Would a Barbarian/Knight hybrid be too contradictory?


First Post
You've seen/read/at least know of Game of Thrones? And the Nights Watch? The military order of defenders on the frontier that can be seen as knights - but to protect from the barbarians they are supposed to they need to get on with the local barbarians and move in their territory regularly?

That sort of order is going to be a hybrid of knight and barbarian.

Precisely. I have no issues with "rules". It would not be a game otherwise. But, I do have issues with unreasonable restrictions disguised as rules that limit imagination.

Not rolling stats

I agree with you here. I do give the option for players to let me assign scores. I am not so anal as to insist on crippling stuff like 5 STR or 5 INT and any essential ability I think should be at least 13 at very low level. 16 to 18 if you want to be really effective. 10s, 8s, and 11s though for other stats are fair game. I do prefer running for and playing characters that are somewhat competent. RP elements noted.

Speaking of pallies, in 2e due to the way most DMs rolled stats, paladins were rarely played. You needed to roll really well to qualify for one. Imagine you wanted to play the knight in shining armor but have to go with also-ran fighter because of rolls.

Seemed sad.

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First Post
I really detest the 'barbarian' class, because it carries so much baggage now that it just doesn't need. The class has gone from representing a generic primitive warrior in 1e (which was narrow enough), to in 3e as 'rage' became more and more the defining trait only really representing just that slice of primitive warriors occupied by Norse berserkers, perhaps Judean Nazarenes, perhaps Maori warriors, and a few other warrior cults.

The core concept though of a warrior that garners his strength more from or as much from willpower or bloodlust than skill of arms is much more broadly applicable, and includes - as Dandu rightly points out - examples from what we'd consider the 'civilized' cultures. The archetype here of the raging near psychotic fighter as well a members of primitive warrior cults, covers everything from elite royal bodyguards, elite assault troops, actual psychotics, to religious fanatics. Quite arguably, whether we are talking western knightly tradition or Japanese samurai, multi-classing between the 'skill at arms' tradition and the 'screaming and striking off the other guys head' ought to be a fairly common thing.

And the reverse implication, that all 'primitive' warriors (or even all primitive peoples) are 'barbarians' and basically equivalent to norse beserkers is really no better. Indeed, the implication that just because your living in a nomadic tribal society that you are chaotic, or that just because your society is technological advanced that you are lawful, might even be worse. There is no reason why the leader of a barbarian horde shouldn't be both a barbarian and lawful in inclination, with a code of ethos, a respect for his peoples law and heritage, and a sense that he is part of something larger than himself. There is no reason why a tribe of people, regardless of technology level, should see the individual as being more important than the tribe itself, or be without ethical scruples, or be moral relativists. If anything, isolated tribal bands might be less individualistic and more steeped in tradition and ritual than more prosperous and cosmopolitan societies.

So, I guess I think the whole question is basically wrong. The real question ought to be, "Why do the rules make being a fanatic (barbarian) and being a knight (cavalier) contradictory?", or perhaps, "Why should a barbarian be caring all this unnecessary cultural baggage, that we continually have to ignore when we want to use the class to represent equivalent archetypes?"

That being said, in 1e you are talking hybridizing two of the most powerful classes in the game, with the almost certain result of making a rules monstrosity freed even from its role-playing restrictions.

I agree with you about the alignment thing. That, and the Barbarian currently being associated primarily with "rage". IIRC, the 1E version had the emphasis on innate magic resistance.

You're a good researcher! You brought up the Maori! Are you aware that they ate raw rats? And perhaps still do? Benefits of a Cultural Psychology course, circa 1998.

But back to the alignment thing.... yeah ....I'm working on a fix for that.


First Post
Guys, thanks for all the thoughtful and informative responses. I'm working on a concept that does, in fact, combine the Barbarian (or Berserker...... it's complicated) with the Knight. I even came up with a rationale for why this sort of thing, at least at the individual level, would exist. I'll keep you all posted.

Thanks again!!!

Just to add a correction to some misinformation on the thread. Far from getting more specific over the years, the Barbarian class has got a whole lot more generic.

In 1e the Barbarian was a completely anti-social warrior who would not associate with spellcasters at all (they needed to be second level before they would even associate with clerics, never mind wizards) and who objected to using magic items and gained XP for destroying them. They were right down there with thieves who stole from their own party and only slightly ahead of Kender in terms of how specific they were and how much of a problem they were for the rest of the group.

In 2e they barely existed.

In all three versions of 3.X they were warriors who raged. A whole lot more generic than the 1e Barbarian.

In 4e they were warriors who drew power through themselves - either through mundane raging, or frequently being so metal that when they roared at the heavens they were answered with thunder, or through allowing totem spirits to enter them. They covered the 3e archetype and went a whole lot further if you wanted them to towards the empowered mystical warrior. How supernatural you made them was up to you.

In 5e they walked back from 4e so Barbarians only go up to extraordinary limits most of the time and not the supernatural Barbarians of the more dramatic end of 4e but are still a much broader archetype than the 3.X ones, never mind the hyperspecialised magic haters of 1e.


First Post
Just because...

The 1e barbarian level so slowly (Remember in 1e classes leveled at very different speeds) that they would fall two three or even four levels behind everyone. To make up for this to a degree they not only got a d12 for hit points but received double the normal hit point bonus from con. They were bags of hit points, they were quickly out classed in ability to hit by all other fighter types but they also didn't have weapon of choice or specialization that all other fighter type for even more bonus to hit and/damage. Since magic weapons and armor were out of the question they also fell behind there. They only time I ever had someone get to into a high level campaigne with one he spent most of the time being outclassed by the party cleric in melee, which in 1e is pitiful.

They seemed awesome at level one....but when everyone else is hitting level 3 or 4 and your still level one well that shine is gone.


First Post
The conceptual issue with a barbarian and knight combo is that the usual barbarian is a solitary warrior from a nomadic/raider culture and the knight is from a more sedentary/civilized culture. The two are complete opposites. Also the normal armaments of knights: plate, heavy horses and lances weren't supported by barbarian cultures. Could a barbarian become a knight, yes, but as a player class, I would find it hard to justify unless it was a one off and many of the barbarian skills would atrophy as the barbarian trained and gained his knightly skills.


First Post
That’s a cool class to have!

Personally, I’m favorable to alignment restrictions, but only for classes that are connected to it, such as Clerics and Paladins. Yes, Paladins must be LG. But for me, I see no need to restrict the Barbarian class. Although I do want to replace the Barbarian with another class such as Berserker, but that’s just me.


Given that what you are looking to create is neither a barbarian nor a knight, but a new class that combines elements of both, then I don't think that the historical conception of either of the two classes should be a restriction. Rather, the question is whether or not the specific combination of elements taken from each is compatible.

And given its a fantasy setting, you could argue that the historical conceptions of the classes are not particularly relevant in any case. For example, I have never really believed that the Paladin has to be Lawful Good. Its a hangover from the western christian knight templar or Arthurian knight of the round table. My view is that the Paladin is a heavily armed and armoured soldier of God who is granted divine favour in return for living in accordance with a ethos or code pleasing to that God. In a setting with many gods of many things, there can be as many forms of Paladin.



First Post
Ehh, not so much. Following a code does not make someone a Knight. Druids have codes but they’re not knights. Just as being a Warrior Monk does not make someone a Paladin.
That being said, I think the class “Barbarian” does carry a lot of baggage. However, some versions of “Barbarian” are more variable. Knight, however, not so much. But that’s another story.


First Post
What you're looking for is called a.... Fighter!

Yep, that about covers it.

And I DM'd 1st ed for years. There is no class so hideously, laughably overpowered as the Cavalier. Hell, the designers of Unearthed Arcana even admitted that they didn't playtest it enough before putting it in the rulebook.

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