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

le Redoutable

Ich bin El Glouglou :)
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.
whaf! you are totally opposites; is this an usage for two fellows who fight because of an old désaccord ?
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
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.

I think it is too much for one primal path. You only get 4 features. The concept would have to be split between the armor focused one, the low-blowing one, the heavy one, and the pushy one.

Putting them all in one subclass means some abilities lead to be pushed back to high level and thus never used.

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.
It's very niche but no more that the Wild Magic barbarian. Less even.

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.

The Tribal Chief is just the Barbarian with more skills and focused fighting archetype a-la the Samurai and Cavalier

The Savage is the Tarzan or Wolverine.

And there's already a berserker archetype.
I was including it to display the existing martially tilted barbarians. A more complete list.
 




Has D&D more or less given upon promotion of a barbarian that doesn't have overtly supernatural or magical features?

In 4e the barbarian was firmly placed in the Primal Power source. Even the essentials berserker was martial/primal. It took a bit of finagling to avoid the powers that didn't give you claws, flight,or lightning powers.
Given up on? No. Think that it's done? Yes.

If you want to play the 3.X style "rargh" barbarian then the battlerager has you covered. If you want to play something else that's almost pure martial then other then the Totem Warrior could almost be pure martial other than a couple of rituals that are well within the realm of what a martial character in a magical world could do.

For myself I'd like to see a dancing, whirling barbarian who rages normally with twin swords. But the easiest way to do that would be (as WotC are doing for the Battlemaster) to add a few more totems; I'd like a mongoose, a snake, a spider, and an elephant.

But really what more do you need? There wasn't much finangling needed in 4e; there was deliberately at least one pure martial ability at each level in the PHB2 and that before the whirling barbarian. And that's why there's been limited additions; they're using the subclasses for things they don't think are already covered. Or adding e.g. new Battlemaster maneuvers.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I think it is too much for one primal path. You only get 4 features. The concept would have to be split between the armor focused one, the low-blowing one, the heavy one, and the pushy one.
Sure. But you have to come up with four features for each of four archetype that are (a) interesting and (b) not so one-note the archetype feels boring when it can't do that one thing. If a Juggernaut loses its armor, what makes it cool?

Its better to combine them into one or two archetypes. Juggernaut/Heavy, Low-Blow/Pushy.


It's very niche but no more that the Wild Magic barbarian. Less even.
Yes, agreed. I didn't say it was bad, just very niche.

The Tribal Chief is just the Barbarian with more skills and focused fighting archetype a-la the Samurai and Cavalier
Still many problems with it:

From a lore point of view, why is a tribal chief not with their tribe?

From a gamer point of view, the same problem as with the warlord: you're not the chief of me.

From a reality point of view, "tribal" is a thing that is frequently viewed in a very negative light. Combined with barbarian, another thing that people look down upon as being uncivilized, uncouth, mindless, etc., and you're using some very unfortunate terminology here.

The Savage is the Tarzan or Wolverine.
Tarzan is probably a ranger.

I'm not an X-Men fan but I did read quite a bit of Clairmount's run on it and managed to get through the bit where Clairmount was totally on some "Japan it totally cool and its the 80s!" kick and had had Wolvie have being trained at dojos in all sorts of samurai/ninja lessons stuff. Then I gave up because even after reading several hundred issues I found I didn't like any of the characters. Which means in my mind, Wolverine is a monk. Maybe multiclassed to barb, but not primarily.
 

Tarzan is probably a ranger.

I'm not an X-Men fan but I did read quite a bit of Clairmount's run on it and managed to get through the bit where Clairmount was totally on some "Japan it totally cool and its the 80s!" kick and had had Wolvie have being trained at dojos in all sorts of samurai/ninja lessons stuff. Then I gave up because even after reading several hundred issues I found I didn't like any of the characters. Which means in my mind, Wolverine is a monk. Maybe multiclassed to barb, but not primarily.
I agreed with the other things you said, but I really think Tarzan and Wolverine are barbarians. Or more like that the barbarian class should be able to represent characters like them.

I think Tarzan is actually pretty interesting take on barbarian. A person who fights with animal ferocity, has animal instincts and senses, is in tune with nature and has crazy wilderness skills and understands animals. Also runs around butt naked and fights with simple weapons (no necessarily 'simple' in D&D sense.) Yes, it is kinda rangery and even a bit druidy, but I think fierce animalistic warrior that uses no armour and strangles lions with bare hands is definitely in the barbarian territory. I think you could build a pretty cool subclass based on that.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
What about an "anti-magical" barbarian subclass?
I'm not too widely versed in Conan lore, but isn't one of his main qualities a deep suspicion of magic and the sorcerers who dabble in it? As I recall he's skeptical of the gods and their priests, fears the otherworldly, and on more than one occasion passes up powerful magic items because they're corrupting and not worth the trouble they attract. And when he fights the supernatural, he overcomes his terror and fights it with gusto, whether that means bear-hugging a fiend till the ichor oozes out, or seeing through a deception to cut down the wizardly foe driving the monster.

Is there already something that obviously fits this "my skeptical fist beats your arcane butt" archetype?

I'm envisioning things like... Better resistances/saves against certain magic (eg, enchantment, illusion)? Or benefits against certain types of opponents (eg, interplanars, casters)? Or gain access to an extra skill or two to aid in seeing through deceptions, eg Insight or Investigate? Or a rage ability that confers some sort of magic resistance to nearby allies, or a magical suppression aura? Or unarmed attacks overcoming magic immunities (maybe only when grappling)?

I suppose some of that steps on the monk's toes? Hmm.
I fear I'm too much of 5e newb to wrestle with this.
 

Northern Phoenix

Adventurer
What about an "anti-magical" barbarian subclass?
I'm not too widely versed in Conan lore, but isn't one of his main qualities a deep suspicion of magic and the sorcerers who dabble in it? As I recall he's skeptical of the gods and their priests, fears the otherworldly, and on more than one occasion passes up powerful magic items because they're corrupting and not worth the trouble they attract. And when he fights the supernatural, he overcomes his terror and fights it with gusto, whether that means bear-hugging a fiend till the ichor oozes out, or seeing through a deception to cut down the wizardly foe driving the monster.

Is there already something that obviously fits this "my skeptical fist beats your arcane butt" archetype?

I'm envisioning things like... Better resistances/saves against certain magic (eg, enchantment, illusion)? Or benefits against certain types of opponents (eg, interplanars, casters)? Or gain access to an extra skill or two to aid in seeing through deceptions, eg Insight or Investigate? Or a rage ability that confers some sort of magic resistance to nearby allies, or a magical suppression aura? Or unarmed attacks overcoming magic immunities (maybe only when grappling)?

I suppose some of that steps on the monk's toes? Hmm.
I fear I'm too much of 5e newb to wrestle with this.

I think there's definitely design space in all 2/3/4 however you define it of the most martial classes for an explicitly anti-magic subclass, mechanics similar to counterspell, dispell magic, anti-magic field, and/or some type of spell-turning that turns such effects back on their caster.
 

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