The Genius Guide to the Talented Barbarian (PFRPG) PDF

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Barbarians are one of the most popular martial classes, in large part because they have more flexibility than most martial classes. With the option to select a rage power at every other level, barbarians have access to a wide range of potential builds, ranging from fast-and-mobile skirmishers, to heavily defended tanks, to whirling dervishes of mass destruction. If there is a limitation to the barbarian, it’s that even when modified by rage powers and archetypes, most barbarians end up looking and playing a lot like each other, because they are all rage-fueled killing machines.

With the popular and proven edge and talent system that has already been applied to many other classes in the Talented Class line of books from Rogue Genius Games, we’ve built a new talented barbarian class that can take on any of a large number of “uncivilized” roles. While these most certainly include a number of things that could be considered forms of berserker, they also allow for barbarians seeped in mysticism, trained as guides and scouts, or who have learned to become one with the savage nature they live in.

Author: Owen K.C. Stephens
Cover Art: Jacob Blackmon
Pages: 38

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

The first of the much-applauded "Talented"-treatments under Owen K.C. Stephens' new Rogue Genius Games clocks in at an impressive 38 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 35 (!!!) pages of content, so let's take a look!

So let's take a look at the class, shall we? talented Barbarians must be of non-lawful alignment, get d12, 4+Int skills, full BAB-progression, good fort-saves and proficiency with all simple and martial weapons and light armors. They also get a so-called edge at first level, 2nd level and then at 5th level and every 6 levels after that. Barbarians also get a so-called talent at 1st level and every level except 5th, 11th and 17th. Starting at 10th level, advanced talents become available and starting at 20th level, so-called grand talents are there as capstones. So far, so good - that's essentially what you had expected after the previous installments of the series.

Now where things get really interesting is with the new level 1 ability Primal Reserve. A barbarian starts play with 4+con-mod points of Primal Reserve and adds +2 points. Primal reserve can be used to automatically stabilize. All core-resources that would increase rage rounds instead net primal reserve points. These, as you can imagine, make for the basic resource of the talented barbarian.

Generally, a certain type of ability-tree can be gleaned herein -while primal reserve powers all the rage-like edges (rage, cod fury, berserker and also savagery), only one can be chosen - savagery allowing btw. the barbarian to add +1d6 to ability/skill-checks based on two chosen attributes other than Int for a more canny/versatile adversary. Additionally, rage powers and the like can be used by barbarians with this edge even when not in rage. This makes for an interesting inherent design-decision, also by adding additional benefits according to the rage chosen - berserkers getting e.g. free proficiencies and the like. Skinwalking and the oracle-mystery-wildering totems also are part of the deal -and before you get out your power-gaming utensils - skinwalking/totems have a caveat that helps them not stack at the lower levels, but which still makes it possible to combine them, should you wish to. Skinwalking? Yep, essentially wild-shaping fuelled by primal reserve, opening a vast array of new character concepts. And before you ask - the ability is balanced re animal modes of movement and attacks, requiring higher levels to turn into predators and the like - nice! It should also be noted that barbarians are explicitly allowed to wilder in the rogue's talent selection via a specific edge, increasing your potential arsenal even further.

Among the talents, armored swiftness, using improvised weapons, longer non-combat wild-shape, crowd control (with a caveat that addresses the problematic wording of the origin ability!), ignoring bad weather - rather awesome, very extensive selection, though personally, I had hoped the Titan Mauler's ability to wield oversized weapons and one-hand two-handed weapons and all the confusion surrounding it had been cleaned up in a similar manner as aforementioned crowd control. Oh well, guess you can't have everything. And before you ask - yes, rage power is now a talent as well, allowing you access to the list of rage-powers, which still apply their potential additional prerequisites. Have I mentioned the ability to use foes grappled as weapons to bludgeon others while in rage? What about rerolls of failed saves versus conditions upon drinking alcohol? Of course, totem rage powers are also included herein - with the totem edge (which may be taken multiple times) offering potentially access to multiple rage totem powers. Beyond the alignment-based/obvious beast totem powers, the fans of Midgard will surely enjoy the world-serpent totem powers or the hive totem, the latter of which is a godsend if your DM's just as evil as yours truly and loves throwing deadly swarms at the poor melee characters after the AoE-spells of the casters are drained...

We also get an index that groups the respective content according to theme. Very interesting indeed - beyond the by now traditional advice on how to handle synergy between talented classes, we get essentially a suggestion called heroic warrior, who is a synergy of fighter, barbarian and cavalier for those who wish to play in all toolboxes sans breaking the game -really like that one, though a full-blown table for the class would probably have been nice.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to RGG's printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with thematically-fitting stock art and is EXTENSIVELY bookmarked with nested bookmarks for each edge, talent and rage power. It also comes hyperlinked to d20pfsrd.com, though not with the perfect bookmarks, but rather the automated ones - I doubt that customers require "GM" to be hyperlinked and more than once, I clicked by accident on a hyperlink, in the end printing this out to avoid just that. Oh well, at least the hyperlinks per se aren't obtrusive.

Back to a more positive topic - the content. This takes the slobbering, wrath-filled barbarian and, as the intro suggests, separates it from the savage warrior, essentially allowing for non-raging barbarians from less urbanized cultures to civilized people who need anger management classes to shamanistic warriors that may slip in and out of animal skins - the barbarian as reimagined herein is much more versatile than the base class it inspired, offering much, much more in the variety of character concepts it supports - and that, ladies and gentleman, is why this one, much like the other talented classes before, now is the standard at my table. f problems can be found herein, they are minor at the very best and not the result of the class, but of the base archetype-abilities the framework took and adapted. And, let me emphasize this, even these minor hick-ups do not detract from the usefulness of this class in the slightest - final verdict: 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


Now I wanna play one... or seven...

5/5

What I expected:
Genius; “uncivilized” combat; primitive/primal attitudes; anti-magic superstitions; utter detonation & rebuilding of the core class concept; a 5-star product.

What I got:
All that and more! I got Conan, Fafhrd, Scorpion King, Spartacus, the Incredible Hulk – and the Celts, Vikings, Sioux, Navaho, Mongols, and Aztec. I got shamanic and totemic magic, skinwalker shapechanging, magic-eaters, hardy outdoorsmen undaunted by nature's furies, and beastmasters.

There's drunken rages, rage and the city, rage against the machine. There's some class gestalting with the oracle and with RGG's Talented Rogue. There's dipping into areas traditionally covered by the ranger and druid. There's rarely-seen territory – a rageless barbarian? A civilized barbarian?

Honestly, barbarians have always bothered me because – as Owen points out – the barbarian is “the only class named after a cultural designation.” Societies and cultures have tended to regard themselves as “truly civilized” and everyone else as “barbarians.” And, in gaming, barbarians seemed to end up being equated with Conan or the Incredible Hulk. But the Talented Barbarian presents gamers the tools to change all that.

What I'd like to get:
Reverse compatibility. Some of the T/Brb options allow you to pick up bits from the T/Rog, so why not introduce the reverse and allow the T/Rog to pull bits from the T/Brb? I do have some build ideas that would benefit from such. Maybe a “Multitalented” bullet-list one day?
Charts. I like the visual presentation of the base or prerequisite feat/edge/talent/power first with the progressively-stronger ones aligned below it.
More Barbarian Talents. Right, we know that's already in the works.
(none of these detract from the quality of this work in any way)

What I think:
Owen's body of work has convinced me he not only knows how to play the game, but he knows how to play WITH the game and enjoys doing so. His Talented Rogue sold me on the concept of the “Talented” titles, because it ripped open the class and gave you the tools to build the character you want to play rather than having to play the character you could build. Each “Talented” title seems to have been mined from this vein, resulting in pure WIN for enthusiasts of the covered classes, be they player or GM. I've never been really enthused by barbarians … until today.

What should you think:
MUST HAVE


AM TALENTED

5/5

I have really enjoyed the whole talented line.
The Talented Barbarian came out just in time for me to play the barbarian I wanted for the Skull & Shackles game that just started. Thats what the whole talented line lets you do – play the concept you want with more flexibility than an archetype. So I thought I should do my first review on paizo.com

I liked how “rage rounds” is changed and expanded into primal reserve that fuels many edges and talents. Using the edges and talents you can build the standard barbarian or archetypes like beserker, invulnerable or mounted.

New edges:
1. Primal Resilience allows you to use your primal reserve points to add to failed saving throws.
2. Skinwalker allows the barbarian to use a form of Beast Form (with higher options later)
3. Totems allows the barbarian to be very shamanistic using oracle mysteries and cast spells.

Previously, I had not found many of the rage powers all that interesting/exciting. But now I could take mostly talents with just a sprinkle of rage powers and have a more rounded character.

This bad boy is 38 pages long and includes all the current rage powers from Paizo for easy reference.

I hope there is a More Barbarian Talents/Rage Powers coming.

Owen you Rock and Rogue !

(Tod Gagliano just changed his avatar name to Lord Sqwonk)


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!

Scarab Sages Contributor

Thanks, Liz!


*Looks at wallet. Even the moths have deserted.* But by gum, it's in my shopping cart when the moths come back!


Praise be to AM BARBARIAN once more (and RGG for bringing us this)!


I've never been interested in any of the Talented Class books before, but this grabbed my attention. When I play a barbarian, I hardly ever rage, because I don't like to lower my AC for it. I always wished for another option.

Cold Fury... hmm...

Dark Archive

Hello, what have we here...


Ladies and gentlemen, the Geniuses are BACK!

Next on the list after "More Barbarian Talents" in the Talented Class line...hopefully Ranger or Paladin.

Contributor

Owen says the ranger is next.

Silver Crusade

Oooh...

Scarab Sages Contributor

Aaron Bitman wrote:
I've never been interested in any of the Talented Class books before, but this grabbed my attention. When I play a barbarian, I hardly ever rage, because I don't like to lower my AC for it. I always wished for another option.

It's true that "can I imagine a barbarian that doesn't rage" was my #1 question before writing this product, and I decided I certainly could.

Sczarni

Loved the talented Monk, and so did my players (both Reign of Winter and Wrath of the Righteous had talented monks in them); however, the talented rogue was a bit disappointing. I am eager to see what you guys did with the talented barbarian.

Scarab Sages Contributor

Christina Stiles wrote:
Owen says the ranger is next.

Christina is correct, the next call will be ranger, and after that Witch, and after that I am getting people's preferences, though I may not end up doing the class that gets the most votes.


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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Christina Stiles wrote:
Owen says the ranger is next.
Christina is correct, the next call will be ranger, and after that Witch, and after that I am getting people's preferences, though I may not end up doing the class that gets the most votes.

Talented Witches? I can see it happening. Still, this is a caster. Be careful.

Also, good job on the Heroic Warrior hybrid class. At this rate you could make a Heroic Adept and Expert, effectively reducing the entire 20+ class roster to three!


TheDisgaean wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Christina Stiles wrote:
Owen says the ranger is next.
Christina is correct, the next call will be ranger, and after that Witch, and after that I am getting people's preferences, though I may not end up doing the class that gets the most votes.

Talented Witches? I can see it happening. Still, this is a caster. Be careful.

Also, good job on the Heroic Warrior hybrid class. At this rate you could make a Heroic Adept and Expert, effectively reducing the entire 20+ class roster to three!

Heroic Warrior?


Malwing wrote:
TheDisgaean wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Christina Stiles wrote:
Owen says the ranger is next.
Christina is correct, the next call will be ranger, and after that Witch, and after that I am getting people's preferences, though I may not end up doing the class that gets the most votes.

Talented Witches? I can see it happening. Still, this is a caster. Be careful.

Also, good job on the Heroic Warrior hybrid class. At this rate you could make a Heroic Adept and Expert, effectively reducing the entire 20+ class roster to three!

Heroic Warrior?

Never mind, I saw it. yeah, I wouldn't mind a heroic expert and adept.

Scarab Sages Contributor

The Genius Guide to the Talented Monk has a very similar idea, in the "combined class" section that the end that gives hybrid progressions of attacks, saves, skills, edges, and talents that you can use for combine rogue, ninja, and monk edges and talents into one class.

Scarab Sages Contributor

TheDisgaean wrote:
Talented Witches? I can see it happening. Still, this is a caster. Be careful.

A LOT of people have expressed skepticism about talented versions of full spellcasters. I think it can work, and intend to continue to make classes that are more flexible, without being more powerful. The witch is actually perfect for that, so it's a good place for my first full spellcaster (though ranger will show some of how I am going to handle that).

TheDisgaean wrote:
Also, good job on the Heroic Warrior hybrid class.

Thanks!

TheDisgaean wrote:
At this rate you could make a Heroic Adept and Expert, effectively reducing the entire 20+ class roster to three!

*Maybe.* I'm not sure the paladin and range will map well to the Heroic Warrior, to be honest. We may need a Heroic Hybrid Warrior.

And I strongly suspect I'd need a Heroic Arcane Adept and a Heroic Divine Adept, because having access to both magic missile and cure light wounds is tough to balance -- though there are ways.

But it's a possibility, and I continue to look at it as I move forward.


Out of curiosity, if the totems edge allows Talented Barbarians to gain Oracle Revelations, does that mean they qualify for the Extra Revelation feat? I'm assuming no.

Scarab Sages Contributor

TheDisgaean wrote:
Out of curiosity, if the totems edge allows Talented Barbarians to gain Oracle Revelations, does that mean they qualify for the Extra Revelation feat? I'm assuming no.

You are correct they do not qualify. They gain revolutions as talents. The class feature is "barbarian talent," so they don't have the revelation class feature. Just like having a revelation in a rod wouldn't give it to you as a class feature.

Dark Archive

I have yet to purchase this, but thank you for getting it out BEFORE I start work on converting Kingmaker book 4 for my Horrifically Overpowered Kingmaker game. :D

Scarab Sages Contributor

As always, many thanks to Tod Gagliano for the review!

Dark Archive

Talented Barbarian...purchased.
Opinion...awesome!
Next please...Summoner? ;)

Scarab Sages Contributor

Justin Sluder wrote:

Talented Barbarian...purchased.

Opinion...awesome!
Next please...Summoner? ;)

Next is Ranger, then Witch.

After that I am having a vote!

Scarab Sages Contributor

Many thanks to Doc_Outlands for the review!


Heh - many thanks to RGG for ANOTHER product that gives me the urge to play one of a half-dozen or more new character ideas...

Scarab Sages Contributor

Our pleasure!


After giving it some thought, I think my idea for the Heroic Expert and Adept would look something like this in terms of class bundling:

Expert
Rogue
Monk
Ranger
*Inquisitor
*Bard
*Pathfinder Chronicler
*Shadowdancer

Adept
Wizard
Sorcerer
Cleric
Oracle
*Magus
*Caster prestige classes

*These are big maybes, but let's face it, thanks to archetypes and the concept of "cross-class" talents, prestige classes are pretty much obsolete. Even some of paizo's more recent PrCs are pretty much archetypes if it weren't for their ability to work with multiple classes (looking at you Thuvian Alchemist).


If it's not too late, I have some ideas for ranger/rogue talents I'd like to submit for testing:

Shadowdancer Talents

Scarab Sages Contributor

TheDisgaean wrote:
If it's not too late, I have some ideas for ranger/rogue talents I'd like to submit for testing:

I don't think I'd put those in T. Ranger, but I am happy to put them into playtesting and see if they'd be good for a (potential and not definite) revisions of T. Rogue.

Gimme a few weeks if you won't mind, then drop me a line at owen@roguegeniusgames.com, and we'll talk. :)


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
TheDisgaean wrote:
If it's not too late, I have some ideas for ranger/rogue talents I'd like to submit for testing:

I don't think I'd put those in T. Ranger, but I am happy to put them into playtesting and see if they'd be good for a (potential and not definite) revisions of T. Rogue.

Gimme a few weeks if you won't mind, then drop me a line at owen@roguegeniusgames.com, and we'll talk. :)

Sounds good. Though if you don't mind me asking, is there a particular reason they wouldn't work well with a t. ranger? I ask because I get the feeling you're going to have a section dedicated to t. rangers taking rogue talents anyway (their tracking, trapping, and other support abilities make them more of an "expert" class than a "warrior").


This seems less useful than the first time I read it.
Skinwalker edge: The animal must be one that has no forms of movement the barbarian herself does not have AND that has no more than one
primary attack, and no more than two secondary attacks.

For most barbarians - nothing that swims or flys. Nothing that has claw/claw/bite - what does that leave besides dogs, wolf and rat?

Scarab Sages Contributor

Also ignoring large animals (I'll get to why in a moment) antelope, baboon, boar, dodo, elk, goat, goblin dog, hyena, jackal, kangaroo, llama, monitor lizard, ostrich, panda, pig, pony, porcupine (giant), ram, stag, tortoise (giant), weasel (dire).

Now at 5th level you can pick up Improved Skinwalking, which says: "Improved Skinwalking (Su): The barbarian can now select any Tiny, Small, Medium, or Large animal she is familiar with when using her skinwalking ability. " (Emphasis added)

That gives you access to Tiny and Large animals, as well as those that break the movement and attack limitations from the base edge.

Those limitations are there because otherwise a 1st level barbarian with skinwalking can easily get 3 attacks/round at her full attack bonus and can fly, both of which can break a 1st level adventure. By 5th level the restrictions aren't as big a deal, so there's an option to select antoher option and overcome them.


Well now that I see/understand the "any" that makes much more sense balance-wise. Especially compared to the druid.

Out of curiosity, during playtesting what did your players take for their level 2 edge if they were playing skinwalkers?

Scarab Sages Contributor

It varied, which I consider a good thing.

Invulnerability was popular, as was tolerance and uncanny dodge. A few builds took cunning and used it to get combat trick for an additional combat feat (often something in the Power Attack/Cleave feat chain), expert leaper, or even 1d6 of sneak attack.

Charm beast and uncanny determination from More Barbarian Talents also made appearances in some shapeshifting builds.

All that said, there SHOULD be a barbarian edge that allows you to take a talent instead, and the lack of such an option is an oversight.


The wording on the "Grand Shaman" talent is very unclear.

7th-level Oracle spellcasting already seems a bit extreme, but with the last sentence of the first paragraph taken into account you'd be at a minimum of 13th-level Oracle spellcasting which is way out of hand.

Was this a typo?


It's every 3 additional barbarian levels gained, on an ability you can't take until 20th level. That's every 3 barbarian levels beyond 20th. So a 23rd level grand shaman gets casting as an 8th level oracle, a 26th level grand shaman barbarian gets them as a 9th level oracle, and so on.

Since there are class features that scale by level without mentioning a 20th level cap, and some folks play 20+ level pathfinder games, that info is for that small group.


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Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop. Cheers!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As always End, many thanks for the review!


A couple of questions since I'm working on this now...

The Totems edge text says:
"A barbarian with this edge cannot also take the skinwalker edge, or any edge that counts as rage for purpose of prerequisites, until 5th level."
Does it mean only if Totems is taken at 1st level? If I take Rage at 1st level, can I take Totems at 2nd?

The Totem text also says that a barbarian can take revelations from his mystery as edges. You said "talents" above in this thread, though. Which is correct?


Bump... please?


Hej Bardess! As someone with 3 talented barbs (one with pact magic homebrewed in, one insane MPD gladiator and a stonewarden/dwarf hyrbid tank - my players really like the engine) in one of his current games in may perhaps help...

Re the totem question:

It says explicitly that a barbarian with the edge cannot have skinwalker or any rage (or as rage counting, which includes rage) edge until he has reached 5th level. So no totems at 2nd level, as far as I'm reading it.

As far as the revelations question is concerned, I think it's supposed to be talents. Owen's reply above did address a different issue. Otherwise, the edge would unlock *A LOT* of easily accessible revelations, which would be pretty powerful and something that, balance-wise, I'd eye rather wearily unless used in a very high-powered game.

Just my 2 cents and I may be wrong, but I'm pretty confident I'm right. ;)


I think you're right... Thanks!


End is right.

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