Dragon 384 - Class Acts: Ruthless Reach Barbarian

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Dragon 384
Class Acts:
Ruthless Reach Barbarian

by Aeryn "Blackdirge" Rudel

These evocations make a barbarian doubly dangerous when he or she has room to work.

One type of barbarian, the ruthless reach barbarian, has mastered the use of two-handed reach weapons, which apply leverage with each strike like no other type of weapons. The long haft of a glaive, halberd, or longspear allows a ruthless reach barbarian to generate immense power when targeting foes at his or her weapon’s maximum reach—in other words, 2 squares away.

Talk about this article here.


Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?


A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Please check out the discussion of this article on the char op board, particularly this detailed analysis.

I'm sorry to say, but the general consensus is that this article is borderlining on trash. There are only two good new options in there (Brutal Reach feat, and the Slashing Tornado Rage). Everything else is a trap. Please don't present traps to players. Perhaps you can fix the article before compiling the Dragon issue. Quick fix: Make DEX the secondary modifier instead of CON, because that's what barbarian reachers are pumping (just like the fighter reachers.) Also, if you don't improve the new at-will by adding mobility and/or more damage, only a blind chicken will pick this over Pressing Strike.

The new powers neither compete with other barbarian powers, nor with flavorful and strong polearm powers the fighter or even warlord has, for example Trip Up, which is a great free attack, or Silverstep, which utilizes DEX and delivers some nice cinematic action and has two attacks.

Hell, even the Warlord's "Pit Fiend's Fury" (level 23, burst 2 1(W) that knocks prone) beats everything the barbarian reacher has to offer. Uh wrong, he gets this kind of stuff as a daily.

For Greatspear barbarians you also get the Figther's Rain of Blows which gives you a more reliable Storm of Blades mini version at level 4 with novice power.

The powers' weakness must have to do with calling them "evocations". Tell me about ONE barbarian player who EVER uses this word to describe what he's doing. Is he a friggin' reverend or something?

Anyhow, I really expect WotC to compare new material with what's already out there. If an author presents 98% weak options like this one, make him spice it up a little before publishing it. And make him explain why the barbarian reacher has to use CON as secondary modifier, while the fighter can use DEX for his stuff as it should be.

For my Eladrin Barbarian who just reached level 17 I'm powerswapping level 13 fighter power Silverstep because there is simply nothing better out there.


It's mostly flavorless. Other than the rages/feats, you could tack these on most melee classes and few would know the difference. Very few... because even then many powers/feats wouldn't be selected because they are weak, especially for strikers. Only the Art screams "Barbarian!", and... well.... 

Part of my feelings may be based on an observation that polearms/spears seem to be finesse weapons (forced movement/reach), which is the opposite of the Barbarian design ethos. Barbarians don't play with their food. These powers cater to generic weapon stuff and not to driving your foes before you and hearing the lamentations of their women. Barbarian Polearm/Spear stuff should all be about close attacks, zones of damage that move with you, impaling your foes with your spear so you can pull them to you and punch them in the face, thrusting your spear through one enemy into another, interrupting a fool's charge by hoisting them over your head and throwing them at your feet for easy trampling. Many of these powers (especially the Encounter Attacks)? Ain't happening.

To sum up, as I mentioned in the errata thread, compare Mammoth Leverage to Crater Fall. That's pretty much the article in a nutshell. 


Longstrike Charge: Well, it doesn't stink, OK?

Slashing Tornado Rage: If anything, the Rage is "Wow", especially if your DM uses minions or lots of normal creeps.

Rampant Reach: This would be a cool power for a defender. Too bad most Barbarians aren't defenders, and they have some excellent (other) 16th lvl power options.

One last thing... why do many of the powers/feats only affect the "outer ring" of 2 squares away? Which edition are we playing here?
D&DNext: HTFU Edition
I can't imagine any decent polearm weilding barbarian taking any encounter or at-will power from this article and none of the feats compelling enough to consider over what is already available. One of these encounter powers should work on an alternate trigger to have any hope of being useful.
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