5E Berserker is balanced with Zealot without exhaustion from Frenzy

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Lets be Honest, the bear totem Feature des not come into play in many Fights too. IT is just that frenzy feels a lot more punitive because it is the only feature the frenzy barbarian gets.
If you just add a small feature like:
- at the end of a short rest you can make a con save against DC 15 to reduce your exhaustion Level by 1
OR
- whenever you enter rage you may make a single weapon attack.

The first one is more exploration oriented, the second one fixes two holes in the class:
In the first round you can't use your frenzy Feature because you already used your bonus action to enter rage and you have a constant always on benefit that is at least comparable to the champion's improved crit.

I probably would use the latter Varianz because it shoukd make the barbarian Player feel well without the need of going frenzy every time.
I wouls also allow to enter frenzy at any point during a rage, not only at the beginning.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Lets be Honest, the bear totem Feature gets better and better as you level up, and at high level where the energy damage is flying all over the battlefield is what separates the Barbarian from everyone else in terms of staying power.

In contrast, the RAW berserker is a failed subclass noone mindful of performance will touch with a stick.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Lets be Honest, the bear totem Feature gets better and better as you level up, and at high level where the energy damage is flying all over the battlefield is what separates the Barbarian from everyone else in terms of staying power.

In contrast, the RAW berserker is a failed subclass noone mindful of performance will touch with a stick.
Not really. But we had that diacussion already. Bear Totem is the worst of the lot. I appreciate Wolf Totem a lot more. But to each his own.
 
I find my short rest exhaustion recovery plus capping SRs at 3/day works perfectly.

Oh there is also the option in the Primeval Thule players guide of a feat that reduces your exhaustion level by 3 I think, which can be used by anyone but benefits Berserkers the most.
Exhaustion is important for other scenarios. I don't think in general that it should recover on a short rest.
 
Zealot may be better than a bezerker, but it still sucks compared to a paladin, so I would bring up the weaker barbarians rather than nerf the stronger ones.

I would say that the existence of magical armor spikes is pretty much essential for battleragers to be viable, and the race "restriction" was never stronger than a suggestion.
The Zealot is equal to a Paladin IMO
 
Not really. But we had that diacussion already. Bear Totem is the worst of the lot. I appreciate Wolf Totem a lot more. But to each his own.
I guess that depends on party makeup, party tactics and encounter makeup. Against a BBEG and the barbarian has melee allies then wolf is great. In a party in an encounter with multiple enemies where melee allies spread out and engage separate enemies not so much.

I prefer bear because it gives me the knowledge I can go up to anything and be fine which frees up party resources for other party members as well as allowing me to always play as the super tough barbarian that fears nothing (which isn't so much a mechanical concern but still is important) Wolf is good against non-mobile BBEG's but I tend to find BBEG's without fodder aren't a real threat.
 

RhaezDaevan

Explorer
What if the berserker could frenzy once per long rest without exhaustion and then any further frenzies then cause the exhaustion levels?
 

Stalker0

Adventurer
Not really. But we had that diacussion already. Bear Totem is the worst of the lot. I appreciate Wolf Totem a lot more. But to each his own.
I think that award would go squarely into Tiger Totem.

Bear: Huge defense bonus
Wolf: Awesome team offense bonus
Eagle/Elk: Amazing mobility increase (eagle blows elk out of the water to me, but both are still in the same vein).
Tiger: Um...I get to jump a little farther.
 

Stalker0

Adventurer
In contrast, the RAW berserker is a failed subclass noone mindful of performance will touch with a stick.
Having seen a berserker played (I'm the DM) at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels (we did a time skip campaign), I can say that while they may not be equal to a Zealot in raw performance, they are still very good.

The immunity to fear and charm is a really overlooked ability, especially with a DM who allows his characters to shine by giving spotlight to their strengths. For example, in one combat, a creature attempted to dominate the barbarian. The barb was immune to charm and so immune to the effect. But he rolled a great bluff check to act like his was dominated, so we played it out that the barbarian was able to get nice and close to the monster, and then ripped it to pieces.

Most players are going to remember that scene a lot longer than all the combats they did a few more points of damage.

My point is not that the subclass is balanced (I agree its behind the curve), but its not "failed". As long as a class provides good hooks that let characters shine, the DM can balance the rest. Its the classes that have no hooks, that are just watered down and generic, that are truly "fails".
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
I think that award would go squarely into Tiger Totem.

Bear: Huge defense bonus
Wolf: Awesome team offense bonus
Eagle/Elk: Amazing mobility increase (eagle blows elk out of the water to me, but both are still in the same vein).
Tiger: Um...I get to jump a little farther.
Oh yes. I forgot tiger...
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Having seen a berserker played (I'm the DM) at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels (we did a time skip campaign), I can say that while they may not be equal to a Zealot in raw performance, they are still very good.

The immunity to fear and charm is a really overlooked ability, especially with a DM who allows his characters to shine by giving spotlight to their strengths. For example, in one combat, a creature attempted to dominate the barbarian. The barb was immune to charm and so immune to the effect. But he rolled a great bluff check to act like his was dominated, so we played it out that the barbarian was able to get nice and close to the monster, and then ripped it to pieces.

Most players are going to remember that scene a lot longer than all the combats they did a few more points of damage.

My point is not that the subclass is balanced (I agree its behind the curve), but its not "failed". As long as a class provides good hooks that let characters shine, the DM can balance the rest. Its the classes that have no hooks, that are just watered down and generic, that are truly "fails".
Mindless Rage and Retaliation are really awesome. I wish Retaliation had been the level 3 feature and frenzy bumped up to a later level.
 

EerieEgg

Villager
@BookBarbarian Agreed — though Retaliate is a wonderful ability (though I wouldn’t place it above Divine Fury due to its inconsistency and a tendency for DMs in my experience to have intelligent foes just ... not attack the Barbarian — I don’t agree with that since it can feel meta gamey on the DMs part imo but it is something I’ve seen DMs do which makes Retaliate far worse — same for DMs that will simply have enemies not take the Opportunity attack you give them since they don’t want to trigger your Retaliate) it comes far too late — id say most campaigns even don’t get to lv14.

And Intimidating Presence though cool from a flavor standpoint is very weak and impractical in my estimation.

I really wish Retaliate came sooner in leveling.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
@BookBarbarian Agreed — though Retaliate is a wonderful ability (though I wouldn’t place it above Divine Fury due to its inconsistency and a tendency for DMs in my experience to have intelligent foes just ... not attack the Barbarian — I don’t agree with that since it can feel meta gamey on the DMs part imo but it is something I’ve seen DMs do which makes Retaliate far worse — same for DMs that will simply have enemies not take the Opportunity attack you give them since they don’t want to trigger your Retaliate) it comes far too late — id say most campaigns even don’t get to lv14.

And Intimidating Presence though cool from a flavor standpoint is very weak and impractical in my estimation.

I really wish Retaliate came sooner in leveling.
Retaliation just feels more thematic to me on a Berserker than even Frenzy

"You hit me, I hit you"
 

EerieEgg

Villager
This is sort of off topic, but I was recently looking into Fighters and it seems like at higher levels, certain builds become very powerful in comparison with Berserker -- at least in terms of damage output.

For example, Battle Master with a Maul/GWM/GWF can use Trip Attack then use GWM swings for their following attacks. They can combine this with Action Surge and also Riposte, Disarm, etc. Disarm is amazing -- caster has a staff? Make them do a str save then pick it up or kick it away with your free object interaction. Or, make that knight drop their shield so your GWM feat is better against them.

They have a dramatically better "Fear" ability than Berserker in Menacing Strike, can reroll saving throws in a similar fashion to Fanatical Focus, and can even take advantage of some Charisma investment with Rally or the Inspiring Leader feat since Fighters get so many ASI/Feat slots.

So, of course Barbarian gets damage resistance and is more tanky perhaps, but Fighters get to wear plate and don't give their opponents advantage on them (and can forgo Dex investment if they want to put those points into something else -- Barbarians are more or less locked into probably 14 dex for medium armor).

I enjoy playing Barbarians more from a roleplay/flavor standpoint, but in the late game it seems like they get passed up in damage output by some of the Fighter subclasses and are also just more "boring" to play turn by turn since Barbs usually just do the same rotation. Even Berserker while using Frenzy and Retaliate only really beats Battle Master in very niche scenarios. You basically need a very prolonged sustained fight against an enemy that cannot be Trip Attacked in my estimation. Otherwise, Battle Master has some insane Burst with Action Surge/Trip Attack/GWM and solid sustained damage to boot. And just a lot of cool creative stuff to do like knocking enemies into pits of lava with Push Attack for example. Only gripe I have with Battle Master is that many of their maneuvers are objectively awful (like Sweeping attack/lunging attack -- these scale horribly).

I really wish Berserker was a bit better than it is :( I've got a real soft spot for them. Maybe i'll just start playing Battle Masters...

Originally I felt it would be too powerful to simply turn Frenzy into an "Extra Attack" that doesn't use the Bonus Action, but after looking at other things that exist via stock 5e, I'm not so sure that that would be OP since it would still come along with a level of exhaustion.
 
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This is sort of off topic, but I was recently looking into Fighters and it seems like at higher levels, certain builds become very powerful in comparison with Berserker -- at least in terms of damage output.

For example, Battle Master with a Maul/GWM/GWF can use Trip Attack then use GWM swings for their following attacks. They can combine this with Action Surge and also Riposte, Disarm, etc. Disarm is amazing -- caster has a staff? Make them do a str save then pick it up or kick it away with your free object interaction. Or, make that knight drop their shield so your GWM feat is better against them.

They have a dramatically better "Fear" ability than Berserker in Menacing Strike, can reroll saving throws in a similar fashion to Fanatical Focus, and can even take advantage of some Charisma investment with Rally or the Inspiring Leader feat since Fighters get so many ASI/Feat slots.

So, of course Barbarian gets damage resistance and is more tanky perhaps, but Fighters get to wear plate and don't give their opponents advantage on them (and can forgo Dex investment if they want to put those points into something else -- Barbarians are more or less locked into probably 14 dex for medium armor).

I enjoy playing Barbarians more from a roleplay/flavor standpoint, but in the late game it seems like they get passed up in damage output by some of the Fighter subclasses and are also just more "boring" to play turn by turn since Barbs usually just do the same rotation. Even Berserker while using Frenzy and Retaliate only really beats Battle Master in very niche scenarios. You basically need a very prolonged sustained fight against an enemy that cannot be Trip Attacked in my estimation. Otherwise, Battle Master has some insane Burst with Action Surge/Trip Attack/GWM and solid sustained damage to boot. And just a lot of cool creative stuff to do like knocking enemies into pits of lava with Push Attack for example. Only gripe I have with Battle Master is that many of their maneuvers are objectively awful (like Sweeping attack/lunging attack -- these scale horribly).

I really wish Berserker was a bit better than it is :( I've got a real soft spot for them. Maybe i'll just start playing Battle Masters...

Originally I felt it would be too powerful to simply turn Frenzy into an "Extra Attack" that doesn't use the Bonus Action, but after looking at other things that exist via stock 5e, I'm not so sure that that would be OP since it would still come along with a level of exhaustion.
For consistent turn after turn damage look at a zealot barbarian with reckless GWM and polearm master. It’s pretty impressive and if I recall fairly competitive against a similar fighter over most ac’s
 

EerieEgg

Villager
Coming back to Berserker's "Retaliate", is the feature overrated?

For sometime on paper at least, I thought it would be quite good -- especially since you can provoke Opportunity Attacks during your own turn (that you may resist the damage from to boot) to guarantee it triggers and to gain "Reckless Attack" on your "Retaliation".

In practice, however -- I now think the ability kinda sucks purely because DMs can deny you your Retaliate -- and will probably do so when you're up against "intelligent" enemies. For example, I've had two DM that simply have enemies ignore hitting the Barbarian at all -- they put their damage towards other more "squishy' chars.

They also have enemies simply not take the Opportunity Attack you give them if you're a Berserker. Therefore, Retaliate most often does not come into play at all.

Additionally, if you do Retaliate, you then threaten no Opportunity Attack for the turn which means your opponent is free to move away from you at that point -- maybe not a huge deal, but it is relevant.

Basically since intelligent foes will either not attack the barbarian (at least not til he's the last man standing) OR will focus them with mental saves that they're specifically weak to, I actually now think Retaliate is at least somewhat overrated.

Any ability that DMs can "meta game" and screw you out of using is not an ability that I really want or like. "Divine Fury" is great on the other hand because you almost always get it and your DM can't do much to deny you from getting it for example.

Zealot's "Rage Beyond Death" is an ability I also think I don't like (though I also don't like the idea of infinite HP Druid) -- I'd go so far as to say that ability maybe is poorly designed because it is completely binary -- either you CANNOT be killed anything in the encounter (physical damage won't cut it) or your enemy has one of the counters (sleep/calm emotions/power word kill/etc) and the ability is near useless. DMs will simply "meta game" to have an answer prepared for it OR it makes you literally unkillable if no such answer is provided for enemies to have. I don't think that's very fun in either case since either your DM is meta gaming to counter you or your enemies literally pose no threat to you at all.
 
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S'mon

Legend
I found Retaliate incredibly powerful in solo game, and in duels. Yes with a group, NPCs will likely avoid attacking the Barbarian - but that is already the case thanks to Rage.
 

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