Questions about the barbarian class


Classes

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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The following are a few assorted questions I had while reading through the barbarian class.

Totems: Why are the names assigned to barbarian totems not called totem themes, the same way names assigned to bard muses are called muse themes? It makes more sense to have a totem with a fury theme than a totem that is literally named Fury, for example.

Giant Totem Anathema: Is it intended that giant totem barbarians who refuse contests of strength suddenly forget how to use oversized weapons? The anathema for other totems are arguably reasonable, since other totems with anathema produce magical (or anti-magical) effects, but the benefit of the giant totem has no descriptor to indicate it is anything more than extraordinary weapon training that applies even when not raging. How can that suddenly go away?

No Escape: What happens if the triggering foe uses a movement type you cannot use with the Stride action granted by No Escape?

Cleave, Great Cleave, and Whirlwind Strike: Why do these feats have the rage descriptor? Aren’t these just adaptations of non-rage feats from PF1? Why add new restrictions on their use?

Animal Rage: Is this an action you can take while raging to modify your rage, an action you can take while not raging to start raging in a different way, or a continuous ability that modifies your rage? The feat has an action icon, but the first sentence in its effect describes a benefit that always applies when you rage, not an effect which occurs when you perform an Animal Rage action. Also, shouldn't this ability have a minimum duration that applies even after your rage ends? Otherwise, animal totem barbarians keep turning into animals and back again every 6 to 18 seconds, which seems weird.

Come and Get Me: For clarity, shouldn’t this say “until you stop raging” instead of “while you are raging”?

Dragon Totem Wings: For clarity, shouldn’t this say “until you stop raging” instead of “while you are raging”? Alternately, shouldn't this ability have a minimum duration that applies even after your rage ends? Otherwise, dragon totem barbarian will have wings that keep appearing and disappearing every 6 to 18 seconds, which seems weird.

Giant’s Lunge: For clarity, shouldn’t this say “until you stop raging” instead of “while you are raging”?

Contagious Rage: For clarity, shouldn’t this say “until you stop raging” instead of “while you are raging”?

Quaking Stomp: Where on the map do the permanent fissures created by this feat appear? If the answer is “GM’s discretion,” isn’t this essentially requiring the GM to create an alternate version of every tactical map in every adventure, each representing an existing tactical map with added fissures that will inevitably be created once the barbarian starts fighting?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'd like to add one comment about the barbarian class:

The Unchained Barbarian (v1.0) clarified what happened to temporary hit points W/R/T damage - you lost your temporary hit points first, and then base hit points afterwards. This made it so that you didn't instantly begin dying when you went out of rage as would regularly happen in the non-Unchained Barbarian class in v1.0.

v2.0 Barbarian doesn't address this. I think an edit might be needed to clarify this.

Sovereign Court

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Epic Meepo wrote:

Giant Totem Anathema: Is it intended that giant totem barbarians who refuse contests of strength suddenly forget how to use oversized weapons? The anathema for other totems are arguably reasonable, since other totems with anathema produce magical (or anti-magical) effects, but the benefit of the giant totem has no descriptor to indicate it is anything more than extraordinary weapon training that applies even when not raging. How can that suddenly go away?

I see it more like a loss of confidence, more than anything else. You pride yourself as being the strongest, and since you didn't prove it to yourself, you start doubting it, and thus doubting your abilities.

These mechanics are thematic but you should always adapt it to your role play and character. It seems to me than an explanation like a lack of confidence would explain these temporary ability loss.


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Epic Meepo wrote:
No Escape: What happens if the triggering foe uses a movement type you cannot use with the Stride action granted by No Escape?

If you are asking if you can use it to follow someone who is using a step action, you can follow them. But if you are asking what happens if an ennemy is flying or burrowing, the feat states "stride up to your speed" and "until [...] you are out of movement". You technically are immediatly out of Flying speed or Burrowing speed since you don't have those speeds (you mechanically have a flying/burrowing speed of 0) unless you have a special power which grants them to you, so No escape has no effect and you lose your reaction. In the special case of a swimming ennemy, you follow them like you would with a running ennemy.

Epic Meepo wrote:
Cleave, Great Cleave, and Whirlwind Strike: Why do these feats have the rage descriptor? Aren’t these just adaptations of non-rage feats from PF1? Why add new restrictions on their use?

This indeed seems weird. I can easily imagine a two-handed-weapon wielding Fighter using Cleave, Great Cleave and Whirlwind Strike, but now it is specific to a raging Barbarian.

Other questions

Acute scent : can I take this feat if I took Acute vision, or only if I always have darkvision and low-light vision while I'm out of rage ?

Giant stature : does my weapon increase in size with me and become Huge, or does it stays Large ?

Titan's stature : it is not stated that your equipment gets larger, unlike Giant stature. Is it intentionnal ?

Giant's lunge : does this feat grant you an additionnal 10 feet reach if you use Giant stature or Titan's stature ?


I believe the feats have the rage descriptor to encourage you to rage! As rage is unlimited use vs 1e, there should be no reason to conserve your rage. Very thematic!

It also puts some limits on multiclassing into barb (not that we have the details on that).

Silver Crusade

I'm also wondering about No Escape. Especially with abilities like Raging Athlete or the dragon wings that grant alternative movement, it seems less than great to have that ability limited to land speed. (I believe that restriction to land speed only comes from the Stride action itself, but would have to double check.)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

On re-reading the barbarian, I'm actually noticing multiple feats with action icons whose effects are described as continuous benefits with no apparent duration. I think some of this has to do with the rage descriptor having special rules, but it wouldn't hurt if a developer combed through all of the class feats with action icons and made sure their effects have clear-cut durations.


Joe M. wrote:
I'm also wondering about No Escape. Especially with abilities like Raging Athlete or the dragon wings that grant alternative movement, it seems less than great to have that ability limited to land speed. (I believe that restriction to land speed only comes from the Stride action itself, but would have to double check.)

Now that I have double checked, this restriction comes from the Speed section in "Movement types", which states that "Speed" without spcifying a type is your land Speed. Stride does not specify a speed type, so you can only Stride to your land speed.

So my previous statement is false and you cannot follow a flying, burrowing or swimming ennemy RAW. Which is a bummer since the animal and dragon totems tend to give you alternate speed types (and shark totem barbarians cannot Stride in Animal Rage). Unless it was intentionnally designed so that you can't follow burrowing, swimming and flying ennemies, No Escape should allow you to Stride, Burrow, Fly or roll an Athletics check to Swim if you fulfill the requirements for those actions.

Imagine a raging shark barbarian swimming menacingly behind a fleeing Undine :D

EDIT :

Epic Meepo wrote:
On re-reading the barbarian, I'm actually noticing multiple feats with action icons whose effects are described as continuous benefits with no apparent duration. I think some of this has to do with the rage descriptor having special rules, but it wouldn't hurt if a developer combed through all of the class feats with action icons and made sure their effects have clear-cut durations.

It seems like those feats state "until you stop raging" or "while you are raging".

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
dinketry wrote:

I'd like to add one comment about the barbarian class:

The Unchained Barbarian (v1.0) clarified what happened to temporary hit points W/R/T damage - you lost your temporary hit points first, and then base hit points afterwards. This made it so that you didn't instantly begin dying when you went out of rage as would regularly happen in the non-Unchained Barbarian class in v1.0.

v2.0 Barbarian doesn't address this. I think an edit might be needed to clarify this.

It doesn't really need to as that's how Temp HP works in general. The Chained Barbarian in 1st had a unique HP situation, it didn't actually use Temp HP.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
dinketry wrote:

I'd like to add one comment about the barbarian class:

It doesn't really need to as that's how Temp HP works in general. The Chained Barbarian in 1st had a unique HP situation, it didn't actually use Temp HP.

Perhaps, but if we are using this as a way to bring in new people, we shouldn’t assume that they know how Temp HP work in general.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Almarane wrote:
It seems like those feats state "until you stop raging" or "while you are raging".

I find the "while you are raging" wording problematic, because that, to me, implies a continuous effect that provides a benefit when certain conditions are met.

Compare that language to this plain English statement: "While you are wielding a sword, you are armed." In plain English, this statement continues to apply even when aren't wielding a sword. The truth value of the opening phrase has no effect on the statement's duration.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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Almarane wrote:


Acute scent : can I take this feat if I took Acute vision, or only if I always have darkvision and low-light vision while I'm out of rage ?

How would you even get both low-light vision and darkvision? As written, this feat can't be selected ever. It should require either of them, or the acute vision feat.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Why aren't there any 12th level barbarian feats which can be taken if you have the fury totem? Sure, you could take a lower level feat, but that's not so fun when the rest of the party (or other barbarians get a shiny 12th level feat instead). Even a feat which any totem can take would be fine - but currently, there's nothing a poor fury barbarian can select.

For that matter, barbarians have very little feat choice overall, since so many of their feats are tied to their totem. I'd want at least 3 choices per group - with a minimum of one specific for each totem when possible.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Quaking Stomp - this seems identical to the earthquake spell. Why not simply say the effects are the same rather than re-print it all?

Silver Crusade

There are a lot of Barbarian feats marked with the Action symbol, but which have text implying they should be free actions attached to another action.

L2 Internal Fortitude: 1 action, no keywords: "When you attempt a Fortitude save to recover from being sick..." If Internal Fortitude is its own action, shouldn't it say "Attempt a Fortitude save to recover from being sick?" As currently written, it seems like it should have the Free Action symbol, and the trigger "You attempt a Fortitude save to recover from being sick." Otherwise, as currently presented, it seems like you have to use an action to attempt the Fortitude save, then use the Internal Fortitude save action to gain the improved effect. Is that the intent?

L2 Raging Courage: 1 action; Barbarian, Concentrate, Rage: "When you Rage, reduce your frightened condition by 1." Again, if Raging Courage is supposed to be its own action, shouldn't it just say "Reduce your frightened condition by 1?" As written, it seems like it should be a free action with the trigger "You take the Rage action" and the effect "Reduce your frightened condition by 1". Otherwise, it seems like this power isn't useable at all; it has the Rage keyword, so it is only useable while raging, but the effect only comes into being "when you Rage," so the feat basically does nothing, except maybe in a few rounds when your current rage expires and you enter the next?

Many of the Totem feats have the same conflict between the Action symbol being present, and the actual text which usually says "while you are raging" or "when you Rage". Compare Animal Skin and Animal Rage. Both say "when you Rage" gain the following benefit, but Animal Skin does not have an Action icon, while Animal Rage does. Is it intended that totem powers take up even more of the barbarian's limited rage rounds? As it stands, if you want to use Animal Rage or most of the other totem feats, you pretty much waste a whole round between using the Rage action, activating a totem feat, and moving into position. You're even locked out of using Sudden Charge.

This is the only thread I've found discussing fundamental issues with the barbarian as its stands, rather than proposing various fixes, so if these issues have been addressed elsewhere, I'd appreciate a pointer, thanks!


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I would like to add to this conversation a list of oddities in a clearly listed way - and as this list starts with the first and main ability, I would suggest that the developers make a detailed second run of this class;

Rage Is it possible to be knocked unconscious and still be Raging? - The Concentrate Trait and common sense seems to indicate 'No', but as the trait description is only flavor text, it is not clear in the rules.

Bestial Rage / Draconic Rage / Spirit Rage The difference in terminology, "When you Rage" compared to "When you are Raging" seems very disorganised and used nearly interchangeably in the Barbarian Class description, and this leads to much confusion - Not majorly so in this specific case, but it does seem to indicate that Bestial Rage is inherently different, and that its effect occurs only as Rage is started and persists through the 3 Rage rounds, which is an important note for later points. For comparison, the Spirit Rage "When you are Raging" phrasing seems to indicate that this choice can be made freely at any point while Raging, repeatedly and variably, which makes sense, as it is a toggle between to different states.

Superstitious Resistance To add to the confusion, now a different phrasing appears: "While Raging"...

Acute Vision Darkvision is simply superior to Low-Light Vision - So why include both?

Superstitious Resistance "While you are Raging" joins the group of mildly different phrases that seem to indicate mildly different circumstances...

Acute Scent Why does it require you to have perfect vision in darkness to be able to smell? Why would you want to be able to smell things within 10 feet if you can see them perfectly? This feat seems weird in terms of requirements and usefulness.

Internal Fortitude The description of the ability indicates that it has a 'hidden trigger' not included in the Traits and Other field of the ability, that means it can only appear in parallel with a Fortitude save against the Sick condition, if you expend an action to use it - Whether this is correct, or it should be a passive effect, a reaction ability with a trigger, or a voluntary forcing of a fortitude save at any time by using an action, is not at all clear in this feat.

Raging Courage This ability is the worst example of the confusion for the Barbarian Class;
A. Either it requires an action while Raging to activate, which all the traits and symbols seem to indicate, in which case it will reduce your Frightened condition by 1. But then the "When you Rage" phrase seems wildly misleading, as it indicates an event that happens when Rage is started, and not something done 'While Raging" or "When you are Raging".
B. Or it is a passive effect that occurs when you Rage, like Acute Vision, that only triggers once per Rage, as soon as you initiate it. But then the entire framing of the ability, with Action symbol and traits seem to be wrongly included.
C. Or it requires an action to active, which must be made while Raging, because of the Rage trait, which then prep's the Barbarian to shrug of the Frightened condition when next Rage is initiated. At best this interpretation means that you are preparing for a frightened condition being in place 4-2 rounds from now (when you initiate your next Rage), and at best, this effect is cancelled out as you end your current Rage, as per the Rage trait description.

Animal Skin The first ability that seems to have a clear idea of how its own terminology and use of symbols work; "When you Rage" followed by a description of what happens when you activate your rage ability, "[...] while raging" then describes the effect that persists through the Rage period, all in a clear packaging with prerequisites, requirements, traits, and a clear indication that it happens on automatic, without the use of an action.

Cleave For the love of God, when you use a phrasing as wavering as 'If you somehow [...]', include an example; ' [...] such as through the Whirlwind Strike', because otherwise you just leave new players hanging and wondering about the weird side-note.

Dragon Totem Breath / Giant's Stature Minor point, but could someone explain why Dragon Breath, a once use ability, has a Concentrate trait attached to it, but Giant's Stature, a persisting body transmutation does not?

Animal Rage This ability faces the same problems in terminology and use of symbols as Raging Courage; Is it intended as an alternative for the standard Rage, that is used instead of it to initiate a Rage state? Does it take you one step further as a second action after using Rage, making you more animal than the Animal Totem Rage middle-ground? If the effect only occurs when you use Animal Rage and not the regular Rage, why does it start with the phrase "When you Rage, you transform into a Medium
form of your totem animal [...]", which seems to indicate that it happens whenever and however you activate Rage?

Come and Get Me The difference between flavor text and ability effect leaves me thinking this might be meant for another feat: You open yourself to the +2 hit and +2 damage attacks for all attacks from everything hostile to you, in exchange for a +2 hit on 1 attack, and potentially somewhere along 4-5 temporary Hit Points... At level 10 I can hardly imagine anything that could hit you for that little amount of damage. Hardly what I would call "[...] devastating counterattacks", especially since that is attacks in plural. Yes, okay, the effect persists as long as you are Raging, but still...

Vengeful Strike Here, after 4 more levels, we come to what makes Come and Get Me into the ability it should have been. Why this half of the combo ability didn't come first, and the +2 hit and temporary Hit Points didn't come as the second half, is a mystery to me. The flavor texts seems to indicate that it should be the other way around.

Dragon Transformation This 'change shape after Rage' mechanic actually does describe that this is something that happens now, as you use the ability, which again enforces the confusion around Animal Rage, because the phrasing is so different.

I know that I overlap a bit with what other people here have said, but it was just an attempt to make a bit of an ordered and clear list of the problems I've found with the class.

Silver Crusade

It has been very difficult making a fair assessment of the barbarian as a class when it's class features are so inscrutable. I don't know whether these issues are simple typos, the result of too many cooks, or due to multiple iterations of the class being kludged together, but some clarity and consistency of terms would be greatly appreciated.


Dragon Totem Breath / Giant's Stature Minor point, but could someone explain why Dragon Breath, a once use ability, has a Concentrate trait attached to it, but Giant's Stature, a persisting body transmutation does not?

Some ‘opportunity attacks’/reactions trigger on actions with the concentrate trait and can interrupt those actions.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Dystichon wrote:

Dragon Totem Breath / Giant's Stature Minor point, but could someone explain why Dragon Breath, a once use ability, has a Concentrate trait attached to it, but Giant's Stature, a persisting body transmutation does not?

Some ‘opportunity attacks’/reactions trigger on actions with the concentrate trait and can interrupt those actions.

That's probably why.

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