Barbarian, Variant (5e Class)

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Barbarian, Variant[edit]

This is intended to be the Barbarian class, with slight tweaks to address problems the class has and bring it in line with how the design of classes and subclasses has evolved.

Class Features

As a Variant Barbarian you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

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


Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: Choose one from brewer's supplies, cook's utensils, leatherworker's tools, smith's tools, and woodcarver's tools
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose two from Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival


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

  • (a) 1 martial melee weapon or (b) 1 simple melee weapon
  • (a) 1 martial melee weapon or (b) 1 simple melee weapon or (c) 1 shield
  • Four simple weapons with the thrown property
  • An explorer's pack and leather or hide armor

Table: The Variant Barbarian

Level Proficiency
1st +2 Rage, Natural Armor
2nd +2 Reckless Attack, Danger Sense
3rd +2 Primal Path, Primal Knowledge
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 Extra Attack, Fast Movement
6th +3 Path feature
7th +3 Feral Instinct
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 Brutal Critical
10th +4 Primal Path, Primal Knowledge
11th +4 Relentless Rage
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 Indomitable Rage
14th +5 Path feature
15th +5 Persistent Rage
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6
18th +6 Indomitable Might
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 Primal Champion


In battle, you fight with primal ferocity. On your turn, you can enter a rage as a bonus action.

While raging, you gain the following benefits if you aren't wearing heavy armor:

If you are able to cast spells, you can't cast them or concentrate on them while raging.

Your rage lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven't attacked, been attacked, dealt damage (whether or not the damage was then reduced to 0), or been dealt damage (whether or not the damage was then reduced to 0) since your last turn. You can also end your rage at any time (no action required).

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all ex­pended uses of it when you finish a long rest.

Natural Armor[edit]

This replaces Unarmored Defense.

While you aren't wearing armor, your Armor Class equals 10 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor. Whenever you would calculate your AC using your Dexterity modifier, you can use your Constitution modifier instead. All other aspects of the calculation remain the same, such as a maximum limit on the modifier.

Reckless Attack[edit]

Starting at 2nd level, you can throw aside all concern for defense to attack with fierce desperation. When you make your first attack on your turn, you can decide to attack recklessly. Doing so gives you advantage on attack rolls using Strength until your next turn, but attack rolls against you have advantage until your next turn.

Danger Sense[edit]

At 2nd level, you gain an uncanny sense of when things nearby aren't as they should be, giving you an edge when you steel yourself against danger.

You have advantage on Constitution saving throws against effects that you can see, such as traps and spells. To gain this benefit, you can't be blinded, deafened, or incapacitated. While you are raging, you have advantage on Constitution saving throws.

Primal Path[edit]

At 3rd level, you choose a path that shapes the nature of your rage. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th levels.

Primal Knowledge[edit]

At 3rd level and 10th level, you gain proficiency in Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, Survival, brewer's supplies, cook's utensils, leatherworker's tools, smith's tools, or woodcarver's tools.

Ability Score Improvement[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 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.

Extra Attack[edit]

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

Fast Movement[edit]

Starting at 5th level, while you aren't wearing heavy armor your speed increases by a number of feet equal to half your proficiency bonus (rounding up) times five, and you add your proficiency bonus to your Strength score when calculating how far or how high you can jump. You also add your proficiency bonus to your Constitution score when converting it to a unit of time, such as calculating how long you can hold your breath, go without food, or resist frigid water.

Feral Instinct[edit]

By 7th level, your instincts are so honed that you can add your proficiency bonus to initiative rolls, and you can use your Constitution modifier instead of your Dexterity modifier for them.

Additionally, if you are surprised at the beginning of combat and aren't incapacitated, you can act normally on your first turn, but only if you enter your rage before doing anything else on that turn.

Finally, as part of the bonus action you take to enter your rage, you can move up to half your speed.

Brutal Critical[edit]

Beginning at 9th level, you gain a brutality score equal to your proficiency bonus-3. You can roll additional weapon damage dice equal to your brutality score when determining the extra damage for a critical hit with an attack using Strength, and you subtract your brutality score from 20 to determine the minimum number you need on an attack roll using Strength in order to score a critical hit.

Relentless Rage[edit]

Starting at 11th level, your rage can keep you fighting despite grievous wounds. If you drop to 0 hit points while you're raging and don't die outright, you can make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw. If you succeed, you drop to 1 hit point instead.

Each time you use this feature after the first, the DC increases by 5. When you finish a rest, the DC resets to 10.

Indomitable Rage[edit]

Beginning at 13th level, you gain the following benefits:

Persistent Rage[edit]

Beginning at 15th level, your rage is so fierce that it ends early only if you fall unconscious or if you choose to end it.

Indomitable Might[edit]

Beginning at 18th level, if your roll for an ability check using Strength or Constitution is less than your score in the same ability, you can use that score in place of the roll.

Primal Champion[edit]

At 20th level, you embody the power of the wilds. Your Strength and Constitution scores increase by 4. Your maximum for those scores is now 24, if it wasn't already higher than that. You can now rage an unlimited number of times, without needing to take a long rest.

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