Barbarian (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Barbarian
A Dungeons & Dragons character class
Publication history
First appearance Dragon #63 (1st edition)
Editions 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5, 4th, 5th
(as a standard class) 3rd, 3.5
(as an alternate class) 1st, 2nd, 4th
Source books Player's Handbook (3rd, 3.5)
Based on Barbarian
Image Wizards.com image
Stats OGL stats

The barbarian is a playable character class in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The class was introduced as early as 1985 and went through a number of evolutions in subsequent editions of the game.

Publication history[edit]

Creative origins[edit]

The barbarian is based on Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian, Gardner Fox's Kothar and to a lesser extent Fritz Lieber's Fafhrd.[1]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition[edit]

The first official barbarian character class was introduced by Gary Gygax in Dragon #63 (July 1982), as a sub-class of fighter.[2] The barbarian later appears in the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons manual, Unearthed Arcana in 1985.[3] The barbarian, along with the cavalier, received a revision in Dragon magazine #148 (August 1989), as the author David Howery felt that the class as described in Unearthed Arcana was "too powerful and too vaguely defined."[4]

Another version of the barbarian appeared as a character class in the original Oriental Adventures in 1985.[5] According to a reviewer for White Dwarf, the barbarian was "altered to fit into an Eastern pattern", and was "primarily a steppes warrior, or a forest and jungle dweller".[5]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition[edit]

Barbarians appear in The Complete Fighter's Handbook as a character kit,[6] and later receive full attention as a stand-alone class in The Complete Barbarian's Handbook.

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition[edit]

Barbarian is one of the base character classes presented in the Player's Handbook. The barbarian is seen as the archetypal warrior who uses brute strength and raw fury to excel in combat, instead of the honed skills of the Fighter or measured strength of the Monk. Of all the classes, only the barbarian begins the game illiterate and is forced to expend extra skill points or multiclass in order to read and write. Half-Orcs have Barbarian as a favored class.

Barbarians can tap their inner fury to fly into a berserker-like rage. Once the rage is expended, the barbarian becomes fatigued for the remainder of the encounter. Rage provides bonuses to Strength, Constitution, and Will saving throws (which can make barbarians surprisingly resistant to harmful magic), and a glut of additional hit points which expire along with their rage. Rage also reduces armour class and interferes with any skill requiring patience or concentration. As barbarians gain in power, their rage can be used more often and provides even larger Strength and Constitution bonuses, while taking less of a toll on their bodies.

The Iconic barbarian is Krusk, a male half-orc.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition[edit]

The barbarian appears in the 4th edition as a player character class in Player's Handbook 2 (2009).[7]

As strikers, barbarians are focused on single target damage. Some defender or leader capabilities are also available to the class. Barbarians are proficient in melee weapons and light armor. Barbarians use the primal power source.

Two barbarian builds have been detailed, the Rageblood Barbarian, which focuses on the Rageblood Vigor form of Feral Might, Strength and Constitution and leans towards the defender role, and the Thaneborn Barbarian, which focuses on Strength, Charisma and a different form of Feral Might, and leans towards the leader role. Barbarians' powers are called Evocations.

The Rageblood Berserker paragon path was first presented in the 2008 preview for Player's Handbook 2.[8] The Player's Handbook 2 has several barbarian paragon paths, including the Bear Warrior, Fearbringer Thane, Frenzied Berserker and Wildrunner.[7]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition[edit]

The barbarian has been included as a character class in the Player's Handbook.[9] It features two archetypal paths, the Berserker and the Totem Warrior. The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide adds another archetype exclusive to Dwarves of the Forgotten Realms, the Battlerager, who wears spiked armor into battle.

Barbarians in specific campaign settings[edit]

Eberron[edit]

In most Dungeons & Dragons games, the barbarian is represented as a savage, tribal warrior. However, in the Eberron campaign setting, barbarians are more like nomads—while they may not be civilized, they are certainly not savages.

Forgotten Realms[edit]

Barbarians in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting are similar in presentation as the class presented in the core rulebook. Barbarians can be of any race in the Realms, though some are more uncommon than others. Barbarians are described as being confused by the cosmopolitan nature of certain regions of Faerûn.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ DeVarque, Aardy. "Literary Sources of D&D". Archived from the original on 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 
  2. ^ Gygax, Gary (July 1982). "The Big, Bad Barbarian". Dragon. TSR (63): 8–10. 
  3. ^ Acaeum "Later AD&D Manuals"
  4. ^ Howery, David (1989). Dragon Magazine. 148: 18–23.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ a b Shepherd, Ashley (February 1986). "Open Box: Dungeon Modules". White Dwarf. Games Workshop (74): 9–10. ISSN 0265-8712. 
  6. ^ Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. p. 109. ISBN 0-87975-653-5. 
  7. ^ a b http://archive.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4pr/20090202
  8. ^ Heinsoo, Rob; Mike Mearls; Jesse Decker; Robert J. Schwalb (October 2008). "Playtest: The Barbarian" (PDF). Dragon Magazine. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2008-10-06. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Keeping it Classy | Dungeons & Dragons". 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2014-09-21. 

External links[edit]