View Full Version : [3.5] Optimized barbarian request, no flaws

2009-05-27, 02:51 PM
Howdy y'all, got a simple request this time, hope y'all can help...

I was wondering if anyone could link me to, or create, an optimized 3.5 core barbarian, only real restriction being that the DM does not allow taking flaws (well, for anything other than flavor anyway).

I have never worried bout optimization before because my usual group almost always intentionally cripples their characters for flavor, and basically RP/"What would fit in character" choices override rules/optimization choices.

The group I am now joining however is a little different. They are not hardcore powergamers/min-maxers, in fact as mentioned above they do not even allow min-maxing via flaws, but I have been told they do usually build the most powerful characters they can within the rules.

Also, no game-breaking cheese like infinite rage, as this DM has a habit of responding with his own game-breaking cheese, though at a much higher level...

We will be starting at lvl 1, and the campaign will continue "until level 20 or everyone gets bored".

Anything in a non-core book has to be approved by the DM, but from what I hear as long as it is not overpowered he allows it.

Well, thats all I can think of that might be useful, thanks in advance for the help guys!

2009-05-27, 03:10 PM
Race: Half orc. You're a barbarian, you exist to do damage, rend people in twain!

Only so much you can do in core but here goes.

1st Power attack.
3rd Cleave
6th Weapon focus Two handed sword
9th Iron will
12th great cleave
15th Lightning reflexes
18th Great fortitude


Race: Dwarf

1st Power attack
3rd Bull Rush
6th Weapon focus Dwarven waraxe (weilded in 1 hand)
9th Combat reflexes
12th Cleave
15th Iron will
18th G fort.

2009-05-27, 03:12 PM
Heh, Core is easy: Max Str, high Con, 13 Int, rest Dex; Power Attack, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Combat Reflexes and you've got all feats worth taking. Then go to town. Of course, if you've got out-of-core options, you could focus on something instead of being "good at many things". So Human, Dwarf or Half-Orc (mind that Int) though with:
1. Combat Expertise
3. Improved Trip
6. Power Attack
9. Cleave
12. Combat Reflexes
15. Iron Will
18. Improved Initiative

For example. Two levels of Fighter could help get the key feats earlier. Also, after you've gotten a good number of Rages, 6 levels of Horizon Walker for Dimension Door every 1d4 rounds could really help. That PrC is pretty good.

Out-of-core, you've got options in focusing in damage:
-Charger with Power Attack, Shock Trooper [Complete Warrior], Leap Attack [Complete Adventurer], whatever else you can come up with (Combat Brute, Powerful Charge, Battle Jump, whatever)
-Controller with Combat Reflexes, Thicket of Blades [Tome of Battle], Mage Slayer [Complete Arcane], Deft Opportunist [Complete Adventurer], Stand Still [SRD (http://www.d20srd.com)], Improved Trip, etc. (you can get Improved Trip as a Wolf-Totem Barbarian [Unearthed Arcana] without having 13 Int, which helps a lot)
-Focused tripper with Jotunbrud [Player's Guide to Faerun], Improved Trip, Wolf Berserker [Unapproachable East], Knock-Down [SRD (http://www.d20srd.com)], etc.
-Dungeoncrasher [Dungeonscape Fighter ACF; pick the 6 Fighter-levels, take rest in Barbarian and focus on Bull Rushing with Improved Bull Rush, Shock Trooper, Knockback [Races of Stone]/Driving Attack [Player's Handbook II], etc.

Or whatever the else you want; generally it comes down to either dealing damage or stopping opponents from doing their thing. But yeah, focusing takes out-of-core material; you'll be a decent general purpose damage dealer/tripper with Core material.

Oh yeah, some folks wrote a Barbarian Guide (www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=105525) on these forums; that could help you.

2009-05-27, 03:16 PM
Ah yes, that is helpful so far, thanks guys!

I am not limited to core, though anything out of it the DM has to approve, and as far as I know he always approves non-caster anything.

I was thinking of being a damage dealer, power attack with a greatsword was the idea, so both of your ideas were spot on!

I'm gonna go check out that barbarian guide now, thanks again guys!

2009-05-27, 03:30 PM
If you can get Races of Stone, check out the Goliath race. It's LA +1, but your DM might allow LA Buy-Off (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races/reducingleveladjustments.htm) so you could get rid of that at 3rd level.

Aside from that, the standard "optimized" barbarian usually starts with the Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian from Complete Champion - at 1st level you give up Fast Movement in exchange for POUNCE, which is a great ability. If you want more Power Attack goodies, Complete Adventurer (I think) also has Leap Attack (does more damage on a jumping/charging PA thingy) and PHB2 has the Shock Trooper feat, part of which allows you to take the attack penalty from PA and turn it into an AC penalty. Basically, all that extra damage for no loss of accuracy, and if you're doing it right, you won't have to worry about getting hit (since the enemy will be a fine pink mist).

2009-05-27, 03:46 PM
I don't think Trip monkey works well with a barbarian. You can't use combat expertise when raging, and as far as i know that means anything dependent on that can't be used either.

Grappling barbarian works well, if you fight alot of humanoid spellcasters. Dragon spellcasters.. not so much

Orc for +2 str

1 Imp unarmed strike
3 Imp grapple
6 Power attack
9 cleave
12 weapon focus two handed sword

Irate Ranger
2009-05-27, 03:48 PM
Well, Humans get a bonus feat (so you can have power attack and cleave at level one) and skill points, so unless you want to go for the pure brute force of a Half-Orc, go Human.

Your stats should look like this:

Strength: 16-18
Dexterity: 13-14
Constitution: 16-18
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 12-13
Charisma: Dump stat (You can make up for the intimidation penalty by putting lots of ranks into it.)

In combat, all you really need to do is charge and use a two-handed weapon, then apply rages as you see fit. Also, consider dipping into fighter for about 2-4 levels for the bonus feats.

And there you go, a good reliable melee machine.

2009-05-27, 03:48 PM
AB & AC are often overlooked, but even +1 is invaluable. The chance to hit or added miss chance is tremendous. 10% per point on average. As a melee guy in medium armor it's roughly +7.5% more hits per point of AB and -10% to -15% chance to be hit per point of AC on average. Per point! Likewise without non-core cheese, power attack (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87339) is really hurt by the AB penalty and in reality is only so-so. It works okay at early levels, but so does toughness, and someone with toughness will even win in a duel between the two (but see "Feats" below)

Misc: Boots of speed are your most important item, because haste is just that good. Get it unless you have a reliable friendly caster.

AC: For AC mix up armor, amulet of natural armor, ring of protection, dusty rose prism ioun stone and optionally a shield to get plenty of cheap AC even at high levels. One strong item won't give as much. For weapons damage enchantments will often give a little more than enhancement bonuses, unless you fight a lot of immune opponents.

Stats: Strength should be your first priority, followed by con then dex. If you don't have the body slot for a certain magic item, you can pay double to get it in ioun stone form.

Weapon: You'll do more damage with a falchion than a greatsword later on, after improved crit or keen. You can also get almost as much damage with other weapons and improve your ability to trip or disarm when you get a good opportunity. Energy damage enchantments will usually add more damage than the keen enchantment or enhancement bonuses, unless you face a lot of immune opponents. Plus you might get a friendly caster to add an enhancement bonus to your weapon.

For feats, consider your fighting style. Weapon focus for +1 AB all the time will be worth more than a +4 to trip if you don't trip all the time. Or if you trip all the time and rarely do damage, the reverse is true. That doesn't mean you can't still trip or disarm without the feat. So for a focused damage dealer, get weapon focus and improved crit. Dodge and improved initiative are a couple of so-so general options if you don't have good specific build goals in mind. For specific goals, it all depends on what you want to focus on. Really any martial feat could work well as long as you make use of it often:

The combat expertise and improved unarmed strike trees are handy for special attacks.
Power attack and cleave are good for mook killing. Not so much in 1v1 duels. The PA tree also has a couple special attacks.
There are other trees with fairly obvious applications. Individual feats too. Get them if you'll be using the application often.

If a good opportunity arises that's both easy and highly effective - such as disarming a powerful cleric's holy symbol who sucks too much at melee to land an AoO - do still attempt it even without the feat. So do read up on special attacks even though you're a damage dealer. Likewise don't get feats for uncommon situations, scary as they may be. Even when the day finally comes the +2 or +4 probably won't change the results of a d20 roll anyway.