.

When something is not specified in the book, that is a detail you and your DM get to decide for yourselves. Most DMs I've worked with don't care much and allow you to customize as much as you like (within reason). Pick something that you like and ask your DM if it's ok. Or ask them first if they have any ideas or preferences for how goliaths look in their world.

You are looking at unofficial sources

The reason the descriptions you find are not matching up is that they are either unofficial for fifth edition, old, or both. In lieu of official rules people can and do make up their own ideas about how the race looks and sometimes publish it online.

That's fine, but it doesn't dictate how you play at your group's table. Similarly, older editions of D&D might have described the race and maybe it's even changed over the multiple editions. None of that matters for 5th edition unless you and your DM want it to.

Lithoderms

Lithoderms do not appear to be official in any 5e material that I have access to. There is an old 3.5e document (found by @davo) that describes them as:

Lithoderms -- coin-sized bone-and-skin growths as hard as pebbles -- speckle their arms, shoulders, and torso. Their skulls have a jutting eyebrow ridge, wide jaw, and occasional lithoderms as well.

So that is what that unofficial description is likely referring to. However, officially goliaths do not have to have lithoderms in 5e and if you decide they do, you and your DM can decide for yourselves how they look exactly.

That document also talks about goliaths in general so you can look through there and see if any descriptions sound fun to use in your game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to address lithoderm as well, since it's looks like it's an add on to their list. Lithoderm isn't mentioned in any of the cannon material. Litho means stone, and derm means skin. So skin stones. \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Mar 13 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I'm understanding more now. I am still confused why the linked info is so vague on physical descriptions, as the base races are quite detailed though \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Mar 13 at 17:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB unfortunately I can't even speculate as to why. Could have been cut for space or they decided it wasn't necessary and to leave it up to the player. It could be that they just forgot to include it. Only they know why. On the other hand, this gives you plenty of room for creativity! \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 13 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ While 5e doesn't have an indepth description, it does have artwork for goliaths, which may be worth referencing or displaying in your answer \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Mar 13 at 23:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch they do. Even Tieflings have eye, hair, and skin color variants as well as the length of tails and origin of horns. The other races are just as detailed. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Mar 14 at 7:30
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General descriptions are provided, but the details are up to you.

The description you provided isn't official 5e lore, and i'm not sure it's official at all. There is some information that we do have about Goliaths from 5e sources, though.

Just like humans come in all shapes and sizes, so do Goliaths. The details that 5e give us on them can be found in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion, but they really don't include much about descriptive properties. What they do tell us is:

Their bodies look as if they are carved from mountain stone and give them great physical power.

Goliaths are between 7 and 8 feet tall and weigh between 280 and 340 pounds. Your size is Medium.

That's about it with regard to 5e lore and information.

The rest is up to you!

You can look at older lore (big thanks to Davo's finding on 3.5 lore) to give you some ideas (and that includes some information on lithoderms), but it's unclear how much of that lore is current or not. Feel free to give aspects that you like to your character's physical design and the picture provided on the page about Goliath's gives you some general direction as to their appearance. But as with all creatures, there is a lot of variation and making a character your own is a big part of the fun here.

The only limitations you have are your imagination and DM approval. In general, as long as your 'lore' or descriptive aspects don't impinge on the mechanical abilities of your race/class, then there really shouldn't be any problem. When in doubt, always talk with your DM about it and get their approval - but as long as your designs are superficial in nature, then there really shouldn't be any issues.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. I'm still nervous about how much lore I can add to the character or not as I know there are some big no-nos to many races (especially regarding demi-races), So I wanted to verify before I assumed. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Mar 13 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I want to check both your answer and Rubiksmoose's answer but went with his due to amount of info he is putting in. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Mar 13 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB I added a section about lore/personalization to help. And no worries - Rubiksmoose has a great answer! \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 13 at 18:24

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