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D&D General Naming the Barbarian? [added battlerager]

What name do you prefer for the class?

  • Barbarian

    Votes: 60 42.3%
  • Berserker

    Votes: 58 40.8%
  • Ravager

    Votes: 3 2.1%
  • Rager

    Votes: 2 1.4%
  • Other

    Votes: 9 6.3%
  • Battlerager

    Votes: 10 7.0%

  • Total voters
    142

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
On a serious note, the fundamental issue is that the "Barbarian" is similar to the "Paladin" and the "Ranger," - these are grandfathered in class archetypes.

Barbarian is, of course, Conan.
Paladin is from Three Hearts and Three Lions.
Ranger is Strider (Aragorn) from LoTR.

Each of these class names has acquired different connotations (for example, the Ranger class often suffers from certain difficulties in defining it because "Like Strider" isn't really a class; so the issue of whether it's an archer, a survivalist, a dual-wielder, a commando, a petmaster etc. always pops up) over time, but occasionally suffers from the identity crisis of what it means.

Essentially, the Barbarian is "more tanky" than the fighter (more hit points, more resilient) with occasional outsider/wilderness overtones (as in the berserker/totem base subclasses). There's not a good name for that.

Which means you either stick with Barbarian, which people know as an archetype from D&D (and from other D&D-inspired games and CRPGs) or give it a name no one is very familiar with. Neither seems particularly satisfying, IMO.
 


My feeling is it is a trope, and in terms of being derogatory....does it really apply to any living group anymore? I mean it refers mostly to cultures that no longer would be described as uncivilized. And it kind of swings both ways (Conan the Barbarian is almost a commentary against civilized or urban living). It was also a way many cultures in the past did think of people outside their own more settled or more culturally advanced societies. It is a bit hard to understand Rome for example without at least entertaining the concept of barbarians. I am not sure we need to wring our hands over concepts that really apply to peoples from hundreds and thousands of years ago. Sure the term may occasionally get evoked today but it isn't usually meant literally. It pretty specifically refers to less civilized people in the distant past.
 


Shardstone

Adventurer
No it doesn’t.

I'm not sure if news viewing and article viewing has any crossover with the very vocal and much more niche active forum-going community here.
 




jgsugden

Legend
I think this veers into the realm of looking for trouble. You're applying a bias to a word that does not need to have that bias. If we did that for other terms, we'd soon run out of options in this game.

Fighters? All they're there to do is fight? Violence is the only answer - is that the message we want to send?

Clerics and paladins? How offensive can we be to people that actually have their own faith? Shoving false idols at them is irresponsible and inconsiderate.

Wizards. Really - wizards? Have you heard of the KKK? It sounds like you have if you're using their titles.

You can poke holes at anything.

The words have the meaning we give them. Barbarian is only offensive if we make it offensive. In my campaigns, the barbarian tribes are sometimes dangerous wanderers that plunder and take, but there are also wandering tribes that live as one with nature and fend off evil forces when they rise up.
 







Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
My feeling is it is a trope, and in terms of being derogatory....does it really apply to any living group anymore? I mean it refers mostly to cultures that no longer would be described as uncivilized. And it kind of swings both ways (Conan the Barbarian is almost a commentary against civilized or urban living). It was also a way many cultures in the past did think of people outside their own more settled or more culturally advanced societies. It is a bit hard to understand Rome for example without at least entertaining the concept of barbarians. I am not sure we need to wring our hands over concepts that really apply to peoples from hundreds and thousands of years ago. Sure the term may occasionally get evoked today but it isn't usually meant literally. It pretty specifically refers to less civilized people in the distant past.

Right. Civilization was the ‘villain’ here and Conan’s pure authentic self was ‘pure’ In its violence. Civilization layered a lot of pretense on their violence and it was deceptive. You know what you get with Conan.

The other point is that no one is saying barbarian is necessarily ‘bad’ unless we are referring to pearl clutching nobles who don’t fight for themselves After starting a fight.

additionally, barbarian is relative term. They are not from the so called civilized world. Conan knows that the civilized world isn’t always civil. Don’t we?

The traveler more in touch with nature via a vis the craftsman in the city with his nice shop is baked in: barbarians have survival skills and pray to gods that city dweller might not. They might even whip him into a frenzy with a berserk rage. Barbarian is quite descriptive of one from outside the dominant established Culture. It’s a point of view thing.

we would not say the goths or the angles or the Norse men were stupid or ineffectual.

I say leave barbarian not in spite of its baggage but BECAUSE of it. There is no shame in by Odin!
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Right. Civilization was the ‘villain’ here and Conan’s pure authentic self was ‘pure’ In its violence. Civilization layered a lot of pretense on their violence and it was deceptive. You know what you get with Conan.

The other point is that no one is saying barbarian is necessarily ‘bad’ unless we are referring to pearl clutching nobles who don’t fight for themselves After starting a fight.

additionally, barbarian is relative term. They are not from the so called civilized world. Conan knows that the civilized world isn’t always civil. Don’t we?

The traveler more in touch with nature via a vis the craftsman in the city with his nice shop is baked in: barbarians have survival skills and pray to gods that city dweller might not. They might even whip him into a frenzy with a berserk rage. Barbarian is quite descriptive of one from outside the dominant established Culture. It’s a point of view thing.

we would not say the goths or the angles or the Norse men were stupid or ineffectual.

I say leave barbarian not in spite of its baggage but BECAUSE of it. There is no shame in by Odin!

I voted berserker since it does a better job of describing what the class actually does and supported the idea that a barbarian background is probably better...

But I don't think Warpiglet is wrong here. There are actually a lot of people and tropes who turn an insult around and use it as a self-identifier because they feel the people who used the derogatory term are themselves morally compromised. It doesn't need changing on those grounds at all. If it needs a change, it's to shift to something more indicative of what it is and does, potentially freeing the idea of the class from it's background-laden identity and broadening its scope. But not because "barbarian" was derogatory to the "civilized" Romans who slaughtered barbarian women and children when they tried to migrate into Roman lands.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
My feeling is it is a trope, and in terms of being derogatory....does it really apply to any living group anymore? I mean it refers mostly to cultures that no longer would be described as uncivilized

I wasn't talking about living groups. I was just saying would any character call themselves a barbarian? Wouldn't they use the term to describe others, not themselves? It's just about making sense from the perspective of the character.

(Not that characters use class names about themselves anyway, so it's all very abstract and hypothetical).
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Which stories actually have a main character raging D&D Barbarian style as a regular thing?

Are there any where Conan of Fafhrd do? (Are they the two most famous literary Barbarians?).

In Glen Cook's "Dread Empire" series, Bragi Ragnarson's father does (and would probably be a Barbarian), but he's a minor character. I think Bragi does once or twice (but is clearly a fighter except in the prequels).
 

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