Friday, June 30, 2017

I Hate Barbarians

In the comments section of my "I don't like clerics" post, I was asked which class I'd modify next.

As you may have guessed from reading the title, while I dislike clerics for being too good I absolutely detest the barbarian class. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the concept of an illiterate savage who wears very little and tends to froth at the mouth in battle, it's the execution of the class that annoys me.
  • The level abilities they get stink of pandering. "Fast Movement? Well, okay, I guess if they don't have horses... Uncanny Dodge? Trap Sense? this is a melee class, not a rogue... DAMAGE REDUCTION? Oh, fuck right off."
  • They have 12-sided hit dice. Think about that for a moment: On the one hand, we have the Fighter, a class dedicated solely to combat, and it gets d10s for hit points; on the other hand, we have a class whose schtick is "get really upset and beat on things like the Hulk until they stop twitching" and they get d12s. No, that's just wrong.
Really, the only thing about this class which I like is the Rage, which I'm pretty sure is the main reason people play barbs. But look at how they progress: rage at 1st level, then a rage power every even level. This is the exact same progression as fighter bonus feats. 

So here's how I'd change things:
  1. Delete the Barbarian class altogether. 
  2. Increase the Fighter's hit dice to d12s, as is right and proper. 
  3. Make a "Berserker" archetype for the fighter which gives rage and rage powers in place of fighter feats. 
That archetype would look like this (with a lot of cutting and pasting from the barbarian class and replacing the word barbarian with berserker):

The Berserker (Archetype)
For some, there is only rage. In the ways of their people, in the fury of their passion, in the howl of battle, conflict is all these brutal souls know. Savages, hired muscle, masters of vicious martial techniques, they are not soldiers or professional warriors—they are the battle possessed, creatures of slaughter and spirits of war.

Rage (Ex)
At 1st level, a berserker can call upon inner reserves of strength and ferocity, granting her additional combat prowess. Starting at 1st level, a berserker can rage for a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + her Constitution modifier. At each level after 1st, she can rage for 2 additional rounds. Temporary increases to Constitution, such as those gained from rage and spells like bear’s endurance, do not increase the total number of rounds that a berserker can rage per day. A berserker can enter rage as a free action. The total number of rounds of rage per day is renewed after resting for 8 hours, although these hours do not need to be consecutive.

While in rage, a berserker gains a +4 morale bonus to her Strength and Constitution, as well as a +2 morale bonus on Will saves. In addition, she takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class. The increase to Constitution grants the berserker 2 hit points per Hit Dice, but these disappear when the rage ends and are not lost first like temporary hit points. While in rage, a berserker cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any ability that requires patience or concentration.

A berserker can end her rage as a free action and is fatigued after rage for a number of rounds equal to 2 times the number of rounds spent in the rage. A berserker cannot enter a new rage while fatigued or exhausted but can otherwise enter rage multiple times during a single encounter or combat. If a berserker falls unconscious, her rage immediately ends, placing her in peril of death.

This ability replaces heavy armor and tower shield proficiency.

Rage Powers (Ex)
As a berserker gains levels, she learns to use her rage in new ways. Starting at 2nd level, a berserker gains a rage power. She gains another rage power for every two levels of berserker attained after 2nd level. A berserker gains the benefits of rage powers only while raging, and some of these powers require the berserker to take an action first. Unless otherwise noted, a berserker cannot select an individual power more than once.

Any berserker who meets the powers’ prerequisites can select and use rage powers. Totem rage powers grant powers related to a theme. A berserker cannot select from more than one group of totem rage powers; for example, a berserker who selects a beast totem rage power cannot later choose to gain any of the dragon totem rage powers (any rage power with “dragon totem” in its title).

This ability replaces all bonus feats gained at even levels.

Greater Rage (Ex)
At 11th level, when a berserker enters rage, the morale bonus to her Strength and Constitution increases to +6 and the morale bonus on her Will saves increases to +3.

This ability replaces armor training 3.

Indomitable Will (Ex)
While in rage, a berserker of 14th level or higher gains a +4 bonus on Will saves to resist enchantment spells. This bonus stacks with all other modifiers, including the morale bonus on Will saves she also receives during her rage.

This ability replaces bravery 4.

Tireless Rage (Ex)
Starting at 17th level, a berserker no longer becomes fatigued at the end of her rage.

This ability replaces weapon training 4.

Mighty Rage (Ex)
At 20th level, when a berserker enters rage, the morale bonus to her Strength and Constitution increases to +8 and the morale bonus on her Will saves increases to +4.

This ability replaces weapon mastery.
I had hoped to be able to include a Hero Lab file for the Berserker, but it's taking me longer than I expected to figure out how to make the editor do what I want, so I'll have to post it later. But here's an archetype that does nothing but increase the Fighter's hit dice to d12. It has no other requirements so it'll stack with everything else. Enjoy!

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