Barbarian instant death fix


Homebrew and House Rules

1 to 50 of 69 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Got a home brew fix to barbarians that i've implemented in my home game of Legacy of Fire, thought i'd share.

I changed the rage ability. instead of +4 con it gives +2 temporary hp/ barbarian level. the temporary hit points last during the rage, and disappear when the rage is over ( if the character is unconscious when the rage ends though or is knocked out while raging, and is above 6th level, its no longer an instant death for the PC ).

its also keyed on the class level, not character level. so it acts as an incentive to keep taking barbarian levels.

with greater rage at 11th they'd get +3 temporary hp/barbarian level.

it also opens up a new trait
Barbarian Heritage
benefit: when raging, your barbarian class level is treated as +2 levels for the purposes of temporary hit points. your equivalent barbarian level cannot exceed your character level.
( the wording on its not the best. but the spirit is to count multiclass levels of something else, as barbarian levels. but just 2 levels, the way the Magical Knack trait does. )

I haven't tested the ability in combat for a character to stop raging, lose their temporary hp, and then rage again. without the ability to rage while already fatigued, this would only be possible in a long combat. but even that ability would only let them replenish their temporary hit points once per encounter. in play that may be what breaks the fix, but i think a workaround if it does would be that the temporary hit points don't refresh with the 2nd rage before resting.


Curious, why change the way Rage works?


@Cartigan: Currently, raging is dangerous once your level is above Con/2, since you die if you are dropped to -1 hit points. Going to -1 hit points makes you unconscious, which ends your rage, which means you lose 2*level additional hit points. That puts your hit points at less than -Con, so you die without any chance to go through the dying state and receiving healing.

As written, the Barbarian loses out on the bonus to Fort saves and any other con-dependent effects. For example, if the Barbarian has a poisonous attack, it currently gets a boost to the DC when he rages.

Rather than try to cover all the current (and future) uses of Con, I'd keep the Con boost and add something along the lines of

This increase does not grant additional hit points. Instead, the Barbarian gains +2 temporary hit points/barbarian level. Greater Rage increases this to +3 THP/barbarian level.

Once they Barbarian gets Tireless Rage at 17th level, this essentially becomes Fast Healing 3*level, which is too strong. (This assumes the Barbarian is taking at least this much damage per round.)

Roused Anger seems fairly week, so getting the full amount of THP with it seems reasonable. Tireless Rage probably wants something like this added.

If the Barbarian enters another rage within 2 times the number of rounds spent in the rage, she does not gain the full number of THP, but only the number remaining when she ended her rage.

This allows her to regain the full temporary hit points when the fatigue would have ended, without negating the rage/unrage every round tactic.

You might also want to add language, so that "recovery" rounds from previous rages carry over. For example, consider this sequence of rounds.

Round 1: Rage. Do stuff. Leave rage.
Round 2: Rage. Do stuff. Leave rage.
Round 3: Rage. Do stuff. Leave rage.
Round 4: Don't rage.
Round 5: Don't rage.
Round 6: Rage.

Based on what I've written, the Barbarian would get the full THP, since it's been two rounds since her one round rage ended. However, without the tireless rage trick, it would only be the second of six recovery rounds.

On the other hand, that seems somewhat unlikely and it would add some complicated bookkeeping, so maybe it's not worth it.


Cartigan, the problem is at mid-high levels, if you actually use your Class Feature to full advantage (rely on the full amount of Rage HPs) when you drop Rage (say, when you run out of Rage Rounds, or take damage to make you pass out) your health is instantly catapulted PAST the point of death (-CON). Breath of Life is ONE band-aid, but each usage needs to be memorized (not cure-substitution castable) and has to be done within 1 round anyways. The other "band-aid" is people dredging up excuses to say you can "Rage while Unconscious" (after taking a hit, usually) to prevent you losing the Rage HPs and becoming "Dead Meat" dying PAST THE POINT of Cure Spells. Which is stupid, using your Class Ability shouldn't be so suicidal (if you want to play suicidial character, go ahead, it doesn't need to be enforced by the rules, and certainly not by a "gotcha" mechanic that only kicks in at mid-levels).

Seraphim, yeah, the per/rage thing is the main hiccup with that approach I think.

An alternate approach I thought of during the playtest was instead of gaining ANY sort of HPs during Rage, each Barbarian Level increases your margin of 'normal functioning' by 2 hp, so 1 level of Barbarian means while in Rage being at -2hp is the same as being at 0hp normally. So when you drop Rage, you should normally pass out if you are in that range. But the ability ALSO increases your "Death Point" by the same +2/level ALL THE TIME, so a 10th level Barbarian's Death Point will be -(CON+20) (and kicks up to -(CON+33) at 11th w/ Greater Rage). No damage is 'absorbed': you need to heal all the damage you took to really be in top form and fully functional again, but it really does help you from actually dying. The synergy with Orc Ferocity and Diehard (which for 2 Feats is very marginal currently) just MAKES SENSE to me to work well for Barbarians (i.e. outside of Rage, they are Disabled at a larger range of negative HPs than usual) but being Disabled certainly isn't a 'free pass'. I like this because it isn't really much extra book-keeping, at most it's writing down two numbers (Pass-Out point and Death point) that are different for you than other characters. No tracking rounds between last time you raged, etc...

You SHOULD gain all the other normal benefits of CON though (CON checks, Fort Saves, etc) as that is a feature of the Class (Whirling Frenzy substitutes those exact Features, so taking them out would screw up the balance between normal Barbarians and Whirling Frenzy variants).

Incidentally, I think the issue here is that Rage HPs SHOULDN'T be treated exactly like other 'not-Temporary HPs' like from wearing a +CON belt or a spell.


I play a barbarian, and I honestly see all of these discussions on how Barbarians are broken in this aspect as a flawed discussion. Attempts to fix it are, in my opinion, excuses to get a free buff for your character that is un-needed.

Raging doesen't GIVE you HP. You're still the same person before and during raging. What raging does is pump you full of adrenalyn and get you so amped up that you don't feel pain. Those HP's added on for the increased rage? I keep them marked seperately when i'm raging. When I run out of my normal HP's and dip into my rage HP's, that means a normal person would have passed out from shock and pain at this point. A barbarian toughs it out though. Dipping into these HP's means that I should be unconcious and that if I don't get some serious aid soon or run away, then I am dead.

The difference and real bonus that the Barbarian rage HP's give a Barbarian over other classes is that he can stay up and keep swinging even when he's technically going into his negatives. If a character goes into negatives they require aid from the party, or they're hosed. Same story with the barbarian, he just gets the option to stay up and keep going. He's extending his body beyond it's capabilities, and if he overextends it too far, yes he will die instantly.

I believe that if a Barbarian gets to have temporary HP's instead of his con bonus when he rages, thus allowing him to effectively have even MORE hp's by completely negating all of the extra damage when he goes unconcious, then EVERY character, PC's and NPC's included, should only be set to -1 hp when they go below 0 hit points, regardless of actual damage that took them below 0. This would only apply to characters not currently raging.


Ravenot wrote:

I play a barbarian, and I honestly see all of these discussions on how Barbarians are broken in this aspect as a flawed discussion. Attempts to fix it are, in my opinion, excuses to get a free buff for your character that is un-needed.

Raging doesen't GIVE you HP. You're still the same person before and during raging. What raging does is pump you full of adrenalyn and get you so amped up that you don't feel pain. Those HP's added on for the increased rage? I keep them marked seperately when i'm raging. When I run out of my normal HP's and dip into my rage HP's, that means a normal person would have passed out from shock and pain at this point. A barbarian toughs it out though. Dipping into these HP's means that I should be unconcious and that if I don't get some serious aid soon or run away, then I am dead.

The difference and real bonus that the Barbarian rage HP's give a Barbarian over other classes is that he can stay up and keep swinging even when he's technically going into his negatives. If a character goes into negatives they require aid from the party, or they're hosed. Same story with the barbarian, he just gets the option to stay up and keep going. He's extending his body beyond it's capabilities, and if he overextends it too far, yes he will die instantly.

I believe that if a Barbarian gets to have temporary HP's instead of his con bonus when he rages, thus allowing him to effectively have even MORE hp's by completely negating all of the extra damage when he goes unconcious, then EVERY character, PC's and NPC's included, should only be set to -1 hp when they go below 0 hit points, regardless of actual damage that took them below 0. This would only apply to characters not currently raging.

My thoughts exactly.


You could have a Homebrew Rage Power apply?

If dropped 'unconscious' while raging, a barbarian can take negative hit points as far as twice his CON before dyeing?
Possible with a 3 round limit to invoke the lingering adrenaline effects?


ChrisRevocateur wrote:
My thoughts exactly.

Ditto.

If I were to change barbarian rage, I'd forget Con bonuses and extra hit points in favor of DR. The rager becomes more durable without the risk of dying because he calmed down.


Ravenot wrote:

I play a barbarian, and I honestly see all of these discussions on how Barbarians are broken in this aspect as a flawed discussion. Attempts to fix it are, in my opinion, excuses to get a free buff for your character that is un-needed.

Raging doesen't GIVE you HP. You're still the same person before and during raging. What raging does is pump you full of adrenalyn and get you so amped up that you don't feel pain. Those HP's added on for the increased rage? I keep them marked seperately when i'm raging. When I run out of my normal HP's and dip into my rage HP's, that means a normal person would have passed out from shock and pain at this point. A barbarian toughs it out though. Dipping into these HP's means that I should be unconcious and that if I don't get some serious aid soon or run away, then I am dead.

The difference and real bonus that the Barbarian rage HP's give a Barbarian over other classes is that he can stay up and keep swinging even when he's technically going into his negatives. If a character goes into negatives they require aid from the party, or they're hosed. Same story with the barbarian, he just gets the option to stay up and keep going. He's extending his body beyond it's capabilities, and if he overextends it too far, yes he will die instantly.

(snip)

What I hate about rage and its bonus HPs is that, as you say, the barbarian dipping in his CON bonus HPs should be unconscious and is only 'borrowing active time'. One on side, the players' survival alarm is ringing and the character should look for healing/retreating. Only, the barbarian character is, to use your words, pumped full of adrenalyn and so amped up that he doesn't feel pain. At least, the fluff text of the barbarian's rage seem to be suggesting something along those line.

While the RaW do not state so, common sense suggests that if the barbarian retreats form combat, or disengage to seek healing, he would no longer be 'raging' and thus would instantly die. If he stands and fight, He'll also die in a few rounds, even if he doesn't take any more hits. That's is ignoring the barbarian that I accidentally killed with a Calm Emotion spell when I was attempting to subdue the PCs without killing any of them...

What bugs me about all of this, is that this particular game mechanics forces the player to use meta-gaming in order to allow his character to survive. I know, I know, the player doesn't HAVE to play like his character. So while the character may be ignoring his wounds, the players doesn't have to ignore the state of his character's health. This came-up over and over again during alpha testing. Yet, the fluff and the R-P aspect of rage as a class feature seem to contradict the actions that the player has to take in order to keep his character alive.

So while I don't see that as being a major flaw of the game, it its one of the weak points of 3.5/Pathfinder IMHO...

'findel


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well only thing I don't like in pathfinder is a high level barbarian been instantly slain by his own rage ability when he hits -1 hit points.

Right now I'm thinking three possibilities:
1. Rage gives temporary hp.
2. Die Hard feat

And my personal favorite. Also I wonder how no one before me did not have an idea like this.

3. Adrenaline begins to "cool off" when a barbarian falls to -1 or lower hit points. It means that a barbarian has to pay double his rage points each round. So in example barbarian needs to pay 2 rage points instead of one. This gives him time for his allies to patch him up.


Instant Death sucks. I'm not sure how it could be fixed, although I do believe that a feat rage power or something like that that would amplify his Maximum Negative Hit points would be cool by me.

I do understand the mechanics behind it being as it is, but as Findel cleverly said, you can't be in character AND survive. Unless you make a Raging Coward Barbarian, which is, to say the least, odd.


Laurefindel wrote:


What I hate about rage and its bonus HPs is that, as you say, the barbarian dipping in his CON bonus HPs should be unconscious and is only 'borrowing active time'. One on side, the players' survival alarm is ringing and the character should look for healing/retreating. Only, the barbarian character is, to use your words, pumped full of adrenalyn and so amped up that he doesn't feel pain. At least, the fluff text of the barbarian's rage seem to be suggesting something along those line.

While the RaW do not state so, common sense suggests that if the barbarian retreats form combat, or disengage to seek healing, he would no longer be 'raging' and thus would instantly die. If he stands and fight, He'll also die in a few rounds, even if he doesn't take any more hits. That's is ignoring the barbarian that I accidentally killed with a Calm Emotion spell when I was attempting to subdue the PCs without killing any of them...

What bugs me about all of this, is that this particular game mechanics forces the player to use meta-gaming in order to allow his character to survive. I know, I know, the player doesn't HAVE to play like his character. So while the character may be ignoring his wounds, the players doesn't have to ignore the state of his character's health. This came-up over and over again during alpha testing. Yet, the fluff and the R-P aspect of rage as a class feature seem to contradict the actions that the player has to take in order to keep his character alive.

So while I don't see that as being a major flaw of the game, it its one of the weak points of 3.5/Pathfinder IMHO...

Assuming the character's INT score is higher than 6, while he may not be feeling the pain, he should know if he's badly hurt and smart enough, even while amped up, to get patched up before his adrenalyn wears off. Rage =/= stupid. I don't understand why you think it's "common sense" to only rage while in combat. I've had my barbarian rage just to get through a locked door, with no enemies or prospect of combat around. There's many situations to use rage out of combat.

Pumped up and raging, should my character be seriously, greviously injured, I see no reason why he couldn't retreat and heal while raging. It's fight-or-flight instinct, and i think it fits in naturally with a Barbarian's instincts, unless the character is specifically a RP'd as a kamikaze, in which case, that's your RP choice and not the fault of the rules. There's no meta-gaming in a character thinking, "Gee, i'm about to die, i think i should go heal." He would do so unless he's too dumb (-int), stubborn, suicidal, or magically charmed/compelled not to. With the exception of magical intervention, all of those are factors solely under your control that you chose for how you want to play your character. No forced meta gaming here.

Although then again, this may also bleed into the issue that a large majority of people think all barbarians ARE dumb lugs from the land that time forgot. My barbarian is actually an intelligent Ulfen from a northern settlement of the Linnorm Kings, based off of the Geats from the Beowulf saga.

Should it be that big of an issue, you can always house rule a 'death round'. (which i normally do for many of my games) Whenever any character is brought down to negatives enough to die, he's only "mostly dead". Full death doesen't happen until one full round from when the lethal damage was dealt. That gives any character (including an out-of-rage barbarian death) one full round for his comrades to stabilize AND bring him enough out of negatives so he's only unconcious. Brought back from the brink, he just had a near-death experience.


Mark Chance wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
My thoughts exactly.
Ditto.

+3

Whenever I report the hitpoints of a rager (I track hp when I DM), I always give both the with rage and without rage totals. Raging maniac or not, people know when they are about to die (and that doesn't mean they instantly go into a "cool down").

I don't see this as a huge problem, but even as a problem, temporary hit-points are not a solution - that would be free healing every rage (even if it's not abused).

I do like the "burn extra rounds to stay in rage" - the last energy of your body before it snuffs out. I think cumulative round usage would be better (2 rounds, then 3 rounds, then 4 rounds used each time).

Or..

Rage Power: Hardy Survivor (Ex): Whenever the barbarian falls unconscious while in a rage (typically by falling below 0 hp) and would be dying or dead, she is instead stable at -1 hp. Any affects that grant regeneration or fast healing do not operate while the barbarian is fatigued from raging. A barbarian must be at least 8th level before selecting this rage power.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

+4

Nothing special is happening to the barbarian to grant temporary hit points. He is just having a tremendous adrenalin surge that causes him/her to ignore wounds and potentially fight until total body failure (-1 HP while raging). A way to avoid that is keep that (2x,3x,4x HD) hit points separate and be aware of you "real" hp. You should also make your party aware when you are getting near the rage death point. It is a nice buffer to give the healer time to get to you or keep a bad guy occupied while someone else is attended to. One Heal spell(150) would pull a 20 barbarian out of the death range(+80 over max). It really isn't as bad as it is being made out to be.

That said, house ruling it different isn't bad either if it suits you. The barbarians in your campaign may have their bodies physically change and toughen, being able to take more damage.

Majuba wrote:
Mark Chance wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
My thoughts exactly.
Ditto.

+3

Whenever I report the hitpoints of a rager (I track hp when I DM), I always give both the with rage and without rage totals. Raging maniac or not, people know when they are about to die (and that doesn't mean they instantly go into a "cool down").

I don't see this as a huge problem, but even as a problem, temporary hit-points are not a solution - that would be free healing every rage (even if it's not abused).

I do like the "burn extra rounds to stay in rage" - the last energy of your body before it snuffs out. I think cumulative round usage would be better (2 rounds, then 3 rounds, then 4 rounds used each time).

Or..

Rage Power: Hardy Survivor (Ex): Whenever the barbarian falls unconscious while in a rage (typically by falling below 0 hp) and would be dying or dead, she is instead stable at -1 hp. Any affects that grant regeneration or fast healing do not operate while the barbarian is fatigued from raging. A barbarian must be at least 8th level before selecting this rage power.


Ravenot wrote:

Assuming the character's INT score is higher than 6, while he may not be feeling the pain, he should know if he's badly hurt and smart enough, even while amped up, to get patched up before his adrenalyn wears off. Rage =/= stupid. (snip)

Yes, I healthfully agree; rage dos NOT equal stupid. However, rage DOES suggest recklessness. This is even mechanically represented by the -2 to AC. Also, rage implies determination, focus and perhaps a bit of stubbornness, as represented by the +2 bonus on Will saves.

So while I don't have a problem with playing a barbarian that is planning, careful and prudent, I have have an issue with rage (as a class feature) requiring planning, carefulness and patience to ensure the character's survival.

As for the fight-or-flight instinct and the in-game 'knowledge' of one's HPs, that's not what I call meta-gaming. I do however have an issue with the barbarian knowing that at the end of his rage, he's gonna loses level*2 HPs and thus should keep a hefty buffer of his health in order to not pass away should his rage finish or his friend not be there on time. That's the part that is too close to meta-gaming for my comfort.

I DM most of the time, so I don't have the opportunity to play very often. Yet, the barbarian is one of my favorite class and I certainly DON'T play them as "dumb lugs from the land that time forgot". Please do not take this as a personal attack, only, I strongly disagree with this stereotype. Yet, I am often accused of having such a perception of the barbarian because I am against death-by-end-of-rage and was against the more complex system of rage points during the Alpha testing.

I personally wish that rage would imply a mechanic that allowed you to fight better and longer without having to rely on your friend's ability to heal you on the battlefield to be effective. From what I can remember of the Alpha stage of the playtest, death-by-end-of-rage was an issue for about half the community. Obviously, many had a problem with it, and just as many were OK with this reality. The designers have opted for the "rage allows you to borrow time" as opposed to "rage gives you more time" in battle. The change of death happening at -CON instead of -10 DID reduced the intensity of the problem however...

Still, I consider this as one of 'clunkier' parts of 3.x/Pathfinder.

'findel


Ravenot wrote:
Those HP's added on for the increased rage? I keep them marked seperately when i'm raging.

Exactly. Whether or not you want to call that 'metagaming' (something with a bad connotation) or 'a character being intuitively in-tune with their own capacities' is besides the point for me. What you're describing is not proscribed by the RAW themselves, but is what players inevitably end up doing in order to not die spontaneously. Likewise, a HUGELY common 'solution' (whether or not you use it in your game) is the 'Raging while Unconscious' kludge.

I'd rather get rid of un-needed complexity and certainly of stupid kludges, and that's why I think an alternative approach which DOESN'T grant ANY HP's AT ALL is sort of elegant. If you don't give them out, you don't have to worry about taking them back or not. You don't have to keep track of a separate pool of Rage HPs. All you have to do is record TWO numbers which act as thresholds and have no further effect. One of them (death point) is prone to change ANYWAYS with characters boosting CON thru items and level bumps (not to mention suffering CON damage).

Liberty's Edge

Majuba wrote:
Rage Power: Hardy Survivor (Ex): Whenever the barbarian falls unconscious while in a rage (typically by falling below 0 hp) and would be dying or dead, she is instead stable at -1 hp. Any affects that grant regeneration or fast healing do not operate while the barbarian is fatigued from raging. A barbarian must be at least 8th level before selecting this rage power.

I like this, it's an excellent solution, but let barbarians take it at 4th level.


BobChuck wrote:
Majuba wrote:
Rage Power: Hardy Survivor (Ex): Whenever the barbarian falls unconscious while in a rage (typically by falling below 0 hp) and would be dying or dead, she is instead stable at -1 hp. Any affects that grant regeneration or fast healing do not operate while the barbarian is fatigued from raging. A barbarian must be at least 8th level before selecting this rage power.
I like this, it's an excellent solution, but let barbarians take it at 4th level.

I just use this as a standard lvl 1 Barbarian Ability.

Personally, as a GM, I never saw a problem with just treating the extra HP as Temporary HP. The "when you unrage all the damage reverts back and you may be dead" thing always seemed like an unneccessary penalty.

Face it, at 6th level, this means the Barbarian gets an additional +12 HP when raging. Not a big deal.

I'm not sure why people feel this is such a dealbreaker.


BobChuck wrote:
Majuba wrote:
Rage Power: Hardy Survivor (Ex): Whenever the barbarian falls unconscious while in a rage (typically by falling below 0 hp) and would be dying or dead, she is instead stable at -1 hp. Any affects that grant regeneration or fast healing do not operate while the barbarian is fatigued from raging. A barbarian must be at least 8th level before selecting this rage power.
I like this, it's an excellent solution, but let barbarians take it at 4th level.

The only problem with this is. I am a raging barbarian, I am at 2 hp, I get smashed in the face for 40 damage. Any other player would be dead, but the barbarian is stabilized at -1.

I would make it an ability where if you fall unconscious while raging, you can spend rage points to heal yourself. For each rage point you spend, you heal an amount equal to your con modifier, and you cannot heal yourself above -1.

So basically, you can live, but you will have to burn a lot of rage to do it.


If the player has a problem with his reckless barbarian instantly dying, there's already a feat to fix it. It's called Die Hard. If you are going to "fix" the power to make it safer, then the following should also hold:

Ex-clerics, ex-druids, and ex-paladins should have a much easier time getting atoned. Perhaps with a simple prayer of apology, taking 15 minutes.
Druids that use prohibited items should be able to cast right after dropping them.
Paladins shouldn't have to wait 30 days to get a new mount after it dies.
Wizards should not have to wait to get new familiars.

Some class abilities have drawbacks that help balance the ability. Rage is very powerful, and correspondingly has a higher risk.


Laurefindel wrote:

(snip)

I do however have an issue with the barbarian knowing that at the end of his rage, he's gonna loses level*2 HPs and thus should keep a hefty buffer of his health in order to not pass away should his rage finish or his friend not be there on time. That's the part that is too close to meta-gaming for my comfort.

I DM most of the time, so I don't have the opportunity to play very often. Yet, the barbarian is one of my favorite class and I certainly DON'T play them as "dumb lugs from the land that time forgot". Please do not take this as a personal attack, only, I strongly disagree with this stereotype. Yet, I am often accused of having such a perception of the barbarian because I am against death-by-end-of-rage and was against the more complex system of rage points during the Alpha testing.
(snip)

No, he does NOT have to keep a hefty buffer of his health. His health stays the same. Say my level 5 barbarian has 50 health. When he rages, this goes up to 60, 10 of which are from the rage. I still treat my barbarian as having 50 health. He hasn't grown tougher or stronger, he's merely running on adrenalyn now, and when his body gives out at 50 damage, he keeps going. He knows his body is badly hurt, but he presses on. I'm now moving on borrowed time and I know i should be dead. If that's not stubborn recklessness, I don't know what else is.

The comment about dumb lugs is just an observation that has annoyed me, the majority... no.. actually every Barbarian I have seen played by others as PC's or used as NPC's have either been Conan/he-man ripoffs or a stone-age fur wearing lump with a club. I find it such a narrow view of the class as a whole. It's like portraying every last rogue as a back-alley shake down. I know there are no personal attacks in this thread, I just feel very strongly on the subject which i feel is widely misunderstood :)

I don't think the fighting longer viewpoint on barbarians was ever a good stance in old editions. Fighting on borrowed time seems much more appropriate. They're tough and they keep fighting to their last breath and, should it come to it, die an honorable death fighting on their feet, rather than in a corner bleeding out slowly.

gigglestick wrote:


I just use this as a standard lvl 1 Barbarian Ability.

Personally, as a GM, I never saw a problem with just treating the extra HP as Temporary HP. The "when you unrage all the damage reverts back and you may be dead" thing always seemed like an unneccessary penalty.

Face it, at 6th level, this means the Barbarian gets an additional +12 HP when raging. Not a big deal.

I'm not sure why people feel this is such a dealbreaker.

Temp HP's can act as a heal, AND he's already capable of moving and acting into his negatives. Everyone is seeing it as a Barbarian getting a big negative when they rage, when in fact when raging it allows them to stay up and keep acting on their round when they should be in their negatives. It even allows them to technically go into their negatives PAST thier original HP total and still stay up at high levels. That's a feat no other class can do. And yet it's not enough, so you have to give them temp HP's?

I see giving Barbarians temp HP's a way to give a boost where one is not needed. They already have a HUGE boost in raging, the problem is I don't think many people know how to use it right or fully understand the ability properly. He can already fight longer, harder, and stay up swinging even when he should be dead, but of course this sort of thing has it's drawbacks. If a character puts himself in a situation where he dips way below his (normal) HP's and is up only because of rage, that's his bonus. It buys him some time to finish off his opponents, or to heal back up, to stay on his feet instead of slumping unconcious. It's a razors edge that they walk when they dip that low, it's not free throw away HP's to use in a fight. In fact a level 17 barbarian with tireless rage, using the bonus HP's as Temp HP's instead of Con bonus HP's, could rage for one round every other round and heal/soak 51 free HP's every other round. At level 20 they would be doing it for 80 HP's every other round. Giving Barbarians temp hp's breaks the class and is hand-holding a class that doesn't need it.

Granted, everyone is going to play the game however they see it best. I just really honestly believe temp HP's is not an answer and that people are misunderstanding the huge bonus bieng given them.


It's not that Huge of a bonus if u die by doing it. Temp HP is not the solution, concur, but Rage, although powerfull is not as good as you claim it to be, and it saddens me.


Ravenot wrote:


No, he does NOT have to keep a hefty buffer of his health. His health stays the same. Say my level 5 barbarian has 50 health. When he rages, this goes up to 60, 10 of which are from the rage. I still treat my barbarian as having 50 health. He hasn't grown tougher or stronger, he's merely running on adrenalyn now (snip)

That's arguable. While raging, the barbarian HAS become stronger and tougher, he has receive a +4 bonus to STR and CON! The 5th level barbarian didn't receive 10 extra hit point, his hit point total has become a full 60 HPs.

We, as players, may consider that his health is still 50 HPs with an extra 10 hit points in the 'red-lining' zone. But mechanically, his health is now 60 hp. His CON score HAS been increased with every associated benefits, including HPs. The barbarian may not have a very precise idea of how much tougher he is while raging, even if the player knows it well. That's were part of the problem lie with me.

I'll be the first to admit that this is all a matter of semantics and of how we interpret the relation between the player managing his character's resources and the character being acutely aware of these resources. I thinks that at this point, we can agree to disagree.

I get the point that this is not an issue for you, as it is not an issue for about half the gaming community. But death-by-end-of-rage IS an issue for many other players. For those who see this as a problem, the issue of death-by-end-of-rage is justifiable, and people have come with /are looking for solutions.

'findel


Xum wrote:
It's not that Huge of a bonus if u die by doing it. Temp HP is not the solution, concur, but Rage, although powerfull is not as good as you claim it to be, and it saddens me.

If any other class takes damage equal to thier HP + con, they die instantly.

A Barbarian doesn't die by raging. My barbarian rages all the time and never dies. He has come close to dipping below his normal, unraged health while raging a few times, but has never dipped into those rage HP's. But I know if he does, any other normal character would be dead at that point, while mine would not and have time to pull himself out of the situation.

I will gladly take an ability that prevents me from rerolling a new character when things get bad and everyone else is dead. Heck yeah! But apparently a lot of people think that's not good enough, even bad. It still leaves me scratching my head.

Laurefindel, I think I now understand the main point of your argument, I think I was only half getting it before. I always play with my character knowing his own self-limits. He knows how far he can push himself, his body, and judge things accordingly. He knows when he rages, he can push himself a little farther past his normal breaking point, but that when he stops raging things return to normal. He would know if he was pushing himself harder in a rage, and then was hurt so badly that he's barely hanging on, that the minute his adrenalyn stopped pumping, his body would quit, and should heal himself accordingly. I don't see that as metagaming, only bieng self-aware.

But this is arguably a gray-area that is open to a lot of interperetation since there are no rules regarding these things. That aspect of the game is more of a personal thing, i think, and how each person wishes to interperet it.

Liberty's Edge

At the moment the 1/2 orc Barbarian is the one with most survivability. Why? Because of his racial - Orcish rage (iirc) which gives him one round to act if brought unconscious. Couple this to the Rage power Renewed Vigor and the barbarian gets a chance to heal himself before lapsing into unconsciousness.

No rule changes - just using the racial and class advantages.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

What about this as a house rule?

If a barbarian is knocked unconscious or below zero hit points, their rage ends. However, a barbarian keeps his negative Con threshold as if he were still raging as long as he has rage rounds left. If he was not raging before he went into negative HPs, he cannot use his rounds of rage in this fashion.


anthony Valente wrote:

What about this as a house rule?

If a barbarian is knocked unconscious or below zero hit points, their rage ends. However, a barbarian keeps his negative Con threshold as if he were still raging as long as he has rage rounds left. If he was not raging before he went into negative HPs, he cannot use his rounds of rage in this fashion.

I would agree to this, and say even more. I would raise his negative threshold to his con while raging, ALWAYS. It's not a fix, but it's better.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'd forgotten about tireless rage, i don't play many high level barbarians. in society play you usually only see people dipping in for one or two levels of barbarian so they have some free +4 str/con during tough fights.

I'd agree with a cap on how often the temporary hit points would get to refresh, and re-word rage to grant a +2 to Fort and Will saves while raging, instead of just to will saves. I don't think its necessary to fix Con based abilities, since thats mostly for non-human creatures with poisons, and i'm mostly concerned with players who want to be barbarians, but won't play them because of the risk.

I posted here to offer up a solution and solve the problem as a community. there's probably a better way, like only getting one pool of temporary hit points per encounter, and not refreshing them even if you stop raging and going back into rage.

to everyone that disagrees, and thinks that there isn't a problem with a class, i think you're blind. from a game mechanic perspective they've created a class ability that is instant death in Pathfinder Society play above 6th level. even if you play a barbarian / fighter, you're still dooming yourself to die. I've seen several people rebuild their characters after the conversion and actively not take barbarian because of the way the rules are worded now. I've known about 6 other players in new york that won't ever play barbarians because of the rules. the way the class is worded now, its a dead class for society play unless you have a death wish.

to everyone that thinks rage equates to an adrenaline surge, and that the extra hit points are keeping you standing at the end of your life, i point out the flip side of the coin: that temporary hit points are an adrenaline surge, a pocket of hit points and damage that your character is shrugging off because of his adrenaline surge. once you dig past these temporary hit points you've hit the character's real meat and bones and gotten his attention through his blood pumping rage. its an adequate enough description for my barbarians.

spending two feats for Endurance and Die Hard isn't an answer either. You become Staggered, able to take only a move action normally, or a standard and continue to bleed out for more damage.

The danger doesn't come from taking 13 points of damage in one round from an enemy, it comes at 10th level when you can take 40-50 points of damage from a single series of attacks, per opponent if they focus on you, the raging barbarian. knocking off 1 or 2 points through damage reduction doesn't soften that. and taking two swings from a power attacking / vital striking ogre at 10th level can put you , with rage, very close to death's door. yes its all part of the fun in combat, part of the risk to your character. but for a fighter that close to death's door, the ogre has to hit a massively high AC, and doesn't loose Con x 2 hp if he is struck down. For a barbarian who's reduced to 10 hp from one or two attacks, there's no time to retreat and get healing. either you get it before the next swing, or you die, not go unconscious.

anyway. This is the system i'm playtesting in my home games. For those that like it, use it, for those that don't: you don't have to. its a home brewed rule. I'm leaving it up here in the hopes Jason sees it or Josh Frost see it and realize that its impacting the choices players have in Pathfinder Society games, effectively eliminating Barbarian as an viable class.


This situation actually came up in a game recently. The DM ruled we had 1 round to save him. (Cleric got him with a Stabilize spell, but he later got coup de graced anyway)

I do think it's a cheesy way to die, but I wouldn't want to see radical changes to how the class works to fix it. I felt like our DM handled it well.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Something to experiment with might be to have the extra HP fade gradually; say, at 4 HP per round or so. Or, have them wait to disappear for a full round after the barbarian dropped out of rage. Would either method be all that open to abuse?


Put me into the same camp as Ravenot. One thing that should also be pointed out is that it's up to the DM (and/or player) to properly describe the situation. It should be obvious to the other PC's in the party that the Barbarian is fighting well beyond what any other character could possibly take. I personally don't like players announcing to one another how many HP they have left, but by the time this issue comes up the characters should be experienced enough to notice when the Barbarian should already be dead and needs some assistance ASAP.


Sacerdos wrote:
Something to experiment with might be to have the extra HP fade gradually; say, at 4 HP per round or so. Or, have them wait to disappear for a full round after the barbarian dropped out of rage. Would either method be all that open to abuse?

I agree the solution should be based on temporary hit points per round that are taken off first, but it should be based on gaining one-half the barbarians HD per round (or similar formula), or at least 1 per round. It allows for simple book keeping and keeps other rules for death in line.


Not sure if this really needs to be fixed. All it is, is point of view. On paper it looks like an insta-death, but it is actually like an improved die hard feat.


Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
Not sure if this really needs to be fixed. All it is, is point of view. On paper it looks like an insta-death, but it is actually like an improved die hard feat.

IMO, that's what it is, but the "flavor" of the barbarian sell these extra hp otherwise.

Its most likely a matter of (mis)conception on how the barbarian gets tougher when raging. Personally, I'd like the barbarian to get tougher and just be done with it, but that's my opinion...


I believe temporary HP each round better matches the theme of a raging barbarian and blood/adrenaline coursing through their veins, versus a lump sum of hit points that are reserved when their normal hit points are expended. Of course hind sight is 100 percent when everyone notices the downside to the current mechanic.

At least it would be interesting to add it as a house rule for those that do not like the current mechanic.

The other benefit, it is a simple change.

Sovereign Court

Uchawi wrote:

I believe temporary HP each round better matches the theme of a raging barbarian and blood/adrenaline coursing through their veins, versus a lump sum of hit points that are reserved when their normal hit points are expended. Of course hind sight is 100 percent when everyone notices the downside to the current mechanic.

At least it would be interesting to add it as a house rule for those that do not like the current mechanic.

The other benefit, it is a simple change.

Then why not run with a DR solution? It would be much easier to track than extra you gain each round.

Sovereign Court

There's a feat called diehard that already solves the barbarian rage problem.


zylphryx wrote:
Then why not run with a DR solution? It would be much easier to track than extra you gain each round.

The conceptual problem with a DR solution is that magic bypasses it. With the RAW, a raging barbarian can fight longer against a wizard casting Magic Missile and Fireball than that same barbarian when he is not raging. Unless you specify the DR as "DR X/not even magic", that is no longer true.

I realize this is trying to base rules on fluff, but the general concept of barbarian rage is that you can take more damage during the rage than you could when not raging. Whether that damage comes from a physicals source or magic does not matter.

This is probably better if you do not phrase it as DR.

Ruggedness (Ex): While raging, a Barbarian ignores the first 2 points of damage from any attack that deals hit point damage.

Then you just have to argue about whether it applies once or multiple times against magic missile. :-)


That is correct. I did consider DR, but then it could be bypassed, and since the concept of HP is an abstraction of being able to absorb blows in combat, versus DR (thick skin), it was a better fit.

I am sure there are better fixes using a feat to support the current class, but I don't like how the current mechanic functions.


Mark Chance wrote:
ChrisRevocateur wrote:
My thoughts exactly.

Ditto.

If I were to change barbarian rage, I'd forget Con bonuses and extra hit points in favor of DR. The rager becomes more durable without the risk of dying because he calmed down.

I like that...that would be a good variant.

Can't be bypassed if it's DR/-


lastknightleft wrote:
There's a feat called diehard that already solves the barbarian rage problem.

No, because when the level is greater than CON/2 it results in > -CON when the rage ends...not bleeding out, so stabilization won't help, it's instant death.

The current rules also lead to major meta-gaming, "Uh guys I've got 5HP left..." When the barbarian would say "ROOOOOOOOAAAAR!!!"


Snap .. I didn't realize there was DR/-

So beyond flavor, it is easier to track.


I hear and fully understand what everyone's been saying on the "leave rage alone" front. They're pushing their body beyond the limits, and they get to do what no other class can do on account of it.

That, however, misses the fundamental point brought up in the first place: dropping dead from your class ability is simply not fun.

Regardless of what kind of 'makes sense' spin you put on it, using any iteration of existing mechanics (barring maybe the 1/2 orc one mentioned up thread a bit) will do nothing to help this - at all. Period.

In the interest of making the class ability "fun" rather than a matter of survival/metagaming/insta-death, I'd say that alternatives should be what you look at for fixing the problem for those that have the problem (not try to look past it and say the problem doesn't exist - it does, or not one of us would have posted anything in this thread).

That said, I'm in full support of two things and will be implementing them in my own games ASAP:

Quote:

*Majuba wrote

Rage Power: Hardy Survivor (Ex): Whenever the barbarian falls unconscious while in a rage (typically by falling below 0 hp) and would be dying or dead, she is instead stable at -1 hp. Any affects that grant regeneration or fast healing do not operate while the barbarian is fatigued from raging. A barbarian must be at least 8th level before selecting this rage power.

This thing is awesome!!! Thanks, Majuba, for posting it - totally going onto the list of Rage Powers in some form for my games!!! {Not sure that it does much to "fix" anything beyond survival - but it's a MUST HAVE rage power with the default function of rage anyway.} I'll probably tweak the level req for it, though.

*DR vs. Con bonus. Yeah - for my mileage, the most simple fix will be simply this - grant DR/- in some form to the rager instead of a con bonus thing. It's fun, and reduces entirely the need to be pre-occupied with current HP totals - they don't change, you just become capable of shrugging off more stuff. This rage DR will also stack with the class feature DR that is always on as well, so a raging barbarian will be hella-tough now!! It's fun, it's unique, and it's easy to track. 100% improved, IMO.

Liberty's Edge

I don't see how this problem exists... Shouldn't the Rage HP be lost first? By the time you are knocked down to -1, those HP should already be gone. There's no need to remove them when the rage ends due to unconsciousness... they've already been lost. The only place they are "lost" at that point is from the Maximum HP, not Current HP.

That's how we've always played it, anyway.


MolotovH wrote:

I don't see how this problem exists... Shouldn't the Rage HP be lost first? By the time you are knocked down to -1, those HP should already be gone. There's no need to remove them when the rage ends due to unconsciousness... they've already been lost. The only place they are "lost" at that point is from the Maximum HP, not Current HP.

That's how we've always played it, anyway.

You know, considering how gimped the barbarian is right now compared to all other classes, I think this is reasonable.


Yeah, I'm not exactly getting it, either. You get extra hit points from Rage, that goes first, so when your rage subsides, you're left with however much of your original hit points that are still left. You don't subtract your rage hp from your remainder.

Playing so that an ability would instantly kill you is kind of ridiculous, and seems to be the sort of thing that the designers would have figured out during testing.


Lyingbastard wrote:

Yeah, I'm not exactly getting it, either. You get extra hit points from Rage, that goes first, so when your rage subsides, you're left with however much of your original hit points that are still left. You don't subtract your rage hp from your remainder.

Playing so that an ability would instantly kill you is kind of ridiculous, and seems to be the sort of thing that the designers would have figured out during testing.

Barbarians where more powerful than fighters in 3.5, so this was a drawback factoring into balance, basically requiring die hard to effectively negate. Now this is not the case so the insta-death isn't needed any more.


Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
Lyingbastard wrote:

Yeah, I'm not exactly getting it, either. You get extra hit points from Rage, that goes first, so when your rage subsides, you're left with however much of your original hit points that are still left. You don't subtract your rage hp from your remainder.

Playing so that an ability would instantly kill you is kind of ridiculous, and seems to be the sort of thing that the designers would have figured out during testing.

Barbarians where more powerful than fighters in 3.5, so this was a drawback factoring into balance, basically requiring die hard to effectively negate. Now this is not the case so the insta-death isn't needed any more.

And I'm not sure it's there at all. You lose your rage hp first, so when you're knocked unconscious at -1, it's already gone, you don't get it subtracted again.

Look at it this way - Say your 50hp Barb rages, and gains 10hp. He doesn't lose any somehow during the combat, and when it's over rage subsides. Does he then lose 20 hp somehow (to drop to 40hp)? Because that seems to be how you're figuring it works - losing rage hp on both ends.


@Lying Bastard: Yes - that's actually how it works by the RAW. No one's making it up out of no where. You actually DO lose those bonus HP's as soon as the rage is over (ie: if you gain 20, and lost 25 somehow, you're down -5 into your own hp.) Now take a serious beating where you're down in the 20's (for argument) and you then come out of the rage, you also lose the 20 hp's from the rage bonus - follow? So you're not in the 20's, you're in the single digits somewhere. It just gets worse as you get more bonus HP's as well - the HP's that kept you "hangin' in" will be exactly what kills you as soon as it's over.

It made sense ... it still makes sense - it's just not fun at all to ponder. "Fun Factor" of 0's how it comes off.

That your group just side stepped it, IMO, is an indication that you all know just fine how to have "bad, wrong fun!" That's the ONLY way to do it, honestly. Figure out what makes you all enjoy the game most - and run with it. It's not like the D20 police will come bursting into your apartment and confiscate all your books ...


The Speaker in Dreams wrote:

@Lying Bastard: Yes - that's actually how it works by the RAW. No one's making it up out of no where. You actually DO lose those bonus HP's as soon as the rage is over (ie: if you gain 20, and lost 25 somehow, you're down -5 into your own hp.) Now take a serious beating where you're down in the 20's (for argument) and you then come out of the rage, you also lose the 20 hp's from the rage bonus - follow? So you're not in the 20's, you're in the single digits somewhere. It just gets worse as you get more bonus HP's as well - the HP's that kept you "hangin' in" will be exactly what kills you as soon as it's over.

It made sense ... it still makes sense - it's just not fun at all to ponder. "Fun Factor" of 0's how it comes off.

That your group just side stepped it, IMO, is an indication that you all know just fine how to have "bad, wrong fun!" That's the ONLY way to do it, honestly. Figure out what makes you all enjoy the game most - and run with it. It's not like the D20 police will come bursting into your apartment and confiscate all your books ...

So, if you gain 20 from rage, and you lose 25, you lose another 20 when then rage is done? That's silly.

1 to 50 of 69 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Homebrew and House Rules / Barbarian instant death fix All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.