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.
 

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Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Also from that Treantmonk video, Bear resistance is confirmed to be nerfed.

Which is going to make Barbarians feel really squishy now that monsters have more elemental attacks.
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Going back to the infinite rage thing, so...why bother having it be a limited resource in the first place if you can indefinitely extend the duration? Just give them those bonuses permanently, since that's effectively what they are now, only you're making people do a little extra book work for no reason. I expect barbarian PCs to wake up from a long rest, rage, and tell the referee they're using all their bonus actions for the day to maintain the rage. I like the change re: more access to rage and easier to maintain, but I don't like that it's tied to a limited resource with an effectively infinite duration. Just eliminate the limited resource aspect.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
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.

Yeah, that was a massive change, and I'm super excited about it. They likely didn't add in the elk, but I could see sliding it into the game to help with overland travel too.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Not about suboptimal choices.

My wife's barbarian wanted to rage and swim in cold water to reach a girl that was drowned.
I allowed her to keep the rage going for the whole swim. I don't remember if I ad hoc decided to deal 1 damage each turn for the cold water (but did not apply that to the girl).
But just allowing the barbarian to keep rage going would have been easier.

And that is totally something I expect you should do with your rage.

Oh, that is a beautiful usage for rage. Love it.
 

Also from that Treantmonk video, Bear resistance is confirmed to be nerf.

Which is going to make Barbarians feel really squishy now that monsters have more elemental attacks.
Confirmed to be nerfed compared to 2014, but better than the playtest (where you could pick two resistances at a time). Whether they feel "squishy" is up for debate.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Also from that Treantmonk video, Bear resistance is confirmed to be nerf.

Which is going to make Barbarians feel really squishy now that monsters have more elemental attacks.

Well, to be fair, "resistance to everything except psychic damage" was going to be a nerf no matter what they changed. But he indicated it was stronger than the version in the last UA packet.

And honestly, if it just ends up being "resistance to fire, cold, lightning, acid, and poison damage" that would still be REALLY REALLY good... even if it is a nerf from "everything"
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Going back to the infinite rage thing, so...why bother having it be a limited resource in the first place if you can indefinitely extend the duration? Just give them those bonuses permanently, since that's effectively what they are now, only you're making people do a little extra book work for no reason. I expect barbarian PCs to wake up from a long rest, rage, and tell the referee they're using all their bonus actions for the day to maintain the rage. I like the change re: more access to rage and easier to maintain, but I don't like that it's tied to a limited resource with an effectively infinite duration. Just eliminate the limited resource aspect.

You can't extend it indefinitely, it lasts 10 minutes. It just can be extended during those 10 minutes by attacking, forcing a save, or using your bonus action.
 




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