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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Just for informational purposes the 1st edition D&D barbarian did in fact have a similar mechanic. In fact barbarians could not use magic items starting out and could gradually as they level be allowed to use magic items. They would destroy most magic on sight and had bitter and typically dangerous relationships with spell casters (dangerous for the spell caster!)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
That's not an example of a totem, though. Totems are described as "a representation of how and why you rage". Big weapons are a consequence of choosing the giant totem, they aren't the totem itself.

Except totems have been said to just be a result of belief or states of mind? Why would there be a mental block preventing anyone who lacks a strength complex from learning how to use big weapons when it isn't magical in nature. It is literally a skill (standard english definition not RPG Skill definition) that the can barbarian learn without needing to tap into anything supernatural or special.... so why does a skill require you to have a very specific personality if you want to learn it without supernatural aid?

The inconsistency is what is creating this friction. Hopefully it will become more clear once everyone has the playtest rules in our hands and/or devices.

You are learning it without supernatural aid but it is still an esoteric technique that perhaps requires you to first attain a specific state of mind to access. I do not see any disjoint from a storytelling standpoint at all:

The barbarian class interact with these primal concepts/mind states/mythic archetypes that result in them unlocking techniques that are unattainable through traditional martial education.

What is mechanically important is that these mind states are mutually exclusive. -w-

You're making stuff up. Just straight up. In an effort to justify a specific anathema that doesn't particularly make sense you're inserting fluff where it does not exist.

Earlier in this thread I came up with a concept for a Superstitious Barbarian that got the Mark Seifter badge of approval who's totem isn't related to a state of mind in any way; she was the subject of scientific experiments to turn her into an antimagic supersoldier, and her body and spirit

...

It is acceptable for the cavalier because the core concept of that class is honor bound warrior,(And yes their code is a nerf the cavalier button for intelligent enemies to play them with, using characters codes against them is smart play, making them fall is the goal of any decent villian, then kill or turn them when they are at their least dangerous) the core concept of the barabarian is berserker with no code who wields huge weapons. Except now they have an off switch, and I didn't see the 800 page list of mage anathema, because the only justification for this possible is balance, and it isn't barbarians who need hitting with the nerf nuke.


Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
Just for informational purposes the 1st edition D&D barbarian did in fact have a similar mechanic. In fact barbarians could not use magic items starting out and could gradually as they level be allowed to use magic items. They would destroy most magic on sight and had bitter and typically dangerous relationships with spell casters (dangerous for the spell caster!)

Yes, and the paladin had features that made the entire class notorious for years. I'm glad that those sorts of bugs were gradually fixed as the editions upgraded.


Wandering Wastrel wrote:
Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
Just for informational purposes the 1st edition D&D barbarian did in fact have a similar mechanic. In fact barbarians could not use magic items starting out and could gradually as they level be allowed to use magic items. They would destroy most magic on sight and had bitter and typically dangerous relationships with spell casters (dangerous for the spell caster!)
Yes, and the paladin had features that made the entire class notorious for years. I'm glad that those sorts of bugs were gradually fixed as the editions upgraded.

Are you referring to the item restrictions they had? I believe it was 4 weapons a shield an armor and 4 misc magic items. I might be forgetting one or 2.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
Wandering Wastrel wrote:
Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
Just for informational purposes the 1st edition D&D barbarian did in fact have a similar mechanic. In fact barbarians could not use magic items starting out and could gradually as they level be allowed to use magic items. They would destroy most magic on sight and had bitter and typically dangerous relationships with spell casters (dangerous for the spell caster!)
Yes, and the paladin had features that made the entire class notorious for years. I'm glad that those sorts of bugs were gradually fixed as the editions upgraded.
Are you referring to the item restrictions they had? I believe it was 4 weapons a shield an armor and 4 misc magic items. I might be forgetting one or 2.

no, the code that utterly dictated what and how everyone else could play.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Rob Godfrey wrote:
because it is a Samurai, not a Barbarian

So can only the mechanical "class" Samurai, which won't be in PF2E for god knows how long or even at all, represent the character archetype and in world idea of the Samurai? Why is that the case. If the barbarian I stated above can do everything the idea needs, why is it not valid? Is it really just because of the name? That seems an incredibly reductionist way to approach any roleplaying game.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I've never seen a game where enemies metagame stuff like the cavalier's order. We must play in very different games...


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Kalindlara wrote:
I've never seen a game where enemies metagame stuff like the cavalier's order. We must play in very different games...

Heh. I've never seen a game with a cavalier (never played one, never gamed with anyone who was playing one) ^_^

But - more seriously - the cavalier's order was part and parcel of the class from the outset. Retconning something equivalent into the barbarian class that wasn't part of the PF1 class is an interesting design choice.

I look forward to seeing what the playtesting reveals. It may prove to be a storm in a teacup, it may not. But I'm not surprised it's generated some controversy.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
I've never seen a game where enemies metagame stuff like the cavalier's order. We must play in very different games...

it's not metagaming, it's research: The guy wears THIS Orders colours in his heraldry, their power comes from THIS oath, so we can take advantage of that oath in THIS way, exactly the same as figuring out a Clerics deity or Mages school, or Sorcerers Bloodline, you gain intelligence and use it. If you aren't trying to do the same as a player, looking for and taking advantage of weaknesses, everything from knowing what DR the monsters/beasties have, to what the tenents and doctrines of the other guys faith, what aspect of the Cleric of Lahamatsu's faith can I use, what should I be aware of, what am I likely/unlikely to face etc. The advantage of fighters, barbarians and rogues was that it was individual, you had to get to know that one guy, you couldn't (for instance) say 'oh oversized weapon, ok Giant Totem, obssesed with strength, how can we use this?'


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
I've never seen a game where enemies metagame stuff like the cavalier's order. We must play in very different games...
it's not metagaming, it's research: The guy wears THIS Orders colours in his heraldry, their power comes from THIS oath, so we can take advantage of that oath in THIS way, exactly the same as figuring out a Clerics deity or Mages school, or Sorcerers Bloodline, you gain intelligence and use it. If you aren't trying to do the same as a player, looking for and taking advantage of weaknesses, everything from knowing what DR the monsters/beasties have, to what the tenents and doctrines of the other guys faith, what aspect of the Cleric of Lahamatsu's faith can I use, what should I be aware of, what am I likely/unlikely to face etc. The advantage of fighters, barbarians and rogues was that it was individual, you had to get to know that one guy, you couldn't (for instance) say 'oh oversized weapon, ok Giant Totem, obssesed with strength, how can we use this?'

You...are aware that exactly like totems are, orders are things personal to the cavalier, right? (It remains to be seen if you can retrain into a different totem if your ideals or traditions change.)

There's no actual Order of the Cockatrice that cavaliers across Golarion sign up for membership with, with accompanying badges and heraldry.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I've also never seen a cavalier that in any way advertises their order visually, and only rarely socially (and then usually just to the party). Again, different gaming experiences.

But it really does appear to be metagaming. Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
There's no actual Order of the Cockatrice that cavaliers across Golarion sign up for membership with, with accompanying badges and heraldry.

This.


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Admittedly, I played an Order of the Cockatrice Cavalier for about a year and I don't think her edict ever actually came up.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
There's no actual Order of the Cockatrice that cavaliers across Golarion sign up for membership with, with accompanying badges and heraldry.
This.

And I quote the SRD: 'organizations do exist that are comprised of cavaliers that all belong to one specific order.' If you cannot do it straight of heraldry you do it by observation (with the awareness you may be looking at a fighter, or possibly a paladin, but they tend to be obvious in different ways)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
I've never seen a game where enemies metagame stuff like the cavalier's order. We must play in very different games...
it's not metagaming, it's research: The guy wears THIS Orders colours in his heraldry, their power comes from THIS oath, so we can take advantage of that oath in THIS way, exactly the same as figuring out a Clerics deity or Mages school, or Sorcerers Bloodline, you gain intelligence and use it. If you aren't trying to do the same as a player, looking for and taking advantage of weaknesses, everything from knowing what DR the monsters/beasties have, to what the tenents and doctrines of the other guys faith, what aspect of the Cleric of Lahamatsu's faith can I use, what should I be aware of, what am I likely/unlikely to face etc. The advantage of fighters, barbarians and rogues was that it was individual, you had to get to know that one guy, you couldn't (for instance) say 'oh oversized weapon, ok Giant Totem, obssesed with strength, how can we use this?'

You...are aware that exactly like totems are, orders are things personal to the cavalier, right? (It remains to be seen if you can retrain into a different totem if your ideals or traditions change.)

There's no actual Order of the Cockatrice that cavaliers across Golarion sign up for membership with, with accompanying badges and heraldry.

and for cavaliers they make sense, for barbarians they have no place, at all. Barbarians are not and should NEVER be oath bound warriors, it is completely alien to the idea of being a barbarian (ha, in fact you could say anathema are anathema to barbarians)Basically Anathema/codes are a huge flaw for an intelligent enemy to exploit and require a commensurately large payoff in both RP and mechanics terms to be worth it, the joy of characters without them was that freedom, since barbarians are by definition supposed to be free of restraint, straight jacketing them with anathema breaks the concept, utterly.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
There's no actual Order of the Cockatrice that cavaliers across Golarion sign up for membership with, with accompanying badges and heraldry.
This.
And I quote the SRD: 'organizations do exist that are comprised of cavaliers that all belong to one specific order.' If you cannot do it straight of heraldry you do it by observation (with the awareness you may be looking at a fighter, or possibly a paladin, but they tend to be obvious in different ways)

Just like the entities that supposedly act as witch patrons?

I'd seriously appreciate being pointed at an example of such an organization in any Pathfinder material.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
There's no actual Order of the Cockatrice that cavaliers across Golarion sign up for membership with, with accompanying badges and heraldry.
This.
And I quote the SRD: 'organizations do exist that are comprised of cavaliers that all belong to one specific order.' If you cannot do it straight of heraldry you do it by observation (with the awareness you may be looking at a fighter, or possibly a paladin, but they tend to be obvious in different ways)

Just like the entities that supposedly act as witch patrons?

I'd seriously appreciate being pointed at an example of such an organization in any Pathfinder material.

https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Knight also, not everyone plays Glorion, (and I am not cool with how far it is polluting core). Witches having patrons, again makes sense, they are supernaturally empower, barbarians explicitly aren't, to make them so now fundamentally changes the class, like turning paladins into arcane casters would.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I think of barbarians sharing the same totem as individuals that have the same general idea. Be that 'magic is icky', 'dragons are cool', 'man, them giants though' or 'wagh, rage!' or whatever.

We (as of yet) don't know if giant-totem barbarians are the only ones able to wield larger than normal weapons. I suspect that isn't the case, though they might be the best at that task.

Still, those giant-totem barbarians mostly not backing down any strength challenge because it's in their nature to want to prove themself? Seems like a good fit, for most of them.

I agree that there should be a preamble to totems, or even anathema in general, that the given descriptions/rules regarding the anathema are exemplary for such characters on Golarion, but can and/or should be discussed between GM and player(s).

And even so, the example of giant-totem anathema given: "you cannot fail to accept a personal challenge of your strength" doesn't have to mean that the character has to run around looking for anyone that looks at him/her strangely and accept that as a challenge.
It can just as much mean for that character to grumblingly accept to that rock-toss because he knows that if he doesn't, it will bug him subconciously and make him not be as awesome with that large axe later on. The character already knows his/her strength, no need to prove it to others, not even a need to win.
Backing away from a challenge is simply not acceptable.

So yeah, that giant-totem anathema seems low impact to me. I'm looking forward to see the others.

Dark Archive

Kalindlara wrote:


Just like the entities that supposedly act as witch patrons?

I'd seriously appreciate being pointed at an example of such an organization in any Pathfinder material.

Order of the First Law (Rahadoum Pure Legion)

Order of the Ennead Star (Hellknights)
Order of the Eclipse (Kaoling Hobgoblins)

More specific ones in the archetypes.


Looks super fun! Can't wait to take the Playtest for a spin.

I'm hesitant about things like "-1 AC" though on the rage. One of my main annoyances of Pathfinder 1 is the tracking of so many conditions that modify numbers slightly. +1 here, -1 here, +2 here, -4 on this, +3 on this over here. Especially when something like -1 AC feels like it doesn't even matter after a few levels. I'm hoping to see the Playtest move away from having to manage numbers like that during combat.


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I have played many characters who are barbarians or bloodragers who have had codes.
One could most certainly play an honorable warrior/samurai using Barbarian as a class. Just like one could build one using a Paladin, or even a slayer(as I have). Or how one could build a detective as a Rogue.

But ultimately I feel you would point to one sentence that is really meant to be inspiration fuel more than anything definitive or absolute. We have our ways of viewing the classes and the world and they seem to inherently clash. So nothing else can be said I suppose.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
theshoveller wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:


Just like the entities that supposedly act as witch patrons?

I'd seriously appreciate being pointed at an example of such an organization in any Pathfinder material.

Order of the First Law (Rahadoum Pure Legion)

Order of the Ennead Star (Hellknights)
Order of the Eclipse (Kaoling Hobgoblins)

More specific ones in the archetypes.

Every Pure Legion member is a cavalier, and is part of that specific order? Every Hellknight?

(Order of the Eclipse actually might be. Anyone got a copy of Distant Shores handy?)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
pixierose wrote:

I have played many characters who are barbarians or bloodragers who have had codes.

One could most certainly play an honorable warrior/samurai using Barbarian as a class. Just like one could build one using a Paladin, or even a slayer(as I have). Or how one could build a detective as a Rogue.

But ultimately I feel you would point to one sentence that is really meant to be inspiration fuel more than anything definitive or absolute. We have our ways of viewing the classes and the world and they seem to inherently clash. So nothing else can be said I suppose.

a pure rp code chosen by the player is fine, great in fact, having one forced by the rules onto a class where such codes make absolutely zero sense is the problem.


kpulv wrote:

Looks super fun! Can't wait to take the Playtest for a spin.

I'm hesitant about things like "-1 AC" though on the rage. One of my main annoyances of Pathfinder 1 is the tracking of so many conditions that modify numbers slightly. +1 here, -1 here, +2 here, -4 on this, +3 on this over here. Especially when something like -1 AC feels like it doesn't even matter after a few levels. I'm hoping to see the Playtest move away from having to manage numbers like that during combat.

Yes, I can see that, when you have +43 to hit, the -1 is rather underwhelming, though I know it effects the 4-tiers of success deal.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
theshoveller wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:


Just like the entities that supposedly act as witch patrons?

I'd seriously appreciate being pointed at an example of such an organization in any Pathfinder material.

Order of the First Law (Rahadoum Pure Legion)

Order of the Ennead Star (Hellknights)
Order of the Eclipse (Kaoling Hobgoblins)

More specific ones in the archetypes.

Every Pure Legion member is a cavalier, and is part of that specific order? Every Hellknight?

(Order of the Eclipse actually might be. Anyone got a copy of Distant Shores handy?)

Every Hellknight follows the code of the appropriate order or gets clobbered, whether that is due to the Cavalier order, or the prestige class, or being an aspirant to either of those. And it's a fir bet for the others, if your scheme doesn't work, you got the edge case that isn't, but it was worth a shot.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
The question that needs to be answered is why barbarians have anathema at all? Whta doe sit achieve? If its balance are mages going to have a 300 page contract to keep spell casting? Because so far they make no sense at all. (apart from superstition and that is easily covered by 'this resistance applies to all spells beneficial as well as detrimental) I mean the base idea makes no sense as a concept.

Not 300 pages at a shot, but Wizards and Magi do have to read their spellbooks to prepare spells each day. And for the more diabolically-oriented of these, these probably do look like sets of Infernal contracts . . . or credit card agreements.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
The question that needs to be answered is why barbarians have anathema at all? Whta doe sit achieve? If its balance are mages going to have a 300 page contract to keep spell casting? Because so far they make no sense at all. (apart from superstition and that is easily covered by 'this resistance applies to all spells beneficial as well as detrimental) I mean the base idea makes no sense as a concept.

Not 300 pages at a shot, but Wizards and Magi do have to read their spellbooks to prepare spells each day. And for the more diabolically-oriented of these, these probably do look like sets of Infernal contracts . . . or credit card agreements.

reading the spell book is about the level of equipment maintenance (something that has to be done, but that outside of edge cases doesn't effect game play.)


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Huh, came back to the thread and jumped near the end to see what's up. That was a mistake.

Personally, I think a couple things on this anathema whining

1) A good GM will be flexible on helping you realize the character you want to portray, within reason.

2) I think it's about time Barbarian had a little more going on that just angry beatstick. They were kind of boring on their own.

3) having some restrictions can actually breed creativity in my mind. i.e.- how does this character fit/break free of this mold?

Don't bother replying to this post, though, I'm not coming back to this thread, I have much better things to do with my time.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Barbarians are not and should NEVER be oath bound warriors, it is completely alien to the idea of being a barbarian (ha, in fact you could say anathema are anathema to barbarians)Basically Anathema/codes are a huge flaw for an intelligent enemy to exploit and require a commensurately large payoff in both RP and mechanics terms to be worth it, the joy of characters without them was that freedom, since barbarians are by definition supposed to be free of restraint, straight jacketing them with anathema breaks the concept, utterly.

Except that there's a rather large selection of fictional/mythical/historical groups where berserk behaviour is associated with a particular organisation such as a religion, warrior society, or secret cult that has a code of conduct which is hardly incompatible with anathema as written. The Viking berserkers of the Sagas are one example (and in the sagas are often exploited by the real heroes taking advantage of that). Even Conan lives by the codes of some of the groups he joins, like the kozaki or the pirate gangs. Though Conan is arguably not a good fit for the PF Barbarian class, of course.


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Honestly the only problem i have seen when it comes to codes in a tabletop is the Paladin due to its "Incorruptable" or "meme" status, and some DM/GMs just love the idea to corrupt the "stick-in-the-mud" paladins or "lawful stupid" and see them fall. From my experience i had 4 of these DM/GMs, mostly out of pure Bias against the paladin.

On the opposite end i never seen a DM/GM make a Monk or Barbarian "fall" due to alignment shifts, never have i seen a Cleric being stripped of his or her powers, never have i seen a samurai or cavalier disgraced... i actually never seen a situation that require the spell attonement that was not on a Paladin.

The point i am trying to make is that these "Malicious" DM/GMs that want to drain your characters powers by exploiting geas/codes is portrayed as a bigger problem that it actually is. With the exception of the paladin, plus if a DM/GM is of "that guy" caliber he would find a way to mess you up regardless of class mechanics.

Silver Crusade

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Barbarians/Berserkers having a sense of honor/duty and being oath bound not only has a place in Golarion but also in other media and folklore, so I don't have a problem with Anathema, especially with the two presented as they present a nice framework to work around.

Quote:
Barbarians are not and should NEVER be oath bound warriors, it is completely alien to the idea of being a barbarian.

I've seen and dealt with more Barbarians that were bound by various oaths than those that weren't so this statement is rather alien to me.

Which just settles in that are a multitude of different ways to play a Barbarian.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

This really seems to be a distinction of "barbarians are this TO ME and thus the rules should reflect it" and "new barbarians can be used to represent many different things and thats good." The old purist barbarian still exists in the Fury Totem.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
no it does not, its a 'nerf the barbarian button' for intelligent enemies to press, when no such button makes any sense

I've never understood this line of thought. I don't try to minimize my players' abilities or penalize them for roleplaying choices. I don't engineer situations for my paladins to fall, or look for ways to get my players to break their characters' personal codes. I let stuff like that happen organically. When people start talking about how to make their players fall because of an anathema or code or whatever, I pretty much just skip it. Because it won't come up in my game.

The "huge flaw for an enemy to exploit" is really only a huge flaw if the GM makes it so by forcing the story into a contrived scenario for their players to fall. If the players are into that story, then cool. Otherwise, meh.

On a side note, people in-world don't actually know the mechanics that control the game (their world). Beyond, "paladins lose their divine favor if they do really evil stuff", no one actually knows how to trigger an anathema. Turns out, there isn't a big book of game mechanics available to the BBEG. They might be able to watch their enemies to see strengths/weaknesses, but they won't know anathemas unless it comes up while they are watching.


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Isn't the strength totem and the anethema totally based on Amiri?

Using a giant's weapon and proving her worth in strength (because she came from a chauvinistic tribe) is her thing, isn't it?

For those saying that the anethema doesn't fit the barbarians shtick, how does that reconcile with the idea that it came entirely from an Iconic?


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bookrat wrote:

Isn't the strength totem and the anethema totally based on Amiri?

Using a giant's weapon and proving her worth in strength (because she came from a chauvinistic tribe) is her thing, isn't it?

For those saying that the anethema doesn't fit the barbarians shtick, how does that reconcile with the idea that it came entirely from an Iconic?

I see the issue as "It fits one barbarian who'd use the totem", but it doesn't necessarily fit all (for example, one of my previous campaigns had a titan mauler who didn't accept challenges from others because he had nothing to prove and saw things like that as a waste of time). Some may desire for the anathema to be closer to the concept of the totem rather than a random personality quirk that might fit some with the totem. Most cavalier edicts (from the RPG-line at least, I don't have enough experience with the Players Companions to have legitimate view) are a good example of having their restrictions match what you'd be doing anyway as part of the order's concept.

Others have suggested "Meet strength with strength" above iirc, which seemed better in my opinion, though could use a rewording to make it less vague.


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Milo v3 wrote:
bookrat wrote:

Isn't the strength totem and the anethema totally based on Amiri?

Using a giant's weapon and proving her worth in strength (because she came from a chauvinistic tribe) is her thing, isn't it?

For those saying that the anethema doesn't fit the barbarians shtick, how does that reconcile with the idea that it came entirely from an Iconic?

I see the issue as "It fits one barbarian who'd use the totem", but it doesn't necessarily fit all (for example, one of my previous campaigns had a titan mauler who didn't accept challenges from others because he had nothing to prove and saw things like that as a waste of time). Some may desire for the anathema to be closer to the concept of the totem rather than a random personality quirk that might fit some with the totem. Most cavalier edicts (from the RPG-line at least, I don't have enough experience with the Players Companions to have legitimate view) are a good example of having their restrictions match what you'd be doing anyway as part of the order's concept.

That's fair.

I would like it if each Totem came with a couple of Anathema that all revolve around different themes of that totem, similar to how there will be a couple of Anathema for each Deity all revovling around things that Deity doesn't like.

But I also think there should be a listing that states, "If one of these do not work for you, work with your DM to come up with one that does."

But then again, I think that should be true of all Anathema, not just the ones for Totems.

But at the same time, I'm also a huge proponent of altering the game to fit your table (to be discussed as a group, not dictated by any one person, player or GM), and I'm a huge proponent of changing up flavor to make new concepts from old classes. Like the time I made a "monk" from a barbarian class, or the time I made a "paladin" from the monk class, all by changing the flavor without changing any rules. It is a game of imagination, after all. :)


bookrat wrote:
But at the same time, I'm also a huge proponent of altering the game to fit your table (to be discussed as a group, not dictated by any one person, player or GM), and I'm a huge proponent of changing up flavor to make new concepts from old classes. Like the time I made a "monk" from a barbarian class, or the time I made a "paladin" from the monk class, all by changing the flavor without changing any rules. It is a game of imagination, after all. :)

I actually agree with this so much I'm currently doing a side-project where I'm writing up 50 different 20th level monks, each a different base class except for the 7 archetyped monks. Reflavouring is a mighty tool.


Also the fact that not a single Iconic is worth the ink that they were printed on.

But to get to the topic at hand. (Finally. 12 pages takes a while to read.)

Most of it seems good. I have some concerns relating to information not revealed. But the totem and anethma are the things that I have issues with.

Totems were the most popular thing!!!! No they weren't nobody that I have played with gave arse about the totems. They were popular because they had nice rage powers and were in a tree format which wasn't the case for lot of the other rage powers. Beast totem being a prime example, pretty much everyone for example considered the claws pure tax and nothing else. The other popular ones were the ones that gave fly.

Anethma....oh boy here we go again. Go write 100 times on the blackboard "Locking mechanics behind RP without a very good reason is bad game desing." Superstisous is an example of a good one, it is a mechanical benefit and mechanical restriction also it makes sense IC. The others mentioned are garbage writing and should be discarded as such. At least the paladin has the excuse of sacred cow in need of slaughter. This is adding in more of that assenine thinking into the game.


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Wultram wrote:
Also the fact that not a single Iconic is worth the ink that they were printed on.

Based on what metric?

Wultram wrote:
Totems were the most popular thing!!!! No they weren't nobody that I have played with gave arse about the totems. They were popular because they had nice rage powers and were in a tree format which wasn't the case for lot of the other rage powers. Beast totem being a prime example, pretty much everyone for example considered the claws pure tax and nothing else. The other popular ones were the ones that gave fly.

So you're saying they were used a lot, which ties in to what was said. Just because players in your area didn't play up the RP side of things, doesn't mean others might not have done. One group's experience isn't reflective of all groups, after all.

Wultram wrote:
Anethma....oh boy here we go again. Go write 100 times on the blackboard "Locking mechanics behind RP without a very good reason is bad game desing." Superstisous is an example of a good one, it is a mechanical benefit and mechanical restriction also it makes sense IC. The others mentioned are garbage writing and should be discarded as such. At least the paladin has the excuse of sacred cow in need of slaughter. This is adding in more of that assenine thinking into the game.

Firstly, dial back the tone, dude - calling something "garbage writing" because you disagree with it is beyond OTT.

Secondly, while some people might agree with you that it isn't a good move, there seem to be at least as many people who like the idea, going by this thread. Given we're looking at a playtest here, how about we test how it works in the game before discarding the idea?


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Wultram wrote:

Anethma....oh boy here we go again. Go write 100 times on the blackboard "Locking mechanics behind RP without a very good reason is bad game desing." Superstisous is an example of a good one, it is a mechanical benefit and mechanical restriction also it makes sense IC. The others mentioned are garbage writing and should be discarded as such. At least the paladin has the excuse of sacred cow in need of slaughter. This is adding in more of that assenine thinking into the game.

Some of us like that "garbage writing". Some of us like fusing flavor with mechanics. Maybe you should go write 100 times on the blackboard "Not everyone shares my opinion, and that's OK" or maybe "It's not OK to call other people's opinions asinine"


Can we please not call them "anathema". How about "taboo" or some other similar word.


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Dragon78 wrote:
Can we please not call them "anathema". How about "taboo" or some other similar word.

I agree that Anathema might not be the best choice for a Barbarian - but if they're mechanically the same as the ones in other classes, it makes sense to use common terminology, rather than re-inventing the wheel.

Of course, you might be advocating changing it everywhere, in which case I have no real preference either way on the term ;)


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Dragon78 wrote:
Can we please not call them "anathema". How about "taboo" or some other similar word.

Taboo seems to make sense given the context. And since it's not quite the same flavor as a divine caster failing their god, it also makes sense to give it some distance from that idea. I'd be on board for this.


dysartes wrote:
Wultram wrote:
Also the fact that not a single Iconic is worth the ink that they were printed on.

Based on what metric?

Wultram wrote:
Totems were the most popular thing!!!! No they weren't nobody that I have played with gave arse about the totems. They were popular because they had nice rage powers and were in a tree format which wasn't the case for lot of the other rage powers. Beast totem being a prime example, pretty much everyone for example considered the claws pure tax and nothing else. The other popular ones were the ones that gave fly.

So you're saying they were used a lot, which ties in to what was said. Just because players in your area didn't play up the RP side of things, doesn't mean others might not have done. One group's experience isn't reflective of all groups, after all.

Wultram wrote:
Anethma....oh boy here we go again. Go write 100 times on the blackboard "Locking mechanics behind RP without a very good reason is bad game desing." Superstisous is an example of a good one, it is a mechanical benefit and mechanical restriction also it makes sense IC. The others mentioned are garbage writing and should be discarded as such. At least the paladin has the excuse of sacred cow in need of slaughter. This is adding in more of that assenine thinking into the game.

Firstly, dial back the tone, dude - calling something "garbage writing" because you disagree with it is beyond OTT.

Secondly, while some people might agree with you that it isn't a good move, there seem to be at least as many people who like the idea, going by this thread. Given we're looking at a playtest here, how about we test how it works in the game before discarding the idea?

Because the quote system sucks on these boards, I will number things for claritys sake.

1) Bad writing/characters, bad builds, the fundamental idea of having a handout character, poor teaching tool even disregarding previous point. But the merits of those are bit off topic, my note was related to the argument that because the giant anethma works good for the iconic it is actually good. For details read up.

2) This is not 1 group, this is roughly 30-40 people, and maybe around 15-25 barbarians not counting my own or multiclass characters. I would say if not a single person even in that small sample size had any care about totems as the argument made in the blog post, it is a pretty good indication that the premise is wrong. Wich was my initial point, the conclusion is flawed because it relies on false assumption why the totem powers were popular. I am sure there are some people who like the fluff of them, but that does not change the fact it based on poor logic or data.

3) Call them as I see them, might be subjective matter. So is music, but I will still call bubblegum pop garbage music. Neither do I need to jump out of an airplane without a parachute to know that it is a bad idea. And yes I use strong language because that gets the point across I am trying to communicate. If someone takes offense to my use of language that is their problem not mine.


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Wultram wrote:
Call them as I see them, might be subjective matter. So is music, but I will still call bubblegum pop garbage music. Neither do I need to jump out of an airplane without a parachute to know that it is a bad idea. And yes I use strong language because that gets the point across I am trying to communicate. If someone takes offense to my use of language that is their problem not mine.

No. It is your problem. This is a community, and if you want to be part of it, you are obligated to be respectful. In fact, others expressed similar opinions using actual reasoning, not just offensive nonsense. They were engaged in discussion by people who disagreed. Your post, on the other hand, was deservedly called down, the content ignored. The way you express your opinion matters, and as it stands now you were counter-productive to the ideas you were trying to communicate. Using offensive language only results in making people want to disagree with you. And being respectful really isn't that hard, and results in your ideas actually being considered.


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Wultram wrote:
2) This is not 1 group, this is roughly 30-40 people, and maybe around 15-25 barbarians not counting my own or multiclass characters. I would say if not a single person even in that small sample size had any care about totems as the argument made in the blog post, it is a pretty good indication that the premise is wrong. Wich was my initial point, the conclusion is flawed because it relies on false assumption why the totem powers were popular. I am sure there are some people who like the fluff of them, but that does not change the fact it based on poor logic or data.

A goodly number of players. Still, I guarantee you're working from a much smaller data set than the developers at Paizo. Even just Mark Seifter's experience with organized play has a sample set that is significantly larger than yours (based on his claim of 150+ organized play tables). The other developers, I'd bet, also have personal sample sets that are much larger than yours. These personal samples don't include any data they may have gleaned from organized play or conferences. Thus, I trust their data and conclusions more than I trust yours.

And even if you are correct, and players universally take totem rage powers to get pounce or DR or wings, the developers finding a relatively minor mechanical reason (anathema) to draw attention to this major class feature and get players to not ignore its "fluff" is a good thing in my opinion.

Clearly, you have a different opinion about anathemas and Barbarian than I do. That's totally fine. But you should recognize it as what it is (opinion and preference), rather than treating it as some sort of logic-based conclusion.

"Wultram wrote:
Call them as I see them, might be subjective matter. So is music, but I will still call bubblegum pop garbage music. Neither do I need to jump out of an airplane without a parachute to know that it is a bad idea. And yes I use strong language because that gets the point across I am trying to communicate. If someone takes offense to my use of language that is their problem not mine.

Since your stated goal is communication: your posting style comes across as arrogant and dismissive, and is insulting towards the developers at least. This style will generally lead to ideas being dismissed out of hand and not even being considered, even if they are good ones. It will also tend to make people who have the different ideas dig in as opposition.

In other words, it's your problem, because it prevents you from communicating effectively. If your goal is actually communication, I'd suggest adopting a more pleasant tone in your posts. If not, have at (within community guidelines).

Liberty's Edge

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I've been staying out of the Anathema discussion because I can see points on both sides and will need to see how they're actually handled to have a firm opinion. However, I needed to respond to this:

Wultram wrote:
1) Bad writing/characters, bad builds, the fundamental idea of having a handout character, poor teaching tool even disregarding previous point. But the merits of those are bit off topic, my note was related to the argument that because the giant anethma works good for the iconic it is actually good. For details read up.

The writing is fine. The Iconic backstories are solid character backgrounds and create interesting folk. They also get more involved as you go along chronologically. A few are less compelling than others, but even that mostly gets fixed in the Pathfinder Comics (where the Iconics are main characters).

And the idea that they were intended as handout characters is also false. They were intended as art simplifiers. When sending out art orders, saying 'We need a Ranger here' is not very useful, saying 'Draw this guy' with a picture of Harsk? Very useful indeed. That's why they exist.

In terms of being used as handout characters, I've always rather found handout characters extremely useful at conventions, or other scenarios where you lack the time to actually make characters. They aren't always the best way for teaching new players, but that's hardly their only use (and even there, some people learn the game better if they can jump right to it).

As for being 'bad builds' that varies quite a bit from Iconic to Iconic in PF1 (Crowe is very nicely built, for example), and is not an inevitable problem or linked to any of their thematics in most cases. There's also no evidence of any of the PF2 Iconics having bad stats (all seem to have 18s in their primary stat and enough goodies to back that up and be effective).

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Wultram wrote:

I would say if not a single person even in that small sample size had any care about totems as the argument made in the blog post, it is a pretty good indication that the premise is wrong.

... no?

To also echo what the others have stated, you can very easily be critical of something you don't like without being disrespectful and insulting. You have completely dismantled and defeated your own stance by how you have chosen to act and represent yourself.

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