Barbarian, "Old School" Variant (5e Class)

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Barbarian, Old-School[edit]

This is a barbarian reminiscent of the one presented in AD&D's Unearthed Arcana. As with Fighter "old school" variant (5e Class), this is a straightforward class with minimal options and no archetypes.

Creating a Barbarian[edit]


A barbarian must be any non-lawful alignment.

Quick Build

You can make a barbarian quickly by following these suggestions. First, Strength should be your highest ability score, followed by Dexterity. Constitution or Charisma should be considered as a tertiary score. Second, choose the outlander background. Finally, your starting equipment is as follows: a broadsword, a shortbow, a handaxe, hide armor and an explorer's pack. Note: When creating a barbarian would like him to trust his wizard.

Class Features

As a Barbarian you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d12 per Barbarian level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12 (or 7) + Constitution modifier per Barbarian level after 1st


Armor: All armor, shields
Weapons: All simple and martial weapons
Saving Throws: Constitution, Dexterity
Skills: Survival, Athletics


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

Table: The Barbarian

Level Proficiency
1st +2 Tribal Tongue, Nimble Defense
2nd +2 Hardiness, Tribal Skill
3rd +2 Fast Movement
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement, Great Leap
5th +3 Extra Attack
6th +3 Poison Resistance
7th +3 Instinctive
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement, Primal Attack
9th +4 Smell Magic
10th +4 Hide in Natural Surroundings
11th +4 Summon Barbarians (1)
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 Summon Barbarians (2)
14th +5 Ability Score Improvement
15th +5 Summon Barbarians (3)
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 Brutal Critical
18th +6 Summon Barbarians (4)
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 Extra Attack (2)

Tribal Tongue[edit]

You only know how to speak your tribal tongue and Common. You cannot read or write (but can learn to do so with the Training downtime activity). For each additional language you would know from your race or background, you instead gain a tool proficiency of your choice.

Nimble Defense[edit]

When you wear no armor or light armor, you add half your Dexterity modifier again to your AC.

When you wear medium armor, the maximum Dexterity modifier you add to your AC is 3 (instead of 2).

Tribal Skill[edit]

At 2nd level, you are able to choose one of the following proficiencies or features:

  • Dog Tribe. Animal Handling proficiency
  • River Tribe. Vehicles (Water) proficiency
  • Mountain Tribe. Drum or horn proficiency; in addition, while outdoors, you can use a drum, horn, smoke signals or mirror flashes to communicate with members of barbarian tribes up to 5 miles away.
  • Steppes Tribe. You automatically pass Constitution saving throws made to travel beyond 8 hours while make a forced march (PHB p. 181), and you can keep a fast pace (PHB p. 182) without penalty.
  • Riders Tribe. It does not cost you movement to mount a creature (PHB p. 198); you add your proficiency bonus to Dexterity saving throws made to avoid falling off a mount; and when your mount is subject to an opportunity attack, you can choose whether you or your mount is the target.


At 2nd level, whenever you gain a level in this class, you add half your Constitution modifier (rounded down) again to your hit points.

Fast Movement[edit]

At 3rd level, your base walking speed becomes 35 feet.

Ability Score Increase[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Great Leap[edit]

From 4th level onwards, you can long jump or high jump twice the normal distance.

Extra Attack[edit]

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 20th level in this class.

Poison Resistance[edit]

At 6th level, you gain resistance to poison damage.


From 7th level onwards, you are never surprised.

Primal Attack[edit]

Beginning at 8th level, Your weapon attacks are considered magical for the purpose of bypassing resistances and immunities.

Smell Magic[edit]

Starting at 9th level, you can cast detect magic as a ritual.

In addition, when you use Intelligence (Investigation) to determine if something is illusory, you are considered proficient in the Investigation skill and add double your proficiency bonus (instead of your normal proficiency bonus).

Hide in Natural Surroundings[edit]

Starting at 10th level, you can spend 1 minute creating camouflage for yourself. You must have access to fresh mud, dirt, plants, soot, and other naturally occurring materials with which to create your camouflage.

Once you are camouflaged in this way, you can try to hide by pressing yourself up against a solid surface, such as a tree or wall, that is at least as tall and wide as you are. You gain a +10 bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks as long as you remain there without moving or taking actions. Once you move or take an action or a reaction, you must camouflage yourself again to gain this benefit.

Summon Barbarians[edit]

Starting at 11th level, you can summon barbarians as a downtime activity. This takes 7 days, during which you must be in natural outdoor terrain, sending messengers and gifts, and preparing a staging camp.

At 13th level, your expenses are 100 gp, and you roll 1d6 on the following table to see who arrives at the staging camp. The expenses and number of rolls increases at 15th level (300 gp, two rolls), 17th level (1,000 gp, three rolls) and 19th level (3,000 gp, four rolls).

1—3 Eight tribal warriors
4. Two scouts
5. Two berserkers
6. One veteran

Each summoned group is also accompanied by two (commoners) who represent non-combatants such as thralls, guides, servants or soothsayers.

In addition, the groups are additionally equipped according to your tribe:

  • Dog tribe: the first group arrives with two trained mastiffs.
  • River tribe: all groups arrive by (or are carrying) canoes or other small portable water vehicles.
  • Mountain tribe: each member of the first group are proficient with drums or horns and can communicate outdoors as described above.
  • Steppes tribe: each member of all groups can travel outdoors as described above.
  • Riders tribe: each member of all groups arrive on riding horses.

The summoned barbarians must have one stated purpose, such as to siege a location, serve in a battle, recover an item or rescue a person. They are loyal to you as long as you do not deviate from this purpose, and for a duration of a number of days equal to your barbarian level + your Charisma modifier. Summoning more barbarians within this duration considered deviating from the purpose.

Once you deviate from the stated purpose, the duration expires, or the purpose is resolved, the summoned barbarians disband and return to their tribes.

Brutal Critical[edit]

At 17th level, you roll one additional dice when scoring a critical hit.

Optional Subclasses[edit]

This class is originally not designed with archetypes in mind. However, you have the option to exchange some of the features for the archetype features bellow. You can replace the 2nd, 6th and 17th level features for the archetype features bellow. Your archetype is determined by your chosen tribe on the Tribal Skill feature.

Mountain Tribe[edit]

The default option, doesn't have changes.

Dog Tribe[edit]

Canine Senses (Replaces Hardiness)

You have advantage on Perception checks that rely on smell and scent, and blindsight of 10 feet.

Quickness (Replaces Poison Resistance)

You gain 15 feet of additional movement speed.

Pack Strategy (Replaces Brutal Critical)

Once in each turn, you have advantage on your attack roll against a creature within 5 feet of an ally.

River Tribe[edit]

Ferryman's Balance (Replaces Hardiness)

You can't be knocked prone and you add twice your Dexterity modifier to your AC while unarmored.

Water Born (Replaces Poison Resistance)

You have swimming speed equal to your movement speed.

Wounding Strike (Replaces Brutal Critical)

You score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20.

Steppes Tribe[edit]

Battle Dance (Replaces Hardiness)

You can move up to half your movement speed before and after the first attack you make on your turn, without provoking opportunity attacks.

Free Runner (Replaces Poison Resistance)

You run three times your movement speed when you take the Dash action, ignoring opportunity attacks.

Charge (Replaces Brutal Critical)

You can replace one of your attacks on your turn for the Dash action.


An old-school barbarian cannot multiclass.

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