D&D (2024) UA 8 Barbarian Discussion

Then most often it’s not a real choice, which again, was my point.
Nope. Most often there is a choice.
If it’s not totally clear, then calculating average damage is how you find out if the risk is worth the reward.
Nope. Average damage is not the sole measurement. As long as you think that is, there is no point of discussing further.
Hint: Variance/Standard deviation.

Please take one or the other lesson in statistics and we can start over.

@chess: At the level I play, there is a lot risk vs reward going on (about ELO 1800). I guess even Magnus Carlsen (about ELO 2800) takes one or the other risk if he needs to win. We are not computers who can calculate everything. And even the best computers have not solved chess from the opening position. But again. Maybe you are way better in calculating on the spot than I or Magnus Carlsen (or computers are). Or better than Poker players who are very good at calculating odds and still lose one or the other game. Oh damn. Over the long run, they win... exactly... over the long run. D&D combats are too short.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Nope. Most often there is a choice.
You have not demonstrated this to be the case.
Nope. Average damage is not the sole measurement. As long as you think that is, there is no point of discussing further.
Hint: Variance/Standard deviation.
I did not say damage was the sole measurement. I said it’s how you assess risk vs. reward when it isn’t otherwise clear.
@chess: At the level I play, there is a lot risk vs reward going on (about ELO 1800). I guess even Magnus Carlsen (about ELO 2800) takes one or the other risk if he needs to win. We are not computers who can calculate everything. And even the best computers have not solved chess from the opening position. But again. Maybe you are way better in calculating on the spot than I or Magnus Carlsen (or computers are).
Again, it’s not reasonably possible to do these calculations on the fly, but it is possible to develop heuristics ahead of time that make the decisions you make in the moment easier.
Or better than Poker players who are very good at calculating odds and still lose one or the other game. Oh damn. Over the long run, they win... exactly... over the long run. D&D combats are too short.
Hands of poker are also short. “The long run” you’re referring to is a course of many hands, and many games. Likewise in D&D, knowing what options have a higher expected average damage helps you maximize damage “in the long run,” which is to say, over the course of many rounds, and many combats. This allows you to develop good heuristics, so you can make the best choices in many different situations as they arise.
 



OB1

Jedi Master
My biggest disappointment for the Barbarian is what they've done to the capstone of the World Tree subclass.

"Travel along the Tree" in playtest 7 was so flavourful, and so exhilerating. Even though games I play don't get that high, the thought of someday being able as a martial to plane shift was genuinely exciting. That ability alone made the subclass something to be pursued for the concept. A 500' teleport? Not so much, and fo rme would remove the subclass from something I was excited to play.
Completely missed this change on my first read thru. Gonna downvote the new version hard.
 

Clint_L

Hero
My overall reaction: okay. The context for barbarian is different than for monk, because barbarians are already widely considered to be a strong class, but kind of basic. So WotC seems to be trying to give them a few more opportunities and choices to make, and they've done that, even though I think some of the execution is still a bit weird.

Level 1:
Rage: extended on a bonus action
Rage: regain one use on a short rest
Weapon Mastery

The first two are great quality of life improvements. A barbarian without rage is not fun to play. I have mixed feelings about weapon mastery, because it kind of feels like it should be a fighter thing and now everyone has it. I would rather barbarians got a more barbarian-ish ability, but I do like that it adds a bit more strategy to combat for them.

Level 3:
Primal Knowledge: I like that barbarians get another skill, and I like that they can use strength to make them actually good for more than smashing face. However, I do not get why this has to be tied to using rage, especially since they add the caveat that, for the purposes of this spell, strength really "represents primal power coursing through you." What? Then just get rid of having to use rage to make this work, because linking rage to skill checks other than athletics and intimidation seems super dumb and weird. "Uh-oh...I need to be stealthy. Time to rage!"

What this really is, is WotC trying to get around their own broken skill check system.

Level 7:
Instinctive Pounce: I like this - Barbarians really need to get into melee to work, and this makes giving up your bonus action to rage a little less of a loss.

Level 9:
Brutal Strike: It's okay. Barbarians are already getting mastery, so the control options don't add all that much. Giving up advantage for 5.5 extra damage is probably a losing bet in most stations - it's like a poor person's great weapon master. Underwhelming, especially by level 9.

Level 12, Level 17:
Brutal Strike Improvements: I find it weird that brutal strike is basically just adding more masteries. It's fine, I guess. Not exciting.
 

Assuming 60% chance to hit, with 1d12+9 damage.

Advantage adds 4.38375
And extra d10 adds 3.575

So don't use Brutal Strike solely for the damage. Use it to punt a target though spiked growth.
OK, my own calculations have advantage adding 4.02875, while the d10 adds the same 3.575 as you got. I don't think I made an error, but I also can't figure out how you got 4.38375.

For clarity, I'm using: 84% (adv hit rate) * 15.5 (1d12+9) + 9.75% (adv crit rate) * 6.5 (1d12 bonus crit die) = 13.65375, vs the baseline 9.625 for no advantage.

Anyway, with my calculations, advantage is better with a 60% base hit rate, but the two options are basically tied at 65% (+3.835 vs +3.85), and the extra 1d10 is better at all higher percentages.
 

Restore a Rage on a short rest: Nice QOL

Brutal Strike: I like it.

I like Forceful Blow, and it seems like it should stack with Push for a total of 25' knockback. You can move half your speed after that, which would be 20' by default. You could still make a second attack with a reach weapon, or hit a second target that's along the line of travel. And obviously you can always catch up if you're not using a Push weapon.

Using Hamstring Blow to reduce speed is decent, though still suffers from the problem of knowing when to actually use it, since most combatants don't move from their starting positions once engaged. I guess it's usable with thrown weapons though, and should stack with Slow on a javelin. That's a -25' speed adjustment, which is pretty solid, whether the enemy is approaching or trying to escape.

Staggering Blow is clearly a tactical choice when combined with another teammate forcing a saving throw. Plenty of decent uses for that.

Sundering Blow confused me at first, until I realized it was adding your Rage damage bonus to the attack roll, not the damage roll. That would be a +3 to hit when you get the feature option, or a +4 after level 16. That's still questionable, though, since you're giving up the equivalent of +3 to +5 to your own attack by not using advantage. (It's +5 at 60% base hit rate, and +3 at 80%.)

I suppose it's fine it tack it on as the second effect after the level 17 improvement.

So 3 of the 4 options are tactically useful, while the last one is questionable.

Persistent Rage's change is a nice improvement. It gives lots more uses of Rage without needing to constantly get into fights to get 1 back at a time. So you can more casually use Rage for Primal Knowledge even after the point you use up your original uses, instead of only being useful for combat from that point on.

Primal Champion now raises the stat cap to 26, fixing the issue that arose from them allowing the level 19 ASI to raise a stat cap to 22 without changing the barbarian's capstone accordingly.

I like all the tweaks they made to the World Tree subclass, although it is a bit sad that the planar teleport option got removed. Still, the final feature is now something that can be used regularly, instead of rarely or never.
 

mellored

Legend
Staggering Blow is clearly a tactical choice when combined with another teammate forcing a saving throw. Plenty of decent uses for that.
Also works for grapple checks.
And push too, but I don't know why you would do that.

But yea. Disadvantage on Disintegrate.
Sundering Blow confused me at first, until I realized it was adding your Rage damage bonus to the attack roll, not the damage roll. That would be a +3 to hit when you get the feature option, or a +4 after level 16. That's still questionable, though, since you're giving up the equivalent of +3 to +5 to your own attack by not using advantage. (It's +5 at 60% base hit rate, and +3 at 80%.)
You still get the 1d10 damage, which mostly makes up for the loss of advantage. Thus you do about the same total, and an ally gets a boost.

Also, sneak attack. Some hits are harder than yours (not many).
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I don’t think that’s right. The UA says, “If you use Reckless Attack, you can forgo Advantage on the next attack roll you make on your turn with a Strength-based attack.” So, your second attack still gets advantage (and it seems like you actually can’t choose to give up advantage on the second attack for another brutal strike, which is too bad).

Oh, I missed that. That is VERY nice
 

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