Barbarian Class Preview

Monday, June 11, 2018

Rage consumes you in battle. You delight in carving through your enemies using powerful weapons and wreaking havoc without needing complicated techniques or rigid training, and you rely on your astonishing durability to get you through a fight. You associate your rage with a traditional symbol of affinity known as a totem, which might take the form of an animal, a spirit, or even a part of yourself. To many barbarians, brute force is a hammer and every problem looks like a nail; to others, the dark emotions within them are something to hold back and release only when it matters most.

When it came to barbarians in the playtest, we wanted to take the most popular parts of the original barbarian and the unchained barbarian and brew them together with a few special ingredients to make the class even more flexible to fit even more roleplaying and mechanical concepts. Let's take a look!

Rage

Rage is a barbarian's key class feature. Barbarians aren't super-trained in fancy weapon techniques like most of the other martial classes. Instead, a barbarian can enter a rage that drastically increases her damage and grants her a significant booster shot of temporary Hit Points, in exchange for a –1 penalty to AC and the inability to use concentrate actions unless they specifically have the rage trait (note, this means that somatic-only spells are now possible in a rage!). Unlike in Pathfinder First Edition, rage in the playtest is not limited in rounds per day—let's be honest, in Pathfinder First Edition, our barbarians never ran out of rounds anyway once they had gained a few levels. A rage lasts 3 rounds, followed by a round of fatigue. While you're fatigued, you can't rage again, but once that round has passed, you can enter a new rage, with a shiny brand-new set of temporary Hit Points to go along with it. You can do this as often as you need during the day!

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Totems

Without a doubt, the most popular element of barbarians in Pathfinder First Edition is the totem, introduced in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Player Guide. These totems are a set of three thematically linked abilities the barbarian can choose, starting at 2nd level. In the playtest, you get a totem right away at 1st level. Your totem is a representation of how and why you rage and grants you an initial ability, access to more totem feats down the line, and, at 9th level, resistance equal to your Constitution modifier against a specific type of damage. Each totem also has its own anathema, most of which are relatively low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks. For instance, the giant totem's anathema states that you cannot fail to accept a personal challenge of your strength, much like how Amiri accepted the challenging task her tribal fellows set her to slay a frost giant. Some though, are stricter—the superstition totem requires that you never willingly accept the benefits of spells, but grants you some truly astounding antimagic abilities in exchange.

Some of the totems, like animal totem, giant totem, and dragon totem, offer a few abilities that are flat-out magical. For instance, animal totem barbarians can adopt animal features and attacks and even transform into an animal (a great way to represent lycanthrope characters), whereas dragon totem barbarians gain a dragon breath attack can even grow wings. Even though totems are popular and roleplaying opportunities are fun, we recognize not everyone necessarily wants to commit to them, so we also offer the fury totem, which has no anathema or special requirements and focuses more on barbarian feats that aren't tied to any totem, which we'll look at in a bit. But first...

Additional Barbarian Features

Though I called out rage and totems specifically, the barbarian has some really neat abilities beyond those. For instance, at level 3, barbarians gain critical specialization effects when in a rage, even if they don't fulfill the usual proficiency rank requirement for the weapon—they use whatever weapon is most efficient to express their rage! One other thing they have that nobody else does: 12 Hit Points per level. Add that to the substantial temporary Hit Points that they can generate (possibly multiple times in a long fight) and the resistances from their totem that kick in at level 9, and barbarians have incredible staying power. Sure, they don't prevent as many hits as a paladin or a shield fighter might, but they can stand there taking hits long past the point where anyone else could stay standing. This is also a good point to mention one feature barbarians don't have in the playtest: alignment requirements. Barbarians can be whatever alignment they want; for instance, a lawful barbarian might act like one of the concepts I described earlier, controlling and holding back her emotions to channel and release her rage when it matters most.

As many of you have predicted, barbarians also have the best Fortitude proficiency, gaining the juggernaut class feature at level 7 (which grants master proficiency in Fortitude and the ability to count any successes you roll as critical successes instead) and improved juggernaut at 13th (which grants legendary proficiency and removes the chance of critically failing), but they also have a secondary Will focus, gaining indomitable will at 15th level to become masters in Will. Tireless rage comes in at level 17 to allow barbarians to ignore fatigue after ending a rage (though they still must wait the normal amount of time before entering a new rage). Barbarians are all about brutalizing opponents without worrying about carrying lots of different weapons and selecting the right one for the job with their monster knowledge, so it makes sense that they gain the ability to rip through a chunk of resistances automatically with level 19's devastating strikes ability. Possibly my favorite barbarian feature, though, is the level 11 ability mighty rage—whenever you enter a rage, it allows you to immediately use one of your rage-only actions for free. So many possibilities!

Barbarian Feats

In addition to the feats based on totems, there are a variety of other feats available, from the bread-and-butter, low-level Sudden Charge to the devastating Whirlwind Strike (attack everything in your reach), Brutal Critical (your critical hits deal an extra die of damage as well as persistent bleed damage), Vicious Evisceration (you maim the enemy, dealing extra damage, reducing its maximum HP by an amount equal to its level, and giving it a –1 penalty to Fortitude), Contagious Rage (one of your allies gets the benefits and –1 penalty to AC imposed by your rage, but can still concentrate), and Quaking Stomp (you stomp so hard that it creates an honest-to-goodness earthquake). But none caused a playtest GM to raise their eyebrows quite like the superstition totem's Spell Sunder, which really saved us when we faced walls of force, magical trap effects, and more.

To close off, some of you might have expected me to talk about the dragon totem barbarian Linda is playing in my playtest game, who has sometimes been the party's primary healer. She does that through abilities beyond the barbarian class, though certainly Moment of Clarity (which allows a barbarian to use an extra action to use a concentrate ability mid-rage). But if you're wondering why there was a time in my playtest when she was the only one with an area attack, that was because of her barbarian's dragon breath!

Mark Seifter
Designer

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knightnday wrote:
Interesting. No alignment restrictions is a welcome change indeed. Still miss the old old days when barbarians destroyed magic items, but we cannot have everything. :)

No spells is already pretty hard to balance. Smash all magic items too is beyond the scope of a totem, though it's something you could do with a relatively robust Automatic Bonus Progression added to superstitious totem.

Dataphiles

Huh. Not bad! Nice revisions! I always enjoy the Barbarian class, but the Rage abilities were always a little janky. This is an improvement.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

For reference, here are PF1's totems:

Air, Atavism, Beast, Celestial, Chaos, Cult, Daemon, Dragon, Earth, Elemental, Fiend, Fire, Hive (do want), Spirit, Sun, Tyrant, Water, World Serpent.


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Dasrak wrote:
Not a fan of barbarians getting anathema built in by default, I'll say that much. That really feels to me like the kind of thing that should be a strictly RP decision of the player, and not be tied to mechanics. Barbarians aren't paladins, and codes of conduct (even very simple ones) just don't fit with them in my view.

I'd be okay with the idea if the anathema presented as "relatively low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks" wasn't so crippling- it gives people the ability to force you to agree to a duel (possibly in a remote area or with some other unsafe condition) or lose a chunk of your class features as a free action. If they were optional little prompts like "you like drink a little too much" or they actually hooked into mechanics like Superstition that would be okay, but they can't both be "low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks" and hand out trivial ways to screw your character or remove a chunk of their abilities. Something has to give in that regard.

Shadow Lodge

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
So, Mark. Tell me—there's a drunken totem, right?! Or a spell totem to hit the bloodrager itch, right?!
I want to do a drunken totem at some point, but it's not in the playtest. I think honestly a lot of the totems in the book like animal that have some real transformative aspects, with multiclassing for spells, is going to hit the bloodrager itch pretty hard as is.

There's a nice tidbit I've been wanting to be sure about.


Personally find that this is a fantastic melding of previous concepts to create an optimal Barbarian experience. Moving forward with Rage also helps, since it'll be nice for players less experienced in Rage Cycling to have something that works similar without the need for juggling Rage mechanics and rounds. Finally surprised but not shocked that the alignment requirements are removed, of all the alignment restricted classes from PF1 this was probably the most justified. If it's Druids and Monks that also lose it on the other hand...

Liberty's Edge

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Icy Turbo wrote:
If it's Druids and Monks that also lose it on the other hand...

Personally, I'd expect only overtly supernatural classes to have alignment restrictions this time around. So I'd expect Druid's to stay (to go with the Cleric and Paladin's), but maybe not Monk's.


So Exactly HOW HARD can a Barbarian hit in a Raging Power Attack with an Enchanted Great Axe? How many d12s are getting dumped onto a poor idiot's head?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Her sword is too small :(


Mark Seifter wrote:
I have actually almost never seen a barbarian that didn't have a totem, at numerous tables of PF1, in both home games and PFS games (and I know I have over 150 tables as a GM in PFS), so I based it on my experiences and those of others I've spoken with.

I mean one of the reasons I avoided Barbarians in PF1 was largely due to the problematic nature of the "Savage, Uncouth, Uncultured" stereotype that's kind of baked into the class. I get that we can't change the name of the class because of Conan, but I never really felt like I was able to do justice to "tribal societies" myself.

I mean, sure a good part of the concept for the Barbarian class is derived from Norse berserkers, some of whom are likely distant relatives of mine but the fylgjur (and hamingja I guess) are sort of conceptually distinct, since people aren't (to the norse) savage and violent because you have a wolf fylgja, they have a wolf fylgja because they are savage and violent.

So it's kind of weird, (and potentially appropriative?), from where I sit to RP as someone who has a "totem" because of the class they took even if they're just a rich kid from Absalom with anger issues who puts no particular stock in anything.

I guess I can wait for the Bloodrager since "you were born with special blood that messes you up" is something I can get a handle on. But I'm very curious about how the totem, as something that's common to Barbarians from every culture, is handled and presented.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I have actually almost never seen a barbarian that didn't have a totem, at numerous tables of PF1, in both home games and PFS games (and I know I have over 150 tables as a GM in PFS), so I based it on my experiences and those of others I've spoken with.

I mean one of the reasons I avoided Barbarians in PF1 was largely due to the problematic nature of the "Savage, Uncouth, Uncultured" stereotype that's kind of baked into the class. I get that we can't change the name of the class because of Conan, but I never really felt like I was able to do justice to "tribal societies" myself.

I mean, sure a good part of the concept for the Barbarian class is derived from Norse berserkers, some of whom are likely distant relatives to mine but the fylgjur (and hamingja I guess) are sort of conceptually distinct, since people aren't (to the norse) savage and violent because you have a wolf fylgja, they have a wolf fylgja because they are savage and violent.

So it's kind of weird, (and potentially appropriative?), from where I sit to RP as someone who has a "totem" because of the class they took even if they're just a rich kid from Absalom with anger issues who puts no particular stock in anything.

I guess I can wait for the Bloodrager since "you were born with special blood that messes you up" is something I can get a handle on. But I'm very curious about how the totem, as something that's common to Barbarians from every culture, is handled and presented.

You're covered: "As a barbarian, you channel the power of your rage through a totem. Traditionally, this is a spiritual or tribal symbol, but you choose what your totem means to you; it might describe a purely internal source or filter of your rage, such as a belief, curse, exotic heritage, or state of mind."

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This all sounds wonderful (particularly fatigue being something barbarians actually have to deal with), but I'm surprised that somatic components are available and not verbal. I can imagine a barbarian shouting their spells at someone in a rage (FUS-ROH-DAH!), But making intricate Dr. Strange style hand motions seems a strange fit.


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Barbarians sundering my walls of force, just what I needed.


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Aratrok wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
Not a fan of barbarians getting anathema built in by default, I'll say that much. That really feels to me like the kind of thing that should be a strictly RP decision of the player, and not be tied to mechanics. Barbarians aren't paladins, and codes of conduct (even very simple ones) just don't fit with them in my view.
I'd be okay with the idea if the anathema presented as "relatively low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks" wasn't so crippling- it gives people the ability to force you to agree to a duel (possibly in a remote area or with some other unsafe condition) or lose a chunk of your class features as a free action. If they were optional little prompts like "you like drink a little too much" or they actually hooked into mechanics like Superstition that would be okay, but they can't both be "low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks" and hand out trivial ways to screw your character or remove a chunk of their abilities. Something has to give in that regard.

If your worried about this issue, your playing with very spiteful DM's. Anathema's, like codes of conduct, shouldn't be a problem for anyone who plays with any semblance of respect for you and your character. Instead it should be broken when you, the player, are fairly challenged and you decide to forfeit the challenge of your choosing. It would be the same to worry that a GM would forcefully change your alignment as a Monk or Druid so you don't qualify for the class; the only reason it would happen is because they didn't want to play fairly at the table to begin with. Just my take on it at least.


So what damage will an oversized/large/whatever greataxe do? And will small characters be able to use the same oversized weapons as medium characters with the giant totem?


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I've never actually played a barbarian, but this intrigues me greatly. Hopefully the totems at least have the ability to be more spiritualistic than physical (which I'm guessing they will, since it seems like investment will largely be through feats, if the Druid is any indication), but I'm liking the idea of Breathing fire (or probably in my case, Spitting Acid) at enemies, as a Barbarian, though I'm not sure Sprouting Wings is as much my jam, at least thematically.

Liberty's Edge

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NetoD20 wrote:
Barbarians sundering my walls of force, just what I needed.

There's a deeply inappropriate joke here about how Amiri can sunder my Wall of Force anytime...if she were only a Superstition Totem Barbarian instead of a Giant Totem one.

Not that I'd ever say such a thing anyway of course. ;)

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Tholomyes wrote:
I've never actually played a barbarian, but this intrigues me greatly. Hopefully the totems at least have the ability to be more spiritualistic than physical (which I'm guessing they will, since it seems like investment will largely be through feats, if the Druid is any indication), but I'm liking the idea of Breathing fire (or probably in my case, Spitting Acid) at enemies, as a Barbarian, though I'm not sure Sprouting Wings is as much my jam, at least thematically.

If you want the wings to sort of be spiritual-looking (or like the animal you turn into to sort of look like a ghostly outline of an animal around you or something), that seems like a cool visual.


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I feel like how long a rage lasts should be based on Con Modifier rather than a set amount.

As it stands it looks like Barbs might actually be incentivized to dump CON a bit since they're getting 12 HP per level.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:
I've never actually played a barbarian, but this intrigues me greatly. Hopefully the totems at least have the ability to be more spiritualistic than physical (which I'm guessing they will, since it seems like investment will largely be through feats, if the Druid is any indication), but I'm liking the idea of Breathing fire (or probably in my case, Spitting Acid) at enemies, as a Barbarian, though I'm not sure Sprouting Wings is as much my jam, at least thematically.
If you want the wings to sort of be spiritual-looking (or like the animal you turn into to sort of look like a ghostly outline of an animal around you or something), that seems like a cool visual.

That's sort of reminiscent of Vixen from DC's animal powers, so I can get down with that.

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Icy Turbo wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
Not a fan of barbarians getting anathema built in by default, I'll say that much. That really feels to me like the kind of thing that should be a strictly RP decision of the player, and not be tied to mechanics. Barbarians aren't paladins, and codes of conduct (even very simple ones) just don't fit with them in my view.
I'd be okay with the idea if the anathema presented as "relatively low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks" wasn't so crippling- it gives people the ability to force you to agree to a duel (possibly in a remote area or with some other unsafe condition) or lose a chunk of your class features as a free action. If they were optional little prompts like "you like drink a little too much" or they actually hooked into mechanics like Superstition that would be okay, but they can't both be "low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks" and hand out trivial ways to screw your character or remove a chunk of their abilities. Something has to give in that regard.
If your worried about this issue, your playing with very spiteful DM's. Anathema's, like codes of conduct, shouldn't be a problem for anyone who plays with any semblance of respect for you and your character. Instead it should be broken when you, the player, are fairly challenged and you decide to forfeit the challenge of your choosing. It would be the same to worry that a GM would forcefully change your alignment as a Monk or Druid so you don't qualify for the class; the only reason it would happen is because they didn't want to play fairly at the table to begin with. Just my take on it at least.

I would say if the proposed test is grossly unfair (in an environment that would kill you), it is no longer a test of your strength. Arguably Amiri's example was grossly unfair depending on her level, and I know that makes the example in the blog less perfect, but it just fit so well as an example from the story. The worst that happens if you have a really nasty group on that adjudication is you lose your totem stuff for a little while, though admittedly, that can be a problem if you're really planning on that totem stuff kicking in, so I guess if you expect bad actors and must play with them, go fury.


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The only thing I think I can say I'm remotely disappointed about is that it might not be possible to combine the flight and power-up potential (and potential eventual One Winged Angel form) of a theoretical Air Elemental totem and the oversized weapons hinted at from the Giant totem to create my ultimate Anime monstrosity character. But who knows, maybe Totem Poling will be a thing.


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Icy Turbo wrote:


If your worried about this issue, your playing with very spiteful DM's. Anathema's, like codes of conduct, shouldn't be a problem for anyone who plays with any semblance of respect for you and your character. Instead it should be broken when you, the player, are fairly challenged and you decide to forfeit the challenge of your choosing. It would be the same to worry that a GM would forcefully change your alignment as a Monk or Druid so you don't qualify for the class; the only reason it would happen is because they didn't want to play fairly at the table to begin with. Just my take on it at least.

It has nothing to do with spiteful DMs. It's an in-world restriction your character is probably aware of, and it shouldn't be difficult for other people to figure it out as well. Exploiting that weakness isn't beyond the pale for a clever opponent, and doesn't compare even a little bit with "forced alignment change" or anything like that, it's a sensible in-world action based on in-world information.

Lantern Lodge

well this seems way too close to 5E for my liking and as I read through the only other thing I can think is 'well, this makes fighter completely pointless as a class' because if fighters are supposed to be combat focused then from the sound of it they will always be second best if they're lucky.


Popping in and out of rage every fight doesn't make sense to me.

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Ninja in the Rye wrote:

I feel like how long a rage lasts should be based on Con Modifier rather than a set amount.

As it stands it looks like Barbs might actually be incentivized to dump CON a bit since they're getting 12 HP per level.

We get Resistance equal to CON, and there’s probably other abilities that build off of it.

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Rysky wrote:
Ninja in the Rye wrote:

I feel like how long a rage lasts should be based on Con Modifier rather than a set amount.

As it stands it looks like Barbs might actually be incentivized to dump CON a bit since they're getting 12 HP per level.

We get Resistance equal to CON, and there’s probably other abilities that build off of it.

Also you can knock your Con bonus off resistance eventually. Remember that grim reaper and everyone was saying "Oh damn, resist all." The barbarian says...."SMAAAAASH!"


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It sounds like a Barbarian's Anethema could be described as a core value that if broken causes a lots of confidence, diminishing their power and takes a bit of doing to restore.

All in all this is a solid class description. I like the sounds of it very much.

Question about Superstition, though. Does refusing magic mean that they have to make saving throws against helpful spells or do they reject them completely, making them immune if concious?


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Egen_Blackwater wrote:
This all sounds wonderful (particularly fatigue being something barbarians actually have to deal with), but I'm surprised that somatic components are available and not verbal. I can imagine a barbarian shouting their spells at someone in a rage (FUS-ROH-DAH!), But making intricate Dr. Strange style hand motions seems a strange fit.

It takes more mental effort to curse someone than to flip them the bird. Magic works the same.

Liberty's Edge

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Ronin_Knight wrote:
well this seems way too close to 5E for my liking and as I read through the only other thing I can think is 'well, this makes fighter completely pointless as a class' because if fighters are supposed to be combat focused then from the sound of it they will always be second best if they're lucky.

This isn't necessarily true at all. Note that Barbarians get no bonus to to-hit from Rage, -1 AC, almost certainly not heavy armor (which may grant better AC, at least for low to mid Dex people), and there's not even any mention of their Weapon or Armor Proficiency (while we know the Fighter gets Legendary in weapons and Master in armor).

Now, I'd expect that a Barbarian will get to Master in weapons and maybe Expert in armor eventually, but they'll definitely lag behind the Fighter in both, and in a game where every point of accuracy is also increased crit range vs. the vast majority of opponents, that +2 or more AC and +1 to hit the Fighter is demonstrating is nothing to sneeze at.

And that's on the rounds the Barbarian is getting Rage. There's also that 4th round, where the Fighter is just better in every way. Plus we're ignoring Class Feats (though that admittedly goes both ways).

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Stone Dog wrote:

It sounds like a Barbarian's Anethema could be described as a core value that if broken causes a lots of confidence, diminishing their power and takes a bit of doing to restore.

All in all this is a solid class description. I like the sounds of it very much.

Question about Superstition, though. Does refusing magic mean that they have to make saving throws against helpful spells or do they reject them completely, making them immune if concious?

That is a solid description of the totem; it's tied to the source of your rage, whether within you or without.

We don't have as many saves on friendly spells as before, so basically you need to not be willing to have your team cast spells on you, make that known, and if they keep doing it and disrespecting you anyway, you can't keep traveling with a group that does that. But your party can't grief your anathema by casting a helpful spell on you to try to make you lose your powers.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I have actually almost never seen a barbarian that didn't have a totem, at numerous tables of PF1, in both home games and PFS games (and I know I have over 150 tables as a GM in PFS), so I based it on my experiences and those of others I've spoken with.

I mean one of the reasons I avoided Barbarians in PF1 was largely due to the problematic nature of the "Savage, Uncouth, Uncultured" stereotype that's kind of baked into the class. I get that we can't change the name of the class because of Conan, but I never really felt like I was able to do justice to "tribal societies" myself.

I mean, sure a good part of the concept for the Barbarian class is derived from Norse berserkers, some of whom are likely distant relatives of mine but the fylgjur (and hamingja I guess) are sort of conceptually distinct, since people aren't (to the norse) savage and violent because you have a wolf fylgja, they have a wolf fylgja because they are savage and violent.

So it's kind of weird, (and potentially appropriative?), from where I sit to RP as someone who has a "totem" because of the class they took even if they're just a rich kid from Absalom with anger issues who puts no particular stock in anything.

I guess I can wait for the Bloodrager since "you were born with special blood that messes you up" is something I can get a handle on. But I'm very curious about how the totem, as something that's common to Barbarians from every culture, is handled and presented.

To be perfectly honest, it's up to the player.

When I started running an online Rise of the Runelords campaign I had three initial players - a scholarly half-orc Barbarian who took the Thassilonian Scholar Trait, a blacksmith Ranger/Wizard who was seeking to make weapons to kill off bandits, and a halfling Cleric/Bard (and I rounded it out with a GMPC Air Specialist Wizard/Thief). The Barbarian player had her character with glasses for reading and enjoyed reading stuff and investigating the Thassilonian lore in the area. (She dropped in the middle of Chapter 2 as Thassilon took a back seat to other plots and she was having issues with Skype causing feedback.) She even had her character act embarrassed when he came out of his Rage over his uncouth actions.

It's up to you as the player as to how a Barbarian acts and on his or her background. You could have a Barbarian who used an alchemical substance to start to Rage (just a Barbarian but your "shtick" is you quaff a "potion" to start Raging). You could be a supersoldier who was enhanced to start "raging" when you get into a fight. Whatever you want for your background is what YOU decide it will be. :)

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I wonder if the superstitious totem barbarian will have their resonance set to zero? That's one way to limit them "never willingly accept the benefits of..." magic rather than of spells specifically. Seems like if it's limited to spells it's a bit of a cop out:

"Filthy wizard, don't enchant me with your evil spells!"
"But I need to get you flying you you can rage smash that dragon attacking us!"
"I'll gladly drink your potion of fly then"


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Crayon wrote:

Look like a piece of text might be missing in the penultimate sentence of the final paragraph. Although it might also be an artefact from a previous draft.

Also, if you don't mind us asking, I'm curious why Totems are being made available earlier in the playtest than they will be in the final book (tentatively)

The blog was referring to how you could only select totems at 2nd level or higher in PF1, but now you select them at lvl 1, and everyone chooses one.

The important question for me though is: will barbarians have death curses as class feats?

Edit: I'm curious if the rounds-of-rage to round-of-downtown ratio will be tinkered with. Rather, how quickly it'll be tinkered with. I could see a feat letting you rage a number of rounds equal to your con modifier before being hit by fatigue, not stackable with the normal three rounds. I could also see feats that increased the number of rounds of fatigue in exchange for a strong rage power, sort of like the meta breath feats in 3.5 (a low-level one could allow you to not enter rage for two rounds, but not be fatigued when you exit rage).

Scarab Sages

Good stuff overall. I'm wondering whether the rage-cycling won't require an uncharacteristic amount of bookkeeping and strategic considerations for a Barbarian, though.

Also, that bit about being a primary healer was super vague... given that we've had two blogs about skills already, wouldn't it be fair game to divulge how the Medicine skill works, assuming that's what's going on here? Can it be used an unlimited number of times per day...? Is there some sort of resource depletion?


Mark Seifter wrote:
Crayon wrote:

Look like a piece of text might be missing in the penultimate sentence of the final paragraph. Although it might also be an artefact from a previous draft.

Also, if you don't mind us asking, I'm curious why Totems are being made available earlier in the playtest than they will be in the final book (tentatively)

I think it's mostly grammatical, though could add a verb like "helps." Don't understand the second question?

Ahh yes, I can see what you were going for now.

As for question two, it was in response to this:
"These totems are a set of three thematically linked abilities the barbarian can choose, starting at 2nd level. In the playtest, you get a totem right away at 1st level."

Which makes it sound (to me) like the playtest Barbarian will be receiving the feature earlier than was intended for the 'real' game.


JoelF847 wrote:

I wonder if the superstitious totem barbarian will have their resonance set to zero? That's one way to limit them "never willingly accept the benefits of..." magic rather than of spells specifically. Seems like if it's limited to spells it's a bit of a cop out:

"Filthy wizard, don't enchant me with your evil spells!"
"But I need to get you flying you you can rage smash that dragon attacking us!"
"I'll gladly drink your potion of fly then"

It's been noted that "spell-in-a-can" potions are going to be significantly less prevalent. I don't recall if the comment said that they don't exist anymore, though.

Paizo Employee Designer

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JoelF847 wrote:

I wonder if the superstitious totem barbarian will have their resonance set to zero? That's one way to limit them "never willingly accept the benefits of..." magic rather than of spells specifically. Seems like if it's limited to spells it's a bit of a cop out:

"Filthy wizard, don't enchant me with your evil spells!"
"But I need to get you flying you you can rage smash that dragon attacking us!"
"I'll gladly drink your potion of fly then"

A lot of things in the game that are the spell, now count as spells. Those spell in a can items (wands, scrolls, staves) would not work. Elixirs from alchemists aren't even magic, so they're definitely fine. As seen in a few playtests where potions were found, potions aren't exactly spells in a can any more either, though some are pretty similar to spells (we had enough spell in a can types of items).

Paizo Employee Designer

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Catharsis wrote:

Good stuff overall. I'm wondering whether the rage-cycling won't require an uncharacteristic amount of bookkeeping and strategic considerations for a Barbarian, though.

Also, that bit about being a primary healer was super vague... given that we've had two blogs about skills already, wouldn't it be fair game to divulge how the Medicine skill works, assuming that's what's going on here? Can it be used an unlimited number of times per day...? Is there some sort of resource depletion?

You don't have everything you need yet for Linda's barbarian. Combat Medic is part of the picture though.

Paizo Employee

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Mark Seifter wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

Lots of cool stuff here, but I don't know that I'd agree with "Without a doubt, the most popular element of barbarians in Pathfinder First Edition is the totem". I don't think I've seen anyone choose one of these, either at the table or in a printed stat block, or if so, quite rarely.

I have actually almost never seen a barbarian that didn't have a totem, at numerous tables of PF1, in both home games and PFS games (and I know I have over 150 tables as a GM in PFS), so I based it on my experiences and those of others I've spoken with.

I can think of at least 20 individual barbarians that have been in a game I was running or playing in (I'm sure there have been a bunch more, but these are the "I can remember who played it and details about their build" characters) and exactly one of them didn't have a totem. He was in our very first Pathfinder game where we were still using a lot of 3.5 materials.

Usually when a player I've seen plays a barbarian, it's not a matter of whether or not they'll be picking a totem, it's a matter of which totem they'll be picking.


Catharsis wrote:

Good stuff overall. I'm wondering whether the rage-cycling won't require an uncharacteristic amount of bookkeeping and strategic considerations for a Barbarian, though.

Also, that bit about being a primary healer was super vague... given that we've had two blogs about skills already, wouldn't it be fair game to divulge how the Medicine skill works, assuming that's what's going on here? Can it be used an unlimited number of times per day...? Is there some sort of resource depletion?

I was going to suggest giving any potential Barbarians three counters/poker chips to be given each round of rage and then returned in any non-raging rounds, but it now occurs to me that you might've been talking about Temporary HP which could indeed be a pain if it works anything like it did back in PF1.


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Huh. I actually like this iteration of the barbarian.
Unshackling it from rounds per day really helps.

And as classes go, more need an 'opt out of nonsense' choice like the fury totem. Particularly Paladins and clerics.

On the other hand: several of those feats provide amazingly trivial bonuses and penalties that aren't worth tracking. After PF1, 3.0, 3.5, 4th and 5th, why in the world would you ever consider -1 to be worth tracking? Literally decades of statistical data indicates they aren't.


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Catharsis wrote:
Also, that bit about being a primary healer was super vague... given that we've had two blogs about skills already, wouldn't it be fair game to divulge how the Medicine skill works, assuming that's what's going on here? Can it be used an unlimited number of times per day...? Is there some sort of resource depletion?

Could be like Resonance (not that it'll use resonance, but just the mechanic), in that the skill check DC goes up the more you use it per day (flavored that without bedrest there's only so much you can do for them)

Liberty's Edge

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FINALLY BEST CLASS EVER GETS THE PROPER DANGEROUSLY CURIOUS CLASS OF INFLUENCE REVIEW


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Voss wrote:
On the other hand: several of those feats provide amazingly trivial bonuses and penalties that aren't worth tracking. After PF1, 3.0, 3.5, 4th and 5th, why in the world would you ever consider -1 to be worth tracking? Literally decades of statistical data indicates they aren't.

Because -1 matters now. It can be the difference between a hit and a miss, or the difference between a crit or not. It's got a 10% chance of relevance instead of a 5% chance.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Looks pretty cool. The two main things that jump out at me.

1) The 3/1 round rage duty cycle: This feels pretty close to optimal to me, which suggests that we won't see a lot of class feats that interact with changing it. A 2/2 might have been more interesting if class feats were going to interact by extending duration,shortening fatigue duration, exchange length of fatigue duration for lesser/worse fatigue effects. However if everyone would effectively gravitate towards 3/1 then just bake it in and be done.

2) Expecting some interesting reactions -- perhaps freely entering a rage when an enemy crits you, or when you critically miss an enemy (frustration).

Liberty's Edge

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Voss wrote:
On the other hand: several of those feats provide amazingly trivial bonuses and penalties that aren't worth tracking. After PF1, 3.0, 3.5, 4th and 5th, why in the world would you ever consider -1 to be worth tracking? Literally decades of statistical data indicates they aren't.

-1 generally means literally twice as much in PF2 as it did in any of those systems due to how critical success and failure works. If a -2 was worth tracking in PF1 (and it was), then a -1 is worth tracking in PF2.

EDIT: Ninja'd by QuidEst. Ah, well.


No info on the Healing a Barbarian can do though says those aren't due to Barbarian class stuff anyway.

K, going back to sleep. Lemme know when I can see more about healing that's not magical because that's a thing you seem to want to push but say bloody little about.

The actual content of the post is okay but kinda iffy about the "Rage for 3 rounds" idea. If only because it'll probably shift numbers or Rage feats around. Most people try to math out for fights to last 3 round anyway so unsure how much this will change the flow of combat.


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Lots and lots of cool there. After the fighter blog I wanted to build a fighter, now I want to build a barbarian. In fact, so far I got a good feeling about pretty much every class. The few details given offer just enough of a view of the potential behind it. Well played.

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