Beast Totem Barbarian Question


General Discussion


On the 4th round, when they drop to fatigued, do they also drop their animal aspects? Would be odd for, say, a werewolf to turn back to a human every 18 seconds while attacking things, but I'm curious if there's anyhting official in there about it (alas, not home to check. Just wondering)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Garfaulk Sharpstone wrote:
On the 4th round, when they drop to fatigued, do they also drop their animal aspects? Would be odd for, say, a werewolf to turn back to a human every 18 seconds while attacking things, but I'm curious if there's anyhting official in there about it (alas, not home to check. Just wondering)

Pretty sure that's how it works, yes,


Garfaulk Sharpstone wrote:
On the 4th round, when they drop to fatigued, do they also drop their animal aspects? Would be odd for, say, a werewolf to turn back to a human every 18 seconds while attacking things, but I'm curious if there's anyhting official in there about it (alas, not home to check. Just wondering)

Keep in mind that a werewolf is more of an involuntary curse, and there are rules for it in the Werewolf beastiary entry. I'm not saying you can't flavor the Beast Totem effects to function like lycanthropy, but remember that it's more of a calling upon their powers temporarily, and as such shouldn't be treated the same as having a more permanent "illness."

That being said, if this is pre-1.6 rules, then yes. Barbarians would only ever benefit from Rage effects for 18 seconds at a time period. With 1.6 in place, it can be as little as 12 seconds, or even as high as 30 seconds, depending on your flat check results. More often than not, though, it will average to the same 18 seconds, but with some lucky bursts of 24-30 seconds (or unlucky shortness of 12 seconds in some cases).

In my opinion, I would rule that the flat check DCs a Barbarian makes with rage is reduced by an amount equal to their level. That is, a level 20 Barbarian would have to make a flat check of 10 if the Flat check DC is increased to a total of 30, as in the higher levels, combats take longer since the scaling of HP and healing is stronger than the damage dealt per target, and it doesn't make sense for a Barbarian who is more experienced to not be able to rage longer more often than not, than a Barbarian who is lower level.


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I really really really hate the barbarian rage mechanics of PF2.

I know they're trying to simplify things by limiting powers which have duration measured in rounds or times per day, but it just doesn't feel right to me.

The whole dropping out of rage thing once or twice per battle just doesn't fit with how I imagine barbarians.


Claxon wrote:

I really really really hate the barbarian rage mechanics of PF2.

I know they're trying to simplify things by limiting powers which have duration measured in rounds or times per day, but it just doesn't feel right to me.

The whole dropping out of rage thing once or twice per battle just doesn't fit with how I imagine barbarians.

Well, it's not just a matter of simplification. Rage is meant to have a meaningful limitation of how long that person can be so empowered before they just lose their energy and fail. After all, rage rounds and general "drawbacks" stopped mattering after level 3 or 4 in PF1, and even then you could take Extra Rage feats to extremely enhance the amount of time you spent raging if you decided to multiclass Barbarian (or get some other form of Barbarian goodies).

If it's not "right" for Rage to be a meaningful combat tactic, then the Barbarian is on shaky ground as it is and needs a new niche to fill besides having anger management problems.


Rage should be a meaningful combat tactic, but that doesn't mean you should drop out of every 3 turns (on average).

I understand that they were shooting for "the unpredictable fury of rage" type deal. But what it honestly leaves is just a sour mechanic that makes me shy away from the barbarian class in PF2. Barbarian and Inquisitor are my two favorite classes in PF1. Barbarian is a class I probably wont play in PF2 (if I play PF2 at all).

The barbarian requires rage to maintain effectiveness in combat relative to other martial classes. It really sucks to suck every 18 seconds.


I don't understand why go for a flat check instead of going for something Constitution-related. It's more flavorful and it can be used as a trade-off. Some people would want to invest more in CON and less in STR/DEX to have longer rages, while others would go for the burst damage. This could mean a small difference in earlier levels, but as they go on, the gap would increase and making it an ever significant increase and reward.

After all, they wanted to eliminate rocket-tag and this translates into longer fights, specially late-game, so a Barbarian with investment CON would either not worry at all about it running out or having significant chance of extending it way past over the threshold of those the trade-off for damage and AC.

But one thing is for certain. It may be a balanced mechanic to have rage lasting 3 rounds... But I'm sure it makes Barbarians lame fighters in-world. In PF2e, not only they are just glorified thugs with a magical stick doing all the work, but they also have minor tantrums that randomly ending. It's not looking good for martial classes and Barbarians if heavy changes in this department don't come with the final release.


Claxon wrote:

Rage should be a meaningful combat tactic, but that doesn't mean you should drop out of every 3 turns (on average).

I understand that they were shooting for "the unpredictable fury of rage" type deal. But what it honestly leaves is just a sour mechanic that makes me shy away from the barbarian class in PF2. Barbarian and Inquisitor are my two favorite classes in PF1. Barbarian is a class I probably wont play in PF2 (if I play PF2 at all).

The barbarian requires rage to maintain effectiveness in combat relative to other martial classes. It really sucks to suck every 18 seconds.

No, but it does mean that you need to watch when and where you rage, and what you're raging for, which is where the "meaningful choice" aspect of Rage comes into place. This isn't (and shouldn't be) a matter of "Oh, there's a combat, guess I'm going to rage because it's a combat!" That's PF1 tactics and paradigm, which is what they're getting away from.

The fact that players now have to question whether now is the time or not to rage is, in my opinion, a great place for the mechanic to be. Do I plan my attack for when the Dragon decides to swoop down and try to kill the Wizard, or do I want to rage and take the fight to the Dragon? Compare that to PF1's "RAGELANCEPOUNCEDEADGG." That's not really fun or meaningful gameplay. Being a default or automatic option really just meant that the effects should've just been active 24/7 for all intents and purposes.

I also would like to point out that Rage being required for Barbarians to maintain combat effectiveness is outright false if you actually consider the mechanics of the ability. All it does is make you deal increased damage (minorly, I might add) in exchange for a reduced defense that will eventually come to bite you in the ass if you don't make it count. Rage Powers might be a significant requirement, but when you consider that most every totem choice currently does jack squat in terms of rage powers (Spirit Totem, I'm looking at you), it's not the end of the world if you don't have Rage going. Some auxiliary benefits of Rage are certainly still nice, like the ability to change your damage type, as well as have different options, but in my opinion this is a designer failure because it was basically putting an orange in an apple orchard.


Lightning Raven wrote:

I don't understand why go for a flat check instead of going for something Constitution-related. It's more flavorful and it can be used as a trade-off. Some people would want to invest more in CON and less in STR/DEX to have longer rages, while others would go for the burst damage. This could mean a small difference in earlier levels, but as they go on, the gap would increase and making it an ever significant increase and reward.

After all, they wanted to eliminate rocket-tag and this translates into longer fights, specially late-game, so a Barbarian with investment CON would either not worry at all about it running out or having significant chance of extending it way past over the threshold of those the trade-off for damage and AC.

But one thing is for certain. It may be a balanced mechanic to have rage lasting 3 rounds... But I'm sure it makes Barbarians lame fighters in-world. In PF2e, not only they are just glorified thugs with a magical stick doing all the work, but they also have minor tantrums that randomly ending. It's not looking good for martial classes and Barbarians if heavy changes in this department don't come with the final release.

I personally rule that a Barbarian's flat check is reduced by his level + his Constitution modifier. So a level 1 Barbarian with a 16 Constitution only has to make a DC 1 flat check on his 2nd round, whereas a Level 20 Barbarian with a +5 Constitution only has to make a DC 5 flat check on his 6th round of Rage.

The biggest reason why they don't do this is because of sticking to simplicity, but IMO it's not really that difficult.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Rage should be a meaningful combat tactic, but that doesn't mean you should drop out of every 3 turns (on average).

I understand that they were shooting for "the unpredictable fury of rage" type deal. But what it honestly leaves is just a sour mechanic that makes me shy away from the barbarian class in PF2. Barbarian and Inquisitor are my two favorite classes in PF1. Barbarian is a class I probably wont play in PF2 (if I play PF2 at all).

The barbarian requires rage to maintain effectiveness in combat relative to other martial classes. It really sucks to suck every 18 seconds.

No, but it does mean that you need to watch when and where you rage, and what you're raging for, which is where the "meaningful choice" aspect of Rage comes into place. This isn't (and shouldn't be) a matter of "Oh, there's a combat, guess I'm going to rage because it's a combat!" That's PF1 tactics and paradigm, which is what they're getting away from.

If that's the case then I'll go ahead and consider the barbarian a dead class that doesn't exist, because that's exactly what the barbarian should be in my opinion. The barbarian should be raging every combat as much as they possibly can. In fact, all of their abilities are based on raging (as far as I recall). So not raging just means you're a really s#$*ty martial character.


Claxon wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Rage should be a meaningful combat tactic, but that doesn't mean you should drop out of every 3 turns (on average).

I understand that they were shooting for "the unpredictable fury of rage" type deal. But what it honestly leaves is just a sour mechanic that makes me shy away from the barbarian class in PF2. Barbarian and Inquisitor are my two favorite classes in PF1. Barbarian is a class I probably wont play in PF2 (if I play PF2 at all).

The barbarian requires rage to maintain effectiveness in combat relative to other martial classes. It really sucks to suck every 18 seconds.

No, but it does mean that you need to watch when and where you rage, and what you're raging for, which is where the "meaningful choice" aspect of Rage comes into place. This isn't (and shouldn't be) a matter of "Oh, there's a combat, guess I'm going to rage because it's a combat!" That's PF1 tactics and paradigm, which is what they're getting away from.

If that's the case then I'll go ahead and consider the barbarian a dead class that doesn't exist, because that's exactly what the barbarian should be in my opinion. The barbarian should be raging every combat as much as they possibly can. In fact, all of their abilities are based on raging (as far as I recall). So not raging just means you're a really s##$ty martial character.

Then why make Rage a temporary benefit if we're expected to have it always going? The Barbarian should just always have rage going 24/7 with no drawback or issues whatsoever. Your expectations of PF1 are clouding what the original intent of Rage was meant to be, a powerful but fleeting and risky boost in strength. I'm not saying Rage is a perfect mechanic as it stands, I just think a major paradigm shift like what you're suggesting isn't an appropriate way to make Rage a fitting mechanic.

A permanent damage bonus with AC penalty doesn't really make the Barbarian a "not crappy" martial character, especially when we consider that the rage power feats are largely junk or not worth the price, and that there are several non-rage feats that are very solid choices. Sudden Charge and Whirlwind Attack come to mind, and multiclassing Fighter for Attacks of Opportunity as well as Power Attack makes for a solid frontliner whose rage is merely an optional boost instead of some mandatory requirement for combat.


I'm not sure about before 3rd edition, but in 3.0, 3.5, and PF1 rage was never really "a risk". It was always more of a "battle trance" type deal that "channeled your anger".

Now rage is being changed to be fundamentally different that the familiar way it functioned. And flatly put I absolutely hate it. And it's not a paradigm shift. If you put rage back to a "you get this many rounds per day" I'd be just fine with it. Except they don't want round per day mechanics in PF2. So instead we're left with something that's very unappealing to me.

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