Being Bane: A Guide to Cracking Small Men
By Talic, Eldariel, and Solo, who put the whole thing in motion in the first place.
Also, thanks to Midnight_V and Zendu for their Barbarian information compilation.
Also, thanks to Midnight_V and Zendu for their Barbarian information compilation.
“So when can we expect ‘Beating Up Batman: Eldariel’s Guide to Barbarians’?”
We must pull all the core/non-core materials out that support the mage-killing image that barbarians have justly and obviously earned.
Mrifk! What manner of slut composed this fine work of literature?
-Gringr the Ecordian
Introduction to Barbarism
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.
What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king.
-Conan the Cimmerian
Barbarian, you call me? Uncivilized? Fools; you think I'm but an ignorant savage, and I suppose you’ve learned so much that it must be so. But still I cannot see that the savage one is me when there is so much that you don’t know.
Consider! Is not the way of the savage the most true to us all? Who among you hasn't known rage at injustice? Who among you can dispute that order lasts only as long as the strength behind it? We, knave, are the strength.
Barbarism is the natural state of mankind. Civilization is unnatural; it is a whim of circumstance; it is a sham. All attempts to control the world are doomed to failure, for the civilized man is a very part of the same world that he seeks to control.
Barbarism ultimately triumphs over civilization, for only barbarism is eternal and enduring. Civilization is but a luxury that can only be afforded under certain conditions. When the march of civilization halts for a breath, it is invariably destroyed by the Barbarian.
So cast off the shackles of your oppression by your laws and lords – what makes them better men than you? Who gave them the right to determine your fate? Renounce the coddling comforts you grew up in and be strong like your forefathers. Reject the two faced nature of civilized life, the complexities, the lies – embrace straightforwardness and honest living. Return to the natural state of being in which you can find peace. Revert to nature, from whence you came.
As a Barbarian, you get:
- Full BAB
- d12 HD
- Good fortitude save
- 4 skill points/level
- Illiteracy: Barbarians are thought so dumb that it’s a class feature! Do not underestimate the Barbarian though, for verily, every Barbarian knows how to fight and those Fighter-levels not only teach him literacy, but the secrets of wearing so much steel on you you can barely move!
- Rage: WAAAGH!!! The reason you should never ever make a Barbarian angry.
- Fast Movement: Because wildmen are faster than the beer bellied! Awesome already just because you walk faster than Elves, so you can laugh at them even in their one supposed strength. Of course, the true value of this ability is forgetting fast movement and instead learning the cat-like lightning strikes at the end of your charges.
- Uncanny Dodge: Becomes Improved Uncanny Dodge later. Let’s you stick it to the Rogues (and Monks). Truly, you can do almost anything without being caught flat-footed. Makes you always ready!
- Trapsense: Sense traps by walking into them, and then shrugging off the damage. This has great value as an ability to lose!
- Damage Reduction: Useful if you ever need to crash a party through the window. Not enough to actually matter, ever (and Adamantine Full-Plate provides the same, and doesn’t stack so bleh). However, instead of needling yourself until your skin hardens, you can learn to charge at things even better. Or some such. So this has value as something to get rid of.
- Indomitable Will: A mind of hate does not submit! Works nicely with Steadfast Determination. This ensures that you have two good saves instead of just one, preventing you from being a wizard’s mind controlled buttmonkey. Comes late though, but helps all the same. Teach those weakass staff wavers that it takes more than cute words and magic to get to your...tent.
Building a Barbarian
Arus saw a tall powerfully built youth, naked but for a loin-cloth, and sandals strapped high about his ankles. His skin was burned brown as by the suns of the wastelands and Arus glanced nervously at his broad shoulders, massive chest and heavy arms. From under a mop of unruly black hair smoldered a pair of dangerous blue eyes. A long sword hung in a leather scabbard at his girdle.
- Stories of Conan the Cimmerian, The God in the Bowl
Military barracks, fighter academies, and martial temples are the factories that produce warriors for the civilized man. They claim that strict discipline is the only way to turn out dedicated fighting men, that only in order can they be forged. Barbarians who are said to lack the sense of control, discipline, and order, cannot hope to compete.
It is strange that we barbarians are considered at odds with order. Chaos is nature's order! The great warriors of old did not become the best through study, or focus, or lessons in a training room. No, true steel comes not from practice but from life, and life alone is a test great enough for the mettle of a true warrior! It is in chaos that the greatest are forged, not in the apostate of 'order', that illusion of control.
A Barbarian is strong because rejects the trappings of civilization and order, choosing instead to exist as one with the harshness of nature and be shaped by her rough caresses. A man may travel far and wide, to the ends of the earth, the depths of the sea, and lands beyond the skies, but he will never find a braver, stronger, or tougher man than he who remains uncorrupted by the comforts of civilization.
He is as tranquil as the forest, but on fire within; as swift as the coursing river, with the force of a great typhoon; with all the strength of a raging fire, and as mysterious as the dark side of the moon. Truly, only Barbarians have the right to call themselves warriors.
They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give of themselves to me. Like clay I shall mould them, and in the furnace of war forge them. They will be of iron will and steely muscle. In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns will they be armed. They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them. They will have tactics, strategies and machines so that no foe can best them in battle. They are my bulwark against the Terror. They are the Defenders of Humanity. They are my Space Marines and they shall know no fear.
– The God-Emperor of Mankind
Barbarians truly are incomparable warriors; mere two attributes give them all they need yet they can expand their options with each and every one! Let me offer you a quick tour of the world of Bane.
- Strength: Truly, this is what most Barbarians rely on. Not only is it the source of your melee hit and damage, since it’s also the primary attribute boosted by Rage, you pretty much want to build your character around Hulk Smash! This also governs all the martial maneuvers such as Trip, Disarm, Grapple and so on, so Bane is especially well-suited to take advantage!
- Dexterity: Cartoons teach us that agility beats strength. This is not precisely true, but what is true is that acting fast, dodging blows and in general, gaining extra value out of your HP is great added to immense strength. Also, this fuels some Barbarian feats and makes Archerians happen. Ferocious Barbarians can even build around this in the melee! No, not necessary, but handy.
- Constitution: Your chest muscle. You know every Barbarian ever has huge chest muscles! Barbarians even gain damage reduction or AC bonus due to their immensity! This is your primary defense; Fireball? You block with your chest! Sword? You block with your chest! Finger of Death? You block with your chest! With the right choices, you’ll even block Dominate Person with your chest! Basically, whatever happens, if something hits you, you block with your chest, so better make sure you have a damn huge chest to block with! Also, makes you slow to abate…which is awesome because your anger is your strength!
- Intelligence: Ah yes, the archetype of the stupid Wildman who goes Hulk Smash when you tell him to. But no, you’re your own man and you decide for yourself when you go Bruce Banner. This can be worth it, this can be not worth it. For the savvy hunters who fuel their Rage into lethal determination for swift kills, this is very much worth it. For the Conan who just battles an army and comes out victorious, this is unnecessary. In general, the northerners who worship the wolves have less need for this than those who follow less savage beasts.
- Wisdom: You, who hail from the savage lands, carry great Wisdom within. There is much you understand the city-fools cannot even hope to begin to comprehend. You know why the wind whispers, you know why the tree dies. You understand the ways of the sun and the moon and you know why the wolf bites. This is what you’re trained at. Oh, and protecting your mind is worth all the trouble…unless you do it with your chest, like everything else. Still, you can learn where traps lie and you can hear the breathing of the Wizard who would lurk nigh’.
- Charisma: Take me for a savage will you? Consider me little more than a wild beast? Little do you know, little indeed. Where do you think my Rage comes if not from my strength of mind? Why do you think even a Dragon stirs in my presence if not for the force of my presence? No, not all Barbarians are withdrawn and weak of will. Some of us have force and the ways to bring our minds’ crushing might down upon our enemies! Indeed, some of us may be peasants, but there are kings in our ranks too! For the Barbarians of leadership and fear, this is the way!
Oomans are pink and soft, not green and tough like da Boyz. They'z all the same size, too - No big'uns or little'uns, so they'z always arguing about who's in charge, 'cos there's no way of telling 'cept for badges an' ooniforms and fings. Anuvver fing - when they do sumfink, they try to make it look like somfink else to confuse everybody. When one of 'em wants to lord it over the uvvers, 'e says "I'm very speshul so'z you gotta worship me", or "I know summink wot you lot don't know, so yer better lissen good". Da funny fing is, 'arf of 'em believe it and da over 'arf don't, so 'e 'as to hit 'em all anyway or run fer it. Wot a lot of mukkin' about if yer asks me. An' while they'z all arguin' wiv each other over who's da Boss, da Orks can sneak up an' clobber da lot.
- Snotgrub the Ork explains his views of humanity and its failings
Just as not all Halflings are Rogues, and not all pansies are Elves, not all Barbarians are Human. All races started out the same when the world was born; Humans, Dwarves, Orcs, and Halflings were all proud, strong people in the beginning. The only exceptions were the Elves, who immediately formed the world’s first tea party after their first tree hugging session.
Now the Elves are as decadent as ever, while the Halflings for the most part have settled into a quiet complacency, refusing even to venture out of their comfortable little holes. Only the cruel – smelly – Orcs, monstrous races, along with a handful of sturdy – often inebriated – Dwarves and brave Humans adhere to the ways of our ancestors.
What race produces the best Barbarians? I find this a foolish question, as there are so many individual factors and variations between the members of a race that is it impossible to answer. The question itself is impossibly vague: best at doing what?
Instead, allow me to list the general features of the most common races, which is a far easier task to accomplish.
Orcs are physically stronger and tougher than Humans, though they often seem a bit dumber by comparison. Why this is, no one knows, for surely Gruumsh would have had an easier time conquering the world if his creations were smart enough to do so without stabbing themselves in the foot. However, those intelligent enough to follow orders well are also intelligent enough to question those orders, and that is something the One-Eyed Ravager will never allow. Of special note are the Orcs of Water [UA]; the element blessed them with extra resilience only matched by that of the Dwarves.
The Dwarves, old as the mountains and a great deal tougher, are renowned for their metallurgical skills, even amongst those who have rejected civilization. It is only natural that the children of Moradin, who sprung from stone themselves, have an affinity with the earth. Dwarves are the most resilient among the Barbarian races, able to shrug off physical blows, poison, and magical spells with the same ease as you or I would shake off the rain. Again of note are the Dwarves of Water [UA], for they draw strength from their element, and the Dwarves of Earth [UA] who can outdo even the great resilience of the Shield Dwarves.
Humans, by contrast, have no special abilities; we have not hide, nor claws, nor fangs; we cannot breath fire or secrete poison; nor can we see far in darkness, or even in dim light. Though Humans lack the abilities of other races, they are tenacious and determined, forever confronting and adapting to new situations, and sometimes that is enough to succeed. While Elves and Dwarves each maintain that their respective race was the first to be created, but I cannot help but wonder sometimes if Humans were the first; created by an unnamed source as the template on which other races were further developed by their own patron gods.
The great variety of Humans out there provides basis for a great variety of Barbarians too; normal Humans are great intelligent warriors of wonderful versatility, the Neanderthals [Frost] of Frostfell draw upon the power of our ancestors, while Mongrelfolk [RoD] are of even greater resilience than the Dwarves, and yet all are derived from humankin. Truly, there are more different kinds of Barbarians between the Human-races than all the others combined.
And just like Human himself is mighty as a Barbarian, so are their creations – the Warforged [RoE] are made for battle and their sentience gives them the choice of following their creators’ footsteps and invoking their rage as extra strength. Their fearsome reputation is well-deserved; little is more frightening than a machine that thinks and acts like a man. While Dwarves have great resiliency, Warforged by the virtue of being only semi-alive have complete immunity to much that would ail even toughest humanoids.
Few words of the grander races, barbarians thrive in their midst. Goliaths [RoS], Half-Ogres [RoD], Centaurs, Ogres and the like all produce great barbarians in both, numbers and power. Truly, when strength is the measure stick, size is a great gift. A word of warning though, the larger races lead slow lives; when a Human has mastered his craft, they are only beginning. So respect them for their might, but remember that they lose out in skill.
Just like the older in our midst, the descendants of the planar creatures still hold fast to the ways of Barbarians. The so-called “Lesser Genasi”, hailing from Faerun [PGtF], have great history as Barbarians of great might. The descendants of the fiends too, while more at home in shadows, have a history of making great Barbarians if that is the road they have chosen. The descendants of celestials though are ill-suited for this path for the contemplation and meditation does not sit well into a life by the sword.
And one more mention, of the children of Bahamut – just like Moradin’s made his children of great resilience, so too does Bahamut gift those he grants rebirth. The Dragonborn [RotD] of any kind are grand in endurance and any of the three gifts is of great use to Barbarians of their kind. Of special note are the wings; few winged folk have the strength and resolve to live the life of a Barbarian – the Dragonborn do just that. Verily, the Dragonkin demands and deserves our respect still.
Of final note are the races who still live in the wilderness like our ancestors; Feral [SS] Human is at least as strong as Orc and still twice as adaptable. The Mineral Warriors [Und] from the depths of the Earth are nearly impossible to kill and strong all the same. The common races all exist as both and while few in numbers; the few choose the path of Barbarians almost without exception. This makes them match up well to the Barbarian representatives of their more “civilized” counterparts.
Halflings and Gnomes shall be lumped together, as both make poor Barbarians; Halflings are best off as thieves, and Gnomes should be casting illusions – or blowing themselves up with crazy inventions for the great justice. Small size, small strength and small weapons do not a traditional Barbarian make. Some Barbarians rely on agility, not strength, and mayhap their ranks are filled with the small folk, but truly, can a Barbarian without strength be called a Barbarian anymore?
The halfbreed races are even more ill-suited to barbarism: True, the Half-Orc is slightly stronger than the average Human, but as we have seen with the Orcs, strength must go hand in hand with intellect if anything meaningful is to be accomplished. While Half-Orcs may make strong warriors, they cannot think well for themselves and fail at one of the central tenants of barbarism, the ability to survive by one’s own wits in the wild. Verily, true-blood Orcs are the barbarians of that family. Half-Orcs are still better Barbarians than anything else, but better than bad is merely a meaningless victory over something not worth defeating.
Half-Elves are even worse. I ask you, what is a Half-Elf going to do in a fight, talk himself out of it? Is he going to ask the land politely to give him something to eat? Or convince a deer that its flank is really better off in his stomach? Worthless bastards to a man!
However, as bad as these races are, the complete antithesis to the idea of barbarism is the Elf, who spends his days idling amongst flowers, smoking grass, and singing to the trees. The only productive things the elves have produced in their entire existence is magic; and even that was taken from the dragons, has caused as much harm as good in this world, and has been slowly declining in their decadence, for it is often said that the old magics were much stronger than the ones they use now, and the secrets of which have been forgotten.
So much for the better. While magic is on the decline, and civilizations wane in complacency, barbarism shall triumph.
Beat your thoughts to the mould of your will.
-Leman Russ, the Great Wolf King of Fenris
- Climb: You can kill things by climbing to them. Or climbing them. Or you can just smack the caster until he makes you fly. Your choice.
- Handle Animal: Cityscape allows you to use this as a Gather Information check. Unfortunately, it means you don’t get to hold people over the sides of buildings while demanding “WHERE IS JIMMY THE MOLE”, so it’s a bit of a tradeoff.
- Intimidate: Otherwise known as 'Klingon diplomacy', this skill allots you to scare things to death. Might require a few feats to be worth overcoming your possible Cha penalty, but there’s nothing quite frightening as an angry Barbarian with a way with words! Your chest muscles should give you epic circumstance bonuses - it has even been suggested in Masters of the Wild (3.0) that Barbarians get +4 bonus to intimidate and be allowed to use their Strength bonus instead of Charisma if an act of might is part of the intimidate check.
- Jump: If you don’t have Leap Attack, this is replaceable with Fly. You should never not have Leap Attack. Kill things by jumping them! You can also jump on them should you so desire.
- Listen: This allows you to avoid ambushes and to figure out what’s being whispered behind your back. You have d12 HD and Uncanny Dodge, but if you invest in it maybe the d4 caster you break will give you some nice gear.
- Survival: TRAPS WILL FALL AT YOUR HANDS!!! Also, you apparently will never have to spend 5 silver on rations or something like that. Trapkiller makes this worth it. See the ACF section.
- Ride: You run as fast as a horse anyway (unless you traded Fast Movement for something good) and Survival is a class skill, so you have no need for Emergency Rations. Let the Paladin Ride on the high horse and fall tumbling down when you run into yet another bunch of otherworldly horrors the horse can't stand.
- Tumble: Cityscape allows you to trade Ride for Tumble. Tumble is much better than ride. Even without Cityscape, max this, no matter how fruity the description is. Basically, you can play "can't catch me" with that guy's guisarme until you get bored and cram a block of wood through his guts. It also allows a derogatory dancing in the face of Elves, and they can't even make attacks of opportunity to stop you!
- Bluff: “Remember when I said I’d kill you last? I lied.”
If you’re building for Intimidate, this gives you another +2 at the cost of 5 ranks. And hey, lying never hurt anybody at all. Trust me.
- Balance: You may be able to kill the Tarrasque in one swing, but without 5 ranks, 1st level Wizards can still mess you up.
- Spot: The same as listen, except this time it is even more reasonable to shove the Wizard’s gift down his throat and tell him to avoid his own damn ambushes. Only worth it if you have nothing better to spend ranks on.
- Hide/Move Silently: You can kill people by sneaking up to them. Or you can just make the Rogue sneak, and beat him whenever he’s detected. Your choice.
- Use Magic Device: You can kill people with magic. Or use magic to make yourself stronger then kill people personally. (The Flexible Mind feat makes this a permanent class skill for you.)
- Clarity of Vision: If you’re in a build that happens to meet the Spot requirement, this is nice for beating on the cowards who try to avoid you, but it’s not worth the investment otherwise. Requires Spot twelve (12!) ranks, which you must study other ways to even be able to reach it before the end of your path. That said, seeing things is a very Barbarian thing to do!
- Extreme Leap: If you’re a Leap Attacker, this is right up your alley. Worth it if you can spare the ranks. Needs 5 in Jump, which you should have anyways. Jump more!
- Never Outnumbered: Demoralize multiple targets simultaneously. Prerequisite of 8 skill ranks. Truly at home for those who would roar before charge; then everyone can cower when ye roar!
- Nimble Charge: Charge over difficult terrain. Grab this. Needs 5 Ranks in Balance, which you should always have as a charger.
- Point It Out: If you have the ranks in Spot, might as well, but don’t worry about it otherwise. You can show the doofuses that yes, it actually is an ambush. You don't really care since you're always ready, but Squishy McSquishon might get squished before he can act otherwise. Requires 8 ranks.
- Spot the Weak Point: Great for fighting high-armor characters like the stupid smug Fighter or his prancing buddy the Warblade, take it if you meet the prerequisites. Needs, again, 12 ranks in Spot.
- Twisted Charge: Turn during a charge. Grab this. The guy to your left laughs at you as you charge towards a wall only to recieve a surprise Greatsword to the face! His face both, before and after the blow make this definitely worth it. Needs 5 Ranks in Balance and Tumble, which are both good investments anyways.
Stomp ‘em! Stomp ‘til there is nuthin’ left!
-Battlecry of the Killcrushas
Fundamentals: Core & SRD
- Leadership (Character Level 6) [PHB]: Über [cheese]! The most powerful feat in D&D. Gets you a second character and a bunch of sycophants who could e.g. spread stories of your grandeur and bask in your glory. The true reason for this feat though is that every great Barbarian needs a beautiful Bard cohort of the opposite sex to sing of your great deeds, to improve your performance (and to use magic (items) for you!) and to relieve stress overnight!
- Power Attack (Str 13) [PHB]: OMGWTFBBQ?! Trade attack bonus for damage, at a 1 for 2 ratio when wielding a weapon in two hands. This is basically a Barbarian class feature. Don't forget that it actually lacks prerequisites.
- Improved Bull Rush (Power Attack, Str 13) [PHB]: Necessary evil. You need it to qualify for Shock Dragoon™-combo! Besides, sometimes it’s cool to push people around. Rawr!
- Cleave (Str 13, Power Attack) [PHB]
- Combat Reflexes (Dex 13) [PHB]: Wonderful! Truly, life is boring when it's not your turn. You get to do nothing...except with this! Rules state that you stay still on your turn, but this allows you to Screw the Rules! You have the enormous chest to pull it off. Trip opponent, he gets up, make him Stand Still! Someone hits you, Robilar’s Gambit him back! Yes, attacking out of turn is always good fun (for you), especially after a full attack yourself! This lets you do it a lot, and do it while you’re flat-footed!
- Stand Still (Str 13) [XPH]: Good! Forgo an AoO to force an opponent to make a reflex save or remain in place. Reflex save DC is equal to your damage. Your massive, massive damage. Help those fools you tripped to stay down!
- Improved Unarmed Strike [PHB]: Ok. Sometimes you just have to rebuild someone’s face with your bare hands. This feat allows you to do just that. Your damage die will suck, but that’s what Power Attack and strength are for.
- Improved Grapple (Dex 13, Improved Unarmed Strike) [PHB]: Ok. Grappling is a problem-laden area of combat. Size is the primary means of boosting it, which almost always favours the monsters. Freedom of Movement is commonly available on higher levels. And you open your back to all manners of depravity. That said, Barbarian is by far the best man for this job out of all the non-casters. This also makes the Barbarian the best man for the job in an Anti-Magic Field, period. Big HP, huge Str & full BAB are really all you can hope for in a Grapple. Not very good outside duels, but if you must be a grappler, at least be a Barbarian!
- Improved Initiative [PHB]: Yeah! +4 Initiative, no frills, no pills. Simple deal; you act first so that they never need to act at all! Relieve your opponents of the stress of preparing for their deaths and kill them before they know what hit them! It’s best for everyone this way. If you have extras, feel free to pick this.
- Rapid Shot (Dex 13, Point Blank Shot): Yes! For the Archer in us all! Never arrive in a bowout without this in your back pocket. Your usual Hulk needn’t bother, but if you’re interested in making holes in your foes’ foreheads rather than pulverizing them, this is for you!
- Precise Shot (Point Blank Shot): Might as well. If you plan on shooting at people, this allows you to shoot at the right people. If it’s your career, go ahead. Otherwise, pass.
- Precise Shot (Dex 19, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, BAB +11): It’s ok. This is Improved Shooting At The Right People. If you make a career out of shooting things, go ahead. Otherwise, pass.
- Combat Expertise (Int 13) [PHB]: Necessary evil if limited to Core. Truly, if you have access to other books, you should never need to bother being a smart combatant; this stuff cramps your style, but acquiring abilities to knock people down, hit them for hitting you and so on can just be worth it. The reason to be a smart Barbarian.
- Improved Trip (Int 13, Combat Expertise) [PHB]: Awesome! Lets you trip things, as well as giving you a free attack when you successfully trip someone, and another one when they get up. Oh, and you get to touch things instead of hitting them even with iteratives. Much easier, not to mention more pleasant. Wolves learn this whether they have Expertise or not. Prerequisite for…
- Knock-Down (Str 15, Improved Trip, BAB +2) [SRD]: Great! Whenever you deal 10 or more damage to a target, you get a free trip attempt against them. You see where this is going… As a bonus, you get to pretend to be the schoolyard bully, knocking people around as you walk past. The only difference is that you knock them off their feet with a 10' blade or bear claws. While the said blade/claw is in their gut.
- Reckless Offense (BAB +1) [XPH]: Somewhat worthwhile. If you have nothing better to use your feat on (as is like to be the case in Core), this is ok. Extra Power Attack; it's not like you'd been dodging hits anyways.
- Exotic Weapon Proficiency (BAB +1) [PHB]: Depends. Well, by and large Exotic Weapons have 1 size larger damage die than normal weapons (in other words, they suck). However, there’s one weapon of interest especially to two-handed charger/controller Barbarians: the Spiked Chain. Yes, the dumbest weapon in D&D also happens to be the best. It trips, disarms, deals two-handed reach damage, threatens adjacent and just has the whole damn packet. If you have the feat to burn and don’t mind dumb weapons, it’s for you.
- Weapon Focus (BAB +1) [PHB]: Bleh. Feel free if you’re run out of everything else to pick. Do take 4 Fighter-levels for Specialization if you really are going to bother. Archers can get something out of these. Most don’t. But meh.
- Weapon Finesse (BAB +1) [PHB]: Useless in core, but believe it or not, it is possible to make a Dex-focused Barbarian with additional material! Yes, it involves Chain Dancing.
The Tools of Trade: Completes, Races of & PHBII
- Leap Attack (Jump 8 ranks, Power Attack) [CAdv]: Superb! Quadruple double handed damage bonus from Power Attack if you jump more than 10 feet while charging. The higher you are, the harder they fall!
- Shock Trooper (Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, BAB +6) [CW]: Just plain Barbarian! Assign your Power Attack penalty to your armor class. Basically, trade blows with you hitting twice as hard and lasting twice as long. Like everything Barbarian, this just ain’t fair!
- Rampaging Bull Rush (Improved Bull Rush, Rage, Large or Larger) [RoS]: Ok! Take -4 on Bull Rush to knock opponent prone instead. Certainly useful! Although Knock-Down and Improved Trip do place in question the feat’s necessity.
- Knockback (Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Large or Larger) [RoS]: Good! Whenever you hit opponent with Power Attack, you can knock them around a bit! Combined with Shock Trooper, you can do all sorts of ugly things with this!
- Combat Brute (Improved Sunder, Power Attack, BAB +6) [CW]: Decent when no must-haves are left. Gives three abilities, two of which are ok (basically, allow you to break Hydras; turns out Hercules was a Combat Brute Barbarian). The third allows you to increase the multiplier on your Power Attack in the round after you charge an enemy. Combine with the above to create the Shock Dragoon Brute OMGWTFBBQ™ chain! So you hit someone really hard, and follow it up with an even harder hit. First charge kills a mook, and leaves you in a position to Combat Brutalize the BBEG!
- Evasive Target (Dodge, Mobility, BAB +6) [CW]: Useful. As we covered before, your AC probably sucks. It also probably sucks some more Charging and all that. If fighting other melee beasts, the ability to ignore their Power Attack is literally a lifesaver. Really enhances the value of whatever life you have. Only drawback is that you have to learn useless crap to acquire it, but hey, greatness at any cost!
- Deft Opportunist (Dex 15, Combat Reflexes) [CAdv]: Worthwhile. Most Barbarians focus on beating their opponents to bloody pulp on Charges and what-have-you. Some deft ones have opted for a bit different approach though; let the adversaries approach, rip their faces apart while stopping their movement and let them try until they die! For those, Ferocity and Deft Opportunist are great options!
- Karmic Strike (Dex 13, Combat Expertise, Dodge) [CW]: Awesome! The only drawback to this feat are the prerequisites. Expertise, Dodge? Phah, you’re a Barbarian, damnit! But the ability to hit the opponent for every time he hits you is just golden. Especially awesome when you did your Shock Dragoon Charge!
- Robilar’s Gambit (Combat Reflexes, BAB +12) [PHBII]: Über! Make your own rules, damnit! This one makes yourself more vulnerable in exchange for an obscene number of attacks on your opponent – if you survive. Once again, embodies the Barbarian ideal of “The first one to die loses!” Generally, the man with bigger HD, damage, Con, Str and more attacks wins, and as a Barbarian you have all of the above!
- Mage Slayer (Spellcraft 2 ranks, BAB +3) [CArc]: The right tool for the job. If you are to slay mages, become a Mage Slayer. The benefits are small, but notable: You learn to better shield your mind and you learn to break the defenses in their spellcasting! Truly, if a mage approaches a Slayer Barbarian, he is not long for this world! Do mind the Spellcraft requirement though.
- Pierce Magical Concealment (Con 13, Blind-Fight, Mage Slayer) [CArc]: World-changing! See the world for what it truly is, without the impact of magic! You may need Blind-Fight, but truly, the mages who would seek to deceive you are in for a crude awakening when they strive to unearth the Glaive stuck in the approximate center of their heart.
- Intimidating Strike (Intimidate 4 ranks) [PHBII]: You take a standard action to make a single melee attack that intimidates your foe! In addition, you may take a penalty to your attack roll up to your base attack bonus, and add it to the intimidate check. Useful with Imperious Command.
- Intimidating Rage (Rage) [CW]: Great! As a free action, intimidate one person within 30 feet when starting a rage, forcing him to become shaken for the duration of the rage. [b]This[/b] is why Barbarians truly are charismatic.
- Instantaneous Rage (Rage) [CW]: Reasons exist to take it. Allows you to activate your rage as a free action, even during other people’s turn. Worthwhile options if your Rage is of a flavor other than Ferocity, when combined with means to yell really hard.
- Intimidating Rage (Rage) [CW]: Great! As a free action, intimidate one person within 30 feet when starting a rage, forcing him to become shaken for the duration of the rage. This is why Barbarians truly are charismatic.
- Extra Rage (Rage) [CW]: Useful. Gives your 2 more rage attempts per instance of feat taken. Rage all day, every day! The feat for first level play.
- Reckless Rage (Rage) [RoS]: Handy! Take an additional -2 to AC when raging for an additional +2 to strength and constitution. Emphasizes the Barbarian ideal of “let them hit and hit back harder!”
- Steadfast Determination (Endurance) [PHBII]: Yes! Con modifier instead of Wisdom modifier to will saves. I’m sorry, but these *are* the Warforged we are looking for! As a Barbarian, your Rage and Indomitable Will both already help your Will, so the more, the merrier! Oh, and no more natural 1s on Fort-saves; for a Barbarian, that means practical immunity!
- Channeled Rage (Half-Orc, Rage) [RoD]: Yeah! One good reason to be a Half-Orc. You can burn a Rage to punch the opponent out of your head; literally! Adds your massive, massive Str to Will-saves. That said, the cost is something to mind; not requiring Endurance is definite boon though.
- Extend Rage (Rage) [CW]: Blah. You can Rage longer. The thing is, Rage is already 3+Con turns. Your Con should be in the lower stratospheres. If you can’t make problems go away in that time, something else is wrong than the duration of your Rage. And if your Con is low enough to warrant this, you might as well start with your memorial instead of taking this.
- Goad (Cha 13, BAB +1) [CAdv]: Superfluous. Generally, cleaving a line of heads off is plenty of an incentive for people to come hit you. If it’s not, cleave another one. Charismatic Barbarians frighten people into submission; they don’t beg to be attacked. Leave that to Monks. Oh yeah, and this gives them a Will-save vs. your Cha and only restricts their melee attacks. Just don’t bother.
- Gnoll Ferocity (Gnoll, Rage) [RotW]: Fun. If you somehow ended up a Gnoll, getting that extra Bite out of your Rage is never a bad thing. Although if you become a Bear, it’s wasted.
- Destructive Rage (Rage) [CW]: This feat tastes bad. You can break things just fine with Rage + Power Attack. Also, you shouldn’t be breaking things often enough to need this. No, this is just bad.
- Improved Toughness (Fort +2) [CW]: Decent. In case you still somehow missed it, Barbarians are all about getting hit and hitting back harder. Extra HP help with that. Relatively small boost for a Barbarian though.
- Improved Buckler Defense (Shield Proficiency) [CW]: Decent. Making shields obsolete since 2003! If you have the feat to spare, go for it and save the Animated-money.
- Mad Foam Rager (Rage) [PHBII]: Ok. You get to play the “I’ll never die alone!”-shtick! Aside from the coolness-factor, the feat unfortunately has little going on for it alone; if you happen to have a Cleric nearby though, the ailment can be cured. If you had an abundance of feats, every Barbarian should have this, but alas, the limited supply keeps this from being the Awesome it deserves.
- Ragewild Fighting (Shifter, Power Attack, BAB +6) [RoE]: Decent. You get three maneuvers, none of which are too amazing. First gives you free attack when someone enchants you. Better make that count (better plan is not to get controlled in the first place though). Second dazes your size-or-smaller opponents when Power Attacking. Not bad, but it’s weird if they’re alive after two rounds of Power Attacks. Third enables using Action Points for extra damage. Sure, why not.
- Three Mountains Style (Str 13, Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Weapon Focus: Heavy mace, Morningstar or Greatclub) [CW]: Decent. The only two-handed weapon style feat; this is actually rather good. You force a strength-based save vs. Nausea, a very powerful condition. The only drawback is that if you hit someone twice already, why isn’t he dead, and if he isn’t dead, how do you plan on making him fail a Fort-save? If you aren’t charging (because it’s been nerfed or whatever), but are more of the stand-up kind of guy, this may be worthwhile.
- Jotunbrud (Illuskan or Damaran Human, 1st level) [RoF]: Yeah! You’re treated as Large whenever it’s beneficial for you. Basically, you get Powerful Build as a Human. Besides, you get to be a descendant of Giants! And yeah, you just kick some ass.
The Final Frontier: All the rest
- Poison Healer (Great Fortitude, Con 13) [FC1]: You heal a number of hit points equal to your Constitution modifier whenever you successfully resist poison. A barbarian's massive fortitude save and constitution score means that he can get good mileage out of this, even without Steadfast Determination. This is not a powerful feat, as it is only good for out of combat healing (without employing shenanigans, at least), but healing wounds by consuming alcohol is always fun.
- Imperious Command (Cha 15) [DoTU]: Yes! Demoralized opponent cowers for 1 round, then shaken for 1 round. This is why the charismatic Barbarians rule! The beauty of this is just beyond description; you need but show them your angry face and they bask in your glory (and you can proceed to decapitate the whole bunch should that strike your fancy)!
- Frightful Presence (Cha 15, Intimidate 9 ranks) [Drac]: Decent. Whenever you attack or charge, all opponents within a radius of 30 feet who have fewer levels or Hit Dice than you become shaken for a number of rounds equal to 1d6 + your Cha modifier. Combine with your Bard-cohort’s Inspire Greatness to make even greater Demons cry!
- Martial Study [ToB]: For purists only. Opens up a can of kung-fu fighting. It’s like 10 gallons of pure awesome squeezed into a 2 gallon jug. Some prefer dipping, but pure-bloods can consider this to acquire great examples of Barbarism such as Iron Heart SURGE!
- Martial Stance [ToB]: Great! If you feel dipping to be wrong, this enables you to acquire the wondrous things known as “stances”. There’s an especially useful one named “Thicket of Blades”, which enables you to make any movement in your area provoke an attack of opportunity. Never let people approach you again!
- Evasive Reflexes (Dex 13) [ToB]: Great. When you hit someone and tank your AC, not being next to them when they hit back can help. If you happen to have this feat called Robilar’s Gambit, every one of their attacks provokes an attack of opportunity. This here feat means that you can take a 5’ step every time that happens. So one attack later, you’re out of their threatened area and their full attack is wasted!
- Sidestep (Dex 15, Dodge, Mobility, Tumble 8 ranks) [MiniHB]: Heh. Once per turn, you can replace an attack of opportunity with a 5’ step! Woot! Dodge full attacks! Wait...what manner of tool wrote those prerequisites? Yeah, take Evasive Reflexes. Calling this “bad” is the understatement of the year.
- Large and In Charge (Reach 10’ or more, Large or Larger) [Drac]: Cool. Sort of like Knockback! You can make attacks of opportunity to move opponent back 5’ and stop their movement. Easy to pick up too! And it’s just a plain Strength-check.
- Righteous Wrath (Rage, Exalted) [BoED]: Just maybe... Now, the benefits are pretty worthless, even for a charismatic Barbarian, as the target is only shaken and only after a hit. The better part is that you can control yourself; mayhap you can tame the Frenzied Berserker within!
- Dragon Rage (Dragon Totem, Rage, Argonnesse, BAB +4): Decent. When you Rage, get +2 Natural Armor and Energy Resistance +10 (for a total of 15) vs. your chosen Totem’s energy type!
- Frozen Berserker (Rage) [Frost]: Mediocre if not using trickery. When raging, you become a chunk of ice! Makes you immune to cold. The drawback is that you hate fire. Unless you already have Fire immunity anyways. This isn't exactly Super Special Awesome™, but it enables Frostrager.
- Blazing Berserker (Rage) [Sand]: Mediocre if not using trickery. When raging, you become a living inferno! So you’re immune to fire. Doesn’t burn people you touch, oddly enough. You can combine this with the above to gain elemental immunity to Fire & Ice. Plus you get to be a burning chunk of ice. That’s fairly awesome.
- Cobalt Rage (Con 13, Rage) [MoI]: Yeah! You can invest essential into your Rage to get melee damage- and Will-save bonus for the Rage! Oh, and you get bonus essential. If you intend on fooling around with Incarnum, this is your ticket.
- Frantic Rage (Rage, Madness-domain) [FoE]: Yeah! As is appropriate, the dexterous Barbarian is an idea of Madness; truly, you must be mad to be agile instead of strong! This feat empowers you for a completely different approach to Barbarianism!
- Shadow Blade (Shadow Hand stance) [ToB]: Yeah! For the quick Barbarian in us all! Limits you to Shadow Hand-weapons, but luckily an old friend looks back at us; that’s right, Spiked Chain is a Shadow Hand weapon! All you lose is the 1½ damage bonus normal Str-Barbarian enjoys. All the other multipliers are right there. Your Unarmed Strikes also enjoy this bonus, and you have the option of going Two-Weapon Fighting with your Dexterity. And you’ll have an actual AC!
- Ettercap Berserker (Lodge Membership, Rage, Rashemen) [UE]: Decent. Gain +2 on poison saves and gain an added +2 Bonus to Con when raging. +4 at greater rage. For those who missed it, Barbarism is all about having the biggest chest muscles!
- Ice Troll Berserker (Con 13, Lodge Membership, Rage, Rashemen) [UE]: Decent. +2 natural armor bonus while raging +4 with Greater Rage. For the Barbarians who seek to block blows with their chest instead of absorbing them!
- Snow Tiger Berserker (Dex 13, Lodge Membership, Rage, Rashemen) [UE]: Great if you’re a bear! You gain Pounce…that only works with light weapons. Why am I mentioning this? Why, natural attacks and unarmed strikes are always treated as light weapons. Does the name "Bear Warrior" say anything to you? It will soon.
- Wolf Berserker (Lodge Membership, Rage, Rashemen) [UE]: Superb! Replaces Combat Expertise as a prerequisite for Improved Trip. Yes, and also provides stacking +4 bonus on Tripping. Oh, and +4 to resist Tripping. Yes! YES!
- Eagle Tribe Vision (Tribe membership, Human, from the Shaar) [SSouth]: Ok. +5 to Spot. Not much to...see here.
- Hyena Tribe Hunter (Tribe membership, Human, from the Shaar) [SSouth]: Decent. +2 Hide, +2 Trip, qualifies you for Improved Trip. Handy if you really, really want to pimp out those Trip-checks. Loses out to Wolf Berserker, but why couldn't you be a tribe member in the Shaar and a Lodge member in Rashemen?
- Lion Tribe Warrior (Tribe membership, Human, from the Shaar) [SSouth]: Mediocre. You gain Pounce with a single light weapon, or two attacks with two light weapons you can wield. Ok for an Unarmed Barbarian, but frankly, Snow Tigers whop Lions' arse any day.
- Rhinoceros Tribe Charge (Tribe membership, Human, from the Shaar) [SSouth]: For the early game! Extra 2d6 damage on charge. Unfortunately it can only be applied to one attack, trivial later on.
- Headlong Charge (Orc or half-orc, base attack bonus +4 or higher)[RoF]: You provoke an AoO from everyone you charge past, including your target. In return, you deal double damage on a charge. Is nice.
- Might Makes Right (Str 13, Leadership)[RoF]: This adds your Strength bonus to your leadership score for the purposes of determining how many followers you may have with the Leadership feat. If you take Leadership, you might as well take this.
Class Features Variants
He is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.
-George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra
A Barbarian becomes like the animal he worships as his totem. The limited Barbarians you meet in the pages of Player’s Handbook only give you one option: Worship the Jaguar (they don’t even tell that to you)! However, Player’s Handbook is only a world pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. SRD offers the tools for those seeking to worship other animals! There are also the Spiritual Totems for those who own the path of Champions [CC], but not all animals allow you to serve two masters; although you may discuss with your world master on if you could give up some of your Totem’s abilities for the spiritual aspect even if the book does not give you the tools – allow me to suggest unto Thee to forsake the ability of the same level for the ability the Spirit offers instead. The Totems open to every Barbarian:
- Ape: The Ape is the most Humanoid-like of all the Totems and thus, instead of animalistic skills, you learn what every humanoid Barbarian does: to strengthen your blows. The Ape also masters trees and puts fear in your enemies, but he’s not as fast nor as careful as the Jaguar on open ground. Unfortunately, the Ape requires your dedicated service; his servants may not serve spiritual totems without divine intervention. The Ape is well-suited for agile Barbarians as you still acquire Power Attack in spite of your probably poor Strength. The bonus to intimidate means it is also a viable part of an intimidating build.
- Bear: The Bear is an intimate animal; where a normal Barbarian learns to avoid, those to the likeness of the Bear learn to hug! Friends don’t let friends retain Toughness beyond level 3, but lenient creators of the world make you acquire the Improved version [CW] instead. In their world, the Bear is the mighty animal it should be! Like the Ape, the Bear is jealous of the spirits and requires you to remain worldly.
- Boar: What defines the Boar is greater intensity than that of the other animals. Alas, this is help the Barbarian does not need. The Jaguar’s servants are plenty resilient and the intensity the Boar adds is nothing compared to the speed and the vigilance of the Jaguar. Like the others, the Boar does not permit spiritual service.
- Dragon: Ah, the mighty Dragon! The Dragon teaches you to…frighten your opponents. And to fight without your eyes. And to resist weak magical attacks. Apparently, the Dragon is too jealous of its own secrets to spare its majestic power for its totemists. That said, the frightful presence is not entirely wasted; indeed, the intimidator Barbarian can find some use for it. The servants of the Dragon, more than anyone else, need their Bard cohort to sing for their might. The Dragon is like the others and by the book, does not look kindly upon spiritual service.
- Eagle: The keen-eyed eagle is more vigilant than the others. Indeed, while it cannot match the Jaguar’s speed, it sees better and anticipates the coming spells. Alas, the Eagle’s servants do not get spot in class (talk with your DM if interested in this), so his gifts are somewhat wasted. Once again, no spirits for the Eagle.
- Horse: As you might imagine, the horse is a fast, hardy runner. However, it’s yet another gift few Barbarians have use for; your speed is already greater than that of your comrades, and further speed only breaks the group more. No, the Horse is truly right only for very few. On the bright side, it does not preclude the spiritual service.
- Jaguar: The majority of Barbarians serve the Jaguar, without even knowing it. It’s a kind master, teaching speed and vigilance, and allowing for the service of the spirits. Indeed, because the option given to you as the “only” one is so pleasant, few even bother to consider the alternatives. The Jaguar allows for spiritual service.
- Serpent: Much like the Bear, the Serpent learns to grapple, just a bit later. Unlike the Bear, the Serpent relies on stealth and speed while the Bear relies on endurance and strength in grapple to overcome his opponent. The two are interestingly similar, yet different paths. Like the Bear, the Serpent doesn’t have spiritual worshipers.
- Wolf: Normally only intelligent Barbarians can learn such advanced combat tactics as tripping their opponents. The Wolf teaches you those secrets regardless of your mind; what even the smart take aeons (two feats) to master you learn with mere 1000 XP! Later, you learn to follow the tracks of your foes. Woe be you, you lose your sixth sense for enemies and traps, but the wolf warrior’s path makes it all worthwhile!
Spiritual Totems [CC]
- Spirit Bear: The Spirit Bear grants you the Improved Grab ability. Truly wonderful for those interested in Grappling while not interested in turning into actual Bears (why anyone wouldn’t want to be a bear, I have no idea).
- The Totem Manifestation allows you to rid yourself of the Damage Reduction for effective Improved Toughness [CW] – decent trade if a bit late.
- Spirit Eagle: The Spirit Eagle gives you keen vision for your speed. Unfortunately, this does not grant you Spot nor Search in class (talk with your DM if interested in this), so you still won’t see a damn thing without DM intervention.
- The Totem Manifestation is again similarly useless unless your DM allows you to actually learn to see.
- Spirit Fox: The Fox makes you stealthy. The same problem as with other skill-related things, you’d need to learn to train stealth to truly make this worthwhile. Again, talk with your DM.
- The Totem Manifestation is actually quite decent; +1 Dodge each time you’d gain DR. For the non-Shocked Barbarians, this is quite an interesting path to pursue.
- Spirit Lion: The Spirit Lion gives you Pounce in exchange for extra movement. You can now full attack on a charge. You can even pick Whirling Frenzy to enjoy from level 1. Sold!
- The Totem Manifestation teaches you to roar. You get Strength-based fear-inducing Roar that apparently takes no action (once per day for each point of DR you’d have).
- Spirit Wolf: The Spirit Wolf teaches you how to best utilize the distraction provided by your allies; you learn to better benefit of flanking your opponents. Handy for those who can rely on allies providing flank; makes for more Power Attack!
- The Totem Manifestation provides you with Track and some bonuses to Survival. Poor ability that curiously doesn’t improve as your DR would; if you plan on ending your Barbarian progression at level 7 (not that unlikely given that Barbarian PrCs start around this time), it may be worth considering.
Alternative Class Features
He is truly wise
who’s traveled far
and knows the ways of the world.
He who has traveled
Can tell what spirit
governs the men he meets.
-Hávámal, The Sayings Of Odin
Got class features you don't like? Want to better tailor your Barbarian's abilities to your playstyle? Then you need Alternative Class Features!
- Ferocity [CS Web]: Rage boosts dexterity and strength instead. -2 penalty to ranged attack rolls outside 30 feet instead of penalty to AC. Sickened instead of fatigued. The kickass part is that you can get ferocious whenever the damn you please; it’s an immediate action to start!
- Whirling Frenzy [UA]: Rage increases Strength, Ref saves and AC. Allows an extra attack each turn (-2 penalty to all attacks made that turn, including AoOs). Lose Indomitable Will, gain Evasion when raging. Basically, hit things more! Hit things more often! Dodge what’s coming! The only drawback is that you give up your Rage protecting your mind, making you vulnerable to those damn Jedi mind tricks, and that while Whirling, you may not use other kinds of Rages. Alas, but for the straight-classed Barbarians who prefer not getting hit (and hitting others while at it), this is definitely the way to go. Oh, and this is just the thing for Barbarian Archers!
- Spell Sense [CM]: Trade Trapsense bonus for AC bonus vs. Spells. If you actually have a build with some AC (mayhap a Spirit Fox-worshipping Barbarian Tripper?), this is well worth it. Of course, the primary selling point is that you get rid of Trapsense!
- Trapkiller [DS]: Trade Trapsense for the ability to detect traps with Survival (!!) and to disarm them by bashing them to bits! Maybe you’re not quite as experienced as the Rogue (-5 to Survival-checks), but you’re damn good at disarming the mechanical ones (and you have the whatchacall’em spell dudettes to disarm the others; you can still find magical traps!).
- Streetfighter [CS Web]: Gets you rid of the stupid Damage Reduction that never did anyone any good, gives you all kinds of wonderful abilities while charging! TATSUMAKI SENPU KYAKU!
- Wasteland Trap Sense [Sand]: Rids you of Trap Sense for more useless Trap Sense. Congratulations, bad just got worse!
- Bonus Feat [Sand]: Lose your Improved Uncanny Dodge, but acquire an Endurance-type feat. Great if one of those is a prerequisite for whatever class you’re looking at. Worthless otherwise.
- Wasteland Damage Reduction [Sand]: Loses Damage Reduction for a more useless form. Wasteland specializes in making bad worse.
- Berserker Strength [PHBII]: Lose controlled Rage for uncontrolled Rage. That activates when you’re basically dead. Yea...no.
- Crafty Hunter [UA]: Lose Rage, gain Archery Combat Style and Favored Enemy. Seeing that what makes Barbarian a good Archer is a Rage-variant...
- Aquatic Barbarian [Storm]: Lose Fast Movement for improvement in Racial Swim Speed. If you have a racial swim speed, chances are you’re better off taking some of the other variants. Just a suggestion.
- Roofdweller [CS Web]: So you get two useless feats for Fast Movement. Let me think, no?
- Planar Barbarian [PlH]: Knowledge (the Planes) in class
- 3rd level: Lose Trap Sense for something equally useless! Congratulations, yet another wasted trade.
- 7th level: Lose Damage Reduction for a more useless form of Damage Reduction! Woot!
- 11th level: Lose Greater Rage for...well, I don’t really care, if you came this far, you did it for Greater Rage.
- Duskling Barbarian [MoI]:
- 1st level: You lose Fast Movement for speed increases through Incarnum. You have better uses for both, Fast Movement and Essentia.
- 7th level: Lose Damage Reduction, gain Damage Reduction you need to invest essential in. Where’s the vomit smiley when I need one?
- 11th level: Gain extra Essentia while Raging. Actually almost worthwhile! The only problem is that by this point, lack of Essentia shouldn’t really be your primary concern.
- Fangshield Barbarian (non-Human) [CV]:
- 3rd level: Lose Trapsense and gain the ability to charge longer distances. Anything useful that replaces Trapsense is good in my book! That said, it competes with Trapkiller, Spell Sense and several totems, and it’s enhancement bonus, which sucks.
- 5th level: Lose your Improved Uncanny Dodge, gain the ability to use actually useful version of Awesome Blow – Awesome Charge! Basically, you get to knock people around at the end of a charge. Imagine it combined with Pounce; you can send a whole bunch of them flying in various directions!
- 7th level: Lose the initial Damage Reduction, gain the ability to heal yourself for twice your HD in HP with Rage-uses. Sure, take away my worthless abilities and increase my versatility!\
- Half-Orc Barbarian [RoD]:
- 2nd level: Lose some stupid dodging abilities, learn to charge more heedlessly. The less AC, the better!
- 5th level: Uh, you get bonuses on Will-saves vs. Illusions. For the uninitiated, Color Spray is ineffective already and to even get a Will-save vs. your average Illusion, you need to interact with it. And uhh...well, just no.
- 7th level: Lose Damage Reduction, two-hand more effectively. Oh mi gosh, it’s useful! Definitely one of the better ways to get rid of DR, although I prefer Street Fighter myself.
- Goliath Barbarian [RoS]: Knowledge (Nature) in class
- 1st level: Become Large when raging and get more Str! This is the #1 reason to play Goliath!
- 5th level: Get Ex Light Fortifications. As you can never upgrade them, you’re better off just getting an armor with heavies instead.
- 7th level: Get more of a worse kind of Damage Reduction. While slightly better than standard, it’s still too little to bother with; just get something useful instead.
So, a few tricks as to how to combine the different options to a devastating/useful effect. Notation (F) = Feat, (S) = skill trick, (A) = alternative class feature:
- Power Attack (F) + Shock Trooper (F) + Spirit Lion Totem Pounce (A) + Leap Attack (F) + Knockback (F)/Awesome Charge (A)/Knock-Down (F) (+ Twisted Charge (S)/Street Fighter (A) + Nimble Charge (S)): Charge at 1+ opponents. Reduce 1+ opponents to smoldering remains lying within half a dozen feat from you on the ground. Add Cleaving Charge (A) to do it at multiple places in a turn!
- Intimidating Rage (F) + Imperious Command (F) + Immediate Rage (F)/Ferocity (A) + Never Outnumbered (S): Barbarian Celerity! Show your true face as an immediate action, making everyone within 30’ cower and bask in your glory!
- Combat Reflexes (F) + Martial Stance: Thicket of Blades (F) + Robilar’s Gambit (F) + Mage Slayer (F) + Stand Still (F)/Improved Trip (F): Make opponent do nothing! Whatever they do, they provoke and if they try to move, you can stop them and if they do anything else, you can hit them hard. Lockdown: Making life miserable for everyone but you since 2006!
- Track (F) + Trapkiller (A): Make your Survival do everything! Physical traps? Survival. Tracking? Survival. Wilderness movement? Survival. Food? Survival. Whatever else? Roll Survival just in case. It probably works.
- Weapon Finesse (F) + Shadowblade (F) + Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked Chain (F) + Frantic Rage (F)/Ferocity (A) + Ape-Totem Barbarian (A): Whoever said Kobolds don’t make for good Barbarians? Suddenly you do everything based on Dex and get notable bonuses in the stat from your race and class while being able to dump Str!
- Mountain Rage (A) + Wolf Berserker (F) + Improved Trip (F): Hurl anything up to Huge size around like they were paper and hit them again for their troubles!
HEY, do you wanna feel COMPLETELY OUTRAGEOUS? Try PRESTIGE CLASSES! PRESTIGE CLASSES are for BARBARIANS who need GRATUITOUS AMOUNTS OF CLASS FEATURES! With all new features like DEATHLESS FRENZY! DEATHLESS FRENZY, it’s like adding RAGE to A STORM OF VENGEANCE. Sound the alarm cause you’re gonna be UNCOMFORTABLY AWESOME!
You’ll feel like a FLESH GOLEM made out of BICEPS! It’ll give you so much energy, energy, ENERGY just raging all the time. Power raging, power lifting, power sleeping, power dating, power eating, power laughing, power looting! Use PRESTIGE CLASSES to make yourself ABNORMALLY POWERFUL! You’ll have SO MANY HIT POINTS! 400 HIT POINTS!
Try PRESTIGE CLASSES TODAY! The COOL ABILITIES will make you WIN at EVERYTHING FOREVER!!! You’ll win at running, sports, weddings, arson, irony, and other things YOU AREN’T EVEN SUPPOSED TO WIN AT!!!
- Horizon Walker [DMG]: When your options are limited, walking the planes is the best way to expand your abilities. That is the calling of a Horizon Walker; master the environment, master yourself, master the multiverse!
- Prerequisites: One feat. Endurance. Useless, but it’s just one. Also, you need Knowledge (Geography), not Barbarian’s bread-and-butter, so you should consider spending a brief amount of time as a Ranger to enter in due time.
- Class features: Barbarian BAB, saves, skills, the usual (although better skill list!). Smaller HD. The interesting stuff comes from the terrain masteries. Basic terrain masteries are dull; competence (available everywhere) bonuses to skills, small bonuses to attacks against creatures of certain type with Darkvision and Immunity to Fatigue being the more interesting ones. The truly interesting stuff comes from Planar Masteries, behold:
- Shifting Mastery: You can Dimension Door once per 1d4 rounds, with a caster level of your character level. For real. Yes, even outside shifting planes! This is truly why the class is worth taking; melee classes really enjoy the mobility this brings to allow you to choose the location where to go about your trip/kill routines!
- Aligned Mastery: You gain immunity to the adverse effects of being of the wrong alignment on a plane. Handy, not a reason to pick a class. But what’s this? You also gain immunity to aligned spells! This is basically the only means to truly protect yourself from Blasphemy and the like – truly increases your durability against the most fearsome attacks in the game!
- Cavernous Mastery: You gain Tremorsense 30’. Umm, yea. It’s good.
- Cold/Fiery Mastery: 20 points of energy resistance to appropriate types? Yes, it’s nice to be practically immune to fire/cold.
- Verdict: If you’re restricted to only Core-classes, this is the only PrC worth thinking about. It’s pretty comparable to straight Barbarian, although you need to shift your focus from Raging.
Completes, Races & PHBII
- Bear Warrior [CW]: So, you like Rage? Makes you feel good and gives you the high of power! Now, imagine if others could see how damn good you feel. Then Bear Warrior is for you – not only do you become freakishly strong, you’ll be a f*cking bear! That way everyone will know just how fucking awesome you are! This awesome deal bears a closer look:
- Prerequisites: None! Wait, really? +7 BAB (level 8 entry then), Power Attack (yea, you DO have it), Rage or Frenzy (yes, you DO have it). That means you need absolutely nothing to enter. Nothing at all.
- Class features: Barbarian skills, saves, bla bla bla bla, nobody cares. The thing you’re looking for is this:
- Bear form: When raging, a bear warrior can turn into a motherfucking bear!
The gist of it: you get fewer uses of Rage (cry me a river, pick Extra Rage) and in exchange, each use of your Rage allows you to RIP THINGS APART. Basically, you get the Rage-modifiers of a level 20 Barbarian on level 8. And you get 3 natural weapons. Character level 13, you become Large and get Improved Grab for good measure. Character level 17, you get +20 Str (and some Dex, Natural Armor and Con). For serial killers and great justice!
Now, there is a catch (no, not the “once per day”-thing; errata removes the conflicting statement and you’re only limited by your Rage-uses). You can’t use standard weapons. You do get all your awesome Natural Weapons, but you don’t add 2x Power Attack to the damage. However, since you get 3 Natural Weapons, you’re fine for starters.
Later? Pick Improved Unarmed Strike (or better, dip Fist of the Forests) and Multiattack. Do full iterative with your Unarmed Strike and all 3 Natural Weapons as secondaries, all adding full PA (not 2x though) to damage! Enter Shock Trooper and Leap Attack, turning you into a full fledged godless killing machine. So not only do you claw and bite the opponents, you also batter and crush them with your bearliness; the bear knows kung-fu!
As a bonus, all your natural weapons and unarmed strikes are considered light weapons (and still add PA damage as per Power Attack-description in PHB), so you could use “Snow Tiger Berserker” Lodge-feat from Unapproachable East to gain Pounce, allowing you to retain your Fast Movement for the cost of a feat – worth thinking about! Oh, and then there’s the whole “Yes, you’re a Large creature with disgusting Str and Improved Grab” going on for you! Only you can grapple the Tarrasque and live to tell the tale!
Remember to pester your DM about how equipment works with this. Polymorph (the ability this is paralleled to) states that “all equipment the new form could wear stay on you while others meld”, which would suggest that among others, you’d keep any Belts, Cloaks, Bracers, Boots and Amulets. Feel free to argue about armor, gloves and the like – that’s purely between your DM and you. Do know though that Dire Bear is only marginally stronger than Brown Bear; for the aspiring Bears, a strong consideration of whether those 5 levels are really worth it is in order.
- Verdict: Smokey! (That means “kickass” for those that do not speak Bear)
- Fist of the Forest [CC]: These “Barbarians” hail from wilderness, hence their name. The Fists of the Forest allow the wilderness to empower them, share its strength with them. Indeed, the Barbarians in the Fists’ ranks are truly the most formidable of their kind! As a bonus, the path is short and mighty – the Barbarians entering the ranks of the Fists need not wait for the fulfillment of their abilities; the nature provides instant gratification, as it should be!
How then does it work?
- Prerequisites: Two feats. Great Fortitude and Improved Unarmed Strike (don’t be tempted to be a Monk, for verily, they lose BAB and enter later). Oh, and the usual Power Attack. Then you need some skills you have in class, and BAB +4. And permission, but ‘cause you’re a Barbarian you practically have it already.
- Class features: Barbarian BAB and HD, skilled in dodging in addition to withstanding, only 2 skills/level. Only 3 levels long – lots of awesome in a short span! The interesting stuff:
- Fast Movement: Yeah, you move even faster!
- Feral Trance: Get in touch with your primal self! Adds to Dex, unarmed damage and teaches you to bite (read: extra attack)! Can specifically be used while Raging!
- AC bonus: The tougher you get, the harder it is to damage you! You get your CONSTITUTION to AC. Yes. For real. Sure, you can’t wear an armor, but who cares? It’s not like you much cared for armor anyways; it just gets in the way of your being awesome!
- Unarmed Strike Damage: Three levels give you the damage a Monk needs 8 levels for! Use your fists for everyday tasks like television, or romance, or helicopter repair and maintenance! You even get to hit through DR/Magic, incorporeality and all that with your BARE HANDS!
- Scent: Yes. For real!
- All this in 3 levels for the low, low price of two feats and having to sleep out and hunt instead of pretending to be a city dweller (you’re a damn Barbarian, this is a given)! Oh yeah, and you can break these rules three times per month.
- Verdict: Always! Only three levels and two feats for all kinds of awesome! I heard Fists of the Forests got along well with Bear Warriors. You may wish to try marrying the two.
- Frenzied Berserker [CW]: Barbarians don’t feel true rage. A true rage enraptures all, encompasses all, endures all! To walk the path of true rage, you must step into the boots of a Frenzied Berserker. Your power will be overwhelming – over nine thousand, infact. The true strength though comes from your ability to channel your hatred; once you let your anger flow through you, your hate will make you strong, and once you do hit it will increase the impact tenfold! That is why you walk this perilous path; so you’ll hit harder than anyone!
- Prerequisites: Three feats. Cleave (serves you well to speed up gutting the sheep), Destructive Rage (waste of time; with your strength, you need no help in wrecking objects), Intimidating Rage (it helps when you make it work – needs Charisma, otherwise not your cup of tea). Power Attack is on the list too, but it’s basically a class feature. And BAB +6 and Barbarian alignment (again, these don’t count). So, you pay to enter alright.
- Class features: Barbarian BAB and saves. Only two points per level and crappy list. Sucks. Now on to the good stuff::
- Diehard: Meh, but bonus feats are always handy.
- Supreme Cleave: Makes your Cleave better. Why not?! You can take a 5’ step between your Cleave-attack and principal attack – a great way to make the feat more useful (and with the amount of damage you can dish out, it WILL be useful)!
- Improved/Supreme Power Attack: Now we’re talking! Your principal source of damage…doubled? Yes, for real! First, you get 1.5x bonuses on Berserker level 5 (character level 11), you get the bonuses doubled. Note that errata clarifies it’s 50% and 100% instead of x1.5 and x2; therefore, you get full benefits with a two-handed weapon too!
- Frenzy: Ah, now this is what the class is all about! Your true hatred! One use per two levels – they’ll add up fast! Also, you can Frenzy while Raging for truly massive bonuses. But what does the Frenzy mean? To start with, you gain +6 Str and an extra attack each round (doesn’t stack with Haste; handy on those levels though!). The price is -4 AC (so you shouldn’t bother with it at all) and 2 points of non-lethal damage per round (mommy, you only have few hundred points of HP). The bigger thing though? You need to make DC20 Will-save to end this Frenzy. Why is that bad? Once the baddies run out, you’ll be attacking your allies (and no, you cannot Iron Heart Surge it away; you need to spend your actions attacking to best of your ability)!
You’ll NEED to work around this. Have your casters prepare spells that stop you from wrecking allies. Get a Merciful weapon as your primary weapon of choice. Take Steadfast Determination. Get thrown into an Oytugh Hole. Just make sure your failed Will-save doesn’t end up with a very dead party and a very, very “Do not want!” Berserker. A thing adding to the problem – if you’re dealt damage, you need to succeed a Will-save against 10+damage dealt or start Frenzy. That makes traps, environment and similar hitting you doubly dangerous! Of course, all this isn’t worth +6 damage and an extra attack. However, there is more still.
- Deathless Frenzy: Berserker level 4, you become immortal! For real. That means if you get knocked for 20000 points of damage, you’ll remain standing…for as long as you Frenzy. Once it runs, you’ll die if you’re not in positives. Still, being immortal is pretty fucking awesome. At least, if you die, that Dragon comes down with you! Since your Frenzy lasts for 3+Con rounds and you can Rage before it for extra Con, you can make it last long enough. This is just awesome!
- Greater Frenzy: +10 Str, no frills. You don’t need me to tell you this is awesome. Level 8.
- Inspire Frenzy: The last in the long list of controversial class features; you can make your allies Frenzy! If they’re near you, you can give them Frenzy for 3+Con (YOUR Con) rounds. All allies within 10’. That means if you’re in a tough fight in an AMF with an otherwise caster-party, everyone will suddenly learn to kick ass and chew bubblegum! Now, this means all the normal drawbacks too. So if you run out of opponents before Frenzy runs out (likely), you’ll have a bunch of DC 20 Will-saves or a vast free-for-all melee; beware!
- Verdict: Gambler’s choice; huge risks, huge rewards for those that find ways to subsume the risks! Just beware; in the end, the house always wins. And your house is the DM!
- Rage Mage [CW]: Ever been really annoyed by something and just hoped the something would be vaporized? This class tries to make those wishes come true. As an angry magician, you maintain a Barbarian’s abilities while learning to hurl spells empowered by your rage at hapless Gnomes. At least that’s the general idea; how it works in practice deserves a closer look:
- Prerequisites: One feat in Combat Casting, 2nd-level Arcane Spells, +4 BAB, Rage, Nonlawful alignment. The combination of 2nd-level spells and +4 BAB is a tad difficult.
- Class features: Medium BAB, inexistent skills, good Fort-saves. Who the hell decided this thing has medium BAB? Anyways, onto the real business:
- Spell rage: Well, this is obviously what this class is all about. Which is why you’ll be sad to find out that you need to wait 5 levels to be able to use this twice per turn. And 9 for three uses. Basically, you take additional AC penalty, but can cast spells in Rage. Even better, you cast all Evocation, Transmutation, Conjuration, Abjuration and Necromancy-spells on your character level, so your actual caster level hardly matters.
Or that’s the idea anyways; being limited to doing this once per day sucks a metric crapton as your abilities outside this spell rage are going to suffer from the classes you’re taking. Since this is a “Rage”, you should be able to Extra Rage it though which fixes the major issue.
- Overcome Spell Failure: So yea, you can wear a light armor again. Yay?
- Spells per day: Now, this just sucks. This supposed fighter/mage class gets spells only every other level. Which is about as effective as alternating between Fighter- and Wizard-levels (or to say, not very; they specifically printed Eldritch Knight to help with that).
- Rage: Extra uses of Rage. Sure, why not.
- Spell Fury: Having to wait until level 7 to get the first real class feature just sucks. Luckily, this is a good one; free quickening on a spell of level 4 or lower. Really helps with your action economy especially since your casting is like to be a bit lacking. Only once per spellrage though so it alone isn’t enough; you still need something to quicken a spell for the remaining rounds.
- Tireless Rage: When will your Rage ever run out during an encounter? Yea, this won’t come up.
- Warrior Cry: You can gain enhancement bonuses to all physicals (which you already have) and full BAB (which you’d have if you weren’t fooling around with this class) once per day as a free action? Woohoo, what a capstone! Basically, this allows you to pretend once per day that you didn’t take Rage Mage.
- Verdict: Sucks! Now, to be fair, it is possible to build a decent character with Rage Mage. It takes a lot of work and it’s still not amazing, but Spell Fury is the saving grace preventing the class from falling into the “no unique class features”-pit. That said, unless you know you want this specific class and have a very good idea of what you’re doing, stay away and leave this to the professionals.
- Eye of Gruumsh [CW]: Orcs are the most populous Barbarians on the planet. That much is known. Therefore, it's no surprise that Orcish Barbarians have their own sects with their own abilities. This is the organization for Orcish barbarians. But do they truly live up to their name of greatest Barbarians in the world? Let's find out!
- Prerequisites: Two feats, Proficiency and Focus in Orc Double Axe. If your DM isn't a total doofus, he'll give Orcs automatic proficiency anyways, reducing it to one feat (which still sucks). Other than that, you got to be an Orc (duh) or a Half-Orc (don't...just don't). Then you have to get rid of one of your eyes. WTF, right? Apparently it's no problem though. Gotta be Gruumsh Cleric Alignment though; CN, CE, NE. Bad for adventuring, although CN might be doable. +6 BAB.
- Class features: Barbarian BAB, saves, less skills. Usual fare, a small step down.
- Blind-Fight: So yea, a crappy bonus feat. Congrats! One step closer to Pierce Magical Concealment for surprising those pesky mages though. Also, you can act as if you had both eyes. So much for that ritual, eh?
- Command the Horde: You can command a bunch of weaker Orcs 30' from you. God help any opposing Orcish force encountering you!
- Rage: So your Eye of Gruumsh-levels stack with Barbarian for extra Rages. Booooring.
- Swing Blindly: Now, this is something! More strength, more AC penalty, on level 2! What it basically comes down to is that you hit harder and get hit more! Just the way you like it, especially since everyone automatically hits you anyways!
- Ritual Scarring: You get some Natural Armor on 3, 6 & 9 to make up for the lost AC above. In reality, nothing happens.
- Blinding Spittle: What a corny attack! You spit your stomach acid up to 20' away at a creature's eyes. The best part? Your stomach acid is mighty potent! 10+Eye of Gruumsh-level+Con! Smaller DCs have thrown men into despair. Also, it isn't listed to take an action; I suppose that defaults to a standard action, but man, would it be awesome to get it as a free action? Either way, while very limited in times/day, this is an actually useful ability! You start with 2 on level 4 and get it to max of 4 times on level 7.
- Blindsight: You sense things 5' from you starting from level 5. On level 8, you sense things almost next to you (10'!). Never really big enough to help, but allows you to smack that sneaky thief who forgot to buy Lords of Madness for his idiocy (or should I say, his madness?).
- Sight of Gruumsh: So basically, you get more power from...seeing when you die! That's right, Orcs wanna die! This gives you morale bonuses to saves and AC. Rather trivial as you're still tanking your AC with your Rage, but hey, whatever right? That said, this is not worth taking all 10 levels for.
- Verdict: Orcs...could do better. That said, increasing your Strength-bonus when Raging is very good and while the prerequisites are completely pointless (seriously, Orc Double Axe?! What do you expect Barbarians to do, play Darth Maul?), Blinding Spittle is another handy ability. All in all, starts off crappy but turns out actually semi-decent! Probably loses out to straight Barbarian, but not by all that much (and that's mostly because this class gets some pointless AC boosts while tanking its AC further when Raging), mostly on the pointless prerequisites (ask your DM to homebrew a two-handed exotic Orc War Axe with 2d8 damage or something and call it a day).
- Orc Warlord [RoF]: Alright, so let's say you want to build a horde and go ravage the world. This is the prestige class for you! The Orc Warlord is a 5 level long prestige class focused on increasing the amount of lackeys you can get with the Leadership feat.
- Prerequisites: Orc or half orc BAB of +5 or higher. Any non-good alignment. Intimidate 8 ranks, Ride 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks. Leadership and the feats Blood of the Warlord or Might Makes Right. Finally, the rage ability – but of course you have that if you're reading this.
- Class features: Full BAB, good Fortitude and Will saves, some skills, 2+Int mod skill points per level, yadda yadda. You're not here for that, though the higher Will save is nice.
- Gather Horde: You can attract 150% the number of followers you would otherwise be able to as a 1st level Orc Warlord. At 3rd, you get 200% more followers! These extra followers must be orcs. And given how Might Makes Right lets you add your Strength bonus to your Leadership score, you will have a lot of followers.
- Inspire Courage: The surest way to stop your troops from running away from scary things in front of them is to put something even scarier behind them. By speaking (or howling, ranting, etc) for one full round, you can Inspire Courage in your minions. This works similar to the bard's ability (but does not stack with it) with a few differences: you grant a +2 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +1 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls, and you can use it while raging! Intriguingly, there are no limits on how many times you may initiate it. The warlord can't cast spells, activate magic items by spell completion (such as scrolls), or activate magic items by command word, but what self-respecting orc would do that sort of thing anyways?
- Final Rage: The 5th level capstone is the ability to incite rage in yourself and your allies as a free action, even those that have run out of rages or could not otherwise rage. Anyone already in a rage gets upgraded to a greater rage. The rage lasts until the end of the warlord's next turn, and then everyone suffers penalties.
- Verdict: Leadership shenanigans are always fun. The follower boosting runs out at level 3, though, the Inspire Courage doesn't scale, level 4 is a dead level, and the capstone Final Rage is too brief to do the concept of a howling mad orc horde justice. If you're in a game where you could make use of a large number of followers, you might consider 3 levels in this at most.
- Battlerager [RoF]: These are also called the "Kuldjargh" or "Axe idiots", and for a reason. If you remember Thibbledorf Pwent from Salvatore's books...well, this is nothing like him. Still, seeing that Dwarves do have a history for raging, so let's see what their racial "angry class" does:
- Prerequisites: Two feats, Cleave & Endurance. Not bad, Cleave is handy on its own and Endurance leads to Steadfast Determination. Skills though, you need 8 ranks in Intimidate (ok), 2 ranks in Knowledge: Religion (WTF?) and two ranks in two Performs, including Perform: Singing (WTF?!). Oh, and a non-lawful Dwarf and the ability to rage, but duh.
- Class features: They get the already-familiar Barbarian BAB, saves, etc. and less skills.
- Rage: They get an extra use of Rage on first and every two levels thereafter. This is actually good since it's much faster than standard Barbarian progression.
- Gruff: -4 to all Charisma-based skills and Charisma-checks, except Intimidate to which you get +2 on level 1. If you're making a non-Intimidate Charisma check as a Dwarf Barbarian, something is wrong. This is ok, although due to their racial Charisma-penalty, Dwarves make for some of the worst Intimidator Barbarians in the first place.
- Rock Gut: +2 to saves vs. poison. So...you still fail only on 1. Nothing new here.
- Close-Quarter Fighting: On level 2, you can avoid Grapples. The thing is, with your Str and abilities, nothing short of the Tarrasque will be grappling you anyways. At least you get to pretend you're getting class features.
- Fearless: On level 2, you become immune to fear-effects, +2 Insight to all saves vs. mind-affecting. Useful to a degree! Insight is an obscure bonus-type to saves too!
- Improved Unarmed Strike: Yawn. This is only a prerequisite. Level 3, btw. I suppose it helps enter some other classes, but it's not worth hammering your head to a wall for 3 levels
- Great Cleave: Yawn. Sometimes randomly useful. If only you were naturally Large, not some pesky Dwarf... Level 4 too.
- Reckless Offensive: Yawn. I guess it's a free bonus. This is the same feat as the "Reckless Offense"-feat in SRD, except with a bit higher prerequisites. Likewise, level 4.
- Natural Armor: +2 hardly makes up for all the penalties you'll be taking. Whatever... And this is all you get on level 5.
- Verdict: Dwarves could do a lot better. Basically, you get +2 Intimidate, immunity to Fear (available as a feat) and a bunch of worthless or random feats. In fact, this class is little more than a CW Samurai in disguise; you get a bunch of poor, pre-determined feats and that's about it. This is basically a test to see if giving a ton of sitiuational/weak/worthless feats in few levels somehow made said feats less worthless. Protip: It doesn't. Stay away. Oh yeah, and it's 3.0.
- Deepwarden [RoS]: Want to be a really hard guy? Like, Stonecold? If so, this is for you. Be the man...or dwarf of stone! Everything Battlerager should've been is right here. Toughness, simple kickass toughness and the feel of a Dwarf. A look at dwarfdom:
- Prerequisites: Endurance as the only feat - reasonable, especially with Steadfast Determination. Heal, Climb, Jump, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) & Survival 5 ranks. Heal and Knowledge cause trouble here; Barbarian has neither in class pushing entry to level 7 unless doing something about it – a 1-level dip in Ranger will do. 3 levels might be better for free Endurance though. BAB +5.
- Class features: Barbarian BAB & Fort, good Will and 6+Int skills with a great list. Far superior to a Barbarian here.
- Track: Free bonus, why not? Adds to your Survival-based abilities; combine with Trapkiller for real Survival-focus.
- Trap Sense: Yawn.
- Stone Warden: This is the reason to take Deepwarden. You get Con to AC over Dex! It's been clarified in FAQ that this is capped by armor's maximum bonus (RAW disagrees). However, there's an incredibly simple way around that: be unarmored! Pick up levels in Fist of the Forests to get Con to AC again! Since this replaces Dex, the two should stack just fine. Heck, pick a Monk's Belt for Wis to AC to boot! Then just enter classes that raise your Con skyhigh and enjoy your Way Higher Than Yours AC. The fact that this is available on level 2 makes this class best as a two-level dip (along with the good Will-saves). That said, the rest isn't horrible either; read on!
- Animal Messenger: Free spell-likes never hurt. Good for delivering messages and so on. Small benefit though, and only thing you get on level 3.
- Uncanny Dodge: Well, since you traded the original for something more useful, here's your chance to pick it up again! Two levels for this is a bit much, but hey, you're getting a ton of skills, important good saves and all that so it's not all that bad.
- Stubborn Mind: With your Will, this extra insurance against domination could actually be useful! That said, you shouldn't plan on getting dominated often enough to make this good. Level 5 is still reasonable.
- Sending: Actually a decent spell for communication and all that. No combat use, obviously, but it has obvious utility. Again, only class feature for level 6.
- Swift Tracker: Well, I suppose you might as well... Helps with your speed since Dwarves aren't naturally too fast trackers. Level 7 is really high though, seeing how little the class gives at this point.
- Improved Uncanny Dodge: You still stick it to Rogues, except worse since this only counts your Deepwarden class level. If you got it as a Barb though, this is all good. As a painful note, this is level 8...
- Greater Animal Messenger: Meh, at this point the benefits really aren't matching up to the cost.
- Verdict: This does it right. You get the huge defensive boost on level 2 and can afford some levels around that point. Two-level dip is great and you can afford up to 7 levels for the skills. It gets really hairy as the gains keep getting worse by the level. Still, the two-level dip is an obvious choice for most Dwarf Barbarians, especially in combination with Fist of the Forests to make the ability actually useful, and more Rage-versions that increase Con. Then you have Con to HP, Fort, Will (Steadfast) and AC twice. And thanks to Rage, your attacks will be very ok too.
- Frostrager [Frost]: In this universe, there's only one absolute... everything freezes! This class is for those who want to have cold, living hands. You have a soul of ice and you die to pour it on others! A mere Barbarian is hardy, but you are the winter itself, the icy, biting chill and the unstoppable advance! A closer look at the specifics of this frozen path of ruin:
- Prerequisites: Two feats. Oh, and Power Attack. But you know the drill by now. Frozen Berserker is a mediocre feat and Improved Unarmed Strike is Improved Unarmed Strike. Oh, and you need some Intimidate, Survival and you need to almost die of cold. So nothing major. BAB +7
- Class features: Barbarian BAB, saves, a bit fewer skills from an anemic list. Now, the things that make you a Frostrager...
- Frostrage: You become a chunk of ice when Raging! More specifically, you get a natural armor, you hit harder and and your hands deal cold damage. If you already have a bigger unarmed damage die, this should probably advance that. Check with your worldmaking slave to be sure. This is what the class is all about anyways. Do realize that cold resistance is only second to fire in commonness though so don't rely too much on the cold damage. It goes two ways though: just walk around in Energy Immunity: Fire and you've got resistance/immunity to the two most common energy types in the game!
- Freezing Blood: So your blood is so cold it freezes if you were to bleed. Nothing major, but doesn't hurt one bit. All bonus! Apparently, you can manage with a bit slower blood circulation; I suppose your Rage evens the blood pressure out! Free level 1 bonuses never hurt.
- One-Two Punch: An extra attack. What's not to like? Oh yeah, the -2 penalty. But the thing is, since you're a Barbarian, you actually have the attack bonus to hit regardless. Great! And low level too.
- Absorb Cold: So you can have the Big Stupid Blaster target you and the enemy horde hopelessly hacking away at you with a cold-substituted generic Boom. Also, cold planes rock, 'cause apparently you absorb the lack of heat or something and heal. Whatever, I'll take what I'm given! You'll get it in the passing.
- Improved Frostrage: So your fists keep growing! Congratulations. Now, if this stacks with Fist of the Forests, you'll actually be looking at 2d8 fists! Oh, and the cold damage you deal increases.
- Rend: If you hit a dude twice, you get a third one for free! Nothing major, but no reason to turn down free damage! Of course, it's all you get on the last level so think carefully if you really want it all that much; it doesn't get PA bonus.
- Verdict: For the really, really cool dudes! Not best evar, but definitely not a waste of space either. As a northener myself, I approve.
- Runescarred Berserker [UE]: The best way to defeat Magic is through Magic, or, failing that, through negating Magic. If this is the path you choose, Runescarred Berserker is for you. You grow as a Barbarian, but learn to weave Magic through your Rage! In a world without magic the Barbarians rule supreme – the Runescarred make that world! This truly demands a closer look:
- Prerequisites: Three feats. Iron Will (handy), Survivor (sucks), Berserker Lodge Feat (includes quite a few good options, covered in the feat section). Also, a bunch of pointless skills and Intimidate, but you can afford them. BAB +7 and hail from Rashemen. Rough, but it gets better!
- Class features: Barbarian BAB, saves, skills, you know this crap. Additionally, this progresses most your Barbarian class features, granting you Damage Reduction, Extra Rage, Greater Rage. You also get Energy Resistance 5: Frost and some Natural Armor. Again, this is not what the class is about though. No, a Runescarred Berserker is defined by his runescars!
- Runescar: You can scribe a runescar on your body. You get a spell list to go with it, including such doozies as Heal, Air Walk, Anti-Magic Field, Restoration, Spell Immunity, True Strike, basic buffs and so on! You pick one to learn each level, then scribe a runescar on your body (costs a bit and deals damage that you can just heal afterwards) and then you can use it like a Potion! So, what makes this so awesome? Why, Anti-Magic Field of course! As said before, nothing beats a Barbarian without Magic and the ability to cast Anti-Magic Field gives YOU the tools to strip your opponents of their magical abilities. Have extraordinary means of flight and you’ll truly be the one-man wrecking crew – the bane of the fools relying on magic and their supernatural abilities! Of course, you’ll have to reach them first, but that can be arranged.
- Verdict: YES! THIS is how a Barbarian plays into his strengths! Slay the Wizard, save the world!
- Black Blood Cultist [CoR]: Do you want natural weapons, but still be a humanoid? Do you want to grapple people to death and then savage their souls? Do you want to truly be an incomparable wrestler? If so, this is for you. Don't be mislead by the name; all this PrC does is give you superb grappling abilities!
- Prerequisites: Two feats, Improved Unarmed Strike and Track. 8 ranks in Survival, 2 in Knowledge (Nature), Rage and Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil or Neutral Evil alignment. Not too bad; those are easily attainable as bonus feats anyways.
- Class features: Barbarian skills, good Fort & Ref, but only medium BAB. You'll have to find other Grapple-bonuses for that. That said, the class features help out a lot:
- Feral Rage (Claws): You stack these levels for Rage-uses. All good. On level 1, you also get Claw-attacks. 1d6 damage, no less. Really nice; two primary Natural Weapons.
- Damage Reduction: On level 1, it's 1/Silver. Pretty useless, but it may come up. On level 4 it's 3/silver and level 9 5/silver. The last one is almost never worth it due to the lost point of BAB, but the 3/silver is pretty much free and can be useful against Natural Attack- or Archery-focused characters. Pretty weak, but can randomally help.
- Improved Grapple: Free bonus feat. All fine.
- Feral Rage (Bite): A third natural attack. It's secondary, but it's still an extra attack so it's all good.
- Scent: Sure, why not. It can help you in a surprising number of circumstances and it's a free part of the progression on 4.
- Stranglehold: Move Action Coup de Grace; handy for when you're in a hurry or have stunned guys that need a-killin'. Even better if you have Boots of Battle Charger allowing you to use the standard action for a pouncing Charge. Not that useful that often, but it can definitely have its moments.
- Feral Rage (Rend): More Natural Attack-damage never hurt anyone, except the opponent. Good for the level.
- Improved Natural Attacks: See above. May stack with the Improved Natural Attack-feat as this isn't defined as a size increase and has a different name and mechanic (applies to all attacks).
- Savage Grapple: This is why you take the class. Suddenly, your successful Grapple-checks downright destroy anything you're fighting, allowing you to easily drop anything in one round (Pouncing charge with Grab & Damage-attempts for iteratives should drop just about anything you can Grapple in the first place).
This is also level 8, which means you still haven't lost the third point of BAB. You aren't going to either, so this is probably where you should bail out. Do note that Freedom of Movement is going to be ruining your day on these levels a lot, but that's just more of a reason to Anti-Magic it up. Few creatures want to be in Grapple with you, and those are Colossal so you can't Grab them anyways.
- Feral Form: You need a really good reason to fight without Rage on these levels. This just shouldn't come up nearly often enough to matter. It costs you two levels and an extra point of BAB; the cost is simply too high.
- Verdict: Fun with tentacles! It's obvious what Black Blood Cultist does: Grapple. And oh boy, does it ever Grapple well! Savage Grapple is the single most brutal attack you can do in Grapple and will result in really quick death whatever you're grappling. You'll need some manner of Anti-Magic to negate opponents' Freedom of Movement, and some manner of size increases to engage Larger-Than-Huge creatures, but if you want a grappler, you're unlike to do better than this at least as far as damage goes. Do note that Black Blood Cultist improves your damage, but is rather poor as far as your Grapple-checks go so couple it with something to help on that front (of course, as you're a Barbarian, you'll still do.)
- Primeval [Frost]: Barbarian ways date back to the dawn of time. Sometimes, a Barbarian may feel the need to dial back into day 1. That Barbarian is walking the path of a Primeval. Their strength as vast as the time before them, a Primeval is truly something to be feared. However, becoming one is not easy. Indeed, a great cost is required for a great gain.
- Prerequisites: Three worthless feats: Self-Sufficient, Toughness, Endurance. Further, two worthless skills in Knowledge (Nature) and Handle Animal, only accompanied by Survival. Mere 5 ranks though. Finally, BAB +8; level 9 is the earliest possible entry. It is not easy being a Primeval, but the Bear Totem gets you Toughness, while Ranger levels net you Endurance, which means if you are smart, you only have to waste one feat on Self-Sufficient.
- Class features: Barbarian BAB and saves, less skills - the usual story. To business:
- Primeval Form: This is what the class is all about; an alternative, prehistoric form you can assume like the Bear Warrior assumes that of a Bear. This is mono-form, and thus you must choose a single form and ride it to the end. Remember that instead of gaining the form's ability scores, the form's modifiers are applied as a bonus to your stats. There could be no better news for a Barbarian! Your massive Strength and Con grow ever more massive. This is truly something amazing.
Allow me to suggest anything with a large array of natural attacks. Giant Octopus, for example, makes for a fine choice. The more, the merrier! All your abilities are amplified by the number of natural attacks you have. Extra uses come on levels 4, 7 and 10 and are badly needed. It is worth inquiring if the "Extra Wildshape"-feat would give you extra uses of Primeval Form; Wildshape is listed as being able to mimic Primeval Form, but you lack Wildshape so you don't qualify for the feat without help from above.
- Animal Empathy: You gain some trivial bonuses when meddling with animals of the type you change into. I know not of you, but it does sound horribly boring to me. Free extra ability never hurt anyone though.
- Regression: You begin the return to your roots, losing intellect and force of will, while empowering your body. Indeed, you become more and more animal-like, the further you walk this path. Worry not, that's why you're here. Levels 2, 5 and 8 each see a change.
- Low-Light Vision: Having the ability in any form is always useful, when it comes as a bonus.
- Feral Power: Now we are talking! Your physique reaches a new level, and you gain global bonuses to physical stats and armor. And the change continues! You accumulate these bonuses three times, making you vastly more powerful than standard version of your alter ego creature!
- Scent: Like anything feral, your auxiliary senses grow keener and you notice things before unsmelled. This is half-way through your regression, on level 5.
- Fast Movement: As your physique develops, so does your speed. Once you reach 8th level, you gain a boost to movement. It's always good to have.
- Primeval Shapeshifter: Alas, your last ability is not amazing. You become one with your animal spirit. Unfortunately, that means giving up the powers making it worthwhile to be a Humanoid in the first place; magic such as Enlarge Person can no longer be cast upon you. You also gain a worthless Damage Reduction as it's pierced by magic - every creature either has ability to pierce it with their natural weapons, or access to magical weapons. Either way, this is not worthwhile.
- Verdict: Great power, great price! You pay a dear price to enter and the hour is late. However, the abilities you gain are quite wonderful. Your strength grows immensely and you can acquire a form of larger size, power and more attacks. The only turkey about this class is the 10th level. The costs are a bit high, but for those willing to pay, you'll feel strength you haven't experienced in millennia! If only Primeval weren't completely magical in nature...
- Totem Rager [MoI]: The primal ways of a Barbarian go hand-in-hand with the natural soul energy wielded by the Totemist. Where these two meet, a Totem Rager is born; the primal might of a Barbarian combined with the magical soulmelding of Totemist makes for some of the greatest warrior to ever have graced the planet with their presence. This is suited for those who have mastered manipulation of Incarnum. For those still learning, I suggest you start your studies here. With that said, let us see the deal here:
- Prerequisites: One feat, Cobalt Rage. 5 ranks in Intimidate, 9 in Survival. The ability to bind soulmelds to Totem-chakra, Rage. Everything you would have anyways, so nothing of relevance.
- Class features: Medium BAB, d10 HD, Good Ref & Fort, Barbarian skills. A Barbarian he isn’t.
- Meldshaping: 8 levels out of 10 advance your meldshaping abilities. As the first level is void, it is in your best interest to take as many as you can. A very fair deal in its entirety.
- Totem Rage: When raging, gain extra essential equal to half your Totem Rager level. Free bonuses, what’s not to love?
- Wild Empathy: Free bonuses never hurt anyone. Minor thing, but no need to complain, it’s still free.
- Extra Rage: 2nd level grants you an extra use of rage. As a Barbarian, you surely can appreciate the value.
- Damage Reduction: This is just as worthless as it is for a Barbarian as it comes in no greater quantities. Mayhap ask for one of Barbarian’s replacement options instead. That said, this is not why you’re taking the class so free bonuses again never hurt anyone.
- Chakra Binds: It’s necessary to your advancement as a meldshaper to acquire the remaining chakras. Thankfully you get them in reasonable schedule, on 4th and 9th level respectively..
- Extended Rage: Your Cobalt Rage now also extends the duration of your Rage. Not worth much, but at least you can be certain you can withstand the entire battle.
- Totem Chakra Bind: These improvements are necessary for you as a Totemist. Thankfully this is included in the class progression. As a capstone though, this is far away. Still, it’s very much worthwhile.
- Verdict: Depends. The value of the class is entirely dependant on what you do with your Meldshaping. With all the natural weapons and strength-check/damage bonuses it provides, there are many ways to make for truly brutal Totem Ragers. But again, all that depends on your proficiency with Incarnum; the Rage-abilities are merely an afterthought. This is principally a class for Totemists who want some strength and the free Pounce.
- Champion of Gwynharwyf [BoED]: Just walking the road of a Barbarian does not mean abandoning your deities. On the contrary, the life of strife can bring you closer to your deity than a life of service ever could. Champions are Barbarians elevated by their deities to be their champions and fight in the forefront of the battle of deities manifesting itself on the material world once again. Such is certainly worth something. Let us scan the costs:
- Prerequisites: Two feats; Knight of Stars and Righteous Wrath. 9 ranks in Intimidate, and BAB +6. Hefty entry price, but mayhap there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Chaotic Good alignment is likewise required.
- Class features: Barbarian saves, skills, HD, BAB and everything else. This is all too familiar for us already. To the more unique part:
- Detect Evil: Like a Paladin, you can detect the presence of evil creatures. This will help you in your struggle for a better world.
- Rage: You continue to advance as if a Barbarian. Most excellent.
- Smite Evil: Like a Paladin, you learn to imbue a strike per day with divine energy dealing grievous wounds to the wicked. You gain only few uses overall, maxing out at 3 on level 9. As this is Charisma-based, you’re unlike to make much use of it anyways, although the extra damage is always worthwhile. Nevertheless, this is a minor ability and should be treated as such.
- Spells: Now this is a reason to choose the path of a divine champion; you learn to cast a small number of divine spells to better thwart the evil Wizards’ magic and to hit them in the head even harder! This is Wisdom-based, which is definitely doable as Wisdom is already useful anyways and you only need 14 for your highest level magic. Their magic protects and enhances their combat ability, so you must still do the attacking, but your god can empower your strikes.
- Furious Casting: This is what the class is all about; in spite of the Rage, you can use magic! Truly wonderful ability, and granted on level two.
- Divine Grace: Like a Paladin, you can use your Force of Will to protect you from harmful magic. Unless you use the Battle Blessing [CC] feat to cast based on Charisma though, you’re unlike to have enough for relevant bonuses. As a bonus though, Charisma-focused Champion makes for a mighty intimidator too.
- Damage Reduction: Over the span of 10 levels, you get 5/- DR. This is actually a bit better than the standard Barbarian-ability and can be sometimes helpful due to the relatively fast progression. Don’t rely on this to keep you alive though.
- Resist Enhancement: Further defenses for your mind; it never hurts to be more secure against enhancements. This is on character level 9 too so you get it way before it becomes trivial.
- Fearsome Fury: This adds perfectly to the Intimidate-combo! You get an effective extra Intimidate vs. everyone! Imperious Command it up and you have a bunch of opponents most definitely cowering in your feet! Truly an ability worth taking the class for.
- Energy Resistance: So yes, you get a resistance to an energy type on 5 and it improves on 10. Free bonuses never hurt anyone.
- Immune to Charm and Compulsion: Free immunities never hurt anyone.
- Verdict: Yes! For a charismatic Barbarian, or one interested in spellcasting, this is a wonderful class. Nobody else would even be interested, so in short, this rocks! Although more than 8 levels is probably a waste.
The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts. Only the sword is worthy.
- Greatsword: It's a great sword.
- Guisarme: A reach weapon which allows for tripping. Good basic weapon choice.
- Spiked Chain: Possibly the best exotic weapon for a barbarian, since it allows you to attack everyone in a 10 foot radius and can be used for tripping.
- Locked Gauntlet: Gives a +10 bonus to resist being disarmed, and can be used to bitch slap the pansy who tried to disarm you.
- Spiked Gauntlet: Deals slightly more damage than a locked gauntlet. Fortunately, you can wear one of each type.
- Armor Spikes: Show that monk who's boss in a grapple!
- Composite Longbow: Shooting people in the face is a path full of awesome and win.
- Adamatine: Great for weapons since it allows you to overcome DR and break things.
- Collision (MiC, +2 Bonus): Adds 5 extra points of damage per hit.
- Eager (MiC, +1 Bonus): +2 to initiative when wielding, can be drawn as a free action. +2 damage on surprise and first round of combat.
- Ghost Touch (PHB, +1 Bonus): Hitting ghosts is a good thing.
- Magebane (CArc, +1 Bonus): +2 extra enhancement and +2d6 damage against Batman and anyone else who casts arcane spells.
- Merciful (PHB, +1 Bonus): Good to have if you're a Frenzied Berserker.
- Spell Storing (PHB, +1 Bonus): Delivering a spell via hitting someone in the face is fun.
- Transmuting (MiC, +2 bonus): After one hit, the weapon will automatically bypass the DR of the target. Less useful if you deal so much damage that anyone who does not have DR high in the triple digits will be dead instantly.
- Valorous (UE, +1 Bonus): Doubles damage dealt on a charge.
- Warning: (MiC, +1 Bonus): +5 to initiative.
- Wounding (PHB, +2 Bonus): Deals 1 Con damage per hit.
- Wrathful Healing (E&A, +3 Bonus): Heal half the damage you deal.
Note: There are many weapon crystals in the MiC that give or emulate some of the enchantments above. These are generally awesome and worth your while.
- Halberd of Vaulting: A 3.0e weapon from the Arms and Equipment Guide that has a +2 enhancement bonus, doubles damage on a charge when dropping from a certain height, and gives +30 to jump checks.
- Luck Blade (PHB, 22,060 gp): Keep an empty one around for the +1 luck bonus to saves and the reroll ability.
Look to your battle-gear and it will protect you
We guard it with our lives
Your armour is your Soul, and your Soul’s dedication its armour
The soul of a warrior is the shield of humanity
Honour the craft of death
Only the Emperor is higher in our devotion
Honour the battle-gear of the Dead
We ask only to serve
-Warrior's Catechism of Worship
- Studded Leather: It's cheap.
- Chain Shirt: Best light armor.
- Breastplate: Best medium armor.
- Full Plate: Best heavy armor. If you did not trade your movement bonus for Pounce, make it mithral.
- Mithral armor means you can treat heavy armor as medium. This is great.
- Animated (PHB, +2 Bonus): Have a shield without having to carry a shield!
- Displacement (MiC, +1 Bonus): Once per day, gain the effects of the Displacement spell for 5 rounds.
- Light/Medium/Heavy Fortification (PHB, +1/+3/+5 Bonus): Negating sneak attack and critical hits is useful.
- Soulfire (BoED 112, +4 Bonus): Immune to death spells, magical death effects, energy drain, and any negative energy effects. Seeing as you probably will be getting hit by all sorts of nasty creatures with your low AC, this is totally worth it.
- Note: There are many armor crystals in the MiC that give or emulate some of the enchantments above. These are generally awesome and worth your while.
- Rhino Hide (PHB, 5,165 gp): +2 armor that has an ACP of -1 and adds +2d6 to damage on a charge, even if it is a mounted charge.
And besides...the little girl will be missing her doll. We should return it to her.
- 11 foot pole: For those situations in which a 10 foot pole just won’t cut it.
- Armbands of Might (CAdv, 4100 gp): Get +2 to damage if Power Attacking for a -2 or greater penalty.
- Belt of Battle (MiC, 12,000 gp): More actions? Yes please!
- Steadfast Boots (MiC, 1400 gp): Provides a +4 bonus against bull rush, trip, or overrun attacks. Also, two handed weapons that you wield are automatically treated as being readied against chargers.
- Boots of Speed (PHB, 12,000 gp): Haste yourself for fun and profit.
- Brawndo the Thirst Mutilator: It’s like a monster truck you can pour into your face. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to crush a human skill with your fists? Well, wonder no longer, because Brawndo TASTES how that would FEEL! Made with 100% concentrated RAGE!
- Cloak of Displacement, Minor (PHB, 24,000 gp): Your armor class sucks. Might as well go for miss chances.
- Cloak of Weaponry (MiC, 2,300 gp): This item stores 25 pounds worth of nonliving material if it can fit under the cloak. Will not rupture if sharp objects are placed within.
- Figurine of Wondrous Power: Bronze Griffon (PHB, 10,000 gp): A flying mount is always useful.
- Gloves of the Titan's Grip (MiC, 7,000 gp): Provides a +8 enhancement bonus to grapple. I bet monks wish they had room for these between their Gloves of Dexterity and magical ki wraps!
- Gem of True Seeing (PHB, 75,000 gp): True Seeing is useful. Unfortunately, you have to hold onto it, which prevents you from using a two handed weapon. If only there were some way around that...
- Hand of Glory (8,000 gp): Daylight and See Invisibility 1/day to combat those pesky invisible enemies. Also gives an extra ring slot, which is literally epic.
- Hathran Mask of True Seeing (UE, 75,000 gp): Continuous True Seeing. That is all.
- Masterwork Tool (50 gp): Gives a +2 to any skill check. Masterwork tools come in many shapes and forms, so it’s ok if you can’t imagine exactly what kind of tool improves, say, UMD. It just does.
- If you must, say the masterwork tool for UMD is a yellow straw hat, blue mage’s robes, and a white porcelain mask.
- Necklace of Natural Attacks (SS, ([Enhancement+600)* # of Natural Weapons] gp): Good with Bear Warrior, as improves natural weapons like enhancements. Unfortunately, it takes up the same slot as the Amulet of Health and the Hand of Glory.
- Powerthirst: Harness the power of 400 babies and run as fast as KENYANS!
- Ring of Freedom of Movement (PHB, 40,000 gp): Hey, it lets you get to the places you need to be.
- Scabbard of Keen Edges (PHB, 16,000 gp): Better than spending a feat on Improved Critical or money on a Keen weapon.
- Vest of Freedom of Movement (MiC, 12,000 gp): Freedom of Movement for a few rounds a certain number of times per day.
- Winged Vest (MiC, 12,000 gp): Provides a limited ability to fly for cheap.
- Wings of Flying (PHB, 54,000 gp): It lets you fly and remain relevant at higher levels.
For what fortress, what city, in the wide extent of the Roman empire, can hope to exist, secure and impregnable, if it is our pleasure that it should be erased from the earth?
-Atilla the Hun
The Core Only Barbarian
Human Barbarian 1/Fighter 2/Barbarian 17
1: Power Attack
1: Iron Will
2: Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked Chain
3: Combat Reflexes
3: Blind Fight
6: Mounted Combat
9: Ride By Attack
12: Spirited Charge
18: Mounted Archery
The Core Only Barbarian Dragon Disciple
Human Barbarian 4/Fighter 2/Sorcerer 2/Dragon Disciple 4/Barbarian 8
1: Power Attack
1: Iron Will
3: Combat Reflexes
5: Improved Initiative
6: Combat Expertise
6: Improved Trip
9: Improved Disarm
15: Blind Fight
18: Improved Natural Attack: Bite
You'll need to be careful with your selection of spells, as you have a low caster level and Charisma. Mage Armor and Shield might be useful for combat. Mount is useful. Protection from Evil hedges out mind control, which is always good to have. Feather Fall could save your life. Expeditious Retreat allows you to charge forward into the enemy at a frightening pace. And, of course, there's always Enlarge Person.
You can also use Bard levels in place of Sorcerer levels. Your spellcasting is limited to cantrips, but you get to be a Bardbarian.
You can also use Bard levels in place of Sorcerer levels. Your spellcasting is limited to cantrips, but you get to be a Bardbarian.
The Horizonwalker Barbarian
Ranger1/Barbarian 2/Ranger 2/Fighter 2/Horizon Walker 9/Barbarian 6
1: Power Attack, Extra Rage
3: Improved Bull Rush
4: Two Weapon Fighting
6: Shock Trooper, Leap Attack
7: Improved Sunder
9: Steadfast Determination
12: Combat Brute
15: Battle Jump
18: Quicken SLA: Dimension Door (or whatever you want)
Horizon Walker terrains:
Desert: you resist effects that tire you. You are immune to fatigue, and anything that would cause you to become exhausted makes you fatigued instead. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against desert creatures.
Forest: You have a +4 competence bonus on Hide checks. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against forest creatures.
Marsh: You have a +4 competence bonus on Move Silently checks. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against marsh creatures.
Hills: You gain a +4 competence bonus on Listen checks. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against hills creatures.
Plains: You have a +4 competence bonus on Spot checks. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against plains creatures.
Underground : you have 60-foot darkvision, or 120-foot darkvision if you already had darkvision from another source. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against underground creatures.
Shifting (Planar): You instinctively anticipate shifts in the reality of the plane that bring you closer to your destination, giving you the spell-like ability to use dimension door (as the spell cast at your character level) once every 1d4 rounds. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against outsiders and elementals native to a shifting plane.
Cavernous (Planar): You gain tremorsense with a 30-foot range.
Aligned (Planar): You have the instinctive ability to mimic the dominant alignment of the plane. You incur none of the penalties for having an alignment at odds with that of the plane, and spells and abilities that harm those of the opposite alignment don’t affect you. You have the dominant alignment of the plane with regard to magic, but your behavior and any alignment-related Class Features you have are unaffected.
Fiery (Planar): This kind of planar terrain mastery provides you with resistance to fire 20. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against outsiders and elementals with the fire subtype.
Cold (Planar): T his kind of planar terrain mastery provides you with resistance to cold 20. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against outsiders and elementals with the cold subtype.
Sneak Attack +1d6
10 Terrain Masteries
Note that the Barbarian actually receives his Dimension Door spell like ability at character level 11, a full level before the monk gets his. Also, you can do it more than one time per day – in fact, you can do it all day long. It just has a cool down of 1d4 founds. The caster level is equal to the Barbarian’s character level instead of half the monk’s class level rounded down.
The Control Barbarian
Wolf Totem Barbarian 2 / Fighter 6 / Barbarian 12
Whirling Frenzy ACF
Str: 16, Dex: 14, Con: 16, Int: 8, Wis: 8, Cha: 14 (bump up to 15 asap)
Skill Trick: Never Outnumbered
1: Endurance, Power Attack
2: Improved Trip (Wolf Totem)
3: Combat Reflexes, Steadfast Determination
4: Intimidating Rage
6: Imperious Command, Stand Still
8: Knock Down
9: Instantaneous Rage, Endurance
12: Frightful Presence
15: Martial Study (Maneuver: Foehammer)
18: Martial Study (Stance: Thicket of Blades)
The Kung-Fu Panda
Simple Version: Human Barbarian 2/Fighter 2/Barbarian2/Fist of the Forest 3/Bear Warrior 1/Warshaper 4/Bear Warrior 7
1: Extra Rage, Great Fortitude
2: Power Attack
3: Reckless Rage, Improved Unarmed Strike
6: Knock Down
9: Extended Rage
15: Improved Natural Attack: Claws
18: Improved Natural Attack: Bite
ACFs: Spirit Lion Totem, Wolf Totem, Trap Killer
Note: Non-humans are advised not to take Extended Rage.
Dwarf Ranger 3/Barbarian 3/Deepwarden 2/Fist of the Forest 3/Bear Warrior 1/Warshaper 4/Bear Warrior 4
1: Improved Unarmed Strike
2: Power Attack (B)
3: Extra Rage
3: Endurance (B)
4: Toughness (B)
5: Improved Grapple (B)
6: Great Fortitude (B)
6: Steadfast Determination
9: Poison Healer
12: Knock Down
15: Snap Kick
18: Improved Natural Attack: (Beard)
Barbarian: Bear Totem
Ranger: Trap Expert, Strongarm Ranger
1: Improved Unarmed Strike
2: Power Attack (B)
3: Extra Rage
3: Endurance (B)
4: Toughness (B)
5: Improved Grapple (B)
6: Great Fortitude (B)
6: Steadfast Determination
9: Poison Healer
12: Knock Down
15: Snap Kick
18: Improved Natural Attack: (Beard)
Barbarian: Bear Totem
Ranger: Trap Expert, Strongarm Ranger
The Barbarian With Anger Issues
Half Orc Barbarian 2/Fighter 8/Frenzied Berserker 10
1: Extra Rage
3: Power Attack, Intimidating Rage
6: Leap Attack, Improved Bull Rush
9: Destructive Rage
10: Shock Trooper
12: Headlong Rush
15: Improved Sunder
18: Combat Brute
Barbarian: Spirit Lion Totem, Half Orc substitution level (RoD)
Fighter: Resolute ACF
Half Orc Barbarian 3/Fighter 4/Half-Orc Paragon 3/Frenzied Berserker 10
1: Extra Rage
2: Power Attack
3: Destructive Rage
6: Intimidating Rage
9: Instantaneous Rage
12: Imperious Command
15: Reckless Rage
18: Mad Foam Rager
Barbarian: Spirit Lion Totem, Wolf Totem, Trap Killer
Fighter: Resolute ACF
Breastplate of Command
Fearsome armor enchantment
Circlet of Persuasion
Notes: Half-Orc Paragon grants the Monstrous Mein ability, which gives you a +4 to your intimidate score.
Notes: Half-Orc Paragon grants the Monstrous Mein ability, which gives you a +4 to your intimidate score.
The WAAAGH Lord Half-Orc Barbarian 3/Half-Orc Paragon 1/Human Paragon 2/Orc Warlord 3/War Chanter 10/Human Paragon 1 Feats: 1: Weapon Focus 3: Intimidating Strike 6: Leadership, Might Makes Right (B) 9: Combat Expertise 12: Imperious Command 15: Intimidating Rage 18: Instantaneous Rage Items: Badge of Valor Breastplate of Command Fearsome armor enchantment Circlet of Persuasion Skill Tricks: Never Outnumbered
Notes: Half-Orc Paragon grants the Monstrous Mein ability, which gives you a +4 to your intimidate score, and Divided Ancestry, which allows them to take levels in either human or orc paragon. Human Paragon grants Adaptive Learning, which helps you get the skills needed for your prestige classes, and a bonus feat at second level.
Notes: Half-Orc Paragon grants the Monstrous Mein ability, which gives you a +4 to your intimidate score, and Divided Ancestry, which allows them to take levels in either human or orc paragon. Human Paragon grants Adaptive Learning, which helps you get the skills needed for your prestige classes, and a bonus feat at second level.
Playing the Barbarian
Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you, Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!
-Conan the Cimmerian
In battle: You must charge in and hit things hard with your legendary Barbarian Rage. Then stand still and hit things hard. Intimidate people and/or trip them if you are a control type of Barbarian. Try to protect the squishies so they can rain doom upon your enemies and whatnot.
However, you must never grapple something larger than you that has any combination of the following: fangs, claws, horns, spikes, tentacles, genitacles, poisonous secretions, negative energy auras, and molecular disintegration fields.
Leave that for the monks.
Scouting: Growing up in the wilderness and having been raised by wolves and all has made you as sneaky as the best city thief. Use your legendary Barbarian Stealth to your advantage; reconnoiter ahead of the party, sneak around, track enemies, and keep an ear out for danger. Show that rogue how a real man scouts!
Social skills: This is where barbarians really shine; not only do they get Intimidate as a class skill, but they have the huge, bulging muscles to give it a massive circumstance bonus. In addition, diplomacy towards female characters becomes much easier, thanks to your legendary Barbarian Sex Appeal. (May work on the men, too, depending on the kind of Barbarian you play.)
Enemies and Rivals
The greatest pleasure in life is to crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.
-Conan the Cimmerian
Don’t you mean to say: The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters?
… I’ll be back.
-Conan the Terminator
All that is natural - whether strength of arms, or strength of magic - flows from nature. The druid, the sorcerer, the ranger, and even the bard each pull magic from life. They can be commended. The cleric and the paladin both pull magic from the heavens. Be wary, for though gods may be both good and evil, all are fickle and prone to wrath. Even so, there can be much good in this too, for has not Kord benefited his children for untold millennia?
But the wizard… it is the wizard that seeks to grasp the mysteries of the world and tear them asunder. It is the wizard that manipulates nations and the fates of thousands in mad grasps for power. Be wary of any who would impose their will above the will of the land. Nature will exist. Any who defy it will eventually be destroyed by it. The strongest buildings, empires, and monuments are swallowed by forest in time. No, trust not in false promises from those who do not follow nature's order. They are to be destroyed.
Some may say that another guide for beating mages exists, that a monk has beaten me to the punch. Read on, and I am confident that you will see the light - that at the end of the day, it is cold steel that will do the slaying, not wimpy slapping about. The Barbarian shall be the mage’s bane, and the monk who claims that he is up to the task is merely experiencing delusions of competence. Inept in fighting and inferior in sneaking, only thing the monk can do better than the Barbarian is moving faster, an ability that the Barbarian doesn’t even need as he won’t be running away in shame nearly as often.
Well, that’s not entirely true. The monk can also fall slowly, resist mundane diseases, heal himself slightly, stun people by blowing, kill someone instantly with acupuncture once a week, and talk to Pocahontas and all her little woodland friends.
The staunch Barbarian can easily match the monk in these fields by taking the damage like a man, drinking orange juice, raging, hitting people with the axe, hitting people harder with the axe, and seducing Pocahontas over a barbeque of woodland friends, respectively.
“My answer to the accusations of the monk’s effectiveness is below:
No, it's not possible. Are you ****ing kidding me? Even if you use all of the above advice (which was half thrown together by me so I could type THIS, so maybe you'd better look somewhere else anyways) and get 40 point buy, the Barbarian is still going to take a paddle to you and all you're going to get out of the encounter is humiliation and a red butt!”
-Vael, the Optimized Monk Guide
Beating up Batman
To those naysayers who are so pessimistic about beating wizards, if they don’t have the guts to try, I call them girlie men!
-Conan the Republican
It is not enough that I should succeed – all others must fail!
-Conan the Chronically Upstaged
There has long been a misconception among the ‘civilized’ that barbarians only know how to smash things (and people). However, they fail to realize the enormous wizard-killing potential inherent in the Barbarian.
Not only is the Barbarian tough enough to survive the wizard’s evocation attacks, but he also has enough fortitude to shrug off many critical spells that target the body. He is also protected against those enchantments that rely on strength of will to work due to his steadfast determination.
Even the much vaunted battlefield control spells are less of an obstacle for the Barbarian, for he can quickly bypass them with his faster movement speed, jump over them as part of a charge, or if indoors, smash through walls in order to create a new route to his enemy.
When charging, a Barbarian can deal enough damage to one-shot even the mightiest of mages. What’s more, due to Barbarian’s natural stealthiness, the wizard will literally never see it coming. It is for no small reason that the fearsome Lion Totem Charge-Pounce Surprise is commonly known as the Barbarian Sneak Attack.
The weaker wizards are the easiest to handle with this tactic, as you might expect. One solid strike will often take them out, especially if you target their weak points for massive damage. Wrestling them also works, as they won’t be able to cast spells while grappled, leaving you free to administer the legendary Barbarian Atomic Wedgie.
More experienced wizards require greater cunning to take down, as they will often be Shape Change Astral Projection Ghost Form Displacement Greater Blinking Contingency Celerity Overland Flight Foresighted. One should be careful to avoid direct combat with such powerful wizard at the beginning, instead, perhaps distracting him with expendables. Convincing a bunch of Antimagic Field endowed monks to take him on for you, for example, would be an excellent way of forcing the caster to waste his resources before you had to fight him.
Obviously monks are unable to fly, so they will have difficulty reaching a flying and invisible wizard. Your best bet is to pinpoint the wizard by listening carefully and then fling the monk at that general area. This is a surprisingly effective tactic, as the Barbarian can punt a monk further than the monk can run.
When the wizard enters the antimagic field, his spells will vanish, causing him to appear and drop to the ground. The flying monk will also get a chance to grapple the wizard in passing, and allowing him to perhaps accomplish one useful thing. The other monks may pull out their wands of Dispel Magic and try to divest the wizard of his many protective spells. Eventually, one of them is bound to succeed.
Whatever the tactic, the eventual goal is to bring down the caster somehow, preferably with the maximum number of casualties among the monks. After the wizard has been worn down, a simple charge attack is all that is needed to finish him. Even if the wizard is tough enough to deal with the sheer amount of punishment you can dish out, he will still have to contend with the Barbarian’s save or die effect: death from massive damage. This is something that he is unlikely to pass with his weak fortitude save, and what’s more, this save or die can be triggered each round at higher levels, instead of once per week.
Of course, to take this strategy one step further, one could simply convince two wizards to fight each other by sneaking into one’s tower, defacing the interior, and blaming it on the other wizard, thus ensuring that a feud will develop. Alternatively, a band of adventurers can always be hired at the nearest drinking establishment to troubleshoot a particularly bothersome mage.
If all else fails, keep in mind that the wizard's effectiveness is limited to a large extent by the DM; many of the wizard's more powerful spells, ie, Planar Binding or Wish, rely on ambiguous rules interpretation. This is a weak point, as it is therefore subject to DM discretion, unlike partially charged wands and masterwork tools of UMD whose rules are laid down clearly. You can convince the DM to rule in favor of less powerful spells, which will result in less powerful – and more easily killed – wizards.