Barbarian DEX score?


Advice

Dark Archive

I'm fairly new to pathfinder, and creating a Barbarian for PFS, and was wondering what a good dexterity score would be? At first I thought 12 was fine, but then I realised they only get medium armour, and -2 in rage . . . is more required?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Depends exactly on what you want to do, but 12 is probably fine. As a barbarian, you're kinda resigned to getting hit a lot, at least by primary attacks.... your 'armor' is your HP more than your actual AC.

Not saying a barbarian can't bump to a decent AC, but your strategy is less "don't get hit" as it is "take a hit, laugh it off and spit out the blood, then destroy the puny fool that touched you."

Sovereign Court

Quite a few people use the Innvulnerable Rager archetype for barbarians, which gives you DR instead of trying to keep AC competitively high. The idea being, you hit harder and can take more punishment than your enemies, so you'll come out on top.

It's quite hard for barbarians to keep AC high enough, because they tend to 2H weapons so no shield, and only medium armor proficiency. So it seems better to pick another horse to bet on (HP).

Then again, I've seen Uncanny Dodge be very useful. Quite often barbarians are at the front of the party when a bunch of NPC rogues burst out from ambush and try to sneak attack the PCs. But with Uncanny Dodge the front PC is not flat-footed so no sneak attack damage.

So, suppose you're going Invulnerable Rager, how much dex to you need? Well, it still has a few uses: Acrobatics (jumping over obstacles), Reflex saving throws, ranged to-hit (thrown weapons are a good addition to a 2H weapon build). Also, if you're using a polearm and Combat Reflexes, you'll want some dexterity as well.

All in all I'd say 10-14, depending on how much use you have for ranged attacks and combat reflexes.


If your going to grab come and get me (rage power) at some point then dex becomes more important. This is because you need those extra AoO to make the most of this power. I built an invulnerable rager barbarian with this power and started with a Dex of 14, bumped it to 16 with a belt, and grabbed combat reflexes, giving me 4 AoO per round.


As Dien said, AC is sort of a lost cause, as you're going to get hit anyway. The d12 hit die per level also indicate that you'll be getting lots of damage anyway. The Invulnerable Rager is indeed a great archetype because it'll allow you to take a lot more punishment than other characters.
If you're dead set on getting high DEX/AC, I recommend the Savage Technologist archetype. It's built around using guns, but you're getting a lot of bang for your buck even without it. I have a Barbarian/Alchemist multiclass that's build around AC and it frankly is amazing. Still though, I think for a regular Barbarian the Invulnerable Rager is the better option, as it's less complicated and more reliable.

Dark Archive

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Don't attach stats to a class, attach stats to the build you are planning on using.

Some 20 point-buy samples:

Who needs AC when I have ridiculous health and saves?
Dwarf invulnerable rager barbarian
Str 16, Dex 10, Con 18, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 8

Plan to kill the bad guys before defence matters?
Human/half-elf/half-orc barbarian
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8

Want to use a bow alongside your melee options?
Human urban barbarian
Str 16, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8

Abusing reach weapons?
Human/half-elf/half-orc barbarian
Str 17, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8

I want that high AC
Halfling armored hulk barbarian
Str 14, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 9

Also, feats, rage powers, and magic items are just as if not more important than your starting stats. So long as you have a decently high strength and pay some attention to your saving throws, your high health should make AC less of an issue.


dien wrote:

Depends exactly on what you want to do, but 12 is probably fine. As a barbarian, you're kinda resigned to getting hit a lot, at least by primary attacks.... your 'armor' is your HP more than your actual AC.

Not saying a barbarian can't bump to a decent AC, but your strategy is less "don't get hit" as it is "take a hit, laugh it off and spit out the blood, then destroy the puny fool that touched you."

True, it depends on the build.

Urban barbarians trade away the ability to get a +4 in two physical scores in order to have a single +4 they can shift as they please and they don't take the -2 AC (so just pump str; the con boost is kind of nice, but it is also frankly a liability since there are times when you might instantly die when going out of rage at low HP at higher levels, so just having the highest hit dice in the game is likely 'enough').

Also, the defacto totem- beast totem- gives up to a +6 into natural armor. So until you start stacking rage powers that dump your AC, you can actually end up rather sturdy. Particularly if you grab heavy armor proficiency and grab mithral full plate.

Anyway, there are other reasons to grab dex besides for AC. If you grab combat reflexes, you get an extra number of AoO's per round equal to your dex mod. This can be important early on if you grab a reach weapon (which is a perfectly fine style for any martial; circle of pain 25' wide), and later you could use it for Come and Get Me. Because only using either of those once or twice per round seems a waste. So I usually aim for a 14 myself for that reason.


My advice:

S16 D15 C14 I10 W10 CH8 on character creation at 20 point buy.

Put a +1 on Dex at level 4th. That leaves you with 16 DEX, which is the maximum for Breastplates, maximizing AC with Medium Armor.

Later on, if you happen to find mithral full plate, you can spend a feat on Heavy Armor Proficiency to enjoy full AC with it (mithral full plate has +9 AC and +3 max DEX).

This is assuming your race has no modifiers on DEX, of course.

Dark Archive

I am planning on going with Invulnerable Rager, but also on using a reach weapon, so looks like maybe I should bump it up to 14. I will mourn the loss of my 20 strength, but sacrifices must be made in the pursuit of killing things.


ohokwy wrote:

I am planning on going with Invulnerable Rager, but also on using a reach weapon, so looks like maybe I should bump it up to 14. I will mourn the loss of my 20 strength, but sacrifices must be made in the pursuit of killing things.

With a +1 furious fortuitous weapon, you will kill things all the faster. Getting pounce so you can full attack all the time, and then getting good reach abilities, so you get another mini full attack... in time, you will be more than happy with the arrangement.

Getting a 14 now means you don't really need to worry about it in the future by spending belts and such.


The best defense in PF is making your enemy into paste before they act.

Some minor AC investment is worthwhile to stop massed attackers from widdling you down (though maybe not in the case of Invulnerable Rager where the DR stops them pretty well on its own)


deuxhero wrote:

The best defense in PF is making your enemy into paste before they act.

Some minor AC investment is worthwhile to stop massed attackers from widdling you down (though maybe not in the case of Invulnerable Rager where the DR stops them pretty well on its own)

Well, it might not always be able to cover the first attack (particularly at high levels)... but the second, third, and fourth iteratives? You have a good chance there with decent AC. That is usually what you aim for- cutting down their full attack.


lemeres wrote:
deuxhero wrote:

The best defense in PF is making your enemy into paste before they act.

Some minor AC investment is worthwhile to stop massed attackers from widdling you down (though maybe not in the case of Invulnerable Rager where the DR stops them pretty well on its own)

Well, it might not always be able to cover the first attack (particularly at high levels)... but the second, third, and fourth iteratives? You have a good chance there with decent AC. That is usually what you aim for- cutting down their full attack.

Depends on the build. My invulnerable rager barbarian has an AC of 14. He will get hit no matter what. However, almost everything is battle paste after his turn or even before his turn with come and get me. This build relies less on AC to cut down on full attacks and more on killing the enemy or disabling then (dazing assualt) before they finish their full attack. It's hard to beat a barbarian who can dish out 4 AoO's EVERY round and then take another 4-5 attacks on his turn. He may take some damage but it is nothing a hand full of CLW wands can't handle.


Lab_Rat wrote:
lemeres wrote:
deuxhero wrote:

The best defense in PF is making your enemy into paste before they act.

Some minor AC investment is worthwhile to stop massed attackers from widdling you down (though maybe not in the case of Invulnerable Rager where the DR stops them pretty well on its own)

Well, it might not always be able to cover the first attack (particularly at high levels)... but the second, third, and fourth iteratives? You have a good chance there with decent AC. That is usually what you aim for- cutting down their full attack.
Depends on the build. My invulnerable rager barbarian has an AC of 14. He will get hit no matter what. However, almost everything is battle paste after his turn or even before his turn with come and get me. This build relies less on AC to cut down on full attacks and more on killing the enemy or disabling then (dazing assualt) before they finish their full attack. It's hard to beat a barbarian who can dish out 4 AoO's EVERY round and then take another 4-5 attacks on his turn. He may take some damage but it is nothing a hand full of CLW wands can't handle.

Of course there are other methods of defense, sometimes offensive ones.

Not sure how well CaGM works with reach (Since enemies might slip inside)... but reach has its own methods of defense. Distance control with things like lunge and perhaps pushing assault makes it hard for enemies to get off more than one attack on you (since you attack from far enough away that they need to spend a full move or charge), while you are in a great position to both full attack and get tons of AoOs. Keep away that is reinfoced by the fact that you can full attack a large area, and still pounce on an even larger area. No turtled monks here.

Still, nice to have 'some' AC. Particularly when bows are just out of dazing range. That is GM 101 for "when the standard build barbarian is tearing apart encounters"


My barbarian has a reach weapon and a combination of claws and enchanted spiked armor for handling reach issues. Knockback or knockdown are great rage powers for interrupting a full attack along with either CaGM or Unexpected Strike. It's pretty hard to beat taking an AoO when an enemy 5ft steps inside your reach and you either knock them back 15+ ft or put them on their ass.

Shadow Lodge

I've got a reach weapon + UAS primalist bloodrager that I'm enjoying quite a bit. Started with 18/13/14 on the physical stats with rolled scores, and bumped Dex to 14 at level 8 - if it had been point buy I would have bought a 14 from the start. 2 AoO in a round is often but not always enough, and I expect I'll need even more once I get CaGM. The AoO do drop enemies faster, though usually not in the one attack I get as someone advances on me. On top of having a moderate AC to block iteratives and mooks, I like having a better Ref save, initiative, ranged attack, and dex skills.

I've seen others play the "Plan to kill the bad guys before defense matters" and "I want that high AC" strategies, and they also worked fine - the latter guy also picked up CaGM and loved how it worked with his high Dex.


You should have 3 AoO with a Dex of 14 and combat reflexes.

Combat Reflexes wrote:
You may make a number of additional attacks of opportunity per round equal to your Dexterity bonus. With this feat, you may also make attacks of opportunity while flat-footed.

You get your 1 AoO plus and additional number of AoO equal to your dex mod.


I found this cool feat, stalwart. this means when you use combat expertise, fighting defensively, or total defense you get a dr instead of AC bonus. There is an improved version too, which doubles the bonus from the first. At 11th level, with combat expertise, improved damage reduction (rage power), and invulnerable rager, this could net you Dr 15/-. Just laugh as attacks bounce off you. The only catch is you need int. 13. A brawler dip negates that though.


Lab_Rat wrote:

You should have 3 AoO with a Dex of 14 and combat reflexes.

Combat Reflexes wrote:
You may make a number of additional attacks of opportunity per round equal to your Dexterity bonus. With this feat, you may also make attacks of opportunity while flat-footed.
You get your 1 AoO plus and additional number of AoO equal to your dex mod.

I would still grab more dex.

Fortuitous is just drool inducing, and eats a second AoO. So I basically write off 2 AoOs each round as much as possible. If you are aiming for both AoO eating styles, then you need more.

Dark Archive

Wow, Fortuitous is fantastic! I can't believe i've never seen that before. Definitely worth getting.


ohokwy wrote:
Wow, Fortuitous is fantastic! I can't believe i've never seen that before. Definitely worth getting.

Yes, a +1 to get a single iterative in your AoO, basically. Works 1/round. Makes reach have a nice bite with its 25' wide circle of pain.

A smart GM would throw an expendable meat shield out to eat up that AoO (And AoOs in general). But cutting down minions does make you feel useful, and having those in the fight generally makes the battle more interesting than the single BBEG beat down. So win win, really.


Agreed. Good enchantment as long as you have the ability to take more AoOs than you normally take. Also nice for a CaGM barb, not because of the extra AoO, but because it lets you take 2 AoOs before the enemies first attack. This extra hit could potentially kill the enemy before they actually do anything, saving you from at least 1 attack and the damage.

Shadow Lodge

Lab_Rat wrote:

You should have 3 AoO with a Dex of 14 and combat reflexes.

Combat Reflexes wrote:
You may make a number of additional attacks of opportunity per round equal to your Dexterity bonus. With this feat, you may also make attacks of opportunity while flat-footed.
You get your 1 AoO plus and additional number of AoO equal to your dex mod.

Yes, but I started with Dex 13 and 2 AoO - hence the increase to 14.

Fortuitous and more Dex increases are both on my wish list.

Quick Reflexes rage power is also worth pointing out if you need more AoO as a barbarian.

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