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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    So, I was wanting to remake the Barbarian Class in the same vein as the Fighter that was remade way back (linked in sig), that is giving it more options in combat than "I move, I attack" and "Do I want to enrage this round?"

    For the Barbarian this is a blessing and a curse. It's good in that with a much narrower role, it's much easier to redesign the Barbarian in a way that will keep most players happy with it, it's bad in that the core of what makes a barbarian a barbarian is the "RAWR HULK SMASH" feel to it. So that leaves the question of what sort of abilities can you give a barbarian, to make it more versatile and powerful, without losing that barbarian feel?

    What sorts of things make a barbarian a barbarian that are cool and awesome in game? Looking at the Barbarian Class, there's 3 main things its abilities seem to focus around:

    -Increased Movement
    -Increased Damage
    -The ability to shrug off damage.


    So it seems to me that any design would need to involve these things at the least. But are there other things that fall into the Barbarian niche? What about things like shouts from Diablo? Something to inspire fear in enemies, or inspire allies? Is that too out there to fit into the game for a non-magical class? Would potent limited use defensive abilities be out of the question for the berserker flavor?

    What I'm looking for is feedback as to what sorts of things the community thinks would fit in as Barbarian abilities, and what sorts of things simply do not fit. Preferably abilities outside of increased damage, because while of course a barbarian needs such, those are not hard to figure out.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    Fear effects are one of the most common splatbook additions to the Barbarian, IIRC (feats/ACFs/PrC features along the lines of 'when you go into a rage, you can also make an Intimidate check against an adjacent target/everything in 30 feet of you/whatever') It wouldn't be out of line to fold them in to the base class. Similarly, "potent limited use defensive abilities" fits well with the "oh god he's coming HE WON'T STOP WHY DOESN'T HE FALL DOWN" feel that goes hand in hand with berserker rages. He may actually be dead, but he's not going to figure that out and stop moving until you're dead too. So.. basically everything you're musing about right now, I'd at least try to write an ability for and see how they fit in with the desired balance.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    You've pretty much hit the nail on the head. I'd say that Barbarians are pretty much supposed to be the Hulk- they're supposed to crush enemies, they're supposed to shrug off wounds like papercuts, and they're supposed to scare the crap out of foes.

    They're like huge sacks of muscle, testosterone, adrenaline and tank armor. Just emphasize those traits in a lot of ways.
    Last edited by Lateral; 2011-01-16 at 08:53 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    Fear effects are one of the most common splatbook additions to the Barbarian, IIRC (feats/ACFs/PrC features along the lines of 'when you go into a rage, you can also make an Intimidate check against an adjacent target/everything in 30 feet of you/whatever') It wouldn't be out of line to fold them in to the base class. Similarly, "potent limited use defensive abilities" fits well with the "oh god he's coming HE WON'T STOP WHY DOESN'T HE FALL DOWN" feel that goes hand in hand with berserker rages. He may actually be dead, but he's not going to figure that out and stop moving until you're dead too. So.. basically everything you're musing about right now, I'd at least try to write an ability for and see how they fit in with the desired balance.
    Fair enough. Can you think of anything really I didn't touch on in my post that would be fitting?

    Also looking for more feedback.
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    Book Wyrm's Avatar

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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    Another common theme for barbarians is the animal totem. The alternate barbarian classes on the SRD are all Totem themed barbarians, the Bear Warrior PrC, the Spirit Totem barbarians in the CCh (the source of the ubiquitous Lion Spirit pounce nonsense) and the etymology of berserker (ber-serk = bear skin) all attest to this.

    Mechanically speaking, immunity to fear and certain other conditions, the ability to shake off harmful magical effects, and the ability to wield over-sized weapons all pop-up as well.

    Also, look at the Pathfinder Barbarian for an example of how to keep the Rage and give the barbarian more toys to play with.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    The Pathfinder Barbarian Rage Powers seem to be a good starting point for the sorts of things I was looking for. Some of them seem a bit awkward to explain but others fit well, though I'm looking for a more resource limited encounter based model, so it'll be pretty different.

    I should have something up tonight or tomorrow.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    Lack of "civility".

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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    Like any Hulk, Barbarians are very good at smashing, both faces and objects. At the same time, they are not on friendly terms with anything resembling finesse or subtlety. Thus, abilities that enhance ability scores are very important (since they alter the "natural" part) while abilities that enhance derived stats (attack bonus, etc.) don't fit so well. Penalizing the latter in favour of the former works fine, though - stuff that's slightly more than an even trade such as +4 STR, -2 AB. Perhaps their Rage can give them virtual size increases, with the associated bonuses and penalties but without space or reach changes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
    \ˈgrā-tər \
    comparative adjective
    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Book Wyrm View Post
    . . . the source of the ubiquitous Lion Spirit pounce nonsense . . .
    I've been waving this flag for a long time now.

    A more reasonable solution could be the Spring Attack tree. Along with Fast Movements and Haste effect (given heavy PF influence), this could give a character some decent mobility (Flawless Stride could also help and makes a lot of sense).

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    Barbarians shouldn't be about mobility. Barbarians should be about charging. Leave the sissy Spring Attacking to the Monks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
    \ˈgrā-tər \
    comparative adjective
    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Goblin

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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    I like Flickerdart's notion about the smashing. I think you could easily add a "Shattering Blow" ability which would let you add a certain amount of force damage/day with a successful hit, somewhat along the lines with the Paladin's Smite Evil ability.

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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    They should be this guy.

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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    Bloodlust is another trait which goes well with barbarians, with benefits for killing opponents being one way to implement it.

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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    Look up stories about Norse Bezerkers. That'll give you an idea. There's stories about them standing in the middle of campfires without reacting in any way.

    So perhaps an energy resistance thing?
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    Prime32's Avatar

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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    Here's some work I did on this before, with a bunch of options for barbarians.
    http://brilliantgameologists.com/boa...hp?topic=10516

    May need some adjustments for level-scaling, and the ability to trap peoples' weapons in your body is kind of overpowered against natural attacks, but meh.


    Something else barbarians should be able to do: be so terrifying that even mindless creatures can die of fear by looking at them.
    Last edited by Prime32; 2011-01-18 at 06:18 AM.

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    Default Re: What makes a Barbarian a Barbarian?

    I once started on an unarmed, unarmoured true berserker class after playing too much ADOM. Basically: rip plate-armoured enemies to shreds with your bare hands, while making arrows and spears bounce off your mighty chest muscles.
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