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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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
So glad to see this made it into the final book. I literally ran a session last weekend where this came up and I felt terrible that the barbarian player - who was making a huge contribution to the adventure by tanking some bad guys while the rogue disabled an evil artifact - couldn't keep his rage going after dashing over to block the baddies.

I feel some cognitive dissonance between “making a huge contribution” and your feeling “terrible.”

I mean, not that you should have to explain your feelings to me. But if someone has made a huge contribution, it seems strange to me to feel terrible because they could not extend it a little more.
 

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Its all just so typical of 5e design and Wizards behavior for the last decade. No commitment to a direction (unless its twee art apparently) and just a whole bunch of 'lets ride the fence and annoy everyone'.
Buy look at how well it turned out. By being on the fence about everything, it creates space for an enpowered DM to run the game as they see fit.
 

Treantmonk (who has a preview copy of the PHB) said that persuasion isn't on the list and Jeremy and Todd were talking out their kiester...
Apparently, Persuasion was a mistake.


And yea, that one seemed off.


Edit: i bet he misread Perception.

As of the playtest: Acrobatics, Intimidation, Perception, Stealth, or Survival.
Circling back to this...

Take with the customary grain of salt as prescribed by your physician, but I was watching NerdImmersion's stream going over the Barbarian changes and he noted that while not part of the group of creators selected to do preview videos like we've been getting this week, he was sent a review copy, and also that WotC has since sent him an email saying that a more up-to-date version would be sent out in a couple of weeks, implying that what he has isn't the final version.

So it could be a situation where Persuasion wasn't on the list in the initial review copy they sent out but has since been added, or conversely, that it was there when they filmed these interviews but has since been removed.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see... I still like the mental imagery of "HULK SOCIALIZE!!!!" though.
 

mearls

Hero
I feel some cognitive dissonance between “making a huge contribution” and your feeling “terrible.”

I mean, not that you should have to explain your feelings to me. But if someone has made a huge contribution, it seems strange to me to feel terrible because they could not extend it a little more.
It felt pretty lame to be like, "Wow, you are being heroic and using your ability in a really fun way," and then, "OK you might die."

In this case, the player realized that they had lost rage just as the bad guys' turn started. It felt pretty dumb to contradict him and let him keep it, since he knew the rules well enough, but also lame to undermine what everyone thought was a smart use of rage (everyone assumed he be taking half damage, including me). It's also not clear that he would have acted that way had he remembered his rage was gone.

It's a good example of the rules getting in the way of the story, IMO, especially since my designer brain knows that the limit on rage's duration is not a big balancing factor. It would be cleaner to just cap it at 5 minutes or something.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
It felt pretty lame to be like, "Wow, you are being heroic and using your ability in a really fun way," and then, "OK you might die."

In this case, the player realized that they had lost rage just as the bad guys' turn started. It felt pretty dumb to contradict him and let him keep it, since he knew the rules well enough, but also lame to undermine what everyone thought was a smart use of rage (everyone assumed he be taking half damage, including me). It's also not clear that he would have acted that way had he remembered his rage was gone.

It's a good example of the rules getting in the way of the story, IMO, especially since my designer brain knows that the limit on rage's duration is not a big balancing factor. It would be cleaner to just cap it at 5 minutes or something.
Thanks for the explanation. I think I would have just seen that as a dramatic moment (and perhaps a moment to use another use of Rage if they had any left).
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
So...just have it last 10 minutes. Why the extra paperwork and keeping track? It's pointless busy work for busy work's sake.

Because if you get paralyzed or otherwise lose your actions, you lose rage. Just like before.

Its all just so typical of 5e design and Wizards behavior for the last decade. No commitment to a direction (unless its twee art apparently) and just a whole bunch of 'lets ride the fence and annoy everyone'.

Or, you know, keeping counter-play options for raging barbarians, like hold person, sleep, hypnotic pattern, or anything else that can cause you to not take any actions on your turn.
 

Because if you get paralyzed or otherwise lose your actions, you lose rage. Just like before.



Or, you know, keeping counter-play options for raging barbarians, like hold person, sleep, hypnotic pattern, or anything else that can cause you to not take any actions on your turn.
You raise good points.

I do think it would have been cleaner to just say rage last 10 minutes, then add a sentence saying something like, "Your rage ends early if you choose to end it (no action required) or if you gain the Incapacitated condition." But that's just a minor quibble.
 

Shadowedeyes

Adventurer
The bonus action to extend rage seems to me like it is there to keep some of the thematic restrictions of attacking an enemy, which I actually do like, giving the Barbarian an option in a pinch to keep from losing it in combat when necessary at a small cost, and allowing it to be used as an out of combat resource. We know from the videos they were looking to increase out of combat presence for classes that lacked it, and so this is the compromise.
 

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