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D&D 5E Barbarian Fighting Styles

Stormonu

Legend
So, working through a bunch of homebrew rules and it got me wondering - why don't Barbarians get fighting styles? Would it make them too powerful (I can't see that being the case...). What fighting styles would work for them? What level would be good - 2nd, 3rd or perhaps 4th?

I'm thinking the following would be appropriate:
Two-weapon (hand axe and club)
Two-handed (classic Conan)
Archery (Possibly for a Native American-style hunter)
Thrown (spears, axes and the like)
Unarmed (bear wrestler, et. al)

Your thoughts?
 

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Maybe WoTC thought a Heavy Bruiser Great Sword Barbarian would be scary with Great Weapon Fighting Style and certain Subclasses. That or the idea of Barbarian(s) not being disciplined enough to learn formal techniques is how they pictures it.

In AiME, a Slayer's(Barbarian's) Fury (Rage) can be flavored as Pure Rage OR as Battle Clarity/Calm/Bullet Time. In DND, it's flavored as Hulk Smash/wouldn't like me when I'm Angry. Ditto if you have a PC Barbarian with the Zealot/Berserker Subclass.

That being said: the Fighting Styles you listed seem like obvious choices with the addition of Polearms.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
why don't Barbarians get fighting styles?
I think it is the idea that barbarians are too wild to learn or stick to a formal fighting style.

The 3 main D&D images for a barbarian is the warrior of an "uncivlized" tribe, the berserker full of rage, or the warrior channeling a spirit.

Would it make them too powerful (I can't see that being the case...).

It would make them more powerful but not OP. It would b more like a bonus feat. And really only GWF synergizes with barbarians enough to be a real power boost.However I wouldn't give to to barbarians for free if the party has other warrior types in it.
 

I would maybe give them a feat if you think they need any help, but thematically, I don't think a 'style' really fits a barbarian. I think the concept really in base PHB is centered around Reckless Attack and Unarmored Defense - you're just a guy who goes into a berserk state and runs amok.

But there are plenty of ways to go in a homebrew setting. Right now, PCs in my game are facing off with arctic (wood) elves based on mobility and speed - that plus the fact they've turned to the worship of Yeenoghu the Hungerer for extra powers terrifies everyone
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I don't remember if Barbarian had a Fighting Style at any point during DnDNext playtests, but the fact that in the PHB the other 3 martial classes got one and Barbarian didn't, can be a sign that it was a balance decision.
 


Daraniya

Explorer
I'd love more 'fighting styles' that could be used to create a martial type that could go toe-to-toe with mages without all the 'adding chi/ki' like a monk. I'm thinking of an 'inigo montoya' type "I'm not left handed", or "you're using blah defense or offense because of terrain, armor, etc"


7th Sea does have some ideas about martial techniques. Always liked the idea of a fighter who eschews magic because he's just a badass... just them and a sword, or dagger...
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I prefer to go with a slightly different take on the base concept of the class rather than just add a different feature in isolation, simply because I feel like it offers more flavor to try and make the differentiation have a thematic basis than just "my barbarian is a really good fighter." Something like the Urban Barbarian or the Path of the Bear Mauler.

Please note my use of affiliate links in this post.
 


I don't think it would make them too powerful. I do think that fighting styles lock characters in to a single weapon setup, and I do actually like having an option for a class that can alternate freely between the different types of (strength-based) weapon setups.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Barbarians have lots of unique and cool things they do that put them are the right power level. Making them play more like other martial classes, especially if you need to remove uniquely barbarian abilities to balance out adding in the sameness, just makes the classes all feel like one another.

Plus this does give reason to multiclass - different classes have different abilities.

TL;DR: Classes are different so they justify being separate classes.
 

I'd love more 'fighting styles' that could be used to create a martial type that could go toe-to-toe with mages without all the 'adding chi/ki' like a monk. I'm thinking of an 'inigo montoya' type "I'm not left handed", or "you're using blah defense or offense because of terrain, armor, etc"


7th Sea does have some ideas about martial techniques. Always liked the idea of a fighter who eschews magic because he's just a badass... just them and a sword, or dagger...
I do like that in 2e &th Sea, it's the person that does the damage, not the weapon type.
 

auburn2

Adventurer
So, working through a bunch of homebrew rules and it got me wondering - why don't Barbarians get fighting styles? Would it make them too powerful (I can't see that being the case...). What fighting styles would work for them? What level would be good - 2nd, 3rd or perhaps 4th?

I'm thinking the following would be appropriate:
Two-weapon (hand axe and club)
Two-handed (classic Conan)
Archery (Possibly for a Native American-style hunter)
Thrown (spears, axes and the like)
Unarmed (bear wrestler, et. al)

Your thoughts?
I don't think there is a good thematic reason for it IMO and they already have plenty of melee power. I don't see Barbarians as characters who spend the time and practice necessary to master a fighting style, nor do I see their archetype displaying that sort of discipline in combat. I see them more as "Hulk smash" types and in that respect Reckless Attack is their fighting style. Logically it would make more sense to give a fighting style to hexblades, bladesingers and war domain clerics.

If I was going to give them one it would probably have them trade it for danger sense and I would use styles that are typical of a Barbarian:

Makeshift weaponfighting style: a Barbarian can add his proficiency bonus on attack rolls with makeshift weapons.

Grapplign and shoving style: When the Babarian is successful with a grapple or a shove the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to half the Barbarian's strength modifier. While grappling a creature the Barbarian can forego an attack to apply bludgeoning damage equal to half his strength modifier.

I think that would fit with the genre better than the other fighting styles in the player's handbook and would be a fair trade for dnger sense.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If there was a player who requested it... I'd have absolutely no issue letting them do a Feature swap of gaining a Fighting Style at 2nd level and losing Reckless Attack.

By the same token, I'd have no issue letting a Fighter and/or certain Paladin oaths take Reckless Attack as their Fighting Style. No feats for any of this necessary.

This would be the easiest / most effective way for a player to play a two-weapon fighting barbarian if they wanted to.
 

If there was a player who requested it... I'd have absolutely no issue letting them do a Feature swap of gaining a Fighting Style at 2nd level and losing Reckless Attack.

By the same token, I'd have no issue letting a Fighter and/or certain Paladin oaths take Reckless Attack as their Fighting Style. No feats for any of this necessary.

This would be the easiest / most effective way for a player to play a two-weapon fighting barbarian if they wanted to.

I give them 1 less rage per long rest, but they get a F/S at 2nd (chosen from Dueling, GWS, Protection - because of those vikings and their shields - and TWF).

They dont get Archery or Defence
Rangers dont get GWS or Protection
Paladins dont get Archery or TWF.
 

This would eliminate one of the reasons to be a Fighter rather than a Barbarian, plus there are at least two ways to get a fighting style if you are not a fighter, 1 level dip into Fighter and the Fighting Initiate feat. Dipping one or two levels into Fighter would also give the character other abilities like Second Wind and Action Surge, the advantage to taking Fighting Initiate is it would cost only 1 ASI and would not otherwise slow down progression, both are good options that do not require house ruling anything. I see no compelling reason to give the Barbarian another ability.
 



Where do Barbarians struggle compared to other martial classes? Offensively? Defensively? In my experienced, they are nothing less than a character sheet of raw butt-kicking. They don't need a buff.
 

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