A Terrible Effort: A Post-Primal Power Barbarian Guide

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A Terrible Effort: A Post Primal Power Barbarian Guide

Anyone can be a barbarian; it requires a terrible effort to remain a civilized man- Leonard Wolf


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Guide is not complete- working on formatting- sorry for the mess.


This Guide is meant to be a supplement or sequel; not an override for Lord Dusk Blades fantastic “Destruction Manifest.” As such I use his fantastic layouts and grading systems. Since he is no longer actively participating on the Optimization boards- and nobody wants to edit his manuals I've created this one in response to the release of Primal Power.


So to begin: Why the Barbarian? The Ranger deals more damage; the Sorcerer hits more targets; the Rogue is more accurate- so why would you want to play a lightly armored character in the thick of the battle who will inevitably be hit repeatedly in the face, bloodied, possibly killed, and ultimately abused throughout your career?


Big Frigging Numbers.


Thats right. BIG NUMBERS. LOUD NOISES. That's what Barbarians are about. Its about smashing a man in the head right after you nearly loose your arm. Its about Charging into the middle of a fight and pouncing on the largest enemy you can find- and then running down his friends when they turn scared. Its about a battlecry that literally splits the heavens and embodying the raging spirit of primal wrath. Its about Giant Axes, Huge Swords, Spinning Blades, loincloths and driving your enemies before you and hearing the lamentations of their women. This isn't to say that you don't fight tactically, that your a dumb brute who knows only how to crush or that your strategies are any less brilliant than that sneaky git in the shadows- its just that when the time comes to apply direct force, repeatedly, you're the man/woman for the job. After all when you're holding a hammer- every problem looks like a nail.


This Handbook covers the following sources:


  • AV - Adventurer's Vault AV2 

  • Adventurer's Vault 2 (in progress)

  • DP - Divine Power

  • D### - Dragon Magazine, issue ###

  • DMG - Dungeon Master's Guide DMG2 -

  • Dungeon Master's Guide 2

  • EPG - Eberron Player's Guide

  • FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide MP -

  • Martial Power PHB -

  • Player's Handbook PHB2 -

  • Player's Handbook 2

  • PHH# - Player's Handbook Heroes - Series # (the cards in with the new miniatures line)

  • PP- Primal Power

This Handbook will use the following system for ratings


  • Red: A Mistake you should fix. 

  • Purple: Highly Situational or theme power; be aware that its probably not too good.  

  • Black:Average: but you can do better.

  • Blue: A good choice; powerful enough that no one will fault you at the gaming table. 

  • Sky Blue: The Optimal Choice; the best numerical option available. 

 

Class Features: Nature vs. Nurture Feral Might


This choice will define your method of fighting; affect the weapons you use; and help you choose where to allocate of your stat points. There are currently 4 versions, each of them function as follows. You receive a “Keyword” which is the name of the Feral might Feature- this increases the secondary effects or “Riders” you access on encounter powers at each level. You receive an Encounter Power that triggers when you kill an enemy- each one is a free action that allows you to continue your killing spree. Finally you receive a passive bonus that occurs when you bloody; or in the case of the Rageblood Vigor- Kill, an enemy combatant.


Bloody vs. Kill


There is no numerical evidence to support that you are more or less likely to bloody an enemy than kill it; but anyone who has spent a significant amount of time playing a Barbarian knows that the “I bloody” effects go off less often than the “I kill” effects. This is because any party; even one that is not heavily invested in bookkeeping- has a a vague idea of how much effort it will take to kill a monster: after all you were given a mechanical clue in the form of the Bloodied Condition! However there is no similar clue, and no way without using out of character knowledge, to be aware of when an enemy will soon be bloodied. In fact you may often times find that your rather serious blow allowed your friends relative minor attack to bloody said creature- robbing you of your Feral Might feature. Simultaneously parties usually wont expend the same amount of resources on bloodied enemies (barring Solo's or Controller/Leader Types) making it more likely that you'll land a killing blow as your Controller and Ranged Artillery move on to other targets. Be aware of this when examining your Feral Might feature: as its possible to go several battles in a row narrowly missing the bloodying blow.


Hide Armor Expertise


One of the reasons I felt it was necessary to write this guide is the release of Primal Power Which included this feat. This feat allows you to substitute your Constitution score for Dexterity or Intelligence when determining your AC. This single feat transformed the Rageblood Barbarian from a lightly armored engine of destruction who relied on temporary hitpoints and healing into a warrior as difficult to hit as the most nimble Rogue or Ranger. In short it is an ESSENTIAL feat to the surivival of all Rageblood and Thunderborn builds: who can continue to gain their class bonus defenses while wearing armor that allows them minimal penalties and a higher defense than chain. It is also a solution for the heavily MAD Thaneborn who can focus on his Constitution instead of Dexterity- allowing a focus on 3 stats instead of 4. It is a feat that you should take by 4th level, after your Superior Weapon Proficiency: but before any superfluous feats due to its incredible increase in your survivability. The exception is the Whirling Slayer who uses Dexterity as a secondary score and doesn't need this feat.


Rageblood Vigor (PHB 2)

Rageblood Vigor is the only Feral Might ability that has both of its triggering powers (a passive; and an Encounter) based on dropping an enemy to 0 hitpoints. This means it is also the only Barbarian who can actively gain its benefits from killing minions; which also means its by far and away the easiest to activate. Temporary Hitpoints are a good thing; as they allow you to take more damage without falling down- and also sacrifice said hitpoints to powers and items that require hurting yourself. Swift Charge would be a worthy encounter power on its own- you get it for free. Many of your riders will focus on doing more damage, usually by adding your constitution to the damage roll: making your blows terrifying when they land. However since you're focused entirely on Strength and Constitution your Reflex and Will Defenses are going to be very low. Also in fights where you are dealing with multiple Brutes/Soldiers/Solo's you are less likely to activate your powers since the monsters don't go down as quickly- and you gain no benefit from bloodying them. To many the Rageblood is the Iconic barbarian; a raging berserker who gains strength as he kills enemies.


Pros: Plentiful Temporary Hitpoints, Tough to Kill, High Damage, Charging is Powerful and you're very good at it.


Cons: Weak Defenses. Hide Armor Expertise is a required feat.


Thaneborn Triumph (PHB 2)

Thaneborn Barbarians have long suffered under the stigma that they are not their Rageblood Cousins. This doesn't make them bad; but they have powers that are more likely to benefit the group as a whole than to impress or push forward personal glory. The Thaneborn's ability to increase his parties accuracy is excellent; both his ability to grant to hit bonuses and his ability to decrease the defenses of all his enemies aid him in this endeavor. Roar of Triumph is already a very big burst; and with the investment of one feat it can grow to cover over half the battlefield. Most Thaneborn riders increase accuracy or decrease defenses of their targets: which is useful when you combine it with the Auto-Surrender ability of the Intimidate Skill, a charisma focused ability you should be great at. Unlike your Rageblood cousins the Thaneborn has to focus on Charisma as his secondary statistic; making him less durable in the long run. Additionally neither Strength nor Charisma increase AC (Neither does Constitution- but Primal Power fixed that: see “Hide Armor Expertise”) so you'll need to invest in either Dexterity or Constitution. Ultimately you'll have at least 3 stats you need to focus on; possibly 4- making the Thaneborn barbarian a very MAD (Multi-Attribute Dependant) build.


Pros: Accuracy, Excellent Debuffs, Good Will Defense, Forcing Surrender through Intimidate is possible.


Cons: MAD, Less Hitpoints, Less Personal Damage.


Thunderborn Wrath (PP)

Thunderborn Barbarians are a new option presented in Primal Power- one that focuses heavily on control mechanisms and their unique “Blast 3” mechanic. As a rule Thunderborn Barbarians will do less damage to single target than the other builds- but make up for it by affecting more targets. Additionally they have access to all of the powerful Constitution based Utilities and can get a high AC thanks to “Hide Armor Expertise” without becoming MAD. Bloodying enemies allows you to automatically damage every foe adjacent to you: sadly its limited to once a round. War Cry is a control tool that your controllers and sorcerer allies will love- as it allows them to rain death upon tightly packed crowds without endangering their allies. Like the Thaneborn the Thunderborn is a build that works best when paired with allies that play to its strengths- AOE Controllers and Strikers. Because barbarians receive their “extra striker damage” from the powers themselves, not a mechanic like quarry or sneak attack, you'll often find that none of the Thunderborn specific powers deal an incredible amount of single target damage- making solo fights or battles against wide spread foes difficult. Additionally since so many of your attacks create a “Blast 3” zone- smart enemies may move to surround you or make it more difficult for you to catch them in it: grab some mobility options so that you can reposition yourself for the best possible position to attack. Finally; like the Rageblood Barbarian you focus entirely on Strength and Constitution- making your Will and Reflex Defenses innately low.


Pros: AoE Damage; Control; Good Hitpoints


Cons: Low Defenses, Low Single Target Damage


Whirling Slayer (PP)

The Whirling Slayer is the “Duel Wielding Barbarian” though its a completely different build from the Duel Wielding Ranger or Fighter. Rather than make multiple attack rolls for each weapon- the Slayer makes a single attack roll and deals extra damage automatically to his target, or targets. As a result you end up with an all or nothing deal- attacks that land can destroy everyone around you; but missing with that same attack means that nobody is damaged (except possibly you). Whirling Slayers are incredibly mobile thanks to their riders, innate Feral Might ability, and Whirling Lunge which lets them move across the battlefield almost at will. Since the goal of the Whirling Slayer is to be surrounded by multiple enemies, since so many of their attacks focus on this, being able to escape or adjust position is vital. Since Dexterity is their secondary stat the Whirling Slayers are often the fastest Barbarians as well: equal to Rogues and Rangers in Initiative. Dexterity also keeps their Reflex Defense and AC high- combined with a good strength the only weakness they have is their will. In Solo fights and against wide spread enemies the Slayer is less effective than its more brutish cousins- your damage drops significantly when you are not adjacent to at least two enemies. Additionally the Slayers uses two One Handed Weapons as opposed to a single Massive Two Hander: slightly more expensive and may cause your armor, neck, or utility items to lag behind. Finally the Slayers focus on Strength and Dexterity make it more fragile: as Constitution is a tertiary score.


Pros: High Multiple Target Damage, Good Defenses, Mobile.


Cons: Low Will, Fragile, Upkeep can be expensive.


Barbarian Agility: Bonuses to AC and Reflex are excellent: they scale nicely and there's no reason that you should ever be wearing heavy armor.


Rage Strike: Before the release of Primal Power this was a relatively weak feature. Now with the bevy of feats, and even the Prestige Class, that improve it- Rage Strike is a viable option if you feel the need to pump out heavy damage. ShakaUVM has created such a build here community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...[W]_Close_Burst_1_atwill_at_level_16 .


RampageA free attack following a critical hit is never a bad thing: especially since it doesn't have to target your original enemy (Who may be a fine red mist at this point). Consider this class feature to be the delicious gravy on top of the happy dinner that is the Barbarian Class.


HP, Surges, and Proficiencies


Hit Points 15 + Con score at 1st level; 6 after that. You're the most durable Striker in the game- which makes up for the fact that you need to be up close and personal chopping enemies in half and getting hit in return. Rageblood and Thunderborn have even better hitpoints thanks to their Con Focus.


Healing Surges 8 + Con modifier. Not quite Defender Level- but better than any other striker. Again the Constitution based Barbarians get a boost here.


Proficiencies No Ranged Weapons but the Heavy Thrown: thankfully you have full access and no restrictions to the Melee category. (Superior Excluded obviously). Hide Armor is excellent since the release of Hide Armor Expertise.

Ability Scores: Fine Breeding


Strength: This is your primary score. Do not start with less than a 16 in it; optimization or no. (Recommended Starting Score: 16-18, before racial adjustments)


Constitution: Increases your Hitpoints and Healing Surges; allows you to qualify for Axe and Hammer related feats; and affects one of the single most powerful attack powers in the game. It's also the “Rider” stat for Rageblood and Thunderborn Barbarians and effects AC with Hide Armor Expertise. After your primary and secondary statistics the rest of your points should go here- if this is your secondary statistic any points not invested in your Strength should go here. (Recommended Starting Score: 14-16, before racial adjustments)


Dexterity: Increases Initiative, AC, Reflex Defense, and is the Secondary Stat for Whirling Slayers. It's also the statistic that will affect Heavy Blades if you choose to focus on them. It used to be more important- now its only necessary for Whirling Slayers. (Recommended Starting Score: 10-12 for everyone but Whirlers; Minimum 16 for Whirling Barbarians before racial adjustments)


Intelligence: Useless for you. Dump it. (Recommended Starting Score: 8-10, before racial adjustments)


Wisdom: Increases Nature and Perception; gives you some Will defense if you didn't invest in charisma. Allows you to qualify for Polearm Gamble if that's what you're interested in. Thanes will want Charisma, Thunderborn Barbarians looking to add more control will want Wisdom. Whirlers and Ragebloods can choose between the two.(Recommended Starting Score: 10-12 before racial adjustments; Minimum 14 if you want to qualify for Polearm Gamble by Paragon)


Charisma: The Thaneborn Statistic; it increases Intimidate and your Will Defense- as well as being the rider score for all Thaneborn Powers. A Thane with a high charisma will grant some excellent accuracy buffs to his friends; but for any other build charisma is only useful for boosting intimidate and trying to keep your will from being an auto hit.(Recommended Starting Score: 10-12 for non Thanes, 14-16 for Thaneborn before racial adjustments)


Skills: Table Manners


Acrobatics: Reduces falling damage and opens up some good mobility based skill powers.


Athletics: Keys off your primary statistic; Athletics will help you get places other players can't.


Endurance: A good pick if you often find yourself in a harsh area or trekking long and hard- Constitution barbarians should especially consider it thanks to the skill utilities it offers.


Heal: Excellent for helping out your team should the Leader be incapacitated; if you have a wisdom score this is a great pick. Thaneborns might also consider it for some more “leader-lite” options from Skill Powers.


Intimidate: This is what makes the Thaneborn terrifying: the ability to force an enemy to surrender. If you don't have a charisma score its generally not worth it though: the majority of skill challenges seem to hate intimidate. Nature Not a bad grab if you don't have another primal character in the party to cover this for you- if you do; you can skip it.


Perception: One of the best skills in the game- a high perception means charging in the surprise round.


Uncivilized Races


PHB


Dragonborn Bonuses to the Thaneborns Primary and Secondary; a racial talent that actually comes into play (you will be bloodied); a bonus to intimidate- and a Minor Action Attack that keys off of strength. Dragonborn are the best choice for Thaneborn Barbarians and make solid picks for any of the other three builds.


Dwarf No Strength Bonus and 5 speed keep the Dwarf From being a top pick: but everything else about them screams win. Constitution is a necessary score for all Barbarians, Dwarven Weapon Training gives you access to two of the big three weapons (Executioners Axe and Mordenkrad; and Craghammer for the rare Whirling Dwarf)- while granting a damage bonus for the price of one feat. The Wisdom bonus makes your will higher and qualifying for Polearm Gamble easier. Minor Action Second Wind, Resistance to forced movement- all of these are fantastic.


Eladrin Fey Charge Barbarians; the Urgosh/Great Spear, and Duel Wielding Longswords for Whirlers. There are builds that make Eladrin Barbarians viable; but none of them are top picks- and the bonus to Int hurts.


Elf Not bad- the speed of 7 is great; as is the Racial Accuracy and skill bonuses. The access to the Bow gives you something to do at a range if you didn't want to charge... and the Dexterity Bonus means that Whirling is a possibility with them.


Half-Elf Half Elves have both Con and Charisma- making them viable picks on a statistical level for 3 of the builds- access to Twin Strike through Dilettante makes them a solid pick for Whirling Barbarians. Add in Human Feats; the ever present Versatile Master, and a smattering of Diplomacy and you have a race that makes an excellent Barbarian no matter its build.


Halfling The Whirling Option makes Halfling Barbarians more than a snide joke and Talenta Weapon Training puts them on even footing with larger weapons- though they still lag behind Races with similar feats. Highly Defensive with Good Mobility: they aren't Optimal in the overpowered sense– but they are a good pick for Whirling Barbarians and even Thaneborns. They have an excellent selection of defensive feats- and the Primal Halfing Counterattack applies to all attacks made in a round: allowing you to deal some serious hurt with the multi-attack powers.


Human Bonus to Strength, Extra At-Will, Extra Defenses, and 4 skills. Solid pick all around: it helps that you have some of the best feats in the game and that Adroit Explorer, a Human only PP, is amazingly solid for Barbarians.


Tiefling The general “Rule of Tiefling Optimization” comes into play here- a flaming weapon and hellfire blood put you on even keel with the other races that actually got a bonus to their primary score. If you don't invest in Charisma; and thus Thaneborn; your racial is going to be terrible. Fire resistance is good though.


PHB 2


Deva Deva are the only race in the game that does not receive a bonus to the Barbarians Primary or Secondary scores. Necrotic Resistance and an Encounter accuracy bonus don't save it from being the worst choice you can make.


Gnome Except for possibly the Gnome. It is possible to make a Gnome Barbarian that isn't terrible- but its impossible to make one that's optimal. Restriction on weapons, a dump stat, a 5 speed, and a bonus to Charisma limits Gnomes to being Thanes.


Goliath Big brutes: they do an Excellent job at either Rageblood or Thunderborn. Goliath Great Weapon Training gives them a solid damage bump, the athletics bonus is good since you'll almost never fail a roll, and damage reduction will help you when things get sticky.


Half-Orc Half Orcs can pull off any of the four Barbarian Builds thanks to their innate racials, attribute bonuses, and bonuses. Whirling Barbarians get the most stat synergy; but Rageblood Chargers and Thaneborn Leadertypes can both take advantage of what the Half Orc offers. Even Thunderborn Barbarians love the Half Orc for its ability to take their low weapon attacks and make them stronger.


Shifter, Longtooth Strength is huge; wisdom is ok. Regeneration is absolutely amazing and it comes with a damage bonus. It helps that you can now upgrade the racial power even more with Longtooth Spirit Shifter: highly recommended for Ragebloods.


Shifter, Razorclaw Really pretty awful. You get all the mediocre stats that Elf and Githyanki have without the racials or feats to make them better. You have better options: and if you really want to play a Cat-girl you can do it with the Longtooth Shifter and actually be good at your job.


PHB 3


Githzerai  Really good racial powers and passives make up for the lack of strength; and Githzerai Blademaster grants them access to the Fullblade and Bastard Sword with a Scaling Damage Bonus. This means that Githzerai Whirling Barbarians with two Bastard Swords are not only possible; but very very optimal. Other builds can take advantage of the Fullblade Proficiency, Initiative bonus, heightened defenses, and mental resistances to build Ragebloods, Thunderborns or Thaneborns as they like.


Dragon


Gnoll (D 367) They make excellent chargers; and they're quite fast. Gnoll Thunderborn Barbarians are actually quite terrifying since pack tactics allows them to increase their relatively low damage against their first target: and the bloodied bonus is just icing.


Minotaur (D 369) Minotaur will be getting even more exposure in PH3; but in the meantime they are still excellent options thanks to the Dragon Article. Who can argue with bonuses to Strength?


Shadar-Kai (D 372) Spiked Chain Training and a Whirling Build is rather neat; but that's about all these guys can offer.


Revenant (D 376) Where do I start? Well you can steal just about any specific racial feat you want; pick up some solid racials; get a bonus to two secondaries; not fall down when you should be dead; do extra damage as you kill things (that is your job after all) … yeah your pretty good- shame you don't get a strength bonus.


Eberron


Changeling They make acceptable Whirlers or Thanes: though they lack the feat support that all the other races have. Thankfully you can actually use your racial power to get combat advantage- so that's something.


Kalashtar An ok choice for Thaneborn if your going for something weird and off beat. The Telepathy is neat: the Group Defensive Will Bonus helps a lot- and there's some interesting feat choices available to you. You can also get a bonus to intimidate; good for thanes- and making saves against dazed and dominated at the start of your turn means you might still get a chance to act. Kooky- but surprisingly good. Wisdom will help you qualify for Polearm Gamble: it will help you avoid getting to MAD.


Warforged Possibly the best choice in the game for either Rageblood or Thunderborn. Bonus to primary and secondary; built in will bonus; built in access to unique item; built in healing; built in temporary hit points- oh and you don't die. The ongoing Damage saving throw bonus is neat too.


Forgotten Realms


Drow (FRPG) Much like Changelings; Drow have stats that make them viable for two of the builds- but sadly those builds have little overlap. The accuracy bonuses they can get; as well as the control available in the darkness power are good though. Consider it if your going for something subtle. Just do us all a favor and avoid Twin Scimitars; a Panther Companion and a sense of Moral Righteousness.


Genasi (FRPG) Some of those new Abyssal Options are pretty sweet- I especially like Cindersoul and Voidsoul. The original manifestations, especially Stormsoul for Thunderborn, are good too: Strength Bonus is solid; Int may be wasted but at least none of your stats will have a penalty.


There's a lot of Information up there: here it is condensed.


Rageblood Races: Human, Revenant, Goliath, Minotaur, Longtooth Shifter


Thunderborn Races: Warforged, Gensai, Dwarf


Whirling Slayer Races: Githzerai, Half Orc, Halfling


Thaneborn Races: Dragonborn, Half Elf, Kalashtar

Powers: Loosing Control


At Will Powers


Devastating Strike (PHB 2) When Devastating Strike came out it was ok- but nowadays its mediocre to terrible. Simply put your Howling Strike is going to do about the same damage (average 1 less) without the innate disadvantage of being easier to hit- and the other Barbarian At-Wills are just so good that there's really no reason to cripple yourself with a power that is the weaker copy of an A-List Power


Howling Strike (PHB 2) This is the “Bread and Butter” of the Barbarian Class: or at least it was until the release of Primal Power. Useable on a Charge, Extra Damage, no repercussions for doing so- extra speed while raging. All good. Top it off with excellent scaling and you've got a power that many Barbarians will take.


Pressing Strike (PHB 2) Very solid option- mobility is key to many barbarian builds- and this offers you a push on top of your shift 2. Add in some extra damage while raging and we have an excellent power for any Barbarian that wants to increase their utility instead of raw damage; a great second choice for Slayers.


Recuperating Strike (PHB 2) Temporary Hitpoints are never a bad thing: especially when Raging will hand them out to you even fast. However this power just isn't as useful as it used to be thanks to some new competition- so unless your looking to tank for your party you may want to look down one more...


Howl of Fury (PP) Probably one of the most disgusting powers in the game. Howl of Fury does normal damage: and then follows it up with an Ally friendly blast that autokills minions and can deal a significant amount of damage: especially when raging. The Party Controller will be jealous of your ability to wipe out weakened enemies and minions- and your melee allies will be quite thankful that the waves of thunder damage leaves them completely alone. Because this is a constitution based power you'll mostly see it in the hands of Rageblood and Thunderborn Barbarians- but the Thanes and Whirlers can use it just as easily for Minion Killing if they have at least a 12 constitution.


Whirling Rend (PP) Disgusting Damage. Hit one enemy; and automatically strike another. Not quite the Minion killer that Howl of Fury is- but against multiple mosters you'll find yourself quickly tearing through your foes. The Fact that Rage turns your main hand attack into a dual-stat attack and makes your off- hand attack the equivalent of a free swing every time... well its a good thing its limited to Duel Wielders. Slayers will obviously want this: but it'll be rare to see any of the other Barbarian builds with it.


Foe to Foe (PHH1) Completely useless these days: its a Devastating Strike that requires a kill to get up to full usefulness. An Extra D10 while Raging might look impressive until you realize what your giving up (AoE Damage, Temporary Hitpoints, Mobility). Also realize that its useless in a Solo Fight; and in battles against multiple tough enemies (Soldiers and Brutes) it may take a while to kick into high gear. Also YOU need to land the killing blow- so there are battles where you might not even get a chance to activate this mediocre ability. Leave this one alone and get something you'll actually enjoy using.


Level 1, Encounter


Avalanche Strike (PHB 2) A gigantic amount of Damage for Rageblood Barbarians. Nothing to complain about- though your temporary hitpoints are going to get quite the workout for a turn.


Bloodletting (PHB 2) A weaker version of Avalanche Strike- unneeded and unimaginative.


Great Cleave (PHB 2) Overshadowed by Whirling Frenzy- only useful if your looking for a burst and use a Two Hander.


Vault the Fallen (PHB 2) Its a double Howling Strike: but without the charge you'll lose some damage from related items and feats. Acceptable for Thaneborn thanks to its mobility- otherwise avoid it.


Desperate Fury (PP) A semi-reliable attack- though failing to hit with it will cost you ten hitpoints. Doesn't really seem worth it compared to Avalanche Strike.


Escalating Violence (PP) Sweet Christmas! Here's a power for Thaneborns to be happy about- a solid hit that punishes the enemy that attacks you back. Top it off with giving one of your friends a solid damage bonus against the target (Say your Defender who has him marked?) and put your enemy in a no win situation.


Resurgent Strike (PP) If the Temporary Hitpoints and Removal of Weakening was an Effect instead of a hit this would be better- instead its a bland; if acceptable attack.


Shout of Terror (PP) The beginning of the “Shout” Line- this power has the unfortunate side effect of not being quite as good as the at-will that came before it. AoE Slows are good- but a Blast 3 won't stop them from getting to YOU- and while the bonus to damage is nice: it doesn't affect the attack itself- which means that any attack that takes advantage of this will either come next turn or after an action point. Not a bad power if your going for heavy Control or AOE- but you might be better off with Avalanche Strike or Resurgent Strike: both powers deal more damage.


Whirling Frenzy (PP) A Close Burst 1 that targets Reflex, hits with both weapons (thus adding any modifiers such as weapon trainings; weapon enhancements; or the like) and strength? Yeah thats pretty damn good- especially for a build that wants to be near as many enemies as possible. The possible damage you take is reduced by the increased accuracy of the attack.


Level 1, Daily


Bloodhunt Rage (PHB 2) Still a good choice: if bland. You and your enemies are often bloodied- so a solid Constitution will make your hits quite a bit stronger. Top it off with the appropriate damage for the level and its fine.


Macetail's Rage (PHB 2) The THP are ok- and the Burst is fine: but its really low damage and its AOE. Generally speaking you want your dailies to hit hard AND give you a bonus: not just one or the other.


Rage Drake's Frenzy (PHB 2) Brilliant Rage if you have a Reach Weapon- otherwise its a little shaky. The Accuracy Bonus is nice though.


Swift Panther Rage (PHB 2) Great Rage for the mobility and Charging Options; it deals top damage as well. Still the Standard.


Blood Bear Rage (PP) Its certainly a cool trick: but Immobilize doesn't do too much in melee against anything but casters and archers- both of whom you kind of want to run: it lets you charge them again. Situationally useful- and there's much better options. This is pretty much the definition of a Purple Power


Life Thane Rage (PP) Built for Thanes (its in the name) this is a great trick for supplementing your leader abilities. You should have enough Healing Surges that this isn't too big a deal- and handing out 3-4 hit-points a turn; at level 1- is solid gold; especially at low levels against minions and Kruthiks.


Savage Juggernaut Rage (PP) SJR runs into the same problem that Foe To Foe Does- it requires YOU to kill multiple opponents to gain the bonus. And since it specifically requires “Non Minions” you may find yourself getting little to no results out of this bad boy. Thunderborn Barbarians with their AOE Damage might get better mileage- or if you find yourself fighting against a large number of lower level monsters.


Thunder Hoof Rage (PP) Mobility and Damage and a 3W hit. Combine with Pressing Strike for a 2W+1d6 attack a turn that pushes your enemy one. That's pretty solid. Otherwise eat the attacks of OP- run some enemies over and turn around and charge them again for an extra 1W- you can take the hits. When that 1W isn't as useful anymore it'll be time to retrain this rage anyways.


Tyrants Rage (PP) A Medium Sized Hit- but it packs a Daze hit or miss: thats good control at this level. The Minor Action push is good stuff for everyone: whether your a Rageblood Charger trying to avoid taking attacks of OP, a Whirling Slayer who needs pushed together, A Thane who wants to get his friends to safety or a Thunderborn who wants to catch more people in the blast. Good stuff here.


Always Falling Rage (DRA 380) You can give up your immediate reaction for the turn to shift 2 squares... after the hits already been made? So you can't more into flanking- if your in flanking you have to move out: and your limited to doing this once per combat round? Knocking your enemy prone and doing 2W is not enough to make up for this **** storm.


Bloodseekers Rage (DRA 380) Good damage and some mild stickiness against bloodied enemies. This isn't terrible- but its bland as hell and I thought we were talking about strikers not defenders. Once again: enemies who move away from you are often helpful- Barbarian Charges are terrifying.


Skull Takers Rage (DRA 380) Accuracy is a big deal in 4e. So a straight +1 shouldn't be overlooked. The fact that it comes at a cost of 3 HP around is kind of janky though. Fortunately Ragebloods have some serious temporary hitpoints, Longtooth Shifters can regen away the damage, and sometimes being bloodied is a good thing. Its not a great choice; but for those of you who just cant get enough +1 to hits- its a choice.


Level 2, Utility


Combat Sprint (PHB 2) A movement of 9-11, and a bonus on your defenses- since you move your speed + 4 you can also get around being slowed with this power. Some of the best mobility in the game right there.


Primal Vitality (PHB 2) Weak ass temporary hitpoints. And its a daily.


Stonebreaker (PHB 2) For breaking down doors its great; but how often do you have to do that? If its often- then take it. Otherwise i'd skip it.


Tiger's Leap (PHB 2) Huge Leap: you can get quite far with this... but its luck dependent. Not getting your movement done because you rolled poorly is painful: and odds say that you will eventually roll poorly.


Bounding Stride (PP) Similar to Combat Sprint except you don't get a defensive bonus for moving and if your not bloodied you don't move nearly as far. Not quite sure why you would ever take this.


Feral Rejuvenation (PP) A nice Daily Heal; gets even nicer if you kill your target. Not bad if your looking to add some more durability.


Savage Comeback (PP) There are times when you NEED to make a save. Stuns, Dominates, Sleep, Reduced to 0 Hit Points, Petrification... what have you. 2D6 gets a lot less nasty as you go up in levels too.


Savage Growl (PP) One of the odd “Barbarian Mark” powers; I dislike this one since your opponent will have a chance to hit you long before you have a chance to hit them. Simultaneously this can add 1d8 to each Storm or Hurrican of Blades attack: so it may be worth it for you.


Shrug it Off (PP) Its the Hobgoblin Racial with a bit of movement. Ridiculously good since you can stop an effect before it even hits you- and its an encounter power!


Level 3,Encounter


Blade Sweep (PHB 2) For Rageblood its a Closeburst 1 with some guaranteed damage: for everyone else its rather bland. Decent Damage against your main target though.


Blood Strike (PHB 2) A 3W Situational encounter power: at level 1 this was ok- at level 3 you should get something more interesting.


Daring Charge (PHB 2) Very Solid Pick for Thaneborns and Superchargers; though you should retrain it around level 11. If your willing to gamble with your life this can lead to some solid accuracy and damge bonuses.


Hammer Fall (PHB 2) How the Mighty have fallen. If you want this: grab Brutal Slam instead.


Shatterbone Strike (PHB 2) Reduce your enemies armor for a turn: thats good stuff. Reduce it by your Charisma if your a Thane- that's Great stuff!.


Brutal Slam (PP) Hammer Fall 2.0- it pushes farther, hits enemies adjacent for some extra damage and it still targets fort.


Reckless Rampage (PP) Not really sure why you would take this instead of Daring Charge- rather than gain combat advantage you could gain the exact same bonus and some extra damage- hell you can get more if extra enemies attack you. Plus this doesn't even count as a Charge Attack so none of your items or feats that key off it will give you a bonus. The extra movement is nice: but how often are you going to need to double move + your con mod just to reach someone?


Rippling Blades (PP) Its a little bit of Warlord lite. Take a swing; take some damage; and your friend hits them too. If your a Thane you get to add your Charisma to their damage- which can add up quickly: especially if you bloodied the target with your attack.


Thundering Howl (PP) Excellent AOE Attack with some good control and extra damage. Nothing wrong with this power- its a great addition to the Thunderborn howl line up.


Whirling Step (PP) A very powerful multi-target attack that auto-hits two additional targets. I would point out that your initial enemy is adjacent to you during your shift: so you can choose to hit him as one of your two targets, that makes it much easier to get the maximum damage out of this thing. Whirling Slayers get some excellent movement to top it all off.


Level 5, Daily


Frost Wolf Rage (PHB 2) It can do the Highest Straight damage of all the rages at this level and gives you a shield of cold that can get quite considerable if your Con Based. Its not bad: but its not quite good enough either.


Silver Phoenix Rage (PHB 2) Excellent defensive option: regeneration with some ongoing damage and a get out of jail free card. Still pretty good.


Thunder Hawk Rage (PHB 2) Knocking Prone is great and being able to do it once a turn is really solid. Combat Advantage is priceless for many groups and this hands it out in spades. A Save Ends Daze Attack is great too.


Vengeful Storm Rage (PHB 2) Close Burst 1 that gets completely overshadowed by Crimson Hurricane: the automatic 3 damage at the start of your turn isn't enough to turn any heads.


Clawfoot Berserker Rage (PHH2) If your in a heavy melee party, and if you are light on healing- THEN you might get a few extra attacks out of this. Otherwise leave it alone.


Ancient Beserkers Rage (PP) Auto Combat Advantage and a Bonus on Damage equal to Charisma? Thaneborns love it. A shame you have to be adjacent to an enemy at the start of your turn to make it work: so its better when you have someone sticky nearby.


Rage of the Crimson Hurricane (PP) How can I say this... you should probably take this rage. While the immediate damage is poor; the fact that every attack you make for the rest of the combat will be doing your strength modifier AGAIN to every adjacent Enemy makes it pretty tempting. Only works with Melee attacks though- so you wont get quite the AoE kick i originally thought: still it turns most attacks you have into a small burst.


Razor Wind Rage (PP) It has potential. But thats all I can really say about the Razor Wind Rage. If you had a way of securing Critical Hits on a regular basis (Such as a crit fisher build or dagger master or something- then this would be rather fantastic. As it is you'll be lucky to get it off one time. As far a Close Bursts go you should really consider the Hurricane.


Tigers Claw Rage (PP) Level 5 Barbarian Rages are amazing. Tiger Claw keeps that up by giving you a free 1W damage whenever you miss with your at-wills. Several people have already pointed out that comboing this with Twin Strike is a recipe for success: that alone gets this a sky blue rating.


Ambushers Rage (Dragon 380) Its like Swift Panther Rage! Except its a higher level and has a limitation! Thats not fair- this is a shift 2 as a minor: but the number of times your going to need to shift 2 to get CLOSER to a bloodied enemy when a simple charge couldn't reach them is going to be one in a million.


Earthquake Dragon Rage (Dragon 380) This is a funny one: you get hit and everyone suffers for it. If only it didn't hurt your friends: but I can see a few too many cruel DM's wiping a party with some forced movement and a volley aimed at the barbarian. On the other hand if your by yourself than this is very good... or if your entire party is ranged... or if you smell bad and they stay 30ft away from you.


Level 6, Utility


Combat Surge (PHB 2) Its nice to have a reroll; but this ones a daily- and it only works when your already raging: so you can't use it to hit with a missed rage. Mixed bag really.


Inexorable Shift (PHB 2) The Shift is nice: but the Temp Hitpoints are pretty pathetic.


Instinctive Charge (PHB 2) Going first with an accuracy bonus: good for that one fight a day when you really need to.


Loss of Will (PHB 2) Great Effect- but nobody besides Thanes has the Charisma to really make this work. Sadly Thanes usually have the Worst Barbarian AC: so it may not trigger as often as you'd like.


Laugh it off (PHH1) Damage Reduction and a bonus to hit and damage. You can do worse for an encounter utility. Especially nice if you have other forms of damage reduction since it stacks.


Climbers Claws (PP) Unless you spend a lot of time underground fighting climbing monsters I can't really recommend this power.


Primal Charge (PP) Good for the SuperCharge: you'll certainly get to your enemy if you pop this.


Relentless Surge (PP) Minor Action Temporary Hitpoints- Good for everyone but the Rageblood: but nothing amazing.


Run Rampant (PP) For what it does; it does it well. Sadly these specific save bonuses don't come up nearly as often as the ones that actually hurt.


Snarling Defiance (PP) Laugh it Off does cheaper and sometimes better. If you dont have the con for Laugh it Off though this might make your list.


Level 7, Encounter


Curtain of Steel (PHB 2) Super accurate out of turn hit? Yes please.


Feast of Violence (PHB 2) I read this differently than some; and my opinion would change if it were explained to me I was wrong- but as I see it I can get a huge accuracy bonus: buy my Damage only increases once. That's not really enough to qualify all those attacks of OP.


Great Shout (PHB 2) Not terrible: good for the debuff/control crowd.


Tide of Blood (PHB 2) Really situational on the damage front. Better for Rageblood... but not good enough to beat out Curtain.


Blood Sacrifice (PP) Take a big hit; do some big damage. Either way it adds your con to the hit. If your looking for a possible death blow here it is.


Fearsome Smash (PP) Curtain of Steel with a debuff: but a little less punch. Its still good: and possibly better because you can use it out of turn if nobodies paying attention to you.


Harbinger of Doom (PP) The Scream Series continues with its low Damage: aoe debuff set. Vulnerability 5 (or more) is awesome. Still 1W is pitiful at this level: so if you take this I certainly hope you took some non-AOE powers to wallop on people previously.


Looming Threat (PP) Very powerful, good damage, supports the “Proto-Defender” ideal and sets you up nicely for a Storm of Blades. Great for Rageblood Nova's.


Slash and Slash Again (PP) A one turn Rain of Steel with some extra damage tossed onto your primary target. This attack depends entirely on how many enemies you can position yourself next to when you end your turn: which can be problematic against certain foes.


Level 9, Daily


Black Dragon Rage (PHB 2) Not quite as good as it used to be: auto-Combat advantage can be achieved at a lower level- though its still not a bad pick.


Oak Hammer Rage (PHB 2) Excellent power- good control- good damage. Better for Constitution Based Barbarians- but still solid for Thanes or Slayers.


Stone Bear Rage (PHB 2) When you have a con of 22+ retrain over to this since it becomes Blue. Until then stick with Stoneroot Rage.


White Tiger Rage (PHB 2) Good Control for the Thunderborn- but thats about all I can say about this. Generally speaking its pretty bad: the damage is poor and immobilize is nothing to write home about at level 9.


Frenzied Beast Rage (PHH2) If you don't care about your hitpoints- and just want to drive your enemy into the dust- then this is a great choice.


Flying Serpent Rage (PP) If it triggers this is a great Rage. However its entirely dependent on your enemy charging: and because of that it can't get a higher rating than Black.


Rage of the Battle Tyrant (PP) 2W is a little low, thankfully pushing out a vulnerability 5 can make up for that- especially if it lasts a turn; or you nova immediately afterwords. The ability to move your friends around the battlefield makes this a great pick for Barbarians that want to put a little warlord in their diet.


Rage of the Death Spirit (PP) Automatic Weaken is good; even if it is a substandard effect. However the ability to Multi-Mark and the +2 Bonus to all attacks against marked targets is quite rediculous: especially if your playing with Targeted Assault in its RAW form. This will turn you into a Mini-Warden: so make sure you have the hit points or defenses to back up the significant amount of heat coming your way.


Rage of the Primal Banshee (PP) As much as I want to love this power- for its awesome name and unique ability; I just cant. An Aura of Anti-Charging is good- but it requires you to stay near your allies to make it work: if it was inverted so that it effected enemies next to you rather than allies- this would be a different story since you could quickly get to the front lines and stop a charge... but this isn't the case.


Serpent Fang Rage (PP) Its like Black Dragon Rage: but poison instead of Acid- and the Combat Advantage lasts longer: but its not guaranteed. I would rather have Black Dragon Rage personally- but there's nothing wrong with this if you can't find something better.


Carvers Raging Glory (Dragon 380) Bland as Hell- but pretty good. Killing people is your job- and this gives you one more reward for doing so. It helps that so many of the Rages at this level don't give you a damage bonus; so it stands out.


Stoneroot Rage (Dragon 380) 3W Hit + Slow is good sticky. Damage Reduction 5 for an entire fight is excellent. If you have a 22+ Con you should grab Stone Bear Rage instead- otherwise stick with this until you do.


Level 10, Utility


Deny Death (PHB 2) This is an extra turn when you shouldn't have one. Its useful but nothing amazing.


Heart Strike (PHB 2) Great power; but its Charisma based so the number of Barbarians that will get to use it fully is limited. Those Thanes who took it; and the others who have an innate charisma bonus and choose to up that for Will Defense, can certainly get some nice damage pushed out of this.


Mountain Roots (PHB 2) Ignoring Forced Movement for an entire encounter is really great when it comes up: sadly the number of times this will be worth a daily utility... not so often.


Wellspring of Renewal (PHB 2) Excellent choice: not being marked is great for you- and you usually have a minor action to spair. The Bonus Hitpoints aren't huge- but 5 hitpoints (Minimum) is still 5 hitpoints.


Barbaric Instinct (PP) Daily protection against two of the more common and irritating effects in the game. This lets you keep your attacks; and that's what matters most as a striker.


Barbaric Offering (PP) Give yourself a free save with a bonus: but only after killing someone. Got to be honost I don't really see the appeal here- if you need a save you probably couldn't attack anyways.


Enraged Surge (PP) Accuracy and Damage after you miss; again this stacks with your nasty multi-attack powers and can even be activated in the middle of them (its a free action). Its pretty solid- but it does require you to miss before you can use it.


Howl of the Alpha Wolf (PP) More Warlord tricks; so not bad for a Thane. Sets you up for a flank- which is good; but its nothing stellar.


Totemic Scarification (PP) When last I checked: peopled liked the Stormwarden version of this power. Its not as good; its a daily and gives less of a bonus- but its a flat attack bonus for a penalty that isn't too significant.

Paragon Powers


Level 13, Encounter


Blade Whirlwind (PHB 2) I suppose if you were really hoping for some more AOE Bursts then this is good. Simultaneously if you were looking to make a lot of attacks you could, and should, just go with the gold standard.


Crack the Skull (PHB 2) Nothing bad here but... well...


Storm of Blades (PHB 2) POST ERRATA: Still Sky Blue; still regoddamn diculous. Except now its an auto pick for Whirling Slayers and Thaneborns as well since it gives a fixed number of attacks. Weaker for our Con Builds; but still too good to pass up.


Terror's Cry (PHB 2) Good damage; pushes foes away- and it hurts their attack bonus. Good stuff for the Thaneborn; especially if your not tough enough to really get any usage out of SoB.


Thunderfall (PHB 2)Its a charge that sends people flying: and thats just spiffy really. Still good- but not quite as good as it used to be.


Ancient Clan Strike (PP) Its like an updated Avalanche Strike: except now your hurting yourself automatically instead of gambling on being attacked. Really not that impressive.


Blood-Frenzy Strike (PP)  Doesn't matter if the Rider makes it better for you or not: 3W + Vulnerability 5 as an encounter power is golden. In fact you might recognize this as an encounter version of a Rage you could have picked up a few levels ago. You may want to come back and grab this.


Fortunes Favor (PP) Big hit. If you gamble it can get even bigger... or it can get worse (if you consider 3W worse). A fun power: but its just straight Damage and there's more to be offered at this level.


Iron Breaker's Shout (PP) First AOE Shout that does more than 1W! Woo! The Defense Penalty you can crack out of this thing is gigantic- and while its slightly better for Thunderborn its not amazingly so- feel free to pick it up when you have the chance.


Rolling Boulder (PP) Auto-Prone + a big shift is pretty good. Especially since you can move through enemies: Soldiers and Bodyguards got nothing on you. The Actual attack does some good single target damage for the Whirler: which is appreciated. A good pick if you decided not to grab either of the two Sky Blue options.


Level 15, Daily


Flameheart Rage (PHB 2)At level 15 you should really be doing more than ongoing 5: and your Damage shield isn't making up for the fact that you wasted what could have been a 6W attack on 2W. Stay away from this and its easily resisted puddle of damage.


Hunting Lion Rage (PHB 2)Its accurate. It hits hard: but not much harder than whatever you just retrained to get it.


Iron Hammer Rage (PHB 2) This is a good battlefield control power: better if you have Draconic Arrogance and Polearm Momentum. Sadly Tidal Rage is better in most situations.


Thunderfury Rage (PHB 2) A free attack every turn as long as someone attacks you? Yeah that's some pretty good stuff.


Ancestral Warband Rage (PP) You thought Brutal was good? Try turning those frowns upside down! Also Automatic Combat Advantage with every swing. Oh and a 4W hit. Please take this.


Frost Hide Rage (PP) This is Stone Bear Rage, with a slow, 6 levels and a tier later. If you didn't take it then; take it now- by retraining a level 9 power instead of wasting your level 15 Rage slot on this garbage.


Rage of the War Bringer (PP) Thaneborns in a melee heavy party will love this power... but everyone else will just shrug. In the right party its ridiculous: but it requires the right party.


Scytheclaw Rage (PP) Seems like something I should have gotten … 14 levels ago. Oh wait. I did- and it was better then because it dazed instead of knocking someone prone- and it effected everyone around me. Pathetic.


Tidal Rage (PP) Its an unfriendly blast 5: but it moves your targets exactly where you want them. After that everyone around you is your play thing as you shift and swirl them into whatever position you want when you smack them around. This is glorious for Thunderborn and Whirling Barbarians who like to put enemies in specific areas.


Whispers Blade Rage (Dragon 380) A very weird power; and it goes against the entire idea of “Focus Fire”.It avoids the red since its really two 2W hits; not just one- and you can use it to beat on smaller monsters while still taking out the big badguy; or smack the undefended artillery and wound the heavily armored soldiers. Also the old “regenerating bag of kittens” trick can work with this power if your feeling ingenious; and it can even save you with “over-kill” damage... but really wouldn't you rather just destroy your first target and then move onto the next?


Level 16, Utility


Fuel the Fire (PHB 2) I think LDB hit the nail on the head when he said that this power is “hilariously powerful if successful”.


Great Stomp (PHB 2) If only you could do this after you charge... sadly it seems to me like this is a good way to get stuck: not a good way to stick people around you.


Primal Resistance (PHB 2) I suppose if you have an elemental themed enemy you could want this: but if you have an elemental themed foe wouldn't you want some equipment to deal with him instead of relying on one daily power?


Spur the Cycle (PHB 2) Its an extra Action Point; except it has a trigger... and can only be used for attacks. I'm ok with that.


Battle Lust (PP) Not a bad trick if your taking a dirt nap; though it makes you wonder what kind of leader you have to leave you in such a position. Really good for Revenants though.


Bounding Advance (PP) Movement tech this late in the game? Well its not bad- a shift 5 is pretty good actually- but maybe you should have grabbed your movement tricks at levels 2 and 6 instead of 16.


Rampant Malice (PP) If your ally has marked an enemy; it stands to reason they are relatively close to said enemy. Which means you can probably move into a flank. So this whole things is rather pointless really. Obviously there are uses: but combat advantage isn't really hard to come bye.


Scent of Blood (PP) Good trick; getting bloodied is going to happen to you in Melee. And getting a big boost to damage (and healing) is never a bad thing.


Strength of Enduring Pain (PP) For ONE Turn you gain a bonus to damage after you take a specific kind of damage? Terrible.


Level 17, Encounter


Devastating Blow (PHB 2) AC Penalties are nice: if you have Charisma grab this one- if you're a Con Beast you should consider grabbing Iron Breakers Shout from level 13 in its place.


Mountain Grasp (PHB 2) No reason to take this.


Shoulder Slam (PHB 2) You can use it on a charge: that's excellent- especially with its increased accuracy. Its AOE function has been a little overshadowed by the Whirling Slayer and Thunderborn Options though. If you want more Charge Tech its worth a look.


Threatening Fury (PHB 2) If you have the enemy isolated this power is amazing- since it lets you smack them around (Especially with Heavy Blade Opportunity) unless they stand completely still. Otherwise its rather bland.


Vigerous Strike (PHB 2) There's some good hit points to be found there- if you're hungry for Temps you can do worse.


Blood-Spattered Frenzy (PP) Its an upgrade to your 1st level encounter power, Whirling Frenzy. Now you don't take damage on a miss and you deal a little more damage. Truth be told its a little meh these days but still better than a lot of the other AOE swings available: take it if you really missed having a Close Burst 1.


Frightening Strike (PP) This is one of those powers that would have been really excellent if the designers hadn't made it twice. Do you remember Terror's Cry? This is Terror's Cry with the accuracy reduction guaranteed instead of a burst that also moved people. If you like these powers feel free to take them: just be aware of the duplication.


Lines of Rage (PP) For anyone but a Rageblood Barbarian: this is pretty terrible. But for the Rageblood- when you consider that they should almost always have at least 8 temporary hitpoints- loosing 8 (at maximum) to deal 4W+2d8 is the most straight damage your going to get at this level.


Stone Splitting Roar (PP) Another upgrade power: this one has aged nicely though- 2d6+Con Thunder Damage without an attack roll is very nice.


Whirling Skirmish (PP) The initial damage is terrible - but when you consider that the Whirler will probably shift 6 squares and then automatically wound everyone around him its a little more comforting. Unless your in love with the mobility + auto-hit burst you may want to give this one a skip.


Level 19, Daily


Ghost Viper Rage (PHB 2) Completely overshadowed by Primal Warband Rage- and that's not even a good power!


Hydra Rage (PHB 2) Nice hit + Daze and a free attack whenever you screw up. Its good- but Rock Tree Rage will probably get you more attacks if that's what you wanted.


Storm Drake Rage (PHB 2) The best damage shield you can get: but its still pretty mediocre. You could have Regeneration instead...


Winter Phoenix Rage (PHB 2)Huge regeneration; and Cold Damage is always solid. Oh and you don't die once. Still one of the best choices at this level no matter your build.


Desert Wind Rage (PP) Blinded is good very good. Automatically burning every enemy within 25ft around you at the start of each turn... well that's just great isn't it! Fire Damage and relatively low initial damage keep it from being my top pick.


Elder Tuskbrother Rage (PP) Big hit from a charge; that's solid. An Excellent choice for the Charge Builds who like to do nothing but.


Primal Warband Rage (PP) Big Hit and Auto Combat Advantage: very simple. Not sure if its worth it though: you probably still have Ancestral Warband Rage- it does the exact same thing with a slightly weaker initial hit; except it gives you that nice Brutal Crit Quality.


Rock Tree Rage (PP) Immediate Reaction Rages are a mixed bag; fortunately this ones pretty easy to trigger. The hit is nice; the rage effect is great- free opportunity attacks (Great for Heavy Blade Op!): especially if you have a polearm; and the reduction in forced movement will keep you where you want to be. Oh- I would also like to point out that ANY movement that brings your enemies adjacent to you activates the attack, it says “Enters a Square” not “Moves Adjacent”- so slides, pulls, and other abilities your friends toss out can all bring the pain- and its an Opportunity attack; not an immediate reaction so you can hit each person that gets close to you. And if you can't get it to trigger (Perhaps your fighting all Artillery and Skirmishers? Rage Strike it for a solid 7W hit. My top Pick.


Voracious Predator Rage (PP) Situational damage increase. I had hoped we were past these. Once again- if your fighting an army of weak foes- this is great; otherwise take something that will trigger more than once a fight.


Fortunes Ravager Rage (DRA 380) Speaking of abilities that might go off more than once a fight... you'd best hope this one doesn't- because you and your friends will be dead. To make it worse you have to adjacent to the enemy that rolled the crit- so there's a chance you might not even get to activate this. Terrible power. Terrible terrible power.


(I am aware the text on this post is small: working on fixing it.)

Epic Powers


I have a small confession to make- i have never played an epic level game (My highest ended at 20th level). Thus i don't feel comfortable making recommendations about the power level of Epic Level abilities, Destinies, etc. I can make suggestions on individual points- for instance you should take Hurrican of Blades- but beyond that i will leave the discussion on Epic Destinies and such to wiser and more experienced souls (at least until i get there).


I will answer any specific questions with my own Opinions- and update this space overtime.

Paragon Paths


Barbarian


Bear Warrior (PHB2): Bear Warrios is solid gold. Good powers, good defenses, good abilities. Free Action Second Winds, Free Action Healing on an AP, a boost to your criticals... all excellent stuff. Oh and +1 AC while Raging; but really thats just silly (like your Polymorphed Head).


Fearbringer Thane (PHB2): I can write entire posts on why this is possibly the worst PP in the game. This is the short version- your AP power gives rattles your foes: this is the best thing you get. Your +2 Damage Aura doesn't scale at all and only works for melee, your Critical Hit bonus is pathetic. Your encounter power is ok- until you consider that you can train for two superior versions of this power throughout paragon: without limiting yourself to this terrible PP. The Utility is a very weak stance and the Daily is not a rage. Not only is it not a rage- its a limp wristed attack with no innate movement (so you need to be able to attack three seperate targets) and the heal has no benefit and only effects one person. Please don't take this.


Frenzied Berserker (PHB2): Better now that Warpath drawbacks can be avoied with the AoE capabilities of Thunderborn and Whirling Slayers. Still investigating this one.


Wild Runner (PHB2): Very mobile; very bland. You don't really get to do anything with all that extra movement.


Ancestral Weapon (PP): A Thaneborn  path that doesn't suck? One that rewards you for being multi-focused? Well my god. Seriously folks- this is some good stuff; it gives you some solid defender powers to add into your folder of goodly aid. The Charisma boost to Healing Surge Value; the excellent Mark; the excellent Rage- and the ability to set up one of the nastiest Novas in the game (Hurricane of Blades doing 3W Damage Each) makes this a winner. This path succeeds in transforming the Thane into a Defender/Leader/Striker- which is pretty damn impressive.


Building Thunder (PP): If you like the Thunderborn Barbarian- than this path will make you very happy: because its more of the same. It gives you a great Rage, a bigger boom, and a delightful utility. If you were looking to escape the "Hit you for low damage-blast 3" setup: then you may want to look elsewhere. Finishing Thunder is the lowpoint in an otherwise solid path: its only slightly better than your At-Will: and sometimes not even as good.


Calm Fury (PP): I can not give Wizards of the Coast enough credit for this one: rather than abandon the Rage Strike mechanic to relative obscurity they really spiced it up with a smattering of excellent feats; items and this prestige path. I linked ShakaUVM's build earlier- but even if your not going for at-will AOE Cheese this is a good path. Its durable without being Constitution based, does solid damage, increases your innate powers, and has flavor that works for any brand of Barbarian. Top it all off with some serious Damage Output from Ragestrike (which seems like an actual option witht this path) and you have a clear winner.


Death's Thane (PP): I try not to get too involved in the flavor when writing these builds...but really? Death and Storms? Do they really go together that well? Apparently the designers were similarly confused because they tossed a lot of strange powers into one class and hoped for the best- sadly... not so much. Dont get me wrong: Death Shout and Killing Ground are both excellent; and Reapers Rage will let you set yourself up for your AoE attacks- but Inevitability of Death still only gives you one saving throw a turn; and death's right hand doesn't let you nova down one target- which is normally the point of an AP. Also a weak hit with an at-will weaken isn't really a Barbarians style: and the necrotic damage is just sad. I'm sure there is a Revenant Build out there that will turn this into a really solid killing machine- but i haven't made it yet: and i haven't seen it yet: so this mismatch stays at the Purple Line.


Stonefire Rager (PP): If you wanted Durability, but didn't multiclass to fighter for Dreadnought then this has got to make you happy. Excellent powers, some good aoe, some good survivability, and solid single target damage make for a supremely balanced (while still excellent) Prestige Path. Rageblood's will especially love it.


Twinclaw Slayer (PP): I don't know how this PP got such a bad reputation. Whirling Slayers want to be adjacent to multiple enemies: which means Close Destruction is bound to give you at least a +2 to your AP roll if not more. Thresighin Mist adds a "Shift 1" clause to the end of most of your encounter powers: letting you set up flanks for more friends- and increasing the mobility of an allready mobile class. Twinclaw Rend is a solid power that works within the framework of the class- but it can also be used on a charge or as an Opportunity Attack. Dangerous Blur can turn a single weapon attack into a double weapon attack- adding in all of the secondary effects that go with it. Finally Twinclaw Berserker Rage is a close burst AoE with a solid automatic damage aura-combined with Rain of Steel and you make everyone square adjacent to you a killing field... which means that people are going to run. And when they run you get opportunity attacks: which is great since you get to reroll missed Attacks of Opportunity once per round. When you consider that Stone Tree Rage lets you take advantage of that feature as well you have a really well designed little Prestige Path.


Winter Fury (PP): A nice bit of extra control; and a way to do even more Barbarian "Cold Cheese"- even if your DM ruled against "Cold Weapon = cold damage type". Solid stuff: and Armor of Glaciers is an amazing utility.


Fighter:


Dreadnought (MP): Probably the most survivable PP in the game- it gives you multiple forms of damage reduction; a hitpoint boost; and almost complete immunity to status effects. If you happen to be wielding an appropriate weapon the Encounter power can be excellent damage.


Giantslayer (MP): Good defensive powers abound here- and one assumes that past Heroic you'll be fighting mostly larger foes. You could do worse... but you can also do better.



Iron Vanguard (PHB): Regodamndiculous for Thunderborn Barbarians. The extra damage this can push out- the healing you can achieve- all combined with the Control and AoE that the Thunderborn naturally possess (and the perfect statistical synergy) make this a winner.


Kensei (PHB): What can i say, PHB knew what it was doing as far as this Prestige Path. High Damage, Improved Accuracy, a useful AP and Utility power- and a devestating 20 daily make this a winner.


Shocktrooper (MP): Originally i didn't see the value in this class; but it was hammered into my thick skull that because the Whirling Slayer text is fundamentally different from the Two Weapon Ranger text; it does allow you to increase the damage die of your off hand weapon. Which means 2d6 Waraxes for Whirling Slayers- and thats gravy. The rest of the class is a bit lacking though- and you'll need to double up on your proficiency to actually use your encounter and daily powers: but if you're willing to make the investment this can be one of the most disgusting options for sheer damage output.


Warden:


First Hunter (PP): An "Interesting" option for a Rageblood or Thunderborn in a Range Heavy party.- if you can justify taking the damage loss of using a Versatile Weapon you can make up for it by giving your ranged friends a nice bit of extra damage; add in some ranged potential for yourself- and boy do those thrown weapons hurt. You also pick up some really good powers, First Hunters Spear is a solid chuck + CA for an entire party- while Marked Prey lets you take the Warden MC feat and make escape impossible. Finally the "Form of the First Hunter" can pump out some serious ranged damage for your party.


Storm Sentinel (PHB2): Free healing, extra potent criticals and bigger healing surges. It fits in especially well with the Thunderborn who will appreciate the mobility of the utility, the Close Burst 2 to deal with mobile enemies getting out of his bursts, and a Guardian Form that marks- auto damages hordes, and lightning bolts his biggest threat.


Ranger: (Whirling Slayer Options)


Avalanche Hurler (MP): The feat "Hurl Weapon" turns any weapon wielded in the off-hand of a Whirling Slayer into a Heavy Thrown Weapon; which makes this path pretty incredible. An AP gets you an extra attack, your off-hand weapon in flight gets even nastier (once again- 2d6 War Axes), and no ranged penalties. Additionally its attacks grant some lovely mobility + multi-attacks and the Daily "Eruption of Steel" can allow you to clear the entire board with a combination of melee and ranged potential. But what really makes this shine is the "Quick-Draw Trick" utility- which allows the Whirling Slayer to swap between two-weapons and a two hander at a whim: this means that the Whirling Slayer can still access Howling Strike or use a two hander (preferably one that matches your feats) on attacks that he doesn't get to use his double weapons on- without taking any penalty- since he can immediatley (as a free action) draw and store his weapons.


Blade Dancer (MP): Almost perfect really. You get Twin Strike + your stats as an AP attack: thats good. But Dancing Defense will almost never work unless you multi-classed for some multiple attack powers- most Slayer abilities won't qualify. Cutting Steps is good though: an inborn Two Weapon Fighting/Defense that stacks with both. As for the power- Cross Body Parry is nice; possibly more damaging that Curtain of Steel and an excellent replacement for it. Misleading Bladework is your Feral Might option on demand, which has incredible potential. Finally Blade Dance can do some really good damage (since it potentially adds your primary and secondary stats to each hit): but its not quite strong enough for a level 20 power compared to some of the rages you could get. Good- but not quite tops.


Racial:


Adroit Explorer (PG2): All hail the conquering hero! Possibly the best choice available to you as a Human Barbarian- the Adroit Explorer is fantastic. Why is it fantastic? Because it means two Curtains of Steel per encounter in Paragon, and two STORM OF BLADES in Epic. That means that your encounter powers in Epic will be Storm of Blades, Storm of Blades, Hurricane of Blades, and whatever other power you wanted. Thats pretty sweet. Oh and you can Storm of Blades/Hurricane of Blades the target that bloodies you as a Daily (as a Barbarian- you will get bloodied). And you get two action points. And a +5 to hit when you get bloodied. And you can instantly remake a saving throw and heal. THIS IS GOOD STUFF.


Bloodfury Savage (PG2): A very straight forward path- this will make you hit harder; last longer; and move faster. There's nothing wrong with Bloodfury Savage- in fact its all quite good; and to top it all off you get a stackable Rage at the end! The only problem with the class is that you never get anything really shocking- just a lot of solid bonuses.


Firstborn of Moradin (PG2): You may want to consider Stonefire Rager instead... it has a lot better abilities for a Barbarian. Once again- nothing wrong with Firstborn of Moradin: but its deffinitly got a defendery feel.


Halfling Scoundrel (PG2):I want to tell you that this class is good: because i love Halflings. But i can't. With the exception of Rescourceful Action there's really just nothing going on here- saves vs. fear are rare- second chance granting combat advantage is available with a feat- the Utility is ok; but you only have 3 skills... The attacks are neat: but you don't want to tank (Your a Slayer or a Thane; not a Rageblood) which makes them a bit of a double edged sword. 


Moonstalker (PG2):If it wasn't so focused on Wisdom this could be really good: but Wisdom is not a primary or secondary stat for you- so chances are all the modifiers; and your new encounter power; are going to be low or innacurate. Shop elsewhere.


Scion of Arkhosia (PG2):I never know what to say about this class- some people love it and some people hate it. I'm of the camp that feels its silly and underpowered: since i read that if you use your Daily you can't use your encounter nor your racial and vica verca. Dragonborns make the best Thanes in the game- find something that helps that out (Like Ancestral Weapon).


Stone Blessed (PG2):So good it hurts. You get threatening reach each encounter; can smack enemies father away; get a bonus to damage on your nasty crits; and a Stance that stacks with your Rages. Oh and a double target attack that adds your primary and secondary scores to it. Yeah this is fun.


Turathi Highborn (PG2):If you're in the mood for something a little more... subtle- the Turathi Highborn is pretty good for a Thane. The straight bonus to damage against bloodied foes is nasty; and your racial gets a bit of control added. You also get two attacks that work with your Hellfire Blood- both are control based rather than damage based: but maybe you wanted that.


Abiding Reaper (D372): Pretty good until the end- a bad capstone power makes the entire class less appealing.



Avenging Haunt (D376): Some nice deterrant abilities in this one- but once again we find ourselves with a series of powers that doen't quite make a difference for us: since there's allready several Barbarian utilities that let you get up or ignore damage.


Rrathmal (PHB3): This is a bit of a mixed bag- on one hand you get some neat mobility, speed and psychic resistance. You also get the ability to give yourself a guaranteed critical (assuming you hit): which on a Barbarian is very abusable. But the capstone is rather... lackluster: the aura of "Take 10" on attacks and the psychic aoe damage don't really fit in with what were going for. Still if your willing to play with it: the rest of the class makes up for that.


Warforged Juggernaut (EPG): Its a machine... a killing machine. God above its good. Your charges get better (yes this means 1W+5d6 Howling Strikes with a Paragon Horned Helm), your saving throws get better, you get good attacks, good utilities, and an updated version of Rain of Steel- which somehow got even nastier adding in Damage Reduction and Movement Control.


- Other classes will be filled in later; until then please reference LDB's excellent "Destruction Manifest" found in the DnD Wiki.

The Corner Store: Equipment for the Hunt


Let me be honost : i have no interest in tallying up the "Best possible equipment" or "Wishlists" for you. Here are bare bones basics.


1) Magic Weapon


2) Boots of Adept Charging


3) Horned Helm


4) Iron Armbands of Power


You want these if you are goign to be any kind of Barbarian- because speaking simply- Charging is rocksauce and you are good at it. Even if you never take a charge related power it is still an effective strategy for you; because it puts you up against an enemy you might not have been able to reach and lets you make a solid attack against them.


LDB has a great list of equipment (slightly outdated now) in his Destruction Manifest: if you need a shopping list go there. I want to talk about actual Equipment; weapon choices and the like.


Weapons


Rageblood Vigor, Thaneborn Triumph, and Thunderborn Wrath


You want a big weapon- and the feat you get at first level (unless you NEED a different one) should be Superior Weapon Proficiency or the equivilant Racial Feat (Dwarven Weapon Training, Eladrin Soldier Training, Githzerai Blade Mastery, Talenta Weapon Training, Goliath Great Weapon Training or any others i may have missed). You want this feat because it will increase the amount of damage you do more than any other possible option at this level- and it will pay off in spades later because your DM will associate YOU with that weapon: which means when he's designing a treasure table; or a series of rewards; there's a much better chance of YOU getting a weapon you actually want instead of a +1 Greatsword of Bippidy Boppity Boop.


Lets talk about the big three. The Full Blade, The Executioners Axe, and the Mordenkrad. Each of these weapons is the bigger, nastier, equivilant of its big nasty cousin. They are going to be the ones you want to take- unless you are going for a build that includes reach: in which case you may want to consider the Greatspear.


The exception to this are the Goliaths- who will want to stick with the Greataxe, Greatsword, and Maul: due to their racial training feat- which gives them an innate damage bonus while using these weapons.


The Fullblade: This is "Numerically" superior. It has high crit (yay!) and it is a +3 Proficiency Accuracy weapon. It is also a heavy blade: so unless you invested heavily in dexterity you will likely never qualify for any of the feats that will make this better. I do not like the Fullblade because of its reliance on Dexterity- and the unlikely nature of qualifying for its feats (without being a +2 Dex Race; in which case toss a 13 in there at character creation and it pays off).


The Executioners Axe: This is what everybody runs for thanks to its d12, brutal 2, and high crit. Solid weapon- great weapon even. You will very likely qualify for Axe Mastery at epic- which is a good thing. It hits hard as a truck and its crits END things. Sadly Deadly Axe is useless.


The Mordenkrad: My personal favorite- this weapon is a 2d6 Brutal 1- which means its minimum damage on a basic attack is 4 + your modifiers. Its also a hammer which makes Con Based Builds happy as Hammer Rhythem is a great feat- and Bludgeon Mastery is easily achieved by the Thunderborn and Rageblood- Thane's will have to work really hard to get it; or sacrifice some charisma.


The Greatspear: For those of you who wanted Reach- this is your best bet. High damage, high accuracy. Qualifies for all those nasty spear charge feats. Once again you'll need a high dexterity to make them work; which is problematic but not impossible.


The Urgosh: I only bring up this weapon because it comes packaged with two of the Racial Trainings. Urgosh is ... not terrible. Its defensive, it qualifies for Deadly Axe and Surprising Charge. It also works for weilding two weapons if you wanted to grab some Whirling Slayer powers. Its a good choice if you have a Con/Dex Race (Revenant Eladrin or Dwarf) or get it bundled in with your other options.


A few more notes:


Dwarves get the Executioners Axe, Mordenkrad, Craghammer, Waraxe and Urgosh Proficiencies with their Racial Training Feat. Because of this your brain may overload with awesome since you have so many options. Go with whatever suites you best here.


Eladrin get the Greatspear, Urgosh, and Trantyr with their Racial Training Feat. They also get a damage bonus with Longswords... but thats not important. The Greatspear is probably your best bet due to its high accuracy and reach. You can always swap out to the Urgosh if you find yourself disliking the Greatspear. Finally the Trantyr is useful to have as a thrown weapon- just in case.


Githzerai get the Bastard Sword and Fullblade with their Racial Training Feat. *Frothing Rage* Use a damn Fullblade; i don't care what i said earlier- you get it for free with a scaling damage bonus: and your a Dexterity race. Just... just take it.


Halflings get the Talenta Tangat, Sharrash and Boomerang with the Racial Training Feat. Take the Sharrash: even over bigger versatile weapons. The reach, high crit, and +3 proficiency are all really good: and from a RAW standpoint it is the only weapon in the game you can use with powers that require a "Two Handed Weapon". Yes the damage die is small- but remember that real damage in DnD doesn't come from the dice (though it helps) but from modifiers added to them.


Revenants have the ability to "Steal" these feats by taking said race as thier past life. This allows builds that normally wouldn't match up stat-wise to take advantage of these feats: for instance Revenant Githzerai can make fantastic Ragebloods- and use a Fullblade to its fullest potential. Revenant Dwarves can be Whirling Slayers using Hammers and Axes without crippling dexterity.


Weapons


The Whirling Slayer


Others may have more math to back this up- but this is how it works.


Your main hand should be accurate. Your off hand should be damaging. If possible both of them should come from the same weapon group in order to take advantage of feats that boost damage/accuracy: but ultimatly the difference isn't astronomical.


You do not have to be proficient with your off hand weapon- since you will never swing it alone; unless you take a multi-class option or feat that gives you attacks with your off hand weapon.


The weapons you should consider...


Craghammer, War Axe, 3 Headed Flail, Bastard Sword, Longsword, Trantyr, and Talenta Tangat.


Craghammer: 1d10 Brutal 2. It hits hard; its not accurate. This is a great off hand weapon for anyone; but especially dwarves who will find that Dwarven Weapon Training gives them proficiency with this- solving the problem of being inacurate if you should actually need to swing with it.


War Axe: d12 High Crit. This is the "Big Offhand" that many builds that just want to increase their weapon size before doing automatic damage will go for (Shock Troopers).


3 Headed Flail and Bastard Sword: These are the main hand weapons of choice- they are +3 Prof with a d10 damage; which gives you the best possible option for accuracy without forfitting any damage.


The Longsword is the "Base" weapon for your mainhand- it is the most accurate and damaging one handed weapon you can get without feat expenditure. Eladrin may consider using them due to their feat damage bonus.


The Trantyr is another weapon almost exclusivly for the Eladrin- useful because of its ability to be thrown (and the Grasping Enchantment). If you want to be able to throw your off hand weapon- i recommend taking "Hurl Weapon" a sexy little feat that does exactly what it sounds like.


The Talenta Tangat should be avoided by Medium Sized races: but for Halflings it is an excellent replacement for the Scimitar thanks to the racial training which gives you a damage bonus. The Tangat is not an amazing weapon- it does relativly little damage and has lower accuracy than those available to medium sized races: but it's still the best option for Small Sized Barbarians- the +1 to hit from a Shortsword doesn't make up for the 3 damage lost (on average) per hit or the the weak criticals it offers.


 

Feats


community.wizards.com/charop/wiki/Barbar...


That would be the Previous list of Feats: it still applies. LDB did a great job on those and i don't want to try and replicate his list since i find i agree whole heartedly. Instead; this is a list of feats from Primal Power (mostly new Racials and Barbarian options) as well as any stand out Dragon Magazine feats that apply.


Barbarian Feats (Heroic)


Bloody Triumph (PP): Your innate Thaneborn Accuracy bonus now offers an equivilant damage bonus. Deffinitly a feat you should fit in once you've got all your other necessary feats.


Elemental Barbarian (PP): Because it triggers off of Promise of Thunder this is quite good- Gensai Thunderborn Barbarians can deffinitly pull out some accurate aoe damage with this feat.


Fearsome Charge (PP): *Shrug* once per encounter you get a push 1? If you're allready built around pushing (Draconic Arrogance builds) then this isn't bad- but otherwise you probably have better options.


Hurl Weapon (PP): Either amazing or useless. For Whirling Slayers this gives you a valid ranged option for when you can't close with an enemy- toss your offhand weapon at them! It also opens up the possibilities of the Avalanche Hurler Prestige Path- which i discussed previously as very good for you. Everyone else will want to avoid this.


Improvised Missle (PP): This is the "Hurl Weapon" for the rest of the Barbarians- allowing you to toss your big axe/hammer/etc as an improvised weapon and getting some bonus accuracy and damage for it. If you wanted a ranged option- this isn't a bad one: though you might decide to just pack a Javelin or two instead.


Raging Bloodcut (PP): This simply isn't worth it. This feat promises you 5 damage; if you get lucky 10 to 15: but at the cost of 1W (it scales but the scaling gets worse). 1W damage on a Rage Strike averages to 6 (assuming you have one of the "Big Weapons"). You can see where my reticence to recommend this comes from.


Swift Slayer (PP): Meh? I like extra mobility as much as anyone else- but the "Shift on Bloody" ability of the Whirling Slayer doesn't NEED to be incredibly long range- the Shift 2 is probably all you really need to get into the best possible position to chop up multiple enemies.


Targeted Assault (PP): Depends on how you read it obviously: if you go by the feat description you get a +2 untyped bonus to hit your marked targets- thats amazing if you have a way to mark innately (Because you Multiclassed Barbarian/Hybrid) or if you have powers/abilities that let you mark (a multi-class feat; a paragon path; some of the rages; some of the powers). Since this is its RAW reading its a super powerful feat. If you read it by its description- in which targets that have MARKED YOU are the ones who grant you this bonus- the feat is ok. Pass it by your DM before you build around it. 


Thunderborn Rage (PP): At early levels this will double the effectiveness of your Thunderborn Wrath. Later on it keeps the power doing some respectable damage. Great for what it is.


Barbarian Feats (Paragon)


Double Lunge (PP): Solid. Depends on how your using your Whirling Lunge obvioiusly- if your pooring more damage onto a big target: then this is good since it severely increases the amount of damage you put out. If you like to use it to kill minions... not so great.


Explosive Rage Strike (PP): This feat is what makes Rage Strike good again. Loosing 2W to turn an excess daily into an AOE killing field (that does half damage on a miss) is brilliant. It stops you from having to worry about taking a Burst or Blast Rage- and it is the key combo piece of the Calm Fury's rediculous AOE Trick.


Reckless Rage (PP): Good stuff- you can negate the penalty with Combat Advantage and deal some extra damage: especially if you're also packing Explosive Rage Strike. Accuracy is king though- and the extra 1W won't make up for only doing half damage if you miss. Another key piece of the Explosive Rage Strike damage trick- and Sky Blue for Calm Fury's who don't care if they miss.


Thirsty Blade (PP): Good stuff here. Barbarian charges are devestating; and with boots of Adept Charging you can certainly end up in a good position to automatically damage everyone around you. Sadly it doesn't work with Hammers- and Charge Barbarians love hammers.


Thunders Cry (PP): Turns your encounter power into a close blast that pushes and gives YOU combat advantage. Nice since its AOE: following up with a burst or blast for some accurate damage. Worth it if you have the room for it in your build- but don't sweat trying to get it.


Violent Reminder (PP): +5 Damage on your next damage roll before the end of your next turn; for killing someone. This means that you can Howl of Fury, auto kill a minion (or two) in the blast- Swift Charge a target with +5 Damage (Howling Strike naturally), and then AP for another attack. Should you drop a second enemy during the process you get more damage- because its innate; not an immediate reaction or a once per turn effect. Oh and since you're a rageblood you also get temporary hitpoints. This is a good feat. It is a feat you want. Take this feat.


Withering Roar (PP): Thaneborns take a finger in the bum on this one. Why on gods green earth would i want to give an easily achieved status (combat advantage) instead of my penalty to all defenses? Especially since Combat Advantage CAN STACK with my defense Penalty by doing something as simple as flanking? Unless you have a party of idiot rogues who can't get combat advantage; there will never be a time when this is worth it.


Primal Feats (Heroic)


Animal Empathy- What can i say about this? Its an old 3.5 ability that almost never got used- now as a feat that doesn't really do anything except let you know that the lion is angry. It has some situational uses: if you have a nature heavy campaign its not bad.


Deep Sage- Wow. This is actually really solid. A +5 bonus to the two most common aspects of the skill use; and a free language. If you have an underdark heavy campaign; or even an aberrant heavy campaign; this can turn you into the parties resident expert. Keys off of Wisdom so your score might not even be terrible: though getting Dungeoneering in the first place might be trouble (Background for it).


Eyes of the Spirits- Its... not bad: getting rid of concealment in melee is actually a lot more useful than at a range (because its usually supernatural as part of melee). Blue for an Elf Thaneborn trying to pump accuracy for himself and his party. Black for everyone else.


Feral Fey Step- Get bloodied and teleport 5 as an immediate reaction: even if you've allready used the power. Pretty good- unless your a Fey-Charger in which case this will expend your use of Fey Charge and end your shenanagins.


Focus the Spirits Lives- For Shamans and Druids- this is great! For the Rare Deva Barbarian; this is bunk.


Half-Elf Spirit Speaker- Nothing wrong with this feat; a nice mini-defense boost when you get bloodied and a skill bonus for all your allies. Its good stuff if you're interested in playing a defensive/talk game.


Hide Armor Expertise- Is it broken? Is it balanced? Is it a feat tax? I don't want to weigh in on this: all i know is that a Conbarbarian should take this at 2nd level (or 1st if you're Human) immediatly after getting a bigger weapon. Whirlers can skip it; Thanes can make choices about it based on thier desire to wear heavy armor instead.


Human Nature Lore- If you read this carefully you realize that it also effects Endurance checks. Human Barbarians are one of the only races to get both Endurance and Nature without loosing out on other skills (Athletics and Perception). Excellent feat: roll twice for 1/2 of your skills.


Longtooth Spirit Shifter- Add to your Bloodied Regeneration; which was one of the only reasons you were playing this race in the first place? A+ feat.


Manifest Healing- Not bad actually; especially since most Gensai will want at least one Corrupt Manifestation to go with a pure manifestation. Thunderborn Barbarians will love the extra damage/hitpoint combo.


Markings of the Elements- So... instead of getting resist 5 all i can get resist 10 to any element? Its not terrible; but it is highely situational.


Markings of the Predator- The bonus is nice; but bloodying is a crap shoot.


Primal Halfling Counterattack- Amazing racial power; since it doesn't matter if your enemy hits you or not- and the damage bonus lasts the entire turn. Which means that after a second chance your nova does +4 damage per attack against the target. It scales too- so a Storm of Blades can do some serious damage (+6 damage on three attacks is still good). Great feat; even better when you consider that Rigged Chance from the "Winning Races Halfling" article- can trigger it more than once a fight.


Primal Resilience- Should be better than it is. Rageblood Half Orcs allready have temp hitpoints; so when they get bloodied this might not be a great edge. Thunderborn Half Orc Barbs will still want it.


Razorclaw Spirit Shifter- Once again, this SHIFT 1 for an immediate reaction (When you're allready bloodied). This is not a good ability to have since your other immediate reactions could be two very solid rages; a curtain of steel; or any other immediate abilities you might posses. To make it worse- you can only move away after you are damaged- meaning a miss won't remove you from a sticky situation. Leave it alone.


Reckless Charge- Get an extra bit of accuracy after charging; in exchange for a weaker defense? This seems to be our stop- lets get off.


Rites of the Spirits Blood- Did not expect this feat to be any good- pleasently surprised at how solid it is. Bloodhunt is allready awesome; doubling its effectiveness is amazing. Thaneborns can now make their intensily damaging Infernal Wraths even more accurate. Great feat for the Tiefling Thanes.


Skins of the Slain- Are you playing in the Ultimate Dungeon Delve as a Thaneborn Barbarian Intimidate Beast? If you are then this is an acceptable alternative to Skill Focus. Otherwise i would leave it alone.


Spiders Swiftness- Speed is good; and this is a +1 constant bonus that gets bigger when we rage. Great for the Drow Whirler.


Spirits of Stealth- First off its a feat bonus to damage; which means it doesn't stack with weapon focus. Secondly it only works when you are actively hidden from an enemy. Third you have to be a gnome to use it. So... if you are a Sneaky Gnome Barbarian who hides and ambushes people; then i apologize- this is actually an ok feat.


Spirits of Stone- Dwarves get more good accuracy tech.


Spirits of the Primal Dragons- Very good feat; you should plan on getting bloodied and getting an extra d8 to all attacks for a round as a result (and a +1 accuracy from your racial) is quite good. Its only weakness is that its elemental damage- so there are times when it will do very little.


Staggering Smash- Sadly the Dazing and Stunning powers are either dailies or paragon level +. At that point a push 1 isn't that high on your priority list.


Stone Step Spirits- You get to charge across difficult terrain; and have an effective move speed of 6 while in it. Dwarves are so good.


Primal Feats (Paragon)


Thundering Bull Rush- Do you bull rush often? If the answer is "Yes" then take this feat. Otherwise i would leave it be.


Two-Handed Grasp- It doesn't work on the great spear. It doesn't work on the long spear. The only spear it works on is... the Spear. If you are a small sized Barbarian this gives you high crit for free. If you are a medium sized barbarian using a spear; then i salute you for your desire to RP- but as a member of the OP boards i have to ask why you ignored all the better options. 


* A small note about Two-Handed Grasp: it also works with the Tranytr. So an Eladrin Barbarian who ignored the Great Spear in exchange for the Ranged Possibilties of the Trantyr (or the Grasping Enchantment) may want to take this feat for its high crit option.

Is that a picture of Thor?

Builds



Grak the Revengencer: Human Barbarian (Rageblood)



Thor_painted_by_agnidevi.jpg


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Grak the Revengencer, level 20
Human, Barbarian, Adroit Explorer
Feral Might: Rageblood Vigor
Ambitious Effort: Ambitious Effort Existing Power
Ambitious Effort Existing Power: Curtain of Steel
Background: Geography - Forest (+2 to Perception)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 23, Con 21, Dex 12, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 11.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 16, Dex 11, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10.


AC: 35 Fort: 36 Reflex: 29 Will: 28
HP: 150 Surges: 13 Surge Value: 37

TRAINED SKILLS
Nature +17, Perception +19, Athletics +21, Endurance +20, Intimidate +15

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +11, Arcana +9, Bluff +10, Diplomacy +10, Dungeoneering +12, Heal +12, History +9, Insight +12, Religion +9, Stealth +11, Streetwise +10, Thievery +11

FEATS
Human: Hide Armor Expertise
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Mordenkrad)
Level 2: Improved Rageblood Vigor
Level 4: Action Surge
Level 6: Battle Awareness
Level 8: Weapon Expertise (Hammer)
Level 10: Weapon Focus (Hammer)
Level 11: Violent Reminder
Level 12: Hammer Rhythm
Level 14: Paragon Defenses
Level 16: Armor Specialization (Hide)
Level 18: Explosive Rage Strike
Level 20: Charging Rampage

POWERS
Barbarian at-will 1: Howl of Fury
Barbarian at-will 1: Howling Strike
Bonus At-Will Power: Recuperating Strike
Barbarian encounter 1: Avalanche Strike
Barbarian daily 1: Swift Panther Rage
Barbarian utility 2: Combat Sprint
Barbarian encounter 3: Brutal Slam
Barbarian daily 5: Rage of the Crimson Hurricane
Barbarian utility 6: Laugh it Off
Barbarian encounter 7: Curtain of Steel
Barbarian daily 9: Stoneroot Rage
Barbarian utility 10: Savage Comeback
Barbarian encounter 13: Storm of Blades (replaces Avalanche Strike)
Barbarian daily 15: Thunderfury Rage (replaces Swift Panther Rage)
Barbarian utility 16: Spur the Cycle
Barbarian encounter 17: Iron Breaker's Shout (replaces Brutal Slam)
Barbarian daily 19: Rock Tree Rage (replaces Rage of the Crimson Hurricane)

ITEMS
Marauder's Feyhide Armor +4, Challenge-Seeking Mordenkrad +5, Torc of Power Preservation +4, Cold Iron Bracers (paragon tier), Horned Helm (paragon tier), Strikebacks (heroic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


Grak is built to do several things:


A) Get hit in the face and laugh it off- if you bloody him its fine; he's ok with that..


B) to Charge (He's not a true Charge Beast because he does other things).


C) to hit your opponent back for hitting him- he can do this three times per encounter: and each time its rather devistating. He has two Curtains of Steel, and the Strikebacks. If you bloody him- and his daily is up- he'll pop a storm of Blades into your face.


Grak charges; he hits things with his hammer; he kills lots of minions and charges again. He usually has 15 temporary hit points to buffer his HP. He has multiple ways of ignoring damage- but he is not a tank in the true sense of the word: he only wants you to attack him so that he can hit you back. If you ignore him he pounds you into the ground.


 


Bharhash Gloryborn: Dragonborn Barbarian (Thaneborn)


119671_Dragon_367_cover_Dragonborn.jpg


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Bharhash Gloryborn, level 20
Dragonborn, Barbarian, Ancestral Weapon
Feral Might: Thaneborn Triumph
Dragon Breath Key Ability: Dragon Breath Strength
Dragon Breath Damage Type: Dragon Breath Acid
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 23, Con 14, Dex 11, Int 9, Wis 12, Cha 23.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 13, Dex 10, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 16.


AC: 34 Fort: 35 Reflex: 25 Will: 31
HP: 152 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 46

TRAINED SKILLS
Perception +16, Intimidate +23, Athletics +21, Endurance +21

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +10, Arcana +9, Bluff +16, Diplomacy +16, Dungeoneering +11, Heal +11, History +11, Insight +11, Nature +11, Religion +9, Stealth +10, Streetwise +16, Thievery +10

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Urgrosh)
Level 2: Armor Proficiency (Chainmail)
Level 4: Bloody Triumph
Level 6: Targeted Assault
Level 8: Focused Expertise (Urgrosh)
Level 10: Defender of the Wild
Level 11: Primal Breath
Level 12: Deadly Axe
Level 14: Paragon Defenses
Level 16: Armor Proficiency (Scale)
Level 18: Weapon Focus (Axe)
Level 20: Spirits of the Primal Dragons

POWERS
Barbarian at-will 1: Whirling Rend
Barbarian at-will 1: Howling Strike
Barbarian encounter 1: Escalating Violence
Barbarian daily 1: Tyrant's Rage
Barbarian utility 2: Savage Growl
Barbarian encounter 3: Brutal Slam
Barbarian daily 5: Ancient Berserkers' Rage
Barbarian utility 6: Relentless Surge
Barbarian encounter 7: Curtain of Steel
Barbarian daily 9: Rage of the Battle Tyrant
Barbarian utility 10: Howl of the Alpha Wolf
Barbarian encounter 13: Storm of Blades (replaces Escalating Violence)
Barbarian daily 15: Ancestral War Band Rage (replaces Tyrant's Rage)
Barbarian utility 16: Spur the Cycle
Barbarian encounter 17: Frightening Strike (replaces Brutal Slam)
Barbarian daily 19: Rock Tree Rage (replaces Rage of the Battle Tyrant)

ITEMS
Dwarven Stormscale Armor +4, Grasping Urgrosh +5, Torc of Power Preservation +4, War Ring (paragon tier), Casque of Tactics (paragon tier), Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


Bharhash is a tripple threat: he does credible damage; marks enemies and can take hits; and grants some significant accuracy bonuses to his allies- along with free movement. Because he is so flexible he looses out on the singular nature of some other Barbarians- but when he has all the pieces set up properly his Nova is one of the most spectactular in the game- (Storm of blades for 3W hits with massive accuracy).


As a striker Bharhash uses an Urgrosh- which allows him to Howling Strike and Whirling Rend (although his Rend doesn't do as much damage as a straight whirler- its mostly to keep enemies focused on him)- he has access to all the Standard "Heavy Hits" that Barbarians do and his criticals are devestating.


As a Defender Bharhash has Four encounter marks- 3 of which are AoE. 2 Of those grant damage bonuses.


As a Leader Bharhash grants movement, accuracy, extra damage and makes his enemies unable to attack his friends (thanks to penalties + marks) and afraid of attacking him (curtain of steel).



Murook Manyblades: Half Orc Barbarian (Whirling Slayer)


DrusennatheVigilant.jpg

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Murook Manyblades, level 20
Half-Orc, Barbarian, Bloodfury Savage
Feral Might: Whirling Slayer
Background: Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 23, Con 13, Dex 23, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 13.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 12, Dex 16, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 12.


AC: 37 Fort: 33 Reflex: 34 Will: 26
HP: 152 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 38

TRAINED SKILLS
Intimidate +19, Athletics +20, Acrobatics +20

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +9, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +11, Dungeoneering +10, Endurance +12, Heal +10, History +9, Insight +10, Nature +10, Perception +10, Religion +9, Stealth +15, Streetwise +11, Thievery +15

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Bastard sword)
Level 2: Thirst for Battle
Level 4: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Level 6: Durable
Level 8: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 10: Two-Weapon Defense
Level 11: Strength From Pain
Level 12: Double Lunge
Level 14: Heavy Blade Opportunity
Level 16: Paragon Defenses
Level 18: Seize the Moment
Level 20: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade)

POWERS
Barbarian at-will 1: Pressing Strike
Barbarian at-will 1: Whirling Rend
Barbarian encounter 1: Whirling Frenzy
Barbarian daily 1: Thunder Hooves Rage
Barbarian utility 2: Combat Sprint
Barbarian encounter 3: Whirling Step
Barbarian daily 5: Rage of the Crimson Hurricane
Barbarian utility 6: Shrug It Off
Barbarian encounter 7: Slash and Slash Again
Barbarian daily 9: Frenzied Beast Rage
Barbarian utility 10: Totemic Scarification
Barbarian encounter 13: Storm of Blades (replaces Whirling Frenzy)
Barbarian daily 15: Ancestral War Band Rage (replaces Thunder Hooves Rage)
Barbarian utility 16: Spur the Cycle
Barbarian encounter 17: Whirling Skirmish (replaces Whirling Step)
Barbarian daily 19: Hydra Rage (replaces Rage of the Crimson Hurricane)

ITEMS
Challenge-Seeking Bastard sword +5, Quick Bastard sword +4, Displacer Darkhide Armor +4, Lucky Charm +4, Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier), Boots of the Fencing Master (heroic tier), Skull Mask (heroic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


Pure Damage. Stacking Modifiers, lots of attacks. The few defensive powers she has are designed to take advantage of the inevitable beatdown she recieves.


 


Sha-Karn Twice Struck: Genasi Barbarian (Thunderborn)


Genasi.jpg

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Sha-karn Twice Struck, level 20
Genasi, Barbarian, Building Thunder
Feral Might: Thunderborn Wrath
Elemental Manifestation: Stormsoul
Background: Maelstrom (Learn Primordial)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 23, Con 21, Dex 12, Int 11, Wis 14, Cha 11.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 16, Dex 11, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10.


AC: 36 Fort: 33 Reflex: 27 Will: 26
HP: 150 Surges: 13 Surge Value: 37

TRAINED SKILLS
Perception +17, Endurance +22, Nature +19, Athletics +21

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +11, Arcana +10, Bluff +10, Diplomacy +10, Dungeoneering +12, Heal +12, History +10, Insight +12, Intimidate +10, Religion +10, Stealth +11, Streetwise +10, Thievery +11

FEATS
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
Level 2: Hide Armor Expertise
Level 4: Echoes of Thunder
Level 6: Elemental Barbarian
Level 8: Thunderborn Rage
Level 10: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Level 11: Solid Sound
Level 12: Thirsty Blade
Level 14: Armor Specialization (Hide)
Level 16: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade)
Level 18: Battle Awareness
Level 20: Shocking Flame

POWERS
Barbarian at-will 1: Howling Strike
Barbarian at-will 1: Howl of Fury
Barbarian encounter 1: Avalanche Strike
Barbarian daily 1: Tyrant's Rage
Barbarian utility 2: Combat Sprint
Barbarian encounter 3: Thundering Howl
Barbarian daily 5: Rage of the Crimson Hurricane
Barbarian utility 6: Laugh it Off
Barbarian encounter 7: Harbinger of Doom
Barbarian daily 9: Oak Hammer Rage
Barbarian utility 10: Wellspring of Renewal
Barbarian encounter 13: Storm of Blades (replaces Avalanche Strike)
Barbarian daily 15: Ancestral War Band Rage (replaces Tyrant's Rage)
Barbarian utility 16: Spur the Cycle
Barbarian encounter 17: Stone-Splitting Roar (replaces Thundering Howl)
Barbarian daily 19: Desert Wind Rage (replaces Rage of the Crimson Hurricane)

ITEMS
Genasi Soul Darkhide Armor +4, Lightning Fullblade +4, Torc of Power Preservation +4, Gauntlets of Destruction (paragon tier), Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier), Defiant Boots (paragon tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


More on this build later- summary: its a slightly defensive AOE Damage build; with some small control elements. Most of its powers are taken to do AOE damage- though it tries to keep several powers in reserve to do significant single target as well. During tough fights you can use Promise of Storm twice: your thunder powers make you harder to hit and do more damage.


 

Can't wait for further updates. Enjoyed Lordduskblade's work but need some Post Primal Power opinions other than my own.


 


Keep up the good work!

I really like the effort that you put into the "Class Features" post.  A lot of other guides in general don't go into this deep enough, but each of your build descriptions evoked a sense of interest in the build. 


Also, good job covering the races, and giving advice for every race and not just the most optimal ones.  It's a long list, but the comprehensiveness is appreciated.  Also you get a cookie for summarizing the most optimal races by build. 


In general I like the objective tone of this guide, and I'm looking forward to the rest of it.

Thanks guys.


Finished updating for the day: more information and formatting will be put in tommorow.

You forgot Warforged on the Rageblood short list.

Handbook looks GREAT so far. I REALLY love the extended discussions of the major character options, (Race, PP, build) discussing their strengths and weaknesses and differences in play. Looking forward to reading more!

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.


You forgot Warforged on the Rageblood short list.




I tried to avoid duplicating Races; and Warforged have an innate way to gain Temporary Hitpoints- which Rageblood a little weaker for them than the Thunderborn. Especially when you consider a Warforged Jug Thunderborn- who is a veritable engine of aoe destruction.


Thanks for the kind words so far- i put in a few updates (paragon paths, equipment) feats will go up soon.

Can someone explain to me the math behind sticking with a Greatsword as a Goliath instead of going Fullblade?  I'm playing a Goliath Rageblood Barbarian in RPGA.  He just hit level 5.  At level 4, I immediately retrained out Goliath Weapon Prowess for Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade) and picked up Weapon Focus as my level 4 feat.  I realize I'm now using an extra feat, but it seems like I'm doing a lot more damage.  Even with my at-wills I'm ahead using the Fullblade (average damage is the same except on a crit) and with my 3W attack powers I'm coming out farther ahead.  Is it just because I would get to save a feat? 


Really, I think the Goliath feat is nice, but only for the first few levels... unless I am completely missing something here.  I like to plan long-term and that feat just doesn't seem to be a long-term feat.  It's fairly frustrating, as I now regret being a Goliath as opposed to a Warforged (where I could pick up an awesome paragon path).  Can someone shed some light on that feat that I might be otherwise missing?

Goliath greatweapon prowess really pulls ahead when using axes or hammers, since the superior two-handed versions just add the brutal property (which is kind of meh - worth a point of damage per 1W in both cases, but not on critical hits, and you can get brutal elsewhere through various items/powers if needed). So the comparison at heroic is two extra damage per attack vs. two feats to get one extra damage per attack (weapon focus) and a bit less than one extra damage per 1W... and everyone wants more feats starting out. At paragon you start getting more giant attacks but the opportunity cost of a feat is higher - that feat you spent to swing a mordenkrad could be used on Hammer Rhythm, or some scaling damage adder that's at +2 now, etc - and Gauntlets of Destruction or Ancient War Band Rage start looking tasty. At epic there's mastery to think about.


If you want to go with heavy blades though, because you figure you're sticking with heroic tier, or you've got the Dex, or just love the accuracy bonus, the fullblade gives you a genuine die size increase plus extra damage on criticals, which is more than worth a second feat, especially if you're going for some measure of crit optimization (as the OP noted, barbarians are all about the big numbers).

I think you might want to knock Rage of the Crimson Hurricane down to blue.  It's excellent, but because it says "melee" it can't stack massive amounts of damage on a close burst.

Wow, thank you MandaDave.  Okay, I've apparently been too short-sighted when it comes to weapons.  I've always looked at the Fullblade and Executioner's Axe and ignored everything else.  I'll have to go take a look at the hammers now.  I'm just a big fan of +3 to hit, so I personally have always liked the Fullblade best.


 

Excellent guide so far (though in the weapon section you called mordenkrad's craghammers).


I think Clawfoot Beserker Rage (level 5) should be higher than red. More like black. The best way to deal extra damage is to make extra attacks, and that's what Clawfoot Beserker Rage does. Many heals are wasted if the character isn't bloodied, so you'll get the chance to use it a couple times a combat. Those extra attacks are just extra chances to get off your Primal Might and/or Rampage. I've had it for nearly 3 levels of LFR play, and I've never wanted another rage. However, if there are only 1 or 2 melee characters (including you), it would be hard to make this rage worth it.

One-half of the tabletop gaming news podcast Going Last Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

Great Work and I'm glad to see a new guide. A few notes:


Races:


Elf - Upgrade to blue if you play a Whirling Slayer. Main reason is, unlike the Two-Weapon Ranger, you're attacks are "less" accurate because you aren't rolling twice to hit. Elven Accuracy cures that once per encounter. Also the skill bonuses are nice as well as some decent feat options.


Powers:


Bloodletting - Yes its weaker than Avalanche Strike but at low levels this power is much better simply because there are no negative side effects. A -4 to your defenses can be crippling since no defender mark is going to help you out much. At later levels it may be okay to swap it out for AS, but until then Bloodletting is better.


Blood Strike - I'm not sure what makes this power so situational... Unless the creature you are fighting is a minion, all creatures with HP eventually become bloodied. As a Barbarian you may want to get used to becoming bloodied from time to time. Hitting them harder when you or they are bloodied with no side effects is great.


Weapons:


In the Weapon section you seem to be confusing Mordenkrads (2d6, Brutal 1) and Craghammers (1d10, Brutal 2)


Something I've been playing around with since AV2 came out has been the Avalanche Hammer. When you charge it turns your MBA into 2[W]+STR which is actually better than Howling Strike until Epic. This actually lets you choose different At-Wills so you aren't the same as every other Barbarian out there. In fact maybe now you can even make use of Devastating Strike.

Ok... 3rd times the charm. 



Thank you all for the input. I have fixed a few of the mistakes i made (Hammer Confusion/Crimson Hurricane).



I will adjust ratings after i finish the guide (blacks to blues; etc.) Right now im trying to finish my section on feats and following the character builder update i will post several of the builds i've worked out- several for each build and tier. 



Thank you for the support.

Don't forget Draeven Marauder as a Paragon Path.  It's a Fighter path, but if you're playing a spear Barbarian it's pretty strong.  In addition to critting on 19, there's some pretty good synergy with the movement abilities so that you can keep charging.  Maybe not sky blue, but I'd say it's blue.

Just wanted to say thank you regarding the time and effort that went into making this.


 


I recently spent 3 straight days performing much of the same analysis regarding the new options for a whirler I was making and arrived at many of the same conclusions.


 


The biggest choice I differed from you is with Howl of the alpha wolf.  Having played with it a few times, I find it to be an incredible power, allowing me to completely shift the field of battle, setting up conga lines of death, getting squishies out of ganking positions, and putting myself into the center of the melee every single battle, provided I light it off after killing an enemy.

I started a thread on the optimal weapons for the whirler a few weeks back.  I bumped it up to the main page.  From what CS has said you don't the gain the properties(like high crit) or critical dice with the off hand weapon.  You do gain the enhancement bonus(if any) from your off hand damage though.

From the thread, you'll get better dpr from the bastard sword or triple head flail.  The bastard sword wins in the end because of feat choices.
I'm just a big fan of +3 to hit, so I personally have always liked the Fullblade best. 



Well, you are on the CharOp forum... so you can be forgiven if your first and only thought is "ZOMG, Fullblade!"  Wink

Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Couple things:

Scimitars + Scimitar Dance works OK for Whirling Slayer, especially if said slayer is a half-elf with Twin Strike.

Bugbear and Schock Trooper are nice in a few builds.

A class of feats worth commenting on that aren in LDB's guide are ones that involve two weapons or off-hand weapons. They're relevant for Whilrlers, but don't appear in older Barbarian references.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I think Whirlers are the best barbarian class now. Ragebloods are still good with HAE, though.
Which type of barbarian (rageblood, thaneborn, etc.) would you recommend for a greatspear wielding barbarian?  What sorts of tradeoffs would there be in choosing greatspear over other weapons?
Yay!

I am pleased to discover another Barbarian Handbook that will actually be taken care of. I visited the first one a while back and found to my surprise that I had surmised everything right about how to build a Rageblood Minotaur Barbarian, and that made me happy. But then, it is pretty easy to see which options are good, isn't it? Just weigh the damage produced or the hit points saved.


I'd like to point out a combo I hope someday to play. It's an epic character thing, and I know you don't wanna talk about Epic, but some things are universally great. The build, in its simplest, is Minotaur Barbarian/Beastblooded Minotaur/Eternal Defender. Obviously, take Battle Awareness (really good feat) at some point before level 21. Your character ends up with Reach 3 and large weapons (which would work extremely well for a Whirling Barbarian too). The key here is that a Large Execution Axe does 2d6 damage and is Brutal 2, meaning that your average damage with the weapon is never less than half the maximum damage. A very nice boon, especially coming from 3 squares away from the target thanks to your reach (which would really help with long-distance charging). I hope to get Jak up to that point some day. Just 22 levels to go.

Your advice does inspire ideas for other Barbarians. I do want to try a Warforged Thunderborn Barbarian, and a Revenant (Half-Elf) Whirling Barbarian with scimitars and twin strike would be fun (it'd go Eternal Defender for the damage dice upgrade). A good guide, and I hope that you keep it updated whenever new content that is loosely relevant to the Barbarian comes up (pretty much any Fighter or Warden stuff).
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
The Dragonmark feats, especially Mark of Passage and Mark of Storm, seem like they provide good options.

Roundabout Charge (after a Rogue MC) is probably redundant in some builds, but it seems like it would combo well with some polearm tricks especially for pushing/sliding goodness...
If it takes a terrible effort to be civilized in the context of the quote, then isn't the barbarian not putting in a terrible effort?
How inferior is the Spiked Chain as a Whirling Barbarian weapon, with Spiked Chain multiclass? It costs you damage, for sure, and your multiclass feat, but is a +3 weapon with reach, and perhaps most critically, is two-handed, allowing you to take Howling Strike, helping close the gap in charging effectiveness. I guess it makes most sense if you're a human, where Howling Strike would be replacing whichever of Pressing Strike and Howl of Fury that you like more, instead of replacing the one you like less. Drawbacks are that as a Light Blade and Flail, the spiked chain doesn't have the most exciting associated feats, and while you only have to upkeep one weapon, your offhand only benefits from the basic enchantment bonus. Additionally, while you have reach, many of the Whirler powers don't allow you to make full use of it, being bursts of fixed size or designating adjacent enemies as the victims of your off-hand attacks. (In fact, I believe the fact that your off-hand is a reach weapon is wasted entirely.) Is the Spiked Chain sort of a second-rate choice, a great idea, or pretty much a non-starter?
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
(I work weekends- so new updates will commence soon: but first- responses!)

A) Scimitar Dance/Scimitar: Not really that great. A Ranger with this ability, or a Tempest Fighter, is making multiple attack roles each turn- has interrupt and response attacks- etc. So every time they miss you make up for it by getting a small amount of damage- and in exchange you use the kind of inadequate Scimitar. But with the Whirler you only have ONE attack each turn- unless its a burst- so the 5 or 6 damage you get with it; (9-10 by 30) is really mediocre and not worth the investment of feats and subpar weaponry. If you really want damage on a miss go with Hammers. The Half-Elf with Twin Strike makes it acceptable: but i'm not convinced you wouldn't be better off with BIG weapons. 

B) Great Weapon Feats: I'll add them in.

C) Greatspear Barbarians: If you are ok with being a heavy charge beast (and there's certainly support for it with a spear) i recommend the Rageblood, multi-class to fighter. Half Orc preferred so that you can get a 17 dex without crippling Con or Str. This makes your charges terrifying. The "Weakness" of this build is the MADness of the stat requirements-namely that you need all 3 physical stats. 

D) Dragonmarks: I'll add them in.

E) Yes the Barbarian has abandoned the Terrible Effort to remain civilized: but following up LDB's guide is also rather difficult- so it works on multiple levels.

F) The Spiked Chain build is a utility barbarian build (and one of the ones i planned on posting this week). It gives up damage in exchange for reach and control. If you're willing to heavily invest the feats into the Spiked Chain build- and take Dragging Flail- and grab powers that knock prone (the barbarian has a few) slide (again we have a few) or push (a ton) you can easily get some control over the battlefield. If you're willing to use Windrise Ports Cheese you can also grab some Rogue Tricks (since its a flail/light blade) which work excellently with the Whirler's innate mobility. I'll post a build soon.

 


C) Greatspear Barbarians: If you are ok with being a heavy charge beast (and there's certainly support for it with a spear) i recommend the Rageblood, multi-class to fighter. Half Orc preferred so that you can get a 17 dex without crippling Con or Str. This makes your charges terrifying. The "Weakness" of this build is the MADness of the stat requirements-namely that you need all 3 physical stats. 




Thanks for the reply.  Given the MAD associated with greatspear barbarians, humans would probably be a highly suboptimal choice, then.  Thanks for the feedback!
(I work weekends- so new updates will commence soon: but first- responses!)

F) The Spiked Chain build is a utility barbarian build (and one of the ones i planned on posting this week). It gives up damage in exchange for reach and control. If you're willing to heavily invest the feats into the Spiked Chain build- and take Dragging Flail- and grab powers that knock prone (the barbarian has a few) slide (again we have a few) or push (a ton) you can easily get some control over the battlefield. If you're willing to use Windrise Ports Cheese you can also grab some Rogue Tricks (since its a flail/light blade) which work excellently with the Whirler's innate mobility. I'll post a build soon.

 



Spiked Chain w/feat support is still a loophole the latest (massive) update didn't quite stitch up.

There is now a weapon property known as "Stout" which specifically allows a double weapon to be used as a two-handed weapon. Until we get an update of double weapon Spiked Chain with the inclusion of Stout, I'd say you can either use it as a double weapon or a two-handed weapon for the duration of a power. This would put it in line with Arena Fighting and similar feats which are limited to stacking one benefit onto an At-Will, for example.


ETA: From discussion with one of the updaters, I'd definitely say Stout was excluded intentionally. So it's either a non-Stout double weapon, or a two-handed weapon. Have fun.
I saw that you are leaving the magic item evaluation to the LDB guide, which is perfectly understandable.  However, since Whirling barbs are new to Primal Power, and they have slightly different magic item needs for primary and secondary weapons, I suggest creating a short list of magic item properties which make good secondary weapons.  Things like Subtle and Quick.  Basically anything that will add a useful effect even when only wielded in the off-hand and possibly never used to make a primary attack.

I have been searching for such a discussion on these forums and I think it would be useful to have in a guide.

Keep up the good work!
The November double-weapon updates add a huge amount of versatility for barbarians, allowing a lot of mix and matching between whirling and 2H barbs. Any thoughts as to how this might strengthen existing builds or create new ones? Is it enough to make most barbarians want to switch to a double weapon and pick up whirling rend?