Barbarians are a staple of fantasy and fantasy gaming and in the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragonsit is no different. When building a new Barbarian for your next game, whether it is for your home game or joining in with the Adventures League, it is always handy to have a quick guide to help sift through all the choices that lay before you. Feel free to engage if one of my opinions is different than what you feel, and maybe you can change my mind on how I rate things.
I have always loved these types of character optimization guides. I feel like they have done a great service to the community. I am making this guide to help give back to the community, so I hope someone finds some value here, but if not that is okay, this is also helping with my system mastery.
For the most part, this guide is focused on the combat side of things. Some options may have great use for roleplay or exploration and I will try to highlight those as well, but if it has a use in combat that will give an edge in the rating. And as for ratings, you will see below that I am sticking with the established colors from other guides of this sort — With one minor addition that you will see below to help folks who are using a screen reader or may be color blind.
One of the things I really enjoy about 5e is that there are no bad races, and that is extra true of barbarians. And this is the juice of it. These are the reasons to play a barbarian the abilities that make you stand out from the crowd and give you your role.
Primal paths are the sub-classes for the barbarian. These will help define how your character interacts with the world and what additional abilities you are going to gain along the way. These are all the things that help you outside of combat. I know, boring. It is the worst. But, we gotta do it, it is part of the character making process. We will take a look at the feats, but, unless you are a human, I would recommend focusing on getting your Str and Con up with your ASI Ability Score Increase, which can be traded for a feat if you DM allows that option.
Standing on the backs of giants.
This is not the first, nor is the only guide of this ilk. As I find other guides to building barbarians I will undoubtedly weigh what they have to say against what I have said in here and I may provide some updates.
I will also add any other guides I find to this list. Make sure to check them all out to get all the different views on barbarians, then roll back here and let me know what you think! Do you want Search?
Table of Contents. Leave a Reply Cancel reply.They may, at times, devolve the game into a statistics exercise. Those are the kind of character builds on this list. Just remember, some of these builds on the list may result in the DM banning your character on the spot, consider yourself warned. Now you have a total of 19 AC, and that's without a class. This build is considered legal, and shouldn't have too many issues at the table. The Rogue is generally a good class at low levels and can be a decent addition to any multiclass build.
You would have to multiclass or be hasted in order to get two attacks in a single round. The problem is if you ever end up in a fight without a sneak attack opportunity, you'll be hiding behind your party most of the combat.
Taking a fighter with crossbow expert and sharpshooter, you'll need to cross-class into the hex blade warlock from Xanathar's Guide. You'll also want the spell hex. This build is both pretty cool and fits well in most settings, definitely worth using, and it's unlikely the DM will ban the character. Some people really like the monk, and there's a lot to like, Ki points, decent stealth, and unarmed damage to name a few.
The problem is that its subclasses are really lacking and the addition of others has not improved the class's playability. Its elemental subclass really feels underwhelming when played and its Ki attacks don't really punch the way they should.
The open hand doesn't really add to much combat power, nothing that taking the fighter wouldn't have given already. If you are proficient in persuasion if you're a bard you should beDiplomat will also double your proficiency bonus on persuasion checks. Then at level 17, you add your bardic inspiration to this check.
The opposing party will have to make a will save not to be charmed. The lowest you will likely role is You could probably talk a door into unlocking itself at this point. The barbarian can also be a good choice in multiclassing and if buffed appropriately could potentially get some of the incredible AC at later levels.
The barbarian just suffers from a lack of sustain as a tank. There's no problem in playing a Barbarian, its fun to yell at the table and be verbose, it's just not as efficient in its role as other classes can be. This one might cause the DM to ban you at the table. That's 40HP in a 1st level spell slot that can be divided amongst a party. This creates a healing machine and kinda abuses the mechanics of the game. Your DM may give the stink eye when you pull this.
Most DM's and players love homebrew classes because it's something unique and adds to the story. It's not easy to find a balanced homebrew, so it's going to fall into one of two categories, overpowered or underpowered.
Chances are, the DM will only allow one of these two. Letting this seemingly harmless thought roll around and stew in the back of their mind, "What if I just, cross classed into, EVERY class? Imagine this, basic abilities of every class at level one, all at fingertips a level twelve adventurer.
The power to do no one thing remotely well and to do everything else very badly. Stats that only align to two or three of their classes, causing the majority of their abilities to suffer penalties instead of bonuses. This true psion of madness will have neither a multi-attack nor a single subclass.The classic Barbarian is featured in all kinds of media as a skilled warrior, under clothed and strong as an ox.
It then appeared again in the original Unearthed Arcana book in Melee combat is your Haunch and Yak Butter. While this 5E Barbarian charop guide is aimed at giving some crunchy advice on mechanics, remember that character optimisation means different things to different players. Where the Fighter is versatile, sharp and precise; the Barbarian flows with the raw, blunt and a force of nature.
You have layers of survivability keeping you going as you enemies pile on. You may even get the ability to fight past death itself… at least while the rage continues. As a trade off, the Barbarian has the opportunity to make themselves easier to hit in exchange for more potential damage. But, the Barbarian has the ability to trade in some of that defence for some instant offence.
Barbarians focus on Strength. There is no strong Dex based option here Well… there is discussion of finesse weapons in the comments. You need Strength. Strength and Constitution will be your main focus… with some Dex thrown in to make you harder to hit.
Barbarian optimisation starts here. A very strong choice. There are often better choices, sometimes not. You may find use for it in niche circumstances.
Darkvision remains a great choice. Savage Attacks with a great axe is super strong starting off at the start.
All in all a great choice for an offensively minded Barbarian. I love playing a Halfling, the down side is being a small slow creature that gets disadvantage with the typical Barbarian weapons. I would dip a few levels of Rogue to take advantage of Sneak Attacks with finesse weapons you can still use Strength with those.
Resistance to an additional damage type is always welcome but is wasted at higher levels. The Dragonborn makes for a great Barbarian with a magic trick up his sleeve. However, there are some nice perks such as Darkvision, Fey Ancestry and extra skills. Here is how I would rank the three subraces:. There is a lack of racial ability benefits that the other races. The fire resistence looks nice but there are other races that can offer this up for you such as Dragonborn. At all. Stick with Cleric or Paladin for this race.
Getting extra damage on a surprise attack is just gravy. Not bad, but the Wisdom is mostly wasted here. Aside from that, swim speed, breathe water and air, talk to water creatures, and cold resistance are going to be dependant on your campaign.This is something I have pondered about 5th edition came out. What is a tank? A tank in this case is a character that can take a lot of attacks and damage without going down.
There are a few ways of handling this. High health, armor class ACthe ability to reduce damage and the ability to heal damage. Note: ability score increases will not be considered.
Barbarians are mostly thought of as damage sponges since they have the highest hit die out of all the classes. They can get ridiculously high armor class even without wearing armor. The benefit of unarmored defense is that it uses Constitution which also gives you a high health. While core abilities are strong what gives barbarians their tanking power is from their archetypes.
The storm herald is where the tank abilities are. The best choice for a tank barbarian is a tundra storm herald. You get the health and resistance to piercing, bludgeoning and slashing damage along with a strong AC in great health. However with a very easy way to gain high AC, natural resistance to damage, and two archetypes that can increase your tanking ability makes barbarians a great choice.
Fighters are often considered good tanks because they get good health can wear any armor or shield. That is all you get as a fighter in terms of abilities to help you tank. While these are great by themselves you have no archetype support to help you out. Most of their archetypes focus on damage and offense leaving fighters to rely on their core abilities for defense. Because of this fighters make good brawlers but bad tanks. The Paladin class is the most people think of when talking about tanks.
They have a lot in common with the fighter class. Paladins seem like a great choice for a tank and they are. Despite having archetype support that takes a while to get going, having access to the best armor fighting styles and healing abilities makes this class a good tank. Those people are wrong. While clerics get less health than paladins or fighters with a D8 hit die, their other abilities more than make up for.
In addition to these core abilities clerics have quite a few archetypes that offer abilities in the ways of being a tank. While there health may only be at a D8, clerics make a great tank.How to Tank in Dungeons & Dragons
This is because of their defensive and healing magic along with their archetypes the makes it harder for people to hit you, damage you, or crit you. Monk is a class most people think of when thinking of high AC without equipment.
However their unarmored defense is a little bit weaker than barbarians in terms of being a tank.
That being said maxing out dexterity and wisdom will still give you a high AC. As you can see monks get the most core abilities that help with them being a tank. In addition the open hand monastic tradition can let you heal. Because of all the base abilities to help you become a tank monks make a decent tank. Their average health and AC that takes some work to get up there are the only limiting factors.Home Post new thread What's new Latest activity Authors.
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I'm going to be starting an Out of the Abyss campaign next week, and this group plays by the books. I want to build a tank, somebody who can both dish out damage and draw the attacks away from the other PCs, who are much squishier than I plan on being.
Which class works best? Green1 Visitor. Well, depends on how you are tanking. If you want to control other creatures hits and have survivability, you can always go with a Battlemaster Fighter with a Protection fighting style. The Protection fighting style gives you the ability to use a REACTION to impose disadvantage on an attack roll to any attack that targets a target other than you within 5 feet.
Only thing is you MUST use a shield and have it equipped. Battlemaster comes with manuevers which you can spend superiority dice to get that do a number of cool things.
NO ONE controls like a sword and board protection style battlemaster fighter. And, it is the simplest character sheet other than the Champion protection fighting style fighter. Which, I would consider that as well. Both are effective.The class of choice? So here's a handy step-by-step guide on how to maximize a barbarian's raw natural power on the battlefield during character creation. The main difference between a barbarian and a fighter? Fighters are versatile and more precision-based, while barbarians are intended to be a sheer force of nature.
First up during character creation is picking a race, and there are a few choices that are well-suited to a barbarian's skillset. Of course, there are the common picks like dwarves, humans, and goliaths, but half-elves and Dragonborn are great too if done properly. Half-orcs and goliath half-giants are also a great fit for barbarians. For players looking to pick a less-conventional race, here are two that can make for surprisingly fantastic barbarians: half-elves and Dragonborn.
Both receive bonuses to charisma that is usually wasted on a barbarian, but half-elves also get to choose their bonuses in two other stats, along with dark-vision, fey ancestry, and two skills of choice.
Dragonborn, meanwhile, get a useful bonus to strength, natural resistance to one type of damage, and a breath weapon based on their constitution score—all traits that a barbarian could make great use of in any campaign setting. Race and class naturally have been selected, so now it's time to assign the barbarian's ability scores. Strength and constitution are, as previously mentioned, a barbarian's biggest priority.
Plus, perception is always useful, and it's based on wisdom. Charisma isn't really something that any party looks to their barbarian to have in spades, but it's all right if players want their barbarian to have a little extra Intimidation on hand. Finally, there's intelligence, and that's the barbarian's definite dump stat. Intelligence saving throws are rare, and barbarians really don't have any intelligence-based skills, so there's no reason to give this ability anything but the lowest score.
There are two ways to go when it comes to a barbarian's weapons: a huge two-handed weapon that offers fewer attacks but more damage per attack, or a dual-weapon style that lets the barbarian take more attacks, starting with two attacks per round right at level one.
Having one attack per round isn't that much funbut the damage numbers will speak for themselves as soon as the barbarian starts swinging. Barbarians get Reckless Attack starting at level two; combine that with a greatsword or greataxe which uses a d12 damage roll and the barbarian is already shaping into an awesome tank. Plus, barbarians do get a second and third attack eventually.
Players who can be patient for a few levels will soon be dealing out massive amounts of damage in one devastating hit. Fighting with two weapons has its benefits too: with the rage damage bonus and an extra attack per round, two-weapon barbarians can hit hard and often. Barbarians get to choose their Primal Path once they hit the third level.There are some navigation links that will let you jump around the guide, and I hope you find all of this information useful.
Hopefully soon we will have the History of Barbarians on Tribality, so I will leave all that up to Brandes. So for now, I will just go through all the options and rate them as I have witnessed the power of a Barbarian at the table.
I would like to hear your opinions about the build, so you can add a comment, or send me an email at michael tribality. So pick this class if you want to be the Tank and also do tons of Damage. This is all mechanical optimization for a Barbarian character. This first run through is a compilation from several sources, and I have made edits as I have worked on it. I mainly wanted to grab the information before it was deleted by Wizards of the Coast. This is all just complete opinion, and I will tweak it as I read through your comments and suggestions.
So I plan to treat it like a living editable document with many changes in the immediate future. I will use this very rarely. I would stay away. If you have to choose Standard Array, then the choices depend on what Race you choose.
With a Half-Orc, I would first choose: That would bring them up to with racial bonuses. That would be 15 — 15 — 15 — 8 — 8 -8 with point buy, and with Half-Orc gets you: Strength  — Your offensive output is tied to your Strength score with nearly half of your class features tied to this ability. Constitution  — Another top tier stat. Hit points are just too important to let slide.
If you want to stay unarmored, it is doubly important. Dexterity  — Highly desirable. If you plan to be a Dexterity Based Barbarian, then switch this with Strength. Intelligence  — Classic Barbarian dump stat. Darkvision remains a great choice. Savage Attacks with a great axe is super strong starting off at the start. All in all a great choice for an offensively minded Barbarian.
I love playing a Halfling, the down side is being a small slow creature that gets disadvantage with the typical Barbarian weapons. I would dip a few levels of Rogue to take advantage of Sneak Attacks with finesse weapons you can still use Strength with those.
Rage Against The Darkness – D&D 5E Barbarian Optimisation Guide
Resistance to an additional damage type is always welcome but is wasted at higher levels. The Dragonborn makes for a great Barbarian with a magic trick up his sleeve. The bonus to Cha is not the most useful. However, it does have some other nice perks to go along with it.
Darkvision, Fey Ancestry and two extra skills are actually nice perks.