How magical should the barbaran be?

Should barbarians be surrounded by glowing magical auras when raging, or should they just get angrier?
When a barbarian swings should their axe be wreathed in fire or not?

Should they be powered by primal spirits or just muscled and adrenaline?

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Why not have a class that can account for both?
Much like with the fighter, who could easily have a few magic-based weapon maneuvers added to his list, I think that the barbarian should be pure martial as a baseline but with some optional class features that are obviously primal in nature.
The metagame is not the game.
I see the barbarian to be far more primal than magical. Their abilities may be magic-esque but would not be magic. They may be in a rage where they are resistant to physical damage, but the source of that resistance isn't magical but rather some kind of primal physical manifestation.
As long as the mechanics are the same, I don't really care how they're flavored. I see how that response could be problematic in the event of an Anti-Magic Field.

I see the same problem with the monk having poorly defined abilities. Almost all of the monk's abilities are tied to Ki. Is that magic? If not, is the monk's abundant step a function of Ki? It's described as magic and Anti-Magic Field honestly doesn't seem to care about the source of teleportation, it just doesn't apparently function.  But other than that, the monk's abilities don't seem to be described as magical, just Ki fueled. Perhaps a barbarian with "primal energy" can be described in the same way.

I actually dug into the monk deal because I was trying to build a bar room brawler character and no matter which way I went, Monk seemed like the best option as long as it could be reflavored to non-magical/Ki (at least at first).
I like the first edition version of the barbarian as the primitive fighter that is based on superstitions and is considered ant-magic in nature. Anything more civilized or magical can be covered by a fighter or as a module to add in more types of barbarians.
Why not have a class that can account for both?


Could be two different types of builds.
One type of build would be fueled by pure anger wielding similar maneuvers to the fighter.
While another type of build channels powerful nature spirits causing weapons do different types of damage (greatclub doing slashing damage like a bear claw) or wreathing their axe in flames (channeling a fire spirit). The MDD, or Expertise Dice (which I prefer), would be these other types of damage. 
 
I like the first edition version of the barbarian as the primitive fighter that is based on superstitions and is considered ant-magic in nature. Anything more civilized or magical can be covered by a fighter or as a module to add in more types of barbarians.

This has also always been my favorite Barbarian. Minus the non playability due to the xp. requirements to level. Sheesh that's steep!
Should they be powered by primal spirits or just muscled and adrenaline?

Let the individual player decide.

It depends on if supernatural is considered magical. I think they have abilities that can be considered supernatural, but when I think magical I think rituals and spell casting.

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I am not a fan of the primal power source in general, therefore I would be quite happy with a purely martial Barbarian.
A purely martial barbarian, might was well be a background. Its like fighters unique ability to"not having nice things" has to be given away too.

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Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

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Its like fighters unique ability to"not having nice things" has to be given away too.

Wait, what?
Fighter doesn't even get that?

Its like fighters unique ability to"not having nice things" has to be given away too.


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Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I really would prefer a neutral version. Let the mechanics describe the barbarian: dealing huge damage with the biggest weapon he can get his hands on, going into the thick of battle without armor but inexplicably not dying.

Leave the fluff up to the players, maybe with a few suggestions like "the power of your ancestors/nature spirits/gods gives you strength, or you could just be a badass, hardened by years spent living in the wild."

Sort of like with the monk- lots of people (the devs included I think) saw the class as "kung fu fighting", but I reserve the right to throw that out the window and make characters like this:
"Ha! Rock beats scissors!" "Darn it! Rock is overpowered! I'm not playing this again until the next edition is released!" "C'mon, just one more." "Oh, all right..." "Wait, what is that?" "Its 'Dynamite' from the expanded rules." "Just because you can afford to buy every supplement that comes out..." "Hey, it's completely balanced! You're just a bad DM for not accommodating it."
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RPGs are getting more popular, and whenever something gets more popular, it inevitably changes, usually becoming more palatable to the masses. Nintendo is the perfect example. In the old days their games coined the term "Nintendo hard" to extend play time, but they knew their fans were dedicated enough to play anyway. Now they mostly make stuff a five year old can master. That's not necessarily bad, though. Most of those old Nintendo games were infuriating. Likewise, a lot of old RPGs were too complex and irritating for the average person to really get into. Rules light systems are going to get more popular as more people enter the hobby, simply because the new people aren't bound by nostalgia, and would rather play something easy and fun than something that takes a huge amount of effort to learn.
What I'd like to see is something of a non-flashy magic type of Barbarian. The PHB2 4E version was cool, but it was definitly magical (primal, to be exact) in nature and thus, did some weird things like fire spraying about. That's pretty cool and should be a path one might want to choose, but shouldn't be default version. I'd like to see something akin to Orson (Record of Lodoss War) where the "spirit" of Rage consumes him and he physically grows (in game terms, there'd be little mechanics to back this, so no I don't want him to be enlarged) but his muscles bulge, waves of energy sort of roll out of him and he sorta "hulks" out because of it. Of  cousre, this can ALL be accomplised with role-play and that's fine, but SOME sort of mechanical manifestation should be present.
Depends on the setting.  I figure in a gritty sword 'n' sorcery, I want the sheer power of astronomical muscle power alone to punch out Cthulhu (Conan can do it?  Why can't I?).  Now, in a more high fantasy, I figure a more mystical power would make sense.  For example, if barbarians can't practice magic, why not understand the supernatural and spirits to build a resistance to it in order to fight it off better.  So I figure, setting shapes the fluff and direction.

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I definitely prefer the primal barbarian.  I found the idea of a barbarian who channels primal spirits to be far more interesting than one who just gets angry.  However, I don't have any problem with having both options available.
CuhCulaine being so hot that a fountain of black blood sprayed from his head and burned his enemies his presence after the battle causing water to boil and similar things. CuhCulaine also had what is sometimes referred to as Warp Spasm or Daemonic Feat where he became terrifying in form... The Norse Berserks actually becoming bestial in not just fighting style but sometimes in form.... channelling beast totems to fight with and becoming them.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

The Norse Berserks actually becoming bestial in not just fighting style but sometimes in form.... channelling beast totems to fight with and becoming them.

Yeah, um...



Is that your flavor of poison.... 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

alternately...

I would prefer the "just get angrier" approach. No need dragging another class down by making it magicky.
Shouldn't this thread How might should the barbarian be?

The barbarian is like The Hulk. The more angrey he gets, the more he kicks ass.

There two things should make the barbarian stands out then the fighter.

The Barbarian can take a disvantage on his attack roll to double his damage dice.
and.....
The Barbarian is tough as nails to make up for lack of heavy armor. 
 
I would most prefer a Barbarian that covers both options, the way that the 4E Barbarian did, and I'm not talking about the Essentials version. A lot of people think of the 4E PHB2 Barbarian as being completely supernatural, but it actually had plenty of powers at all levels that were completely martial/mundane in flavor.

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I want a psionic barbarian.

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I would have the barbarian have special knowledge skills and be completely non-magical. One of the skills being for example: Herb lore, where like the Picts they can cover themselves with wode and not feel pain.
I say do both! Provide some purely martial options for the people who want a barbarian with no supernatural stuff, along with some options that allow the fire of a barbarian's rage be literal fire.

Best of both worlds, everyone wins. 

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I say do both! Provide some purely martial options for the people who want a barbarian with no supernatural stuff, along with some options that allow the fire of a barbarian's rage be literal fire.

Best of both worlds, everyone wins. 

Or, you know, just let individual players interpret "how" the abilities work.

One guy just gets angry.  Another turns into a bear.  Mechanically the two are identical.
The "magical" barbarian should be a option, a speciality or subclass. 

A primal spellcaster-warrior wouldn´t be a true D&D barbarian but other class, a (4th ed) warden or with other name like skin-walker or nahual (too diferent to druid and shaman because it is a warrior class with some primal tricks).

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagual



 

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The "magical" barbarian should be a option, a speciality or subclass. 

A primal spellcaster-warrior wouldn´t be a true D&D barbarian but other class, a (4th ed) warden or with other name like skin-walker or nahual (too diferent to druid and shaman because it is a warrior class with some primal tricks).

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagual



 


I'm pretty sure that's where the druid is heading in this edition :P The primal spellcaster/warrior. 
My two copper.
There are a few ways for this to happen and I would be happy, and many that I would see as unfit.

I want a guy that can get angry, and do nothing other than just be really really damned angry, and hit things really hard. No protecting his team, none of that. Just anger and hitting things really hard. As he progresses, his rage takes on supernatural proportions - something like the hulk - but there is no "I commune with nature" sort of thing. (I think this would be best seen as a striker fighter build with no defender mechanics).

I also want a guy that does commune with nature, using natural energies - the storms, the animals, the elements - to enhance his fighting and/or spellcasting. Maybe he can scream and lightning come out of his mouth, maybe he can use the rage of the dire boar, whatever. (I think this could easily be called a "barbarian" but might just overlap with the druid somehow).

In addition, I kind of want a guy that is super in-tune with nature, like butterflies land on him when he is still, and he knows how to speak tree. Like he has conversations with willow trees, that's how in-tune with nature. He can take the form of animals, he can cast lengthy rituals to do cool things, he can call upon the wrath of nature to do his work for him. (I think this is the more how the druid should be).

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

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I like barbarians as the place for all the sorts of things that are usually depicted as mostly non-magical but which are clearly outside the realm of meaningfully possible. (Monks fall in a similar place for me.) For example, the idea that a person can stomp their foot or slam the ground with their weapon and create a rumbling or a shockwave that dazes or knocks down creatures around them is hugely common, but I'm fairly certain that that's not something that's even close to plausible. That's the kind of thing that I think the barbarian should center around. Other things in this category include crazy resiliance in the face of debilitating blows and war cries with supernatural-seeming effects. The idea of raging itself also sort of goes here.

I see this as sort of the center point for barbarians, with room on either side for things like power attacking on the left and overtly magical effects on the right, but I guess if I had to pick one design swatch for Barbarians, it'd be to think about things that are kind of in the ground slam/warcry space.
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A primal spellcaster-warrior wouldn´t be a true D&D barbarian but other class, a (4th ed) warden or with other name like skin-walker or nahual (too diferent to druid and shaman because it is a warrior class with some primal tricks).

So, what you are suggesting, essentially, is that a player who wants to be "everything barbarian does, but I turn into a bear while raging" should be forced to play an entirely different and possibly nonexistant class instead?

I'd split the class

The Barbarian is the emotion and raw talent warrior.

The warden is the primal magical warrior (absorbing the 4e Barbarian)

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I think "Berserker" could simply be a subbuild of the fighter as the completely martial get angry fighter.

Barbarian could be a mix of martial and primal that is more than just a fighter who gets angry.
Personal preference - I don't like the supernatural, primal powered barbarian. I much prefer the berserker kit style of barbarian.

In the end though, there should be availability of both and I think the mechanics can be the same and divorced of fluff.
What's the matter, you dissentious rogues, That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion Make yourselves scabs?
Why not have a class that can account for both?



Because that is the simple logical answer and invades on people's ability to argue.

Seriously though, this works as an answer for almost all the classes. 
I think a good approach would be to create a barbarian / berserker fighting style for the Fighter, along with related maneuvers to represent the martial, non-magical get-angry fighting guy. If the Fighter had other class related abilities that were tied to their Fighting Style, they could also be tailored towards the light-armored warrior (4e did this often by providing AC bonuses when they wanted to encourage fighting in lighter armor).

That done, I would then create a magical / supernatural class to represent the barbarian that derives its power from primal sources (or however that is described). I think there is enough existing mechanics from previous editions to make an interesting class out of this idea, just like how the Monk pulls in quite a few interesting abilities to go along wth its hand-to-hand martial combat style. Of course, I would also create a brawler fighting style for the Fighter as well.

Players that want to play a non-magical get-angry guy can use the Fighter with the Berserker fighting style and those that want a primal warrior can have a class to handle that.
Why not have a class that can account for both?



Because that is the simple logical answer and invades on people's ability to argue.

Seriously though, this works as an answer for almost all the classes. 



Because if a class has a limited amount of resources and choices - let's just say every two levels you get Quality A or Quality B - then combining what should otherwise be two different classes into the same class limits choices.

I can play a class that is unique unto itself, and every two levels I get Quality A or Quality B.

Or I can play a class that is sorta two classes combined, wolfpowernature abilities and angryzerkrage powers. All of the Quality A powers are wolfpowernature abilities, and all the Quality B powers are angerzerkrage. Now when I roll a barbarian, I have one choice when I start the game, and that's it. No more meaningful character choices every couple of levels - it's practically preset for me now.

Therefor, "combining classes" limits choice - it's not just "yey i get 2 arg-you!!!1!!".

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."