D&D (2024) World Tree Barbarian capstone (level 14) - a proposal


He Mage
There are many different reallife cultures, with many different versions of an archetypal World Tree.

It is ok to be inspired by one or more cultures − without appropriating them or misrepresenting them.

Dont call it "Yggdrasill", which is a specific animistic shamanic concept.

Here is a World Tree concept, within the context of the D&D traditions.

The D&D World Tree visualizes the interconnected of the multiverse.

Here are planar realms.

• Upper Branches: Astral, Positive Astral (Celestial), Negative Astral (Fiendish)
• Trunk: Ether, Positive Ether (Feywild), Negative Ether (Shadowfell)
• Surface Roots: Material, Positive Material (Fey Crossings), Negative Material (Shadow Crossings)

It is unclear how Elemental Planes fits in, but perhaps these are the "soil" that the Deep Roots of the Tree grow within.

Portals and Crossings between planes are like branches and roots.
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


He Mage
If you want to do a close reading of Snorri's language together, or discuss how myth works, we can do so in another thread. I'd be happy to see that happen. You can also start a separate thread on the use of culturally sacred heritage in game materials and whether that applies, but that is not something on which I would contribute.
Different cultures have different issues with sacred heritage.

For Nordic traditions, it is ok to use the heritage in ways that are playful, fun, and entertaining.

But to misrepresent Nordic heritage is seriously irritating. And the way Nazi Germany culturally appropriated Nordic heritage was horrifically violating.

If English speakers are assuming some "Germanic race", please dont.

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
When the survey comes, please remember to ask to bring plane-shifting back to the World-Tree barbarian. :D

Keep the misty step, but give a martial plane-hopping too! Thanks.

The capstone ability of the World Tree Barbarian ("Travel along the Tree") was changed significantly from playtest 7 and playtest 8.

tl;dr: I hope feedback encourages the designers to restore the plane-shifting ability to this ability.

In playtest 7: you touch a tree or teleportation circle, and you travel along the tree to another place in the same worklf or to another plane. You can take 5 willing creatures with you and you can burn 5 rage uses to use it again, or it recharges on a long rest.

In effect this combines three effects:
(a) you bypass needing to know the sigil sequences when using a teleportation circle;
(b) you can use a huge tree as a teleportation circle;
(c) you can cast a limited version of Plane Shift (normally a 7th level spell): it only affects 5 willing creatures, not 8, and it is only the utility option that's available (you can't use it to banish an enemy). Also, there's no Material component.

In contrast, playtest 8 gives the following effects:
(a) bonus action to teleport up to 60' -- effectively a double-distance Misty Step.
(b) teleport up to six willing creatures 500', once per rage (and so 5/long rest, going up to 6/long).

That's a big change: I see the desire to give the barbarian something they can use in combat. 8a does that -- a use for the bonus action every turn, but it has to be in combat (if you use the bonus action for this, you need to take an attack since you can't use your bonus action to extend your rage now). That limitation impacts the effectiveness of 8b: you have to be raging, and you need to attack (or force a save). This isn't a utility/exploration feature to help the party cross a chasm or whatever; it is a niche combat ability. I can see it being used to allow a party to launch an ambush, but never 5/long rest. I'm not saying it's useless, but using it once will be an occasional effect against an intended opponent, not a regular thing in combat.

I get that everyone is blinking about these days in combat. While 8a is a powerful effect, and i can see how it represents "travelling along the world tree", it is not something that distinguishes the subclass from many other options.

In contrast, the playtest 7 effects are evocative, to me at least. 7c. alone gives me a reason to want to play the subclass all the way through, something i have never wanted to do with a barbarian previously. That does suggest, to me, travelling along the world tree, this cosmological thing that unites all the planes. Evocative, distinct, and powerful, but not combat oriented. 7b is tree-themed, and in combination with 7a. is also powerful, but for reasons of exploration problem solving. I'd be fine if it were limited (1/long rest? 1/rage?). This would even give NPC wizards wanting to do nefarious things with teleportation circles a reason to keep a barbarian around.

Is there any way of salvaging this? I think there is: keep the combat blinking (8a); and allow the effects from (7a-c), once per long rest (with or without the option to recharge by spending rages. We'd lose the ambush-ability from 8b, but in its place gain some powerful, evocative, world-tree related effects that would help the whole party and support the barb in the exploration pillar. Granted, 7a-c wouldn't happen regularly: I'm fine with that. But if that were kept, I'd feel that I understood more about what the world-tree was, and I'd be excited to play a straight barbarian to upper levels.

My proposal, then, is to keep the bonus-action Misty Step effect form playtest 8, but re-incorporate the plane-shifting tree-travelling from playtest 7 in the World Tree Barbarian''s capstone ability.

Remove ads