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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Better the Barbarian

    Hi Folks!

    So, this Tuesday, the Barbarian of my Group asked for a little higher Damage Output. I'm not so strong with the whole Big Sword Thing, I play the Wizard of the Group (loosely based on LogicNinja, etc.).

    At the Moment, he has 6 Levels of Barbarian and 1 Level of Ranger. Just last Week we converted from D&D 3.5 to D&D 3.0. Before that, he wanted to be a King of the Wild, thats now ancient History. He has a Proficency for the Bastard Sword and can do Power Attack. Last Tuesday, he tried for the first Time the "Power Attack, Rage, Hast with a 2-handed weapon"-Combo.

    Our DM doesn't likes Splat Books very much. So at the Moment, we are limited to the Core Books und the PHB2, any other Book would take a little Convincing. I don't think that Retraining is an option.
    Oh yeah, before I forget it: ToB is not available. Not with this DM.

    Any Hints or Tips?

    Thank you very much, BlackandGold
    Last edited by BlackandGold; 2009-02-05 at 09:53 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackandGold View Post
    At the Moment, he has 6 Levels of Barbarian and 1 Level of Ranger. Just last Week we converted from D&D 3.5 to D&D 3.0.
    ... Should let him keep playing the 3.5 barb, that'd help him out.

    Anyway, get rid of that damn bastard sword! He should be using a great sword or something.

    'Core' and the PHB2... hmmmm... and he's already 7th level... I can't think of much, hope someone else can.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Hang on, did you mistype? You've converted from 3.5 to 3.0, but are using the PHB2? If you meant that you've converted to 3.5, that makes a little more sense...

    You're in an unfortunate position as the thing the Barbarian does best is Power Attack, and the things that help Power Attack the most are feats from Complete Warrior, to which you don't have access.

    That said, just getting a nice big two-handed weapon like a greatsword or greataxe and swinging it around with whatever boosts to strength and AB you can get ploughed into Power Attack should see him putting out respectable damage. It depends on what he's doing now and what he feels he's not living up to.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Damn, I made a mistake. We converted the other way around, UP to D&D 3.5. Sorry!

    Complete Warrior could be possible. What exactly is promising in that Book?
    Last edited by BlackandGold; 2009-02-05 at 10:30 AM.

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Yeah, I was gonna say, I've never heard anyone converting backwards within a version like that. As far as I've seen, 3.5 is strictly better than 3.0, at least in terms of the resources. As a DM, I like using the 3.5 books, particularly the PHB, much better, as the 3.0 one doesn't tell you much about how things actually work.

    Anyway, besides the point. At level 7, you can afford a pretty nice Greatsword, and if he can enlist some party funds on that he might be able to afford some protective items as well. The sort of nice thing is that he wouldn't really need to upgrade much in the next couple levels, so he could pay back the favor.

    Really, that's all I can think of. You're a little limited with those resources. The PHB2 alternate barb isn't even that good, particularly for upping damage.

    -JM
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    That sounded weird too. Anyways, the biggest boon for Power Attackers in CWar is Shock Trooper tactical feat. The Frenzied Berserker Prestige Class is good for that too, but it has the unfortunate side effect of occasionally killing the party. The other standard Barbarian-feat is "Leap Attack" from Complete Adventurer, which allows increasing the Power Attack damage when charging.

    Stuff like Knock-Down [SRD] can also be used to increase the efficiency of the beatdown. As a Barbarian, I'd look into Steadfast Determination-feat from PHBII to shore up the Will-saves too, but that won't help with damage output.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackandGold View Post
    Damn, I made a mistake. We converted the other way around, UP to D&D 3.5. Sorry!
    Okay, that makes more sense and is a lot cleaner than trying to "convert down" 3.5 material; relief!

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackandGold View Post
    Complete Warrior could be possible. What exactly is promising in that Book?
    Well, you have to tread carefully.

    The basic idea is to take certain feats that a) let you increase the multiplier of Power Attack and b) turn it from an AB-penalty to an AC-penalty. So, at no reduced chance to hit, you deal a lot of damage at the expense of leaving yourself vulnerable to an enemy who, hopefully, won't survive to exploit it. The downside is that you risk becoming a one-trick pony who can only make one particular sort of attack which requires the opportunity to charge a single enemy who can be taken down in one hit.

    I'm trying to remember the feats involved; I think it's Leap Attack for the increased multiplier at the end of a charge, then Shock Trooper to shift the PA penalty to AC. If that's all you use, you won't be too over-focused. The real stratospheric (theoretical) damage-dealers include several other tricks.

    edit: Huh, I always thought Leap Attack was in CW. That's what I get for not really paying attention to uberchargers.
    Last edited by kamikasei; 2009-02-05 at 10:41 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    If Complete Warrior might be go, point out Exotic Weapon Master. If he has EWP (Bastard Sword), he may as well pick up Uncanny Blow to make the most of his presumably impressive strength.

    And the Tactical feats--namely Shock Trooper and Combat Brute--are worth a gander. They were what made non-casters interesting before Tome of Battle. Elusive Target's pretty slick too, but it has some rubbish prerequisites. Take it if you have 'em, bag it if you don't.

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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by Temp. View Post
    And the Tactical feats--namely Shock Trooper and Combat Brute--are worth a gander. They were what made non-casters interesting powerful one-trick ponies before Tome of Battle.
    Fixed that for you.
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by kamikasei View Post
    Huh, I always thought Leap Attack was in CW. That's what I get for not really paying attention to uberchargers.
    Leap Attack is found in Complete Adventurer. Be careful, though, it has one prerequisite in the form of ranks in Jump. Prevented one of my characters from taking it when we were too far in to have skill points to spend.
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by Draz74
    Fixed that for you.
    That's one use for them, certainly.

    But by throwing Combat Brute onto a Fighter, you make Bull Rushes and Sunders appealing combat options. By throwing Combat Panache onto your Rogue, you get to throw your skill points around a bit with some flashy new maneuvers.

    Even Shock Trooper gives some new choices: Heedless Charge to lay on the hurt? Or Directioned Bull Rush to Domino Rush the enemy, knocking two enemies prone?

    Most of 'em give you a few new options. New options that can avoid the repetition of "I trip him again." 'Course the benefits can be used to make absurdly focused one-trick ponies too, and that's more what we're concerned with on these boards than playablity* in a long-running campaign.

    *In the "not going absolutely mad because every encounter has turned into an unending repetition of lockdown and despair" sense.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    You can always just polymorph him.

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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Pick any small race and put them on a medium mount (which can go anywhere your medium party members can go, unlike a medium race on a large mount). Take Power Attack, Mounted Combat, Ride by Attack, and Spirited Charge. Use a lance two handed. Deals 3[d6 + (1.5*Str bonus) + (2*BAB) + magic] damage. Take Leadership for a decent mount, or just invest in Handle Animal and buy/train one. Pure core.

    This works much better with the Knight, which is in PHBII, and gets the mounted combat feat tree as bonus feats.

    In PHBII you also have Robilar's Gambit, Steadfast Determination, Combat Focus/Stability/Vigor, Shield Specialization + Shield Ward (which is important at high levels to stop touch attacks), and Combat Panache (if you end up being a Knight).

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Switch to a greatsword or consider a pole-arm for almost the same damage plus some trickiness. Like the guisarme for trip and reach.

    At his level he should be able to afford gauntlets of ogre power. Weapon focus will help him land more hits. For that matter limit power attack to +2 to +4 against most baddies, unless they have a low AC. At his level he might have a 26 strength (+8) while raging. So AB = 7 + 8 + 1 + 1 = 17, average greatsword damage = 7 + 12 = 19. Against an average CR 6 baddy ("challenging" in a 4v4 fight) with 19 AC, he can power attack for +4 to get about 2 extra points of damage (after subtracting damage lost to misses). Against higher AC foes use less, against lower AC foes use more. When full attacking his attacks have less AB on average, so there he should also use less PA. Or same if his AB is lower than what I assumed, he's not raging, etc. Charging, tripping, flanking, etc. OTOH adds AB.

    Keep up the haste spells. That'll do the most.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2009-02-05 at 01:10 PM.

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    Griffon

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    Post Re: Better the Barbarian

    Hello there,

    I'm the player of the barbarian. I read your suggestions; taking a level of exotic weapon master was what I had in mind - but that would mean I'd have to change my fighting style from one-handed (currently) to two-handed. I think that may have gotten mixed up because of the words "big-sword-thing" that black&gold used in the opening lines.

    Forgive me, but I'dont see why a greatsword should be that much better than a bastard-sword. On the average it's 1.5 Points of damage. With a bastard however I have the possibility to switch styles.

    @person-man: why do you suggest such things? My barbarian is a 7th level human. I know that with mounted combat you might do a lot of damage - but how often are you mounted during a dungeon crawl or in a city? See what I mean?

    In our group we use Core, PHB II, Complete Warrior and Complete Adventurer.
    + FR Player's Handbook.

    My barbarian so far:

    Barbarain 6 Ranger 1

    Str 18/20 (gauntlets of ogre power, actually as "belt of the storm", that our nice wizard created for me) Dex 14 Con 12 Wis 12 Int 11 Cha 10

    AC 21/22 +6 (+1)breastplate, +2 dodge +3 (+1)heavy steel shield + dodge

    feats: Exotic weapon pr. Bastard Sword, Dodge, Power Attack, Survivor (bonus feat at start of play), Weapon Focus Bastard Sw.,

    Saves: 11/7/4 (cloak of resistance+1)

    Hitpoints: 53 (mew, shame on the dice and shame on me for taking such a low con-score)

    +boots of speed (10 rounds per day, free action to activate)

    attack: bastard sw.(+1): 14/9 d10+6 with rage/boots of speed: 17/17/12, d10+8


    So that's pretty much it. I'm not sure which way to go on from that point. Damage isn't everything to me and I thought about taking more levels of ranger because of the nice saves and the skill points and the rapid shot feat.
    Not that the character is good at firing a bow, but sometimes you have to.

    I will try to get a mithril breast-plate (+1), an amulett of natural armour+1 (or similar), gloves of dex.

    Fighting two-handed might be a better option because the AC is to low with or without a shield. I don't know.

    Thank you all for your suggestions and the time you took to help me.

    Orlando Gardiner
    Last edited by OrlandoGardiner; 2009-02-07 at 03:50 PM.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    The advantage of Two-Handed Fighting is getting double damage on Power Attack, making the feat much stronger. That's why the Uncanny Blow Bastard Sword would really work well as far as damage is concerned.
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by OrlandoGardiner
    Fighting two-handed might be a better option because the AC is to low with or without a shield. I don't know.
    Yea. Barbarians often have a hard time with AC; that's why Shock Trooper's Heedless Charge is so good--you gain a huge benefit at the cost of AC, but you don't usually have enough AC in the first place for it to make a difference.

    I don't know how you're set on skill points. If they're important to you, take some more Ranger levels. There's no real question there--Ranger is going to be your best bet unless you start stemming out into other splatbooks. And I'm under the assumption that even CWarrior might be a stretch.

    You might want to dabble in some other classes though (I don't know... these are just some ideas for combat classes):
    • Fighter is goint to be a pretty okay 1, 2 or 4-level class for its extra feats. With the PHB2 and Complete Warrior (maybe), you'll have access to most of the important melee feats.
    • Exotic Weapon Master for Uncanny Blow and maybe the Trip thing.
    • Horizon Walker in the DMG has an excellent ability for a Ranger/Barbarian at level 1--the Desert terrain makes you immune to fatigue and reduces exhaustion to fatigue. This also seems to jive with the concept behind the King of the Wild class B&G said you were interested in earlier.
    • Frenzied Berserker can be really really good, but can kill your party. And it's used so often in one-trick-pony charger builds that recommending it feels to me like making an argument that Miles Davis was an excellent jazz musician.


    [edit:]
    Also, depending on the campaign Favored Power Attack and Extra/Extend Rage from Complete Warrior can either be some of the best feats around or some of the worst. You might give them a gander, see if they're going to be a help.
    Last edited by Temp.; 2009-02-07 at 06:38 PM.

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    The advantage of Two-Handed Fighting is getting double damage on Power Attack, making the feat much stronger. That's why the Uncanny Blow Bastard Sword would really work well as far as damage is concerned.
    Yeah, that's what I wrote.

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by OrlandoGardiner View Post
    Yeah, that's what I wrote.
    As for why Greatsword is better on average, fact is that it's mostly ill-adviced to fight one-handed (and you can keep a Longsword around for that) meaning Bastard Sword effectively has you spending a feat for a smaller damage die (as you'll primarily fight two-handed anyways). Uncanny Blow helps that somewhat, of course, but then we're talking about a feat and a class level, so that's quite the commitment to a weapon that's slightly worse than a martial weapon.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by Temp. View Post

    [edit:]
    Also, depending on the campaign Favored Power Attack and Extra/Extend Rage from Complete Warrior can either be some of the best feats around or some of the worst. You might give them a gander, see if they're going to be a help.
    I already considered to take Extended Rage, on the other hand we rarely have fights that last more than six rounds and if we have, I'm already lying on the floor. Nevertheless probably my next feat on level 9.

    Frenzied berserker is, although a very powerful and damage-dealing prc, not an option, as it doesn' fit to the character. Plus, I'm not matching the prerequisits; I would be lvl 15 to be (9 cleave, 12 intimidating rage, 15 destructive rage).

    Horizon Walker is a nice idea. Will look it up.

    You're right with what you say about AC, it's just that until now I often had the feeling the shield saved me from getting hit once to often in a battle.

    Question about the paragraph in Complete Warrior, p. 31, "Uncanny Blow":

    "...If he has the Power Attack Feat he treats the weapon as two-handed for purposes of determining his bonus on damage rolls."

    I read some suggestions in various forums about what it should mean, but I am still uncertain. I first thought it meant
    even if you're fighting single-handed with your exotic weapon, you use the Power Attack feat as if you were fighting with a two-handed weapon.

    Maybe I understood what I'd wished it would mean.

    Thank you,
    Orl
    Last edited by OrlandoGardiner; 2009-02-08 at 07:25 AM.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    As for why Greatsword is better on average, fact is that it's mostly ill-adviced to fight one-handed (and you can keep a Longsword around for that) meaning Bastard Sword effectively has you spending a feat for a smaller damage die (as you'll primarily fight two-handed anyways). Uncanny Blow helps that somewhat, of course, but then we're talking about a feat and a class level, so that's quite the commitment to a weapon that's slightly worse than a martial weapon.
    That may well be true, but I already spent the feats, I can't change that now.
    As I said before I took the bastard sword feats to fight one-handed. This probably wasn't the best decision.

    orl

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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    I found myself thinking on reading the title "thats an interesting name for a barbarian hero." "Behold the mighty Better."

    Forgotten Reams Unapproachable East has a few barbarian feats- the "animal totem lodges" feats.

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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by OrlandoGardiner View Post
    I already considered to take Extended Rage, on the other hand we rarely have fights that last more than six rounds and if we have, I'm already lying on the floor. Nevertheless probably my next feat on level 9.

    You're right with what you say about AC, it's just that until now I often had the feeling the shield saved me from getting hit once to often in a battle.
    Something to consider, Improved Toughness. Not being unconscious/bleeding at the 6 round point would increase your damage output tremendously. Frontloaded combat of landing a few huge hits is great, but it's hard to find any single feat or ability that is going to increase overall damage dramatically enough that it will equal that 20% damage increase of still being up and swinging at round 6.

    Plus, depending on the party breakdown, if the cleric has to throw one fewer heal on you that might be one extra Prayer or Bull's Strength.

    (Incidentally, I'm a cleric and I love a combat encounter where I get to do more than heal.)
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    I found myself thinking on reading the title "thats an interesting name for a barbarian hero." "Behold the mighty Better."
    "No matter how great a warrior you are, I will always be Better!"

    Oh yeah. That would be a fun character.
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    The advantage of Two-Handed Fighting is getting double damage on Power Attack, making the feat much stronger. That's why the Uncanny Blow Bastard Sword would really work well as far as damage is concerned.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    As for why Greatsword is better on average, fact is that it's mostly ill-adviced to fight one-handed (and you can keep a Longsword around for that) meaning Bastard Sword effectively has you spending a feat for a smaller damage die (as you'll primarily fight two-handed anyways). Uncanny Blow helps that somewhat, of course, but then we're talking about a feat and a class level, so that's quite the commitment to a weapon that's slightly worse than a martial weapon.
    And he can fight with two hands with a bastard sword too. His point was that doing so only cost him 1.5 damage, which isn't much. And the ability to switch styles does have value. Now he can prevent himself from dying when needed, which doesn't suck. As for the damage added by power attack, see previous post & link. I even figured it out for him against the average baddy of reasonable CR. Two handed power attack gives him 2 friggin' damage in an average challenging fight. That's it. The rest of the bonus damage is lost to the AB penalty 'cuz, shocking as it may be, power attack makes you miss and missing means you lose some damage. This makes the ability to switch styles even better, because power attack will be weaker than this against higher AC baddies and stronger against lower AC ones.

    He wanted damage and everyone was assuming a greatsword so, for the sake of comparison, I didn't bother to change that. But I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the greatsword is one of the worst martial weapons in all of d&d, second perhaps only to the greatclub. For just a point or two of damage, you can get any of a number of useful special abilities on your weapon. Even if you do want straight damage, you can grab a falchion or scythe. At lower levels it'll only lag behind by a point of average damage (after crits) and at later levels it will out-pace the greatsword in average damage.

    So basically I wasn't gonna bother someone who wants to play a certain way but when he wants to play a different way and everyone comes in and says "No! This is the one and only way to do it just 'cuz we said so!" it's not only suboptimal but makes the game pretty boring when everybody does it. Then I gotta say something.
    - the guy who's looking forward to playing a guisarme char (versatility while still dealing damage) followed by a tower shield char (cover), in addition to build ideas from other classes, if only I had enough campaigns to play them in.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2009-02-08 at 10:45 AM.

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    ...he asked why Greatsword is better than Bastard Sword (when you use a feat on neither, the other simply deals more damage while both are the same weapon) and why two-handed fighting deals more damage (two-handed power attack). He asked questions and I answered. He said he wanted damage, not that he wanted to play something different, so damage suggestions were what he recieved. I hardly see what's wrong with that.
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    Default Re: Better the Barbarian

    him going up against a giant swinging his sword in big arcs:

    "There's no-one who can swing better!"

    He's grabbed, swung and hurled with great force

    "I was wrooooong!"

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