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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Barbarian advice.

    I have just joined a DnD group in college, and it looks to be a fun experience, but I have opted to play a barbarian in a spellcaster heavy party.

    The other party members are a druid, a cleric, a rogue, a wizard (to whom I have given my copy of TLN Guide) and possibly one or two others who have not shown up yet.

    This is my current build.
    http://www.thetangledweb.net/addon.p...w_char&cid=769

    Being someone who has prefered spllcasters to melee combatants, I was wondering if this will be a good all around build for a front liner.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Let's see. I assume you took the barbarian level first, right?

    Endurance is a crappy feat, but I guess you took that for steadfast determination for the saving throws.

    Looks like a relatively straight-forward combat build, only thing is that improved sunder and improved bull rush aren't especially mechanically powerful feats, but it seems like they'd fit your character and aren't especially gimpy so I'd keep them. Maybe get a friendly caster to make nasty effects that you can bullrush people into?

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Looks like a simple, effective tank character. The only thing I'm not quite sure about is Endurance/Steadfast Determination - you're effectively getting a +5 on your Will save in exchange for two feats, which isn't a bad deal, but isn't a great one either. It might be worth thinking about something like Extra Rage instead.

    Any reason you're using chainmail over a breastplate? A breastplate has one less ACP and will allow for an extra point of AC if your dex goes up somehow.

    Other than that, looks fine. Strategy is 'run up and hit things', I'm guessing.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Maybe get a friendly caster to make nasty effects that you can bullrush people into?
    I'll talk to him about it.

    I've already got him down to give me Enlarge Person, so that wiill provide bonuses on Bull Rush and Sunder, which should be quite fun....

    Any reason you're using chainmail over a breastplate? A breastplate has one less ACP and will allow for an extra point of AC if your dex goes up somehow.
    I wasn't bothered by the ACP, and I don't plan on having much Dex, so that works out fine for me.

    That and I would have had only 30 gp left if I chose a breastplate. The plan for me right now is to upgrade/steal/loot better armor later.

    Extra Rage sounds nice, but we aren't going to have more than 4 encounters per day, and the fact that we have a Batman wizard and CoDzillas on the team means that I don't need to rage as often, as I'll be up to my gills in buffs.

    As I played spellcasters a lot, I'm rather concerned about the various ways to screw melee characters over with the right save or x spells, so I decided to go for Steadfast Determination to help avoid that.

    The DM is going to give us one do over at later levels if we find out something doesn't work out as well as we anticipated, so I'll keep all of your advice in mind for then.

    Thanks a bunch.


    ps. Anyone know of any good barbarian lines? I've already used "By the Power of Greyskull" and am looking for more.
    Last edited by Solo; 2007-09-24 at 10:26 AM.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    I'd say you could drop out some of those feats (Improved Sunder, maybe the Steadfast line) for Rage Feats, Extra and maybe Extended, (Rage all fight, every fight).

    The other thing I do which may not be you stick, is design a character based on an idea. Tanking isn't one since that doesn't happen in DnD (unless you have some impressive reach and Stand Still.)

    The only Barbarian build I have going in my head now is a grappler, and that apparently isn't your plan so can't help you much there. Then of course you can go for a super Bullrusher with 6 lvls of Fighter and the Dungeon Crasher variant. (Get a large creature with a good strength for +1 or 2 LA, then take Warhulk.)

    But as for tanking? Well, if you are going to disgrace DnD by trying, go Knight I guess.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    There's nothing largley wrong with it. From a slightly (literally, only slightly) more power gamer look:

    Endurance/steadfast combo isn't terrible. Will saves are the big kicker for melee types so steadfast isn't too bad, and endurance will let you sleep in Medium armor to help you in those nighttime encounters.

    As others have said, get yourself a breastplate. Late game, decide whether you want a Mithral breastplate or Mithral Fullplate.

    I hate the improved sunder feat..mostly because its useless against anything that doesn't rely on a weapon, and against something that does rely on a weapon, you're pretty much destroying your own loot (remember if you sunder a magical weapon, it loses all magical properties, even after repaired...something I hope they change for 4th ed). It's basically a poor man's (literally, after you break all your potential treasure) disarm.


    Improved Bullrush - This feat varies from completely worthless to average depending upon DM, with it usually falling in between at less useful than average. It depends on how detail oriented your DM is with the environment. At one end, some DMs run what I can Final Fantasy battles, where you fight on an infinite flat featureless plane. Bullrush is useless here. At the other end, some DMs have some sort of effect in almost every battle square (a cliff, a river, trees, undergrowth, rubble, stairway, table, etc) and you'll get some mileage out of it. Pushing squishy caster-types into a corner they can;t get out of, pushing people into water/over cliffs, or just plain making them provoke AoOs can be fun.

    Power attack: a good feat for a THF while raging. Just don't overdo it so that you miss. It'll be good at higher levels when you only make a single attack...I recomend against it for full attacks.

    Recomendations: You're going to want to pick up cleave ASAP...you can forget about great cleave probably. Cleave is one of the most singularly useful feats for a raging THF barbarian.
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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Welcome to the world of melee combatants! I would change one thing on the equipment list. Handy Haversacks are for puny mages.

    Seriously though, you have 16 strength and not much equipment, you really don't need it yet. You can use the funds to bump up your armor and weapons to MW quality. That +1 to attack and -1 to armor check is important - not least because only masterwork arms and armor can be enchanted. 300+300+150=750 spent on MW. That leaves you with 1250 gold from the 2000 purchase price of the Haversack. I'd suggest a +1 cloak of resistance, which costs 1000 gold. Switch out the chainmail for a breastplate, another 50; you still have 200 left. Oil of Magic Weapon, Potion of Cure Light, or Potion of Endure Elements would probably be the best use for the remainder of your resources.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    A-hey, a-hoy, a-hoy-ba. Lesse now...

    On feats: Extra Rage is something that most barbarians nowadays are not passing up. Frankly, the best staple melee feat chain is: Power Attack- Cleave. Also, ye never go wrong with Weapon Focus and Dodge.
    Last edited by Miraqariftsky; 2007-09-24 at 10:52 AM.
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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    Extra Rage sounds nice, but we aren't going to have more than 4 encounters per day, and the fact that we have a Batman wizard and CoDzillas on the team means that I don't need to rage as often, as I'll be up to my gills in buffs.

    As I played spellcasters a lot, I'm rather concerned about the various ways to screw melee characters over with the right save or x spells, so I decided to go for Steadfast Determination to help avoid that.
    Fair enough. Maybe consider swapping out Improved Sunder, then. Sundering usually isn't a great tactic since most D&D monsters don't use weapons, and in the rare cases where you're going up against an opponent who has a really good weapon, breaking it means you don't get it as loot. So unless you want it as a pre-req for Combat Brute or something it's not that useful.

    Extra Rage gives you two extra uses of rage a day. As things are you'll only have 1 rage a day for ages and ages (three more levels at least), so Extra Rage is worth considering even if you know you're only getting 4 encounters a day max. Remember the +4 Con from raging will boost your Will save even further, due to Steadfast Determination.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    ps. Anyone know of any good barbarian lines? I've already used "By the Power of Greyskull" and am looking for more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inigo_Carmine View Post
    Improved Bullrush - This feat varies from completely worthless to average depending upon DM, with it usually falling in between at less useful than average.

    Recomendations: You're going to want to pick up cleave ASAP...you can forget about great cleave probably. Cleave is one of the most singularly useful feats for a raging THF barbarian.
    I'm guessing Improved Bull Rush is on there as a prerequisite for Shock Trooper, the standard ubercharger damage feat.

    Cleave is worth it, though, given that when buffed and raging you'll probably be able to drop many opponents with a single attack.

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    Last edited by Saph; 2007-09-24 at 10:46 AM. Reason: Added extra reply.
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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    Welcome to the world of melee combatants! I would change one thing on the equipment list. Handy Haversacks are for puny mages.
    The Handy Haversack was purchased so that the casters could use their money for magic lewts.

    Metagaming item purchases are fun

    I'd buy a masterwork Greataxe, but then i realized the cleric or wizard will have Magic Weapon avaliable, so no real need for masterworks yet.
    Last edited by Solo; 2007-09-24 at 10:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Barbarian is a perfectly playable class, if you know what you're doing.

    First, what books are available to you? Are you willing to go into a PrC? Are you willing to use alternate class features?


    Your feat selection is pretty poor. Endurance is worthless. Improved Sunder is a waste (Why destroy treasure? Why waste an action when you can kill your enemy with it?). Improved Bull Rush by itself is a waste, though it's necessary for some other great combos.

    Also, you've overlooked one of the best and easiest ways to improve any melee build. Pick up a reach weapon (and if you can, Combat Reflexes). This will add another layer of defense to your build, it will provide some battlefield control, and it will give you extra attacks almost every combat.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    First, what books are available to you? Are you willing to go into a PrC? Are you willing to you alternate class features?
    Pretty much all books, yes to PrCs, and I'll look into alternative class features, bu thteDM disallowed the ones from Unearthed Arcana, so I think i'm stuck with the PHBII ones.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    ps. Anyone know of any good barbarian lines? I've already used "By the Power of Greyskull" and am looking for more.
    --- um, you've got a "Greyskull" IC?

    You wanted some lines?

    "You... are making me angry. you wouldn't like me when I'M ANGRY!"

    "GRAAAAGHH! ME ANGRY! ME SAAL-HULK! ME SMASH PUNY TALKY-MAN!"

    "Ye call't a lance, ya eiborned tin can?! That's a toothpick!"

    "By the bones of my ancestors, <insert name> shall be avenged!"

    "Daz de besht ye got?! I wrassled Kord and made him crap!"

    "You see this axe? It doesn't like trees... it likes YOU!" *splurtch*
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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    Pretty much all books, yes to PrCs, and I'll look into alternative class features, bu thteDM disallowed the ones from Unearthed Arcana, so I think i'm stuck with the PHBII ones.
    The PHBII Barbarian sucks. Avoid it.

    The Complete Champion Barbarian can give you a variety of useful options. You might also want to look at the Streetfighter.

    If you're willing to be an Orc, Headlong Rush will double your charge damage.

    If you're willing to be a Goliath, I know some phenomenal Bull Rush combinations, though they require Fighter 6 to be really useful.

    If you're willing to be a Strongheart Halfling, you can put yourself on a mount and use Spirited Charge for triple damage with a lance. Even if you're not, a good Barbarian build should always have a mount and a lance for when you travel places.

    If you're willing to be a Dwarf or take 3 levels of Stoneblessed, I have some interesting Deepwarden builds.

    If you can swing a high Jump check, Battle Jump (Unapproachable East) will double your damage on a charge.

    If you want to use unarmed combat, have a number of interesting Frostrager builds. Although to be effective, you need to convince your casters to take Energy Substitution (Cold).

    A good generic Barbarian build takes Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Leap Attack, and Shock Trooper. Throw in a two handed reach weapon and Combat Reflexes, and you'll be fine.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Craft: Poetry? You, sir, get five points of awesome.
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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    I'd change the Feats and go reach weapon

    I'm currently playing a Half-Giant Barbarian 1Fight/3Barb..lots of HP and hits hard
    Strength is 20

    Power Attack / Cleave
    Glaive (10 foot reach)

    Normal Combat
    ToHit +9
    Damage 1D10+8

    With casters in the group Bull Str and Enlarge and Raging stats change to
    15 Foot reach (AoO abound)
    ToHit +10 (with power attack)
    Damage 2D8+19 (if crits 6D8+19) If downs target,free attack on opponent within 15 feet

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    I'll chime in and say that Improved Sunder is bad because most people don't want to destroy stuff they can use or sell. I would ditch it for Extra Rage, or maybe Extend Rage. Extra Rage will probably be better for a long time since your Con modifier is so high your rage should last through most fights.

    For PrC's you might want to look into Frenzied Berserker, since with Steadfast Determination your Will save is decent and with all the Con increases you should be able to refrain from killing your friends. In this case, the Shocktrooper and Leap Attack feats would be excellent feats, after(or even before, if you want) you pick up the prereqs for Frenzied Berserker.

    I would also ditch the Handy Haversack and go ahead and grab masterwork for your main weapon. Magic Weapon can still be used, you'll be one step on the way to enchanting your weapon, and your strength is such that with your minimal equipment you can still carry the casters' stuff if you want, and you won't be sucking up as many spell slots.
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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    If you ditch the haversack and opt for a breastplate, you're carrying 50 lbs out of 76 total for a light load (30 for the armor, 12 for the axe, 3 for the bow, 3 for arrows, and 2 for the backpack). That still leaves 26 pounds of stuff you can carry for the casters. Are the casters really carrying that much? Even if they are, mules are only 8gp, with a light load of 230 pounds.

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    Post Re: Barbarian advice.

    as a main barbarian player, i must recomend extra rage, especialy with your con modifier. the main rule of barbarians is "rage well and rage often!", it makes you equal to a fighter in combat, because sure, he can do all these fancy things, but he doesnt do +10 dmg, that kind of thing.

    you should swap improved sunder for that. also, where is you light weapon?! all meele charicters need a light weapon, a short sword or something. it helps in all situations.
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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    I'd look for alternatives to the haversack. It will be nice, but they didn't hire you to be a pack mule.

    Other options:

    Steadfast Boots from Magic Item Comp are handy for a front line fighter with a 2 handed weapon. You are always readied against a charge!

    Rock Boots let you ignore terrain 5/day. This depends on the campaign and the DM and thir love of terrain.

    Gauntlets of THrowing (grants throwing and returning ability 3/day) to melee weappon

    Cloak of Predatory Vigor. Great for the mid combat healing while raging. Also keeps you alive once you go above 5th level. It sucks to survive combat and then die when your rage fails!
    All hail the Dark One!

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tweekinator View Post
    I would also ditch the Handy Haversack and go ahead and grab masterwork for your main weapon. Magic Weapon can still be used, you'll be one step on the way to enchanting your weapon, and your strength is such that with your minimal equipment you can still carry the casters' stuff if you want, and you won't be sucking up as many spell slots.
    The DM is actually letting us have one masterwork weapon. I think he means one of our weapons will be purchased at regular price and transformed to masterwork for free, so that may get me a free masterwork!

    Its nice how things work out

    Craft: Poetry? You, sir, get five points of awesome.
    You won't believe how handy it was in the trial run of the campaign.

    We did a tactical exercise to make sure everyone knew what they were doing, and we came against a very young evil dragon.

    To convince him our party meant him no harm, my barbarian rolled a 15+5 on his Craft: Gothic Poetry check and helped diplomacy it....

    Then the rogue sneak attacked it (10 damage) and we were forced into a fight.


    My barbarian then raged, got buffed, charged ("If you like death, then you'll love what's coming up next"), swung his greataxe, critted, and dealt 54 damage to the dragon.

    The dragon tried to fly away, I hit it again, and it went down, hard, and bled out.

    I took no damage.
    Last edited by Solo; 2007-09-24 at 01:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    The DM is actually letting us have one masterwork weapon. I think he means one of our weapons will be purchased at regular price and transformed to masterwork for free, so that may get me a free masterwork!

    Its nice how things work out
    If that's the case, I'd ditch the Handy Haversack even quicker and grab a +1 enchantment to run around with. I'm not trying to knock the Handy Haversack, as it is very handy, but it's not what I would take for my only magic item as a barbarian.
    Last edited by Tweekinator; 2007-09-24 at 01:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    I'm going to have to clear any changes in magic items with the DM first, though, but thanks for the advice.


    What should I do when he asks where I'm keeping my Halberd, Bow, and Battleaxe while wielding a Greataxe, though?

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    What should I do when he asks where I'm keeping my Halberd, Bow, and Battleaxe while wielding a Greataxe, though?
    The halberd is the hard one. The bow can be unstrung and slung across your back like a staff. The battle axe has a belt ring sheeth on your hip, Gsword has a sheeth. Its hard to imagine a halber strapped acorss your back unless your as tall as it is

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    What should I do when he asks where I'm keeping my Halberd, Bow, and Battleaxe while wielding a Greataxe, though?
    Keep the halberd in your teeth and muffle all your battle crys. Roleplaying xp FTW! Or less retardedly, throw it at the start of every battle for that little extra, then pick it up when all is said and done.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by blacksabre View Post
    The halberd is the hard one. The bow can be unstrung and slung across your back like a staff. The battle axe has a belt ring sheeth on your hip, Gsword has a sheeth. Its hard to imagine a halber strapped acorss your back unless your as tall as it is
    And no telescoping Halber hafts...


    Or less retardedly, throw it at the start of every battle for that little extra, then pick it up when all is said and done.
    I'll talk it over with the DM.
    Last edited by Solo; 2007-09-24 at 02:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    What's the point of the halbard? The only nice thing is that it can do slashing or piercing. It doesn't give you reach.
    All hail the Dark One!

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Techonce View Post
    What's the point of the halbard? The only nice thing is that it can do slashing or piercing. It doesn't give you reach.
    Oh, it doesn't? Then I'll make it a Glaive.


    Or maybe a Guisarme-glaive-glaive-guisarme-glaive?
    Last edited by Solo; 2007-09-24 at 02:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    For your Barbarian lines, what kind of barb are you playing? Quiet, stolid, and completely serious? Loud, obnoxious, and jock-like? For funnies you could go for a soft-spoken, glasses-wearing intellectual type.

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    Default Re: Barbarian advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    Oh, it doesn't? Then I'll make it a Glaive.


    Or maybe a Guisarme-glaive-glaive-guisarme-glaive?
    Guisarme is the reach weapon of choice, because you can also use it to Trip if need be. Be sure to have armor spikes as well, just in case someone gets within 5 feet of you and you can't take a 5 foot step for some reason.

    An even better choice would be a lance. Even without the mounted combat feats, it can be used two handed from horseback with Power Attack for some devastating damage. You could also store your extra weapons on your horse. At higher levels you might even be able to convince the Druid to Wildshape into a deinonychus or something similar and let you ride him. Trust me, it works really well.

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