The angry, ferocious, ideal damage-dealers_ these words define a Barbarian 5E perfectly!
Also, the chaos of combat gives these characters the essence of life. Their vast numbers of Hit Points make them resistant to damage, while their Rage gives them bonus damage.
Barbarians aren’t high on Skills, but they make good Strikers and Defenders when need be. However, to create one such character, you have to take into account their class features, skills, feats, weapons, proficiencies, and a horde of other things.
As a result, we’ve made this easier for you by compiling all you need to know in this 5e Barbarian guide. Check it out!
When you’re a Barbarian, the following class characteristics are at your service:-
- Hit Points:- The maximum hit dice available is d12 per Barbarian level. At the 1st level, your Hit Points will be 12 added to your Constitution Modifier.
- Saves:- Your d&d 5e Barbarian gains Strength and Constitution saving throws. Unfortunately, you won’t get many Strength saving throws, though Constitution saving throws are quite common.
- Any martial weapon for melee attacks, or a Greataxe
- Four Javelins, along with an explorer’s pack
- One simple weapon, or two Handaxes
- Tools: None
- Armor: Medium armor, shields, and light armor
- Skills: Any two out of Athletics, Perception, Intimidation, Survival, Animal Handling, and Nature.
- 5E Danger Sense:- This class feature is available at the 2nd level. Moreover, you start sensing when something around you doesn’t feel right, and this helps you escape danger. It gives you an advantage on Dexterity saves against visible effects like spells and traps. But this feature will only work if you aren’t incapacitated, blinded, or deafened.
- Primal Paths:- Once you reach the 3rd level, you have to pick one out of 9 Barbarian 5e Paths. Also, each of these 5e Barbarian Paths determines how your Barbarian’s rage will be shaped in the future. You’ll be able to reaccess your chosen Path’s features at the 6th, 10, and 14th levels.
- Barbarian Unarmored Defense:- It’s a fantastic class feature for those with high ability scores. Furthermore, your Armor Class equals 10 added to your Constitution Modifier and Dexterity Modifier when you’re without armor.
- Relentless Rage 5E:- Even if you’re severely hurt, you can keep fighting from the 11th level due to your rage. However, while raging, if your Hit Points decrease to 0, and you don’t die right away, you can get a DC 10 Constitution save. Every time you use the Relentless Rage after the first time, the DC increases by 5. Therefore, take a long or short rest to reset the DC to 10.
- Persistent Rage:- After reaching the 15th level, you enter a fierce rage that ends early only when you want it to, or when you fall unconscious.
- Extra Attack:- When your turn comes, take the Attack action for attacking your foes twice. But this class feature gets enabled from the 5th level, before which, you can attack your opponents only once.
- Primal Champion:- Reach the 20th level, and your Barbarian is now an epitome of wilderness. Consequently, the ability scores for your Constitution and Strength increase by 4 each. Now, you can attain a maximum score of 24 on these abilities.
- Feral Instinct:- You must’ve sharpened your instincts by the time you attain the 7th level. Additionally, on your first turn, you might get caught by surprise when a fight starts. If you’re not incapacitated at that time, your instincts will make you act normally. But for this, you need to enter Rage on that turn before doing anything else.
- Brutal Critical 5E:- When you start a melee attack to determine a critical hit’s extra damage, Brutal Critical lets you roll two extra weapon damage dice at the 13th level. Afterwards, on reaching the 17th level, it increases to three extra damage dice.
- Indomitable Might:- By the 18th level, you must be having 20 Strength. This means that on any Strength check, you can get a high roll. But you need to keep rolling high on attacks and saves.
- Fast Movement:- If you’re not wearing heavy armor, your speed starts increasing by 10 feet per hour. This happens after you reach the 5th level.
Barbarian Rage 5E
The primary feature that defines the class of Barbarians is their Rage, which lasts for a minute. You get consistent and reliable bonus damage, though it isn’t much.
They get increased durability, since they become damage-resistant. If you’re a spell caster, though, you can’t focus on casting spells while you’re in a frenzied rage 5e.
Thus, your skills of a DnD sorcerer fifth edition would take a backseat as spell casting needs concentration, but your fit of rage wouldn’t allow you to do so.
Likewise, you can Rage several times during the same combat, if it’s necessary. But keep in mind that you have access to only a limited number of rages per day.
When you’re not wearing heavy armor while raging, you can get the following benefits:-
Reckless Attack 5E
By becoming such a daredevil at the 2nd level, you’re all set to start a reckless attack 5e on your foes, without thinking about defense first.
Furthermore, on your turn, when you attack your enemies first, you can go all-in for a 5e reckless attack.
You can use Strength on this turn to gain an advantage on melee weapon attack rolls. However, until it’s time for your next turn, the enemies’ attack rolls against you will have an advantage.
Barbarian 5E Subclasses
Different Barbarians have different sources of rage. Some see it as a totem animal’s gift, while some think of it as a spiritual blessing.
Similarly, others find their rage coming from years of pain and grief that they’d concealed inside themselves.
So, take a look at all the nine Barbarian archetypes 5e available in the game:-
- Path of the Berserker:- Beware the rage of the berserker, for it’s bound to lead to violence. Since, paying no heed to their own well-being, they thrive when in the thick of battle and bloodshed.
- Frenzy 5E:- When you rage from the 3rd level, you can go into a frenzy. This allows you to take a bonus action of single melee weapon attacking on each turn, until your rage remains. Moreover, you suffer one exhaustion level as soon as your anger ends.
- Mindless Rage:- While in a rage, no one can frighten or charm you, starting at the 6th level. Even if someone manages to do so, the effects will be suspended until your rage ends.
- Intimidating Presence:- Your menacing presence is enough to frighten someone, starting from the 10th level. At this time, pick a creature that’s visible within 30 feet of you. If this creature can hear or see you, it must be able to get a Wisdom saving throw. However, on being able to do so, you can’t use the Intimidating Presence feature on that creature again for the next 24 hours. But in case it fails, you can frighten it until your next turn ends.
- Retaliation:- On taking damage from an enemy within 5 feet of you, you can start a melee weapon attack against that enemy. This feature is enabled from the 14th level.
- Path of the Beast:- Those who choose to walk this Path have an imaginary beast inside their soul, howling to be released. Also, when the Barbarian rages, parts of this beast burst forth now and then.
- Path of the Battlerager:- These are Barbarians belonging to the race of the Dwarves, who choose to fight wearing spiked armor.
- Path of the Storm Herald:- Unlike typical Barbarians, those who follow this Path harness their Barbarian rage 5e to create strong magical effects from Nature. So, they train with sworn protectors of the natural world, including Druids and Rangers.
- Path of the Ancestral Guardian:- This is for those who believe that their ancestral guardians are still roaming the world as mighty spirits. In addition, with their knowledge and guidance, Barbarians can better protect and/ or defend their tribes and allies.
Druid guide 5e can shapeshift, and they are a closely connected part of nature, providing you with an edge over others. Therefore, this path could be a double bonus for you.
- Path of the Wild Soul:- The Path of the Wild Soul is one of the most expressive Barbarian subclasses 5e. When its followers get angry, it feels like they’re roaring for freedom, feeling powerful emotions inside their bodies.
- Path of the Juggernaut:- Pushing their enemies into weak battle positions is a specialty of Juggernaut Barbarians. Moreover, they can destroy the most robust structures in a rage, and have no qualms about shoving their enemies over mountainsides to their deaths.
- Path of the Zealot:- Meant for the reckless, Zealots aren’t easy to kill, but they sure are easy to be raised from the dead. Dangerous much? Yeah!
- Path of the Totem Warrior:- These Barbarians can play multiple roles during combat. All you need to do is customize them by picking an Animal-themed benefit.
5E Barbarian Guide: Skills, Abilities, and Feats
- Strength:- Focus on making Strength your best Ability, as this is what makes a Barbarian.
- Constitution:- Barbarian 5E takes a lot of damage, so you need as many hit points as you can get. This should be your second-best ability, since it also boosts Unarmored Defense.
- Wisdom:- Don’t invest much in improving your Wisdom saves, but don’t dump them, too.
- Dexterity:- When you’re without your armor, powering your Dexterity will let you spend your improved ability scores on Constitution and Strength.
- Charisma:- Except for the Berserker’s Intimidating Presence and a couple of other Barbarian skills, Charisma doesn’t really matter.
- Intelligence:- Barbarians aren’t famous for Intelligence-based skills, so it’s better to dump these stats. Plus, you won’t get many Intelligence saving throws.
Barbarian Guide 5E: Skills
- Athletics (STR):- This is the only skill of a Barbarian that’s based on Strength. It’s great for swimming, grappling, pushing your foes, and climbing.
- Perception (WIS):- As Perception is one of the most vital game skills, make sure that at least two members in your party have it, if not more.
- Survival (WIS):- Barbarians with the Survival skill in their arsenal are going to come in handy while traveling through wild terrains.
- Intimidation (CHA):- You can boost the Berserker Barbarian’s Intimidating Presence with Charisma. Although it’s better to skip this skill if you’re following the other Primal Paths.
- Animal Handling (WIS):- Animal Handling doesn’t go hand in hand with the Barbarian’s other functions, but you can pick it anyway.
- Nature (INT):- Dump this stat if you can help it, for Intelligence is so not Barbarian. But choose this skill if no one else in your party has access to Nature.
- Great Weapon Master:- They are always on the lookout for two-weapon fighting. When faced with multiple weak foes, Berserker Barbarians can use the Extra Attack option. As a result, this will help them save their Frenzy until they have to face stronger single enemies.
- Sentinel:- Being a Sentinel works excellently if your Barbarian is of the Defender build.
- Mounted Combat:- It gives you several hit points, so that you can absorb any attacks that your enemies might target at your mount.
- Grappler:- This feat is an awesome choice for a Barbarian due to their unbelievable Strength.
- Tavern Brawler:- Your Barbarian can be a Tavern Brawler, along with a Grappler.
- Durable:- Most weapons won’t be able to damage you due to Rage. But it doesn’t mean that spells can’t harm you. Sure, magical healing helps, much of this healing will come for your Barbarian’s Hit Dice. So, if you want to keep your hit points at a high level all day, use the Durable feat.
D&D 5E Barbarian Guide: The Best Races
Find out which races would make the best Barbarian builds in Dungeons and Dragons:-
- Bugbear:- Getting bonus Dexterity doesn’t help a 5E Barbarian much. Still, you could do with the extra AC. For instance, pick Sneaky for making the Barbarians in your party ambush predators, while Reach allows attacking your enemies from a distance.
- Dragonborn:- Are you using Intimidating Rage a lot? If so, you’re going to need the bonus to Charisma that comes with choosing the Dragonborn race. Although, you won’t need it in other cases, but the bonus to Strength is a huge benefit. Moreover, you can also handle groups of weak foes by using the breath weapon.
- Dwarf:- This race gives you Darkvision, along with a Constitution bonus. On top of that, you get a bonus to Strength if you pick the Mountain Dwarf. A Duergar would also do, but since they’re sensitive to sunlight, they’re more useful in a subterranean campaign.
- Genasi:- If you want to power your Barbarian’s hit points and AC, Genasi is the race for you. Earth not only adds a bonus to Strength, but also helps you travel across tough terrains.
- Gith:- Apart from a few extra proficiencies, the Githyanki race gives you +2 Strength. Since there are many problems that a Barbarian can’t solve, with some magic options that Githyanki Psionics provide, you can overcome them. Avoid the Githzerai, though.
- Goliath:- This race makes you a monstrous melee attacker. Nevertheless, Stone Endurance increases the sum of your daily hit points, and all your vital abilities get bonuses. Additionally, picking a Goliath for your Barbarian build gives you free proficiency in Athletics.
- Half-Orc:- Darkvision is great for Barbarians, and you need the bonuses to Constitution and Strength. Hence, if you want to grapple using the Athletics feat, going with the Prodigy racial feat is an excellent choice.
- Human:- A Human Barbarian is more versatile than any other race. With its Variant, you can get not only bonus Constitution and Strength, but also an amazing feat at the 1st level.
- Tortle:- You get +2 for Strength, high Survival proficiency, and a reliable AC, so you shouldn’t lose sleep over Dexterity at the lower Barbarian levels.
- Shifter:- It activates both Rage as well as Shifting as Bonus Actions, which might be a problem when you try combining them. You get fantastic Darkvision, though. Also, if you pick the Longtooth Shifter, you gain Dexterity along with the ability to bite. With the Beasthide Shifter, your ability scores improve dramatically, you achieve bonus Temporary Hit Points, and you become proficient in a vital skill. Even your durability increases by adding +1 to your AC.
- Warforged:- Along with +1 AC and an increase in your Strength and Constitution, the Warforged Barbarians don’t need sleep. That’s why they’re more durable than others of their class. Therefore, to make up for your shortage of sleep, gaining Perception proficiency will let you keep watch while your party is resting.
- Centaur:- The Strength increase isn’t the only thing that’s awesome with this race_ your Barbarian can charge like crazy! You can also use your Rage bonus to deal damage by taking the Hoof Attack action.
- Simic Hybrid:- Similar to Humans, the Simic Hybrid would make a versatile Barbarian, giving you bonus Strength. Furthermore, you’ll get utility options with Animal Enhancement’s first round, while the second round offers many attractive options for combat.
- Minotaur:- This race is perfect for Barbarians, your ability scores increasing by a considerable gap. Thus, you don’t need a shield anymore to get the most crucial part of the Shield Master feat_ Hammering Horns would do it just fine. To get the Charger feat parts, use Goring Rush.
Barbarian 5E Weapons
Your character is blessed with the following weapons:-
- Greataxe:- With Brutal Critical enabled, a Greataxe lets your Barbarian deal more damage than any other weapon can.
- Javelin:- If you’re too far away to make a melee attack in a turn, a ranged weapon like a Javelin is a good option.
- Maul:- A Greatsword with blunt edges is the just right weapon for thumping your enemies.
- Handaxe:- Need to fight with two weapons? There’s nothing better than a Handaxe to serve your purpose.
- Greatsword:- You can be surer to deal severe damage with this weapon than with a Greataxe. But with Brutal Critical, a Greatsword isn’t that useful for a Barbarian 5E.
The DND 5E Barbarian Table
Unarmored Defense, Rage
Danger Sense, Reckless Attack
Primal Path: Path of the Berserker, Frenzy
Ability Score Improvement (STR 16 - >18)
Fast Movement, Extra Attack
Primal Path feature: Mindless Rage
Ability Score Improvement (STR 18 - >20)
Brutal Critical (1 dice)
Primal Path feature: Intimidating Presence
Ability Score Improvement (CON 16 - >18)
Brutal Critical (2 dice)
Primal Path feature: Retaliation
Ability Score Improvement (CON 18 - >20)
Brutal Critical (3 dice)
Ability Score Improvement (DEX 14 - >16)