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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Felinus wrote:
The Giant Totem is small man syndrome (Napoleon Complex). Overcompensating with large weapons and poor self-control, particularly over challenges to their stature/virility/authority.

I want to play a Warforged Giant Totem Barbarian with lifts in his hoverskirt.

More seriously though, it doesn't have to be a complex like that. Pride is only one angle on it, I think and it could represent ambition or an honest desire to actually rise up above the character's ability or curiosity about how far the character has come. When the text comes down we might see enough flexibility that they can ignore challenges that they've already done and proven and/or turn a specific challenge to a different one.

"I bet you can't snap the neck of that horse!" doesn't necessarily have to be answered by actually trying that specific challenge and maybe you can actually role-play out of it.

"Why would I want to do that? Seems like a waste. Looks like a good horse! Maybe I should toss you up on that roof instead, how does that sound?"

"Um.. never mind."

"That's what I thought. Don't be cruel to animals, that is not what muscles are for!"


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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
We know that druids can take feats from different orders, but are better at the order they start in.

Now THIS is a solid deduction based on available information.


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Stone Dog wrote:
More seriously though, it doesn't have to be a complex like that. Pride is only one angle on it, I think and it could represent ambition or an honest desire to actually rise up above the character's ability or curiosity about how far the character has come. When the text comes down we might see enough flexibility that they can ignore challenges that they've already done and proven and/or turn a specific challenge to a different one.

I completely agree. That is just the rational I applied to that particular pairing of ability and anathema, more for humour than a concrete reasoning. I'm sure there will be a clause of "you can discuss an alternative with your DM", however I think it'd be good if they had a range of suggested anathema for each totem and you can pick one or use those to inform making your own. Beast Totem should definitely reflect the totem your are trying to emulate.

Stone Dog wrote:

"I bet you can't snap the neck of that horse!" doesn't necessarily have to be answered by actually trying that specific challenge and maybe you can actually role-play out of it.

"Why would I want to do that? Seems like a waste. Looks like a good horse! Maybe I should toss you up on that roof instead, how does that sound?"

"Um.. never mind."

"That's what I thought. Don't be cruel to animals, that is not what muscles are for!"

"I bet you can't snap the neck of that horse!"

"Better still, I could snap yours. The horse is actually useful..." I agree that you can respond with words and role play your way out of it (maybe require an Intimidation check?) instead of requiring a physical altercation in every instance.


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Stone Dog wrote:

"I bet you can't snap the neck of that horse!" doesn't necessarily have to be answered by actually trying that specific challenge and maybe you can actually role-play out of it.

"Why would I want to do that? Seems like a waste. Looks like a good horse! Maybe I should toss you up on that roof instead, how does that sound?"

^ First example of Barbarian Falls. Oh god, 2e is going to have Barbarian Fall threads like 1e had Paladin Fall threads.


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So your saying we all need to take legendary acrobatics so we don't take fall damage?


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Please, first example of Barbarian doesn't fall because we don't even know if that is a thing that can happen yet. I'm taking "relatively low impact and designed to create roleplaying hooks" at face value instead of assuming that it makes them lose all their powers and makes them need a cleric.


Needs a cleric cause of the boo boo on his knee? Also I'm sure he would be embarrassed by falling but I doubt he would lose all his power just because hes a little red in the face.


Pandora's wrote:


In my original post, I said that this would not be a problem when I myself am GMing. Do you think it reasonable that I should have to beg every GM I play with to allow my character's personality to be different from the default? Is it reasonable that in Society play, you're stuck with the default character trope with no recourse? Why is this role-playing mandate necessary, instead of providing a suggestion for people who want inspiration?

I'm serious, I just don't see what positive addition these anathema make. If someone understands, I'd love an explanation.

I'm pretty sure Paizo's stance (or at least Mark's stance, which is just as good) is that most anathema are only for flavor and are not required. They're not a big deal and they're not going to break the game. The only example so far of where removing the restriction would kind of break the game is superstition, and I for one would prefer if that restriction were hard-coded in instead of needing to be role played (i.e. if you take superstition, you automatically attempt to resist friendly spells, even if you're not aware of them).

However, not all GMs will allow you to customize. I've been there, and I'm truly sorry. However, a change of wording over anathemas is not going to fix the core issue of player-GM disagreement. There will always be something to argue about.

Even if the book spells out the fact that anathemas should be customized by the player and GM coordinating on it, there will be GMs who say "just pick one of the premade ones." I guarantee it.

The trick is to either:
1 only play with GMs you like, or
2 suck it up and just play what works.

Most of us make compromises for our GMs or our fellow players. It's part of the hobby.


SilverliteSword wrote:

I'm pretty sure Paizo's stance (or at least Mark's stance, which is just as good) is that most anathema are only for flavor and are not required. They're not a big deal and they're not going to break the game. The only example so far of where removing the restriction would kind of break the game is superstition, and I for one would prefer if that restriction were hard-coded in instead of needing to be role played (i.e. if you take superstition, you automatically attempt to resist friendly spells, even if you're not aware of them).

However, not all GMs will allow you to customize. I've been there, and I'm truly sorry. However, a change of wording over anathemas is not going to fix the core issue of player-GM disagreement. There will always be something to argue about.

Even if the book spells out the fact that anathemas should be customized by the player and GM coordinating on it, there will be GMs who say "just pick one of the premade ones." I guarantee it.

The trick is to either:
1 only play with GMs you like, or
2 suck it up and just play what works.

Most of us make compromises for our GMs or our fellow players. It's part of the hobby.

I've said this all before, but maybe you skipped those posts, which is understandable. I agree with you that is probably the developer intent. I think this thread proves that the intent isn't catching on correctly, with how many opponents to changing the default anathema there are. Sure, there are terrible controlling GMs who are awful to play with and you avoid. Earlier in the thread, I gave a list of types of GM that are fine to play with generally but that wouldn't allow anathema changes unless the rules were very clear that they were optional. And again, PFS players are just out of luck if anathema are locked in for Society play. I'd like the option to play with these not-bad GMs or play in Society without having a single flavor that I may find uninspiring shoved down my throat, and I don't see that we lose anything by making that possible.


Saint Evil wrote:

I see what Pandora seems to get at: The Anathama's for the barb go beyond just flavor and dictate personality.

Or seems that way.

I will hold judgement until full text but I am uncertain, from past experience, that a chewy / crunchy balancing at is not very workable.

Your character doesn't have to LIKE it. Its the entry cost for the totem to want to support you.

It doesn't dictate anything for personality, just behavior.


Ryan Freire wrote:

Your character doesn't have to LIKE it. Its the entry cost for the totem to want to support you.

It doesn't dictate anything for personality, just behavior.

The issue with that is that the Totem doesn't have to want to support you because totem aren't an external thing unless you decide for your character that they're external.


The fact that they have anathema indicates they are very much an external thing.


Ryan Freire wrote:
The fact that they have anathema indicates they are very much an external thing.

Mark has posted text from the document that says differently.

Mark Seifter wrote:


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."


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Milo v3 wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
The fact that they have anathema indicates they are very much an external thing.

Mark has posted text from the document that says differently.

Mark Seifter wrote:


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."

The ability to choose what KIND of external thing it is does not suddenly make it an internal thing. He's basically saying you can pick the flavor, like your rage being a curse inflicted by x totem, or a tribal belief, etc etc.

I'm just a little stunned at the people up in arms that powers occasionally come with conditions. Its a long time fantasy trope, it fits the class. Being unable to refuse a challenge is a trope back to ancient greece if not babylon and fantasy rpgs live and breathe off referencing tropes.


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Ryan, can you explain how a "purely internal source" is an external thing? Genuine question.


Explain how a curse or exotic heritage is applied internally.


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can someone please tell me how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie roll pop!!?!?!


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Explain how a curse or exotic heritage is applied internally.

Whether it is internal or external is irrelevant. The thing that people seem to be getting caught up on is: "Does the totem have AGENCY?". I think the point Milo v3 is making is that totems don't have agency, and thus cannot revoke totem powers.

In breaching the anathema of the chosen totem, it is more that the barbarian loses focus or has a crisis of confidence in their chosen path. That is why they only lose totem benefits. Once they take a moment to sort out their thoughts regarding their totem, they regain those powers.


Caught in a Landslide wrote:
can someone please tell me how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie roll pop!!?!?!

one

On Topic again: Maybe they intended it to be a purely internal source, but beliefs don't spring out of nothing, you don't will yourself cursed, and an exotic heritage doesn't stem from inside you. A superstition wins the internal source but 1/4 is a pretty miss ratio for describing internal sources.

So if 3/4 of your supposedly internal examples have to come from outside you, and the anathema cant just be ignored which is more likely? A bunch of things that indicate an external source are actually coming from your characters own natural powers, or an internal source is a bad description for the way they come about?


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Ryan Freire wrote:
The ability to choose what KIND of external thing it is does not suddenly make it an internal thing. He's basically saying you can pick the flavor, like your rage being a curse inflicted by x totem, or a tribal belief, etc etc.

... Except the text specifically says you can choose for it to be completely internal and just be a state of mind or belief.

"It can be a purely internal source" does not output "It must be an external source"....

Ryan Freire wrote:
Explain how a curse or exotic heritage is applied internally.

Once those things are part of you.... they're part of you..... Those two things had whole classes based around them as internal powers back in 1e.

Curse: See Oracle. They do not need to worship any gods for their ability, they aren't restricted in any way, they don't have to follow any specific views. You could kill the god that bestowed power into them and they'd still be fine. Because once the curse has afflicted them, it is part of them and they can use the power that is now internal to them.

Exotic Heritage: See Sorcerer (and Bloodrager). Celestial-Blooded Sorcerers don't need to worship or follow the teachings of a sorcerer to use their powers. A Infernal-Blooded sorcerer can be the kindest lawful good paladin-esque soul you've ever met, they can act however they want, they don't need to appease anyway. You could kill their ancestor and they'd still be fine. Plus, it's hard to get a more Internal form of power than your genetics...

Edit: Where are you getting 3/4 from?

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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Felinus wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Explain how a curse or exotic heritage is applied internally.

Whether it is internal or external is irrelevant. The thing that people seem to be getting caught up on is: "Does the totem have AGENCY?". I think the point Milo v3 is making is that totems don't have agency, and thus cannot revoke totem powers.

In breaching the anathema of the chosen totem, it is more that the barbarian loses focus or has a crisis of confidence in their chosen path. That is why they only lose totem benefits. Once they take a moment to sort out their thoughts regarding their totem, they regain those powers.

Pretty similar to Cavalier Edicts, really.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
I don't know, they could try to go for best of both worlds by using Temp HPs which are lost first, but that HP pool must still be healed if you want to regain them again when you rage. (I assume they could be healed even while not raging, even though you don't benefit from them until you Rage) That wouldn't let anybody DIE from dropping Rage, but since you are at 'less than full HP' (including Temp Rage HPs) it 'promotes' roleplaying as wounded etc, and maintains 'need' for larger amount of healing to match total damage taken.

PF2 rules have a dying condition where you have to make a check to die or stabilize a few times. If someone want to play with barbarians with "actual" HP instead of temporary HP the dead at the end of the rage problem can be resolved with the added caveat that the loss of the extra HP gained when raging can only push you to the dying state (-1 HP in PF1) and not lower. So your companions have several rounds to help you recover.

It is a good depiction of the "berseker figth and drop dead at the end of the battle" thrope without having the PC die every few battles.

But that don't work well with the current 3/1 rounds of rage.


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Pandora's wrote:
The Superstition totem is a great example of a good anathema. The ability is "you're antimagic" and the restriction is "you're antimagic." Much harder to go wrong there.

That is a good point. To avoid complains the barbarians anathemas should be actions close to the totems effects and not one sample personality that may or may not be the reason for that totem.

How about giant totem's anathema as:
"You need to wield big weapons to be in the groove to wield big weapons. If you use light weapons in combat you have gone against your totem." (or normal sized weapons, whatever has some relevance)

So no personality is forced on the character and the anathema seems fitting, I think.


What I see with Mark description of totems is that you have 2 main flavor options: Either it comes from your culture (or family), or it comes from an "internal" source. The first one is easy, "Due to X symbol I am able to get great strenght when I am willing to do Y thing." The second choice is what causes the problem, and its mostly a matter of certain concepts having a split. Ex: An internal sourse giant totem on a char who doesn't want to take challenges is solved by making the anathema a curse, but it breaks on nearly every other concept.

Masda_gib-
Having totem anathema be related to prohibited actions (ex: superstition totem) is a great idea. But, I think the problem of, "I don't want to be forced to do X for Y!" would still remain.


I have a question to people asking for less or more varied anathema, did any of you have a problem with: Cavalier/Samurai orders, Monk vows or Oracle curses? (Just want to see if there is a difference, and sorry for the side track).


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Temperans wrote:
I have a question to people asking for less or more varied anathema, did any of you have a problem with: Cavalier/Samurai orders, Monk vows or Oracle curses? (Just want to see if there is a difference, and sorry for the side track).

Cavalier/Samurai Edicts: Yes

Monk Vows: No, since all they were was "if you take this vow you get extra ki points", they never had the risk of creating a clash between flavour and mechanics.
Oracle Curses: They are variable enough, aren't tied to specific mysteries, and most don't even restrict your actions. Thus doesn't create the issue of clashing between flavour and mechanics because you get to pick the most appropriate curse for your character and even then it wont restrict your concept 90% of the time.


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Also look up the definition of "Anathama" and most of the meanings go for a "curse" or "loathed" often by "higher beings". When they added this to Cleric was a bit skeptical to this word, then Paladin got that AND the code, and now that barbarian got it too i finally understood why Paizo picked this.

Its not a code, its a restriction, its a curse, its a requirement. The flavor is very loose so you can choose "why" of the Anathama. Like the anti-magic Barbarian it can be that the curse of Totem of anti-magic just outright make the barbarian feel sickend, it doesnt work, etc etc. you can put soo much flavor into this and the "only" negative is that you dont *willingly* take the benefit of Spells cast onto yourself.


Thx Milo v3 that helped me understand things a bit better. On the curses, you kind of lost me. Totems seem to work exactly like curses, but with more relaxed mechanics. Ex: A theoretical Lame totem could ask for you to never use more than 2 move actions a turn, to gain resistance vs fatigue (or something not sure how those work now).


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So there will be a totem that lets you rage automatically when you take damage? That was the mechanic I used with my favored barbarian a long time ago, and I really miss it.

Silver Crusade

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Bardess wrote:
So there will be a totem that lets you rage automatically when you take damage? That was the mechanic I used with my favored barbarian a long time ago, and I really miss it.

*crosses fingers*


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Temperans wrote:
Thx Milo v3 that helped me understand things a bit better. On the curses, you kind of lost me. Totems seem to work exactly like curses, but with more relaxed mechanics. Ex: A theoretical Lame totem could ask for you to never use more than 2 move actions a turn, to gain resistance vs fatigue (or something not sure how those work now).

Totems seem to be much closer to the classes' Mystery/Bloodline/School/Druidic Order/Discipline equivalent than they are to Curses.

Dracoknight wrote:

Also look up the definition of "Anathama" and most of the meanings go for a "curse" or "loathed" often by "higher beings". When they added this to Cleric was a bit skeptical to this word, then Paladin got that AND the code, and now that barbarian got it too i finally understood why Paizo picked this.

Its not a code, its a restriction, its a curse, its a requirement. The flavor is very loose so you can choose "why" of the Anathama. Like the anti-magic Barbarian it can be that the curse of Totem of anti-magic just outright make the barbarian feel sickend, it doesnt work, etc etc. you can put soo much flavor into this and the "only" negative is that you dont *willingly* take the benefit of Spells cast onto yourself.

Except Paizo has said about how Totems can just be a state of mind. Curses are 1 way to flavour it, but we have been specifically told that curses aren't they only way to flavour why you have thing things from Totems and that you can have all these things just because of your belief or state of mind.

Which is good, because curses while a way to enhance the flavour of some concepts, isn't appropriate to a lot of other concepts. For example, the iconic barbarian is not cursed and yet would have the Giant Totem.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Having reread this blog and a number of the others I’m starting to have concerns about the number of different action types that seem to be appearing. I’m not sure if I’m over reacting but there sure seem to be a lot and I can’t see how that could be friendly to the idea of teaching a newcomer the game


Sammy T wrote:
Quote:
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!
In case anyone complains about this, I'd wait to see if there is a class feat available that extends how long a rage lasts before fatigue sets in.

I agree, but still want to make the point that 3 rounds for all time are a bit limitimg. A fun solution could also be an ability to push the range's boundaries, but afterwards you're worse off concerning the fatigue than after 3 rounds. Kind of like the mechanic the drunken rager has in Pf 1.0.


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There is also the face that failure to succeed the challenge doesn't cause a fall, just failure to accept. This isn't as bad as some of the Paladin issues where both intention and outcome are both valid causes of breaking the anathema/code. Only intention matters here.

If outcome was important I would be very much against it. It would allow a powerful foe to further the gap by beating you in a contest to reduce your power before then attacking you. As is so long as you agree to pit your strength against theres it does not matter. Same goes for the superstition Totem, an ally casting Raise Dead on you to save your life doesn't break your Totem, asking them to do so in the event of your death does.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Pandora, we’re Kind of assuming the capacity to wield oversized weapons is limited to the one totem. A few sample totems dont really give you a good overall picture. there may well be other totems or other features attached to the totems shown that do indeed make them more appropriate thematically. id say wait for the playtest, provide feedback. If the anathema do turn out to be a limiting factor (and i suspect some will) rather than a neutral or positive one then use the playtest to provide this info. If you want other totems that provide access to oversized weapons, or a feat for that, provide that feedback. Of course im making presumptions about how the playtest feedback will work.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Temperans wrote:
I have a question to people asking for less or more varied anathema, did any of you have a problem with: Cavalier/Samurai orders, Monk vows or Oracle curses? (Just want to see if there is a difference, and sorry for the side track).

Cavalier and Samurai, nope the core concept of those archetypes is honour bound warrior fighting for a cause (be that a Lord, a philosophy, or something else), a Barbarian isn't that, they are rage and hate given big choppy things, Oracle's curses are different, they are explicitly external, and as the spells are divine, restrictions make sense.

Liberty's Edge

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Pandora's wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Count me against stripping the flavor out. I like the game to be more than "here are some numbers that don't mean anything". Which is what I've seen happen in 98% of cases with flavor-neutral stuff in previous editions.
There's a big difference between stripping the flavor out and providing an optional flavor. I'm advocating for the latter, not the former. Flavor can be a focus of the game without the flavor being exactly identical every time a particular class/specialization/archetype is played.

Sorry, but from my point of view that sound exacvtly as "strip avay the flavor, the give the possibility to add it if you want".

That can be shortened to "stryp away the flavor" and "the GM can add some kind of flavor in".

Wile I can get your position, I fail to see "I don't want any limitation" as something positive.

Alternate routes to get to the final result? Good.
Pick and choose only the positive parts and avoid any drawback? No good.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Temperans wrote:
I have a question to people asking for less or more varied anathema, did any of you have a problem with: Cavalier/Samurai orders, Monk vows or Oracle curses? (Just want to see if there is a difference, and sorry for the side track).
Cavalier and Samurai, nope the core concept of those archetypes is honour bound warrior fighting for a cause (be that a Lord, a philosophy, or something else), a Barbarian isn't that, they are rage and hate given big choppy things, Oracle's curses are different, they are explicitly external, and as the spells are divine, restrictions make sense.

I don't see why I couldn't play a LN Samurai via a Giant Totem Barbarian. The Totem represents my desire for strength so that I may better serve my Lord, and challenges to that strength if left unanswered bring such shame upon me (and thus my Lord) that I must seek atonement for my loss of honour before taking up my Zanbato again. In battle I achieve intense focus which, although both mentally and physically tiring, allow me to perform great acts. I do all this in service to my lord.

Nothing about that goes against any of the barbarian stuff shown so far, or the flavour of an honour bound character. To say you can't use the class to represent those archetypes is a severe lack of imagination.


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Diego Rossi wrote:
Pandora's wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Count me against stripping the flavor out. I like the game to be more than "here are some numbers that don't mean anything". Which is what I've seen happen in 98% of cases with flavor-neutral stuff in previous editions.
There's a big difference between stripping the flavor out and providing an optional flavor. I'm advocating for the latter, not the former. Flavor can be a focus of the game without the flavor being exactly identical every time a particular class/specialization/archetype is played.

Sorry, but from my point of view that sound exacvtly as "strip avay the flavor, the give the possibility to add it if you want".

That can be shortened to "stryp away the flavor" and "the GM can add some kind of flavor in".

Wile I can get your position, I fail to see "I don't want any limitation" as something positive.

Alternate routes to get to the final result? Good.
Pick and choose only the positive parts and avoid any drawback? No good.

It's even worse than that. Remember, if the GM has any specific flavor in mind for specific character options, it's oppressing the player and destroying their ability to make any character at all. Having flavor attached to options just turns characters into puppets without any meaningful sense of choice. Or so I'm told, anyway.


Maybe there should be a Coward Totem for barbarians who were banished from their tribes for not honoringrejecting the customs. They get the powers of any other totem (except Superstition), but their anathema is triggered by using Intimidate or challenging someone to a duel.

Sovereign Court

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Update: the good night's sleep had only minimal benefit.


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I'm torn. On the one hand, I like the idea of Anathema as applied here. I think there's a distinct possibility your totem can be an external force, though it doesn't have to be. But the idea of berserker rages being induced by Gods, spirits, or demons is pretty well established.

Even as a purely internal thing, your powers come from accessing anger. If something hurts you emotionally or spiritually, it can be harder to focus that anger. For the giant totem specifically, it is hardly a big leap to say that barbarians who over compensate by wielding impractically large weapons will care a lot about people thinking they are strong (in the real way.)

On the other hand, Pandora isn't wrong that this can get in the way of playing a specific character because mechanics don't mesh with how you want to act. And that can be a bummer.

I think I'm more into these totem anthemas than I am paladins being LG only, though. I like having some flavor hooks built into mechanics, and these don't seem very strenuous.


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I think what I would like, as some one who personally enjoys the flavour of the anathema's shown so far, but is a big fan of player choice supported by the rules, is to have multiple anathema choices for each totem.

E.G for Giant you could have the one we have presented now but also one along the lines of "You must never shirk from the weight of your responsibilities." and another "You must bow to those who best you, until you can best them." All have themes of personal strength being a high ideal, and all are restrictive but in different ways.

This gives players some choice over what their Totem means to them, gives players and DMs more examples of acceptable anathema and sets mechanical precedent for broadening those choices (either in supplements or at your own tables.)


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Bardess wrote:
So there will be a totem that lets you rage automatically when you take damage? That was the mechanic I used with my favored barbarian a long time ago, and I really miss it.

Badgers in 3E worked like that. If they had the Honey template, they just didnt give a...


Caught in a Landslide wrote:
can someone please tell me how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie roll pop!!?!?!

"... a one, a two, a *crunch*"

Sovereign Court

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Malk_Content wrote:

I think what I would like, as some one who personally enjoys the flavour of the anathema's shown so far, but is a big fan of player choice supported by the rules, is to have multiple anathema choices for each totem.

E.G for Giant you could have the one we have presented now but also one along the lines of "You must never shirk from the weight of your responsibilities." and another "You must bow to those who best you, until you can best them." All have themes of personal strength being a high ideal, and all are restrictive but in different ways.

This gives players some choice over what their Totem means to them, gives players and DMs more examples of acceptable anathema and sets mechanical precedent for broadening those choices (either in supplements or at your own tables.)

Basically, what will happen is the least impactful anathema will be the only one people choose.


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Diego Rossi wrote:

Sorry, but from my point of view that sound exacvtly as "strip avay the flavor, the give the possibility to add it if you want".

That can be shortened to "stryp away the flavor" and "the GM can add some kind of flavor in".

Wile I can get your position, I fail to see "I don't want any limitation" as something positive.

Alternate routes to get to the final result? Good.
Pick and choose only the positive parts and avoid any drawback? No good.

Except flavour doesn't need to take form of a "If you do x you fall, even if that doesn't suit your character". For example, under Giant Totem could be the following description:

"Barbarians of the Giant Totem mimic the fighting styles of the terrific and mighty giants that roam the untamed wilds just past the edges of civilization, allowing them to master weapons of immense size. These titanic warriors are known for never backing down from a challenge of strength."

The flavour still present, but doesn't result in situations like my players Titan Mauler Barbarian no longer being a viable concept in 2e just because that character didn't have anything to prove and wasn't really the type to accept petty challenges of pride unless the result helped protect someone.

Flavour has existed in abilities, classes, feats, archetypes, etc. for ages in forms other than just "Find a justification to have this specific personality quirk fit your character, even though the power source is completely freeform and can be completely internal in nature".

Alternatively, you could change the flavour of the anathema to match the giant totem better. Or people can just houserule it in our own games if it ever becomes an issue (which is what I'll be doing, easiest to do, and people who like the anathema get to keep it).

Silver Crusade

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Kalindlara wrote:
Update: the good night's sleep had only minimal benefit.

*offers hugs*

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm cant say I'm a fan of the new rage mechanic (18 seconds of rage followed by 6 seconds of panting followed by 18 seconds of rage again just seems somewhat strange.)

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