D&D (2024) 2024 Player's Handbook Reveal #4: "New Barbarian"

A look at the new 2024 Barbarian class for D&D!

New Barbarian video!

We last saw the Barbarian with the World Tree subclass in the UA Playtest 8 (=PT8), with other subclasses (Zealot, Wild Heart, and Berserker) in PT7. There's a fair number of new things since we've last seen the class, noted below.

  • weapon mastery at 1
  • RAGE. It's easier to maintain rage: you can either force a save (works for Dragonborn) or use your bonus action to keep it going (as in PT8). [There was no mention of the short-rest recharge (not in PT7, present in PT8, but I imagine it's stilll there, since I'm certain it was a popular change.]
  • Danger sense at 2: sight no longer needed; only ends if incapacitated (as in PT8)
  • Primal Knowledge at 3: ability checks used with strength regardless of what normal ability would be (as in PT8). Intimidation, Stealth, Persuasion, etc. [PT8 also has Acrobatics and Survival]. "effectively a supernatural ability". Todd explains the strength-stealth with reference to the spiders in the Hobbit.
  • NEW: you also get a skill proficiency at 3.
  • Instinctive Pounce at 7 (as PT8)
  • Brutal Strike at 9 (as PT8): add-on effects, with extra options at 13.
  • NEW: with Brutal strike you also get extra damage with these effects, with that damage increasing at level 13.
  • Relentless Rage at 11. No mention or discussion of the saving throws needed.

World Tree
  • "about the barbarian turning their gaze outward...connecting to the World Tree". Leaning into "barbarian as tank" [There's a Dungeon Dudes discussion of this subclass here.]
  • At the highest level, teleporting (and so like PT8, but not the planar travel from PT7. I had really hoped the planar travel option would be restored.
  • also interacts with weapon masteries. (as in PT8, presumably).
  • "the classics barbarian subclass". Main goal was to redesign Frenzy.
  • NEW: Frenzy at 3: building on reckless attack, you deal more damage once per turn. There's no exhaustion (as in PHB 2014), but now it only works 1/turn.
  • Mindless Rage at 6 and Retaliation at 10 both as in PT7.
  • Intimidating Presence at 14 (higher level, but anyone within 30', activated by a bonus action).
Wild Heart (former Totem Warrior)
  • more flexibility than before: with many options modified.
  • NEW: for two of the features [Rage of the Wilds at 3, Power of the Wilds at 14], you get to choose the animal every time you activate them; with one [Aspect of the wilds at 6], you choose the passive ability each long rest. This is HUGE.
  • NEW: Option at 6 "more useful": Salmon for a swim speed, Panther for a climb speed, Owl for darkvision. This is really different than what was in PT7, where you received expertise in a skill. [I question whether this is more useful, but it does avoid the "trap" of not being proficient in the skill you want to select at level 6, and so avoiding the chance for Expertise. On the other hand, the barbarian with expertise in Investigation was something I really wanted to try out, and that's now gone (as a default class option).]
  • Nothing about Animal Speaker/Nature speaker.
  • originally in Xanathar, changed here.
  • Warrior of the Gods -- small pool for healing (as in PT7)
  • NEW: Fanatical Focus at 6 now comes with a bonus to the re-roll (bonus not specified)
  • NEW: Rage of the Gods at 14, no longer requires you to go to zero HP. Gives you divine powers: flight, damage resistance, and thwart other people's death with a reaction.
  • no new rules reveals.

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Having run a playtest campaign for 6 months now, the Barbarian basically has limitless Rage, because it lasts for 10 minutes and comes back on a short rest. Its usage limits will only come up if your combat encounters are paced at very specific time intervals.

I didn't see them mention whether the short rest recovery is still in.

World Tree Barb's 2d6 temphp to an ally is really annoying to keep rolling for. I like the effect, of not needing a healer if you soften the damage in the first place, but the implementation is awkward.
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