Barbarian Class Details

A tall human tribesman strides through a blizzard, draped in fur and hefting his axe. He laughs as he charges toward the frost giant who dared poach his people’s elk herd.

A half-orc snarls at the latest challenger to her authority over their savage tribe, ready to break his neck with her bare hands as she did to the last six rivals.

Frothing at the mouth, a dwarf slams his helmet into the face of his drow foe, then turns to drive his armored elbow into the gut of another.

These barbarians, different as they might be, are defined by their rage: unbridled, unquenchable, and unthinking fury. More than a mere emotion, their anger is the ferocity of a cornered predator, the unrelenting assault of a storm, the churning turmoil of the sea.

For some, their rage springs from a communion with fierce animal spirits. Others draw from a roiling reservoir of anger at a world full of pain. For every barbarian, rage is a power that fuels not just a battle frenzy but also uncanny reflexes, resilience, and feats of strength.

Primal Instinct

People of towns and cities take pride in how their civilized ways set them apart from animals, as if denying one’s own nature was a mark of superiority. To a barbarian, though, civilization is no virtue, but a sign of weakness. The strong embrace their animal nature—keen instincts, primal physicality, and ferocious rage. Barbarians are uncomfortable when hedged in by walls and crowds. They thrive in the wilds of their homelands: the tundra, jungle, or grasslands where their tribes live and hunt.

Barbarians come alive in the chaos of combat. They can enter a berserk state where rage takes over, giving them superhuman strength and resilience. A barbarian can draw on this reservoir of fury only a few times without resting, but those few rages are usually sufficient to defeat whatever threats arise.

A Life of Danger

Not every member of the tribes deemed “barbarians” by scions of civilized society has the barbarian class. A true barbarian among these people is as uncommon as a skilled fighter in a town, and he or she plays a similar role as a protector of the people and a leader in times of war. Life in the wild places of the world is fraught with peril: rival tribes, deadly weather, and terrifying monsters. Barbarians charge headlong into that danger so that their people don’t have to.

Their courage in the face of danger makes barbarians perfectly suited for adventuring. Wandering is often a way of life for their native tribes, and the rootless life of the adventurer is little hardship for a barbarian. Some barbarians miss the close-knit family structures of the tribe, but eventually find them replaced by the bonds formed among the members of their adventuring parties.

Creating a Barbarian

When creating a barbarian character, think about where your character comes from and his or her place in the world. Talk with your DM about an appropriate origin for your barbarian. Did you come from a distant land, making you a stranger in the area of the campaign? Or is the campaign set in a rough-and-tumble frontier where barbarians are common?

What led you to take up the adventuring life? Were you lured to settled lands by the promise of riches? Did you join forces with soldiers of those lands to face a shared threat? Did monsters or an invading horde drive you out of your homeland, making you a rootless refugee? Perhaps you were a prisoner of war, brought in chains to “civilized” lands and only now able to win your freedom. Or you might have been cast out from your people because of a crime you committed, a taboo you violated, or a coup that removed you from a position of authority.

QUICK BUILD

You can make a barbarian quickly by following these suggestions. First, put your highest ability score in Strength, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the outlander background.

The Barbarian Table

Level

Proficiency
Bonus

Features

Rages

Rage
Damage

1st

+2

Rage, Unarmored Defense

2

+2

2nd

+2

Reckless Attack, Danger Sense

2

+2

3rd

+2

Primal Path

3

+2

4th

+2

Ability Score Improvement

3

+2

5th

+3

Extra Attack, Fast Movement

3

+2

6th

+3

Path Feature

4

+2

7th

+3

Feral Instinct

4

+2

8th

+3

Ability Score Improvement

4

+2

9th

+4

Brutal Critical (1 die)

4

+3

10th

+4

Path Feature

4

+3

11th

+4

Relentless Rage

4

+3

12th

+4

Ability Score Improvement

5

+3

13th

+5

Brutal Critical (2 dice)

5

+3

14th

+5

Path Feature

5

+3

15th

+5

Persistent Rage

5

+3

16th

+5

Ability Score Improvement

5

+4

17th

+6

Brutal Critical (3 dice)

6

+4

18th

+6

Indomitable Might

6

+4

19th

+6

Ability Score Improvement

6

+4

20th

+6

Primal Champion

Unlimited

+4

Class Features

As a barbarian, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d12 per barbarian level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12 (or 7) + your Constitution modifier per barbarian level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose two from Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a greataxe or (b) any martial melee weapon
  • (a) two handaxes or (b) any simple weapon
  • An explorer’s pack and four javelins

Rage

In battle, you fight with primal ferocity. On your turn, you can enter a rage as a bonus action.

While raging, you gain the following benefits if you aren’t wearing heavy armor:

  • You have advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
  • When you make a melee weapon attack using Strength, you gain a bonus to the damage roll that increases as you gain levels as a barbarian, as shown in the Rage Damage column of the Barbarian table.
  • You have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

If you are able to cast spells, you can’t cast them or concentrate on them while raging.

Your rage lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven’t attacked a hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then. You can also end your rage on your turn as a bonus action.

Once you have raged the number of times shown for your barbarian level in the Rages column of the Barbarian table, you must finish a long rest before you can rage again.

Unarmored Defense

While you are not wearing any armor, your Armor Class equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Constitution modifier. You can use a shield and still gain this benefit.

Reckless Attack

Starting at 2nd level, you can throw aside all concern for defense to attack with fierce desperation. When you make your first attack on your turn, you can decide to attack recklessly. Doing so gives you advantage on melee weapon attack rolls using Strength during this turn, but attack rolls against you have advantage until your next turn.

Danger Sense

At 2nd level, you gain an uncanny sense of when things nearby aren’t as they should be, giving you an edge when you dodge away from danger.

You have advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects that you can see, such as traps and spells. To gain this benefit, you can’t be blinded, deafened, or incapacitated.

Primal Path

At 3rd level, you choose a path that shapes the nature of your rage. The Path of the Berserker is detailed at the end of the class description, and additional primal paths are available in other sources. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th levels.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Fast Movement

Starting at 5th level, your speed increases by 10 feet while you aren’t wearing heavy armor.

Feral Instinct

By 7th level, your instincts are so honed that you have advantage on initiative rolls.

Additionally, if you are surprised at the beginning of combat and aren’t incapacitated, you can act normally on your first turn, but only if you enter your rage before doing anything else on that turn.

Brutal Critical

Beginning at 9th level, you can roll one additional weapon damage die when determining the extra damage for a critical hit with a melee attack.

This increases to two additional dice at 13th level and three additional dice at 17th level.

Relentless Rage

Starting at 11th level, your rage can keep you fighting despite grievous wounds. If you drop to 0 hit points while you’re raging and don’t die outright, you can make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw. If you succeed, you drop to 1 hit point instead.

Each time you use this feature after the first, the DC increases by 5. When you finish a short or long rest, the DC resets to 10.

Persistent Rage

Beginning at 15th level, your rage is so fierce that it ends early only if you fall unconscious or if you choose to end it.

Indomitable Might

Beginning at 18th level, if your total for a Strength check is less than your Strength score, you can use that score in place of the total.

Primal Champion

At 20th level, you embody the power of the wilds. Your Strength and Constitution scores increase by 4. Your maximum for those scores is now 24.

Primal Paths

Rage burns in every barbarian’s heart, a furnace that drives him or her toward greatness. Different barbarians attribute their rage to different sources, however. For some, it is an internal reservoir where pain, grief, and anger are forged into a fury hard as steel. Others see it as a spiritual blessing, a gift of a totem animal.

Path of the Berserker

For some barbarians, rage is a means to an end—that end being violence. The Path of the Berserker is a path of untrammeled fury, slick with blood. As you enter the berserker’s rage, you thrill in the chaos of battle, heedless of your own health or well-being.

Frenzy

Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, you can go into a frenzy when you rage. If you do so, for the duration of your rage you can make a single melee weapon attack as a bonus action on each of your turns after this one. When your rage ends, you suffer one level of exhaustion.

Mindless Rage

Beginning at 6th level, you can’t be charmed or frightened while raging. If you are charmed or frightened when you enter your rage, the effect is suspended for the duration of the rage.

Intimidating Presence

Beginning at 10th level, you can use your action to frighten someone with your menacing presence. When you do so, choose one creature that you can see within 30 feet of you. If the creature can see or hear you, it must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) or be frightened of you until the end of your next turn. On subsequent turns, you can use your action to extend the duration of this effect on the frightened creature until the end of your next turn. This effect ends if the creature ends its turn out of line of sight or more than 60 feet away from you.

If the creature succeeds on its saving throw, you can’t use this feature on that creature again for 24 hours.

Retaliation

Starting at 14th level, when you take damage from a creature that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against that creature.