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5E Barbarian wants to damage himself to keep rage going

auburn2

Explorer
So in a game I am DMing a PC wanted to stab himself (just a flesh wound) so he would take damage and not lose rage because there was no enemy in melee range. I really did not like that and made him end rage. First, was that the right ruling in your opinion?

That brought up another potential option - What if he "attacks' something else, like a chair, the door, a wall. I could see that working. It would be an action so he could not dash or do anything else that round.
 
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humble minion

Adventurer
Rules as written are pretty clear on the 'attacking the wall' thing.

Your rage lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked Unconscious or if Your Turn ends and you haven't attacked a Hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then. You can also end your rage on Your Turn as a Bonus Action.
Wall is not a hostile creature, it doesn't apply.

As for the 'damage yourself' option ... hmmm, well I'd be tempted to allow it, but only if the barbarian performed an actual all-out attack on themselves with their primary weapon. Quite literally attacking anything that moves. None of this 'just a flesh wound' stuff. The PC is meant to be a frothing frenzied fury dervish at this point, then they're not going to pause from their "raaah maim slaughter kill anger rip tear raaaaargh" to carefully and surgically poke 1hp of damage into their own forearm with a pin just to ... stay angry?
 

As for the 'damage yourself' option ... hmmm, well I'd be tempted to allow it, but only if the barbarian performed an actual all-out attack on themselves with their primary weapon. Quite literally attacking anything that moves. None of this 'just a flesh wound' stuff. The PC is meant to be a frothing frenzied fury dervish at this point, then they're not going to pause from their "raaah maim slaughter kill anger rip tear raaaaargh" to carefully and surgically poke 1hp of damage into their own forearm with a pin just to ... stay angry?
Naw. I would allow them to pull a dagger from their belt and stab themselves in the leg. Or even just a punch (unarmed strike) to the face. Maybe consider it an auto-hit, but roll d20 anyway to see if they crit themselves.
 

I'm with @humble minion on this. Sure they can attack themselves, as long as they do just like they would attack a hostile creature. It's probably not RAW or RAI, but it would be fun.

You want to keep raging? Go ahead and attack yourself, better not get a critical and several an artery!
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
As for the 'damage yourself' option ... hmmm, well I'd be tempted to allow it, but only if the barbarian performed an actual all-out attack on themselves with their primary weapon.
Why must it be their primary weapon? Surely an “all-out” unarmed strike against themselves ought to suffice, no? It would if it was against a hostile creature.
 

humble minion

Adventurer
Why must it be their primary weapon? Surely an “all-out” unarmed strike against themselves ought to suffice, no? It would if it was against a hostile creature.
Just cos, (imho and ymmv!) it's a pretty cheesy and metagamey tactic that is driven by the rules rather than any attempt at characterisation. The enraged barbarian belts everything else with his greataxe, but then has the presence of mind to realise 'oh no, if i don't get hurt in the next 6 seconds I'm going to stop being angry, I'd better hurt myself, but not too much...'?

If the barbarian has been attacking their enemies unarmed up until now, then sure, no problem, the barbarian is just continuing what they'd been doing already.

Rules as written, it's perfectly allowable by my reading. At my table, if you try it, prepare to be mocked mercilessly! :p
 

Coroc

Hero
Claiming you don't like yourself does not suffice as a justification in this case (Attacking a hostile creature), as imho is slicing up your whimsy party mage because you never could stand that guy, or attacking that bad-taste-furniture that you claim to hate because it is so ugly.

Nah that is rules bending, not creative playing. Ok, there is this "meme" about someone biting their own lips to taste blood and get more anger, but the rules as such do not support this. When your barb runs out of rage, so what? What shenanigan can the wizard or other caster pull out if he runs out of spells then? What if the fighter has no action surge or second wind left?
 


humble minion

Adventurer
Claiming you don't like yourself does not suffice as a justification in this case (Attacking a hostile creature), as imho is slicing up your whimsy party mage because you never could stand that guy, or attacking that bad-taste-furniture that you claim to hate because it is so ugly.
Nah, it's not quite that bad. Rules say that you can continue raging if you take damage OR if you attack a hostile creature. The barbarian in question is attacking herself in order to take damage which prolongs the rage, not because the act of making the attack itself prolongs the rage.
 



Coroc

Hero
Nah, it's not quite that bad. Rules say that you can continue raging if you take damage OR if you attack a hostile creature. The barbarian in question is attacking herself in order to take damage which prolongs the rage, not because the act of making the attack itself prolongs the rage.
Ah yes it seems it is not specified where the damage comes from so then I would allow it also, e.g. the barbarian bites in his lips or scratches his chest with his weapon. It seems that IRL Vikings sometimes scratched a rune to their skin so the pain keeps them angry at least I think I heard that somewhere.
 



Really the conditions for Rage to continue are more of a ribbon than anything else.

Its absurd that a Barbarian who uses his action to make a Strength Athletics check to escape a grapple drops out of rage afterwards.

The RAW is that he just needs to take damage. As long as he's happy with biting his shield for a point of damage each turn (no action required) then yeah, Im OK with that.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Claiming you don't like yourself does not suffice as a justification in this case (Attacking a hostile creature),
I believe the attacking self strategy is meant to invoke the taking damage clause, not the attacking a hostile creature clause.
 

Undrave

Hero
Two options:

1- make a ranged weapon attack with a thrown weapon. I’ve seen barbarians toss javelins for the sake of rage. They’re cheap and a big guy could carry a few. Depending where the battle is set you could even go with an improvised weapon: throw a chair one handed, a bottle, a fallen enemy’s helm, a dead goblin, or even a big rock! Be creative!

2- People slap themselves to stay focused or awake at times, to stay pumped! No issue with a barbarian punching themselves in the face! Just don’t forget to take rage damage into account in your calculation! I guess you could also take damage by jumping off something (say, if the only enemies are below you and you think ladders are for wizards).,
 



cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I'd suggest adding a clause that allows a constitution check to maintain the rage instead of damaging themselves, perhaps DC 15.
 

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