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.

OVERVIEW
  • 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.
SUBCLASSES

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).
Berserker
  • "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.
Zealot
  • 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.
NEW RULES
  • no new rules reveals.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Not only is it a useful quality of life upgrade in combat, but it's an absolutely necessary change to enable the out of combat uses of Rage. The former is good so you don't have silly things like Barbarians punching themselves to maintain Rage (yes, I saw that in actual play once). The latter is good because it gives Barbarians more things to do that aren't hitting people.

But what if I don't want there to be out of combat rage uses and I like the idea of a barbarian doing hit point damage to themself in an effort to continue? That seems much more interesting and flavorful trade off to me.

Heck, if it wasn't that the DM already has enough to keep track of I'd probably have houseruled rage already so that the player hands over their HP total when the rage starts and then doesn't know what it is until the rage is over - like it was in 2E.

EDIT TO ADD: Just because I don't like it doesn't mean I'm not glad people who wanted this stuff are getting it. I will just continue building my Vanity 5E ruleset and hope it is done enough for the next time I start a new campaign.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

My Totem (now Wild Heart) Barbarian weeps tears of joy at the change to how totem features can be picked. Choosing at the start of each Rage, or changing the passives each day, would be so incredibly useful.

This is because I wanted to be clever with my original build, and picked the Eagle totem as the level 3 feature, because there was a playstyle I intended to use. However, changes in the party setup made it so that it never actually worked. I think I used it once in the entire campaign from levels 3 to 19.

Granted, Bear would have also been basically useless for almost the entire campaign, other than a dragon fight around level 16, and a couple other minor things. I mainly wished I'd picked Wolf.

But being able to choose for each fight? Even the nerf to Bear (can only choose two resistances, even if you can pick each fight) is completely trivialized compared to that.
 

Not a fan of the bonus action to maintain thing. It feels like stripping the flavorful potential downside or complication of the class (are they doing this for all classes?) in favor of the “you can do nearly everything nearly all the time” feel that I didn’t like about 4e and that I didn’t think was toned down enough for 5e. I’ll be sticking to the 2014 barbarian, methinks. So far the Fighter is the only one I think I’d use.
I think it is exactly the opposite. Not being able to maintain rage in noncombat situations was hindering more than it helped.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I think it is exactly the opposite. Not being able to maintain rage in noncombat situations was hindering more than it helped.

Hindered what? Helped what?

Not everything should always be helpful.

I know. . . I know. . . I am a weirdo who thinks having to consider and sometimes make sub-optimal choices are an important feature of the game that make it challenging and fun. It is those kinds of choices I find interesting (and probably why terrain and location are a big aspect of how I run combat).
 

Kurotowa

Legend
Just because I don't like it doesn't mean I'm not glad people who wanted this stuff are getting it. I will just continue building my Vanity 5E ruleset and hope it is done enough for the next time I start a new campaign.
If you prefer the 2014 version, or are working on your own variant, more power to you. I just beg you not to turn into one of those hatewatchers who has nothing better to do than show up in threads about new books you'll never buy to complain about how nothing is the way you want it and everything is terrible. That's no good for you, and just craps up the discussion for everyone else.
 


TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
If you prefer the 2014 version, or are working on your own variant, more power to you. I just beg you not to turn into one of those hatewatchers who has nothing better to do than show up in threads about new books you'll never buy to complain about how nothing is the way you want it and everything is terrible. That's no good for you, and just craps up the discussion for everyone else.
I’m don’t think everything is terrible.

The other stuff, though, yea, totally there for all that. :)
 

Hindered what? Helped what?

Not everything should always be helpful.

I know. . . I know. . . I am a weirdo who thinks having to consider and sometimes make sub-optimal choices are an important feature of the game that make it challenging and fun. It is those kinds of choices I find interesting (and probably why terrain and location are a big aspect of how I run combat).
The trouble is, bad design and classes or abilities that just don't work very well are very often defended by people on the grounds that they're "interesting choices" or "suboptimal but cool" (particularly often by people who don't actually play that class/spec).

Like, if I had a dollar for every time I'd seen bad design or poor balance defended on these grounds, I'd have literally thousands of dollars. I do mean literally thousands, not metaphorically. Yes that means I spend too much time on the internet, but it's really that common! And it's often very hard to separate something that's genuinely interesting, from something that's just bad design, and it's clearly better to err on the side of making the game work better than making the game annoying/fiddly/etc. but "interesting" as a general principle. Here, I don't think this was sufficiently interesting for the annoyance and clunky-ness it caused. That's obviously just my opinion, but I'm glad WotC seems to share it here (even whilst they add clunk and annoyance elsewhere). You can go too far, but it takes a very, very long time.
Can an elven barbarian rage while trancing?
I don't think you can take any actions at all whilst trancing, which would include Bonus Actions.
 


My Totem (now Wild Heart) Barbarian weeps tears of joy at the change to how totem features can be picked. Choosing at the start of each Rage, or changing the passives each day, would be so incredibly useful.

This is because I wanted to be clever with my original build, and picked the Eagle totem as the level 3 feature, because there was a playstyle I intended to use. However, changes in the party setup made it so that it never actually worked. I think I used it once in the entire campaign from levels 3 to 19.

Granted, Bear would have also been basically useless for almost the entire campaign, other than a dragon fight around level 16, and a couple other minor things. I mainly wished I'd picked Wolf.

But being able to choose for each fight? Even the nerf to Bear (can only choose two resistances, even if you can pick each fight) is completely trivialized compared to that.
My own "Wild Heart" barbarian died at level 9 last year, but I would have loved the recent design, so that I could have worked more like BraveStarr!
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top