View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Barbarian Primal Path: Path of the Jotunkin

2018-07-20, 06:45 PM
This is my first homebrew work, and I was hoping for some thoughts on it. I developed this subclass as a response to the Giant Soul sorcerer, which I loved the idea of but was unimpressed by the execution. I haven't playtested it or done a lot of math to balance it, so let me know your thoughts on if it's overpowered or anything I should change.

Path of the Jotunkin
Some barbarians come from tribes that have close ties to giants. Perhaps they actively trade with a group of giants, or perhaps they practice lost arts that their ancestors learned from giants of old. Barbarians who follow the Path of the Jotunkin learn to harness the strength of giants and grow to incredible sizes.

Jotun Build
Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, you begin to gain giantlike qualities. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.

Jotun Training
Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, you can speak, read, and write Giant. Additionally, select one of the giant types below. You learn fighting techniques associated with your choice, shown below.

Hill giant: Any creature you grapple that is at least one size smaller than you is automatically restrained. When you are raging, you can make an attack to slam a grappled creature into the ground or walls for 1d6 bludgeoning damage even when you do not have a free hand. You use your Strength modifier for the attack and damage rolls.

Stone giant: You gain proficiency with all thrown weapons, including improvised, and the range on thrown weapons doubles for you. When you are raging, you deal 1d6 extra damage on thrown weapon attacks.

Frost giant: When you are raging, as a bonus action you can gain temporary hit points equal to your barbarian level as an icy coating protects your vital areas. Additionally, when you make an attack of opportunity against a creature, that creature's speed is halved until the beginning of its next turn.

Fire giant: When you are raging, as a bonus action you may create a five foot cube of fire in a space within 5 feet of you. This fire lasts for a number of turns equal to your strength modifier and deals 1d6 fire damage to any creature that moves into the fire's space or starts its turn there.

Cloud giant: When you are raging, you can make a running long jump or a running high jump after moving only 5 feet on foot, rather than 10 feet. Additionally, you can take the attack action during or at the end of a jump or fall, and you deal an extra 1d4 damage per 5 feet traveled.

Storm giant: When you are raging, as a bonus action you can cause all other creatures of your choice within 10 feet of you to take 1d4 lightning damage each.

Strength of the Jotunkin
At 6th level, you can take on giantlike proportions. As a bonus action, or as part of entering rage, you can increase your size by one category—from Medium to Large, for example. Your size doubles in all dimensions, and your weight is multiplied by eight. If there isn’t enough room for you to double your size, you attain the maximum possible size in the space available. Everything you are wearing and carrying changes size with you. Any item you drop returns to normal size at once. This size increase lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you die or are incapacitated. You can also end it early on your turn as a bonus action. Until it ends, you enjoy the following benefits:

• Your reach increases by 5 feet.

• Your walking speed increases by 5 feet.

• You have advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.

• You gain a bonus to the damage rolls of your attacks; the bonus equals your Constitution modifier (minimum of +1).

You can use this feature a number of times equal to the number of rages you have. While you are using this feature, you may expend additional uses to extend the time this feature is active, without expending any action, but size increases from additional uses are not cumulative. You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Elemental Might
At 10th level, you begin to reflect the elemental affinities of the giants. You gain abilities based on the giant type you chose at 3rd level.

Hill giant: You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage. You also gain proficiency in either the Intimidation skill or the Survival skill.

Stone giant: You gain proficiency with the mason's tools. Additionally, you can hide by standing still against natural or worked stone. When you hide like this, you are considered proficient in the Stealth skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.

Frost giant: You gain resistance to cold damage, and you don't suffer the effects of extreme cold. Moreover, as an action, you can touch water and turn a 5-foot cube of it into ice, which melts after 1 minute. This action fails if a creature is in the cube.

Fire giant: You gain resistance to fire damage, and you don't suffer the effects of extreme heat. Moreover, as an action, you can touch a flammable object that isn't being worn or carried by anyone else and set it on fire.

Cloud giant: Your jump distance and height are doubled, and you can use your reaction when you fall to reduce any falling damage you take by an amount equal to two times your barbarian level.

Storm giant: You gain resistance to lightning damage, and you can breathe underwater. You also gain a swimming speed equal to your movement speed.

Strength of the All Father
At 14th level, when you use your Strength of the Jotunkin feature, you may expend two uses to grow up to two size categories larger. When you use this feature in this way, your increases to reach, walking speed, and damage rolls are doubled.

2018-07-21, 08:16 AM
Strength of Jotunkin and Strength of the All Father is completely broken. First and foremost you do realize a 20th level Barbarian gets infinite rage right. On top of that they could have a 24 constitution score so the Strength of the All Father adds 14 damage to each hit. Than this stacks with rage. Not only is this way too much but almost everything here is battle oriented.

2018-07-21, 09:04 AM
What happens at level 20 is trivial. The few people who play at that level do so with the knowledge that there is only a vague semblance of balance left. But I agree with the sentiment, it is too strong. Level 6 is supposed to be a ribbon level, and instead it grants this archetype's most powerful and defining feature. There's not enough design space for both Jotun Training and Strength of the Jotunkin, so you'll have to toss one and put something lesser at 6th level.

Also, am I correct in interpreting that Strength of the Jotunkin has a number of uses equal to your Rage uses that can be used separately or alongside Rage? That's a strange way to do it. Why not just tie the effect directly to Rage?

I suggest you move Strength of the Jotunkin to level 3, when barbarians are supposed to get their big defining features. Make it a part of the Rage feature, just like the 3rd level totem features, though make it optional for when you're in a cramped space. To avoid stacking too much damage, I'd go the way of Enlarge Person and simply deal 1d4 extra damage per hit. I'd also raise the speed bonus to 10 feet to make it feel more significant.

Then do lesser features (Along the lines of Elemental Might) at 6th and 10th, and Jotun Training or something similar at 14th. I would just avoid going for huge size, it's so difficult to do justice to within the confines of a player class. Besides, you're not a full giant, I don't think anyone will be outraged at seeing that you can't become huge-sized with this.

2018-07-22, 05:15 PM
Thanks for your replies! In responding to your specific criticisms, I'll explain a little of my thought process with this subclass:

I was looking to emulate the idea of the Giant Soul sorcerer with a class that is more appropriate for melee combat. Therefore, I pulled some of my ideas straight from that. The Strength of the Jotunkin and Strength of the All Father abilities are almost exactly like the sorcerer version, but without the hp boost. The Jotun Training and Elemental Might abilities are similar to the other abilities the sorcerer gets. I did worry that might pull the class in too many directions, but I hoped that i could make it work because I loved the idea of both aspects of the subclass. I like the different fighting styles based on Giant type, but I may have to give up having both.

Looking at which levels to provide which boosts, I saw that WotC recommends taking care with adding combat abilities at 6th and 10th, but especially 10th. Some subclasses (like the battlerager) have combat abilities at 6th, so I hoped to find a way to include that and keep it balanced.

I struggled to decide how Strength of the Jotunkin should be triggered. The problem with triggering with rage is that the ability couldn't be used outside of combat. For example, if a player wanted to use their size to move something big, they would be restricted to one round of large size OR having teammates hit them every round to keep up rage. It would simplify things, but it would limit the ability significantly.

I agree that at level 20 things get pretty unbalanced anyway, which is why I wasn't worried about it. I understand that huge size could be difficult within a player class, but WotC is trying it with their playtest material, so I thought I'd give it a try. By level 14, things are getting pretty powerful across the board, so it probably wouldn't break the game. I could be wrong, though.

If I have to ditch the Giant type-based elemental abilities, I will. If there's a way to keep them and maintain some balance, that would be great. I like the ideas I've come up with, but they may not fit. Thoughts?

Edit: Lalliman, I just realized you were suggesting moving Jotun training to level 14. That would be a good way to keep the Elemental part, if I was ok getting rid of the Huge size. The only problem is that Jotun training pretty strongly defines the combat style of each Giant type. Hill is grappler, fire is battlefield control, Frost is tanky, Cloud has jump attacks, etc. I think it would be odd to give an ability like that so late in the game. That might mean that I have too many abilities vying for the archetype-defining ability.

2018-07-23, 03:25 AM
The other option would be to put Jotun Training at 3rd level and Strength of the Jotunkin all the way at 14th. Since the barbarian is not a magical class, it's only expected that overtly magical abilities won't come until high level. 14th is unfortunately a level that most people don't reach, but such is the nature of the barbarian class, you can't really get around that.

As I see it, it's much better to underpromise and overdeliver than vice versa, i.e. have a Medium or Large character who seems as strong as a true giant, rather than a Huge character who seems underwhelming for their massive size. As written, you can grow to Huge size (64 times the mass of a human!), but be no more resilient than you were at medium, no better at shoving or grappling aside from being able to target larger creatures, and only deal about 50% more damage per hit than you do at medium size (15 -> 23 at 14th level with a greatsword). It really makes you seem like one of the rando titans from Attack On Titan: larger and stronger than a human, but very lightweight and fragile for their size. This is expected of a sorcerer because they're physically-unimpressive characters who enlarge themselves with magic, but it's not right for a barbarian, who is supposed to be disproportionately strong no matter their size. That's why I would remove Strength of the Allfather.

But ultimately it's up to you whether this archetype is more about emulating a giant (Jotun Training first) or being a giant (Strength of the Jotunkin first).

2018-07-23, 09:25 AM
When you put it that way, that makes a lot of sense. I'll try to figure out what to do with that. I've also been crunching some numbers to compare average damage of the Jotunkin as written to the Berserker, and it is looking like many of the Giant fighting styles will be significantly more powerful. If I do remove Strength of the All Father and add another non-combat ability, I think that should balance out the damage. I just need to decide whether I want to focus on the Elemental fighting styles or on growing giant. Thanks for the help!