I'm pretty new to playing D&D, as are most of the people I play with. We found some homebrew race stuff already and one of us is playing as a Khajiit, but I wanted to play as a Cloud Giant and I'm not sure how to go about doing that. Is there a known way to adapt monsters to playable characters? One thing I've already said is that he was an outsider because he never grew enough (6'8") which takes care of the size issue, but I have no idea about anything else.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Reminder: comments are for clarifying content, not posting small or incomplete answers. Please use answer posts to submit answers instead. Prior comments containing answers have been removed. \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2016 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ related: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/77503/23970 (possibly duplicate?), rpg.stackexchange.com/q/77247/23970 (pointers, at least) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    May 26, 2016 at 14:35

3 Answers 3


Take it slow...

Since you're all pretty new, it's generally considered to be a really good idea to stick with the official published rules at first, so you can see how things play out and the effect of different abilities before you start messing with them in ways that might change the game balance.

If you really want to play as a cloud giant runt (which does sound pretty fun), what I've seen done a couple times is you pick a race from the Players Handbook, and use those ability scores and traits, but just call it a cloud giant. You get to indulge your imagination while making sure you don't have an unfair advantage over other players (the instinct to design a super powerful race is tough to resist, I know.)

When you're ready, the Dungeon Master's Guide has guidelines for creating custom playable races.

...or not

The above is all standard advice, but you know your group best. Don't let anyone stop you from having fun together. The key to making sure everyone has fun is to check in with the other players before you change something. If people look at your proposal and say "Dude, that sounds awesome, please do that," then you're good to go, no matter what the rules say.


One of the early characters in proto-D&D was a Vampire (Sir Fang). In fact, the Cleric class was invented as an anti-Vampire (there was lots of PvP: proto-D&D developed from wargaming).

Basically, they built a Vampire "class" that started with one HD, and leveled up and gained more and more Vampire powers.

You could do something similar with a Cloud Giant, where you start as a runt who is still growing, and gain HD and Cloud-Giant like abilities as you gain levels.

This will take care if you don't want to break the game in a number of ways (steal spotlight, for example), and you probably want to have a strong DM and be willing to have your abilities "nerfed" after the fact in case a screw up is made.

Doing this as a race-as-class is generally easier than doing a Cloud Giant race with some random character class, and results in a "more gianty" giant than the alternative.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this makes a lot of sense thematically, though it is a lot more work to homebrew a class than a race. \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2016 at 15:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There were rules for doing something similar in the 3.5 Psionic Handbook. Races such as Thri-Kreen had a level adjustment, and the rules were a way to play the character beneath that level, gaining more of its natural abilities at each character level until you hit the hit the adjusted level and could start taking levels in classes instead. But I don't know how those rules would port to 5e, and homebrewing it is bound to be a lot of work \$\endgroup\$
    – D.Spetz
    May 26, 2016 at 20:31

You'll have to work with your dm to homebrew something. Take a look at the other playable races (especially goliath) and try to make features equivalent to those.

The basics would be +2 to one stat, +1 to another, and two to three other features approximately equal to those features found in other official races (compare to dwarf, goliath, half-orc, etc...)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think references to the DMG section detailing race creation (around p.287 IIRC) and a link to the Elemental Evil Player's Companion--since you mention Goliath--would improve this. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    May 26, 2016 at 14:33

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