D&D 5E Dex barbarian

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This right here. There are no issues of balance if there's no one else on the other side of the scale.

So if no one else is playing a melee-focused DEX combatant (rogue, ranger, fighter etc.) then you're fine. Just let the barbarian swap out every instance of STR in the mechanics to DEX and let them play. Even with that swap the barbarian isn't going to become an overpowered class, just like the Fighter doesn't become one when they focus on DEX instead of STR. The only reason the barbarian doesn't have a DEX option is due to WotC's desires for "class fantasy" ideals, not because of any balancing issues.
But there are others who do damage. And potentially others who tank. So there's always someone "on the other side of the scale".

"What, you're the only one doing AoE damage? Then add a bonus to all of it - don't worry, it's still balanced."
 

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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Yes, giving rage bonus to finesse weapons for the only melee player in an otgerwise magic using group seems fine enough. So do as you please. But a rogue or ranger player might feel stepped on their toes...
Unless it's competition for magic finesse weapons in the loot, I'm not really seeing how. They might be doing a bit more damage with finesse weapons while raging (barring things like sneak attack and hunter's mark), but they'd probably be doing even more damage with a two-handed weapon and their strength with their rage bonus if they were a more traditional barbarian.
Really, I'm not seeing the rage bonus being applied to finesse weapons as being a toe-stepping issue.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
But there are others who do damage. And potentially others who tank. So there's always someone "on the other side of the scale".

"What, you're the only one doing AoE damage? Then add a bonus to all of it - don't worry, it's still balanced."
You are all on the same team. You are all trying to accomplish goals together. This isn't WoW where people get all persnickety about "their numbers" and making it a contest on DPS or any of that crap. No one at the table with any sense should care if one PC is doing 10 damage a round while another is doing 7 damage-- especially if that 7 damage PC has other stuff they also do instead.

So long as those disparities between the PCs aren't so great that the other players at the table feel like they are extraneous to the one other remaining PC and didn't even need to be there... there's no reason for them to care how their other teammates are doing. All of them should want each of them to do really well! That's the whole point! What, the Wizard player is going to be mad that the Dex barbarian does 20 points of damage to a single other enemy, while their single spell attack might only do 15? Of course not! "Oh darn! You are helping us win this fight too easily!" Especially not when that Wizard could just as easily thrown out a AoE spell and did 12 damage to four enemies at once for 48 points of damage. And why in the heck would a paladin care that the Dex barbarian is also quote/unquote "tanking" and taking attacks from enemies and absorbing damage too? You think the paladin player is going to complain about not getting hit as often and say "No way! I'M the only one allowed to get the crap kicked out me!"

Balance is relative, it's not absolute. This game is not in any way, shape or form built such that every single PC is going to be completely equal to each other in melee damage, ranged damage, AoE damage, armor class, skill use, saving throws, spell effects, etc. etc. etc. But at the same time... none of these classes are designed such that you can reach any state of being "overpowered" with them no matter how you build your character, assuming you aren't intentionally making your PC bad.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
There is also no benefit to catering to all wills as the satisfaction increase of one player might decrease the satisfaction of 4 others. Including the DM.

Why have rules if you don't use them?
At what point were we told the the rest of the people in that group (including the DM) were unhappy with the idea of there being a Dex barbarian in the party? I don't seem to recall the OP telling us that they were thumbing their nose at the desires of their players just to cater to this one new player.

Your complaint is of course true in a general sense... don't do things for one player that alienates everyone else at your table... but that has nothing to do with this situation, nor does it impact the also general idea that houseruling is a perfectly viable action.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Dex Barbs are great with the Mageslayer, Charger or Sentinel feats. Its giving up damage for AC and loses some synergy with Rage but can still work. Ancestral Guardian is great for the Barb Sentinel, Storm Herald is thematic and gives more buffs

Fast, furious and fun is a good reason to do it
 

At what point were we told the the rest of the people in that group (including the DM) were unhappy with the idea of there being a Dex barbarian in the party? I don't seem to recall the OP telling us that they were thumbing their nose at the desires of their players just to cater to this one new player.

Your complaint is of course true in a general sense... don't do things for one player that alienates everyone else at your table... but that has nothing to do with this situation, nor does it impact the also general idea that houseruling is a perfectly viable action.
Of course it is. Have fun.
 

Unless it's competition for magic finesse weapons in the loot, I'm not really seeing how. They might be doing a bit more damage with finesse weapons while raging (barring things like sneak attack and hunter's mark), but they'd probably be doing even more damage with a two-handed weapon and their strength with their rage bonus if they were a more traditional barbarian.
Really, I'm not seeing the rage bonus being applied to finesse weapons as being a toe-stepping issue.
Whatever. I have made my points. Have fun.
 

PierceF

Villager
Let me reiterate, just in case I was misunderstood, or to help anyone out in advance. Giving a player a +1 Shield or Bracers of Defense when you know they're primed for it can be much more unbalancing to the game than many other things. I've been at tables where the DM gave +2 Plate and +2 Shields (or worse, +3!) to high level parties, making the Paladin or Fighter so hard to hit, that it makes even the highest CR monsters normal attacks trivial, or needing to buff monsters to make other character's AC trivial. So regardless of what you decide, be very careful with those magic items. Try not to break bounded-accuracy, especially with AC.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
You are all on the same team. You are all trying to accomplish goals together. This isn't WoW where people get all persnickety about "their numbers" and making it a contest on DPS or any of that crap. No one at the table with any sense should care if one PC is doing 10 damage a round while another is doing 7 damage-- especially if that 7 damage PC has other stuff they also do instead.
You don't subscribe to class balance?

If so, that's a minority opinion for D&D.
 


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