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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Tags: Amiri Barbarians Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Mark Seifter wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Huh, so Whirlwind Strike is Barbarian-only now?

Well we've previewed Whirlwind Strike for fighter as well, so...

(then again, things have sometimes changed since the preview. For instance, fans of the halfling ancestry would find it wise if they check out the final playtest book for the new cool stuff)

Guys I think we should take Mark's Wisdom and not loose sight of this comment ;)

Liberty's Edge

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pixierose wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Huh, so Whirlwind Strike is Barbarian-only now?

Well we've previewed Whirlwind Strike for fighter as well, so...

(then again, things have sometimes changed since the preview. For instance, fans of the halfling ancestry would find it wise if they check out the final playtest book for the new cool stuff)

Guys I think we should take Mark's Wisdom and not loose sight of this comment ;)

I really hope we're not reading too much into that comment. Wisdom Halflings would make me super happy and mean one of my players would actually play one in the playtest.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
pixierose wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Huh, so Whirlwind Strike is Barbarian-only now?

Well we've previewed Whirlwind Strike for fighter as well, so...

(then again, things have sometimes changed since the preview. For instance, fans of the halfling ancestry would find it wise if they check out the final playtest book for the new cool stuff)

Guys I think we should take Mark's Wisdom and not loose sight of this comment ;)
I really hope we're not reading too much into that comment. Wisdom Halflings would make me super happy and mean one of my players would actually play one in the playtest.

I endorse this entirely, also a nod to the original Hobbits/Halflings (little rumpoids), very attune to surroundings, how to hide quickly, especially from big folk, good survival instincts...sounds like most small mammals.

Liberty's Edge

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Weather Report wrote:
I endorse this entirely, also a nod to the original Hobbits/Halflings (little rumpoids), very attune to surroundings, how to hide quickly, especially from big folk, good survival instincts...sounds like most small mammals.

Indeed. It's generally been a very well received notion, with a large number of people supporting it in the Halfling/Gnome Blog thread, and some historical evidence Paizo isn't against the idea.

Which is why Mark's comment has us so hopeful that it's the case. :)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Unicore wrote:
That said, I am not very excited about the 3 rounds of rage/ 1 round of fatigue mechanic. I like the fact that rage is now an at-will power and that is something difficult to balance, but I feel like the set duration of the rage removes an element of choice from the player and creates more of a video game feel to the Barbarian's rage. Especially since there is no chance that the barbarian will attack allies or need to smash stuff for all three rounds, it seems likely that there will be many times where the barbarian rages (especially for a second time in a battle), and then the fight is over, but the barbarian is walking around raging for two rounds, but with out any purpose or even risk for doing so.

My feeling is that "rounds" only exist during Combat Mode, so if the fight is over, there are no "remaining rounds"; you just go into Exploration Mode and everything Combat-oriented ends.

I could be wrong, though.


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Crayon wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
Is there a Totem that makes me really good at punching horses?
Background: Newcastle?

Background: Arnold.

Punching-out camels.

Liberty's Edge

Weather Report wrote:
Crayon wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
Is there a Totem that makes me really good at punching horses?
Background: Newcastle?

Background: Arnold.

Punching-out camels.

it seems Conan hates both equally


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I really like waht I read here. The new rage economy seems interesting (and definitly better then the pf1 economy)

On the other hand, a question comes to mind. As fan of irregular builds and archetypes - does rage work for all weapons or again just for melee and thrown weapons? (or different: is a barbarian archer possible? Not asking if it makes sense, just if one can benefit from rage and stuff while using a bow)


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
I endorse this entirely, also a nod to the original Hobbits/Halflings (little rumpoids), very attune to surroundings, how to hide quickly, especially from big folk, good survival instincts...sounds like most small mammals.

Indeed. It's generally been a very well received notion, with a large number of people supporting it in the Halfling/Gnome Blog thread, and some historical evidence Paizo isn't against the idea.

Which is why Mark's comment has us so hopeful that it's the case. :)

Hopefully, and explain, lore-wise, why they have kept up, so to speak, with all the elven wizards, dwarf-lords, and human kings; they are the hidden race, able to suss and survive.

"...he knows every local custom from here to the Sudan, knows a dozen languages - he'll blend in, disappear, with any luck, he's already got the grail..."

Apologies for any verbatim mistakes, that is by memory.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Arikiel wrote:
An armored paladin, a shielded fighter, and a toughed barbarian get into a fight... Sounds like the lead up to a joke. Not sure what the punch line would be though. :p

And the wizard summoned pop corn.


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Isabelle Lee wrote:
In addition (as some of the developers already know), I'd love to see an unarmored combat option. Ideally class-agnostic, but if it had to be class-specific, barbarian would be the one. ^_^

Isabelle hun, you read my mind. BLESS YOU! ;) :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Unarmored character options would be awesome.


Dragon78 wrote:
Unarmored character options would be awesome.

Have to balance against Magic Armor. Even with the new system, having that extra action/effect/buff/whatever that Magic armor will give is hard to argue against.

Personally feel like Monk could get away with it.


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So barbarians that can fly via a while in rage, rage power can fly for 3 rounds before swan diving for 1 round?

Thag: Why Thrugg fly up and down like that?

Throk: Throk not know. But Throk do know that the Wright brothers first flight was for 12 seconds. Thrugg flying for 18 seconds! Take that modern technology!

Thag: What modern technology?

Throk: Oh Throk forget you not have Anachronism Totem.

Thag: Thag no like you.

Throk: Throk going to say mean things about you on Twitter. Throk have to hurry only have 18 seconds to make post!

Liberty's Edge

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MerlinCross wrote:
Have to balance against Magic Armor. Even with the new system, having that extra action/effect/buff/whatever that Magic armor will give is hard to argue against.

The effects of magic armor are also available as Bracers of Armor, which are all the magic without the armor. So all the Monk or other unarmored characters needs to do is compensate for the non-magical armor stuff.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I don't like my hp total changing, but its a minor issue to me. I don't need a soap box for that one.

With Temp HPs from Rage I think it's easier to just not combine HP totals into one pool, keep Temp HPs in their own pool and only when that is dropped to zero do you start touching the permanent pool. Then you don't need to do any subtraction when you drop Rage, you just forget about whatever was remaining in the Temp HP pool.

Someone do it differently?


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Lemartes wrote:

So barbarians that can fly via a while in rage, rage power can fly for 3 rounds before swan diving for 1 round?

Thag: Why Thrugg fly up and down like that?

Throk: Throk not know. But Throk do know that the Wright brothers first flight was for 12 seconds. Thrugg flying for 18 seconds! Take that modern technology!

Thag: What modern technology?

Throk: Oh Throk forget you not have Anachronism Totem.

Thag: Thag no like you.

Throk: Throk going to say mean things about you on Twitter. Throk have to hurry only have 18 seconds to make post!

I'm actually not clear which features and feats are rage only. It would make more sense to be able to only use the breath weapon while raging, but it would be weird if your wings shrank and re-grew every 24 seconds.

If a barbarian can only fly in 18 second bursts but can do it at will... Pretty weird, but potentially interesting. Grab a flyer and just let gravity dive bomb you both? Catfall seems like it would be really good for Dragon Totems, too.


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Paladinosaur wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Crayon wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
Is there a Totem that makes me really good at punching horses?
Background: Newcastle?

Background: Arnold.

Punching-out camels.

it seems Conan hates both equally

Conan never saw something he was not willing to punch in the face.


kaid wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Crayon wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
Is there a Totem that makes me really good at punching horses?
Background: Newcastle?

Background: Arnold.

Punching-out camels.

it seems Conan hates both equally
Conan never saw something he was not willing to punch in the face.

Isn't that kind of the reason he became king later?


Deadmanwalking wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Have to balance against Magic Armor. Even with the new system, having that extra action/effect/buff/whatever that Magic armor will give is hard to argue against.
The effects of magic armor are also available as Bracers of Armor, which are all the magic without the armor. So all the Monk or other unarmored characters needs to do is compensate for the non-magical armor stuff.

Hypotheically, what's to stop my Armored Fighter from having Magic Armor and Magic Bracers(Which is an item I thought would be removed anyway as a Big 6)?

Mind you I might be thinking more of the Armlet than the Bracers. Still if I can stack 2 effects and an Unarmored can only get 1, I would expect something extra in the kit of an Unarmored to make up the difference.


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Paladinosaur wrote:
Is there a Totem that makes me really good at punching horses?

Surprisingly enough, the Horse totem! Apparently most equines loathe themselves and each other. You're not going to like the resulting anathema, though....


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Honestly I can see where milo is coming from, and I partially agree with him.

It doesn't make sense for every barbarian who takes x totem to have x anathema. Instead each totem should have a short list of anathemas that are associated with it and the barb needs to choose from. There could be a couple totems (superstition), where they only have 1 anathema, but those should be the exception and not the rule.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Have to balance against Magic Armor. Even with the new system, having that extra action/effect/buff/whatever that Magic armor will give is hard to argue against.
The effects of magic armor are also available as Bracers of Armor, which are all the magic without the armor. So all the Monk or other unarmored characters needs to do is compensate for the non-magical armor stuff.

Hypotheically, what's to stop my Armored Fighter from having Magic Armor and Magic Bracers(Which is an item I thought would be removed anyway as a Big 6)?

Mind you I might be thinking more of the Armlet than the Bracers. Still if I can stack 2 effects and an Unarmored can only get 1, I would expect something extra in the kit of an Unarmored to make up the difference.

Well, if those bonuses and spells function anything like their PF1 counterparts then the magic armor won't stack with mundane armor.


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Lost In Limbo wrote:
Well, if those bonuses and spells function anything like their PF1 counterparts then the magic armor won't stack with mundane armor.

I feel like we can be confident in "armor bonuses don't stack with each other, since one doesn't get extra AC from wearing plate mail over chain mail" persisting into the next edition.

Since otherwise, the game devolves into a silly game of "how many suits of armor can I wear at once." I mean PF1 had L̶y̶c̶r̶a̶ Spidersilk bodysuits which you should be able to fit under anything.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
willuwontu wrote:

Honestly I can see where milo is coming from, and I partially agree with him.

It doesn't make sense for every barbarian who takes x totem to have x anathema. Instead each totem should have a short list of anathemas that are associated with it and the barb needs to choose from. There could be a couple totems (superstition), where they only have 1 anathema, but those should be the exception and not the rule.

I'm not super bothered about the current state, and certainly for the 'basic' rules of the playtest, just one anathema per makes sense. But this would be a really nice way to handle it, honestly!

Liberty's Edge

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MerlinCross wrote:
Hypotheically, what's to stop my Armored Fighter from having Magic Armor and Magic Bracers(Which is an item I thought would be removed anyway as a Big 6)?

The Magic Armor and the Magic Bracers give the same kind of bonus and thus don't stack (they've made it very clear that bonuses of the same kind never stack in PF2). I suppose nothing we know about stops you from wearing magic bracers with mundane armor though. Of course that has no advantage whatsoever over magic armor.

As for 'removed items', you now need two items, three at high levels:

1. Magic Weapon (or Handwraps of Mighty Fists for unarmed people)
2. Magic Armor (or Bracers of Armor for unarmored people)
3. At high levels, a stat-booster item (this is generally only at 14+ and only gives a +2 to a stat, though it usually gives various other stuff too).

You will also maybe want items that give Skill Bonuses to the skills you like using.

MerlinCross wrote:
Mind you I might be thinking more of the Armlet than the Bracers. Still if I can stack 2 effects and an Unarmored can only get 1, I would expect something extra in the kit of an Unarmored to make up the difference.

You can't stack the items like that, so it's a non-issue.


MerlinCross wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Have to balance against Magic Armor. Even with the new system, having that extra action/effect/buff/whatever that Magic armor will give is hard to argue against.
The effects of magic armor are also available as Bracers of Armor, which are all the magic without the armor. So all the Monk or other unarmored characters needs to do is compensate for the non-magical armor stuff.
Mind you I might be thinking more of the Armlet than the Bracers. Still if I can stack 2 effects and an Unarmored can only get 1, I would expect something extra in the kit of an Unarmored to make up the difference.

Well not having to spend any money and keep up with AC seems like a pretty big something. Armour is likely to be a large expenditure, being able to pump that into other items is already a boon.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Lost In Limbo wrote:
Well, if those bonuses and spells function anything like their PF1 counterparts then the magic armor won't stack with mundane armor.

I feel like we can be confident in "armor bonuses don't stack with each other, since one doesn't get extra AC from wearing plate mail over chain mail" persisting into the next edition.

Since otherwise, the game devolves into a silly game of "how many suits of armor can I wear at once." I mean PF1 had L̶y̶c̶r̶a̶ Spidersilk bodysuits which you should be able to fit under anything.

I think what was being asked was not stacking armor bonuses per se, but rather armor effects. Say getting Slick and Fortification from the runes on your armor, plus Ghost Touch from a rune on the bracers.


Revan wrote:
I'm not super bothered about the current state, and certainly for the 'basic' rules of the playtest, just one anathema per makes sense. But this would be a really nice way to handle it, honestly!

Yeah it makes sense to have it simpler for the playtest, just something that I observed and felt needed saying.

Liberty's Edge

Fuzzypaws wrote:
I think what was being asked was not stacking armor bonuses per se, but rather armor effects. Say getting Slick and Fortification from the runes on your armor, plus Ghost Touch from a rune on the bracers.

I have no idea if that would work, but I expect the price/Resonance calculation is fairly prohibitively expensive even if it works.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
I think what was being asked was not stacking armor bonuses per se, but rather armor effects. Say getting Slick and Fortification from the runes on your armor, plus Ghost Touch from a rune on the bracers.
I have no idea if that would work, but I expect the price/Resonance calculation is fairly prohibitively expensive even if it works.

Armor doesn't take resonance. Even if there was a resonance cost for wearing both, it'd only be 1. And it'd be a lot cheaper in gold to have two items with one rune slot each than one higher level item with two slots.

I'm guessing the only way to balance / prevent that is to say that you have to choose which one you're using, and only get the effects attached to that one.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
I think what was being asked was not stacking armor bonuses per se, but rather armor effects. Say getting Slick and Fortification from the runes on your armor, plus Ghost Touch from a rune on the bracers.
I have no idea if that would work, but I expect the price/Resonance calculation is fairly prohibitively expensive even if it works.

Actually yes this is what I meant, thank you Fuzzypaws.

We have no idea what the actual gold cost will be so I find that calculation to be nothing but speculation myself.

As for Resonance, that's 2 points. Splice into Alchemist for bonus Resonance if you really need to. EDIT: And Fuzzypaws pointed out that it doesn't take Resonance anyway so hmm, that might be interesting to see play out.

But this is getting off topic. Point I wanted to make is that I would assume Unarmored types get some built in bonus if they don't want to use Armor at all to make up for the lack of Magic Effect. If bracers do that then part of my problem is indeed moot, but if you can do Bracers+Armor, well then Unarmored are still behind to a degree.

Grand Lodge

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Most of it sounds interesting, but I'm not a fan of mandatory totems or having to use just a single kind of weapon for rage powers. I heard someone complain about having to keep track of un-used rage in PF1 but now you have to keep track of what rounds I'm raging and which rounds I'm fatigued and the difference in bonuses so I don't see it any easier to keep track of. I'll wait for the Playtest book to come out to see if you can still play the classic type barbarian that is just a warrior from an uncivilized tribe that goes into a frenzy when he fights instead of the magical barbarian that becomes bestial, grows wings, cast spells, or heals people. Just my preference.

Liberty's Edge

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The Frog wrote:
Most of it sounds interesting, but I'm not a fan of mandatory totems or having to use just a single kind of weapon for rage powers.

Uh...there's absolutely nothing about a single weapon being necessary. Quite the reverse, actually.

And you can take the Fury Totem, which is basically the same as going totem-less, doubling down on non-Totem Barbarian stuff. And seems pretty distinctly non-magical if that's what you're going for. Giant Totem lets you wield oversized weapons, but also sounds distinctly non-magical. I'm sure there are other less overtly supernatural Totems as well.

Silver Crusade

MerlinCross wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Unarmored character options would be awesome.

Have to balance against Magic Armor. Even with the new system, having that extra action/effect/buff/whatever that Magic armor will give is hard to argue against.

Personally feel like Monk could get away with it.

We know there's an unarmored defense proficiency (a recent blog?). I believe it's been strongly implied Monks get to legendary proficiency in it (one of Mark's old posts). I would not be shocked at all if Barbarians got some of that as an option, esp. considering Erik Mona's unarmored Barbarian character in PF1.

Liberty's Edge

I'm not too keen on the whole rage/fatigue mechanic (3/1). I'd prefer that a barbarian be able to rage for the entire duration of combat with one caveat - they sustain damage each round they rage.

Something like damage = barbarian level? Maybe higher level barbarians can take a feat that mitigates that damage.

Example: a 10th level barbarian takes 10hp of damage a round when she rages but the feat offsets some of that damage equal to their con modifier but the amount of damage can never be less than 1hp or half their level whichever is greater.

Or maybe the damages scales at 1hp per 2 barbarian levels with no damage mitigation allowed?

I like my idea better than 3 rounds of fighting then one round bent over huffing and puffing then another 3 rounds of raging.
I picture Olaf the barbarian wading into the horde of orcs and other mobs swinging about wildly then backing out to catch his breath before running back into the crowd.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
And you can take the Fury Totem,

I just read that as the Furry Totem, wonderful imagery, also relates to shapeshifting.


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One of Pathfinder's touted strengths relative to similar games has always been depth of character customization, allowing you to deeply define who you character is and what they can do. I'm not seeing how forcing an anathema class feature on a class without an external divine morality is consistent with that. I don't think it's reasonable for my character to have to have X major personality trait/quirk because I thought Y ability looked fun. I don't think it's reasonable for a character concept to be impossible, though a mechanical ability supports it well, because an arbitrary or needlessly narrow role-playing restriction doesn't fit.

To preempt the "you just don't like restrictions and want to be able to do whatever you want crowd," you're right, I do want as much freedom as possible when defining my character, but I'm not scared of restrictions. My next character in an upcoming long-term campaign is going to be a full caster who only casts spells accidentally. That's a much bigger restriction, if role-played faithfully, than the Paladin code. I'm not opposed to role-playing restrictions, I'm opposed to them being chosen for me. A well-made drawbacks system, that trades role-playing restrictions for role-playing benefits, would allow the same characters to be made, as well as many, many, many others, so in my view, that's a strictly superior solution.

To those who say "it's just the way such characters are in the default setting," if Golarion can only imagine characters with a strength complex using oversized weapons, then Golarion has a lack of imagination. If this is what Golarion-infused looks like, I'm not a fan.

As my group's usual GM, I can happily ignore this much of the time. It sucks that when I do get to play, I may have to beg each individual GM to allow me to ignore "the one true flavor" of the class/specialization/archetype so that I can play characters outside of the prescribed tropes. I hope this is the last we see of restrictions of this kind. Unlike Milo, I do hope these are completely removed, or else made opt-in. Role-playing suggestions for those who want inspiration are helpful. Role-playing mandates don't add any more flavor than a suggestion, they just restrict possibilities.


The Frog wrote:
Most of it sounds interesting, but I'm not a fan of mandatory totems or having to use just a single kind of weapon for rage powers.

The blog literally says:

"Barbarians aren't super-trained in fancy weapon techniques like most of the other martial classes. (...) 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!"

Sovereign Court

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I dont have a problem with the 3/1 rage round paradigm. I am picturing a little WWF wrestling though from folks who do.

Thundar the barbarian has the upper hand folks!
...but wait he is losing steam is this combat going the other way???
Nope, its over, Thundar raged again.


Interested to see how oversized-weapons work out, and how they balance against all the regular-sized wielders.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Hypotheically, what's to stop my Armored Fighter from having Magic Armor and Magic Bracers(Which is an item I thought would be removed anyway as a Big 6)?

The Magic Armor and the Magic Bracers give the same kind of bonus and thus don't stack (they've made it very clear that bonuses of the same kind never stack in PF2). I suppose nothing we know about stops you from wearing magic bracers with mundane armor though. Of course that has no advantage whatsoever over magic armor.

As for 'removed items', you now need two items, three at high levels:

1. Magic Weapon (or Handwraps of Mighty Fists for unarmed people)
2. Magic Armor (or Bracers of Armor for unarmored people)
3. At high levels, a stat-booster item (this is generally only at 14+ and only gives a +2 to a stat, though it usually gives various other stuff too).

You will also maybe want items that give Skill Bonuses to the skills you like using.

MerlinCross wrote:
Mind you I might be thinking more of the Armlet than the Bracers. Still if I can stack 2 effects and an Unarmored can only get 1, I would expect something extra in the kit of an Unarmored to make up the difference.
You can't stack the items like that, so it's a non-issue.

If you can stack mundane armor and Magic Bracers, there is a distinct advantage to it: you can easily pivot between different armor types for different situations without a big cost. Using leather armor for sneaking and a chain shirt for fighting is much more viable if the armor doesn't house your runes.

That being said, I'd be pretty surprised if potency runes from bracers stack with mundane armor, and I'd be surprised if you can stack other kinds of runes as described.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
The Frog wrote:
Most of it sounds interesting, but I'm not a fan of mandatory totems or having to use just a single kind of weapon for rage powers.

The blog literally says:

"Barbarians aren't super-trained in fancy weapon techniques like most of the other martial classes. (...) 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!"

Right, which means they can pick up any given weapon and use its critical specializations, whereas a Fighter has to actually invest the feats and proficiencies.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Looks like with totems, you might not need a bloodrager.

Other totems I could see would be bear, wolf, horse, serpent, eagle, fox, mammoth, and shark. Also elemental themed ones like fire, stone, wave, and storm.

Totems I would be surprised to see would be fey, unicorn, flower, crystal, rainbow, or clockwork.


If we get a bloodrager, it will almost certainly use spell points and not spell slots. But it doesn't seem hard to graft that onto the Barbarian as is.


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Dragon78 wrote:

Looks like with totems, you might not need a bloodrager.

Other totems I could see would be bear, wolf, horse, serpent, eagle, fox, mammoth, and shark. Also elemental themed ones like fire, stone, wave, and storm.

Totems I would be surprised to see would be fey, unicorn, flower, crystal, rainbow, or clockwork.

I am pretty sure if there is a flower totem barbarian you are required by law to shout FLOWER POWER every time you rage.


kaid wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:

Looks like with totems, you might not need a bloodrager.

Other totems I could see would be bear, wolf, horse, serpent, eagle, fox, mammoth, and shark. Also elemental themed ones like fire, stone, wave, and storm.

Totems I would be surprised to see would be fey, unicorn, flower, crystal, rainbow, or clockwork.

I am pretty sure if there is a flower totem barbarian you are required by law to shout FLOWER POWER every time you rage.

Fantastic Stevie Wonder song, seriously, check it out.


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Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Lemartes wrote:

So barbarians that can fly via a while in rage, rage power can fly for 3 rounds before swan diving for 1 round?

Thag: Why Thrugg fly up and down like that?

Throk: Throk not know. But Throk do know that the Wright brothers first flight was for 12 seconds. Thrugg flying for 18 seconds! Take that modern technology!

Thag: What modern technology?

Throk: Oh Throk forget you not have Anachronism Totem.

Thag: Thag no like you.

Throk: Throk going to say mean things about you on Twitter. Throk have to hurry only have 18 seconds to make post!

Ah, the legendary "nerd rage"!


Polymorph wings is good reason to consider some Barb class abilities working outside of Rage.

Liberty's Edge

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Quandary wrote:
Polymorph wings is good reason to consider some Barb class abilities working outside of Rage.

I think it's likely that Totem abilities in general work outside Rage. None of the ones we've heard of thus far seem super synchronized with the rage mechanic, and in particular losing your ability to wield oversized weapons from your Giant Totem or your antimagic from Superstition Totem would be really annoying and mechanically inelegant.

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