Unchained or OG Barbarian for Dwarf Character


Groups doing a new game and id like to play a Dwarf Character who is hard to put down.

Thinking Babarian and going anti-Caster
Long with Having plenty of DR To Deal with mundane melee.

I am just not sure if I'd get more out of going unchained or doing a Regular Barbarian

For weapon I plan to 2H a Earth Breaker

Invulnerable Rager Archetype for the "plenty of DR to deal with mundane melee"

As for anti-caster stuff, pick up these Rage Powers:

Savage Dirty Trick (for Blind and Nauseate)
No Escape

And these feats:

Improved/Greater Dirty Trick
Step Up & Strike

The unchained barbarian is easier to math and very slightly more survivable, since it can’t die from dropping rage.

The unchained has slightly less damage if using a two handed weapon, but slightly more damage if two weapon fighting.

Personally, the only time I’d go with unchained is if making a dexterity based build, as its bonuses are more natural for that.

The Exchange

The barbarian is the class that changed the least in Unchained. Mostly the way rage changed. (Bonuses shifted from strength and con directly to combat stats like attack and damage, and bonuses became untyped.)

Chained Advantages
Gets a Fort save bonus when raging.
Does slightly more damage with a two-handed weapon.

Unchained Advantages
Does slightly more damage when two-weapon fighting.
Rage HP are temporary and do not cause risk of death on ending rage.
Rage bonuses are untyped and therefore stack with morale bonuses (like heroism.)

Depends on your campaign
Unchained barbarian is always fatigued for 1 minute after ending rage. Chained is fatigued for 2x number of rounds spent in rage. There may be situations where you may want to rage for a round or two, then drop out to preserve rounds of rage, planning to rage again during the same combat. Generally unchained works just fine but in a particularly “grindy” campaign chained might have the advantage here.

The Exchange

For your situation (2H weapon) it’s a coin flip. Chained is slightly more damage, Unchained is slightly better survival. Which one do you value more?

Core also gets more out of a healer than unchained. The core rage hp can be healed to help you survive round to round. The unchained temp hp are simply gone once you take a hit and don’t give you that extra buffer round upon round.

Not every party has an in combat healer though. So, maybe you can find out what others are bringing, if you still aren’t sure which way to go

I can't speak for the designer's intent for the Unchained Barb, but imo it is clear that UnBarb is a deliberate nerf to the CBarb. They look fine side by side if all you're doing is looking at their class tables, but the real difference lies in their Rage Powers.

Few, very few, are changed for the better. Like Superstition now being a competence bonus which is arguably better than morale. But the majority of Rage Powers were nerfed one way or another.

We no longer get Strength Surge. Or Savage Dirty Trick. Or Spell Sunder. or Deathless Frenzy. Etc, etc.
And Eater of Magic no longer allows you to reroll the save, it just gives you temp HP.
Some common rage powers are now grouped into 'Stances' which means they require a move action to enter and are incompatible with each other. Come and Get Me and Reckless Abandon are found here.

In addition, you'll see that a lot of the "once per rage" powers are either removed or changed. Paizo were apparently quite pissed at Rage Cycling but managed to ruin it for everyone else as well. In their quest to prevent anyone from using "once per encounter" powers every round, they turned the powers balanced at "once per encounter" into "once per day". In other words, they turned them into trash.

JuliusCromwell wrote:
I am just not sure if I'd get more out of going unchained or doing a Regular Barbarian

Depends on what you want, and the style of the game. Note: I presume you don't want to use the ridiculous mechanic abuse of rage cycling, or you wouldn't be asking.

cBarb has slightly higher damage (with 2H weapons), an accuracy boost that is always on when raging (Reckless Abandon), on-demand Spell Sunder (potentially very useful even without rage cycling), a re-roll on failed saves from Eater of Magic, no-activation-required Come and Get Me, and can use Rage to get better at swimming and climbing.
unBarb has temp HP which are better against HP damage than cBarb's temporary con boost (and it saves healing!), an accuracy booster that doesn't lower AC (Accurate Stance), and better overall saves against spells (unSuperstition stacks with the Will bonus from unRage, resulting in a -2 to Fort saves but a +2 to Will saves on a strong fort progression weak will progression class).
Overall, unBarb is more organic and intuitive.

One really notable difference is that only cBarb has a build-in way of getting fly, vie the Greater Elemental Blood (Air) rage power (or the strictly worse Dragon Totem Wings one). There are other ways to get flight (e.g. magic items or VMC Wizard with the Air school), but especially against casters this could be a big one.

Unchained often shows its lack of play testing. The designers were too sure of themselves and missed a lot of obvious side effects of their decisions.

Ok So I'd think I'd go Regular Barbarian.

Going with Dwarf as his Race.

I'd like to be a Hard as heck to kill.
High Saves. DR. Maybe even some energy resistance and of course good offense.

Unless you want anything specific I'd go with what Ryze Kuja recommends.
I'd settle for just taking Step Up though, if at all, as the feat path is a lot of feats for something quite inconsistent.

Another idea would be to dip a level for Endurance/Diehard so that you qualify for Stalwart early, combined with Crane Style. Maybe as a Savage Technologist so that your AC is kept high as well. This has faster (and better) DR scaling than Invulnerable Rager but requires more feats.

Also, consider the exotic dwarven weapons. A Longhammer has identical stats to the Earth Breaker but reach, and would be a martial weapon as you're a dwarf.


A complete shift in character direction would be to make a dwarf Bacchanal Skald focused on Lesser Celestial Healing + Path of Glory + Drunken Brawler.

Wonderstell wrote:

Unless you want anything specific I'd go with what Ryze Kuja recommends.

I'd settle for just taking Step Up though, if at all, as the feat path is a lot of feats for something quite inconsistent.

Personally, I really like the combo that Savage Dirty Trick, Step Up & Strike, and No Escape provide in handling casters who attempt to Withdraw or 5ft step away from you, or even Abjuring Step if your DM uses that spell often. Honestly, the only way they're casting anything around you with Disruptive and Spellbreaker is by getting away from you; because casting right next to you is a hefty Conc check, and pretty much a death wish when they fail.

If the caster uses a 5ft step, you can Step Up 10ft and AoO, and either attack normally, but 90% of the time you'll probably want to sub your AoO for a Savage Dirty Trick to either Blind or Nauseate. This is probably one of the coolest things about Savage Dirty Trick as opposed to Quick Dirty Trick; Savage Dirty Trick is "in place of a melee attack", so it can be performed with AoO's. If they Withdraw, you don't get any free attacks or anything, but No Escape still lets you stay right on top of them.

I also like the Teleport Tactician feat, the Fortuitous Weapon Enchant (for AoO x2, just in case your first AoO misses), Spell Storing Weapon Enchant (w/ Hold Person) and/or Flawed Scarlet and Green Cabochon(8,000gp) + Internal Fortitude (for No Escape resets via Rage Cycling) for a build like this. These can really crank the "anti-caster-ness" up to 11. And you're no slouch in the anti-melee department either.

Blind, Nauseate, and Paralyze absolutely destroy casters (and martials too), and I try to get at least 1 of these conditions on them one way or another. Blind = no Line of Sight/Target casting, so nearly all of their dangerous spells can't even be cast now-- they're essentially down to Touch Spells with a 50% miss chance, Target Self spells, and a small smattering of spells that don't require targets or LoS. Nauseate = move actions only, so that's huge. And Paralyze is the worst condition you can possibly do, Coups de Grace time.

Ryze Kuja wrote:
Flawed Scarlet and Green Cabochon(8,000gp) + Internal Fortitude (for No Escape resets via Rage Cycling) for a build like this.

^----- You also need Rage Cycling for Savage Dirty Trick, forgot to mention this.


I'd probably go something like this:

Level1 Step Up or Power Attack (dealer's choice)

Level2 Superstitious

Level3 Power Attack or Step Up (whichever you didn't choose at level 1)

Level4 No Escape

Level5 Following Step

Level6 Savage Dirty Trick

Level7 Step Up & Strike

Level8 Internal Fortitude

Level9 Dirty Fighting Or Extra Rage Power: Lesser Beast Totem

Level10 Disruptive

Level11 Improved Dirty Trick Or Extra Rage Power: Beast Totem

Level12 Spellbreaker

Level13 Greater Dirty Trick Or Extra Rage Power: Greater Beast Totem, or Teleport Tactician

Technically speaking, you don't *need* Dirty Fighting + Imp/Gr Dirty Trick, you could actually fill these feat slots with something else if you wanted. If you find that you're consistently landing your DT's without Imp/Grt DT, then don't bother getting them. Maybe take Teleport Tactician at level 13? Or take x3 Extra Rage Power as a feat at levels 9, 11, 13, and take the Beast Totem rages for Pounce?

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