"This race of towering hunters don't let one lost battle - however punishing - dampen their enthusiasm for life and the hunt. They know that only the ultimate victor achieves legendary rewards." -Garel-Kai
At the highest mountain peaks - far above the slopes where trees grow and where the air is thin and the frigid winds howl - dwell the reclusive goliaths. Few folk can claim to have seen a goliath, and fewer still can claim friendship with them. Goliaths wander a bleak realm of rock, wind, and cold. Their bodies look as if they are carved from mountain stone and give them great physical power. Their spirits take after the wandering wind, making them nomads who wander from peak to peak. Their hearts are infused with the cold regard of their frigid realm, leaving each goliath with the responsibility to earn a place in the tribe or die trying.
Every day brings a new challenge to a goliath. Food, water, and shelter are rare in the uppermost mountain reaches. A single mistake can bring doom to an entire tribe, while an individual’s heroic effort can ensure the entire group’s survival. Goliaths thus place a premium on self-sufficiency and individual skill. They have a compulsion to keep score, counting their deeds and tallying their accomplishments to compare to others. Goliaths love to win, but they see defeat as a prod to improve their skills. This dedication to competition has a dark side. Goliaths are ferocious competitors, but above all else they are driven to outdo their past efforts. If a goliath slays a dragon, he or she might seek out a larger, more powerful wyrm to battle. Few goliath adventurers reach old age, as most die attempting to surpass their past accomplishments. For goliaths, competition exists only when it is supported by a level playing field. Competition measures talent, dedication, and effort. Those factors determine survival in their home territory, not reliance on magic items, money, or other elements that can tip the balance one way or the other. Goliaths happily rely on such benefits, but they are careful to remember that such an advantage can always be lost. A goliath who relies too much on them can grow complacent, a recipe for disaster in the mountains. This trait manifests most strongly when goliaths interact with other folk. The relationship between peasants and nobles puzzles goliaths. If a king lacks the intelligence or leadership to lead, then clearly the most talented person in the kingdom should take his place. Goliaths rarely keep such opinions to themselves, and mock folk who rely on society’s structures or rules to maintain power.
Among goliaths, any adult who can’t contribute to the tribe is expelled. A lone goliath has little chance of survival, especially an older or weaker one. Goliaths have little pity for adults who can’t take care of themselves, though a sick or injured individual is treated, as a result of the goliath concept of fair play. A permanently injured goliath is still expected to pull his or her weight in the tribe. Typically, such a goliath dies attempting to keep up, or the goliath slips away in the night to seek the cold will of fate. In some ways, the goliath drive to outdo themselves feeds into the grim inevitability of their decline and death. A goliath would much rather die in battle, at the peak of strength and skill, than endure the slow decay of old age. Few folk have ever meet an elderly goliath, and even those goliaths who have left their people grapple with the urge to give up their lives as their physical skills decay. Because of their risk-taking, goliath tribes suffer from a chronic lack of the experience offered by longterm leaders. They hope for innate wisdom in their leadership, for they can rarely count on a wisdom grown with age.
The arrival of a goliath is heralded by the crash of splintering wood and the roar of a battle cry. When they smash through a door with a single swing of their massive weapon and barrel into the midst of their enemies, foes dodge out of the way - if they’re wise. If battle has taught the goliath anything, it’s that weight plus momentum equals deadly force. When they set their bulk in motion, anyone smart knows to stay out of their way.
Goliaths are famous for defending mountain passes with a squad of slingers, a pile of boulders, and a rampaging brute who rushes downhill and slams into the leader of the opposing force as a killing rain of rock and stone smashes that foe’s allies. Goliath legends tell of the first rampaging brute, Roglarok, who charged into the midst of a company of hobgoblins beneath the mountain. No one in his tribe could have defeated them single-handedly, but by drawing the defenders off, Roglarok allowed his allies to achieve a victory by sneaking in behind the distracted hobgoblins.
The goliath's tactics as a rampaging brute focus on charging in and tying up foes, keeping them away from the more frail members of their tribe. Their preferred weapon is a heavy weight at the end of a sturdy haft. They favor light armor or chainmail so that their charges can carry them farther into the heart of the battle. They’ll be hit frequently, but their fury will keep them fighting no matter how grievous their wounds become.