Barbarian Archetype: Wild Soul [PEACH]

MechaPilot

Explorer
I've created a new barbarian archetype for my home game, and I was curious what the community reaction might be. Any constructive comments, concerns or criticisms are more than welcome.

Edit: looks like this might be the final revision, so I've thrown in some flavor text. Sorry about the formatting. I did the best I could with it.

Jacob and his son Thomas were simple folk. On most days, they could be found on the farm. But, on this day, they stalked the woods looking for the beast that had been raiding their livestock. As they took a not so worn path round a large tree they spotted a cloaked man lying injured upon the ground. Approaching him, they quickly found that he was dead, savaged apparently by the same creature that plagued their farm. Jacob felt his son’s had upon his shoulder and looked up from the dead man. His eyes stopped as the woman came into view.
She wore furs, and very little of them by the village’s standards. Her bare skin was smeared with color, forming bizarre symbols across her body. On her arms she wore bracers adorned with bloody claw-like blades protruding past her hands.

Jacob recognized her kind, slowly rising to his feet and putting himself between Thomas and the wild woman. Keeping his eyes on her but never meeting her gaze, Jacob very slowly backed his son and himself out of her view.

After a few minutes Thomas overflowed with curiosity. “Who was that?”

“Remember that wounded dog you tried to help when you were younger?”

Thomas rubbed the scar on his left hand, “It bit me. . . then it ran away.”

“Some beasts walk like men. They look like us, mostly, but their heart and soul is that of a wild animal.”

Touching the hair that fell over where his left ear should’ve been, Jacob added “When they taste blood, they don’t run.”


Barbarian Archetype: Wild Soul
Some barbarians worship nature spirits, adopting them as totem animals that grant them mystical power. Others, reveling in violence for its own sake. However, you walk the line between man and beast. In your rage you lose the nobler aspirations of the totem warrior, and some of the trappings of man, but you don’t revel in violence. You become like a wounded animal, cornered and with no hope for survival but to summon a fury so fast and terrible that none can stand against it.

Bestial Nature
You find cities and civilization unnatural and uncomfortable, but you’re perfectly at-home living in the wild. You even understand socializing with animals better than you do with other people. You gain proficiency in the Animal Handling and Survival skills, and you can choose one animal language to speak and understand (canine, feline, avian, etc). However, you’re unable to take a long rest while in a city or other urban environment, and you have disadvantage on Charisma checks against those native to an urban environment.

While raging, you have disadvantage on Intelligence and Charisma checks, except for those made to intimidate others. Additionally, your rages overwhelm you to the point you can barely speak, preferring one- or two-syllable words and animalistic grunting and yelling.

War Paint
You can take one hour to ritually apply pigments to your skin, forming various symbols of power that are deeply personal to you and that grant you protection in combat. The pigments must be specially made by you, requiring components with a value of 5 gp. While wearing war paint, your Armor Class is equal to 12 + your proficiency modifier + your dexterity modifier. If you wear armor or use a shield, your lack of faith in the power of the painted-on sigils negates the benefit of the war paint until it’s reapplied. Otherwise, the benefits last for 8 hours.


Momentum
When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you learn to harness the relentlessness & brutality of anger and adrenaline. While raging, at the end of your turn, if you made at least one successful melee attack, you gain one momentum die, which is a d4. If you made at least one melee attack that was a critical hit, you gain two momentum dice. If you didn’t attack during your turn, you lose one momentum die. You can have no more than three momentum dice at any one time. If your rage ends, any remaining momentum dice are immediately lost.
Spending momentum dice allows you to perform the following abilities:

Brutality: When you deal damage in melee combat you may spend one or more momentum dice and add the result to your damage roll.

Fearsome: When you kill a foe, as a bonus action you can spend a momentum die to try to intimidate one of that foe’s allies within 30 feet of you. The chosen foe must attempt a Wisdom saving throw. The DC of the Wisdom saving throw is 8 + proficiency modifier + Cha modifier. On a failed saving throw, the foe becomes frightened. At the end of each of its turns, the foe can repeat the saving throw to try to end the effect. On a successful saving throw, the target has disadvantage on its next attack.
You can affect more than one foe by spending one die per foe you want to intimidate. You can’t use this ability on a foe if it didn’t see you kill its ally.

Ferocious Defense: When a creature enters the area you threaten, you can spend two momentum dice and your reaction to make an attack of opportunity against it.

Revenge: When a foe within 5 feet of you makes a melee attack that damages you or any of your allies within 5 feet of you, as a reaction you can spend two momentum dice to make a melee attack against that enemy.

Swift: As a bonus action you may spend one or more momentum dice to increase your base movement speed by 10 feet per die spent. The increased rate of movement lasts until the end of your turn.

Unfettered Aggression: When you move close enough to an enemy to make a melee attack against it, you can spend two momentum dice and your bonus action to make one melee attack against it.


Perpetual Motion
At 6th level, you don’t lose a momentum die if you use your action to dash instead of attack.

Pack Leader
At 6th level, you gain advantage on Charisma checks against beasts.

Improved Momentum Dice
At 10th level, your momentum dice become d6s. At 18th level they become d8s.

Comprehend Beasts
At 10th level, you gain the ability to speak with and understand all beasts.

Crushing Savagery
At 14th level, your savagery and brutality allows you to damage your foes’ bodies, temporarily impairing them. You gain the Debilitating Strike ability, see below. Additionally, you gain one momentum die when you enter a rage.

Debilitating Strike: As an action, you can spend three momentum dice to make a single attack roll. If the attack is a success, you deal damage normally for the attack, and the target must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 8 + your proficiency modifier + your Strength modifier. On a failed saving throw, you inflict an injury on the enemy. The enemy can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, throwing off the effect with a successful saving throw. Choose from the following injuries:


  • Boxed Ears: The target’s speed is halved, and it’s deafened.
  • Head Injury: The target has disadvantage on Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma checks, as well as on all Intelligence saving throws.
  • Injured Arm: The target drops whatever it’s holding in the injured arm, and it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks that require it to use the injured arm.

  • Injured Leg: The target’s speed is halved, and it has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws and any ability checks or attack rolls that require it to use the injured leg.

  • Injured Ribs: The target has disadvantage Strength and Constitution saving throws, and Strength ability checks.
  • Throat Punch: The target can’t speak or breathe.
 
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CTurbo

Villager
It's interesting. So you're meant to gain Momentum dice all the time then which means you'll get a lot of use out of them. Sounds strictly superior to Battlemaster for this reason. At 5th level you could theoretically use 2 per turn all combat long. 3 per turn at level 11. I guess if you use the same exact formula as Battlemaster it would be too similar.

Maybe you gain 1 every time you crit or 3 every time you kill an enemy? That way you're not using them ALL the time?
 

Myzzrym

Explorer
Agreed with CTurbo, it seems interesting but over-tuned. Most powers in D&D 5e are gated by time (Long Rest / Short Rest), here you can sustain it almost every round. On top of that it's very versatile, and throat punch would be strong enough already if it lasted only 1 round (plus it's getting overcomplicated, trim the effect a little keep it simple)
 

Quartz

Explorer
In addition to what the others have said, the Throat Punch should allow the use of a shield to perform the action.

Breaking seems to be Not Fun and you're double-dipping on the dice to boot. It's also of limited use against critters with more than two legs or more than two arms.

You might consider recasting this as a Barbarian archetype with the relentlessness being recast as Rage.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
I'm open to changing how fast you gain them. I've also toyed with the idea that you lose one each time you get hit by an enemy (as the hit disrupts your momentum). But, I feel like doing that would require tuning up the value of the dice. I will also point out that the momentum dice start as d4s and end as d8s, while the battlemaster's dice start as d8s and end as d12s.
 

Quartz

Explorer
But the Battlemaster gets very few superiority dice and has to spend them judiciously. Your archetype gets momentum dice every fight. How about restricting it to once per Short Rest with Crushing Savagery turning it to an at-will power?

But I still think this is better as a Barbarian archetype as a reworking of Rage.
 

Satyrn

Villager
I think you could slow down accumlating dice by saying "At the end of your turn, if you made at least one successful melee attack, you gain one momentum die, which is a d4. If you made at least one melee attack that was a critical hit, you gain two momentum dice. If you didn’t attack during your turn, you lose one momentum die."

This way, you can't get more dice by making more attacks in a single round, but having more attacks means you have a better chance of getting one.
 

Seramus

Explorer
I really love that it gets resources every fight, instead of short or long rests. Martials suffer from auto-attack syndrome in this edition, so this is a neat way to keep some mechanics rolling most of the time. That said, I could build a crit fisher that lets me get multiple momentum almost every single turn, so something like "At the end of your turn" like @Satyrn said would probably be best.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
The concept is interesting the execution is extremely broken. (as is typical for first draft home brew designs) Lets see if we can keep the good idea and reign it in a bit.

Throat Punch is super broken as it is. Many fights don't last 10 rounds and at level 18 your allowing a possible 8 round silence on each caster you hit with not concentration limit and 3 uses. That basically reduces Casters to ThunderClap, Ice knife, and/or catapult which clerics have none of these and the only one widely accessible is ThunderClap which is a low damage melee range spell that has a constitution save for half of which fighters are proficient.... The result of this is this fighter being able to solo 3 full casters fairly easily. If that Fighter takes the "Mage Slayer" feat casters should just run.

Their are 6 full caster classes and caster variants of all the others. Broken Arm allows you to remove great weapon master barbarian berserkers and DPR great weapon master paladins weapons nerfing them hell out of them. Swift lets you catch even monks. At that point this becomes hands down the most deadly pvp subclass in the game. Then you look at being able to add 1d4-1d8 to attack and AC you will trivialize armor in others and allow for you to get an nasty 24-28AC pretty much every round. Solo tank an ancient dragon which has a 22AC and a +17 to hit (you will have a +12 to + 19)? Sure, take the tough feat and insure you have a decent constitution to close the difference in HP and it should not be an issue. Even at lower levels you can easily get AC21-24 making this the highest AC subclass from 1-20 hands down. (Go dex fighter, Human variant feat medium armor master +3 dex bonus on medium armor + scale mail 14 + 2 shield + 1 defensive fighting style + Parry momentum dice = AC21-24 at level 1... likely every round)

- If you limit throat punch to 1 round you can still lock down 1 caster pretty easily but if they double dash (taking an attack of opportunity) then they have some chance at fighting back.

- If you limit momentum dice to 1 per turn where you hit at least once on the previous turn, or 2 if you critical on the previous turn you can still chose some really awesome options without being stupid broken. (As Satyrn suggested)

- "Breaking" should be changed to a "Disabling strike" and all the effects should last one round instead of permanent debuffs or you can just walk through a group and break everyone one turn at time. Break arm = disarming strike, Break leg = Knee strike, Broken Ribs = head strike. They are all very powerful as they are and could even being used once each turn shut down a single target or 2 if you crit. As long as you hit once you can make a barbarian next to useless or just striate prevent them from fighting. That is plenty powerful.

- "Improved Momentum Dice" is to broad. I say this because your AC, damage, and to hit already scale with access to better armor, more attacks, and increasing proficiency bonus so your doubling a scaling bonus by scaling the dice too. Instead of just being an unstoppable juggernaut... perhaps something more unique. "Pressing the advantage" after using a momentum dice gain improved accuracy and hitting your opponents all strikes against the same target have advantage until you miss, take damage, or start your next turn. I recommend this because advantage doesn't stack, its only useful against one strong target, and it allows for a lasting effect that lets you hold the momentum a bit longer. It also makes offense more temping than Defense so that your not an unbeatable juggernaut and making it possible to hurt you in exchange for a better hit average for a whole round.
 
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MechaPilot

Explorer
It's interesting. So you're meant to gain Momentum dice all the time then which means you'll get a lot of use out of them. Sounds strictly superior to Battlemaster for this reason. At 5th level you could theoretically use 2 per turn all combat long. 3 per turn at level 11. I guess if you use the same exact formula as Battlemaster it would be too similar.

Maybe you gain 1 every time you crit or 3 every time you kill an enemy? That way you're not using them ALL the time?
In addition to just being different from the Battlemaster, I specifically wanted something that starts each fight with no resources and has to earn them as they go. I went with a lower die value specifically because I knew the dice would accumulate quickly. However, I feel like [MENTION=6801204]Satyrn[/MENTION] had a great idea for limiting the pace of gaining Momentum (as well as fixing a wording issue I missed on my first draft, and on my review before posting it here).


Agreed with CTurbo, it seems interesting but over-tuned. Most powers in D&D 5e are gated by time (Long Rest / Short Rest), here you can sustain it almost every round. On top of that it's very versatile, and throat punch would be strong enough already if it lasted only 1 round (plus it's getting overcomplicated, trim the effect a little keep it simple)
As previously mentioned, part of the point was to specifically avoid rest-gating. This kind of fighter (or barbarian, if I take that part of [MENTION=40552]Quartz[/MENTION] advice) doesn't do their best work when they get up from a rest; that's when they're at their worst. They're at their best when they're immersed in a cocktail of blood, sweat and adrenaline; running along the razor's edge of the fight-or-flight instinct.

Throat punch probably does need a tweak, looking at it again. Maybe a save at the end of each of the target's turns to throw off the effect.

As for the archetype being versatile: well, if versatility were inherently bad then wizards casting ritual spells should fall by the wayside as well.


In addition to what the others have said, the Throat Punch should allow the use of a shield to perform the action.

Breaking seems to be Not Fun and you're double-dipping on the dice to boot. It's also of limited use against critters with more than two legs or more than two arms.

You might consider recasting this as a Barbarian archetype with the relentlessness being recast as Rage.
Can you please elaborate on what it is that you find not fun about the Breaking ability? Most of the people I've mentioned it to think it sounds really cool. I'd appreciate some honest feedback from someone with a different point of view on it.

Also, the "double-dipping" on the breaking ability is in-line with several Battlemaster features who add their superiority die to damage even if the target makes its save against the maneuver. Breaking is a little bit light in that regard because if the target fails the save and gets the lasting injury, you don't do the three momentum dice worth of extra damage to it.


But the Battlemaster gets very few superiority dice and has to spend them judiciously. Your archetype gets momentum dice every fight. How about restricting it to once per Short Rest with Crushing Savagery turning it to an at-will power?

But I still think this is better as a Barbarian archetype as a reworking of Rage.
Gaining dice every fight but starting with none of them is very specifically part of what I want to accomplish. No other class starts every fight (even their first one after a long rest) with no resource to power their abilities and has to earn them as they fight. That's also part of the reason I keyed gaining the dice off of melee combat; no gaining them while sniping at incoming foes.

I could easily see it being a barbarian archetype, and I'm certainly considering making it one. I would definitely have to rework Rage for that archetype though. That said, I could easily see a change where you only get momentum dice while raging. That might even be highly appropriate.


I think you could slow down accumlating dice by saying "At the end of your turn, if you made at least one successful melee attack, you gain one momentum die, which is a d4. If you made at least one melee attack that was a critical hit, you gain two momentum dice. If you didn’t attack during your turn, you lose one momentum die."

This way, you can't get more dice by making more attacks in a single round, but having more attacks means you have a better chance of getting one.
I like that idea.

It also deals with the timing issue nicely. By that, I mean there's a flaw in my original wording where you gain the die after making a successful attack. In theory, that could mean gaining it before you even roll damage for the attack, and then spending it to add a momentum die's worth of damage to the attack that granted it to you.


I really love that it gets resources every fight, instead of short or long rests. Martials suffer from auto-attack syndrome in this edition, so this is a neat way to keep some mechanics rolling most of the time. That said, I could build a crit fisher that lets me get multiple momentum almost every single turn, so something like "At the end of your turn" like @Satyrn said would probably be best.
Thank you. I agree that (even if I weren't to make any other changes) the limiter proposed by [MENTION=6703052]SA[/MENTION]turn is a good one because it fixes both that issue and the timing issue I mentioned my reply to him.
 

Quartz

Explorer
Can you please elaborate on what it is that you find not fun about the Breaking ability? Most of the people I've mentioned it to think it sounds really cool. I'd appreciate some honest feedback from someone with a different point of view on it.
Consider what happens when it is used against PCs. It effectively disables the target for the rest of the combat. It's an "I win" button that can be pressed repeatedly.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
Consider what happens when it is used against PCs. It effectively disables the target for the rest of the combat. It's an "I win" button that can be pressed repeatedly.
Hmm. That's fair. Against a single PC I could easily see it being just that. I mean, a paladin of second level or higher could heal it away (once every two levels), as could a Life Cleric using Channel Divinity: Preserve Life. A Cure Wounds spell can heal the injury (about 25% of the time at first level*, and about 60% of the time at second level*). So could a potion (about 6% of the time*. You'd have to roll two fours).

*If my math is right (and assuming an ability modifier on the cure wounds spells of +3).

That said, I agree those aren't great odds. What would you think if I changed it to have an HP threshold? Then, just like Sleep or other spells you wouldn't be able to use it on certain foes without whittling them down first.
 

Myzzrym

Explorer
I don't agree with your comparison, Wizards are versatile but need to:
1. Prepare the spell beforehand after their rest
2. Again, limited in resource per day

Your fighter can pretty much have access to every options, in every encounter, every time from round 2+ (unless he's missing all his attacks).

Anyway there's no need to ramble on, you got the gist of it. On another topic, I do agree that it'd be more interesting to make it a Barbarian sub-class - I don't think they have a sub-class with superiority dice mechanic, so it feels less in direct competition with Battle Master. Plus you could gate that power to "When Raging", which solves most of the issues mentioned above since you have a limited amount of rage per day - although I'd remove the AC buff option, you're here to break people when raging.
 
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Quartz

Explorer
That said, I agree those aren't great odds. What would you think if I changed it to have an HP threshold? Then, just like Sleep or other spells you wouldn't be able to use it on certain foes without whittling them down first.
D&D abstracts injuries to HP, levels of exhaustion, and conditions, so I suggest you consider the latter two. Inflicting a level of exhaustion seems good. If that seems a little poor remember that you can keep inflicting them. Or you could inflict the Frightened condition.
 
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MechaPilot

Explorer
I've edited the archetype in response to your feedback.

It's now a barbarian archetype, not a fighter archetype.

Accuracy was removed.

Parry no longer increases AC.

Throat Punch has been nerfed.

Breaking has been reflavored as an impairing strike and nerfed.

I've added the Unfettered Aggression ability.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
I like this quite a lot. I like how it gives "superiority dice" to the barbarian in an interesting way. Assuming you attack roughly every round, and crit about as often as you spend a round not attacking, you basically can spent 1 momentum die per round. That's +1d4/1d6/1d8 damage per round, which seems about right, when compared to what Frenzied Berserkers can do with bonus attacks.

Some quick feedback:

For starters, you need at least 1 sentence of flavor-text at the beginning, to tell us what the archetype is about. Otherwise it's hard to know whether the game mechanics are doing justice to the story. I gather from the mechanics that this archetype is about bouncing around the battlefield smashing people super hard (which, mechanically, is one of my favorite archetypes) but it's unclear what kind of person would do this.

Also, if this class is meant to involve a certain amount of movement, I think it needs some way to avoid taking opportunity attacks, or reduce their damage. Consider a maneuver that said something like: "Until the end of your turn, whenever you hit an enemy with a melee attack, you may push them back a number of feet equal to the roll of the momentum dice you spent." As long as you roll a 5 (the average of 2d4), that's going to prevent OAs from most foes (you can push a target with an attack, then run over and hit someone else). You could actually combine this with one of the weaker maneuvers, like the one that gives you bonus movement speed (because if you are planning to zip around the battlefield you'll probably want to shove people out of your way to avoid OAs).

Fearsome: ... On a failed saving throw, the foe becomes frightened for a number of rounds equal to the result of the momentum die spent.
It would be nice for the size of the momentum die to matter, but in 5E, we don't typically count duration in "rounds." It's just too easy to lose track. "Wait, was that 4 rounds, or 5? I think I forgot to update my dice-counter last round."

Parry: ... subtracting the result of those dice from the damage done.
Barbarians already have a ton of ways to tank. They don't need one more. It also seems like it doesn't fit with the subclass design, which otherwise seems very focused on damaging, hurting, and mangling your opponents; I think it's fair to say a subclass that gets a bunch of extra offense doesn't need more defense, too

Unfettered Aggression: When a creature enters the area you threaten, you can spend two momentum dice and your reaction to make an attack of opportunity against it. When you move close enough to an enemy to make a melee attack against it, you can spend two momentum dice and your bonus action to make one melee attack against it.
This is cool, but it sounds like two separate maneuvers: one as a reaction, one as a bonus action. I also think I'd reduce the cost to 1 or more dice, and if you hit, you roll the dice and add to damage. (That's a bit worse than Brutality because if you miss you've spent the dice -- but it's substantially better because it gets you an extra attack as a bonus/reaction -- but it can only be used in certain circumstances.)

Debilitating Strike: As an action, you can spend three momentum dice to make a single attack roll ... On a failed saving throw, you inflict an injury on the enemy that lasts until the end of its turn.
[/LIST]
This is very expensive, for an effect that only lasts until the end of the creature's next turn, and which will probably not work (you have to hit with an attack AND your foe has to fail a save). I'd consider combining this with Throat Punch. Maybe add Head Injury for some mental saves. One idea for making this cheaper/less complex: instead of expending momentum and requiring a saving throw, just make the injury automatic if you score a critical hit. Also look at the Open Hand monk's "Open Hand Technique" for a model; maybe the debilitation could be a rider on some other maneuver, like Brutality. (E.g., "When you use your Brutality maneuver, the victim must make a Con save, etc. etc.") Monk's Stunning Strike may also be a good model.

I guess my point is, at the cost of 3 momentum dice and your Extra Attack, this move only makes sense if you're setting up a spellcaster to put the whammy on your target with a Dex, Str, or Con save spell. That's pretty rare, and combined with the double chance to fail (miss attack and successful save) makes this ability very unattractive to me. Even if this cost 0 momentum dice I probably wouldn't use it.
 

Quartz

Explorer
I like this much better but I think you may have nerfed Debilitating Strike too far. Perhaps the duration could be until the target makes a save, and the target gets a save each round? Think of the classic scene where the warrior leaves a trail of wounded behind him.

I also still have problems with Throat Strike. First, you should be able to use it with the edge of a shield or the butt of a spear or polearm - i.e. without dropping your weapon. Secondly, you should be explicit about its effect on spellcasting: can a spellcaster still cast spells if they make their save? I would suggest that they can.

I agree with [MENTION=12377]77IM[/MENTION] about Parry.
 

Satyrn

Villager
I like the change to barbarian. Especially limiting Momentum to during the rage, making it a sort of limited unlimited feature. It looks like it will create a very flavorful feel to a rage.

I also think the only way you'll be able to figure out how well balanced the class is now is through playtesting. Nice job.
 

Istbor

Explorer
I like this a lot. Fits well with a Barbarian.
I love that you are constantly building resources.
The flavor of this is, well partially what I feel the Berzerker should have been, but still stands on its own.

My only suggested change would be to remove the word Parry, from that ability, and instead call it like ignore pain or shrug off. That to me at least seems more in line with what this barbarian would be doing. Not taking the time to expertly parry a blow, but get stabbed or slashed or bludgeoned and keep coming anyway. I think about that from the thing it is fighting's perspective and I would find that disconcerting at best, and down right terrifying at worst. I think that meshes well with the ability to cause fear and the flavor as a whole.
 

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