Barbarian 5e Optimization Guide D&D (5th Edition)

Barbarians are a staple of dream and dream gaming and in the 5th version of Dungeons and Dragons, it’s not any different. When constructing a new Barbarian for another game, whether it is for your home game or linking with the Adventures League, then it is always handy to have a quick guide to help sift through all of the options that lay before you.

If you are a long time player, you’re familiar with these kinds of guides as well as the troupes that come along with them. There is going to be colour coding, snark, and remarks — Lot’s of opinions. Feel free to participate if a lot of my remarks is different than what you believe, and maybe it is possible to change my thoughts on how I rate matters.

You’re a wrathful warrior that prizes raw strength, a barbarian. Your fury sharpens your senses and drives you towards superhuman feats of electricity. As a mighty warrior, you can unleash your might upon your enemies as an Offensive combatant, harry your foes or protect your allies as an unstoppable Tank. Quick Build Expanded: Building Your Own Barbarian

Barbarian 5e D&D

This isn’t a character optimization manual, but the first step into playing your course is constructing it efficiently. The Quick Start guidelines in the Player’s Handbook really are a fantastic start but don’t go far enough for many new players. Here’s an expanded Quick Start guide. This manual assumes you’re using the D&D Beyond Character Builder, which includes helper text for new players.

Choose your Race. While personalities of any race can be a barbarian, you might want to decide on a race which improves your own cheque or Strength scores.

Half-orcs are the quintessential barbarian, and their +2 bonus to Strength and +1 bonus to Constitution play straight to the barbarian’s strengths. Other half-orc racial traits such as Relentless Endurance and Attacks also mesh well with your goals of dealing with a great deal of harm and not perishing.

Mountain dwarves are exceptional barbarians, as they get an unprecedented +2 bonus to both Power and Constitution. As a stunt, you also get entry to the dwarf-only Battlerager subclass, which concentrates on grappling opponents and sporting spiked armor.

People will also be legendary barbarians, cut from the exact same cloth as Robert E. Howard’s famous Conan the Barbarian. If your DM lets feats in your game, picking up a feat like Good Weapon Mastery, Shield Master or even Sentinel at 1st degree offers you an increase in flexibility and power.

Pick Barbarian as your class (obviously). Pick skills that fit who you want your character to be. Skills which play to your strengths are useful, but also consider shoring up a number of your flaws so as to create yourself a healthier character.

What Kind of Barbarian 5th Edition Are You Really?

Because of barbarian, you may be expected to have the use of a ferocious warrior that tears through enemies such as rice paper, how,ever there are options available to you than absolute Offense.

Due to your massive pool of hit points and effortless access to harm resistances, you can be a powerful Defense hero, weathering any setback whilst utilizing feats and class characteristics to prevent your enemies from reaching your allies, interrupting rituals, or stealing vital magical artefacts.

By walking the middle road of offence and defence, you turn into a Tank–forcing your enemies to battle you rather than your allies by getting in their faces and never relenting on your onslaught.

(And notice, this guide uses Offense, Defense, and Tank as shorthand. No component of D&D refers to characters this way, but it’s a simple way to discuss the different roles characters serve in the celebration.)

Your role in your adventuring party probably will not crystallize until at least 3rd degree, when you select your Primal Path (hereafter referred to as a subclass). You might wish to decide that subclass you’ll choose now so which you can plan your personality’s theme, aesthetic, or mechanical construct in advance.

Offense

As an barbarian that is offensive, you’ll focus on wading right into the fray and murdering enemies with impunity, secure in the knowledge that your hit points and damage resistances are going to keep you alive.

Once you reach degree or anytime thereafter, you might want to multiclass into a fighter for 3 amounts to boost your damage output. Pick Great Weapon Fighting as your Fighting Style and choose the Champion archetype to acquire the Improved Critical attribute, which synergizes well with the barbarian’s Brutal vital feature (and possibly the half-orc’s Savage Attacks trait as well).

Defense

As a defensive barbarian, your job is to intercept enemies and stay in the struggle for quite a while by investing just a small bit of energy for greater survivability. Your Defense-focused subclasses are the Path of the Totem Warrior (Player’s Handbook) along with the Path of the Storm Herald (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything).

Ability Scores

Power (++) 15 — This is likely to be your primary stat, if you don’t go for a dex build, for attack and harm. You also get a boost to the ability if you rage for harm.
Constitution (++) 14 — Does this ability affect your hit points, but in addition, it helps boost your armor class when you aren’t wearing armor. There is an argument that if you’re trying for a more tanky build that you would like this to be your main stat.
Dexterity (+) 13 — Shared save, one which you will get bonuses to, also helps enhance your AC and has lots of skills based off it. Totally worth not ditching. Perception is keyed off this and that is a skill that’s always going to be important
Charisma ( | ) [10 — Intimidation is an okay skill to give a little love, but I find in many games it is hard to roleplay and deception and persuasion tend to be stronger along with the Bard, Sorc, or even Warlock should have you covered here.
Intelligence ( — ) 8 — Dump it. Not a lot of spells target Int and the skills are not really on your wheelhouse. You struck hard, not think hard.

Races:

EEPC = Elemental Evil Players Guide
VGM = Volo’s Guide to Monsters
WGE = Wayfinders Guide to Eberron
PHB = Warriors Hand Book
DMG = Dungeon Masters Guide
SCAG = Sword Coast Adventure Guide
MTF = Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
TTP = The Tortle Package
CRC = Crucial Role Content

Feats

Aberrant Dragonmark ( + ) WGE — Should you for some reason wind up with a strange con score this isn’t a bad option. Possessing a cantrip and a 1st level spell can assist with some additional utility
Alert ( + ) PHB — Having a significant incentive to the initiative as a big boon, and based upon your DM not being amazed is icing on top.
Athletic ( | ) PHB –– This is a fine feat when you have an odd strength score and looking to out it. The rest of it’s fine, but not great.
Charger ( + ) PHB — If you aren’t obtaining some bonuses to dash out of your route option this has the added bonus of some additional damage.
Defensive Duelist ( | ) PHB — In case you’re a rare dex established barbarian or if you use a rapier that is a good selection for some extra defense. However, doesn’t really add a whole lot.
Dragon Stress ( | ) XGE — This is fine, but mainly just for the incentive to the con if you have an odd con score.
Dragon Hide ( + ) XGE — The real hide part of this isn’t too good, but the other bits are nice. A bonus to Strength or con is excellent, but what is nice is using a natural weapon.
Double Wielder ( + ) PHB — If you aren’t using your bonus actions for something else, might too swing another weapon.
Durable ( + ) PHB –– Bonus to con and if you invest hit dice becoming some extra hit stage are always good.
Dwarven Fortitude ( + ) XGE — Of you’re playing a dwarf this is a good way to raise your con and get some hit points outside of a short rest. I really don’t see with this ability in combat.
Elven Accuracy ( | ) XGE — This really is a great feat if you’re among the elusive dex barbarians.
Grappler ( | ) PHB — Grappling is not as crazy as it had been in other editions, but if you are set on it, this is the way to go.
Great Weapons Master ( | ) PHB — I feel this is much superior fit on a paladin, but it does give you possible additional attack as a bonus actions.
Greater Dragonmark WGE
Sentinel (
Lucky ( + ) PHB — I really like blessed. I believe it is one of the strongest feats for anyone. More so once you look at what you can do if you recklessly attack.
Martial Adept ( + ) PHB — Getting a few tricks in the fighter is pretty nice.
Mobile ( + ) PHB — Extra rate and a few candy hit and run tactics are available. Boost to strike and additional damage and possibly or str, con.
Polearm Master ( | ) PHB — Great way to get a bonus attack if you use a polearm.
Sentinel ( + ) PHB — Here is some additional stickiness if you’re going with he tank defender type of construct.

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