Barbarian brainstorm

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As much as I love my Barbarian, I dont think it needs its own class - its a fighter with Rage and Reckless Attack feats
I mean, I take the stance that Rage is transformative and major enough to warrant a subclass based around it, but otherwise I agree.

In many systems its perfectly fine as a class, but the 5e class/subclass schemes just demands too many variants for what is a pretty thematically one-note class. Most the subclasses are just Barbarian + X flavor of magic.


As much as I love my Barbarian, I dont think it needs its own class - its a fighter with Rage and Reckless Attack feats
You can't have Action Surge + Second Wind + Fighting Style and Rage + Reckless Attack.

That's it.

Just like the cleric and druid are 2 different classes because of Channel Divinity + Wildshape, fighter and barbarian (and monk because of Martial Arts + ki). because of mechanics. That's literally it. Mechanics. The classic classes flavor doesn't match the mechanics of the archetype. So you have to make a whole new class.

You can't make a Rage mechanics with the fighter: so we made a barbarian class.
You can't make a Martial Arts mechanics with the fighter: so we made a monk class.

And before you say "Make it a subclass", you can't with the "So simple and easy designed to be playable when your brain is shut off" Champion is a Fighter subclass. You can't balance Rage with "Improved Critical". We can't even balance it with Eldritch Knight's spells and Battlemaster's maneuvers.

This is why I predict the Barbraian will actually get bigger number to have more design space.


What about 2nd level barbarian and 2nd level fighter multiclass?

  1. Your Extra Attack progression is slowed
  2. Your Rage progression is slowed
  3. Your Second Wind progression is slowed
  4. Your ASI/Feat progression is slowed.
My point is you can't have Rage and Action surge on a single class PC. That's why the "Barbarian is just a Fighter" mentality doesn't work. You either created an OP monster or must diminish the mechanical attribute of Fighter or Barbarian.


I love how 13th Age does Rage! You have 1 rage per day, but you roll to regain it at the end of each encounter. And you can also rage "for free" after a certain amount or rounds have gone by since you rolled initiative.

Barbarian combat performance is good, although a little too based on just rolling attack and damage rolls.

What I would really like to see in 1D&D are some interesting options for outside combat.

Leave the # of Rages per day as is. Those are now “Safe Rages.” Any Rages beyond that amount are “Frenzy Rages” ala the Berserker.
Which, honestly, is how Frenzy really ought to work.

Not sure it would fit as well with the new exhaustion rules, though.

So what changes does anyone want to see in the barbarian?
Four basic things:
  • Openly point out that the barbarian is, both thematically and mechanically, the simple smashy class to free up the fighter to be complex while making it clear that the simple melee smasher as an archetype is covered.
  • Better scaling on two things
    • You might as well leave the class after level 5 or 6 with a good subclass because you get basically nothing after that (even the "won't die" L11 mini-capstone ability basically falls to three papercuts). This ties in to the general martial-post-l11 problem, but the barbarian is the most acute case.
    • The barbarian is the only class that in practice actively gets less powerful as they level up as their rage-induced damage resistance against bludgeoning/piercing/slashing slowly drops from almost every attack to almost no attacks
  • A better berserker that's not a newbie trap.
  • Like all martials more to do out of combat

Epic Threats

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