In Dungeons & Dragons, Barbarians are tribal warriors who live beyond the bounds of civilization in the wild places of their world. They revel in the raw, primal power of their natural instincts. A barbarian’s life is harsh, full of fierce beasts and merciless elements. These hardships forge a powerful fury within the barbarian which they can release as a ferocious rage, making them nearly unstoppable juggernauts in battle.
The dangerous wildernesses barbarians inhabit have given them a keen survival instinct and an opportunistic personality. A canny barbarian player character might decide to explore other adventuring classes to acquire skills and knowledge that will give them an edge in their journeys.
10 Warlocks Ally With Ancient Entities To Unlock Power
In the course of a barbarian’s life they eventually choose a Primal Path which defines what powers their rage. The Path of the Totem Warrior forms a connection with a spirit animal that grants unique powers such as the enhanced toughness of a bear or the keen eyesight of an eagle. A player may eventually decide their totem spirit is actually a guise for a more ancient being.
Through the rituals of a warlock, a barbarian PC can make contact with this eldritch entity, learning spells and invocations from a primordial time. Invoking the Fiendish Vigor ability gives them temporary extra hit points, so they can continue fighting even when dealt a mortal blow. With the Awakened Mind ability, they can speak telepathically to any being within 30 feet, allowing them to coordinate combat strategies with their companions or terrify foes with rage-fueled thoughts.
9 Druids Draw On The Magic Of The Land
As wanderers of wild places, barbarians often encounter druids and other protectors of nature. These specialized priests may even be shamans in the character’s own tribe. A barbarian PC may decide to become a student of the druid and learn to better protect their friends and homeland.
By joining the Circle of the Land, a multiclassed barbarian learns to tap into magical powers from the environment, enhancing their combat abilities. Drawing on the powers of the forest, for example, a barbarian can cast the spell Spider Climb and move up vertical surfaces to surprise adversaries from above. A berserker of the grasslands can cast Daylight if they’re attacked by foes at night or in the depths of a dungeon.
8 Monks Fight With Precision
Although a barbarian draws on their instincts and the fury of their primal side, they may wish to temper these powers with the rigorous training and asceticism of a monk. Having experienced two very different ways of living, the hero gains a deeper insight into both lifestyles and learns how to incorporate them into a stronger whole.
By multiclassing as a monk, a barbarian PC can better control themselves in battle when they’re not actively enraged. They can use Flurry of Blows to add an extra strike on their turn, or Dodge to avoid an attack. They can even learn to Deflect Missiles, a valuable skill against foes who attack from a distance with bows or slings. At higher levels, the barbarian can learn to charge their unarmed punches with Ki energy, allowing them to damage creatures immune to nonmagical attacks.
7 Bards Inspire Friends And Intimidate Foes
A barbarian’s life is filled with epic adventures, fighting deadly foes, and fierce monsters. Such a life is the stuff of legends, and a barbarian with a deft tongue and good narrative voice can spin their party’s deeds into enthralling tales.
With levels in the bard class, a barbarian can use Bardic Inspiration to fortify their friends with stirring words, giving them a bonus to their dice rolls. After battle, the multiclassed hero can use a Song of Rest to quicken their companion’s healing. And by specializing in the bardic College of Lore, they can use the power of Cutting Words to reduce the number on an enemy’s die roll.
6 Clerics Heal Companions And Drive Off Undead
Death and disease are ever-present in the barbarian’s world. If one isn’t killed in a raid or by ravenous beasts, a gangrenous wound might do them in. Then there are the undead who rise to terrorize the living. A PC surviving in this environment may turn to the gods of healing and take levels in the cleric class to protect those they care about.
Once a multiclassed barbarian reaches their second cleric level they can turn undead, a useful skill for exploring tombs and dungeons where ghosts, skeletons, zombies, and worse monstrosities lurk. By taking the clerical Life Domain, they gain enhanced healing and eventually the ability to raise the dead. A raging berserker in battle with a healing touch in the aftermath would be a great asset to any adventuring party.
5 Fighters Are Diverse In Battle
Even though a barbarian is a master of rage-fueled combat, sometimes it’s more prudent to adopt other tactics — such as when facing quick opponents who can easily outmaneuver their attacks. Other times the fight simply doesn’t warrant a physically-exhausting burst of rage when a few cleverly-applied tactics could end things quickly.
A barbarian multiclassed as a fighter can take the Battle Master archetype, granting them access to a pool of extra superiority dice they can use on special maneuvers in combat — such as Disarming Attack or a counterattacking Riposte. With these maneuvers, a barbarian defeats opponents faster and saves their rage for bigger foes.
4 Paladins Fight Against Evil
A barbarian’s rage is forged through constant struggle against a harsh world. In Dungeons & Dragons many of these hardships are caused by powers of evil such as fiends or undead. A barbarian may decide to protect others from the cosmic forces of darkness by taking up the role of paladin.
With paladin levels, a PC can detect the presence of fiends, celestials, and undead — a handy ability to have as they explore dark temples, haunted dungeons, and other places where evil lurks. By taking the Oath of Devotion, they can magically shield their party from agents of darkness.
3 Rangers Are Masters Of Beasts
A barbarian naturally develops a keen awareness of the surrounding environment. Even though they focus primarily on the fury and enhanced senses of predatory beasts, they are also attuned to the subtler parts of their ecosystem. With the ranger class, they can enhance this connection to the wild.
With the ranger skills of a Natural Explorer, the PC learns to track, forage, and navigate through the environment with ease. By taking the Beast Master archetype at third level, they gain an animal companion who will obey their commands and fight at their side when they unleash their battle rage.
2 Rogues Are Sneaky Until They Need To Attack
A barbarian who has spent some time in cities learns that brute force isn’t always the best survival strategy. Sometimes the subtle tricks employed by rogues are better for obtaining life’s necessities.
With levels in the rogue class, a barbarian learns skills like Fast Hands to disarm traps and pick locks, Supreme Sneak to aid stealth checks, and Thief’s Reflexes to fight back if caught in the act. When the situation does call for force, a barbarian can unleash rage on foes who will be shocked to discover they’re not dealing with a mere thief.
1 Sorcerers Can Customize Spells
Natural instincts may not be the only force powering a barbarian. Some may be infused with Wild Magic, granting them the powers of a sorcerer. With practice, they learn to manipulate and control this power much as they channel their bestial urges into battle rage.
With levels in the sorcerer class, a barbarian gains access to spells they can alter and refine. They can speed up casting time, extend a spell’s duration, enhance its potency, and more. By taking the Wild Magic origin for their powers, a PC can unleash chaotic magic to manipulate luck, giving themselves or a friend a bonus on their dice rolls or forcing a penalty onto a foe.
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