D&D General Has D&D abandoned the "martial barbarian"?

Many.

Again. The fighter is now all partial weapons acedemics. They study battle mastery, arcane magic, magic runes, psychic powers, and magic arrows.

Because D&D fans refuse to allow an new warrior classes be norm, all the "Power of the Body" warrior tropes are homeless. Ripe for the barbarian.

The Berserker
The Tribal Chief
The Juggernaut
The Brutish Thug
The Monster Among Men
The Genetic Freak
The Savage
The Possessed Prodigy
The Bulky Bruiser
The Unstoppable Force

They aren't fighters because the fighter is too formal and refined in modern D&D. This leaves them in the hands of the barbarian.
Most of those don't say much to me. What do they actually mean?
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Or they just don't have the same incessant need for more non-magical classes that other people seem to keep jonesing for.

D&D is a game of magic. Magical creatures, magical worlds, magical people. Magic is a part of everything that makes up D&D. Thus they probably just don't think they need to worry about continually ticking the "make another non-magical sub-class" box for those people who want to play "Middle-Earth" D&D without using all the other options from other designers/DMs Guild.

Isn't that why they have the OGL and the DMs Guild in the first place? So that players can get what they want in some form and fashion without WotC themselves having to do it if they have other things they'd rather work on?

That is the "lack of desire to do the hard work and going the easy route" route.

D&D is magical. But the default was never barbarians having an aura of fire at level 3 magical.
There is something between LOTR and Bleach for warriors.
 

MGibster

Legend
Fighter subclass? Gygax often mentioned Conan as an inspiration for the fighter class.
Yeah, controversial choice though it might be, I would also go with Fighter if I was trying to emulate Conan and probably give him a criminal background of some sort. Part of the problem with fictional characters is that the author doesn't feel the need to pigeonhole the character into a very, very narrow range of abilities. Conan was a polyglot (including some dead languages), knowledgeable about history & lore, charismatic enough to lead an army, etc., etc. He just doesn't really fit into the mold of a D&D character who has such a narrow range of abilities.
 

Northern Phoenix

Adventurer
Yeah, controversial choice though it might be, I would also go with Fighter if I was trying to emulate Conan and probably give him a criminal background of some sort. Part of the problem with fictional characters is that the author doesn't feel the need to pigeonhole the character into a very, very narrow range of abilities. Conan was a polyglot (including some dead languages), knowledgeable about history & lore, charismatic enough to lead an army, etc., etc. He just doesn't really fit into the mold of a D&D character who has such a narrow range of abilities.

While Conan does a lot of stuff depending on what the plot demands, he is a "barbarian" due to his background and how it is perceived by "civilized" peoples. In 5e, this is represented by the "Outlander" Background, that can indeed go with any class, in theory.
 
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Faolyn

(she/her)
The Berserker
The Tribal Chief
The Juggernaut
The Brutish Thug
The Monster Among Men
The Genetic Freak
The Savage
The Possessed Prodigy
The Bulky Bruiser
The Unstoppable Force

They aren't fighters because the fighter is too formal and refined in modern D&D. This leaves them in the hands of the barbarian.
Several of those are basically synonyms of each other, though (Juggernaut and Unstoppable Force; Brutish Thug and Bulky Bruiser, and when you get right down to it, those four things are all the same: a barbarian that uses sheer strength to shove things out of the way, crush them underfoot, or beat them into pulp). Yes, I could see a barbarian archetype built around this: one that uses fists only, or maybe a club or mace or spiked gauntlet. Although it's not too dissimilar from the Battlerager when you think about it.

The Genetic Freak and Possessed Prodigy feel very setting-specific to me (and are also synonymous--call it the Possessed, say the PC is usually a 98-pound weakling, and let the player decide if they Hulk out because of weird genetics, magical or alchemic manipulation, or because they're possessed by something). I'd expect something like this in an Eberron or Ravenloft book, but I'd be surprised to see it in, say, a Realms book.

The Tribal Chief... no. Just no. The Savage maybe, depending on how it's written (you'd have to be very definite you don't mean Savage in a racist "primitive brown human" way and instead mean it in... an animalistic way?), but I'm having a hard time seeing it as anything other than the already existing Beast archetype. The Beast also covers the Monster Among Men. Unless you mean Monster Among Men in a Jekyll and Hyde way, in which case, see the Possessed, above.

And there's already a berserker archetype.

So out of that list, there's maybe two new barbarian archetypes, and almost by default the Possessed would have to be at least a wee bit magical. Maybe only as magical as the Beast is: no spells, just some attacks that deal non-mundane damage or that aid others.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Most of those don't say much to me. What do they actually mean?
  • The Berserker- We know what that is.
  • The Tribal Chief- The Barbarian Chief. Knows diplomacy, intimidation, and leadership. A raw warrior trained to leador support a wild tribe over training extensively for combat. Relies on muscle and not skill to fight.
  • The Juggernaut- The tank in the heaviest armor available. Again.no style just power. Lets their armor and grit take a beating to bide time for one of their mighty blows to land.
  • The Brutish Thug- The buly. Not every thief is nimble so some opt for browbeating, underhanded tricks, and pushness.
  • The Monster Among Men- Congratulations. You are the tallest member of your race for hundreds of miles. You never had to learn to properly fight as your were just bigger and stronger. You know how to use your hieght and reach and a bit of anger makes you tough to deal with.
  • The Genetic Freak- The last guy is tall. You. You have muscles on muscles and somehow are still quick. Your true strength and speed are not evident until you rage and the competition starts.
  • The Savage- You are feral. You fight like an animal. At times a hunting predator or a cornered beast. The wildness in your eyes dulls any skill you may have and lets you revert to a primal warrior of days past.
  • The Possessed Prodigy- Something isn't right. Your mind sometimes shuts off and you wake up later to a floor full of bodies. Inside your mind is a killing machine and you know not where it came from and why it'sso good at killing.
  • The Bulky Bruiser- Well there's a tall warrior and a muscley warrior. You are the thick boy. You shall not be moved and that weight you to throw around brings in the bacon. Which you eat.
  • The Unstoppable Force- The last guy but faster and no brakes. Don't need skill to run people over. Choo Choooooo! There goes the dragon's legs.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yeah, controversial choice though it might be, I would also go with Fighter if I was trying to emulate Conan and probably give him a criminal background of some sort. Part of the problem with fictional characters is that the author doesn't feel the need to pigeonhole the character into a very, very narrow range of abilities. Conan was a polyglot (including some dead languages), knowledgeable about history & lore, charismatic enough to lead an army, etc., etc. He just doesn't really fit into the mold of a D&D character who has such a narrow range of abilities.
I have heard that as an argument about all D&D martial characters they cannot portray fictional heroes well because of the lack of versatility.
 

MGibster

Legend
While Conan does a lot of stuff depending on what the plot demands, he is a "barbarian" due to his background and how it is perceived by "civilized" peoples. In 5e, this is represented by the "Outlander" Background, that can indeed go with any class, in theory.
This isn't a particular hill I'm willing to die on and I think Outlander is a perfectly cromulent choice for his background. I don't think it quite covers everything Conan is about but neither does Criminal.

I have heard that as an argument about all D&D martial characters they cannot portray fictional heroes well because of the lack of versatility.
One of the things I liked about AD&D 2nd edition over 3rd edition was the non-weapon proficiencies. In some ways, I felt as though my Fighter could be a decent artist if I took the right NWP and that option didn't seem available in 3E. It's been such a long time since I played either 2nd or 3rd edition I really can't expand on this any better.
 

le Redoutable

Ich bin El Glouglou :)
  • The Berserker- We know what that is.
  • The Tribal Chief- The Barbarian Chief. Knows diplomacy, intimidation, and leadership. A raw warrior trained to leador support a wild tribe over training extensively for combat. Relies on muscle and not skill to fight.
  • The Juggernaut- The tank in the heaviest armor available. Again.no style just power. Lets their armor and grit take a beating to bide time for one of their mighty blows to land.
  • The Brutish Thug- The buly. Not every thief is nimble so some opt for browbeating, underhanded tricks, and pushness.
  • The Monster Among Men- Congratulations. You are the tallest member of your race for hundreds of miles. You never had to learn to properly fight as your were just bigger and stronger. You know how to use your hieght and reach and a bit of anger makes you tough to deal with.
  • The Genetic Freak- The last guy is tall. You. You have muscles on muscles and somehow are still quick. Your true strength and speed are not evident until you rage and the competition starts.
  • The Savage- You are feral. You fight like an animal. At times a hunting predator or a cornered beast. The wildness in your eyes dulls any skill you may have and lets you revert to a primal warrior of days past.
  • The Possessed Prodigy- Something isn't right. Your mind sometimes shuts off and you wake up later to a floor full of bodies. Inside your mind is a killing machine and you know not where it came from and why it'sso good at killing.
  • The Bulky Bruiser- Well there's a tall warrior and a muscley warrior. You are the thick boy. You shall not be moved and that weight you to throw around brings in the bacon. Which you eat.
  • The Unstoppable Force- The last guy but faster and no brakes. Don't need skill to run people over. Choo Choooooo! There goes the dragon's legs.
Genetic Freak ?
 

  • The Berserker- We know what that is.
  • The Tribal Chief- The Barbarian Chief. Knows diplomacy, intimidation, and leadership. A raw warrior trained to leador support a wild tribe over training extensively for combat. Relies on muscle and not skill to fight.
  • The Juggernaut- The tank in the heaviest armor available. Again.no style just power. Lets their armor and grit take a beating to bide time for one of their mighty blows to land.
  • The Brutish Thug- The buly. Not every thief is nimble so some opt for browbeating, underhanded tricks, and pushness.
  • The Monster Among Men- Congratulations. You are the tallest member of your race for hundreds of miles. You never had to learn to properly fight as your were just bigger and stronger. You know how to use your hieght and reach and a bit of anger makes you tough to deal with.
  • The Genetic Freak- The last guy is tall. You. You have muscles on muscles and somehow are still quick. Your true strength and speed are not evident until you rage and the competition starts.
  • The Savage- You are feral. You fight like an animal. At times a hunting predator or a cornered beast. The wildness in your eyes dulls any skill you may have and lets you revert to a primal warrior of days past.
  • The Possessed Prodigy- Something isn't right. Your mind sometimes shuts off and you wake up later to a floor full of bodies. Inside your mind is a killing machine and you know not where it came from and why it'sso good at killing.
  • The Bulky Bruiser- Well there's a tall warrior and a muscley warrior. You are the thick boy. You shall not be moved and that weight you to throw around brings in the bacon. Which you eat.
  • The Unstoppable Force- The last guy but faster and no brakes. Don't need skill to run people over. Choo Choooooo! There goes the dragon's legs.
Faolyn beat me to it, but my thoughts anyways:
  • Berserker: We have the Berserker Barbarian and the Zealot Barbarian, we don't really need another one.
  • Tribal Chief: This is a racist stereotype. This also a Bard or a Paladin, not a Barbarian.
  • Juggernaut: The Cavalier Fighter has this covered.
  • Brutish Thug: Any Strength focused class with the Criminal background can fill this role.
  • Monster Among Men: This is purely descriptive and not enough of a mechanical hook to build an entire subclass around.
  • Genetic Freak: This feels more like a lineage than a subclass.
  • Savage: This really needs another name, and doesn't the Totem Warrior Barbarian already hold this niche? I could also see this being a Ranger instead of a Barbarian.
  • Possessed Prodigy: This feels generic enough that any of the martial or half-caster classes could apply here, so I think it would be better as a Supernatural Gift.
  • Bulky Bruiser: Again, this is purely descriptive.
  • Unstoppable Force: I think there's a Battlemaster Fighter build for this.
 

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